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  • chipbennett

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    I used to say that. Then I came across an article that said it's a misquote from a social scientist. The original quote is "the plural of anecdote IS data." Probably in the realm of social science that's true. Each anecdote you could think of as datum. I think that idea has value in social sciences and economics. Maybe not as useful in STEM.

    And it has use here too in terms of how people form opinions about things. Talking to people, hearing their anecdotes, informs your instincts about what's "normal". So it's good to talk to a variety of people with a variety of opinions so that your instincts aren't formed by biases in the data.

    You might not think that an anecdote is factual, but in a sense it is. The person you heard it from said it. That's a fact, and many of those add up to data. So indeed, data is the plural of anecdote. I quit saying it the other way around.
    No. The plural of "anecdote" is not "data." Anecdote is factual, but it does not represent a normal distribution for the population as a whole. If it were, Pauline Kael would not have been so distraught to find out that Nixon won.

    Anecdote is information, and potentially useful. It does not, however, tell you anything at all about what the population as a whole thinks or believes. As such, in terms of "would society as a whole prefer X or Y?", anecdote does not answer the question. For that, you need properly gathered data that controls for various biases in the data collection. Anecdote is the exact opposite of that, as a form of confirmation/selection bias.
     

    jamil

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    No. The plural of "anecdote" is not "data." Anecdote is factual, but it does not represent a normal distribution for the population as a whole. If it were, Pauline Kael would not have been so distraught to find out that Nixon won.

    Anecdote is information, and potentially useful. It does not, however, tell you anything at all about what the population as a whole thinks or believes. As such, in terms of "would society as a whole prefer X or Y?", anecdote does not answer the question. For that, you need properly gathered data that controls for various biases in the data collection. Anecdote is the exact opposite of that, as a form of confirmation/selection bias.
    Take it up with the guy who coined the term. The point I get from it is that behind all those data are real stories (anecdotes) which individually, don't really tell us much. But taken collectively, provides useful context or information. So one could say a collection of datum provides a collective anecdote.

    For example, how many clock flippers beat their kids? Maybe you've noticed that the three people you know who are eager to flip their clocks forward and back each year, happen to beat their kids. Does that mean there's a correlation? Well, individual anecdotes don't tell the story. They're just discrete anecdotes. Maybe there are only 3 clock flippers alive, and you happen to know all three, which would be an interesting point of datum in itself. Why do you know all of them. Hmmm? Or, I dunno. It could be hereditary. Their clock flipping is inbred. And because of your misfortune, you happen to have them as neighbors. Maybe the kid beating has more to do with the inbreeding than caused or affected by clock flipping.

    We won't know what useful information the three clock flippers provide unless we get a broader sample of random anecdotes, and then tally all the facts into a collection of datum. And then come to find out, the data tells us that not all parents who beat their kids are clock flippers. Some are Glock fanbois. But all the clock flippers (not all that many) beat their kids. And they all happen to be inbred. That correlation is information, and it tells a sort of collective anecdote about clock flippers. It confirms they all are indeed related to each other through a recent common ancestor.
     

    nonobaddog

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    Anecdote (or datum) is information, and potentially useful. It does not, however, tell you anything at all about what the population as a whole thinks or believes. As such, in terms of "would society as a whole prefer X or Y?", (neither) anecdote (nor datum) does not answer the question. For that, you need properly gathered data (or anecdotes) that controls for various biases in the data (or anecdotes) collection.

    Anecdote is the exact opposite of that, as a form of confirmation/selection bias.
    Only because you say it is improperly gathered. What if someone gathered their anecdotes properly?
     
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    ditcherman

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    Take it up with the guy who coined the term. The point I get from it is that behind all those data are real stories (anecdotes) which individually, don't really tell us much. But taken collectively, provides useful context or information. So one could say a collection of datum provides a collective anecdote.

    For example, how many clock flippers beat their kids? Maybe you've noticed that the three people you know who are eager to flip their clocks forward and back each year, happen to beat their kids. Does that mean there's a correlation? Well, individual anecdotes don't tell the story. They're just discrete anecdotes. Maybe there are only 3 clock flippers alive, and you happen to know all three, which would be an interesting point of datum in itself. Why do you know all of them. Hmmm? Or, I dunno. It could be hereditary. Their clock flipping is inbred. And because of your misfortune, you happen to have them as neighbors. Maybe the kid beating has more to do with the inbreeding than caused or affected by clock flipping.

    We won't know what useful information the three clock flippers provide unless we get a broader sample of random anecdotes, and then tally all the facts into a collection of datum. And then come to find out, the data tells us that not all parents who beat their kids are clock flippers. Some are Glock fanbois. But all the clock flippers (not all that many) beat their kids. And they all happen to be inbred. That correlation is information, and it tells a sort of collective anecdote about clock flippers. It confirms they all are indeed related to each other through a recent common ancestor.
    So you’re saying g***k people are inbred. You might be on to something.
     

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