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| | |-+  Bias in Partisan Spaces
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Author Topic: Bias in Partisan Spaces  (Read 456 times)
Beet
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« on: February 13, 2012, 06:41:14 pm »

What do we call the manifestation of bias in partisan spaces? It is different from regular bias because regular bias refers to a single object, where in partisan spaces, the bias manifests itself as the aggregate of the community. Due to the law of averaging, it is smoother across multiple dimensions than individual bias. It is also more difficult to challenge, because any challenger is automatically a minority. Finally, it builds on itself, because there is an interaction between bias and reasoning. Bias leads to a certain reasoning, which in turn is seen in a biased light, and then leads still further to more extreme reasoning, and so on.

For example, in the evaluation of art, initially the piece of art may strike the group neutrally, although they are predisposed to like it. However, because they are predisposed to like it, one person points something out about it that is good. Others may not have noticed this; now that they do, their predisposition is strengthened further. Since the group is now even more prediposed to like it, they notice more good things and say them, which further strengthen the predisposition, and so on. Even a neutral observer watching this discussion will be subjected to a powerful argument that the work of art is, indeed, great.

It is a sort of implicit imperative.

But some communities are designed precisely to foster such an imperative, not for the sake of seeking truth and objectivity, but for the sake of articulating a position. In the previous discussion, for example, although the discussants are deeply biased and become more so, they also form an articulate defense of the work of art that might otherwise be very difficult to create. Therefore, although they are biased, they are productive in an important, communicative way.
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Sibboleth
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« Reply #1 on: February 13, 2012, 07:32:15 pm »
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'Partisan space'? That's a new one. Lead on Jürgen.
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"I have become entangled in my own data, and my conclusion stands in direct contradiction to the initial idea from which I started. Proceeding from unlimited freedom, I end with unlimited despotism. I will add, however, that there can be no solution of the social formula except mine."
Beet
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« Reply #2 on: February 13, 2012, 10:35:51 pm »

'Partisan space'? That's a new one. Lead on Jürgen.

Oh I forgot, I shouldn't be speaking where my betters can hear me.
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© tweed
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« Reply #3 on: February 14, 2012, 03:56:39 pm »
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'Partisan space'? That's a new one. Lead on Jürgen.

Oh I forgot, I shouldn't be speaking where my betters can hear me.

good post.
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angus
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« Reply #4 on: February 14, 2012, 04:16:40 pm »
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although they are biased, they are productive in an important, communicative way.

This isn't unique to your phenomenon, since bias is always productive in an important, communicative way.  If that were not the case, you wouldn't hear everyone bitching about bias all the time.

But to answer the question, doesn't the word "groupthink" already exist?  Or is that different than aggregate bias and I'm just to thick-headed to recognize this? 

« Last Edit: February 14, 2012, 04:23:33 pm by angus »Logged
Beet
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« Reply #5 on: February 14, 2012, 05:21:01 pm »

'Partisan space'? That's a new one. Lead on Jürgen.

Oh I forgot, I shouldn't be speaking where my betters can hear me.

good post.

Nonsense.

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This isn't unique to your phenomenon, since bias is always productive in an important, communicative way.  If that were not the case, you wouldn't hear everyone bitching about bias all the time.

But to answer the question, doesn't the word "groupthink" already exist?  Or is that different than aggregate bias and I'm just to thick-headed to recognize this?

According to wikipedia, groupthink is "is the mode of thinking that happens when the desire for harmony in a decision-making group overrides a realistic appraisal of alternatives. Group members try to minimize conflict and reach a consensus decision without critical evaluation of alternative ideas or viewpoints."

I certainly think groupthink plays a big role in what I call aggregate bias. Usually a minority will not challenge a majority out of desire to avoid conflict. But in the case of "trolls", one person can easily derail many. So without groupthink, aggregate bias would be hard, if not impossible.

However, I think groupthink lends more space to flexibility than aggregate bias in partisan spaces. Imagine a group of Generals sitting around the table. The most senior one says, "Let's attack left." His closest colleague, says "Yes, that's a great idea." Then "Yes," and "Yes," down the line, because of groupthink. But if the most senior one had said, "Let's attack right." Then the outcome would have been the same. In partisan spaces, in contrast, the conclusion is predetermined. In the Society of Admirers of Impressionistic Paintings, the conclusion will never be that Impressionism was a step down. And so on. It originates not from people but from the definition of the space.
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Sibboleth
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« Reply #6 on: February 14, 2012, 05:25:39 pm »
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'Partisan space'? That's a new one. Lead on Jürgen.

Oh I forgot, I shouldn't be speaking where my betters can hear me.

Well what the fyck do you mean then? Hard to read past the jargon.
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"I have become entangled in my own data, and my conclusion stands in direct contradiction to the initial idea from which I started. Proceeding from unlimited freedom, I end with unlimited despotism. I will add, however, that there can be no solution of the social formula except mine."
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« Reply #7 on: February 14, 2012, 05:32:19 pm »
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'Partisan space'? That's a new one. Lead on Jürgen.

Not every day I see a Habermas joke.
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Einzige is a poltroon who cowardly turns down duel challenges he should be honor-bound to accept. The Code Duello authorizes you to mock and belittle such a pathetic honorless scoundrel.
Beet
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« Reply #8 on: February 14, 2012, 05:43:07 pm »

I am clearly having a hard time articulating myself.

Another way of saying it is, imagine you like Dandelions for reasons X,Y,Z. You set up the Society of Dandelion Worshippers, hoping to spread the word that X,Y, and Z make Dandelions good. But you attract people that like Dandelions for A,B, and C. And D,E, and F, and so on, which you had not even considered. In fact, you don't think F is important, and you think it's foolish to like Dandelions because of F. Yet because you are in the Society of Dandelion Worshippers, the argument that F is a reason to like them is inherently privileged. The Society has taken on a life of its own beyond your intentions.

The end result is not just the biased verdict that Dandelions are good, but the fullest, most complete, expression of Dandelion goodness possible, and furthermore, expressed with a much greater force than would otherwise be possible.
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angus
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« Reply #9 on: February 14, 2012, 09:25:23 pm »
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Chateau Lafite Rothschild, 1993.

I like it because even though the razor stubble on its legs are a bit off=putting, and its initial throaty assertiveness is cause for alarm, the full body feels like velvet to my tongue, and the mellow, oaky finish is absolutely divine. 

Now, you comment on wet rock and cedar.  (of course, I think "cedar?"  "wet rock?!"  Dude, wtf are you drinking, Mogen David?)

Then, another guy talks about the nose.  (The nose?!  Pour me a glass of wine and I drink it.  Nose?  Who has time to stop and smell the roses?)

All of the sudden, I am surrounded not only by presumed oenophiles, but by presumed oenophiles who have 900 dollars to spend on a bottle of wine, and who apparently spend it on the same wine that I spend my 900 dollars on. 

That about it?

If so, let's just call it a sort of groupthink that hasn't yet occurred to the wise, enlightened writers of wikipedia articles.  I know that it may surprise you to learn that the non-expert writers of non-edited, on-line sources of (mis)information, such as wikipedia, might not have thought of every possible application of the terms they write about, but it just may be possible that they have. 

Still, if you want to distinguish it from the garden-variety groupthink, then I think aggregate bias is as good a term as any.  And, yes, i've noticed the phenomenon.  Being a knuckle-dragger myself, I hadn't really distinguished it from garden-variety groupthink till you mentioned it here, but now that you have, I'd agree that its subtly different.  Actually, it's pretty original, too.  Not bad, old man.  Is this, by any chance, the subject of your dissertation?  Or related to it?
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