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The last section of our recent demographics survey (click here and here for data from the previous sections) was an optional, open section where we simply stated, "If you have any comments you'd like to add about this survey or Scarleteen as a whole, please feel free to add them here."
Of the 419 participants who left comments in this section, most were about Scarleteen as a whole, rather than the survey. The few on the survey itself included a couple concerns about the previous section discussed here, a couple nods of appreciation for the inclusion in the education section of no schooling or alternative education, and two concerns (from people identifying as cisgender) that when we asked about gender, and provided fields for men, women and also trans gender, separately, we were suggesting trans people are neither men nor women. To clear that one up, the opposite was our intent. Our intention was to recognize and validate the many ways people who are not cisgender may and do identify. We used the options we did (as well as the additional options) because we know some trans gender people simply identify as men or women; others identify as trans, trans men or trans women. We figured -- and looking at the back end of the data, it does seem participants who were trans seemed to get that -- participants would know they could check however it is they identified, or choose the open-ended field if their gender identity was something outside all the options or they wanted to specify further.
The vast majority of responses in this section were about Scarleteen. Critical responses were few, but they included a couple suggestions to consider using gender-neutral pronouns throughout the site. That is something we have discussed often over the years, but have not reached any conclusions about, especially given how many of our readers do not have English as a first language, how many use translators to read the site, and for how many we are introducing so many new concepts and frameworks for, and don't want to overwhelm. It's always a challenge for us to try to best serve the wide diversity of our readership, and this remains one of the core challenges. Per usual, we're always up to discussing this with anyone who would like to in the comments or via email.
A few people voiced challenges with navigating the vast amount of content we have on the site. In the positive comments there were just as many statements of how easy it is to find everything here at the site. However, we do feel that navigation and organization improvements very much could and should be made, have been starting work on that already, and hope to raise the funds to implement and complete those improvements by by summer of 2012. A couple people also made requests for increased content for men, people with disability and about asexuality. You got it!
One participant voiced a desire for Scarleteen to only support one model of relationship or sexual interaction: that of marriage or long-term exclusive romantic relationships only. That isn't ever likely to happen. Not only is marriage not even an option for everyone, but our readership is diverse, and we know healthy relationships and healthy sexual interactions can and do occur outside that model and unhealthy relationships and sexual interactions can and do occur inside that model. We know that based on history, quite a lot of broad data and study and directly from our readers as well as our own lives.
One last critical comment expressed feeling our text-in service is a waste of money. This stands counter, however, to the many users of our text service who have voiced a deep appreciation for the service. As well, the text service is highly cost-effective: our server bills are higher than the cost of our text service, and the tools for running the text service allow staff and volunteers to manage the text service while doing other work. Should the text service ever be utilized less or should the cost massively increase, be sure we'll rethink it. Scarleteen is one of the most cost-effective and cost-efficient organizations of it's kind, so we always have a keen eye on things like this.
There were an awful lot of comments that were simply very gracious thank you's. And you're so welcome! Thank YOU!
We really appreciated all of the positive feedback, and so much of it was also really educational for us. It's so helpful to know what our users find of value here, and how what we do is or has been personally relevant to them, especially since, again, there is so much diversity among our userbase, so what one person finds here or gets from it can be very different from what another does. There were far too many of those comments to document all of them here, but please know they all were deeply appreciated. Here's a sampling:
Next up? I'll wind this down by talking about an overview of all the data, and where we're going to take things from here with what the data helped show us or make more clear for us. Again, our deepest thanks to everyone who took the time to give us such valuable information.