This week, on Netscape's "Fun & Games" page (www.netscape.com), you can take a quiz to find out if you're evil, whether or not you're a control freak and what breed of dog is right for you.
For half of the first week of December, the Netscape page encouraged visitors to take a crack at the "Insanity calculator" to, as the quiz put it, find out "How crazy are you?"
After receiving a complaint from the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI), Netscape pulled the page. Stella March, who coordinates NAMI's "Stigma busters" campaign, is now asking Netscape and its parent company, AOL-Time Warner, for an apology.
"Netscape crossed the line between humor and stigma," March said in an e-mail to NAMI chapters around the country, including San Diego. "In a single day, a media giant was able to undermine efforts to fight against stigma [of mental illness]."
Expressly intended to be a game, the insanity quiz included questions like, "Have you ever heard voices in your head?"; "Do you have multiple personalities that act independently...[and] if so, do some of your personalities dislike each other?"; "Have you ever tried to fly?"; and "Are you lying to conceal your true mental state?"
March said that questions like these insult people who've experienced psychotic episodes or people who've lost a friend or family member "to suicidal delusions that caused them to "try to fly.'"
Other questions included, "Do you enjoy playing with guns or explosives?" and "When you're bored, do you set fire to homes just to watch them burn?"
The score of the test-taker represented "the percentage of your brain that's insane."
Netscape did not return a call from CityBeat asking for comment.
In an e-mail update received Tuesday, March said AOL had been flooded with e-mails critical of the quiz and "a line of communication has been established for future dialogue."