Prospecting the Blogosphere

about the UCI blog survey.

all opinions express herein are only makko's and ocean's, and do not necessarily reflect opinions of any of the other UCI blog survey team members

Sunday, August 22, 2004

Monster Blogs

A big thanks to kotori (which means "little bird" in Japanese) for mentioning (babelfish translation link) our survey. When I emailed him about the blog survey, he mentioned that his site is a "monster blog". So that's what popular blogs are called in Japan? I suppose terms like blogerrati (i.e., celebrity or popular bloggers) are not extensively used in Japanese.

Are there other unique terms you know of for popular blogs/bloggers around the world?

Here is our current tally:

Japanese: 164
Chinese (simplified): 124
Chinese (traditional): 33
Korean: 22

We'll soon be collecting the data and then start the hard fun part...analysis.

Sunday, August 15, 2004


I've added a link to the left so that you can chat with me if I'm online.

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Sending International Email

Its always great to get email from bloggers about what they think of our survey.

moondial told me:
In that case it would be best to write this message in Japanese with its subject line also in Japanese; most of the virus protection software settings over here throws away messages only in single-byte alpha-numerals. Likewise, many blogs do not accept alpha-numerals only comments, as many are sent in by spammers.
I have a nagging fear that all the emails I've been sending to Asian language speakers have been forwarded to /dev/null due to spam filters. Egads! All that wasted effort. Also, what encoding do I use for emails? I've always loved utf-8 for its uniformity, but perhaps not all mail readers support it.

As I mentioned before, blogging != diary:
I myself consider blogging tool set to be a handy contents management system rather than a journaling medium, and consequently my entries are more or less a collection of little essays each focusing on a particular topic. And therefore my, weblog has a considerably small readership.
I think blogging is also attractive because of its slightly voyeuristic angle. Its what drives intelligent people to watch stupid people do stupid things on (reality) television. But, I think blogging is set apart in that mundane events are common. Mundane to them, but nevertheless comforting to know that someone else out there has nothing to do on a Friday night.

Monday, August 09, 2004

Principles of Survey Research

If any of you are planning to do a survey, I highly recommend you check out a series of six papers (six in all) from the ACM SIGSOFT Software Engineering Notes:
  1. Principles of Survey Research: Turning Lemons into Lemonade
  2. Principles of Survey Research: Designing a Survey
  3. Principles of Survey Research: Constructing a Survey Instrument
  4. Principles of Survey Research: Questionnaire Evaluation
  5. Principles of Survey Research: Populations and Samples
  6. Principles of Survey Research: Data Analysis
I also find some class slides on the papers. I wish I had read this series before we started working on the survey--it would've saved us a load of headaches.

Let's talk about something specific: Likert Scales. For those of you who are not familiar with them, here's an example:

Indicate to what degree you agree or disagree with the below statement :
1.) I prefer using Linux to Windows.

|Strongly Disagree|Disagree|Neither Agree nor Disagree|Agree|Strongly Agree|

Kitchenham and Pfleegar in part 6 of the series call answers to the above questions ordinal data. Can we treat orindal data as nominal data? In other words, can I simply convert the above (e.g., strongly disagree = 0, strongly agree = 0) example into a number scale and perform the standard ANOVA? ANOVA is a staple of HCI research. It will tell you if you can, with confidence, state that differences between two means are a result of some treatment and not just random effects.

From the paper: "In general, if our data are single peaked and approximately Normal, our risks of misanalysis are low if we convert to numerical values."

So, I guess using F-test + post-hoc tests like Bonferonni are OK to use if the results seem to have some sort of bell shape. What do you do if you don't have such a shape? You can try converting values (multiple/divide by a factor, take the log, etc.) or if the shape is bimodal, trying to split the data further. Any other tips people have? In fact, I haven't really found a paper or book that will tell you--1) first run this test for normality, 2) if it meets this threshold, then you can safely use the F-test. Any pointers? I'm wondering, is a Chi-squared test appropriate for Likert scales as well?


Some minor corrections to our blog were pointed out by moondial [japanese only]. We were inconsistenly spelling the word blog in Japanese. The Japanese language allows one to explictly specify a glottal stop (a sort of hesitation, or pause)...sometimes its hard for me to correctly find whether an English word should have a glottal stop at a certain place when it is translated to Japanese. burogu or burrogu (the double r indicates the glottal stop)? Correct answer: burogu

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

A Little Bird Told Me

Its hard to find material when the subject of your blog is about a survey. Here's a topic: how does one best advertise a blog?

I think most blogs become famous because they are updated frequently and have high quality material. However, is there something more you can do to give your blog more visibility? Here's a few things we did:
  1. Added our blog to feedster, technorati and various other listing sites
  2. Asked people to link our blog from their blog; this was done via:
    1. email
    2. irc-channels devoted to bloggers
    3. blogging forums
  3. Created a blogroll containing some high-profile bloggers, in the hopes that they'd stumble upon our own blog
  4. Posted our blog link on monkeyfilter (albeit, this was a partial failure *blush*)
  5. Added trackback
Any other suggestions? BTW, we still need more Chinese, Japanese and Korean bloggers to fill our survey. Show us some Asian pride.