NOTE: I have included a F.A.Q. section at the bottom of the article for interested users. It may help to clear up some questions you might have after reading.
Have you ever wondered the demographics of Tip.It’s active forum users? Well, you’re in luck then. Around the end of November, I began collecting a simple random sample of TIF’s active users. I defined an active TIF user as someone who posted in the month of November, was logged in to TIF sometime two weeks before the survey, and had a post count of at least 10. About 710 users met these criteria. Using the Members tab and random.org’s random number generator, I randomly selected 300 of those 710 to participate in the survey. Because of the population I chose to sample, this survey exclusively represents my definition of an active Tip.It user (see the FAQ for a further explanation if you're interested). They were asked the following questions:
- Are you male or female?
- What is your age?
- What continent and country are you from (include state/province if from the U.S. or Canada)?
- What is your native language?
- Which one sport would you say you have been most dedicated to playing within the last 5 years?
- What is the highest level of education you have completed or intend to complete?
- What is your favorite genre of music?
- About how many years have you played RuneScape?
- What is your current status on RuneScape, F2P, P2P, Retired, or Inactive?
- Do you believe Jagex has improved, grown worse, or remained the same since 2010?
- What is your favorite thing to do on RuneScape?
- Approximately how many hours per week do you spend on RuneScape in an average week?
- Approximately how many months have you been a member on TIF?
- What is your post count on TIF as of right now?
- Which type of Tip.It Times article is your favorite (Historical, Fictional, Interview, Economic, Editorial, Other, or None)?
I received 137 responses and organized the data anonymously into a spreadsheet. Here’s the data:
1. Gender: As it turns out, there actually are girls on the internet (shocking, I know). In fact, many of them are hard-working admins, mods, and crew members on TIF.
2. Age: With a median at about age 19 and a mean at age 22, TIF is mostly composed of young adults. However, there are still a large number of teenage players and even some middle aged players.
3. Location: It’s no surprise that TIF users come from all around the globe. We have a relatively diverse community here that allows all sorts of perspectives to be made known.
4. First Language: Seeing as TIF is an English-speaking forum, it would be no surprise that almost everyone understands English. For this reason, only a user’s first language was surveyed.
5. Played Sport: With a pretty active community in Sports and Fitness, it’s no surprise that most users have recently been involved in playing a sport. However, the largest percentage of users stated that they were not involved in any sport recently.
6. Level of Education: Between the main site and the Archive of Wisdom, Tip.It/TIF have some of the greatest RS articles anywhere. Our users' educations enable them to create calculations, easily communicate ideas to others and organize their thoughts and ideas clearly.
7. Musical Genre: As much as we all enjoy RuneScape, listening to your music just makes the experience so much more enjoyable. Whether you bang your head to the heavy riffs of metal or tap your feet to the soothing refrains of jazz, music is something that almost everyone enjoys.
8. Years on RuneScape: Of course, many users on TIF are also long-time players on RuneScape. We even have a good number from when the game was first released.
9. RuneScape Status: Originally, TIF was a perfect alternative to the RSOF for F2P users. Despite the RSOF being open to everyone (with conditions), TIF still maintains a strong F2P user base. In addition, TIF even attracts many retired RS players who just can’t leave our great community.
10. Jagex Opinion: As players, we’ve seen some very controversial updates in 2010 and 2011. It’s shouldn’t come as a surprise that the vote was split so evenly given all that has happened these past two years.
11. Favorite RS Activity: With so much to do in the game, Jagex has managed to keep many of us around for several years. And just to clarify, I wrote “incl. Dunge” under skilling because many users simply responded with Dungeoneering (or Slayer).
12. Weekly # of Hours on RS: With work, school, and family taking priority, sometimes it’s hard to find much time to play at all. It’s always nice to have a little downtime and relax when possible, though.
13. Time on TIF: Some of our very own seasoned veterans have been with TIF since nearly the beginning of the site. You may notice that some users have gone beyond 90 months, even though the forum will show users having joined only as early as the summer of 2004. TIF has been around since 2001, but migrated from Scapeboard to Tip.It around the release of RS2. During that process, the original join dates were lost.
14. Average Post Count: Some users have been here for years and only have a two-digit post count. Others have been here for months and have a four-digit post count. Whatever the case may be, every post links us together as one large community. Since these numbers were recorded in late November/early December, they have most likely all gone up by now.
15. Favorite Type of Article: Every week, we work hard to bring you a variety of articles on everything from current events on RS to a captivating fictional piece. Whichever you preference is, we greatly appreciate your weekly views and support.
So just who is your average active TIF user? He is a 22 year old, English-speaking American male who:
- Plays a sport (even though "None" was the most common)
- Has (or will earn) a Bachelor’s Degree
- Enjoys rock/metal music the most
- Has played RuneScape for 6 years
- Is a member who plays 12 hours per week
- Believes Jagex has remained the same since 2010
- Enjoys skilling the most on RuneScape
- Has used Tip.It Forums for 5 years with 2300 posts
- Enjoys reading Editorial (general opinion) articles from the Tip.It Times
On a personal note, I was quite intrigued by the results. One result I was surprised to see was the opinion on Jagex's direction since 2010. Based on the harsh criticism of Jagex we often read about, I would have thought that the majority of users thought Jagex had grown worse. It's kind of funny how a negative vocal minority can make it appear as though there are no positive opinions. I was also somewhat surprised about the clear majority of rock/metal fans over other genres. It seems like all that is played on the radio anymore is pop and rap, so I would have thought the percentages would be a lot closer to one another. Other than that, the results were within a range I had expected. I went into creating this project with my doubts about its plausibility, but I was happy to see everything come together. Lastly, I would like to thank all those who participated in the survey for allowing the project to even happen. I hope everyone was able to learn something new from the results about their fellow TIF users.
F.A.Q.: The rest of the article is devoted to answering some questions drawn from feedback I received prior to publication.
“Everyone I see on RuneScape acts like they’re 8 years old, so how can your data be accurate?”
This survey is exclusively sampling my definition of an active TIF user. It does not measure RuneScape’s player base, every forum user, or people who just use the main site because they were not necessarily included in the survey.
“Isn’t this too small of a sample size?”
Actually, there were more than enough responses. The population of my sample was 710 and I had 137 responses. The Gallup poll, which is generally correct within a standard deviation of 3%, samples 1000 people from a population of around 350 million to obtain accurate results. Statistically speaking, the 10% condition is satisfied because there were over 71 replies. In addition, the central limit theorem required a random sample of 30 users for the data to be approximately normal. Both conditions were satisfied, so we can assume the data (with the exception of the graph of users from Oceania), is approximately representative of the population (all active TIF users) as a whole.
“Why didn’t you just sample everyone or have an open poll?”
Let’s be realistic here. It would be nearly impossible to reach everyone in a survey. In addition to this, I wanted to only sample a certain demographic. If I had opened it up to everyone or tried to contact all 710 active users, I would have sampling bias. The way I formatted this survey only leaves the non-sampling error of non-response due to selected users who elected not to respond for whatever reason.
“How do we know the data wasn’t manipulated in favor of some outcome?”
I would gain no benefit from manipulating the data. The only mathematical errors that should be in the graphs are from Excel (where 2.48% for two outcomes would be rounded to 2% for one and 3% for the other, for instance). In addition, even I was not randomly selected to participate in the survey, even though I had the same 42.25% chance of being selected that every other active user had.
“I participated in the survey, but I don’t see my response. Why is that?”
Some responses only had one or two uses in the survey, so it was easier and neater just to organize them under the umbrella term “Other.” For users who put down multiple answers for sport or article type (for example), I had to assume that, psychologically, you put your favorite first. I agree that it would have been better to include each answer, but different users interpreted the question differently. That would fall under the non-sampling error of ambiguous wording of a question, which I apologize for.
“How can we find out (for example) the average age of females on TIF vs. the average age of males?”
I can’t give you the spreadsheet, but shoot me a PM or ask me in the thread and I’d be glad to fill you in on what you want to know from the data.