Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!


Forgot your password?
Technology News

One In Ten Americans Thinks HTML Is a Type of Sexually Transmitted Infection 255

sandbagger writes "It looks like technical writers won't be unemployed any time soon. According to a recent study reported on by the LA Times, 11% of Americans thought HTML was a sexually-transmitted disease. The study, by coupon site VoucherCloud, involved 2,392 men and women 18 years of age or older. 27% thought 'gigabyte' was a South American insect, and 23% thought MP3 was a Star Wars robot. The participants were not told that the study was specifically looking into their knowledge of tech terms. They were presented with both tech and non-tech terms and were asked to choose from three possible definitions. 18% identified 'Blu-ray' as a marine animal, and 15% thought 'software' was comfortable clothing."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

One In Ten Americans Thinks HTML Is a Type of Sexually Transmitted Infection

Comments Filter:
  • Could it be (Score:5, Insightful)

    by deletedaccount ( 835797 ) on Wednesday March 05, 2014 @06:13AM (#46406373)
    That not everyone is taking this seriously?
    • Is it April already?
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Those Americans who don't know IT terminology are surely not interested in learning it, so I see no job openings for technical writers just yet.

  • by gweilo8888 ( 921799 ) on Wednesday March 05, 2014 @06:14AM (#46406379)
    Just another sign of the demise of Slashdot. A clearly fake survey viral created solely to publicize a coupon website makes it to the front page of a site supposedly for people smart enough to know better than to fall for rubbish like this.

    Could this any more obviously be a viral scam? No.

    And nor could Slashdot any more obviously be a shadow of its former self.
    • by deletedaccount ( 835797 ) on Wednesday March 05, 2014 @06:15AM (#46406385)
      yes, but as this particular bit of clickbait confirms my prejudice towards americans and made me chuckle I'll let it slide.
    • It's also a survey of Vouchercloud's own userbase, a group of people who are quite likely to insert random or spurious answers to a survey so that they can click through to their free coupon.

      • That assumes it's even results of an actual survey, which is pretty debatable. What evidence do we have that they didn't simply make the whole thing up and publish a press release?
        • Looking at their social media sites, it looks like they run these surveys (on Surveymonkey) and put out the corresponding press releases constantly. Usually in exchange for being entered into a prize draw for a gift card or something.

    • by sootman ( 158191 )

      You sounds pretty upset. Brace yourself, 'cause you're gonna be *really* pissed when they post it again in 2 days.

  • Slashdot Polls (Score:5, Insightful)

    by spacecoyotefarva ( 2384168 ) on Wednesday March 05, 2014 @06:16AM (#46406391)
    ...are more scientifically rigorous.
  • The article doesn't mention if/how the wrong answers correlate to age or poverty. If you're old enough that computers are still a strange new thing, or poor enough to never have had access to one outside the public library, it's not surprising you wouldn't know those terms.

  • by Chrisq ( 894406 ) on Wednesday March 05, 2014 @06:17AM (#46406397)

    One In Ten Americans Thinks HTML Is a Type of Sexually Transmitted Infection

    Those who have used it know that it's much worse

  • by symes ( 835608 ) on Wednesday March 05, 2014 @06:17AM (#46406399) Journal

    20% of Americans have a sense of humor.

    • by IBitOBear ( 410965 ) on Wednesday March 05, 2014 @09:45AM (#46407295) Homepage Journal

      I know that when I am being data mined I am very likely to pick the funny or ironic answer to any poll. The less intelligent the dumbest option is, the more likely I am to select it. My data is valuable and if you aren't gong to pay a fair price, and you intend to use it to subvert my happiness, I am not likely to go quietly to the slaugter.

      I remember some movie where a guy lands in a Gulag and is being forced to make mitten liners. He learns from one of the other guys to sew them shut across the fingers and then hide the sabatoged ones by slipping them into the "already inspected" pile. It is sabatoge and it's faster than making the proper stitch so it's easier to meet the quota.

      Lots of people maliciously answer polls and such, or so I suspect, which is why they are such a terrible instrument of governance and polity.

      And P.S. if you don't limit people to thinking about tech, well there are _many_ blue species of sting and mant rays, so contextually they might have a point on answering some of those questions. Its that whole ability to read past typos that humans are so gifted with.

      So conclusion? Polls suck, they suck slightly more than the pollsters conducting them, um-kay?

    • by tomhath ( 637240 )
      20% of Americans can't find the US on a map.
  • by korbulon ( 2792438 ) on Wednesday March 05, 2014 @06:21AM (#46406413)
    Study confirms that half of all people have below-average intelligence.
  • USB (Score:5, Informative)

    by jones_supa ( 887896 ) on Wednesday March 05, 2014 @06:23AM (#46406427)


    12% said "USB" is the acronym for a European country. In fact, USB is a type of connector.

    USB is actually a serial data interface. The connector is just one part of the spec.

  • by MikeRT ( 947531 ) on Wednesday March 05, 2014 @06:26AM (#46406433)

    MP3 is a robot from star wars? Even my older relatives know what a MP3 is. My grandmother, who doesn't have a computer, wouldn't even come to the conclusion that it's star wars related unless someone asked her "is MP3 the name of an audio format or a robot from star wars." I'm going to guess that this is similar to what happened when someone recorded himself walking around a campus asking "Is Obama a Keynesian (yes, he is)" and people were smugly saying that no the President was born in Hawaii.

  • by Sockatume ( 732728 ) on Wednesday March 05, 2014 @06:30AM (#46406443)

    Sci/tech press releases are like the autocue in Anchorman, you can put any old bollocks up there and the mainstream media will uncritically print it as news because it's a lot cheaper than having an actual science/tech department big enough to fill that section of the paper/website.

  • That number's way too low.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Those people where given three options, how many of those just filled in something randomly? If they all filled it in randomly because they could not be bothered to think about it 1/3 would have answered STD. So in my opion this research shows 1/3 of americans are to lazy to think about questionaires so they filled in something random.

    If it had been an open question and people wrote STD on their own, then maybe it meant something.

  • I guess it's okay and even amusing to do polls which demonstrate specific knowledge weakness among the people of the US. What's not funny, however, is to show people are actually becoming more stupid than ever before. The cause or the fault, I'm sure has many sources, but people are increasingly ignorant.

    Saying this much is already enough for some people to become angry. But when people start throwing around suggested causes such as "no child left behind" or other "lowering the bar" measures, people star

    • by bws111 ( 1216812 )

      The real problem with polls like this is that people such as youself take the results seriously. These polls do not show that people are dumb and getting dumber. There is no incentive at all to answering correctly, or punishment for answering incorrectly. Therefore, many people who get these polls are going to answer incorrectly because they think the purpose of the poll is to datamine them, or the poll has no useful purpose at all, or the poll is just clickbait. Many other people will answer randomly b

  • by msobkow ( 48369 ) on Wednesday March 05, 2014 @07:44AM (#46406683) Homepage Journal

    I know significant numbers of the over 60 population who avoid and ignore all things digital save for their satellite TV receivers. And the only reason they have those is because cable wasn't available in their area.

    Yeah, sure, I could laugh and point at the "dumb Americans", but it's not dumb Americans -- it's dumb people, and we've no shortage of them around the world. After all, as George Carlin pointed out: Think about how stupid the average person is, and remember that half the population is dumber than that.

    Besides, as many have already pointed out, this whole article is clearly a slashvertisement to give eyeballs to a piece of shit coupon site.

    • by msobkow ( 48369 )

      Wait a minute! Where's this "coupon site" people were talking about? This one is an LA Times article. They may be ad supported, but they're hardly one of the shady coupon distribution sites. Did the article get re-linked to a more reputable source?

    • by msobkow ( 48369 )

      Ah. I get it. The coupon site sponsored the "research."

      Well, if they did their research by calling their own customers, no wonder we got the low end of the IQ scale responding. :P

      • by bws111 ( 1216812 )

        So, your assertion is that people who save money buy using coupon sites are automatically on the low end of the IQ scale? Interesting.

  • by Savage-Rabbit ( 308260 ) on Wednesday March 05, 2014 @08:22AM (#46406851)

    One in Ten Americans Thinks HTML is a Type of Sexually Transmitted Infection

    To be fair, from an IT geeks perspective that is kind of true. To be precise, web pages written in HTML can be, and frequently are, carriers for a multitude of electronically transmitted infections.

  • i've seen plenty of legacy markup code that i wouldn't want touch without protection.

  • Sherlock Holmes had no room in his head for information that was not relevant to his work.

    Why should a geek expect a layman to remember the meaning of acronyms that he almost never encounters in everyday use?

    Web forums like Slashdot are notoriously informal and inconsistent in the mark-ups they will accept. AOL and other IMs simply presented the user with a toolbar of options. Bold, Italic, Insert URL and so on.

  • proving that... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by gemtech ( 645045 ) on Wednesday March 05, 2014 @09:07AM (#46407081)
    acronyms, abbreviations, and initializations out of context are confusing.
  • How are we going to inform the other 90% of the dangers of HTML? I am sure they also don't understand how dangerous PHP can be, and don't want to vaccinate their daughters against it.

  • by coofercat ( 719737 ) on Wednesday March 05, 2014 @09:16AM (#46407121) Homepage Journal

    I always thought Blu Ray was a pr0nstar - whether he has HTML or not is unclear, but with his skillz he needn't worry about being replaced by MP3 any time soon.

  • Long before it had anything to do with improving your website's Google ranking, "SEO" referred (and still does) to a type of heavy duty rubber electrical cord. S=Severe Service, E=Elastomer (rubber) insulated, O=Oil Resistant.

    So does this mean that IT folks who only know the other definition are as "ignorant" as the general population?

  • So? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Kimomaru ( 2579489 ) on Wednesday March 05, 2014 @09:43AM (#46407289)
    So what? Ask people to find Croatia on a map. Forget that. Ask them to find Africa. Skip that. Ask them to find North America. For real, now we're shocked at people who can't keep up with acronyms? This is a huge shock? Is this post about making fun of people?
    • Ask them to find North America.

      Give them some credit. North America is hard to find. All tucked away down there.

      • Forget that. Just send them some youtube links of a cats playing pianos and tell them everything is fine. When you have political figures not knowing that Africa's a continent, you're honestly just better off tuning out of pop culture and spending all of your free time on Stack Overflow and /.
    • by PPH ( 736903 )
      Current events: Ask them to find the Crimea River.
  • by wisnoskij ( 1206448 ) on Wednesday March 05, 2014 @09:54AM (#46407373) Homepage

    Obviously these were multiple choice questions. So you cannot use the data like this. 10% do not actually think HTML is a STD, they just have no idea what HTML is.

  • I don't see what the news is here. A small percentage of people don't understand tech jargon. Why is that surprising?

    I think we all enjoy a little schadenfreude when people display their ignorance, otherwise Fail Blog and blonde jokes, and the like, would not be so popular. But this article is going out of it's way to try to paint an entire nation of people as woefully ignorant when in fact only a small percentage of them are simply unfamiliar with technical terms. There are people out there with PhDs a

  • Only half of the people surveyed were professional website developers.
  • ... and you get it from Internet porn!

If you want to put yourself on the map, publish your own map.