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“Deep Values” Profile of core Legal Insurrection readers

“Deep Values” Profile of core Legal Insurrection readers

2012-2013 research project using same methodology as in recent Black Lives Matter report.

Yesterday I published details on Anne Sorock’s Research Report: #BlackLivesMatter more about radical social upheaval than “Black Lives”.

I mentioned in the post how Anne uses the Deep Values methodology she learned while interacting with the Food & Brand Lab at Cornell University while getting her MBA. Deep values research seeks to understand not just what consumers like or want, but what deeply held values lead to such decisions.

At the Frontier Lab, Anne has applied deep values methodology to numerous political topics, including  why people decide to become politically activeOccupy movement participants’ motivations, and why Republicans won’t call themselves Republican, among others.

I also mentioned that Anne had applied that methodology several years ago to understanding why Legal Insurrection readers read Legal Insurrection, and that I might share those findings with you.

Well, I’m in a particularly good mood, so here are some of Anne’s findings.

The research took place starting at the very end of 2012 into 2013. I selected 12 readers who were consistent commenters or had communicated with me directly. There was no attempt to obtain a cross-section of all people who read Legal Insurrection, or to profile people based on demographics, income and other marketing factors. If you want that, check out our public Quantcast stats.

Rather, these were people who were “fans” of Legal Insurrection, and we wanted to understand the deep values behind the decision to keep coming back to Legal Insurrection among the thousands of political websites. As Anne described it, the Objectives were:

  • Prototype core LI reader
  • Uncover key motivating values

Here are some of the slides Anne provided to me reflecting the finding of the hour-long reader interviews. Most of the slide are self-explanatory, but I’ve added my own commentary as part of this post.

The first slide is a summary of the findings, referred to as a “brand champion” prototype. So if you are too lazy to read on, this slide serves as a cheat sheet to what follows. Is this you?

Legal Insurrection Research - Slide - Brand Champion Prototype

Most important to me in the Pattern of Use was that we provide readers with intellectual ammunition. Although it’s not on the slide, one of the readers interviewed mentioned that he (or was it she?) felt s/he obtained information that could be used against liberal relatives at holiday dinners. Holiday Dinner Insurrection.

Legal Insurrection Research - Slide - Pattern of Use

Legal Insurrection Research - Slide - Getting Into The Battle

You may need to click on this Map of Hierarchical Values to read the fine print. The top line valued were Hope – Connection – Empowerment – Self-Worth.

Legal Insurrection Research - Slide - Hierarchichal Value Map

We occupied a niche focused on quality.

Legal Insurrection Research - Slide - LI Niche

It will come as no surprise which other websites readers were visiting.

Legal Insurrection Research - Slide - Other News Sources

Over the years I have become friends with several Legal Insurrection readers, in a real world sense. I’ve also developed the acquaintance of many more. It’s one of the most satisfying aspects of this website. Particularly when people buy me coffee.

Equally important, even if we’ve not communicated directly, I do feel there is something special about Legal Insurrection that creates a personal connection.

Legal Insurrection Research - Slide - Personal Connection to Prof

This personal connection leads readers to take pride in our success. Whenever I’m mentioned on radio, I immediately get emails from readers telling me I was just mentioned.

Legal Insurrection Research - Slide - Intertwined Brand Alignment

Okay, party over. The comments section. I still think we’re more of a community than most places, but based on my review of the comment section and reading my inbox the past year, things have deteriorated. I have no answers at this point. My goal for 2017 is to “Make the Comment Section Great Again!”

Legal Insurrection Research - Slide - Community

Since this project was conducted shortly after the 2012 elections, it’s no surprise Liz Warren was on peoples’ minds. Our research on Warren broke new ground in many ways, and is the type of thing I’d like to do more of, if only I had 34 hours in a day.

Legal Insurrection Research - Slide - Warren Case Study

Here are maps of interviews of several of the readers, with the quoted language a quote from the interview. Click on the image to enlarge.

Legal Insurrection Research - Slide - Reader 1 Legal Insurrection Research - Slide - Reader 2 Legal Insurrection Research - Slide - Reader 3 Legal Insurrection Research - Slide - Reader 4

None of these findings surprised me.

In some respects, 2012-2013 were years in which the mission of Legal Insurrection was being fulfilled. It’s a melancholy reflection for me, because I’m not sure that’s still the case. There are many reasons for that, but that’s a discussion for another time.

Instead, I’ll just take this opportunity to thank the readers. Dexter thanks you too.

Dexter reading Legal Insurrection


Donations tax deductible
to the full extent allowed by law.


Sorry, who’s “the Prof”? A contributor here at LI? I admit I rarely read the names of any of the writers here; I just dig through what they write.

Poznyakomimsya! Nice post!

This all seems on target. As for myself, I don’t watch TV news because its so poor (yes, Fox included) so I get all my news and analysis online. I read Memeorandum and Instapundit daily and they both link to 1-3 page articles on other sites. Legal Insurrection articles appear on both sites so I started coming here directly.

The legal analysis of the high profile cases has been great, but I’ll read anything that’s interesting and intelligent, even if I don’t agree with it. Like many educated conservatives I’m equal parts intellectual and anti-intellectual – Victor Davis Hanson and Thomas Sowell are my all time favorite writers. I’ve often told my daughter that there’s only two real ways to get an education – either learn greek and latin or grow up on a farm.

I became addicted during Zimmerman, but found much more. I sometimes think that Rags has multiple identities and is auguring with himself, but what the hey.

…I still think we’re more of a community than most places, but based on my review of the comment section and reading my inbox the past year, things have deteriorated. I have no answers at this point.

I think any of the long term LI comment providers could answer that question without much difficulty. 🙂

2012-13? Shoot, that was only yesterday. OK, maybe last week. Not exactly the pioneer era. I remember the early days … what was that, maybe 2004?

Hmmm. “Sense of pride about high-quality intellectual arguments.” Oops. Maybe it has been a long time.

Reading about this Deep Values stuff reminded me of Percival Lowell’s 1895 book about Mars. The book was noteworty for its beautiful drawings of the elaborate canal system which Mars does not in fact have, but which Lowell managed not only to see, but to map; a high-water mark in the history of apophenia.

But back to LI in general. Unfortunately, I don’t really think that the quality decline is confined to the comment gallery. However I’ve run enough web sites and BBs myself to appreciate some of the difficulties of the Sisyphean grind of generating new content.

On the plus side, Dexter is showing very good form.

ElderofZiyon should be on the list of blogs to be read because it is quite educational and the issues often overlap with ones presented here.

legacyrepublican | August 12, 2016 at 10:44 pm

Nah. Totally missed it with me.

Everyone knows I come here for the fantastic fashion advice and latest trends in the fashion industry.

For example, I just can’t wait to hear the debate over the advantages of Capris over Bell Bottoms among the cislady folk.

Plus, you have to admit it all y’all. I do dress to the nines and totally rock my avatar!


[P.S. Anne Sorock totally nailed it! Report very well done. I do come here because I learn a lot, admire the creator of the site, get armed for debating with liberals, and enjoy a chance to be snarky. ]

DINORightMarie | August 12, 2016 at 11:05 pm

As one who became a reader and commenter in the early days of this blog, I agree with all you found in your analysis. I match most of what you found, to a T.

Always in awe of you, Professor. Brilliant, cogent, spot-on. Always.

This blog has been a beacon of sanity in an insane world.

Although I don’t have the enthusiasm I once had (8 years of being verbally and emotionally assaulted, then getting back up again, takes its toll). You have been the best of the best.

Thank you.

Please keep going. We will need you, and your great staff of post-writers, to get us through the next 4 years.

Of course the Prof is the #1 reason to read LI!!

L. I. is a one of a number of battlefields. Nothing more, nothing less. I often question its value as such. Especially when you get tied up in yet another repetitive & tedious exchange with some jughead whose only purpose is to dazzle the dupes with yet another recitation of how “daring,” “bold,” or whatever other personal self fantasy the claimant sees in him or herself.

I’ll give you this professor, I’m surprised you’ve not banned me yet.

I did comment here for a time around 4 years ago. I dropped away for several years because the site didn’t particularly engage me. I came back I’m not entirely sure why. In part because 2016 is a watershed year & much of my larger operation is meant to culminate in this election. In part you can establish an identity here. You can also get pigeon-holed here.

You do have a unique site here professor. I’ve also used the site to further my skills in what I do. But as is usual, I can’t truly say it’s been worth it. I continually remind myself L. I. is similar to an iceberg, the part not visible is why I keep returning.

It’s unlikely I’ll continue to the degree I have over the past year. Given the outcome of the election, given a Trump loss so many on this site are hell-bent on achieving, I have no interest in the repercussion’s that will be expressed by the inevitable losers.

I’ll simply return to fight from the mattresses as I’ve done for decades previously. I know what will come. And I’ll take some consolation that “principled conservatism” will be especially discredited.

    Ragspierre in reply to secondwind. | August 13, 2016 at 5:23 am

    Two questions…

    1. what is Operation doublesucks? You allude to it thus: “…my larger operation is meant to culminate in this election”.

    2. how, besides in the fetid fever-swamps of your phantasms, will conservatives with principles be “especially discredited”.

    Please be elaborate with both your answers, since your syntax is often too abbreviated (or disjointed) for rational people to follow.

      Queer Pierre ;
      1. I’ve addressed both your “questions” on several occasions.
      2. It’s not my problem you’re so stupid you lack the ability to understand simple dialogue.
      Some questions for you you refuse to address.
      1. Where’s ShowBoat Cruz & what’s he done since his humiliating defeat?
      2. How does it feel that a New York sharpie humiliated 3 of Texas’s finest? Albeit SbowBoat is Canadian.
      3. Why are you so stupid you continue to fall into traps I set?
      4. How does it feel that a college dropout, self employed upholsterer continues to humiliate one Of “Texas’s finest” trial “attorneys”?
      5. Why is that “attorney” unable to express himself so as to make clear & pertinent points? I thought real attorneys should be able to make clear their points in their briefs?

      I could go on & on but what’s the point? I expressed in my initial statement the frustration of this site when you continually get ensnared in a repetitive & boring back & forth with some jughead loser (you) full of him or her self.

      If Hillary Clinton is elected you can thank thousands of stupid “principled conservative’s” like Ragsdale I. M. A. Dumbass Esq!

      Ragspierre in reply to Ragspierre. | August 13, 2016 at 10:01 am

      Oh, come, come…

      You raised the whole “Operation doublesucks” issue in your comment above.

      You also…not just suggested…but positively asserted that conservatives with principles would be “especially discredited”.

      Now get your balls in your hand, and answer the questions.

        I did already. You won’t pull me into your usual double dealt game of cards.
        You have yet to address any of my points. I know you won’t because you can’t.
        I’m done with you on this thread. My initial response was to the professor so he’d have my input on why I’ve become engaged on L. I. at this time. He invited comments.
        You chose to insert yourself for your own purposes.

          amwick in reply to secondwind. | August 13, 2016 at 10:46 am

          I’ll give you this professor, I’m surprised you’ve not banned me yet. Not you in particular, but it is this type of concern that is a real deterrent.

2nd Ammendment Mother | August 13, 2016 at 9:31 am

“Why? Because we like you!” (quote stolen from some ancient wholesome family show)

and I can wear my lovely tin hat from time to time

I still say the prof will be more prolific when he finally immigrates to the Republic of Texas….. freedom people!

It doesn’t appear to me that the comments get screened much. I suppose it is on purpose, but if Prof. Jacobson sincerely wants to improve that, we’ll there’s a start. His answer is to ban people, but the criteria seems to be politically motivated. That really worries me, and I know for a fact that it has driven people away. That’s his call, but I think it is just plain sad.

    JackRussellTerrierist in reply to amwick. | August 13, 2016 at 12:55 pm

    I’ve been here a long time and I only know of one person, “Gary Britt” who was banned. Have there been others?

      The crazy lady, whatever the name was.

      I don’t think anyone was banned for their political viewpoint. I believe they insulted the blog owner. Good grounds for banning if you ask me.

        JackRussellTerrierist in reply to Barry. | August 13, 2016 at 5:53 pm

        Yes, now I remember. It was voting female. She was off the rails.

          Handy Gandy(?)… Voting Female, they may have been “off the rails” but Garry?? No more than other people that have posted and continue to post here, but some are granted immunity. That is what seems so weird. It gives the appearance of being politically biased to me.

        amwick in reply to Barry. | August 13, 2016 at 6:38 pm

        I would say two out of three, yes, but one, well I didn’t see a direct insult. I saw the exchange that made it happen and there was no direct insult, unless it was a private email or something.

        amwick in reply to Barry. | August 13, 2016 at 6:44 pm

        She and Mr. Pierre ran neck and neck in that respect.. She did piss off the Prof., she disrespected him, but it isn’t exactly fair to call her out as being “crazy”, since she isn’t the only one. And maybe that is the point. Being disrespectful should not be a norm, and then only a problem if it is directed at WJ. If he is really looking to improve things, then that may be something to consider.

          Barry in reply to amwick. | August 14, 2016 at 12:24 pm

          amwick, I am a Trump supporter. Have been since maybe Oct of last year. Voting female was a nut. Gary was a nut. There are several more nuts that support trump. And no shortage of nevertrumpers that are insane.

          I don’t think anyone has been banned for being nuts or for their political choice. In both those cases, it is the totality of what was in their comments, not a particular comment. The particular comment was just probably the tipping point.

          In any case, it’s a blog. The owner can ban anyone for any reason, and needs make no explanation to anyone. And we are free to go elsewhere if we like.

I particularly like Andrew’s take on the news of the day and Branco’s cartoon’s are spot on. The writers produce articles that make me think about things outside my tiny bit of this earth. When there is a controversial event I enjoy watching the lawyers arguing how the law applies. My higher education has been “life lesson” and I find this site makes me think. Reading back, I see I’ve said the same thing several different ways. Oh well.

Lately there hasn’t been many controversial events outside of political things and the comment section has drifted away from the type of discussions I stayed here for and it has just become political arguments. Political arguments seldom change a persons mind. It’s kind of like trying to convince a Baptist to become a Catholic. Not likely to be successful. I pray November will get here soon and we can return to the way things were.

Professor, I have to admire your ability to run this blog. It must be like herding cats that have been turpentined. Bless you!

JackRussellTerrierist | August 13, 2016 at 1:07 pm

Just speaking for myself, LI is a sanctuary for learning and accuracy, two commodities I value highly.

The LI community isn’t large, but it’s quality. We have some very sharp, witty and insightful members here.

People wouldn’t post with the heavyweight intellects on this forum at all if they didn’t feel solid in their opinions, so arguments and dissent are unavoidable. I doubt if the professor is looking for a ‘groupthink’ environment. The petri dish of informal discussion, even among educated or at least intelligent people, is bound to provoke some vulgarities from time to time. I’ve seen a couple people exceed even that loose boundary occasionally here. I wish they’d reflect a moment before submitting their post.

    I’ll also say this…

    there are many of us (me, too) who do not follow GroupThink and are pretty contrarian in our thinking.

    I recall some sharp exchanges with you back in the Zimmerman days when I pointed out that, yes, Zimmerman and his sweet wife had, indeed, done wrong with respect to some of their statements to the court regarding their finances.

    My consistent position on the Great God Cheeto for over a year…he’s a stinking, lying, pathological Collectivist thug…has earned me the frothing hatred of several commentators here. I’m right, and the fact I won’t simply shut up, nor will I apologize for being a conservative with principles makes me a target of all kinds of attacks, including those by amwick, above.

    It’s OK. I can deal with it all. Which makes me somewhat valuable here, for all my various shortcomings.

      Old0311 in reply to Ragspierre. | August 14, 2016 at 12:08 pm

      Now that is the sort of response that made me a follower of your opinions. You expressed your opinion without the name calling often associated with the school grounds. I understand that you dislike the thought of Trump being the nominee and if we all though alike the world would be awfully dull. I don’t agree with you about that, but usually I’m in agreement with you. I saw a bumper sticker about that once. It said,” If everyone is thinking the same, nobody is really thinking.” Diversity of view points is one of my favorite things about LI.

        Barry in reply to Old0311. | August 14, 2016 at 12:28 pm

        “You expressed your opinion without the name calling often associated with the school grounds.”


        “on the Great God Cheeto”
        “he’s a stinking, lying, pathological Collectivist thug”


          Old0311 in reply to Barry. | August 14, 2016 at 8:54 pm

          Dang Barry! I plan to vote for Trump and that doesn’t bother me. The Donald can take care of himself. If Trump had to have me defending his honor like I would my Momma’s I might be a #NeverTrumper myself, but the choice being him or Hillary I have to go with Trump. He may be all the things Rags said. I could care less, he is the lesser evil. Google civility and see if it applies to how you live your life. S/F

          Barry in reply to Barry. | August 14, 2016 at 10:20 pm

          Dang Old! I don’t care who you vote for.

          When you say “without the name calling often associated with the school grounds”, and it clearly contains such name calling, I just found it funny.

          The little smiley face is supposed to be a “clue”.

          Some of you are just way to serious.

      “has earned me the frothing hatred of several commentators here. I’m right…”

      Just to be clear, I have no hatred for any that are anti trump. Not even you 🙂

      But, you’re wrong.

buckeyeminuteman | August 14, 2016 at 3:06 pm

People like secondwind and other rude, crass, egotistical people who call themselves conservatives in the sense that Trump also does are the reason the comments section has gone downhill in the past year. In their minds, since Trump acts like an all-knowing ass they can too. The apples don’t fall far from the tree.

    I love how you neverTrumpers can overlook the “rude, crass, egotistical people” that are opposed to trump.

    You need glasses.

      Old0311 in reply to Barry. | August 14, 2016 at 9:11 pm

      Not a #neverTrump, but I have glasses, hearing aids, and several other things that keeps an old grunt moving. Most of all I have my meds. Do you want some? LOL!! j/k

      I did a bunch of years of readjustment counseling with a very liberal Baptist preacher (there is just the one as far as I know) and in all those years, the thing that helped the most was when I learned to lower my expectation level. People aren’t perfect, life is not perfect. And yes, I have coffee and pie with him every Tuesday morning.

        Barry in reply to Old0311. | August 14, 2016 at 10:26 pm

        “Do you want some? LOL!! j/k ”

        Nope Old, not required. I’ve been fortunate so far. Not even glasses and no meds as I approach the golden age of 64. My vision is still 20/20, but really close stuff ain’t what it used to be. When I make my yearly visit to the doctor for a required physical (racing) they always seem surprised when I say no, no medications. But then, they are surprised when my Dad, 90 this fall, says the same thing. Lucky I guess. 🙂

      buckeyeminuteman in reply to Barry. | August 15, 2016 at 12:02 pm

      Barry, I am not neverTrump, I am neverHillary. I am going to vote for whomever on the ballot has the best chance of beating her. With 3 months to go, any party or candidate could gain traction or totally flounder. Regardless of whether I would vote for him, he and the Trumpublicans who oozed out of the mud over the past year are pompous, crass and rude and have nothing in common with the party of Lincoln and Reagan. Voting for him against Hillary does not mean you have to stoop to his level…

        Alright Buckeye. It’s easy to be confused when you only call out “rude, crass, egotistical people” that are for trump and not the same on the nevertrump side.

        There are only two candidates with a chance of winning. No third party can win. Any vote not made for trump IS a help to hillary, regardless of how the nevertrump crowd tries to spin it. Glad to see you have common sense.

DouglasJBender | August 14, 2016 at 11:32 pm

I often stop by just for the semi-random classic-rock music videos.