The next American President

4 MARCH 2007

I found the addictive Jyte.com via OpenID. Registered users post any claim that other users can vote and comment on.

I thought Jyte had great potential to explore people’s attitudes. I had a question I sometimes ask at dinner parties and thought that Jyte was a good place to ask a wider audience: What order would these be accepted as the American President: a black man, a white woman, a Jewish man, a homosexual man?

After a couple of days, I was surprised to the see the votes regarding claims regarding Jewish people. Read on for the results after 88 votes.

The American President

My claims’ description:

What order would these be accepted as the American President: a black man, a white woman, a Jewish man, a homosexual man? I’ll be posting all combinations as claims.

The question is about perceived prejudices and not about Obama and Clinton specifically.

Showing votes for|against my claims.

3 Given a choice, people would rather vote for a black man than a white woman
6 Given a choice, people would rather vote for a Jewish man than a non-Jewish woman
2] Given a choice, people would rather vote for a woman than a gay man
10] Given a choice, people would rather vote for a Jewish man than a black man
0] Given a choice, people would rather vote for a black heterosexual man than a white gay man
1] Given a choice, people would rather vote for a Jewish man than a gay man

This gives the following order of who is most likely to become the American President:

  1. Black man
  2. White woman or Jewish man
  3. Gay man

Other people’s claims

Unfortunately, the developers of Jyte set the tone for trivial claims with the site’s first claims being:

  1. Brian Ellin works at JanRain
  2. Scott Kveton lives in Corvallis, OR
  3. Scott Kveton works at JanRain
  4. Scott Kveton is 6’2″

Subsequent claims by users include:

  • I have tried cat food
  • I have taken ibubrofen
  • Counting clouds is not useful
  • I wish more of my socks matched

My claims

Note that I did not agree with many of my own claims. The (slightly) darker vote graphic shows which way I voted on each claim.

Showing votes for|against my claims.


20 FEBRUARY 2007


3 By 2008, Linden won’t be running Second Life
As more people join Second Life, Linden are obviously having major problems in providing a service that is good enough. In the last few weeks we’ve had regular ‘rolling restarts’, crashes and serious lag. Their job ad for a Global Technical Operations position implies that no one is doing that job now! By the end of the year, I think that Linden will give up, likely sell SL to someone else.
3 Given a choice, people would rather vote for a black man than a white woman
What order would these be accepted as the American President: a black man, a white woman, a Jewish man, a homosexual man? I’ll be posting all combinations as claims.The question is about perceived prejudices and not about Obama and Clinton specifically.
6] Given a choice, people would rather vote for a Jewish man than a non-Jewish woman
2] Given a choice, people would rather vote for a woman than a gay man
10] Given a choice, people would rather vote for a Jewish man than a black man
0] Given a choice, people would rather vote for a black heterosexual man than a white gay man
1] Given a choice, people would rather vote for a Jewish man than a gay man

Claim made about me: Given a choice, I’d like to filter out paolability’s “political claims”


2] Custard creams are better than chocolate-covered Hobnobs
These are English biscuits (cookies). What’s your favourite biscuit? What about Tesco’s cherry jaffa cakes, pink wafers and chocolate-covered ginger buscuits?
13] People should be allowed to spank grown-ups when they misbehave
[Inspired by the claim More people ought to spank their kids.]If it’s okay to spank your own children (who are weaker and smaller than you, who regard you as role-models, who are more likely use aggression in arguments, who are defenseless and who are more likely to resent you), then it must be okay to spank people the same size as you in an everyday situation, even a stranger.
1] Spring(-like weather) is better when it comes after winter
English winters are usually wet, grey and cold. But, having gone through winter, new blossoms, warm days with a light-breeze and blue skies are a joy. Can Spring only really be appreciated when you’ve been through Winter or is it really better to live in a place where it feels like spring most of the time?
6] People who say they’re not affected by ads will stick to the major brands
People like to think they have 100% free will and aren’t affected by advertising. But, as most people agree here, the more you hear something, the more you think it is true. If you ask these people what brand of tooth-paste, washing powder or cola they buy, it’ll be a big brand. Advertising works.
4] Fate (destiny) does not exist
I suspect this will be split on religious/aethist lines.
7] Men will keep driving around when they’re lost rather than look at a map
Please vote on your experience (your own or observed) rather than on the stereotype.
7] Men have a better sense of direction
Somewhat at odds with my claim that “Men will keep driving around when they’re lost rather than look at a map”, but there is (old) research that men have better visio-spatial skills.
10] Women have a better sense of future
I find that guys tend to be over-confident. I think that women would (if allowed to) make better strategists and planners as they forsee and plan for problems that might arise in the future.
3] Players should be able to kill other players on multi-user adventure games
The first multi-user adventure game, MUD, allowed killing of players as well as the computer-controlled orcs, dragons and wraiths. You had to double your points to advance to the next level. It took months. But, when you were killed, you’d lose all your points and go back to level 1. The land got more and more dangerous as you ventured further from the start room (experienced players wouldn’t attack new-comers).A computer-generated monster can never fight as good as another human and so it took a lot of time and skill to survive and advance to Wizard level. And, when you’re paying a subscription, the thrill is enchanced.I think that modern MUDs are for wusses as there’s never any real danger, never anything unexpected or awful about fighting. They sanitise fighting and thus remove the pain of dying and the thrill of surviving.
19] Women shouldn’t swear, it demeans them
As said on Second Life recently by a sergeant in the US army.
9] Nature has more influence than nurture
From wikipedia: Nature vs Nurture is a shorthand expression for debates about the relative importance of an individual’s innate qualities (“nature”) versus personal experiences (“nurture”) in determining or causing individual differences in physical and behavioral traits.
Genetics is the only fate.

21 FEBRUARY 2007


At this point, I started to add song titles from my playlist and film titles to try to get into the list of top 10 claimants (I did, briefly). But I received some complaints, and returned to less trivial claims.


3] Whatever will be, will be
1] The future’s not ours to see
9] I’ll do anything
1] You only live once
5] Never say never
6] I could have danced all night
11] Diamonds are forever
10] Diamonds are a girl’s best friend
0] Much ado about nothing
13] I can’t say no
3] I wish I were in love again
5] Now we are free
6] Raindrops keep falling on my head
10] Resistance is futile
2] Fate is the hunter
4] Walk, don’t run
2] Androids dream of electric sheep
3] I’d rather be blue over you than happy with somebody else

Claim made about me: paolability is making some silly claims


6] You’ll never walk alone
6] You can get rich without exploiting anyone
I sometimes encounter the view that someone has to suffer for someone else to have made lots of money, whether it’s unhappy staff, a product that damages the environment, badly-paid foreign staff or poor design.I think that it’s possible to make money whilst not having to be evil to do it.
1] Some people will never be happy
3] It’s only a paper moon
1] It’s not unusual

Claim made about me: paolability mistakenly believes that song fragments make good claims


6] Ain’t misbehavin’
3] There’s no business like show business
12] Anything you can do, I can do better
1] It’s delightful down in Chile
7] I got rhythm
0] People want what they can’t have
It’s a question about desire and infatuation.
6] People are turned off by things that come too easily
Another claim about desire and relationships. People want what they can’t have but quickly go off people who are too available or clingly. Play hard to get.
11] The postman always rings twice
Actually, we’re lucky if he rings once!
1] Love is a many-splendored thing
32] Evil does not exist
My understanding of evil is that it is about a devil and something outside the person.
9] World leaders will only come to their senses when aliens threaten Earth
Also an idea in “The Lathe of Heaven” by Ursula Guin. When posed with the problem of how to stop people fighting each other and living peacefully on a global scale, the only scenario was a threat from space.
11] We’re doomed
[Inspired by the comment “I don’t think they’ll come to their senses then either” on my previous claim.]It’ll just get worse. It won’t even get better before it gets worse. The world, that is.
4] Once you starting making some good money, you want a lot more
I found this when contracting. Money is somewhat addictive. You stay “just a bit more in this icky job” and I can make more (even though you’re comfortable as you are).
13] People wouldn’t eat kittens, even if they were really tasty
[Inspired by the claim Animals are tasty]Reasons for eating meat usually comes down to “but it tastes good.” So, would you eat a kitten if it was super delicious? If not, why not? Or how about dogs and horses?
21] Men should shave their underarms
If not why not? It’s as natural as women’s underarm hair and yet women are reminded daily for the need to shave.
8] A year-long ad campaign could get men shaving their underarms
TV is powerful. People will more likely believe things the more they hear them. I think that TV (programming + ads) has enough of an influence that you could create a new stupid cultural habit within a year. Why else do women go through the pain of waxing, plucking, shaving, botox, etc. Because they enjoy it? Or perhaps it’s because every day, from the day they’re born, they’re told what’s expected of them.
5] Geeks are nerds with social skills
13] Immediate feedback is all that is needed to make a social-networking site successful
Take clipmarks.com as an example. I hated the interface, thought it was really clunky. You post stuff to it from the net that you think is interesting and people can ‘pop’ them and add comments.I’d added a picture and, within a few seconds, someone had ‘pop’ed it (marked it as popular). I thought “ooh”, I wonder if I can do that again”, and looked for more stuff to post. An hour later I was still there. Or, take jyte.com…
3] People are more likely to pick one of the day’s specials from the board rather than design their own sandwich
So always provide a fast-track.

22 FEBRUARY 2007


1] Programmers are mostly in the NT archetype according to the Myers-Briggs personality test
If you don’t know what group you’re in, take the test at humanmetrics.com before voting.See The Sixteen Type Portraits for a description of the personality types.I know that this personality test is used a lot by corporations to help understand group dynamics and that it has a good reputation.
6] It’s hard to remember what happened in the news a week or more ago
It’s hard to remember what happened in the news a week or more ago because there always seems to be breaking news which diverts one’s attention.
5] Tagging would be more useful if terms could be selected from a shared controlled list
With the aid of a magic widget and a central taxonomy server.
3] Typing } immediately after { in code is a Good Thing
Then you write the function in between and are less likely to miss the closing brace.
2] One gets more laid back as one gets older
0] When people say they’d like to write a book, they really mean they want to have a book published and read
… without having to go through the chore of actually writing a book. Like, I want kids, but I am not keen on being pregnant or having to give birth to them.
22] America and the UK are safer since they started their War on Terror
As far as I know, no attacks on American soil since 2001. Just one in the UK (7/7) and one failed (21/7) and a foiled plot this year to hijack UK planes to fly to America with bombs. Oh yes. We are most fortunate.
8] Americans carry guns or live in gated communities because of a perceived threat from their own countrymen
Well, this is what comes across from Michael Moore’s films and the Daily Show.
4] Most people don’t figure out what they’re good at
And so they end up in jobs they’re not good at or are unhappy in. (Although I think that good programmers end up working as programmers. But there’s more non-programmers out there than programmers.)
0] Newsreaders shouldn’t chit-chat between themselves
I don’t care what they think or where they’ve been on holiday or if they think they’re funny and want to share a joke. I just want them to read the news and be professional about it.
0] Sports Night was too brilliant to have ended so soon
I really miss it. Perhaps people got put off by the name?
0] Being a vegetarian doesn’t neccessarily mean that you’re healthy
13] Americans carry guns because they believe it’s their constitutional duty
8] People want to be immortal
In the sense that you’d die if shot or fell off a cliff or got an illness but not from old age.
0] The Dancing Baby pre-dates Ally McBeal
0] The Web Standards community don’t adhere to standards
Because they pander to the non-standard IE browser by including hideous hacks thus making their CSS hard to read and maintain.
2] FF7 was brilliant but you shouldn’t re-play it after playing the later versions
Because the technology has moved on so fast and the cartoony clumpy characters in FF7 was a big disappoinment the second time round.
0] The Amiga version of Populous was the best one
2] Internet users have MORE friends and social skills, not less
Because they (can) spend more time communicating with people about all kinds of things from around the world.Unless, of course, you’re one of those who think that nothing online is ‘real’ and that most people lie about themselves.
4] Most people lie about themselves
[Inspired by a comment on my previous claim: “Well, most people lie about themselves but that’s true online or off.”]
0] Women wanted to play 5 sets but Wimbledon refused
[Inspired by the claim Women shouldn’t be given the same prize money as men at Wimbledon because they simply aren’t as good.]
2] Most of the people who think that most people lie about themselves will be male
11] There’s still time to rescue Katie Holmes before she’s completely brain-washed
I feel sorry for her.
0] It’s difficult to enjoy Tom Cruise films anymore
3] People should go back to fighting wars with swords
So that when you hack and slash, you feel metal going through a fellow human being’s flesh. No bullets, no tanks, no missiles. Just the stark reality of what killing and dying is all about.
1] Jamie Oliver is altruistic and not completely self-serving
I get really annoyed when people judge other people who do good in the public eye as self-serving and only doing it for their own gain. I think it gives them an excuse not to make a contribution themselves.
1] It’s easier to write claim descriptions than a new entry for one’s blog
My last blog entry: August 2006
5] I get attractive to nervous authority figures
[Inspired by the claim I get nervous around authority figures I find attractive.]
0] LSL needs continue and break statements
They say we have to use goto instead. But that if we use goto, we’re writing rubbish code.
10] Most people make avatars that look like themselves
The only avatar I have is on Second Life.
2] Paola(bility) will remove her account after making her 100th claim
There doesn’t seem to be a ‘delete account’ option on jyte and so I’ll have to do it by deleting my ClaimId account.

23 FEBRUARY 2007


0] Goodbye and thanks for all the fish
I’m off soon. I wanna go back to do something productive with my time. Only by deleting my account can I make it easier not to sneak back. Enough already.

Total: 98 claims

And then I wrote about Jyte on the SIG-IA list: How to make people keep coming back.

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