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Does Santa Exist? Kids turn to the Internet for answers.

By skim123 in MLP
Sat Dec 23, 2000 at 11:46:12 AM EST
Tags: Culture (all tags)

According to this article, the Ask Jeeves Kids site supposedly surveyed over 100,000 questions a day for November and found that some of the most common questions were ones about Santa Clause. Top questions included:

    1.) Is there really a Santa Claus?
    2.) Where does Santa Claus live?
    3.) Does Santa Claus think I have been naughty or nice this year?

And others....

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comments (24)
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It's neat (and a bit scary) to see youth turning to the Internet for questions to their answers. I guess the fear part comes from the assumption that children feel that they can blindly trust the Internet and that these kids are unable to ask these questions to adults (perhaps due to busy parents or what-not).

The all-time greatest AskJeeves-related article is the AskJeeves Interview


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Have you been naughty or nice this year?
o Naughty 57%
o Nice 42%

Votes: 64
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o this article
o Ask Jeeves Kids
o http://www .satirewire.com/features/satire-jeevesinterview.shtml
o Also by skim123

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Does Santa Exist? Kids turn to the Internet for answers. | 10 comments (9 topical, 1 editorial, 0 hidden)
Mixing myths with reality (3.70 / 10) (#1)
by Eloquence on Fri Dec 22, 2000 at 09:54:28 PM EST

I have no problem with fiction, be it Stephen King or Joanne Rowling, but I have a problem with myths mixed with reality. I'm sure many of the questions were not serious, but I'm also quite sure that many of them were. These children, their hungry minds yearning for intellectual stimuli, are lied to because parents consider it a good lie. In my opinion, there are no good lies.

Perhaps I'm taking this way too serious. The Christmas legends are harmless when you compare them to other myths like, say, Christianity. In Germany, where I live, Santa Claus has his own holiday (December 5/6), and Christmas is celebrated only as the birth of Christ. Thus, as children we were told that on Christmas, little Jesus comes to visit us and brings the presents. We had to hide upstairs until everything was prepared, then a bell was rung, and we could come down to sing and open presents.

Trouble is, I believed in it for a few years, a little longer than in the tooth fairy. I was still a good Christian child back then, and this charade was one of the things that kept me one for some time. On the other hand, progressively learning about the lie, I lost a lot of respect for religion. If my relationship with my parents weren't as good as it is, it would certainly have been seriously impaired by "the Christmas lie".

One of the things children should learn first is separating facts from fiction. Should I become a father myself, I will try not to lie to my children. There are no things that children shouldn't know if they ask, and there are no things that only children should believe.
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Authoritative answers (3.50 / 6) (#2)
by ksandstr on Fri Dec 22, 2000 at 10:15:04 PM EST

... and I feel absolutely qualified to give them, being Finnish and all that. (Suomi! Terva! Perkele!)

  1. Yes.
  2. In Finland, way up north. Somewhere around Rovaniemi, if I'm not terribly mistaken.
  3. Naughty, because you're such a horrible brat. So there, it's just coal in your stocking this year.

Hmm. Maybe I should go catch some sleep now. It's been 22 hours, now.

Correct Answers (4.00 / 3) (#4)
by iCEBaLM on Fri Dec 22, 2000 at 10:48:55 PM EST

1. Yes
2. North Pole, and because the North Pole is Canadian territory, that makes Santa a Canuck :P
3. Ohhhh... You've been such a naughty girl...

-- iCEBaLM

[ Parent ]
The original Jeeves (3.00 / 2) (#5)
by rusty on Fri Dec 22, 2000 at 11:35:46 PM EST

Ok, this is only tangentially related, but I happen to be reading some of P. G. Wodehouse right now, who, if I'm not mistaken, invented the Jeeves we all know and love. The books are fluffy, but extremely entertaining. Check him out if you're any kind of an Anglophile, or if you just like amusing fiction.

Not the real rusty
Lies, Deception and Chatterbots (4.00 / 3) (#6)
by turtleshadow on Fri Dec 22, 2000 at 11:52:42 PM EST

It's amazing that the only reason for myths hanging around is NOT that there is a newborn somewhere in the world that will buy into it at some point in life but rather Society needs some innocuous tools to control our mutual behaviors.

Its really amazing that the location of Santa's workshop has been the greatest smokescreen ever collectively bought into by human kind.
  • Santa's list serves as a behavior modification, hopefully positive reward
  • Santa's whereabouts serves as a tool to begin "learning" social skills -- white lies are not all that bad if used with precision. There is a list to be on and a list not to be on.
  • Neo Santa myths foster consumerism which is good for the economy
  • The Jolly Old Fellow condenses complex value systmes that escape many people 364 days a year -- altruism, working all year to reach a goal, giving begets getting
  • The story is rather portable and allows for adjustment-- don't have a chimney substitute a magic key, a wand or some other device. In 2045 He'll just beam in and have nanobots as elves
  • Memories, hopefully pleasant, are for all life, reinforced every year in the societal ritual.
  • Lastly, NO explaination needed when Mommy is Kissing Santa under the Christmas Tree -- a stearn "Go to bed! Else Santa will not leave you that PS/2!" suffices.
If the Zetaheads could match the organization and social structures around this myth look out! Santa's a alien/human hybrid!


Whoops forgot The Chatterbot part! (4.00 / 1) (#7)
by turtleshadow on Sat Dec 23, 2000 at 12:04:56 AM EST

Bad Turtleshadow -- Rate your self down Chatterbots. The Ask Jeeves connection reminded me of the chatterbot projects still around.

Alice wasnt available so I had a deep conversation with Eliza:

You: I need to know If i have been naughty
Eliza: Do you wish that you have been naughty?

It got too saucy to publish! I don't think Santa will swing by my place this year.

The Kids could have done worse than Ask Jeeves!


[ Parent ]
Misleading (none / 0) (#8)
by fluffy grue on Sat Dec 23, 2000 at 08:03:37 PM EST

I have a feeling that these results were forced, if not fabricated. Go to ajkids and search on 'Have I been naughty or nice?' and notice that the first hit is on the full question, well-formed. AJ has always done things like putting various 'random/hot' questions on the front page for others to ask (a sort of viral marketing - I doubt people are actually asking those questions, mostly because they're all spelled correctly and such, and are rather... nonobvious).

Take any sort of 'study' from Ask Jeeves with a gram of sodium chloride. Everything they do exudes fakery and forced results for the purpose of extreme cuteness.
"Is not a quine" is not a quine.
I have a master's degree in science!

[ Hug Your Trikuare ]

Do you want to know a secret? (none / 0) (#9)
by inpHilltr8r on Sun Dec 24, 2000 at 05:04:57 AM EST

There is no Jeeves. He doesn't exist. He's a fictional character appropriated by the Ask corporation to make you feel more comfortable submitting dumb questions to a glorified search engine...

...ho ho ho;)

[ Parent ]
No duh [nt] (none / 0) (#10)
by fluffy grue on Sun Dec 24, 2000 at 02:22:19 PM EST

"Is not a quine" is not a quine.
I have a master's degree in science!

[ Hug Your Trikuare ]
[ Parent ]

Does Santa Exist? Kids turn to the Internet for answers. | 10 comments (9 topical, 1 editorial, 0 hidden)
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