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Thursday, December 3, 2015

Statisticians are whining because their free ride has ended


WSJ RTE - statisticians' plea: please pick up the phone. I worked in market research surveys when I was a kid, and we had a nasty refusal rate even back then; apparently it's gotten worse now, to the point where the data being collected is utterly useless:

Surveys of businesses and households make up the bulk of data sources handled by government statisticians. To compile economic growth figures, the U.K.’s Office for National Statistics polls about 350,000 businesses a year, a third of which are contacted more than once. For unemployment data, roughly 36,000 interviews of households are conducted each quarter by Britain’s official statistics agency.

Unlike business surveys, households are not required to answer the questions posed by statisticians over the phone or face-to-face, except when it comes to the census. Sometimes, officials fail to contact those people they randomly select to answer the survey. But more often than that, respondents refuse to participate—and they are increasingly doing so.

[...]

“Were response rates to continue to fall it would constitute a threat to the representativeness and quality of the data,” the report warned Wednesday, as very often those who don’t participate have specific reasons to do so—or features that set them apart.

So, here's the thing: if the quality of the data is dependent on the response rate, and the data is vital to the continued operation of the economy, then someone's making money off every response, right?

So why the fuck aren't you paying respondents for their valuable information?

You've been telling us in the peasant class that there's no such thing as a free ride, and we all have to earn our keep, and we have to pay for every "service" provided, and the government and our employers will leave us in a fucking ditch to bleed to death if they ever get a chance.

So why are you then expecting us to give you free information? You want us to subsidize the capitalist kleptocracy with our time, do you?

According to Berta Barbet, political science researcher at the University of Leicester, the IT revolution has helped connect people, but at the same time makes them increasingly weary of picking up the phone when an unknown number is calling—or even open the door to a stranger. “The photo we get is less representative of what reality looks like,” she added.

Wanna know why we don't open our doors to strangers? Maybe it's because most everyone who comes to our door is explicitly looking to fuck us over. The capitalist kleptocracy is brainwashing university students to act like psychopaths by going door to door, tricking little old ladies into signing up for criminally-priced long-term utility contracts. And there is now an army of Pakistanis phoning the entire western world every Friday afternoon, trying to get us to sign up for air duct cleaning.

The irony is that, as far as the average homeowner is concerned, your government survey staff are doing exactly the same thing: trying to screw us out of stuff (in this case, information) for free.

Fuck you. This is the point where you better start living by the neocon economics that you preach to us whenever you fuck us out of our pensions. Start paying respondents. Your free ride has ended.


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