So I noticed that you post charts whether you believe them or not. Whether its good math or not. With no explanation of whether its a good chart or not. Is there some underlying principle of why you do so? Otherwise, isn't that like propagating ignorance, esp to the untrained eye? Or do you do it to "open the lines of discussion" as you sometimes say when things get real crazy (read: personal or hurtful to certain demographics)?
Thank you for noticing and thank you for asking.
The only hard rule I have for content is I try to never post anything mean spirited or bigoted. The softer rule I have is I try not to post anything that I suspect will do more harm than good. This is guesswork, but the thought process is this: if I see a chart some people seem to be taking at face value, but I find problematic, I find it beneficial to give that chart more exposure and let the free market have at it. If in the process more information than misinformation gets out, then I have done well. If not, then I may have to step in, which I’d rather not do.
I avoid commenting on charts as much as possible because I don’t want to lead the conversation. What happens is that my opinion becomes the starting point for every reblog. I would rather the chart itself be the starting point. Usually, I only chime in if I feel the conversation has gotten out of hand (mean, misdirected, not constructive), if everybody is missing something I think is vital, or if certain untruths have been allowed to continue unchecked.
I think it is really important to look at all data skeptically and I try to run this blog in a way that brings in as much data as possible, regardless of my position. If this blog were to be all my beliefs, it becomes about me and people who think like me and I don’t find that very interesting. I want people to critically challenge all the data there is out there, including on the things I believe passionately.
So, I guess it is really a case-by-case thing. If I think a conversation on a subject would be beneficial, I put something up. For instance today, I think it is good to see what a criticism of Obama looks like and to explore those numbers. Whether you agree or disagree with the conclusion, the numbers came from somewhere and debating your side of the issue benefits everybody who gets to watch you do so. And the chart itself was technically flawed in a number of ways, which I trusted the readers to catch, and I think having that conversation publicly is important.
If there is another case of a chart trying to prove that gay marriage should be illegal for instance, I probably will not post it, because that is not a conversation and I refuse to allow the sentiment any space on my blog. Obama’s effectiveness as a president is a conversation I’m willing to have on this space; it does more good than harm to hear different opinions. Every person on this planet should be allowed equal basic rights; even acknowledging a contrary opinion and treating the issue like it is up for debate is more harm than good.
A final note: Some people criticize this blog for leaning too far to the left. I will post any chart that has good data in it. It is not my fault that the right sucks at making charts. Send me better charts (without misinformation, incorrect math, or hate speech) and I will be happy to put them up.