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Research on Extimonies


Orbit
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Dave (webmdave) has graciously given me permission to pursue a research project on the extimonies.

 

I've been on the forums a few years now, and I'm a sociologist by trade. When the forums went down, I was concerned that the extimonies would be lost--I think they are very valuable for people deconverting. After the forums came back up, I had an idea. Why not do a sociological analysis of the extimonies?

 

What would this mean? Using data mining software to get aggregate statistics like how many male/female, ages, country/states, issues faced, and emotional tone of posts.

I would then randomly sample about 100 of the 2,000+ extimonies and analyze them more closely to shed light on the deconversion experience. Perhaps patterns will emerge that show different paths to deconversion, different types of reasons/challenges. I would share the results back to ex-c for comments before publishing in a sociology journal. It's a way to let people outside the forum know that they are not alone.

 

Why? Because having one report on all the extimonies might be helpful to people deconverting, and be of interest to the secular community. It also helps correct a pro-xtian bias in the sociology of religion.

 

What I wouldn't do: name the site, or any people/screen names/any info that would identify someone. Anyone who doesn't want their extimony to be involved can opt-out, and I wouldn't use it if it came up in the random sample. If you want to opt-out, let me know.

 

Thanks,

Orbit

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Interesting project. If I weren't so swamped with my own scientific research at work (the joys of private industry :) ), I'd even offer to help you write analysis code. And of course I would not opt-out of your study; I'd like to think that my ex-timony might help us understand this peculiar phenomenon of deconversion.

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This sounds like a great project. My only concern is that perhaps it should be an opt-in situation rather than opt-out, since there are extimonies on here from people who may not see this thread and from people who aren't even active on the board anymore. That may not be a valid concern since they did choose to publicly tell their stories on this board and the study won't identify anyone, but it is something that crossed my mind.

 

Regardless, you're welcome to include my extimony in your research. I'd be interested in seeing what may eventually come of this.

 

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On 8/14/2017 at 0:54 AM, Positivist said:

Very cool!! As a researcher myself, I'm curious about your methodology for analysis. 

 

Me too. Might be good to give us the link to your paper on whatever is the social sciences version of ArXiv.

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