Subtle Asian Meta

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Subtle Asian Data

I recently published a joke paper I wrote over the course of about three months (with the help of David). While entirely a joke, it also contained entirely real analysis of subtle asian dating user demographics and language.

Here's the abstract:

Recent subtle asian Facebook groups have gained incredible popularity among young adult Asian diaspora. We focus on one of these groups – subtle asian dating – and conduct a content analysis on its posts to examine what it can tell us about the members of Asian youth subculture, and how their identity and culture affect their view of and approach to dating and relationships.

You can find the entire paper here. I highly recommend it -- what it lacks in insight, it makes up for in just how ridiculous it is.

The Critical Reaction

The obvious resulting course of action was to post my paper on subtle asian dating. The post took off in popularity, gaining over 3.4 thousand reactions and close to a thousand comments over the next three days.

The comments were pretty interesting to read at first, and for maybe the first half of the first day, I was keeping up pretty closely as they rolled in.

That's when I made the following astute observation to my friend:

So I think the breakdown in comments right now is:

50% about how it was typeset in latex

20% why did you do this

10% umich represent!

10% I'm ashamed to go to the same school as this guy

And 10% miscellaneous

To which she responded:


Misc tagging


Naturally, after the commenting had died down, I had to check myself. How far off was I with my predictions? (Hint: very)

Just how many comments were misc tagging? (Hint: not that many)

Exactly how many people were impressed with my LaTeX skills? (Hint: my skills are not very impressive)

Subtle Asian Meta

So I went ahead and scraped all the comments from the post.

Data Collection

For the curious, I did all the data collection in Chrome Dev Tools.

Terrible code, but it worked I guess.


I tossed the generated JSON object into Jupyter Notebook to see what I could get. The following numbers are just for top level comments (this means replies are excluded):

There were 618 comments. Almost 95% of users tagged someone else in their comment, so "misc tagging" was pretty accurate. However, I was more interested in who commented only to tag someone else. That is, the body of their comment consisted only of a tag.

In that case, the number drops to less than 25%. But wait, there's more.

How many people were impressed with my LaTeX? Surely less than 50%. And Shirley would be correct. In fact, only 6.5% (N=40) mentioned LaTeX in their comments.

And how many people thought it was cool that I went to their school? Well, I looked through the posts and filtered by any of the following keywords:

['school', 'michigan', 'hoo', 'blue', 'umich', 'mich', 'uva', 'virginia']

which encompasses both U-M and UVa. A couple of false positives? Probably. False negatives? Also probably. But this gives us a general sense. Even fewer comments matched the criteria for this filter: 5.8% (N=36).

Finally, I took a cursory glance at who was incredulous, by filtering by the following keywords:

['wtf', 'why', 'time', 'tf', 'believe']

And it turns out that only includes 5% of posts.

In conclusion, I was totally wrong, but my version of reality was way funnier, so who really won this fight?

So there you go. subtle asian metadata