Don’t trust anything that promises “The best {10,15,20,…} X of 2019”

Whereas some people think of our times as the “information age” (and some don’t like to think of it as such), I have come to view our time and mentality as the “age of lists and rankings”. I don’t know when it started, but I feel myself surrounded by lists and rankings of all sorts.

Well, so I fell for it as well, with precisely this promise:

TOP 50 STATISTICS BLOGS OF 2019

thebestcolleges.com

First of all – how could they possibly know? I mean, if it were statistics blogs for 2019, ok. There is a distinct difference between for and of.

In searching for the top statistics blogs on the web we only considered recently active blogs. In deciding which ones to include in our (admittedly unscientific) list of the 50 best statistics blogs we considered a range of factors, including visual appeal/aesthetics, frequency of posts, and accessibility to non-specialists.

Admittedly unscientific. I wonder yet what their understanding of “recently active” is. When looking at the presented list, I came across a range of blogs definitely not from, for or of 2019.

Image 1: A blog from 2011
Image 2: A blog from 2014

So what is the essence? Here’s my list {for, of, about} lists and rankings:

  1. Be wary of promises that include superlatives
  2. Be aware of today’s date
  3. Make sure you know your conjunctions
  4. An R with the right permutation can really make a difference
  5. Optional: I have no clue about college rankings, but after this sloppy presentation I’d be very unsure – so beware of rankings of uncertain origin.

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