Thanks for your email. I enjoy getting mail from my readers and finding out what they liked (or didn't like) about my articles.
Although I do not have a foolproof way of ascertaining if the participants are women, I solicited their aid from forums that I, myself, frequented (I am part of a news team at a fansite for Vanguard: Saga of Heroes and know the ladies who contributed from that forum; I was a member of A dileab de Paegen at one time; I was co-leader of Carillon; I was part of the Force of Valor's multi-guild strike force called Project Betty; I was (and am) a supporter of EQ Pixel Army; I have been a fan of WTF Comics for a long time and wrote up a series of articles around my interviews with Jeremy Waller, the cartoonist, plus some of the RL players that he immortalized in the comic strip; and finally, for quite some time I was a member of EQ Women.) Thus I know a great many of the women who contributed answers to the FEMALE PERSPECTIVE. In addition, I pride myself on being able to distinguish the males from the females, if they play female characters (not so easy to distinguish females from males in the reverse role). Guys just don't have the female touch
Of course, none of this is good enough for scientific research, but I am reasonably satisfied that my respondents were, in fact, female.
As to your first suggestion, although I admit to some curiosity as to why guys play female characters, I do not have enough interest to sustain the long and laborious process of gleaning answers from respondents and then collating the information. As a note of interest, in addition to the original composing of the questions for FEMALE PERSPECTIVE, visiting the various forums to put them up, collecting the answers and corresponding with people to field their questions about the survey, each article took me an average of 10 hours to collate the information, write the article, put it into HTML form, select the graphics and put the article up on the FTP server. That boils down to 90+ total hours for this project (more like 120-130 actually but I didn't keep track before the starting of article 1). I therefore have to have a vested interest or keen desire to find out this information in order to keep me going. This particular survey was actually generated by my anger at one researcher who maintained that women only played "safe" games like The Sims (I loathe the Sims) and had some statistics to "prove" it. I was positive she was wrong and set out to prove it. The survey grew from my original antipathy to the results of the said researcher from "I'll show YOU who plays games and why" to a thoughtful and in-depth look at female gamers. I feel enriched by the process.
As for your suggestion of women in leadership roles in guilds, you are right. After I had the questionnaire out for a while, I noticed that a large number of the women had been leaders or officers in their guild and I wished I had added that question to the survey. I did make mention of it in one of the articles (the first, I believe) but I simply did not have enough accurate data to display that information as a statistic. In many cases, the women themselves gave reasons as to why they became leaders but, again, not enough to provide a useable statistic.
I probably will do another survey, after I have recovered from this one. I learned a lot about what questions to use and how to phrase them in this survey. Although I have been a selling free-lance writer for a number of years, this is my very first series of articles based on a survey. I enjoyed it immensely, despite the huge amount of work it took. It not only increased my appreciation of female gamers as a whole, but my admiration for people who do surveys all the time and seem to take it in their stride. When I do another one, if it is based on female gamers (which I think highly likely), I will definitely include the question about leadership and guilds. I think it would be interesting to do another survey at the same places asking the same or similar questions and see what the difference is with the advent of EQ2, WoW, and Guild Wars (which is my game of choice now, until Vanguard comes out).
I appreciate your encouragement. It has come as somewhat of a surprise to me how many people felt this series of articles not only furthered the "cause" of women gamers, but enhanced the image of MMORPGs overall. And, so far, most of the people responding to this last article (and some of the previous ones) were male.
I have a couple of questions myself. Firstly, you state you have a "large interest in the statistics surrounding mmo's" -- why is that? Secondly, I would like your permission to print your email (along with my response) on the forum attached to Article 9 at Silky Venom [Raya's note - permission was subsequently granted].
Thanks again for writing.