Nicholas Carroll

The Demographics of Defamation: General Methodology

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Nicholas Carroll
May 5, 2013

Data on the demographics of defamation are largely pulled from databases of website visitors, because with well over a million visitors, it is a far larger statistical base than people who ordered a legal guide.

Conclusions on why certain groups or geographic areas show more people searching for information about defamation are a mix; when particular groups or parts of the U.S. showed up as hotbeds of defamation (or the contrary), I have tried to figure out the reason based on my conversations with actual book customers, as well as people familiar with those types of organizations, or natives of those areas.

There is no data here on race; without a photograph even Facebook would have trouble knowing that – and in case of race or national origin, the only groups clearly identifiable by name or surname are Hispanic and Asian – either of which could be first, second, or third generation Americans, at which point there may be no cultural distinction.

There is not much information on income levels of visitors, outside of the white-collar/blue-collar split, because with the growing use of cellular phones instead of landlines, phone number is not the income indicator it used to be – that is, a cellular telephone number can't be linked to a particular Zip code like a landline can be.

Further, note that this data is about people who are able and willing to go online for information. It is further derived from people willing to pay for an ebook. This means we rarely hear from anyone under 25 years old (even though they will pay for school books), so while we are aware of defamation among K-12 and college students, we don't have any demographic data about it. It also means we have little data from the very aged and very poor.

This data may be a larger sample than anyone else has, but is still not large enough to be statistically reliable except where noted. (Court records of defamation lawsuits would be far less reliable, in my opinion – most cases never get anywhere near a courtroom, no matter how false or serious the defamation is, whether it is outright lies or portraying someone in a false light through innuendo.)


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