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June 10, 2008 12:25 PM   Subscribe

I asked a question and many of the responses were that I am "biased." Is a judgement of character a prerequisite for answering a question?
posted by plexi to Etiquette/Policy at 12:25 PM (74 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

I suspect that you don't understand what confirmation bias is, although it's possible that I only think that because...
posted by allen.spaulding at 12:27 PM on June 10, 2008 [2 favorites]


Sigh.
posted by Airhen at 12:28 PM on June 10, 2008


Again, you don't understand the phrase "confirmation bias". Look it up; being an American, I'm too lazy and self-centered to find it for you.
posted by yhbc at 12:28 PM on June 10, 2008 [3 favorites]


"Pregnant girlfriends need to be declawed. Am I right, or what?"

You weren't asking for a question to be answered, you were looking for someone to agree with you. That doesn't belong on AskMe.
posted by Plutor at 12:30 PM on June 10, 2008 [2 favorites]


I linked to the Wikipedia entry for Confirmation Bias as the second answer to your question. It's not a value judgment, it's a psychological phenomenon.
posted by JohnFredra at 12:31 PM on June 10, 2008


I don't think people were saying that you're biased so much as you seem to see things that are falling apart (tickets, food costs, "water resources") and then decide there is a meta-conclusion "Is Rome burning?" which is a not great set up for an AskMe question and inclines it much more towards chattiness and out-of-butt answers rather than some concrete "here is an answer to your question" sorts of answers.

In short, the set up of the question made it unanswerable and something likely to incite arguments. If you don't think things "suddenly went bad" in the US, people would be inclined to argue with the premise. If there was a problem you were trying to solve, you didn't indicate it, and it just seemed like a touchy political jumping off point with a pretty loaded set of assumptions for such a short question.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 12:32 PM on June 10, 2008


Dear AskMe:

Why are chicks afraid of me? Is it my striking good looks or my enormous penis?
posted by bardic at 12:34 PM on June 10, 2008 [10 favorites]


Might as well spell it out:

In psychology and cognitive science, confirmation bias is a tendency to search for or interpret new information in a way that confirms one's preconceptions and avoids information and interpretations which contradict prior beliefs. It is a type of cognitive bias and represents an error of inductive inference, or as a form of selection bias toward confirmation of the hypothesis under study or disconfirmation of an alternative hypothesis.

Confirmation bias is of interest in the teaching of critical thinking, as the skill is misused if rigorous critical scrutiny is applied only to evidence challenging a preconceived idea but not to evidence supporting it. (source: Wikipedia)

Your post was deleted not because of any pro-America sentiment, but because it wasn't a real question with a specific answer. AskMe is not for that kind of questioning.

From the Metafilter FAQ:

"Ask Metafilter questions need to have some possible answer or should be asking for information that will be put to some practical use. Chatty open-ended questions diminish the usefulness of Ask Metafilter and push other questions off the front page. If you want to avoid having your question flagged and possibly removed, here are some things to avoid."
posted by spaltavian at 12:36 PM on June 10, 2008 [1 favorite]


hehe "out-of-butt"
posted by cowbellemoo at 12:40 PM on June 10, 2008


Plexi, a confirmation bias is a term used (mostly by philosophers, and people who study logic) which means a person has made a philosophical point (ie: "Rome is burning") but then "cherry picks" examples which prove the philisophical point and ignores a bunch of counter-examples.

I am not saying you employed confirmation bias, but I am just explaining what a confirmation bias is - it really doesn't have much to do with a value judgement.

It is a pretty unanswerable question anyway, except to future historians. Even historians don't agree about when and why Rome declined; some will even say it didn't fall at all.
posted by Deep Dish at 12:41 PM on June 10, 2008 [1 favorite]


Is a judgement of character a prerequisite for answering a question?

Unfortunately, that's how it turned out here, and then you had a few characters jump on the bandwagon. Sorry to say it, but try again with different phrasing, perhaps, and they might not show up.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:42 PM on June 10, 2008


It is kind of a vague question. My answer probably would have been Paris Hilton.
posted by Metroid Baby at 12:43 PM on June 10, 2008


Believe it or not, the 'confirmation bias' line is usually the least hurty way to tell someone their question is borderline or unanswerable as presented.
posted by cowbellemoo at 12:45 PM on June 10, 2008


I asked a question and many of the responses were that I am "biased."

It's because you didn't really ask a question. You posted a conclusion.
posted by Dave Faris at 12:49 PM on June 10, 2008 [1 favorite]


Sorry to say it, but try again with different phrasing, perhaps, and they might not show up.

No. I know you suggested otherwise in the thread, but it was a bad question that couldn't be made right through editing. The question assumed certain "facts" ("everything" "suddenly" "bad") that are far from universally accepted.
posted by pardonyou? at 12:52 PM on June 10, 2008


"OMG x suxxor amirite?" is never a good question for AskMe, no matter what you substitute for x.
posted by ND¢ at 12:53 PM on June 10, 2008 [1 favorite]


Oh, maybe I have been flying more and in the airport lounges CNN is always reporting more BREAKING sort of crises.

Thanks for the nice answers! I wish people would just always be nice.
posted by plexi at 12:56 PM on June 10, 2008


I know you suggested otherwise in the thread, but it was a bad question that couldn't be made right through editing.

I'm not interested in debating this. The only thing bad about the question was the wave of noisy responses by people who otherwise know better, or should, who could have simply refrained from answering the question.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:57 PM on June 10, 2008


Your shitty chatfilter question was chatfilter. When you reap the whirlwind, it's understood that you don't take the whirlwind personally.

The way to ask your question in a less PLEASE DELETE THIS IMMEDIATELY UPON VIEWING fashion:
What were the causes, proximate and underlying, leading up to the current economic crisis and polticial crisis in the United States. Specifically, is there one or more event in the late 90's or early 2000's that you can point to that is responsible for the oil crisis, housing crisis, financial crisis lack of respect forand credibility of the US abroad, lack of respect for and credibility of the government by Americans, etc.? I'm looking for specific events, like "9/11" or "2005 interest rate hikes" along with accompanying links, not random Bush-bashing. Thanks! Oh, and doesn't Pastabagel look sporting in that new bowler? The man's taste is beyond reproach!
Yes, yes "doesn't Pastabagel look sporting in that new bowler?" is chatfilter, we get it. Too many Philadelphia lawyers on this site...
posted by Pastabagel at 12:58 PM on June 10, 2008 [7 favorites]


Oh, maybe I have been flying more and in the airport lounges CNN is always reporting more BREAKING sort of crises.

It's easy to confuse sensationalism for the sake of ratings for reality.

America may be going to Hell, but downtown LA is still a million times better than downtown Bagdad, or Harare.
posted by Dave Faris at 1:01 PM on June 10, 2008


Also we're only a couple months away from Obama making everything better, so just chill baby!
posted by ND¢ at 1:03 PM on June 10, 2008 [2 favorites]


I think the decline started right around the time that my wife requested that I stop pissing in the sink, smoking reefer, playing Call of Duty thirteen hours a day and eating generic frosted flakes at every meal and that I get a proper job instead of touting "full release massages" one day a week down at the strip mall on commission, in fact I'm pretty sure things were downright fucking wonderful up to that point.
posted by Divine_Wino at 1:06 PM on June 10, 2008 [3 favorites]


I can't wait until Obama makes the rapture come!
posted by OmieWise at 1:06 PM on June 10, 2008


I can't wait until Obama makes the rapture come!

Not sure on the etiquette - do we do "That's what she said" jokes here?
posted by qldaddy at 1:16 PM on June 10, 2008


Thanks for the nice answers! I wish people would just always be nice.

You and me both, kiddo.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 1:17 PM on June 10, 2008


Actually, I'd like kind instead of nice.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 1:17 PM on June 10, 2008 [3 favorites]


Things were so much better before the Rapture.
posted by quin at 1:19 PM on June 10, 2008


I can't wait until Obama makes the rapture come!

If the current president couldn't make Armageddon happen, I don't think Obama has a chance.
posted by Gary at 1:20 PM on June 10, 2008 [1 favorite]


You're all misunderstanding OmieWise's comment. He is quoting from some of my dinosaur/Obama erotic fiction in an effort to mock me, but he has misspelled raptor. Who looks stupid now Omie?
posted by ND¢ at 1:21 PM on June 10, 2008 [9 favorites]


*links in profile by the way*

Tricera on Top . . . of Obama is probably the best place for a newbie to start
posted by ND¢ at 1:24 PM on June 10, 2008 [2 favorites]


do we do "That's what she said" jokes here?

No. We never do those ever again.
posted by ORthey at 1:24 PM on June 10, 2008 [1 favorite]


The decline has something to do with culture. Sorry Plexi.
posted by Sailormom at 1:25 PM on June 10, 2008


I'll settle for "civil."
posted by The corpse in the library at 1:33 PM on June 10, 2008


Yes, yes "doesn't Pastabagel look sporting in that new bowler?" is chatfilter, we get it.

Nonsense. It's not chatfilter at all. It has a very specific answer ("No, not really. Actually he looks quite foolish.") that can be put to a real-world use ("Note to self: Do not wear bowlers.").
posted by dersins at 1:37 PM on June 10, 2008


I wouldn't mind "kind of nice".
posted by dirtdirt at 1:43 PM on June 10, 2008


Who looks stupid now Omie?

Yeah, the irony is I kind of like your raptor porn. It's the stegosaurus stuff I can't stomach. Those spiky tails squik me out.
posted by OmieWise at 1:51 PM on June 10, 2008


Personally, I think "Steg, O: Sore Ass" was your finest work.
posted by cortex (staff) at 1:55 PM on June 10, 2008 [5 favorites]


Yeah? Strap this on your sore ass.
posted by quin at 1:57 PM on June 10, 2008


plexi: "Thanks for the nice answers! I wish people would just always be nice."

[two posts down]

Pastabagel: "Your shitty chatfilter question was chatfilter. When you reap the whirlwind, it's understood that you don't take the whirlwind personally."

Talk about reaping the whirlwind ... plexi, never, ever, ever tell Mefites that they're being nice. It's like starving a lion for 10 days and then walking into the cage in a bacon-marinated meat suit.
posted by WCityMike at 1:58 PM on June 10, 2008


*passes the kind*
posted by danOstuporStar at 2:05 PM on June 10, 2008


WCityMike

It's like starving a lion for 10 days and then walking into the cage in a bacon-marinated meat suit.

Jeez, don't get these guys started on bacon.
posted by electroboy at 2:06 PM on June 10, 2008 [3 favorites]


Talk about reaping the whirlwind ...

That's pretty much how MetaTalk works. jessamyn gives the nicest and most reasonable version of the answer, and then the rest of us say basically the same thing but with snarkiness, jokes and name-calling. It's a good system in my opinion.
posted by burnmp3s at 2:12 PM on June 10, 2008


The rain fell on the tar pits in heavy drops, creating short-lived watery indentations in the intensely black surface. Barack Obama, his body lithe and trim despite his 46 years, hurried toward the cave located along the bank of the tar pit that only he knew about. The cave where his Columbia professor had hidden his time machine right before he lost his life to the mysterious time pirates, a fate that Barack had escaped only through the assistance of a seemingly cold and aloof brontosaurus that had turned out to be much more than he appeared. "I promised myself I wouldn't go back" he chastised himself "If Michelle found out there would be hell to pay" but the stress of that last rally had driven him yet again to seek solace in the scaly arms that always offered comfort to him in times of trouble . . .

That is all you get for free. Check out my site for more!
posted by ND¢ at 2:19 PM on June 10, 2008 [6 favorites]


then the rest of us say basically the same thing but with snarkiness, jokes and name-calling. It's a good system in my opinion.

Sometimes the random Fad Gadget video gets thrown in for good measure.
posted by Burhanistan at 2:21 PM on June 10, 2008


Did someone say bacon?

Damn I loves me some Sylva Sylvarum.
posted by GuyZero at 3:08 PM on June 10, 2008


Tricera on Top . . . of Obama is probably the best place for a newbie to start.

Personally I liked Obama's Eager To Plesiosaur. But I couldn't stomach all that gay stuff in Obama Grabs His Ankylosaurus.
posted by The Bellman at 3:10 PM on June 10, 2008 [4 favorites]


Apatosaurus On The Barack was decent. Avoid You'll Never Pterydactyl Me Away (From My Candidate), though.
posted by cortex (staff) at 3:27 PM on June 10, 2008 [1 favorite]


Thanks for the nice answers! I wish people would just always be nice.

To be fair, confirmation bias isn't a character flaw. Just a flaw in analyzing information. People pointing it out to you were just trying to help.
posted by Tehanu at 3:31 PM on June 10, 2008


U! S! A! U! S! A!
posted by klangklangston at 3:35 PM on June 10, 2008


sausages has USA in it, and the made-up word usausages has it twice.

CONFORMATION BIAS!
posted by klangklangston at 3:35 PM on June 10, 2008 [3 favorites]


Oil prices are up by ~ 400% in less than eight years; the US is highly dependent on oil. And we have reached the terrifying stage in the rise of the price of oil where the price of oil is up because the price of oil is up.

The Dollar is down sharply against other major currencies, and our massive public debt and hypermassive private debt are sure to pull it lower. And we import the majority of our consumer goods.

Enormous reserves of Dollars held in sovereign wealth funds are pouring into the country despite everything anyone can do, and the dam hasn't even broken yet. The Fed is on the verge of losing control of the money supply if it hasn't done so already.

Food prices are skyrocketing and no one can say when they might stabilize.

I could extend this list indefinitely, and most of you know it.

Hell yes Rome is burning, and George of the Bungle's European tour makes that metaphor particularly apt.

Is mocking poor plexi for daring to point this out really making you feel safer, or can you just not help yourselves?
posted by jamjam at 6:31 PM on June 10, 2008


that's just offal.
posted by owhydididoit at 6:38 PM on June 10, 2008


I think it's kind of apples and oranges, jamjam. I'm kind of gladdened really that nobody has given plexi a particularly hard time about their badly-presented chatfilter, but that hasn't got a whole lot to do either way with the general question of whether or not the US is dealing with some seriously political and economic issues, and neither does the existence of those issues make chatfilter suddenly okay.
posted by cortex (staff) at 6:39 PM on June 10, 2008


I could extend this list indefinitely, and most of you know it.

When Obama is elected, not only will all of the problems listed and unlisted be magically solved, but everyone will get 2 chatfilter questions a week. Moderated by an angry robot.
posted by Tehanu at 6:47 PM on June 10, 2008


Hell yes Rome is burning, and George of the Bungle's European tour makes that metaphor particularly apt.

I didn't know Rome had so dedicated Mr. Bungle fans.
posted by ersatz at 7:53 PM on June 10, 2008


confornation biusa.
posted by iamkimiam at 7:56 PM on June 10, 2008


When Obama is elected, not only will all of the problems listed and unlisted be magically solved, but everyone will get 2 chatfilter questions a week. Moderated by an angry nice and kind robot.
posted by Rock Steady at 8:06 PM on June 10, 2008


Personally, I think "Steg, O: Sore Ass" was your finest work.

Although the sequel - Tyran, A Sore Ass - was poorer for the inclusion of the Democratic donkey, I thought. You can't have too many mammals in your dinosaur porn.
posted by never used baby shoes at 8:32 PM on June 10, 2008


How old are you? 18 million years. Wow, that's a nice femur bone you've got there. Thanks. Is there anything you won't eat? Like, are you a vegetarian, or a canivore? Nope, I eat pretty much everything. I'm an omnivore. Nice.

I feel dirty now....
posted by proj08 at 8:57 PM on June 10, 2008


on reflection, writing that joke about dinosaur porn isn't my proudest moment. ah, the internet..
posted by proj08 at 9:00 PM on June 10, 2008 [1 favorite]


Now it's there FOREVER!
posted by Burhanistan at 9:04 PM on June 10, 2008


George Bush, great president, or THE GREATEST president?
posted by blue_beetle at 9:05 PM on June 10, 2008


I have to say, Biasslick Period: Rogue Comet's Space Facial was pretty hot.
posted by maxwelton at 9:13 PM on June 10, 2008


What's wrong with being sexy?

too late to the party?
posted by Horselover Fat at 11:32 PM on June 10, 2008


BY ABOUT SIXTY FIVE MILLION YEARS
posted by cortex (staff) at 6:48 AM on June 11, 2008


As someone who loved dinosaurs as a very small child, the porn stuff hurts. Our love was a pure love, you bastards.
posted by Tehanu at 7:21 AM on June 11, 2008


Jeez, you get turned down by one Diplo-badonka-docus and you're embittered forever.
posted by kittyprecious at 7:26 AM on June 11, 2008 [2 favorites]


I think the idea that the U.S. is having issues not simply an artifact caused by confirmation bias.
posted by delmoi at 7:43 AM on June 11, 2008


Talk about reaping the whirlwind ... plexi, never, ever, ever tell Mefites that they're being nice. It's like starving a lion for 10 days and then walking into the cage in a bacon-marinated meat suit.
posted by WCityMike at 4:58 PM on June 10


I didn't mean to insult poor plexi. We've all had our share of deleted questions. I was simply pointing out that the system here, although populated by persons, is itself impersonal.

You see, in many ways Metatalk constitutes a vast decentralized retribution engine. And like the seige engines of yore, MeTa is a seemingly random amalgam of interlocking threating parts whose function is not immediately obvious. But when the engine is brought into motion, seemingly by angered wasps, it brings no comfort to question the motives or methods of either the engine or the wasps. Better to look inside oneself and ask, "What horrible deed did I commit that conjured such black forces against me?"

I think if you ask yourself that question, you'll realize the truth.

You see, plexi and others, "chatfilter" is not simply an improper AskMe question. "Chatfilter" is an incantation that invokes the ur-forces of Hell's own Hell and challenges them to single combat in the very digital plane that is their domain. I think you realize by now that no mortal wins that fight.

So it is pointless to chastise Metatalk, or "That Thesis Which is Its Own Antithesis," for its cruelty and savagery or for its merciless and mindless brutality, when those are the purposes for which it was erected, or more accurately, birthed.
posted by Pastabagel at 7:52 AM on June 11, 2008 [2 favorites]


Moderated by an angry nice and kind robot.

Kind Robot's name is in no way misleading, but surprisingly, Annice isn't nice at all.
posted by SpiffyRob at 8:08 AM on June 11, 2008


If the current president couldn't make Armageddon happen

Shh!

He still has 222 days!
posted by cjets at 5:09 PM on June 11, 2008


So it is pointless to chastise Metatalk, or "That Thesis Which is Its Own Antithesis," for its cruelty and savagery or for its merciless and mindless brutality, when those are the purposes for which it was erected, or more accurately, birthed.

Hence the acceptable rejoinder can be predicted: "Fuck you, Hegel."
posted by klangklangston at 5:15 PM on June 11, 2008


Burhanistan: "Sometimes the random Fad Gadget video gets thrown in for good measure."

I found every last Fad Gadget (RIP) 7" and 12" in a charity shop in Leeds a couple of years ago, for 50p each. Best day of my record purchasing life.

Except for that time I rimmed a chicken.

They're like little fluffy dinosaurs, right?
posted by jack_mo at 4:00 PM on June 12, 2008


Everything started going downhill the day I signed up for an account on MetaFilter.
posted by Meatbomb at 1:47 AM on June 13, 2008


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