Hi! If you’ve been around here for a while and also paying close attention, you may recall that we did our 2016 Autostraddle Reader Survey just this past October. Therefore the data remains fresh, like a can of coconut milk (I have 16 in my cabinet, help), freshly-picked strawberries and my attitude.
That information has been immensely helpful to us and has already had a huge impact on our work. It’ll also be helpful this week when the Senior Editors gather together in Riese’s house for the one week of the entire year where we can work on the website in the same room! (Last night I tried watching the new Freeform TV series The Bold Type but instantly became so jealous of the fact that the magazine at the center of the show has an office and a legit budget that I had to turn it off. )
But… we want to know more! We wanna change some things around here that we’ll be discussing this week and we wanna know more about how you use Autostraddle and who you are, generally speaking, to help us in this mission. So we have some more questions. We’re also experimenting with new ways to gather data on certain topics.
As per last year’s data, we’ve given you some of the results already and will be giving you SO MUCH MORE tomorrow or Friday as a prize for the thousands of you who will fill out this survey and help us make a better Autostraddle.
Y’all are very good at taking surveys so we’re confident that many of you will do this and then we’ll all be really happy.
(I also ended up watching The Bold Type, kind of on accident because I didn’t change the channel after PLL, but then on purpose because it sucked me in! They seem to be laying the groundwork for a F/F relationship I think I want to stick around for, the actresses have great chemistry).
Huzzah to surveys!
However, I feel slightly like I was being pressganged into declaring a mental illness – you might want to check the logic is correct if you click “No” on the mental health question!
I also encountered this issue, so I entered Other: Nil. But the option of None, N/A and/or Prefer not to say would seem appropriate, if indeed you are still directed to answer the question after answering No to the previous question
I clicked no, since I’ve had time, treatment, resources, social support, unusual job access, and consider myself as not having a mental health issue currently, but on the next page I selected one from the past (and possibly future). For me it was also educational to see all the options since it’s a huge huge issue for our queer community.
OOPS IT’S BEEN TEN HOURS SINCE YOU SAID THIS AND I JUST NOW FIXED IT SORRY EVERYBODY
So I hope this question isn’t too annoying but in section 12 “Which of the following columns do you read?” What are the criteria for picking N/A and how does that option differ from either “Never Read it” and “Never Heard of it”?
I don’t mean to be super nitpicky it is just that I write and create surveys as part of my job so I always want to make sure I provide information and answers that are as accurate as possible when completing surveys.
Never read it means you see it on the website and decide not to read it, and never heard of it means you weren’t even aware that it exists!
But then what would constitute someone to choose the third option of N/A?
I chose N/A for stuff that isn’t part of my interests. So I wouldn’t read it at all on Autostraddle but then I wouldn’t look for other sources for that kind of content either
Took the survey! Hope the data’s helpful, and I’m looking forward to seeing more of the results!
On to the real reason I felt compelled to comment: I googled The Bold Type because y’all mentioned it and holy crap I went to school with one of the three main actors. We grew up in the same neighborhood, just a few streets apart. We eventually ran in completely different social circles but we were kindergarten friends. She was always very nice; I’m happy she’s finding success!
Can’t take it cos you basically need to be good at reading where the buttons are meant to be as they’re invisible no matter what button colour and background colour I use
The mental health stuff was really kind of uncomfortable and I would not have completed the survey then and there if I weren’t particularly fond of you guys.
I’d prefer, if my life and death struggle in an institution for depression wouldn’t make it into a cheerful pie diagram in the future, tbh.
I understand where you are coming from, but hopefully this information is not just for them to publish, but to help inform them of what their readership struggles with that they were unaware of and try to make sure that those are addressed in the articles and pieces they publish in the future.
Is Surveymonkey providing you with IP addresses/identifying markers for respondents, as is their default, or have you chosen to anonymize results? This survey asks for some pretty specific and sensitive health information, and I don’t see any statement about user privacy above. Not that I think you have any nefarious intent, it’s just the principle of the thing. :)
hm, you’re right that i guess it does record IP addresses, but we rarely look at each individual survey, just aggregated results… also i’m not sure what we could do with an IP address? ’cause also don’t those change depending on location, so like it could really mean anything, it could be the IP of a coffee shop or a computer lab or something? can you explain to me what the potential concerns would be? (also you don’t have to explain it to me but if you want that would be cool!)
The potential concerns are that those IP addresses could potentially be linked back to users. Usually when someone fills out health information on a survey it is accompanied with a consent form where you read and accept exactly how and where your information will be used. It explains where the data is being stored and who has access, and for a normal customer survey that would normally be fine, but it is a bit more troubling when you are providing health information. These survey results aren’t held on a private and secure system, just on Survey Monkey. So while I trust you to not back check out IPs if it were to be hacked, the IP address could easily be linked back to the user who submitted the survey.
oh, ok i see! i have changed it to not record IP addresses. thanks for letting me know.
The thing is that your ISP can give you an static IP address, so, if I’m taking this survey from my PC at home, I will give Surveymonkey a little more information than I would like.
PD: I use Tor for this little things.
There are are laws protecting how health-related organizations (which you aren’t) use, collect, and store PHI (Protected Health Information – what you are asking for) and identifiers that can connect individuals to PHI. The reason for these laws is that ignorant, irresponsible, or nefarious use of this information can have extraordinarily negative consequences for a person’s life.
I think it’s a good rule of thumb that the rest of us – no matter our industry – should consider, especially in the age of the internet. You may have the best of intentions in collecting this information in your survey, but what about when someone hacks SurveyMonkey or takes your computer hostage with ransomware and you’ve downloaded the information? Additionally, just because SurveyMonkey isn’t letting you see the IP addresses, and says it isn’t logging them, doesn’t mean they aren’t discoverable in some way by some really savvy person or people. Tor is maybe the best way around this, but I doubt most of your survey users are thinking this way.
To put it bluntly: PHI is basically some of the most valuable information that hackers are going after right now. Just do a search for “hacking” or “ransomware” on healthcareitnews.com and you can read plenty about how health information is hackers biggest target.
I recognize that since you don’t work in health IT, or healthcare in general, a lot of this may be news to you. However, as the entity collecting the information, I think it is irresponsible not to have a privacy plan, tell users exactly, specifically how you will and won’t use it (and then do that), explain the risks, and then let them opt out if they want. It’s not enough in this day and age for anyone to just trust someone else and use that as the basis of sharing really consequential information on the internet. If WannaCry didn’t hammer it home, I don’t know what will: even if I share PHI with you and you use it in appropriate ways, the fact that I’ve recorded it on the internet and presumably exported it to one or more other computers means that it could end up anywhere.
I’m sure I sound harsh and paranoid, which is what it is. But, I think you really need to seriously consider if you, as part of the entity that is collecting this information, is informed and equipped to manage it as the valuable and sensitive information that it is.
I actually think you are being a little harsh here. Truthfully there really are no personal identifiers in the survey, besides the IP address. The geographic question is at a country level, the age data point is a range not a specific age. Having the IP’s not be recorded as a data point is important because if the data is exported the IP address won’t be readily linked to the users’ answers. SurveyMonkey is still tracking usage as you can’t take the survey twice, which is probably through cookies. To a certain extent, anything can be hacked, and if anyone wanted to try hard enough and had the expertise they can connect people’s information.
I think the best thing for AS to do is put a disclaimer before the survey to inform the user that there will be questions related to mental health in the survey. Then have an additional heading/disclaimer before the mental health questions briefly describing the types of questions about health that will be asked and allow users to skip this section if they choose by having an option of “Prefer not to answer” that has a logic step to the next section altogether. Or something like that. I don’t remember the exact flow of the survey well enough to give exact specifics.
Yeah, I hear you re: my harshness. And I think those are really good and workable suggestions for AS and I certainly second them!!
I also acknowledge that I’m coming from a perspective of being immersed in health IT more hours than anything else in my life, and am constantly barraged with alerts about hospitals and other entities being hacked or subjected to ransomware specifically targeting PHI. Security breaches targeting health information happen daily, but very rarely make the news. I think I’m probably in some way reacting to the sense that it might not happen “to X” or “to me” or fill in the blank. My experience screams it might! It could! It does! All the time! I also acknowledge that that is somewhat out of the scope of this conversation or survey, and appreciate you summing up the appropriate parts for this context :) Additionally, having been off all social media for over two years, I’m not desensitized to the act of sharing information online in general (these comments are quite out of character and crossing all my personal privacy lines…for the greater good!! Lol!!). Frankly, it freaks me out, and I’m not sure I will ever fill out a survey like this, as tempting as it makes me to participate.
Present for duty
olddddd. every new decade is more enjoyable than the last.
Also please separate atheist from agnostic. It’s not the same
yeah that’s a question from Surveymonkey’s Verified Question bank which I was trying out. it struck me as odd too, but i thought maybe there was some reason for it that would be made clear to me in the data?
I was tempted to go with “Other” and write, “*Militant* atheist, thank you.”
I did. I went with other: 100% atheist
For the coconut milk: https://elanaspantry.com/dairy-free-chocolate-mousse/
my fiancee makes me this and it’s my favorite dessert now. Sigh.
thank you FOR THIS TIP
obvs all our coconut milk is left over from #whole30
I have 13 cans of coconut milk in my pantry for this same reason
TOOK IT, also narrowing down my mental illnesses after I realized I clicked more buttons than I’d ideally like was… Enlightening
Thanks AS for doing your best w/ the mental health stuff – I feel very cared for. Could maybe ppl opt out of those questions in future surveys?
I was a little disappointed not to see questions about gender identity, I always want to boost butch visibility (yes, we are very visible IRL but not so online!). (Perhaps if you click through to trans page you get that, but I didn’t.)
But nothing can be all things. Thanks for asking AS!
we asked about that in the 2016 survey so we didn’t include it on this one. that data is SUPER important to us, we just didn’t need to ask twice ’cause we didn’t need it to cross-reference stuff like we do with some of the other demographic questions
Ohhhh I gotcha!
I was glad to see narcolepsy as a narcoleptic but confused to find it under the label of mental health issues. To me it is a physical disability (that can affect mental health, like many chronic illnesses: fibromyalgia, lupus, etc.) Unsure as to why it was listed as a mental health issue, since it’s a sleep disorder. Neurologically based, but different — not psychological.
Same, I was surprised to see it! It *is* in the DSM but I’ve always thought its inclusion was weird.
Wow, I actually didn’t realize it was in the DSM. Oops… embarrassing. Then that makes a lot more sense– I assume Autostraddle were just looking at common DSM diagnoses.
But personally, I’ve always grouped narcolepsy with fibromyalgia, multiple sclerosis, and things along those lines– narcolepsy has a large component of muscle issues, and of course fatigue. And also as time goes on the treatments are getting more and more similar.
Okay putting United Kingdom under “GB” was a bit mean (I had to go through the entire list to find it). but i’m assuming that’s Surveymonkey’s fault?
Finally took it using conventional colours which are bad for my eyes.
I’d not consider my aspergers a mental illness, as someone who has an actual mental illness. It has physical ramifications (the light sensitivity is a good eg actually) and means I’m not treated well in society. But the mental side of it on its own doesn’t cause suffering until coupled with societal expectations of afab ppl. What I lose in people skills from it I gain in focus and hyperlexia.
My social anxiety is a mental illness as even in a society where ppl were fine w it, I’d still suffer from it on a mental level.
I wish you could check more than one option for religion.
Hi, I just wanna let you know that if one of the surveys seems like a straight white dude did it, it’s cause my roomate Cody saw the headline and also took the survey. My bad.
oh man I wish I could go back and put Kubo and the Two Strings as my favorite recent movie.
It’s like a medieval Japanese version of Harry Potter? I love it so much.