Tag Archives: asexual awareness week

About the making of the 2015 survey

The survey for 2014 was officially called “The 2014 AVEN Community Census”, while the 2015 survey is officially called “The 2015 Ace Community Census”.

The 2015 survey is online, and will be open to responses until November 15th. You can find more information about it here, from the asexual census blog ran by the AVEN Survey Team.

I’m part of the Survey Team this year, and I also was last year. The publication date ended up being later in the year than last year’s survey (which was published October 6, 2014, while this year’s was published October 22, 2015), but we worked hard to get it finished during AAW.

Several changes were made this year from last year, including:

  • Changing the citizenship question to primary residency.
  • Expanded on the “mental health” and “sexual attitudes” section.
  • Added “unsure” options to several questions that didn’t have it, but should have.
  • Expanded a lot on the “sexual history” section, and adding a separate section about sexual violence, including a screen that asks the respondent if they want to answer those sections, or skip them.
  • Replaced the “celibacy” section with the expanded “sexual history” section: I liked the celibacy section from last year’s survey. I thought it was interesting, but since any changes weren’t expected from last year, it didn’t seem necessary to include twice in a row, especially since other sections have been expanded. The survey would’ve been too long.
  • Cut the questions asking about strength and frequency of sexual attraction, how strongly someone identifies with their orientation, and whether asexuals consider themselves to have a sexuality or not. Some of these questions were confusing, or were asked for political reasons.
  • The questions asking about experiences with other asexual communities were cut. There was some potential with those questions, but it wasn’t used. I liked the idea of these questions being used to assess current ties between different parts of the asexual community have been, and how leaders of the different groups could improve their relations with the others, but nothing came of that.

The biggest challenge on the survey itself was writing the updated “sexual history” section, and the sexual violence questions, particularly finding the way to word them, so for the latter, we sought outside help. I don’t know if the people who helped us want to be mentioned, but I thank them for taking the time to look over the questions we had, and helped us refine them.

The mental health questions were also very difficult to write. There have been quite a few responses about it already, which I’ve responded to, looking for input on how to further refine those questions if they’ll be kept next year.

I’m also open to feedback and questions about the survey, but it may take me some time to respond since I’ll soon be back to working 40+ hours per week.

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It was better to put less on my plate

It’s tempting to get everything you want on your plate, and for bloggers, it’s tempting to try and write everything that we want to in one post, but that can lead to a lot of waste, and regret. If a post doesn’t get published because the author gave up due to the difficulty, then that’s wasted time and words. I’ve had that happen to me before, both eating too much at a buffet, and giving up on an unwieldy post that I spent a lot of time on.

Starting on the beginning of the 2014 Asexual Awareness Week, I had the ambition of creating an asexuality 101 page that would cover the various concepts discussed in asexual discourse. My goal was to get it published by the end of that week.

I finally got the “Asexuality (and related concepts) 101” page done, as the first entry on the “101-Level Resources” page! It’s not finalized, because there is still room to make corrections, and add in other topics if need be, but I’m glad I was able to get it polished enough to post.

I posted a draft of it in four parts (part 1, part 2, part 3, and part 4) and thanks to everyone who commented! However, I bit off way more than I could chew (pardon the cliche), because many of the topics could easily have their own pages. I left a lot out of the published page, including the “rhetoric to avoid” sub-sections, and the “relationships” sections, but I plan on incorporating what I wrote onto separate pages about those topics.

A topic I considered adding in was self-doubt, because I’ve seen so many doubt their asexuality for different reasons, mainly related to the “Unassailable Asexual” concept, and I’ve especially seen this doubt among those who are survivors of sexual violence. I’ve seen so many newbies on AVEN who are survivors of sexual violence ask if they “really” are asexual, concerned that their history invalidates it. I’m not sure I should include it, make it a separate page of its own, or leave this subject to someone more qualified than me.

Part of why I missed my goal, and why progress continued to stall afterwards, was that it was trying to cover so many topics, and in so much detail. It was overwhelming. I found The Asexual Agenda’s post “So you want to start your own blog” very helpful, especially the points “Shorter is better”, and “One small issue at a time”. Today, I was able to push myself to finish the page, by cutting a lot out. I didn’t feel overwhelmed by that page anymore. It actually felt manageable, and I felt like I could finish it.

I found it better to cut a large topic, or a sprawling manifesto into bite-sized pieces, and link them together. I believe now it can be done without sacrificing the details that I wanted to originally include. I can always go back, and incorporate what was cut out of it, into new pages.

One more thing: Preliminary findings of the 2014 AVEN survey are up!

I should’ve waited a bit before making my last post, because there was one more thing I was involved with during AAW, and that was helping out with writing the Preliminary Findings Report for the AVEN 2014 survey (now called the 2014 AVEN Community Census)! The results have just been posted up!

How did Asexual Awareness Week 2014 go for you?

So, it’s coming to a close, or already did, depending on your timezone! Did you do anything to celebrate it?

I tried to. I spent some time looking through the #asexual-awareness-week tag on tumblr, and found so much great stuff, but I didn’t have the time to re-blog much. I’m still working on the 101-level material page, though I fell behind on what I intended to do, which was post up a section every day during AAW.

During the week was when my full-time job started, and it was a huge adjustment that I’ve been struggling with.

If you did something, feel free to share it here! I hope I can still write a post rounding up as much AAW 2014 stuff as I can!