How to Tell When It's Time to Shut Up


Again, the prize is a signed copy of my book “Curse of the Masking-Tape Mummy.”  

As with last week, to enter, all you have to do is leave a comment on this comic (How to Know When It’s Time to Shut Up). As with last week, the winner will be selected at random on Thursday morning (Feb 16th).  Again, as with last week, I will ask a question that you can, but are not obligated to, answer. I’m told this is a valuable opportunity to gather demographic data about my readers, so my question this week is as follows.

“What demographic data about you should I be trying to gather?”

I look forward to your suggestions.

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Reader Comments (335)

In "How to Tell When It's Time to Shut Up", fourth panel, is something missing from the sentence, "I guess building the world's largest plane was just too shocking for people to back then."

Too shocking for people to ... what??

-rob "not your cousin" meyer

February 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRob

I suppose you should ask the basics: Age, Gender, Marital Status, and preferred Cheese Method (spread, squeeze-can, or sliced)
*BTW I tried posting this once already and got a browser failure notice, so apologies if I post twice - not trying to cheat the contest here!!!

February 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLactoseTolerant

Ask why they are/are not on Facebook, and then snicker derisively to indicate that it's the world's worst reason.

February 13, 2012 | Unregistered Commentercybergoober

You should be collecting information on what type of birds your readers like to watch.

February 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAuthor of The Century

You should be asking which episode of Star Trek is our favorite. (Day of the Dove or The Deadly Years... "Oh yes, I'll live, but I von't enjoy it!")

February 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLythande

Demographic question: How many times a week have you used the word "NGAAAAH!" in conversation?

Follow up: And how many times did you need to look up the correct spelling in order to speak the word correctly?

Keep up the good work, Scott!

February 13, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterbyevad

Well I'm in my late 20's, I'm an actual girl on the internet, I play DnD, I love Star Wars, but I love Star Trek more. I also perform The Rocky Horror Picture Show almost every weekend at midnight, at our local Movie Theatre.

February 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterVicky

Yikes! This contest concept is so successful that I feel no obligation to read all of these posts.

As for demographic information:
1. Are your readers aware of the RSS concept, to help them figure out when a new comic is available?
2. Just how much would I be willing to pay for a large stick, with the word knowledge carved into it?
3. How many of us look just like the custom avatar model, and can thereby save the cost of ponying up for one? (HINT: At least one, before I shaved off the full beard.)
4. Infinitees: Really infinite, or just a clever approximation?
5. Are people adding that optional email address to their postings, so that you are able to contact them in the event that they actually win the contest?

February 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSoul of Wit

Gender could help you with merchandise sales.

However, subculture could help you even more with merchandise sales! You should be asking us whether we typically wear goth, punk, hipster, preppy, geek, cowboy, noir detective, business, or hip-hop style clothing.

February 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLockeZ

All you really need to know about your readers is what sort of comic you need to draw to render them incapable of resisting the urge to purchase your books and other merchandise.

February 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRobot Z12

Demographic data that's not faked. Good luck gathering *that*, though!

February 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRedshift

You should ask us how often we go commando. Then you could do an analysis on how often your readers are sans undies on the days your comics are posted. (Hint: You'll find a surprising connection...)

February 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJason Otoski

Demographic data: the right way up; about average; only if friction allows.

February 13, 2012 | Unregistered Commentershwoo

I think you should collect demographics on what prizes we would like to win. Personally I'd like this one.

February 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKung Fu Baby

First of all, Daken - I literally LOL'd at your comment, lol.

Well, actually you shouldn't worry about demograhics because they're not reliable.

Furthermore, Oscar Wilde once summed this up as "There are lies, there are damned lies, and then there are statistics.".

I guess that won't change your mind about collecting demographics though.

Because I'm trying to think of questions, let me in.

Because its harder than you might think, let me in.

Because I'm giving up and leaving, never mind.

February 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSolak

Have you ever won an online contest?

Me - Not a real one

February 13, 2012 | Unregistered Commentermissymw

The digets in my social security number include 0245789.

February 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBen

Age, income, and favorite character from Star Trek.

(42, not enough, and Chekov)

February 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAndipandi

You should be figuring out occupations. If all your readers are construction workers, you need to cater to your audience a little better.

February 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDeacon James

Pretty sure I got some extremely accurate demographic information via old AOL chatroom techniques, SWF anyone? anyone? You should just spam us with age/sex/location every few seconds via flashing popup on the website

February 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAlan

Average age.

February 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJoe

I think the demographic data you want are: 1) Where do you live? 2) Do you have a guest room? 3) Missy and I will be in your area on [DATE]. What time should we expect dinner?

February 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKay Gilbert

Love your comics. ;o)

Some thoughts about what demographic data about readers that you should be trying to gather:
- Income and expenditures, as much detail as possible without squicking out the audience. Maybe data on what they spend online, what they spend on books, etc.
- Location (could advise you on where to go on book tours or where bookstores might stock up on your books)

Not sure if this is demographics, but I'd also want to know:
- How they access your comic. Might affect your choices in ad placement?
- Their opinions on various hot-button issues. Might give you food for thought if you find that you appeal to a group you hadn't considered.

February 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCarolyn Bahm

Shoe size!

February 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterTBoaz

Number of appendages, useful info right there!

February 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAdam

Judging from many of these comments, it would appear people's favorite demographic data to give is how much and what kind of substances they apply to their foodstuffs. Apparently, your target demographics are quite concerned about food.
Perhaps a "How to" on cooking is in order. (Get it? Order? Ahahahaha*dies*)

February 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDrDisaster


February 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterI'd rather not get pseud

I suggest asking which Care Bears people are hiding in their closets. (Cheer Bear in mine.)

February 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterNikki

Ask us how many of us enjoy webcomics.

February 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterTex

You should require that everyone join a group or "friend" you on facebook. Then you will achieve two goals:

1) Exercising your power to make people do things they'd rather not
2) Get all the info (well, some of it) that FB is already taking from us for free

And actually, you get a bonus benefit thrown in - you won't need to pay for nearly as much bandwidth, as many people would take that sort of extortion the wrong way and just leave. In the long run you really only want the fans who will do your bidding, because they're the ones that will make the best army to conquer the world.

February 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterTrevor

I think shoe size pretty much reveals all you need to know about people. I'd go with that.

February 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSean

Your demographics are unneeded.

February 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKatherine the Great

Clearly the demographic data you need the most is, "are you included in the subset of people who will actually BUY anything as opposed to reading free, online comics?" (Which are superb, by the way) so, I would ask people how many things they've purchased on-line in the past year, and specifically, how many books and even more specifically how many humor books have they purchased.

February 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterElyob

I guess (!) most of your readers would fall into the demographic of "too lazy to post for a chance to win a free book, and also to cheap to buy one outright." My fellow posters and I obviously fall outside the first category, but squarely in the second. But to answer your question, I recommend you ask people their favorite bodily opening. For me, it's the ears.

February 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJim

Demographic data to collect: how likely are you to lie when being asked about demographic data?

(My answer to this question is that I absolutely always tell the truth when asked about demographic data...)

February 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRavenBlack

Important demographic data: height. It's all about tallness. Trust me.

Important "psychographic" (sorta) data:

* Preferences / How We Found You / How We find Things like B.I.

- the keywords we used to first find your site online (besides "basic instructions");
- other methods we used to find your site (we didn't all come from that one Scott Adams post, did we?)
- other methods we used to return to your site (RSS or by typing in the URL?)

February 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterGlenn

I heartily endorse this event and/or product.

February 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBob

Age: of legal drinking age (in fact, drinking a beer now)
Income: yes, i have an income
Job satisfaction level 0-5 with 5 being the highest: today, I'd say about -4

Hope that helps

February 13, 2012 | Unregistered Commentersimonp

How willing we are to fill out information gathering forms? How much we spend on comics every year?

February 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJane

Demographic info: I'm a Montana-born Jewish lesbian, and am frankly insulted that you are not catering to my specific desires by including more rough riding, guilt-ridden cowgirls in leather chaps into your comic. PANDER TO ME.

Also, I bought my mom your calendar as a Hanukkah present, and she has fallen in love with the comic. So yay!

February 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterGirlyQ
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