Don't Doctor your Data

That's an adage given to me by my excellent high school physics teacher, Mr. Bradford. It is highly relevant to a recent study concerning Linux and Windows. I cite this study simply because it was recent and had this nice rebuttle to cite as well. Today's rant applies more generally to market research.

I've participated in a few surveys myself at the local research place. I've done a few phone questionairres about video games and such. Some of these things were just clearance to see if I fit into a particular group or if I was of a different background than from people they already had. In any case, while not having researched for the purpose of marketing (Dr. Weis would disapprove of such public displays of research) I've been involved.

Somehow, I think that somewhere between the average Joe such as I and the end result the Hermit Clown of Crazy Magoo™ grabs hold of the researchers and stupify them. That or there's an evil overlord supervillain pulling the strings of market research. I suppose we could believe the truth that people are either inherently stupid, biased or easily bribable, but I prefer my own insanity.

In any case, I must stare down the long, winding trail of publicity and see what a treacherous road it is I must travel. If I'm ever to make video games, I must walk down this road and have ideas thrown at me, good and bad, and choose amoung them for something I think will appeal to the hordes awaiting to feast upon my game, either by enjoying it or enjoying making fun of me for it.

Given the biased nature of research, I don't know what I'll do. It certainly won't keep me tethered to the path. Studies such as the one I cited always cause me to shake my head. I feel like I can not ever cite a study in my life because someone will be able to find something wrong with it. That or, should the study actually be reliable, have to fight a battle against a contrary study.

Generally, a headache.

I'd prefer if these studies showed me their data rather than analyzing it for me. I think that would be far more satisfactory to me. Unfortunately, the rest of the world does not generally enjoy analysis as I do.

It is a disrespect to research and those who honestly do a darn good job of it that there are companies that shamelessly bias themselves.

A general blargh out to all you researchers who lack shame.


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