Saturday, March 08, 2008

Sorry I asked...

What is it about those little tests they have in magazines and newspapers that makes us want to measure something so we can compare to others?

Oh, you don't?

Anyhoo, I submitted one of my TP columns to the Gender Guesser to see if I was writing manly enough for farmers.
n 2003, a team of researchers from the Illinois Institute of Technology and Bar-Ilan University in Israel (Shlomo Argamon, Moshe Koppel, Jonathan Fine, and Anat Rachel Shimoni) developed a method to estimate gender from word usage. Their paper described a Bayesian network where weighted word frequencies and parts of speech could be used to estimate the gender of an author. Their approach made a distinction between fiction and non-fiction writing styles.

A simplified version of this work was implemented as the Gender Genie. They showed that fewer words were needed and that writing styles varied based on the forum. For example, fiction and non-fiction differs from blogs (informal writing). Even though the genres differ, there are still gender-specific word frequencies.

This Gender Guesser system is heavily based on the Gender Genie. In particular, the word lists and weights are reproduced from the Gender Genie. The Gender Guesser extends the interpretation of informal writing to work on blogs and chat-room messages, and combines formal writing styles (fiction, non-fiction, essays, news reports, etc.). It also looks for weak emphasis -- used to distinguish European English from American English. In general, if the difference between male and female weight values is not significant (a "weak" score), then the author could be European. This is because the weight matrix is biased for distinguishing genders in American English. [More]
Here's my grade:
Genre: Informal
Female = 574
Male = 1260
Difference = 686; 68.7%
Verdict: MALE

But wait, there's more:
Genre: Formal
Female = 1064
Male = 947
Difference = -117; 47.09%
Verdict: Weak FEMALE

Weak emphasis could indicate European.
You do realize I was writing INFORMALLY, don't you?

They really know how to hurt a manly man.

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