Sunday, June 17, 2007

Fun New Tool

Lately I've been lurking around Ellis Hollow - the blog, not the place. I got there from my favorite gardening site Cold Climate Gardening and kept going back 'cause the garden featured is so nearby and 'cause even the non-garden topics are really cool.

This morning browsing Craig's Art category I came to Britney Spears in the garden which normally wouldn't catch my attention but I wondered where the lovely photo came from. The photo credit is there. But best of all Craig uses Gender Genie to rate his post and compare it to a similar post by a female friend.

Gender Genie says it works best with text of 500 words or more. So, I scrolled through my blog for a long-ish post. Fun with Squirrels seemed fairly gender neutral. I cut and pasted it into Gender Genie and this is what I found.
The analysis is based on innocent prepositions, adverbs, articles, conjunctions and few pronouns and verbs - no telltale nouns or adjectives. Fun with Squirrels scored a fairly ambiguous 56% male most of which can be attributed to a whopping 54 occurrences of the word "the." The best I did on the feminine side was using "not" 7 times. The two posts tested by Ellis Hollow, one written by a woman, one by a man, were both scored as male by Gender Genie. So, with n=3 Gender Genie's accuracy is 33% - not so good. So, is the algorithm wrong? Or are my writing and Craig's friend's writing screwy. I plan to test this some more. You try it, too. Let me know what you find.


Vasha said...

Yeah, Gender Genie is screwy. I, and a bunch of other people, have tried it, and it scores randomly -- sometimes different results for the same person. And really, why should it work?? Please, show me the serious scientific study that demonstrates that men and women use "the" and "not" differently. Language is a basic tool, kind of like a saucepan; you can express different things with it, like you can cook different food in a pan -- but the most basic building blocks of language, the useful structural words like "the", are going to be used for any idea.

Vasha (resident of Ithaca)

leendaluu said...

Oh I was way female, despite my haircut and clothes. I guess it's works for me.