17 avr. 2014

The art of misleading: when wrong information is better than no information

From xkcd.com
I stumbled upon two charts in twitter recently and found a funny link between them.

The first is obvious. And Business Insider did a nice comment on it with a corrected version.
It sounds like Michael Scott's negotiation technique to speak indistinctly to make your interlocutor uncomfortable. You just take people's reading habit and use it against them.

The second is an attempt to respond to the eternal question, no, not the meaning of life but: "What is the best programming language?"
And when thousands of people try to make stats and graphs about it to show the trends and comfort developers in their choices, the conclusion is always the same. There is different languages for different means.
The sad part here? You often miss good information because someone decided to make numbers tell a story. More than report facts.
This one does not show anything mostly because it's in %. But also because it doesn't show new memberships nor the total of new repositories for each year (and its increase).
When looking at this, you could assume that, for some reason, Java and JS devs found Github more appealing over the years and decided to join and commit. Which led other languages' share to decrease. Why not?

A lot more is said here, when someone tried to pull some data from Github archives and realized it could be completely false for a hundred reasons. Comments are really instructive! Commentators state that some languages are not well detected by Github... Perl for instance. *Looking at the graph* Awwww

This post is more a rant about twitter than anything. I like twitter because some time it makes me laugh. But I don't rely on it for information. I have my RSS feeds for that.
And when I see that everything needs to be done in a instant (read, comment, retweet ... go back to step one) it's obvious that bad information can be spread all over the world very quickly.
We don't take the time to look closer.

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