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Poll - Juan Watterson's Drunken Behaviour


Chinahand
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Of course the main structural problem for any form of polling is the one you identify - the people who won't take part. Different companies have their ways of dealing with it, but on the whole they rely on the fact that the uninterested in taking part will also tend to be uninterested in whatever the topic in question is. This means that your sample will be unrepresentative in one way (they will be more likely to vote than on average say) but one that will not necessarily skew the final result.

 

Aye, but that's a pretty big assumption to make, especially if you want to be strict about issues of probability. Plenty of people have an opinion, but simply don't like being hassled on their doorstep, over the phone, or in the middle of the street on their way home or to work. You also have those who don't see any reason to take part in polls; in election polls, for instance, you will get people who feel no reason to spend time answering some pollsters questions since they're already going to be expressing themselves via their vote. Then there's those who may have an opinion but distrust pollsters, and so on and so forth.

 

In short, there are enough reasons for someone not to take a poll that you can't rely on a simple assumption that holding an opinion equates to a willingness or overbearing urge to answer a stranger's questions about it. It's actually a pretty elementary flaw of logic those companies are indulging in: whilst it might be reasonable to assume that taking part in a poll implies that person has an opinion on the matter being discussed, the implication in the other direction isn't necessarily true.

 

Really, the absolute most you can say about your sample is that it consists of a subset of those with an opinion and an inclination to share that opinion with a pollster. There is the claim that those who do engage with polls are more likely to vote or whatever, but that's all it is: a claim, and one that's near impossible to verify since the only way to tell would be via more polling which suffers from the same defects. Of those who turn you down, you can't say very much at all, which isn't so much different to your average on-line poll. Although, to be sure, the latter can be criticised with regards to poll design and the presence of leading questions (and here I agree with Declan in that the first question on this poll could be deemed leading).

 

Fair point about the BPC, but do they really enforce rigour in terms of theory and foundations? Yes, they enforce a mutually agreed concept of fairness and disclosure, but that's a slightly different matter to the more philosophical and mathematical arguments about sampling, what can be said about how representative a poll is, and what can be extrapolated, which is really what is being discussed when you talk about 'voodoo' polls and self selection.

 

It's only my personal impression, and thus based only on limited experience (so correct me if I'm wrong), but it's always seemed to me that a lot who end up in the polling/market research business do so from a background in the social sciences (for instance, the president of the BPC). If true, the problem with that is the level of knowledge regarding statistics and especially probability theory amounts to only a pretty basic working knowledge. Even in academic articles systematic flaws are far more common than they really should be, and that's with the buffer of supposedly expert peer review, and then there are far deeper problems, such as the entire validity of hypothesis testing which needs to be taken into account.

 

Not that I'm a massive fan of on-line polls: I'm just not that convinced that professional polls or market research is much better; no doubt its better designed and fair in one sense, but philosophically speaking I don't think they're really that much more reliable.

 

Sorry for the delay in responding. Most of the points you make are sensible ones, but I think you're falling into the trap of making the best the enemy of the good (arguably that's the problem with the whole Watterson topic, but that argument's for the other thread). In the end opinion polls are just educated guesses about what the public thinks, which itself is subtle, divided and constantly moving. All pollsters can do is make the guesses as accurate as possible.

 

There are several ways in which you can assess opinion polls including against each other, but In the end the only opportunity is against actual results, usually in an election of some sort. Usually the estimates of opinion pollsters aren't too far out while what you might call 'volunteer' polls can often fail abysmally ('on-line' polls is ambiguous because many pollsters nowadays recruit their participants from on-line panels - so I've used a v-word that isn't 'voodoo'). So on the whole non-participation in the more formal opinion polls doesn't seem to matter, partly due to a requested sample being more representative than a volunteer one, partly because they might adjust the figures so the weight given to under-represented groups is increased.

 

That's not to say there haven't and aren't problems with non-participation, for example there has been the phenomenon of 'shy Tories' when that Party was unpopular, but these can to some extent be accounted for and even here the discrepancy seems more to do with people taking part and saying "Don't Know" or "Won't Say" rather than those who refuse to take part at all. So the basic justification for opinion polls,above other forms of testing what people think, is that they (mostly) work.

 

I think you're right about the background of those who run the polling companies being mainly from the social sciences and marketing, but they seem to be from among the more numerate people with those backgrounds, presumably what attracted them to the field in the first place. Though you still get the odd one like the Manx People Power marketing guy who seemed blissfully unaware of the most basic mathematics of sampling - mind you I noticed that we didn't hear from him again and Professor Davidson took over the honours. In any case there usually seem to mathematically trained people involved setting up the sampling algorithms, weighting the samples etc.

 

It's possible to get carried away with mathematical modelling in this sort of situation in any case and losing contact with the reality of the situation, rather like most mathematical economics has. In practice things such as the exact wording of questions can make a bigger difference than to the result than minor differences in sampling technique, and in any case you are up against the irreducible margin of error caused by any sampling process.

 

So opinion polls aren't perfect and can certainly suffer from misjudged interpretation, particularly when people look at smaller sub-samples. But they're the best we've got and certainly better than the volunteer polls with their inherent bias and danger of being overwhelmed by partisans.

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Of course the main structural problem for any form of polling is the one you identify - the people who won't take part. Different companies have their ways of dealing with it, but on the whole they rely on the fact that the uninterested in taking part will also tend to be uninterested in whatever the topic in question is. This means that your sample will be unrepresentative in one way (they will be more likely to vote than on average say) but one that will not necessarily skew the final result.

 

Aye, but that's a pretty big assumption to make, especially if you want to be strict about issues of probability. Plenty of people have an opinion, but simply don't like being hassled on their doorstep, over the phone, or in the middle of the street on their way home or to work. You also have those who don't see any reason to take part in polls; in election polls, for instance, you will get people who feel no reason to spend time answering some pollsters questions since they're already going to be expressing themselves via their vote. Then there's those who may have an opinion but distrust pollsters, and so on and so forth.

 

In short, there are enough reasons for someone not to take a poll that you can't rely on a simple assumption that holding an opinion equates to a willingness or overbearing urge to answer a stranger's questions about it. It's actually a pretty elementary flaw of logic those companies are indulging in: whilst it might be reasonable to assume that taking part in a poll implies that person has an opinion on the matter being discussed, the implication in the other direction isn't necessarily true.

 

Really, the absolute most you can say about your sample is that it consists of a subset of those with an opinion and an inclination to share that opinion with a pollster. There is the claim that those who do engage with polls are more likely to vote or whatever, but that's all it is: a claim, and one that's near impossible to verify since the only way to tell would be via more polling which suffers from the same defects. Of those who turn you down, you can't say very much at all, which isn't so much different to your average on-line poll. Although, to be sure, the latter can be criticised with regards to poll design and the presence of leading questions (and here I agree with Declan in that the first question on this poll could be deemed leading).

 

Fair point about the BPC, but do they really enforce rigour in terms of theory and foundations? Yes, they enforce a mutually agreed concept of fairness and disclosure, but that's a slightly different matter to the more philosophical and mathematical arguments about sampling, what can be said about how representative a poll is, and what can be extrapolated, which is really what is being discussed when you talk about 'voodoo' polls and self selection.

 

It's only my personal impression, and thus based only on limited experience (so correct me if I'm wrong), but it's always seemed to me that a lot who end up in the polling/market research business do so from a background in the social sciences (for instance, the president of the BPC). If true, the problem with that is the level of knowledge regarding statistics and especially probability theory amounts to only a pretty basic working knowledge. Even in academic articles systematic flaws are far more common than they really should be, and that's with the buffer of supposedly expert peer review, and then there are far deeper problems, such as the entire validity of hypothesis testing which needs to be taken into account.

 

Not that I'm a massive fan of on-line polls: I'm just not that convinced that professional polls or market research is much better; no doubt its better designed and fair in one sense, but philosophically speaking I don't think they're really that much more reliable.

 

Vinnie:

I dont have any desire to contradict you but this is just plain wrong.

I occupy a very lowly post as a research assistant but I can tell you that generally, in the areas you have named, the understanding of relevant statistics is execeptionally good.

Dont make the mathematicians mistake of thinking we are are looking for mathematical proofs. We arent.

 

The real trick in the Social Sciences is making sense of the results / statistics. That takes training and experience.

 

As for silly polls on the Manx Forums .. especially those made by people who ... lets be brutal .. give the impression of having a very high opinion of themselves ... well they are, with the best will in the world, worthless ..

albeit sometimes entertaining. Unfortunately this particular poll isnt entertaining.

 

ChinaHand: You need to drop this and stop being a bully.

 

The man has been dealt with already by the appropiate person or authority. There are much more important matters to deal with.

If you dont like Juan Watterson you may do worst than look at his political ideas, which some may find nasty right wing , rather than some imagined slight on your emancipation.

 

For both of you, ChinaHand and Vinnie ... understand that parliamentary systems promise a lot but deliver very little (Lenin)

It follows that all the ridiculous philosophising on a local news forum is even more silly than ...... (you fill the gap in)

Edited by Freya Q
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Of course the main structural problem for any form of polling is the one you identify - the people who won't take part. Different companies have their ways of dealing with it, but on the whole they rely on the fact that the uninterested in taking part will also tend to be uninterested in whatever the topic in question is. This means that your sample will be unrepresentative in one way (they will be more likely to vote than on average say) but one that will not necessarily skew the final result.

 

 

Not that I'm a massive fan of on-line polls: I'm just not that convinced that professional polls or market research is much better; no doubt its better designed and fair in one sense, but philosophically speaking I don't think they're really that much more reliable.

 

 

The man has been dealt with already by the appropiate person or authority. There are much more important matters to deal with.

If you dont like Juan Watterson you may do worst than look at his political ideas, which some may find nasty right wing , rather than some imagined slight on your emancipation.

 

But the point is he hasn't been dealt with at all.

 

No police involvement and no political sanction

 

From our political teflon elite

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Of course the main structural problem for any form of polling is the one you identify - the people who won't take part. Different companies have their ways of dealing with it, but on the whole they rely on the fact that the uninterested in taking part will also tend to be uninterested in whatever the topic in question is. This means that your sample will be unrepresentative in one way (they will be more likely to vote than on average say) but one that will not necessarily skew the final result.

 

 

Not that I'm a massive fan of on-line polls: I'm just not that convinced that professional polls or market research is much better; no doubt its better designed and fair in one sense, but philosophically speaking I don't think they're really that much more reliable.

 

 

The man has been dealt with already by the appropiate person or authority. There are much more important matters to deal with.

If you dont like Juan Watterson you may do worst than look at his political ideas, which some may find nasty right wing , rather than some imagined slight on your emancipation.

 

But the point is he hasn't been dealt with at all.

 

No police involvement and no political sanction

 

From our political teflon elite

 

Hey im so glad you said that.

He has beeen dealt with by Allan Bell.

Obviously Mr Bell didnt think it worthy of any formal punishment.

You may or may not agree with Mr Bell. However he has been dealt with. (By Mr Bell)

I am not surprised several people on the forum dont understand this but I am exceptionally surprised Vinnie and Chinahand, who both promote themselves as the final arbiters on all things manx / political/ philosophical/ mathematical/ social/ etc / you name it ... should have started or engaged themselves with this nonsense.

For God sake guys ... please read what you are posting. Its so pompous !!! .. honestly

If you dont belive me ask a friend to read it .. numerous people are saying this.

For me .. I probably will leave you all to your right wing nonsense. Carry on regardless guys ... Ive been told Im stupid today, on here, because Ive dared to post contrary to perceived (right wing) wisdom

Ive also been the subjject of unpleasant innuendo for a regular poster .. particularly unpleasant to me bacause I have a health condition which would actually make that innuendo very serious in terms of consequences ..even If I wanted which I dont.

Bye folks.

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It's possible to get carried away with mathematical modelling in this sort of situation in any case and losing contact with the reality of the situation, rather like most mathematical economics has. In practice things such as the exact wording of questions can make a bigger difference than to the result than minor differences in sampling technique, and in any case you are up against the irreducible margin of error caused by any sampling process.

 

I dont have any desire to contradict you but this is just plain wrong.

I occupy a very lowly post as a research assistant but I can tell you that generally, in the areas you have named, the understanding of relevant statistics is execeptionally good.

Dont make the mathematicians mistake of thinking we are are looking for mathematical proofs. We arent.

 

I think there's a misunderstanding here: I'm not by any means confusing what social scientists do with the quest for proof. What we're talking about here are questions about foundations, which are ultimately questions about the validity of application and hence of the conclusions drawn from statistical methods. Yes, social scientists do on average have a decent handling on the details and technicalities of applying various methods from the statistical tool box, but that's a slightly different issue.

 

Even then, errors are remarkably common in even academic research coming from the hands of very experienced researchers. Only last year one group found that 15% of the articles they surveyed in the field of psychology contained "at least one statistical conclusion that proved, upon recalculation, to be incorrect; that is, recalculation rendered the previously significant result insignificant, or vice versa". That's should raise an eyebrow or two, because we're not just talking about published authors cocking things up here but also those two or three experts charged with conducting the peer review before publication.

 

That aside, point taken on relevant statistics. However, I wonder how you identify how valid the application of those methods are, and thus question the legitimacy of the whole endeavour. In many cases statistics is taught to social and physical scientists with the complete absence of any deeper probability theory and without asking the kind of philosophical questions which plague the application of the methods they're learning . This might seems fairly technical and pedantic, but it raises a very serious question about what can actually be concluded from the application of statistics: how do you proclaim to have confidence in the statistics being used when you can't even be sure it's valid to perform so much a significance test or calculate a confidence interval, or even lack the ability to say why it is legitimate or why it might not be?

 

Unfortunately, there's a tendency to treat all this as rather arcane stuff, and to be sure it is, to an extent. However it also lies at the very heart of the application of statistics. This is not least because statistical methods and the conclusions drawn from them ultimately derive their authority from the assertion of mathematical and logical rigour underpinning the analytical structure. That authority is what is being called into question: you can have a familiarity with all manner of sophisticated machinery, such as stochastic processes and multivariate analysis and apply them correctly (in a technical sense) and with ingenuity, but if doubts about the foundations can't be answered, there's potentially a disparity between what you're trying to do and say and what you actually can; a possibility that in many cases isn't even recognised, never mind addressed.

 

Conversely, it might be tempting to say that we're just looking for an indication, a sense of the public mood or whatever, and so we're not that concerned with the strict philosophical questions of validity. But if that's the case, then we should ditch the pretence of performing any real statistical analysis for such puposes, since much if not all of that analysis rests on these problems being reconciled. In that context, adding more machinery from statistics is really just window dressing and doesn't really offer the kind of substance and analytical power that we might claim or think that it does.

 

Also and as a slight aside, is the validity of statistics and how useful they actually are settled in the social sciences themselves? To be sure, the criticisms sometimes come from a slightly different point of view, but there are plenty of arguments between proponents of qualitative research and those of quantitative research, with no sign of abating any time soon. Stick a 'qualitative' sociologist together with an economist and sooner or later things start to look like a socially awkward and ill-kempt fight club.

 

It's possible to get carried away with mathematical modelling in this sort of situation in any case and losing contact with the reality of the situation, rather like most mathematical economics has.

 

True enough. (to my uninformed mind, mathematical economics looks like a right old basket case at the moment, as does the more quantitative approach to political science). Anyway, I know I tend to express myself poorly and in convoluted fashion, but I'm actually arguing for less mathematical modelling. Rather than suggesting something like "professional pollsters aren't mathematical enough, and so they either better get it together or accept they're as bad as anyone else", I'm saying something closer to "once you go much further beyond simple arithmetic and start dealing with the world of opinion, it's all pretty much voodoo, and there's sadly not much which can be done about that except for perhaps burning the most recalcitrant heretics at the stake" wink.png

Edited by VinnieK
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FreyaQ - I have made 2 posts in this thread (this is my third) - the first explaining why I put up the poll, and the second reiterating my view that public drunkenness is unacceptable, and that Mr Watterson has damaged his position and his office by his behaviour. Some people disagree, they are entitled to their opinion as I am entitled to mine.

 

In the other thread I've made 11 posts. To name just a few of the posters I read and respect on the Forums, Evil Goblin has made 14, theBees 16, Amadeus 16, Lost Login 19, Gladys 22, Albert Tatlock 35, Declan 53 and Censorship 135.

 

I think Gladys', Amadeus', and Albert Tatlock's opinions are effectively identical to mine.

 

I am a little confused why you have decided to call me out as a bully. I presume it is because I started this thread.

 

Declan had made many statements about witch hunts and has called people with a different opinon to his 'nut-jobs'. 'irrational moaners', and 'obsessives' who just 'have their knickers in a twist'.

 

I felt these statements were totally at odds with the opinions given by some of the more serious posters on this site. When he said "only a few people that think that way" I was surprised as in my experience opinion was pretty evenly split and so I decided one way of seeing what opinons were was to have a poll.

 

I fully admit internet polls are very much compromised due to selection bias, but as I said in my initial post I think Manx Forums provides a reasonably good selection of the Island's views. Its a community of people I've come to know over the years posting here, many of whom I respect.

 

I guessed at the begining that opinion would be polarized with roughly half thinking its no big deal, and half thinking he's behaved unacceptably - that is I think a pretty good summary of the results after 191 people (so far) have expressed an opinion.

 

That is a big poll for Manxforums - people on all sides of the issue have wanted to express their opinion.

 

I do not think any of my posts have been bullying - I hope I've not resorted to the name calling Declan has (if I have please post up any such post).

 

I have contributed far less to this and the other thread compared other members of the community and so FreyaQ I don't know why you have choosen to highlight me.

 

I've said I believe Mr Watterson shows promise as a politician, and if he had tendered his resignation it would have enhanced, not damaged his career.

 

I do not think I am being a bully for putting up a thread trying to get some idea of what people's opinions are. It's messy, not scientifically representative, but it does allow people to quantify their opinons which they have done.

 

I've had very little to say on this topic recently as its all basically been said, but if people wish to personalize this issue I'll respond. I don't think I have behaved unreasonably in stating my opinion and trying to find a way to quantify levels of opinion. This is a polarizing issue, and I don't think anyone can claim its not, or just a small minority making a fuss.

 

Alot of people are very unhappy with our political class - we are facing a very difficult environment at the moment and it is time they upped their game and took some responsibility. That is what Mr Watterson warned people about just hours before getting so drunk he vomited twice on a bus and was refused admittence to the night bus due to his condition.

 

If raising attention to this is bullying, then I do not know what to say - I've been a minor contributor compared to others who have made far more posts on this subject than me.

Edited by Chinahand
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I am not surprised several people on the forum dont understand this but I am exceptionally surprised Vinnie and Chinahand, who both promote themselves as the final arbiters on all things manx / political/ philosophical/ mathematical/ social/ etc / you name it ... should have started or engaged themselves with this nonsense.

 

I've never promoted myself as anything of the sort, and neither has Chinahand. I'll argue my case, at length and to the point where it probably bores the vast majority of people, but I'm no more posing or think of myself as a 'final arbiter' than anyone who happens to say to someone else 'I think you're wrong, and this is why...'. If someone's quite so unsure of themselves or chippy enough as to think that's an attempt at asserting some kind of primacy... that's sad, but it's their problem.

 

For God sake guys ... please read what you are posting. Its so pompous !!! .. honestly

If you dont belive me ask a friend to read it .. numerous people are saying this.

 

No one's under any obligation to read these or any other posts on here; so I'm afraid 'numerous people' will just have to lump it.

Edited by VinnieK
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I generally tend to agree with what Vinnie & Chinahand are saying. Nothing pompous about having an opinion, I like posting & reading things on here, no one has to read what is posted, I have several people on 'ignore' simply because their opinions generally annoyed me & there is no fun in being angry with faceless internet posters, innit? While people are posting here it stops them writing letters to politicians and councils, mostly I get mad for 5 minutes about things, cba changing the world today :).........also it is quite amusing to see how much opinions change depending on the weather, direction of the wind, etc etc.

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Of course the main structural problem for any form of polling is the one you identify - the people who won't take part. Different companies have their ways of dealing with it, but on the whole they rely on the fact that the uninterested in taking part will also tend to be uninterested in whatever the topic in question is. This means that your sample will be unrepresentative in one way (they will be more likely to vote than on average say) but one that will not necessarily skew the final result.

 

 

Not that I'm a massive fan of on-line polls: I'm just not that convinced that professional polls or market research is much better; no doubt its better designed and fair in one sense, but philosophically speaking I don't think they're really that much more reliable.

 

 

The man has been dealt with already by the appropiate person or authority. There are much more important matters to deal with.

If you dont like Juan Watterson you may do worst than look at his political ideas, which some may find nasty right wing , rather than some imagined slight on your emancipation.

 

But the point is he hasn't been dealt with at all.

 

No police involvement and no political sanction

 

From our political teflon elite

 

Hey im so glad you said that.

He has beeen dealt with by Allan Bell.

Obviously Mr Bell didnt think it worthy of any formal punishment.

You may or may not agree with Mr Bell. However he has been dealt with. (By Mr Bell)

I am not surprised several people on the forum dont understand this but I am exceptionally surprised Vinnie and Chinahand, who both promote themselves as the final arbiters on all things manx / political/ philosophical/ mathematical/ social/ etc / you name it ... should have started or engaged themselves with this nonsense.

For God sake guys ... please read what you are posting. Its so pompous !!! .. honestly

If you dont belive me ask a friend to read it .. numerous people are saying this.

For me .. I probably will leave you all to your right wing nonsense. Carry on regardless guys ... Ive been told Im stupid today, on here, because Ive dared to post contrary to perceived (right wing) wisdom

Ive also been the subjject of unpleasant innuendo for a regular poster .. particularly unpleasant to me bacause I have a health condition which would actually make that innuendo very serious in terms of consequences ..even If I wanted which I dont.

Bye folks.

 

No need to say bye, I don't know who you are.

How has he been "dealt with" by Bell, please particularise - In any case its not about reporting lines, its about credibility and authority - his authority on matters of alcohol strategy have been, in my view, undeniably undermined.

If you are upset by innuendo (and I am not sure what you are talking about) then don't visit the forums.

I don't think this "matter" has anything to do with right wing politics, its about accountability, responsibility, transparency and fairness.

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I can't believe this is still rumbling on, it's been a month FFS. I'm no big fan of Juan's but at least I base my decision on his political performance & not a minor drunken indescretion of which a vast majority of us (myself included) have been guilty.

 

The world is full of corrupt politicians, recent history is littered with stories about them fiddling their expenses, cheating on their wives, taking bribes & employing friends & family for very dubious reasons, not to mention skimming off aid money, persecuting opposition supporters, ordering murders, sending thousands of men to war of a false premise. I'm sure there are many more.

 

If the worst you've got to worry about with a current government is that one of them hasn't been sacked or demoted for pucking on a bus after the Christmas party then you ought to count yourselves lucky & go & get a fucking life!

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I can't believe this is still rumbling on, it's been a month FFS. I'm no big fan of Juan's but at least I base my decision on his political performance & not a minor drunken indescretion of which a vast majority of us (myself included) have been guilty.

 

The world is full of corrupt politicians, recent history is littered with stories about them fiddling their expenses, cheating on their wives, taking bribes & employing friends & family for very dubious reasons, not to mention skimming off aid money, persecuting opposition supporters, ordering murders, sending thousands of men to war of a false premise. I'm sure there are many more.

 

If the worst you've got to worry about with a current government is that one of them hasn't been sacked or demoted for pucking on a bus after the Christmas party then you ought to count yourselves lucky & go & get a fucking life!

 

I don't think he should be sacked, i think he should be shuffled as he has no authority now on matters of alcohol use and abuse.

 

You are correct there are other things to worry about, but it doesn't affect my view on this matter

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