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ungroup analysis

March 22, 2012
by

I want each of you think how much reputation means in the social net world. I pay attention to reviews of products on Amazon, REI, Moosejaw and other places I shop. Comments by certain people on blogs I frequent mean something to me. But we know that often times the data behind ratings is oddly distributed. The default any one person assigns is often the maximum allowed. So no surprise that nearly all the ratings this semester were a 5 (with the oddball rating of 1 applied to oneself)? So either my class is filled with completely awesome students all whom are above average (in fact all are superior to all peers not in the universe) or the mechanism is flawed.

The point of this exercise is simply to raise awareness: ratings are a form of discrimination whereby we seek to make one thing better than another (why I prefer Japanese cars — best car for each dollar paid, IMHO). Yet most of us are trained to see sameness and avoid hierarchical judgement where people are concerned. Food for thought is all.

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