Archive for November 6th, 2008

This shouldn’t annoy me…

November 6, 2008

gender_neutral_toilet_sign_gu…but it does.

There’s a web site Gender Analyzer that looks at a blog site and decides if it was written by a man or a woman. And by “decides” I means uses an algorithm.

On a whim I checked 360. It said it was written by a man. OK, that was a freebie because we have multiple authors so either answer could be viewed as correct. Then I started checking other math sites. Teaching College Math Technology? Written by a man. (Surprise, Maria!) Let’s Play Math? Written by a man. (Surprise, Denise!). Continuities? Written by a man. (Surprise, Jackie!) Math Trek? Written by a man. (Surprise, Julie!) Every math blog I tried was claimed to be written by a man, no matter who it was written by. And no, it doesn’t only pick men – non-math blogs are claimed to be written by either women or men.

OK, it’s just an algorithm. And it was just written for fun, not for any scientific claim, so I can respect that. And it doesn’t claim to be super-accurate — indeed, they publish a little poll at the side asking if they were correct and it’s only accurate 56% of the time. But still, the whole math=man connection in the algorithm is bugging me, probably more than it ought.  I’d feel better with equal inaccuracy by gender.