October 1, 2009

File-sharing is for sexually frustrated losers

While playing around with the General Social Survey for a class, I stumbled on a question that asks whether or not you use the world wide web to download music. This question was asked in 2000 and 2002, before iTunes was available for Windows (and even for Macs it wasn't available in 2000), so it clearly refers to using Napster and other piracy technologies. I should put the results of what I found over at my data blog, but it's too sweet not to share with the world.

Let's start with the file-sharer's self-image: he imagines himself to inhabit a dystopian world rather like the one in Blade Runner, The Matrix, or that tentacle anime that he depleted half his tissue box to. He just as often believes that he himself is being singled out for oppression as he believes that it is his entire race of subterranean mole-geeks that's being persecuted. Similarly, the source of all evil is at one moment a sprawling, faceless hive -- the Microsoft corporation, The Government -- and the next moment an individual wielding concentrated power -- Bill Gates, George Bush. You would be foolish to expect some consistency of narrative since, after all, his religious texts did not flow from the tongues of trained wisemen but were regurgitated by the teamworking four-chambered stomach of the Creative Commons.

But it's not really important who The Devil or the legions of demons are, as the cult's focus is on what role they the file-sharers play -- the rebels who will, Prometheus-like, rise up against the powers that be and deliver free information unto mankind. Back on planet Earth, we easily see the file-sharer for what he really is -- a teenager throwing a temper tantrum all because he has to cut the yard before taking his daddy's car out.

If they were truly the bold scofflaws they make themselves out to be, then they'd surely be picking up chicks left and right. The rebel archetype has an inherent sex appeal, at least to a decent number of girls.

So let's just see what the GSS tells us about the sex lives of file-sharers. (The mysteries that a little federal funding can solve...) I limited the results to males between ages 18 to 35. The pattern is clear using even younger ages, but going up to 35 gives better sample sizes.



The first graph shows that, compared to young guys who didn't illegally download music, file-sharers are much more likely to be virgins and less likely to have had several partners in the past year. The second graph looks at it in the other direction: in the sample, 100% of virgins were file-sharers, and file-sharing declined as the number of partners increased.

Strangely, all that time devoted to optimizing their piracy programs hasn't won them the outlaw appeal they were praying for. It's all obviously the work of Bill Gates and George Bush -- they've brainwashed normal girls into viewing them not as rebels but as a bunch of bratty cheapskates. It may take one thousand creepy emails, but they will ultimately lift the veil from those couple of girls who also hang out at Gamestop on Saturday night. And let's just see The Government stop that.

GSS variables used: musicget, partners, sex, age

14 comments:

  1. Perhaps the virginity/lower sexual activity is due to file sharers having above average IQ? Technology remains mysterious for the below average.

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  2. The trends in the data aren't strong enough to make the kind of claims that you are. Of those who downloaded music, only 10% were virgins.

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  3. Sure they are. Just look at it. Less likely to be virgins, and greater chance of nearly every other category.

    And it's 16% of file-sharers who are virgins -- 1 in every 6.

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  4. I'm with Eric, I'd like to see where IQ lines up with all of this. It's surprising how many people can't handle things as simple as torrents, image files for burning DVDs or soulseek.

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  5. "Let's start with the file-sharer's self-image: he imagines himself to inhabit a dystopian world rather like the one in Blade Runner, The Matrix, or that tentacle anime that he depleted half his tissue box to. He just as often believes that he himself is being singled out for oppression as he believes that it is his entire race of subterranean mole-geeks that's being persecuted. Similarly, the source of all evil is at one moment a sprawling, faceless hive -- the Microsoft corporation, The Government -- and the next moment an individual wielding concentrated power -- Bill Gates, George Bush. You would be foolish to expect some consistency of narrative since, after all, his religious texts did not flow from the tongues of trained wisemen but were regurgitated by the teamworking four-chambered stomach of the Creative Commons."

    As opposed to numerous internet loner ubermensch wannabes like you who think they are the last sane man. They believe themselves a reincarnated Diogenese, one of the few to see the truth and that all but a handful of others are deluded idiots beyond redemption. Like an anti-buddha they don't try to convert followers as their concern isn't the truth but their own superiority. Instead they create websites devoted to their own self worship and making sure the rest of the world knows you hate them and find them inferior.

    Oh, and of course people like you believe themselves to be unique truth tellers rather than how the rest of the world sees them, stereotypical narcissistic loners- cum-sociopaths.

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  6. How about a post on the top ten activities of those 18-35 year old males who have zero partners in the last year?

    Sorry, couldn't resist.

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  7. one of the few to see the truth and that all but a handful of others are deluded idiots beyond redemption.

    Heh, except that the facts support me and refute you.

    And in fact 40% of all GSS respondents were not file-sharers -- so lots of people are already doing the right thing. I do have little hope, though, for the handful of young male losers holed up in their dorm rooms / parents' basements.

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  8. filesharing in 2000 was only a few years old. the first adopters were computer geeks on college campuses. it had little to do w/ the idea of a dystopian view of the world and everything to do w/ being a poor student and wanting free shit. naturally the more computer savvy geeks would be more likely to share files. so sure, file-sharers had less sex, but geeks in general have less sex. why don't u lambaste every computer science and engineering major for simply existing?

    it was only after RIAA started suing individual downloaders that some kind of outlaw reputation began to be attached to downloading. and wow, those swedes must be some sexless losers after they elected a pirate party member to their legislature.

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  9. Your data seems to show that true alpha males in fact download music illegally. :D

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  10. Other way around -- virgins are the biggest downloaders.

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  11. Johnny Walker Purple10/14/09, 12:51 PM

    Let's put aside that the GSS has a woefully small sample size and look at the presented data. Not one shred of that data backs up your absurd ego-fellating mythic description of a torrenters "self-image". A description that does nothing more, and was obviously intended to do nothing more, than set yourself up in a position of moral superiority. For such an anti-morality relativist you love to talk about american perceptions of social class as if they conferred moral superiority. Your own superiority is a favorite topic of yours and one that never let's reality or the truth get in it's way.

    Second, virgins are not the biggest downloaders. The data shows the biggest downloaders are people with 1 sexual partner.

    Third, as pzed expressed file sharing was in it's infancy in the early oughts so it is to be expected that people on the technological fringe would adopt it first.

    In conclusion:
    Come back when you have more relevant data.

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  12. Nope, sample size is big enough to see the pattern.

    I don't know if you're blind or not, but virgins *are* the biggest downloaders, *not* those with 1 partner.

    Let me guide you through it.

    Look at the 2nd graph. The red bar shows how high the % of downloading is for a group with a given number of sex partners. Since the 0 sex partner group is completely red, that means 100% of them were downloaders. For all other groups, it's much less than 100%.

    So, virgins are the most likely group to be downloaders.

    The real question is why you're so dense -- is it the alcoholism implied by your name, or have you thoroughly numbed your brain by trolling edonkey 24/7 for squid porn?

    Whatever the case, go get a life -- your brain will thank you for it.

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  13. Heh, true enough. But my point remains the same: it's the sexually frustrated guys who are more drawn to file-sharing.

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  14. Johnny Walker Purple10/16/09, 12:32 PM

    Except you didn't say drawn to in the blog post. If you had said that I wouldn't have had a problem. Instead you said that downloaders are sexually frustrated losers. Two entirely different statements.

    Addendum:
    You responded to my comment but I don't actually see my comment. Just thought I'd let you know.

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