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Is your writing a He or a She? ... And can these programs really tell?

#1 User is offline   Truthseeker 

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Posted 16 January 2011 - 03:23 PM

Link 1 - Gender Guesser

The words you use can disclose identifying features. This tool attempts to determine an author's gender based on the words used.
[...]
Type or paste a writing sample for gender analysis. Then click on "Analyze" to see the results. For best performance, use at least 300 words -- more words is generally more accurate.


Link 2 - The Gender Genie

Inspired by an article and a test in The New York Times Magazine, the Gender Genie uses a simplified version of an algorithm developed by Moshe Koppel, Bar-Ilan University in Israel, and Shlomo Argamon, Illinois Institute of Technology, to predict the gender of an author.
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#2 User is offline   Epicurus 

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Posted 16 January 2011 - 06:27 PM

I gave both a 700 word passage and both decided, to a high degree of certainty 75% and higher across all measures, that I am what I am not.
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#3 Guest-Warrigal

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Posted 20 January 2011 - 04:25 PM

View PostEpicurus, on 16 January 2011 - 06:27 PM, said:

I gave both a 700 word passage and both decided, to a high degree of certainty 75% and higher across all measures, that I am what I am not.
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#4 Guest-Warrigal

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Posted 20 January 2011 - 04:29 PM

View PostEpicurus, on 16 January 2011 - 06:27 PM, said:

I gave both a 700 word passage and both decided, to a high degree of certainty 75% and higher across all measures, that I am what I am not.


(Let's try that again in the right order.)

Same here. In fact the more I gave it the more it seemed to think I was altogether other. The closest it got was "weak female, possibly European." Which seems oddly insulting to Europeans.
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#5 User is offline   Epicurus 

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Posted 22 January 2011 - 05:42 PM

The outcome for me was consistently wrong irrespective of the amount of words used in a paragraph, or the paragraph samples. The tests are satisfied to a high degree of probability that I am what I am not.

Now I am having a gender crisis. :unsure:
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#6 User is offline   Truthseeker 

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Posted 01 February 2011 - 07:58 AM

Hello,

For the sake of experiment I set out to see what would happen by 'confusing' the programs... The sample text was written by a WOMAN who was writing under a MAN's name. What's the Genie gonna make of THAT, I wonder.

The writer's real name is Mary Anne (Mary Ann, Marian) Evans, and she wrote under the pen-name of George Eliot. 19th century novelist.

From the novel, Silas Marner, (531 words):

Quote

Mr Snell was correct in his surmise, that somebody else would remember the pedlar's ear-rings. For on the spread of inquiry among the villagers it was stated with gathering emphasis, that the parson had wanted to know whether the pedlar wore ear-rings in his ears, and an impression was created that a great deal depended on the eliciting of this fact. Of course, every one who heard the question, not having any distinct image of the pedlar as without ear-rings, immediately had an image of him with ear-rings, larger or smaller, as the case might be; and the image was presently taken for a vivid recollection, so that the glazier's wife, a well-intentioned woman, not given to lying, and whose house was among the cleanest in the village, was ready to declare, as sure as ever she meant to take the sacrament the very next Christmas that was ever coming, that she had seen big ear-rings, in the shape of the young moon, in the pedlar's two ears; while Jinny Oates, the cobbler's daughter, being a more imaginative person, stated not only that she had seen them too, but that they had made her blood creep, as it did at the very moment while there she stood.

Also, by way of throwing further light on this clue of the tinder-box, a collection was made of all the articles purchased from the pedlar at various houses, and carried to the Rainbow to be exhibited there. In fact, there was a general feeling in the village, that for the clearing-up of this robbery there must be a great deal done at the Rainbow, and that no man need offer his wife as an excuse for going there while it was the scene of severe public duties.

Some disappointment was felt, and perhaps a little indignation also, when it became known that Silas Marner, on being questioned by the Squire and the parson, had retained no other recollection of the pedlar than that he had called at his door, but had not entered his house, having turned away at once when Silas, holding the door ajar, had said that he wanted nothing. This had been Silas's testimony, though he clutched strongly at the idea of the pedlar's being the culprit, if only because it gave him a definite image of a whereabout for his gold after it had been taken away from its hiding-place: he could see it now in the pedlar's box. But it was observed with some irritation in the village, that anybody but a 'blind creatur' like Marner would have seen the man prowling about, for how came he to leave his tinder-box in the ditch close by, if he hadn't been lingering there? Doubtless, he had made his observations when he saw Marner at the door. Anybody might know - and only look at him - that the weaver was a half-crazy miser. It was a wonder the pedlar hadn't murdered him; men of that sort, with rings in their ears, had been known for murderers often and often; there had been one tried at the 'sizes, not so long ago but what there were people living who remembered it.




Now the verdicts:

Gender Guesser - Male / Weak Male

The Gender Genie -
Female Score: 676
Male Score: 757
The Gender Genie thinks the author of this passage is: male

... Interesting result, which raises two questions:

1) Did Mary Anne Evans convincingly write in a 'male voice'?
2) Did the programs simply fail to pick that the writing was NOT by a 'Male'?
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#7 User is offline   Epicurus 

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Posted 01 February 2011 - 08:10 AM

The reference material does explain that it cannot pick a professional writer that is female.
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