Bias on sports discussion boards
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Author:  Ocon [ Thu May 18, 2017 5:34 pm ]
Post subject:  Bias on sports discussion boards

Maybe this is a stupid question, I don't know. I'm a newbie on here so have mercy on me. And I'm not talking about this forum in particular but any sports forums.

I read a lot of sports forums and lately I have started contemplating about how much bias interferes with peoples reasoning. It is possible to stay objective even if your biased towards a certain driver/player/team, at least I think it is. I feel though, that even the more knowledgeable fans who claim to be impartial still have some kind of agenda deep down affecting their arguments.

I find it strange how some have such a hard time admitting they were wrong. Some are so convinced by their beliefs that no amount of evidence will change their mind. And they will make a huge effort to dig stuff up that suits their argument. I have seen many times people like this get in to discussions with each other and it usualy never ends. It is like their life will end if they admit they were wrong.

These are extreme cases that I just mentioned but to me it still seems that there are very few on any of these forums who are capable of being completely objective. Is it possible to be a fan of a sport but not have a favorite? I know some say that's the case but I have a hard time believing it. These people should be able to be the most objective, although that doesn't necessarily mean they are knowledgeable.

The reason I'm bringing this up, is because when it comes to sports, it is extremely difficult to come to a conclusion as to who is better/more successful/skilfull. This is not only because of bias of course but I think it is a big part of it. It is also difficult because there are so many factors at play that can not be measured, and this fact allows you to interprete things in a way that suits your beliefs. I applaud that guy(POBratings I think)who took so much of his time to create a system for ratings but even that(while very good) still isn't something definitive. F1 is especially hard to analyse because of all the cars being different, rules constantly changing, teammates can't always be accurately compared since the car might not suit both drivers, establishing when driver decline starts and probably many other things. Football is the same when trying to rate players, there are many things stats don't tell.

Sorry for the rant but my question is: How prevalent is bias on sports discussion boards? And just any thoughts on the subject. What are the positives and negatives?

I'm not trying to provoke anyone on this forum, this is just an observation I made across many other places like this. And just for the record, I would say I am quite biased toward Hamilton myself and I do have somewhat of a dislike for Vettel, if that isn't obvious by now. :) But I am not to bothered to prove to people why he is the best. I am satisfied with just reading as much info on F1 as I come across online in order to form an opinion. And that opinion is always that Hamilton is the best of course. :)

Having said all of that, I have to admit this forum seems the most intelligent one I've come across.

Author:  Lotus49 [ Thu May 18, 2017 6:00 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Bias on sports discussion boards

There's always some bias in things like this. Even if you don't favour a driver you might favour a team or an era or a preferred way of judging things etc..

I'd say it's almost impossible to remove all bias from the way you think about the Sport so that will no doubt come across in some posts.

Author:  minchy [ Thu May 18, 2017 6:05 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Bias on sports discussion boards

Think you nailed it in your second paragraph, some people can't admit they're wrong and that the person or team they support can be anything but perfect!

I'd agree that this forum is a bit mote mature and reasoned than many others. Mainly down to reasoned arguments (instead of putting fingers in ears and screaming abuse) and also a good mod who don't stand for trolling.

Like you said, every poster is biased one way or the other, but most people on here are able to have reasoned debate about their opinions and are not just blindly biased, not willing to listen to reason.

Author:  Ennis [ Fri May 19, 2017 7:59 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Bias on sports discussion boards

Humans have emotions. Emotions contribute to thoughts. There's no way to completely remove bias - although some are better at looking past it than others.

I enjoy taking the moral high ground on here quite frequently as I'm an F1 Fan, I'm not a fan of any driver or team (although I think people who are fans of football, for example, rather than a team would be weirdos? Maybe I'm also a hypocrite..).

Different forums will have different levels of bias. If you open up to all 'fans', you're going to get a lot of bias. I'd suggest going on more 'technical' forums will mean less bias as people will be at things more analytically, but even systems have bias. & of course, as you touch on, F1 is particularly hard as you're not only comparing across eras but also across cars and regulations. Would early-years Vettel have outperformed experienced Webber if we still had a tyre war, and we didn't have blown diffusers? Not the place I want to start the debate, but a fairly recent example of how near impossible it is to say Driver A is better than Driver B.

Specific to this forum, there are definite posters I try to avoid. I don't even mind the fanboys so much, more the anti-specific drivers (who then wrongly blame the fanboys when its them constantly poking) and the ones who pretend to be looking at things objectively but have a trend for criticizing/defending certain drivers over others.

Author:  Ruste13 [ Fri May 19, 2017 10:25 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Bias on sports discussion boards

Im wrong all the time...I've embraced the beast.

Author:  RaggedMan [ Fri May 19, 2017 1:58 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Bias on sports discussion boards

It's okay to have a favorite driver/team/country that you root for, but some people become so personally invested that having something said about that driver/team/country is perceived as an attack against them.

These are the people who talk about how "we" are going to win the title this year, or how the refs screwed "us."

Interesting article that I read this morning talks about much the same thing only with the emphasis being on politics. But the main point applies to this as well.

Author:  mac_d [ Fri May 19, 2017 11:36 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Bias on sports discussion boards

I like to think I'm not all that bias. Though I still have an irrational love for Pedro De La Rosa...

I don't have any favourites in F1 anymore really. I don't care if it's Vettel, Hamilton, Bottas, Alonso, Kimi or whomever winning so long as it's good racing. In NFL, I love my Vikings, but when the other team does better and deserves the win, I'm the first to admit it. However, in snooker I have my definite favourites and if even a final is two players I don't much care for, I won't watch. If it's a player I like, I'd watch them play my gran for 17 frames. Rally was this for me too. I love Marcus Gronholm and outside his time I've drifted away.

I don't really read that much of the opinion stuff on this forum. I don't fully understand a lot of things, but I prefer the more technical discussion and I love it when someone drops some good stats. So I can't really comment on the way this forum is.

Author:  Siao7 [ Mon May 22, 2017 1:07 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Bias on sports discussion boards

I think it's fine, we all have favorites and it will be inappropriate to pretend that we don't. It does become hilarious when people have this love (or similarly "hate" for lack of a better word) for a driver/team/other person of interest that they can't control. I bet they wouldn't defend a family member as passionate as they do when their driver is being accused of making a mistake!

As long as we can embrace it, it is fine. I love Schumacher, but he did some questionable thing on track. I'd be blind and mad to say the opposite. Similarly, I have no love lost for Hamilton, but the guy can drive the wheels off a car. I am trying to be as impartial as I can.

One thing that I am trying to avoid is judgement being clouded by other factors. Like for instance (just a random example as I am not a fan of his) people asking how can you support Tyson, a convicted rapist. Well, I would judge him as a boxer, and before the ear incident, the guy was the fiercest boxer out there. I'm not admiring his treatment of women, nor did I paint him a saint; as an athlete in his prime he was just untouchable. I would be supporting Tyson the athlete, not judging him as a human being. If that makes sense.

Author:  ALESI [ Mon May 22, 2017 1:38 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Bias on sports discussion boards

It's inevitable that there will be bias. Everybody has their pet faves and pet peeves... it just depends how blinkered people are. I've always tended to support drivers who were... less effective shall we say, so obviously Alesi, and more recently Massa. I was definitely anti-Schumi, mainly because of his and Benettons actions in 1994 and Jerez 1997 and I could see no justifiable reason for it. Then when he was at Ferrari winning everything and even when he was second Ferrari were ordering Rubens out of the way.

I never had a problem with Alonso, except for 2007... but I've never liked Hamilton. Right from the start he was so cocky and disrespectful to the backmarkers that I took against him. But I'm never going to argue that Massa would beat him in the same car because I'm not a flipping idiot. He might have before his crash, with a bit of luck, and I don't buy the idea that Hamilton beat Massa to the championship in an inferior car.

Anyway, lets not get into all that again.

I think part of the problem is maybe that some people on sports forums take everything so seriously. You can't make a flippant remark without someone taking you to task and it can get a bit wearing. I agree that F1 is a notoriously difficult sport to gauge, and the coach potato stat guys do get on my wick. They think they have all the info but they clearly don't, since as far as I'm aware F1 teams don't actually post their debrief data on the internet, listing every component and it's performance relative to the median. Yes we might get to hear the odd thing now and again, but teams don't generally go around saying things like 'the engine was underperforming by about 0.5%', you know, the sort of thing that might critically affect a driver's qualifying time relative to their team mate.

I accept that we have to assess drivers relative to each other, and in the process we may have to make some assumptions, but these things really shouldn't be taken as gospel. And nor should we read too much into what the drivers say, since some drivers are clearly in a different place 'employment wise' and can speak their mind more freely than others.

But to get back to your question, yes bias exists for sure and it colours most people's view. For some Vettel's pass on Bottas in Spain was something special, for some it wasn't. I tend to take the view that it was 'exciting' and that's what matters more to me than the relative tyre wear matrix, nationality or likeability of the driver or whatever. For all that I don't particularly like Hamilton, when he was racing wheel to wheel with Jenson or Nico, it was exciting. I can still respect him without liking him, whereas with Schumi I didn't like him or respect him all that much.

Author:  Ocon [ Thu May 25, 2017 6:41 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Bias on sports discussion boards

RaggedMan wrote:
It's okay to have a favorite driver/team/country that you root for, but some people become so personally invested that having something said about that driver/team/country is perceived as an attack against them.

These are the people who talk about how "we" are going to win the title this year, or how the refs screwed "us."

Interesting article that I read this morning talks about much the same thing only with the emphasis being on politics. But the main point applies to this as well.

Good article. It does seem that many have a difficult time(in general, in life), to change their opinion on something they believed for a long time, especially when you have so many others who believe the same. It really is all about fitting in, in particular groups. Whether it's a football team, a political party, a singer, driver, religion or whatever. It really is very convenient to tune out everything you don't want to hear. The more invested/fanatical you are, the more difficult it is to reason properly. And it doesn't have to mean you are not intelligent for doing this, you just choose to ignore anything that goes against your views. And like it says in the article, choosing to only read and hear things that reinforce your beliefs instead of taking all facts in to account makes you feel better.

It is as if whatever you chose to believe in from the start has to be right. If someone tells you later it isn't then it becomes like you say, an attack on yourself. It is really an attack on your judgement, it means you made the wrong decision on such an important thing and some feel it's more important to preserve their ego then to admitt they might have been wrong, even though they know a change would benefit them.

You can apply this to relationships for example. You choose to hang on to this positive side of your partner that you saw in the beggining despite the person showing more and more who they really are later. And everyone around you could be telling you to get rid of this person but you who have invested a lot of time and effort in to it, don't wan't to aknowledge the negative things. And keep rationalising as to why to stay in the relationship.

Edit: I also frequent many different football club forums and what you said about the refs, I have seen in every single one of them. There's always a bunch of fans who are really convinced the refs are against them. It's usually a few who start saying this and others tag along. And all these teams play in the same league.:)

Also, I believe good points have been made by all the other posters above as well.

Author:  Blinky McSquinty [ Tue Jul 11, 2017 9:28 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Bias on sports discussion boards

My wife has her PhD in psychology. One day, out of the blue I asked her "are sports fans rational?" and her immediate response was an emphatic NO.

IMO one of the largest problems with this thread topic issue is that many fans do not understand that their beliefs are constructed on a foundation of emotion, and any further conclusions are driven and derived from those emotional opinions. For many, they attempt to construct a logical argument to defend their beliefs or favorite driver/team, or whatever.

I may have been like that when I was young, But I am much older, and unfortunately I have seen all my favorite drivers perish in racing accidents. Because of that trauma I have withdrawn emotionally, and I can never again become emotionally invested in any driver. I just like to watch them show off and display their bravery, skill, and acumen. Despite my distancing, I still understand and admit I am irrational when it comes to racing.

Hello, my name is Dave and I'm a racing addict.

It is the human condition that each of us are biologically engineered to want to belong to a community, driven by the simple fact that more people guarantee a better chance of survival. That made sense when bushmen lived on the plains of Africa. These days that drive is redirected towards their city, favorite sports team, political organization, or as in the case here, favorite driver. These group of like-minded people easily band together, reinforce their beliefs, and can even get stupidly aggressive. This is one of the drawbacks of the internet, where fans can easily and quickly communicate with each other, and derive a sense of community. And that community can morph into a cancer, a vicious animal that is intolerant against any criticism, and strike back with venomous fury completely out of proportion to the original question.

This is why we suffer soccer riots, this is why some fans are rabid.

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