First, no. I think "responded to at least one message" is FAR more telling.
You think it's more likely that a fake account will pay to delete their information than sending messages? I don't agree with that. Why would a fake account pay to delete anything? It's fake. Only a real account would bother to pay to have their information deleted.
but the fact that it is SO RIDICULOUSLY LOW tells us that they weren't
No, the number doesn't reveal anything like that.
and it tells us that however many women joined only an insigifcant number deleted.
Although that number is more significant than the number sending messages.
I think women may have been significantly more inclined to use the paid delete option then men for a variety of reasons.
The percent of female accounts that paid to delete is a little less than half of the male accounts who paid to delete, whatever that means. And it doesn't really matter what you think, I'm looking for what the data can point to instead of opinions.
Further it evidently counts women who created an account only to lurk or see if their husband joined. Even if you want to count them as "members", the fact that they weren't responding to any messages at all is material evidence that even though they joined they simply weren't engaging in the site.
That is not even relevant. It also doesn't factor the number of men who signed up only to look for their wife, so what? We can't even guess what those numbers are. Maybe it's 100%. Who the hell knows? Neither of us, and the data doesn't provide any evidence either way. I'm specifically trying to determine the number of actual women on the site as opposed to fake accounts. I'm not interested in, and cannot guess, their motivations for being there. The data does not provide a way to estimate that and, again, I'm less interested in opinions than statistical evidence.
Look at "responded to at least one message" and "checked inbox".
Look at "sent a message". Wait, you can't, because that's not in the data set. What about someone sending messages to other users telling them to respond via email or phone? That user would never need to check their inbox or respond to any unsolicited messages. That could very well be a large number of people (especially women), and we have no way to know that. We do know the number of people who paid to have their information deleted though.
You can't tell me there 2 million women on the site, when fewer than 10k ever responded to a single message or checked their inbox or enaged in chat.
Actually it's not that difficult, here let me try: There very well might have been 2 million women on that site, actively sending messages to men telling them to respond via email. There, that wasn't that hard. You cannot point to a single piece of evidence which would definitively and unambiguously refute that claim, either.
I admit I'm speculating here.
You are speculating with virtually all of your conclusions. So am I, which is why my range of 12,000 to 2.1 million women is so broad. Here's a question - if Ashley Madison can get men to sign up by operating 10,000 accounts to chat with the men, then why are there 5.5 million accounts marked as female? They don't need 5.5 million accounts, they need 10,000, so where did those other 99.998% of accounts come from? Are you trying to suggest that the database for female accounts contains 10,000 accounts either operated by Ashley Madison or actual women, with millions of women just trying to check on their husband? Now they are claiming that hundreds of thousands of new accounts have been created, including (at least) 87,596 female accounts. Those women don't need to create an account to check on their husbands, the data is already out there. Are you suggesting that Ashley Madison has multiplied its real female user base by nearly 9 times? Granted, we have to assume that ALM lies about their user base, but surely those statements are not complete lies. I have no doubt that they are in fact gaining members and that many of them are women.
To count such accounts, where there is no evidence they logged in more than once, no evidence they logged in even once...
Do you have specific evidence that they did not log in at least once, or are you speculating again? Note that a lack of evidence of logging in is not the same as evidence that they never logged in.
2 million simply lacks any credibility at all whatsoever.
Obviously, I disagree, and a statistician would agree with me. You're looking at this from a psychological perspective, and I'm looking at it from a statistical perspective. That's the difference.