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College Students on Ashley Madison

“Grace” was in a religion class when she opened up her e-mail and found out that someone had pranked her by making her an account on Ashley Madison, the infidelity-themed web site. She’d had no idea until that day in April, 2013 when she looked through her e-mails and saw that three men on the site had sent her “winks.”

ashley madison account hidden confirmWithin the day, she’d requested that Ashley Madison delete her account. They agreed, and told her it would be “hidden” from the service. It wasn’t until Grace was contacted for this story that she even realized her data was still out there, and had become part of the Ashley Madison data breach and leak.

The 7 Year Itch everyone

Age distribution at the time of joining Ashley Madison, based on data from the Ashley Madison leaked databases. Men in orange, women in blue.

While the majority of Ashley Madison users were older, the site boasted millions of members, and drew that membership from all age ranges – including college students. At first, this seems strange, given that few college students are married. Therefore, they wouldn’t seem like the natural demographic to join a site whose motto is, “Life is short, have an affair.”

However, what college students lack in married malaise, they more than make up for in curiosity. Joshua Ullom seems to typify this group, saying that he and some friends made an account for “drunken laughs.” They didn’t talk to anyone on the site, and Ullom says that the absurdity of the entire thing was hard to get past.

“We were just talking about how crazy the whole concept of the website was and just wanted to look around.”

Other stories are similar. Most report being curious or bored, or stunned that such a brazen infidelity site could exist. Several hinted that they might have really tried the site, but refused to take part in the story.

Then there’s Bryan Pauley.

Pauley was a student at Kent State university when he signed up, and he signed up hoping to meet women. He said that he was intrigued by the site’s “guaranteed” results. Having tried several free dating sites at the time and found that they seemed filled by people who were “catfishing,” Pauley decided that he would try something else, and see if a paid dating site was any better.

Ashley Madison and women at signup

Distribution curve for women. Very similar to men, including the spike of membership from people who were 36 (or *claimed* they were 36) when they signed up.

Pauley’s hopes were disappointed.

He quickly found himself interacting with strange profiles that seemed to just “string you along.”

He said that these profiles all followed a similar pattern: A woman would message him, but refuse to ever send new pictures, or talk on the phone, or meet, or even chat on AOL Instant Messenger, which he said was very popular at the time.

Pauley believes that one of the profiles he exchanged messages with was an actual, honest, breathing woman – unlike the others, which he said he believes might have been fake profiles, meant to keep him interested and on the site. This seemingly authentic woman reported that she’d gone on a few dates with men she met through Ashley Madison, but the men were always “too aggressive.” Eventually, she stopped talking to Pauley, and after three months or so, Pauley closed his account and gave up on Ashley Madison.

The 7 Year Itch men

Age distribution for men when they joined Ashley Madison. Same jump at age 36, and if you compare the *scale* of the male distribution curve, you’ll see that there’s roughly a five-fold difference in the number of men than women on the site. This may explain some of the “aggresssion” the woman Pauley corresponded with described.

“I just canceled it, and didn’t try online dating for several years,” Pauley said.

Others said that they never went as far as Pauley, with many saying that they quit as soon as they realized they’d have to pay to properly join.

Anthony Buck, a student at the University of Alabama at the time, said he signed up because his friends were hanging out and couldn’t believe that there was actually a site specifically for having an affair.

“My friends and I were all gathered around, and I guess I was the guinea pig,” Buck said. “I signed up once, and never got on again. I’m pretty sure I wasn’t even able to view anything ’cause I wasn’t about to pay for the membership.”

Grace’s single day of membership was more than enough for her. She says she’s offended that her data is still out there, that this prank profile has come back from her past.

“I said, please, permanently remove anything associated with this name and this e-mail address, and they didn’t,” Grace said. “That’s not okay. I don’t like that. I know they suck.”

Click on the map below to get an interactive view of colleges around the country with e-mail addresses in the leak!

Map shows total number of matching e-mail addresses for colleges and universities across the country. Note that there is no way to know how many of those e-mail addresses were used deliberately by their owners.

Map shows total number of matching e-mail addresses for colleges and universities across the country. Note that there is no way to know how many of those e-mail addresses were used deliberately by their owners.

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Seminoles Most Overhyped CFB Team since 2000

over- and underrated teams by decade

As college football wraps up with all its bowl-ey goodness, it seemed a good time to share my all-time overrated and underrated tool.

http://public.tableausoftware.com/views/overrated3/OverratedDash?:embed=y&:display_count=no

The tool shows that for the “decade” since 2000, Florida State has been dramatically overrated – at least by this measure.

Feel free to explore. Here are some tool options:

  • Click on any of the teams in the list to pull up their detailed results, and see *how* they got their score.
  • You can also click on the drop-down to see a team’s results.
  • Select a different decade – or look at the all-time results by choosing “all” decades.
  • Sensitivity helps choose how detailed the ranking list is. Adjust it to fit your tolerance for list crowding.

California vs. The World

The Reveille put up our latest update on the Associated Press college football rankings ( http://bit.ly/1cFcYIq ), and beyond showing that one voter pegged the Tigers as the 20th-best team in the country on his ballot this week, I found some interesting results in the pollster sentiment maps for Stanford, Ohio State and Baylor. The sentiment map is simple — it averages the ballot ranks for pollsters in a given state, then compares the states to one another to see where pollsters live who love a team, and where the ones live who hate a team.

This week, the most interesting thing I found in the weekly sentiment maps is the impression they can give of a California championing Stanford against a nation more keen on Ohio State or Baylor.Image

After checking out Stanford and their west coast support, compare that to the map for Ohio State:

Image

Or you could look at Baylor, which is quite similar (at least at first glance) to the map of sentiment generated for Ohio State:

Now, sentiment maps like this aren’t proof of regional bias… But if regional bias *does* exist, we would certainly expect to see it in the map. More updates as the season continues!Image

College Football Ranking Sentiment Map

Knowing where your team ranks each week is only half the battle – the other half is knowing *why* they ranked the way they did.

Map of rankings AP pollsters assigned Missouri, broken down by where pollsters live

Map of rankings AP pollsters assigned Missouri, broken down by where pollsters live

My new tool for the Reveille shows rankings, who voted for each team, and even puts together a national sentiment map to show where the voters live who love your team, as well as where on the map you’re not getting any love at all.

Here’s a link to my tool: http://public.tableausoftware.com/views/ReveilleWeek9APRankings-Narrow_0/DetailedAPCFBPollResults#1

Here’s the story on the Reveille: http://www.lsureveille.com/sports/football/interactive-see-where-ap-voters-ranked-lsu/article_af139c7c-39e2-11e3-82b4-001a4bcf6878.html

Not sure why my earlier post went away, but WordPress seems to enjoy doing that to me. Here’s hoping this post stays intact, so everyone can enjoy, share, and explore.

Oh – and be on the watch for a similar tool come basketball season!