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Definition of bias from Google:

prejudice in favor of or against one thing, person, or group compared with another

I notice that all SE sites tend to show only the highly voted, rated, or otherwise answered questions (or a combination thereof). It seems to me that this is meeting the definition of bias in these areas:

1.It is favoring good questions, and trying to convey that bad ones don't exist, or are not to be seen.

2.Bad questions are going to be asked anywhere! Why present questions as if bad questions are non-existent?

3.It is also prejudice to questions which might be interesting, but from which nobody has voted up. It is possible that a good question may not be voted up immediately, and other questions get asked and push it down more and more(especially in a high-traffic site). With this in mind, it eliminates the potential from other than non-preferred questions to be visible from the home page of a site(even if those questions may have been good in one way or another, but didn't get the chance to be featured).

I can understand that the site wants to give off a good vibe, but it is bias and prejudice to only show favored questions in the front page. Perhaps a few bad questions here and there would show more realism and less bias, I would say. Also, as mentioned before, good questions aren't always voted, hence, they could be skewed by and never get their front page view.

I propose a theory that:

1.Maybe the front page should sometimes show non-voted questions, or even down-voted questions to give a sense of realism, and reduce the bias outlook of the site by not only favoring voted questions.

2.Maybe the page should divide the voted/bad/average questions all on the front page in separate rows/columns to portray more than just the biased "good" questions.

I can't be the only one who thinks this, can I? I understand that image is important in business, but it's simply bias, prejudice, and falsehood to try and make the site seem perfect by only featuring voted marks or the like.

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    $\begingroup$ You might want to say what exactly you are considering as the "main page". $\endgroup$ – dmckee Dec 27 '13 at 21:33
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    $\begingroup$ Physics.stackexchange.Com is the main page for Physics.SE. It first features "top questions" only, and, if you read my question thoroughly, it is appearing to be bias. $\endgroup$ – IWishForGreatAnswers Dec 27 '13 at 21:37
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    $\begingroup$ Then it is certainly not true that only good content is shown. It is true that sufficiently bad content is not shown, and that is a good thing, because who wants to look at it? $\endgroup$ – dmckee Dec 27 '13 at 21:38
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    $\begingroup$ @dmckee You aren't really proposing a good answer or argument there. You're just using reverse-philosophical reasoning, e.g. "half empty or half full?" My argument holds still that only good quality questions are shown, or bad quality questions are not. That is bias ... it doesn't matter if some or even most may choose not to read them. Something less preferred is not un-bias because people may not want to see it. It is still bias because bad questions are not shown at all, and they do exist. Please attempt to read my question again thoroughly before answering with such ignorance. $\endgroup$ – IWishForGreatAnswers Dec 27 '13 at 21:42
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    $\begingroup$ It is a bias, and it was a vast improvement to the established sites when it was instituted. There is no philosophical reason for these sites to treat poor content the same as they treat quality content. We want the good stuff and don't want the bad stuff. Yes, crowd-sourced evaluation can make mistakes, but mostly it does a pretty good job and the thresholds are set to allow some time for users to reverse a bad initial judgement. $\endgroup$ – dmckee Dec 27 '13 at 21:45
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    $\begingroup$ One is simply wrong to say that because people with high-post counts consider something "unworthy," nobody shall answer or devote their time to it. This is Totalitarian reasoning. You have no proof that a down-voted question is exempt from possible attention or consideration, and all highly-voted questions are not of everyone's interest either. $\endgroup$ – IWishForGreatAnswers Dec 27 '13 at 21:46
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    $\begingroup$ I repeat we have no obligation to treat all content the same. Stack Exchange was founded on the idea that there is such a thing as quality in questions and answers and is designed to crowd-source the evaluation of that quantity. If you don't like that then you might be happier elsewhere, because those core principles are not going to change. $\endgroup$ – dmckee Dec 27 '13 at 21:48
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    $\begingroup$ @dmckee But that's where the problem begins ... only "good" questions are shown. Just like companies advertise only "good" things about themself and hide all of the bad things. If you're not perfect, and we agree on that, why waste time aiming to look perfect instead of showing some realism from time-to-time? $\endgroup$ – IWishForGreatAnswers Dec 27 '13 at 21:48
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    $\begingroup$ @dmckee I repeat ... I'm not against quality questions, I'm against bias portrayal of the site by only highlighting highly-voted questions. This is bias and false ... the site has bad questions, I've asked plenty myself. The fact of the matter is the site is bias, it's promoting falsehood, and it's even lying to everyone. Why can't a single "bad" question be highlighted? Favorism over bad questions simply because good questions are deemed "better" by some people and some standards is the rule of thumb for prejudice. $\endgroup$ – IWishForGreatAnswers Dec 27 '13 at 21:50
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    $\begingroup$ This question here is being treated in a bias fashion right now because people are simply down-voting me because I'm not conforming to standards, and I've attacked and confronted the position of the entire series of websites with facts. Even if questions are "bad" that shouldn't eliminate the fact that they exist and they can be seen. Pretending like they don't exist is bias and lying. Favoring good questions only? Wrong. $\endgroup$ – IWishForGreatAnswers Dec 27 '13 at 21:52
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    $\begingroup$ If you don't treat all content the same in some regard, that is unfair, unjust, and bias. The site is conforming to bias prejudice against bad questions, it's unfair by lying to visitors and saying these are all "good" questions. Then the visitors click "Questions" and they see all of the bad questions, and realism strikes in. The site is anti-realism, anti-facts, bias and unjust, and is lying with the preconceived notion it gives to visitors that instills the idea of a "perfect" website(which, as I proved, does not exist). $\endgroup$ – IWishForGreatAnswers Dec 27 '13 at 21:56
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    $\begingroup$ It's worth pointing out that your entire rant just shows you are biased/prejudiced against bias/prejudice. In other words, by denouncing what you perceive as bias, you are biased yourself. If you don't want your questions to fall off the main page, ask better questions. Or start your own Q&A website that puts questions on the front page randomly (because most recently is again biased against people who asked questions previously). $\endgroup$ – tpg2114 Dec 27 '13 at 23:26
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    $\begingroup$ The front page does NOT show only highly rated stuff. If you're logged in, it shows all recently modified posts, except the ones with score ≤-4. If you aren't logged in, there's a selection (closed questions or questions with score <0 are omitted, for example), but it's still hardly limited to “good quality/rated questions”. Are you sure you didn't accidentally click on the “hot” tab? $\endgroup$ – Gilles Dec 27 '13 at 23:47
  • $\begingroup$ @IWishForGreatAnswers we do not need to argue our 'case', it is how it is - if anyone doesn't like it, then tough luck. Continuing to rant and ramble is not going to change a thing - this is, as stated several times, how it is has always been done successfully for Stack Exchange. $\endgroup$ – user29350 Dec 28 '13 at 1:03
  • $\begingroup$ "If you don't treat all content the same... that is unfair". That's pretty much how the world is. Should every person be paid the same regardless of the job they do? Or how well they do it? Natural selection works - unless you are always pruning, tidying, forgetting... you will very soon find yourself incapable of action. It baffles me that you care enough to criticize this community but not enough to just accept that this community operates by these rules. It's like complaining that your cat doesn't have gills. If you want a pet with gills, get a fish. $\endgroup$ – Floris Jul 4 '15 at 21:39
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As I see, your main concern is that low-voted questions are not shown in the front page. So this means:

  1. Down-voted questions won't get an answer
  2. It's gives a false image
  3. It's bias (which is implicitly bad)

I don't know you, but for me, the Stackechange network is one of the best places in the Internet. I get quick and good answers (in most cases it has already been answered). But in other forums it's useless to use the search options, because there are so many duplicates, spam, silly discussions, no tags... Once a question is asked, it will be lost like tears in the rain (and if you find an unanswered question, you're not even supposed to answer). Moderation doesn't even exist (spam may stay weeks before it's deleted). And forget about meta discussion, if you don't like the rules, you must shut up.

The Stackexchange network solves most of these problems.

A problem with mass media technologies is information overload. Too much information is no information at all (that why I don't read newspapers and watch TV anymore). So the vote system is supposed to reduce the noise. Sure, some good questions will be lost, but this is a tiny disadvantage compared to the benefits.

Thanks to bias you've arrived to this site (if Google sorted his results in any order, Internet would be almost useless), you're biasing people all the time, books, sports, countries... You can't have it all.

Even if this site sucks, I like it (and millions more do) and I should have the option to use it (we aren't doing anything illegal).

And I don't see the problem of not showing bad questions. When I visit a website I want to see the best of it, not the hall of shame. I doubt that people will have a heartattack when they realize we are not perfect (everyone should already know that perfection doesn't exist). Should we also warn that the computers which people are visiting the site with are financing wars, rapes, hunger and many other crimes in the Third World? And if you log in you'll see all the crap you want.

If you don't treat all content the same in some regard, that is unfair, unjust, and bias.

Justice is not treating everyone in the same way, but in the way they deserve. Bad questions (to the community standards) won't be favoured.

Note that any system will be unfair because there are people who can't afford an Internet connection.

And to give some answers to your comments:

So you're saying that what community members decide to show to other people, other people will see? That's simply wrong. Why should a "community member" decide what me, a passerby, may want to see?

It seems that you don't like the voting system. It's the problem democracy always had, that some stupid person can vote, when I a superior person should be the only one to decide (the problem is that in most cases, you would be in the base of the pyramid and if you criticize the system you might even get killed). But experience has proven that democracy is far better than a dictatorship.

If this isn't a totalitarian system, why do you have the power (yes, power) to remove me from this site, but I can't even say I don't like you?

@Brandon can't remove you from the system and, aren't you expressing your opinions freely?

This is relative to racism, sexism, and social prejudice against other classes.

You're going too far...

I proved that I follow a just system

Which one? You've just said that you don't follow this system.

Do you want me to start a website like this (I'm a programmer, I can), and implement my own system? We can then see which one works better(I can back the site as well, and know others who will). Is this a challenge towards my morality? Are you doing that right now?

Let's see how nice StackExchange looks when I write about it in my blog which has thousands of followers, and write an article on Ezine

I feel that you're taking this too personally. You're free to do anything. In fact, I encourage you to do it, if you like. One must follow his convictions, we only live once.

" Talking about morals? Give me the power to vote down your question like you did mine, and then tell me a thing about morals.

No one is talking about morals (morality is something more important than this, which is done in real life, where people really need help, not in the Internet).

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  • $\begingroup$ So if nobody on the internet helps each other, why did you write this question? Nothing across radio waves is reals, right? That phone call with your friend was not real either. Is anything real? What's fake? You could be fake for all I know. Perhaps you're an alien computer that can reason with us humans due to mind uploading? $\endgroup$ – IWishForGreatAnswers Jan 22 '14 at 21:04
  • $\begingroup$ @IWishForGreatAnswers What are you talking about? Greeks already thought about that: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solipsism, but it's totally unrelated. $\endgroup$ – jinawee Jan 22 '14 at 22:09
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Lets take you points one at a time

  • Only good content is shown. This is simply false. Content with scores of -2 upwards are shown on http://physics.stackexchange.com, and all content is shown on https://physics.stackexchange.com/questions.

    Note that un-voted questions are featured on the front-page, and that randomly selected (subject to a net score higher than -3) older questions are occasionally bumped to the front-page by the community user.

  • An allegation that this is disingenuous or advertising. Frankly that is nonsense. The vast bulk of our users find us from searches which take them directly to relevant content. The tuning of the front-page (which takes into account both score and you tag preferences) is designed as a convenience to the users.

  • A claim that we have a obligation to treat all content alike. Again, nonsense. These site are designed to "make the internet a better place". That does not mean highlighting crap, it means highlighting the good stuff. And "good" is chosen by the users at large.

    It is worth noting that the high-rep users do not dominate the voting, there are many, many more low-rep user than high-rep ones and they have the same voting power as anyone else.

  • Noting that bad questions are going to be asked. Well, yes they are. But we are not going to encourage that. We are, in fact, going to discourage that.

In short: we are biased against crap and we are proud of that fact.

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    $\begingroup$ Nice to see the true colors of a false "community." I would never create a community or system such as this one. $\endgroup$ – IWishForGreatAnswers Dec 27 '13 at 22:12
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    $\begingroup$ You want me to believe that by saying one is "biased for a good cause," bias is actually acceptable? What kind of person of any morality would do that? I do good, I know I'm good, and I always do good for others. It's in my very nature to debate and fix the wrong doings of others in one way or another just as I am now. Being proud of being biased is a decrease on your morality and standing point. You want to discourage bad questions ... again, prejudice, bias, unjust. Why does something bad have to be hidden? You want to game on the system of only favoring good questions, and hiding bad ones. $\endgroup$ – IWishForGreatAnswers Dec 27 '13 at 22:27
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    $\begingroup$ This is, by the way, the very same system that disallows me from voting your comment down because I'm not "at your standards." Talking about morals? Give me the power to vote down your question like you did mine, and then tell me a thing about morals. $\endgroup$ – IWishForGreatAnswers Dec 27 '13 at 22:30
  • $\begingroup$ Nobody can vote comments down. There is no such thing as a comment downvote. $\endgroup$ – dmckee Dec 27 '13 at 22:30
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    $\begingroup$ You will'never create a community or system such as this one'? That's nice, we have and we are happy with it. $\endgroup$ – user29350 Dec 28 '13 at 1:06
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    $\begingroup$ I would like to think that I am a rather moral person and I wholeheartedly agree that the bias against bad questions is a damn good thing. $\endgroup$ – Kyle Kanos Dec 28 '13 at 3:56
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The comments are getting crowded so I'll post as an answer.

It's correct that anything other than a uniform random selection of questions is biased in some way. That's fine. That's even good.

Stack Exchange doesn't claim or even aim to be a statistically unbiased representation of (physics) questions. That's why there is a democratic system in place to allow the community to rate questions and answers and why those votes are used to determine what gets shown to other people.

People will continue participate in the site if they have questions others find interesting or if there are interesting questions to answer. Without a democratic voting system it would be much harder to find the interesting content and many people would lose interest.

A biased selection isn't the sign of totalitarian oppression. It's the sign of a working democracy. Your vote is worth the same as my vote or anyone else's vote so if you see questions you think are underrated, be sure to upvote them. By the same token, if you see questions that are overrated, downvote them. The site will be steered in the direction of the collective community feeling. You're a part of the community so do your part by voting.

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    $\begingroup$ So you're saying that what community members decide to show to other people, other people will see? That's simply wrong. Why should a "community member" decide what me, a passerby, may want to see? What I may see, or what I will see, should depend on a somewhat just system that can somehow present factual statistics to the general public rather than hide questions deemed "improper" by some people's opinions, semantics, or reasoning. Do you have any evidence that can prove that presenting mixed content questions makes people "lose interest?" You seem to be asserting opinions without evidence. $\endgroup$ – IWishForGreatAnswers Dec 27 '13 at 21:59
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    $\begingroup$ If my vote is the same as your vote, why do I get an error notification when I try to vote your question? If this isn't a totalitarian system, why do you have the power (yes, power) to remove me from this site, but I can't even say I don't like you? I am not part of the community; I do not consider myself part of a community. I consider myself a person who is rendering an HTML website through a web server from which I request data that is sent and displayed from my monitor from my video display hardware. That alone does not make me part of a community. $\endgroup$ – IWishForGreatAnswers Dec 27 '13 at 22:01
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    $\begingroup$ @IWishForGreatAnswers having the community decide what others will see initially doesn't stop others from searching the site for the content they want to see. It's like saying "You may be interested in <xyz> because others have been interested in it.". $\endgroup$ – Brandon Enright Dec 27 '13 at 22:02
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    $\begingroup$ You're wrong. It's still PRESENTING favored questions, and these questions are favored by people who have the POWER to do so from the system put in place by the website developers. Such as a company might hide their dirt and falsehood by ONLY advertising the "good" things they've done. This is a system that is wrong from the start. $\endgroup$ – IWishForGreatAnswers Dec 27 '13 at 22:04
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    $\begingroup$ @IWishForGreatAnswers you have a reputation of 28. You have to be a member of the community before we trust you to downvote (reputation 125). We're not interested in the opinions of people that haven't yet made enough meaningful contributions to the community. $\endgroup$ – Brandon Enright Dec 27 '13 at 22:04
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    $\begingroup$ @IWishForGreatAnswers if you don't like the reputation or voting system on the site, feel free to not participate. $\endgroup$ – Brandon Enright Dec 27 '13 at 22:06
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    $\begingroup$ I have made no good contributions to the community because I simply do not care about the community you consider me a part of. I do not take the fact that I have higher reputation as any indicator of anything. I can turn around right now and destroy my credentials at any moment if I wish to. You should NOT trust me for many reasons, and even some I won't tell you for. If you're not interested in opinions of people outside of a community, you are enclosing yourself in a bubble and rejecting those who are different. This is relative to racism, sexism, and social prejudice against other classes. $\endgroup$ – IWishForGreatAnswers Dec 27 '13 at 22:06
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    $\begingroup$ Brandon, I will continue to participate because I can. I will always have a problem with the system and never agree with it, and never consider myself a part of a community I do not wish to see myself in. You aren't in any position to state that I shall feel free not to engage in what this web server enables me to do so upon request simply because I do not agree with the system. I guess having over 5,000 reputation doesn't give off Totalitarian vibe after all. Let's see how nice StackExchange looks when I write about it in my blog which has thousands of followers, and write an article on Ezine $\endgroup$ – IWishForGreatAnswers Dec 27 '13 at 22:07
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    $\begingroup$ "I simply do not care about the community " 'Nuff said. $\endgroup$ – dmckee Dec 27 '13 at 22:08
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    $\begingroup$ @dmckee It's a fact. I don't care about the "community", I do not follow any rules of the community unless it's a personal gain for me, and I do not befriend any member of such a system that is prejudice like this one. Will I still participate? You can bet on it. You'll never know who I am, however, aside from that one person who spoke the truth. Nice having a debate and seeing the true colors of this site with you two. I'll be sure to see you again under a future-fit identity. $\endgroup$ – IWishForGreatAnswers Dec 27 '13 at 22:10
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    $\begingroup$ @IWishForGreatAnswers you claimed we hide our dirty laundry: "only "good" questions are shown. Just like companies advertise only "good" things about themself and hide all of the bad things. If you're not perfect, and we agree on that, why waste time aiming to look perfect instead of showing some realism from time-to-time?" yet you hide behind anonymity and say: "I do not follow any rules of the community unless it's a personal gain for me". Maybe you should think twice about morality and external image before you try to lecture us on the topic? $\endgroup$ – Brandon Enright Dec 27 '13 at 22:17
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    $\begingroup$ I hide behind anonymity because I can. Are you upset at that fact? Do you wish for me to reveal myself so you can judge me? I'm afraid not. You and your little "community" can live in fairy-land all you want, but reality is when is just, not bias. I am just, unbias, and fair, and you communicate in a community that is not. I, again, have proven that I am morally better than you because you subscribe to such a system that is falsehood, bias, unjust, and morally wrong. $\endgroup$ – IWishForGreatAnswers Dec 27 '13 at 22:22
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    $\begingroup$ If you're such a good person, prove to me how. I proved that I follow a just system, and don't game on any preconceived notion of favoritism. Do you want me to start a website like this (I'm a programmer, I can), and implement my own system? We can then see which one works better(I can back the site as well, and know others who will). Is this a challenge towards my morality? Are you doing that right now? $\endgroup$ – IWishForGreatAnswers Dec 27 '13 at 22:24
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    $\begingroup$ @IWishForGreatAnswers if you find the community distasteful, then why stay here? We are not going to change just because some anonymous stranger on the web has had this tantrum. $\endgroup$ – user29350 Dec 28 '13 at 1:18
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I don't know how much of an answer this is going to be, but have you seen google ?

The search results are decided on their relevance and popularity in the entire Internet. That does not throw people off as bias, it does mean that when you search "popular science" it will give you the official popular science site and not your own blog which has a lousy comment on their biased nature. Do you also go to google's blog and criticize them of being such a biased community ? I dont think so, it is this feature only that gets results and gets them fast.

I know it may offend the ego of many people to get their questions downvoted and then thrown off the front page, but that is usually not because people are not finding your questions interesting, it is because people find your questions lacking something which make them suitable for the site.

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    $\begingroup$ I would also like to say that the OP is claiming that we are less of a community and more of a brotherhood, Dont know why but I think it is pretty cool, like being the ILLUMINATI. $\endgroup$ – Rijul Gupta Dec 28 '13 at 3:05

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