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Thread: Stupid lists

  1. #1
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Rii's Avatar
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    Stupid lists

    Ok, so all lists ranking highly subjective and/or multivariate matters should be viewed with some suspicion. But they can often nonetheless be both fun and enlightening, providing food for thought and discussion.

    And then there are stupid lists like The Economist's "Most Liveable Cities" index, which features four Australian and three Canadian cities amongst the Top 10 and serves largely to provoke discussion as to the biases of The Economist.

    What other examples of terrible lists have folks come across?

    P.S. Maddox' "The Eleven Worst Songs of 2004" doesn't count. ;)

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    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Voon's Avatar
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    http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/20...-world-records

    Wouldn't say a "TOP BEST GAME ENDINGS EVAR!" list is terrible or anything but this....

  3. #3
    Vector Jams O'Donnell's Avatar
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    So we're compiling a terrible list of terrible lists here? How droll.

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    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Nalano's Avatar
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    Almost any list that started out as a poll is probably going to end up ridiculously biased. Here, for instance, is a list of the 100 Best Movies of All Time where the Lord of the Rings trilogy takes the top three slots.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rii View Post
    And then there are stupid lists like The Economist's "Most Liveable Cities" index, which features four Australian and three Canadian cities amongst the Top 10 and serves largely to provoke discussion as to the biases of The Economist.
    I love how the Economist found parameters for their poll that would turn out to be even more biased than the "don't you wish you were white and rich and lived in Zurich" results that usually manifest.
    Nalano H. Wildmoon
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  5. #5
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Rii's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Voon View Post
    http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/20...-world-records

    Wouldn't say a "TOP BEST GAME ENDINGS EVAR!" list is terrible or anything but this....
    Ewww. Ewwwwwwwwwwww. And it's in a book, which makes it infinitely worse.

    I am convinced that the Guiness Book of Records is actually going rapidly downhill, and it's not just that I'm no longer 12.

    Quote Originally Posted by Nalano View Post
    I love how the Economist found parameters for their poll that would turn out to be even more biased than the "don't you wish you were white and rich and lived in Zurich" results that usually manifest.
    Haha. That reminds me of the criticism of the Human Development Index -- that's it's basically a measure of how Scandinavian a country is. I don't actually agree with that, but it's a good line.

    Quote Originally Posted by Nalano View Post
    Almost any list that started out as a poll is probably going to end up ridiculously biased. Here, for instance, is a list of the 100 Best Movies of All Time where the Lord of the Rings trilogy takes the top three slots.
    Hrm, yes. I've been meaning to check out The Little Mermaid again, actually.

    I was quite impressed by Empire's Top 500 Films list which was based partly on popular vote. It does get increasingly predictable towards the end, but the value is mostly in the presentation. I managed to get a solid month's viewing out of it.
    Last edited by Rii; 14-02-2012 at 05:43 PM.

  6. #6
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Nalano's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rii View Post
    Haha. That reminds me of the criticism of the Human Development Index -- that's it's basically a measure of how Scandinavian a country is. I don't actually agree with that, but it's a good line.
    You don't agree with the criticism that the HDI is a biased ranking that favors Scandinavian countries, or that Scandinavian countries are the model by which the world should be ranked? Either way, I also don't like it.

    Reminds me of the criticism of standardized testing - especially those that attempt to assess intelligence. Basically, minorities do worse not because they're incapable of understanding the concepts, but because the tests favor people who have been raised and taught to think of the parameters in the specific manner in which the questions phrase and frame them. It's a cultural quotient.

    Likewise, the "most livable cities" look at relative pay and availability of consumer goods, but not job availability and cost of living, rendering the leaders of the list to be bland, tiny cities that happen to be enclaves of the rich. This leads, of course, to the cognitive dissonance of Vienna topping the list when the city's actually shrinking, or Denver or Minneapolis beating out New York when New York seems to be where everybody actually wants to go.
    Last edited by Nalano; 14-02-2012 at 06:37 PM.
    Nalano H. Wildmoon
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