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Neopia's Fill in the Blank News Source | 27th day of Awakening, Yr 23
The Neopian Times Week 102 > Articles > Is Anyone Reading This?

Is Anyone Reading This?

by taffychic

CHAT BOARDS - Once upon a time, I was bored. You know the feeling. It's a lazy Sunday afternoon. Nobody's posted on the guild board in a couple hours, you've already checked your e-mail five or six times, and your pets are bloated. So, you head for the only place that just might be interesting: the message boards.

I arrived at the General Chat and scanned the posts for anything interesting. I was less than shocked to find very little intelligent conversation going on. There were the usual "dating service," "guess my dog's name and win a bottle of sand," and "help how do I feed my pets" posts, but nowhere did I see, "Hey, did anyone read the latest instalment of Dragon Thieves? Post comments here!" This is when I began to wonder: does anyone actually read the NT?

I tried a simple experiment to find out: I created a new board with the message "Does anyone here read the NT?" I was slightly encouraged when I got several affirmatives, and one person even said they were working on some articles for it. But when I created a second board about ten minutes later, I got a flood of variations of "what's an NT?" After patiently explaining what it means and where to find it, the most common reply was, "that's boring."

Probably one of the NT's biggest problems is the fact that most Neopet players don't come on the site to read. Many people that hang around the chat boards a lot seem to do so because they get the social interaction without all the long, complicated sentence writing. Very few posts on the boards are more than three lines long. With this in mind, I decided to try to make my poll sampling a little more random. I shut my eyes and picked a bunch of usernames off the high score boards. I then sent each of them this letter:

Hi. My name is Taffy, and I'm conducting a random poll for an article I'm writing for The Neopian Times. I got your name from the high score boards. If you could just answer a couple questions I would be eternally grateful. ^_^
1. Do you read the NT regularly? At all?
2. What sections do you usually read?
3. Do you follow any authors or characters?
4. If you don't read it, why not?
If you don't want me to use your username, just let me know. Thanks for your time!

I then made a table and recorded all of the 46 answers I received. Here are the results:

1. Do you read the NT regularly? At all?

As you can see, the majority of people I polled say they read the Times every week. Heartening, isn't it? However, 11 only read it every now and then, and 13 never read it at all. 1 didn't even know what the letters NT stand for! Shame!

2. What sections do you usually read?

The answers of those who said they read the NT regularly are represented here. They were allowed to choose more than one section, however, which makes this chart a bit more difficult to read. The total number of people represented in the chart is 21. This means that every person who answered question #2 reads the Editorial and/or the News Brief. However, six of those people also read the comics, and some of those six may also be among the nine who read the articles. Since this is a very confusing way to view the chart, I suggest looking at it this way: the Editorial section is the most popular, because it has the biggest slice of the pie. Following that are the articles, comics, and short stories, in that order. I didn't include series because no one that responded to my poll reads them.

Those that said they don't read any section regularly but skip around, reading a little of everything or nothing at all, belong in the "random" section.

3. Do you follow any authors or characters?

To my disappointment, this was a universal "no." However, draconis_minoris answered on my poll of the chat boards, "Yes - leb388, bluescorchio104, too_kule, felabba, child_dragon, DarkMoon (bludragn3). There's more, but off the top of my head I can't think of any more."

4. If you don't read it, why not?

The most common answers to this question were "I'm too lazy" and "I don't have time." Sound familiar? Many other people said that they felt their time was better spent earning Neopoints. "I don't go on often, and when I do, I prefer the games," says booka_tee. Others just get their information elsewhere. Says _gothik, "[The Neopian Times is] just really not my cup of tea. Any news from the editorials/articles from the staff I get from other sites that I hit."

As I predicted, many of the people that don't read the NT don't read much else, either. Powpowie (from the Chat Board) says, "Don't read regular newspapers, don't watch the news, why would I?" Fruit_kake shares her opinion. "I don't read it because I don't really like reading." Fair enough. And funkystorm26 says, "[I] don't like to read long articles." As this was a very common answer, it seems clear that The Neopian Times is not for those who are short on time or attention. Fortunately for everyone, perhaps, this article is a short one.

I think that it's quite unfortunate that every Neopian doesn't take a few minutes out of his or her assuredly busy week to glance over the front page, read the news brief and get caught up in a new continued series. Far from being boring, stupid or a waste of time, The Neopian Times is, as touchandtaste put it, "a gold mine of information." If everyone read the Times each week, there would be less of "help how do I feed my pets" and more of "What did you guys think of Moo and Dr_Death this week?" And I, for one, would find that a welcome change.

Author's note: Many of the quotes used in this article were edited for grammar and readability. None of the actual wording was changed. All usernames were used with permission. Krawkula and solar_power_596, consider yourselves referenced.

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