Anti-Violence Video Game Group Conducts Study Getting Parents To Ask For Anti-Violent Video Game Law

from the not-exactly-unbiased dept

An anti-violence video game group has pulled the easiest trick in the book, hiring a polling firm to do a poll that claims that 72% of parents want an anti-violent video game law. Of course, with something like this, how you ask such questions is very, very important. And, of course, it's not hard to word questions about violent video games in a way that would easily make them say they supported a law. Of course, you could just as easily twist things around. I would imagine that if the questions were worded along the lines of:
Do you support a law that takes your freedom of choice as a parent over what sorts of media your child might consume?
the results might be quite different. Or, how about if it asked:
Despite no evidence of harm down by certain media products, the government is looking to set up barriers to having your children take part in certain cultural events. Do you support such a law?
Obviously, both questions are highly biased, but it shows what a waste this kind of survey is, when it's designed to elicit a particular response, and almost certainly does not put the issues into context for people.


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  1.  
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    PaulT (profile), Sep 16th, 2010 @ 4:49am

    One of the most pathetic elements of the modern era is that so many parents try to get the government to do their parenting for them.

    If such a law was enacted, I suspect it would be as successful as the laws passed in response to the "video nasties" hysteria in the UK (i.e. not at all, and actually creating a vibrant black market that would not have existed without the laws).

    Meanwhile, the actual causes of youth problems that can't be easily scapegoated continue (poverty, abuse, etc.)

     

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    Moo^2, Sep 16th, 2010 @ 4:57am

    strangely enough, a few years back the PEGI looked at the average age of people who buy video games and apparently it's 35 years. The average age at which people are playing these games was around 30. So apparently someone is buying games without checking what he/she is buying OR they do know and don't care.

    as an aside, only a small fraction of the games is labeled 16 and 18+, but they do seem to get a lot of attention. I wonder if people considered the influence racing games have on dangerous driving and speeding? They are after all labeled 3+ here, which means that minors are getting used to the idea of speeding.

     

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    Dark Helmet (profile), Sep 16th, 2010 @ 5:22am

    Re:

    " I wonder if people considered the influence racing games have on dangerous driving and speeding?"

    It's funny, because I was in high school during the whole Columbine thing, and my father had an overreactive moment. He ordered me and my brother to throw out all our movies, music, and games that had anything to do with violence. I let him calm down for a few days and then began playing Civilization III again. He saw battle on the screen and erupted.

    Then, I asked him to sit down, and I showed him all the diplomacy options in the game, the trade sanctions, the alliances, the mutual protection pacts, etc. His reaction was perfect: "Wow. That's kind of like real life. There are times to negotiate and times to talk and times when you have to fight. It's just like real life."

    Needless to say he let me keep playing....

     

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    Pete Austin, Sep 16th, 2010 @ 5:27am

    This is about "ultraviolent or sexually violent" games

    You can be pretty sure that they also asked about games that are just "violent", but they didn't get an answer they liked so didn't use it.

     

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    Pete Austin, Sep 16th, 2010 @ 5:33am

    Parents want to be the ones deciding

    "The Supreme Court’s decision in this case is going to have a huge impact on families and kids across the United States, and what we’ve learned from this poll is that parents want to be the ones deciding which games their kids play", said James Steyer, CEO and founder, Common Sense Media.

    http://www.commonsensemedia.org/about-us/press-room/press-releases/violent-video-game-ban- poll

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 16th, 2010 @ 5:35am

    An immodest Proposal

    How about we poll gamers to see if they want to eliminate children. No problem with violent video games after that...

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 16th, 2010 @ 5:35am

    Funny they are using the same tactics big pharma use, also the entertainment industry, big tabacco, the financial sector, BSA and a lot of others.

    The good thing is that, this is causing some backlash.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 16th, 2010 @ 5:35am

    If this is the same poll [commonsensemedia.org] that Ars Technica reported on [arstechnica.com] yesterday, it's really quite absurd.

    According to Ars, the question was "Would you support or oppose a law that prohibits minors from purchasing video games that depict killing, maiming or sexually assaulting an image of a human being?" I don't think anyone is OK with letting minors purchace a game that involves "sexually assaulting an ... human being." That question is so loaded it's not even funny.

    Further, the Common Sense Media report itself just talks about how large numbers of parents are concerned about the affect "ultraviolent" video games might have on their kids, but being concerned about the affects is not the same as asking for a law to ban violent video games.

     

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    Not That Chris (profile), Sep 16th, 2010 @ 5:36am

    Better Loaded Question

    I think a better poll question here would have been:

    "Do you need a law to do your job as a parent because you're such a failure?"

    BTW, am I the only one whose first thought regarding "ultraviolent" video games was one where the objective was to beat someone to death with a giant plaster art deco penis? Yeah, just me...sorry bout that...

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 16th, 2010 @ 5:40am

    Re:

    So apparently someone is buying games without checking what he/she is buying OR they do know and don't care.

    You either left out information of you're jumping to a conclusion. If a 40 year old mother buys a Pokemon game for her 12 year old son, that fits the average-buyer-age vs average-player-age dichotomy you set up, but has nothing to do with irresponsible parenting or young kids playing violent video games.

    And actually, that's another thing: how do you define "violent"? In Pokemon, you're basically partaking in cartoon dog fights. Super Mario is a pretty violent game, jumping on turtles and beating up dragons...

     

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    GetOverIt, Sep 16th, 2010 @ 5:45am

    Neglegence?

    Why can't 72% of parents take responsibility for what thier kids do? Why is it that these lazy a$$ parents in the world think it is up to everyone else to give a crap about what thier kids do? Look people it is not my responsibility to monitor what your kid is doing, it is YOURS!!! If you cannot handle that you should not have kids. Also, just because you don't want your kid to have something does not mean that noone else should be able to have it. By that reasoning I guess we should ban alcohol, we wouldn't want you neglegent parents to have to worry about your precious kids having a drink before they turn 21. Get over yourselves, the rest of the world does not care about what you OR your kids want.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 16th, 2010 @ 5:48am

    Re: An immodest Proposal

    AMEN!!!!!!

     

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    Richard (profile), Sep 16th, 2010 @ 5:49am

    Re:

    the average age of people who buy video games and apparently it's 35 years. The average age at which people are playing these games was around 30.

    Ah I see now - they play a pirated version for 5 years - then feel guilty and buy a copy...

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 16th, 2010 @ 5:50am

    Re: Parents want to be the ones deciding

    The "parents" need to learn to take responsibility for what thier kid are playing, not the law.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 16th, 2010 @ 5:54am

    Why don't we make neglegent parents illegal?

     

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    Bradley Stewart, Sep 16th, 2010 @ 5:56am

    Oh For Crying Out Loud

    I'm an old codger now. I believe that people who complain about sex and violence in entertainment were all born fully grown wearing suits. They never had a childhood. I think that they should all just shut up and find something productive to do with their time instead of annoying the rest of us with their senses of morality and good taste. On the other hand if that's what they believe have at it. It's their right.

     

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    Joshua Bova, Sep 16th, 2010 @ 6:04am

    Be a parent.

    I've got four sons, if I don't want them playing violent video games, it is my choice. My oldest is only eight and I don't need him being exposed to the graphic nature of war. So, since I am the parent and they my children, I don't let them. Because this is AMERICA where we are allowed to choose. I don't need a law to tell me what is right or wrong for my children. Parenting is a huge reponsibility that sure as hell shouldn't be left to the government, they can't do their job, they shouldn't be doing mine.

     

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    abc gum, Sep 16th, 2010 @ 6:08am

    What were the questions asked by the pollsters?

    I suggest that all polls be required to disclose the exact wording of the questions asked in the polling process. In addition, they should be required to disclose details of the statistical analysis used to obtain the results.

    Without this, the sound bites are meaningless.

     

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    Griff (profile), Sep 16th, 2010 @ 6:31am

    Tom and Jerry anyone ?

    I spent my early childhood watching a cat get serially battered by a mouse.
    And also there was this really unlucky Coyote...

    My point is that kids over about 6 generally understand the difference between fantasy and reality.

    I tend to worry that my kids will overhear the daytime radio news about Iraq and Afghanistan because they know that is real and I find it hard to explain to them why our allies just bombed a wedding.

    If you want to know where a kid grows up thinking that you can shoot people who get in your way, take a look at the US police force and US foreign policy. Not Tom and Jerry.

     

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    Berenerd (profile), Sep 16th, 2010 @ 6:34am

    Re:

    I think it was here in Mass where Parents wanted the State to pass a "Twig and berry" law. This would greatly restrict what kids could have for lunch offered by the cafe at schools. Basically unsweetened granola and fresh fruit were the only options. 2 towns mostly adopted it then turned right back around the next year and said it wasn't going to help. Kids would goto Mcdonnalds or bring pizza into the school.

     

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  21.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 16th, 2010 @ 6:44am

    Re: Neglegence?

    To understand the 72% number better, it was 72% of parents who said they would support a law that prevented "minors from purchacing" games the depicted sexual violence. That's a terribly loaded question. And we already have such bans on minors buying alcohol and cigarettes -- in none of those cases does it prevent a parents from buying the products for their kids (though doing so could lead to negligence of child endangerment charges, depending).

    What the poll didn't ask is "do you think the government should relieve you of your parenting responsibilities" or anything else that would lead to your conclusion.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 16th, 2010 @ 6:49am

    Re: Be a parent.

    The question in question, though, asked about a law preventing minors from buying "ultraviolent" or "sexually violent" video games. That's like asking if it's OK to sell Playboy, vodka, or cigarrettes to any 8-year old who asks. I'm sure you support the fact that your son can't walk down to Barnes and Nobel and buy porn without your concent, and this question was just asking that. They're then taking the responses and twisting it to make it look like most parents support a ban on violent video games, which is a very different question. It's the difference between "you shouldn't be allowed to sell Playboy to my 8-year-old" and "you shouldn't be allowed to produce Playboy."

     

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    chris (profile), Sep 16th, 2010 @ 6:52am

    Re:

    One of the most pathetic elements of the modern era is that so many parents try to get the government to do their parenting for them.

    except for when they don't. for every parent that wants the world dipped in foam rubber so their kid never has to learn about consequences, there is a parent who wants all textbooks changed to conform to their particular political bias.

    and for each of those parents, there are two that just yell "don't tell me how to raise my kid!" whenever some one calls them out on their bad parenting decisions.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 16th, 2010 @ 6:52am

    lol

    I've got four sons, if I don't want them playing violent video games, it is my choice. My oldest is only eight and I don't need him being exposed to the graphic nature of war. So, since I am the parent and they my children, I don't let them. Because this is AMERICA where we are allowed to choose. I don't need a law to tell me what is right or wrong for my children. Parenting is a huge responsibility that sure as hell shouldn't be left to the government, they can't do their job, they shouldn't be doing mine.


    guess we can choose in AMERICA, unless your a child, then you have no rights and are cattle for parents, should have to take a test to be a parent, we would have better children

     

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    chris (profile), Sep 16th, 2010 @ 7:00am

    Re: An immodest Proposal

     

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    Mike42 (profile), Sep 16th, 2010 @ 7:05am

    Re: Better Loaded Question

    That's very horrorshow, oh my little droog...

     

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  27.  
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    Christopher Gizzi (profile), Sep 16th, 2010 @ 7:08am

    Re: Re:

    That's why, under such a ruling, those Star Wars Lego branded games will be banned for "cartoon or realistic gun violence."

    There is no definition.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 16th, 2010 @ 7:29am

    We are doomed to play Tetris foreverrrrrrr!!!

     

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    PaulT (profile), Sep 16th, 2010 @ 7:32am

    Re: Re:

    ...hence my use of the phrase "so many parents" rather than "all parents".

    Your point?

     

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    Cixelsid (profile), Sep 16th, 2010 @ 7:50am

    Re: Re:

    Your dad freaked out because you played Civ 3? What would have happened if he saw you playing God of War?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 16th, 2010 @ 7:52am

    Re: Re: Re:

    I'm definitely not arguing in favor of the study's conclusion, i'm simply pointing out that it's not unreasonable that 72% of parents answered that question the way they did. A lot of ire here is being directed at the parents, when it should be directed at the pollsters and lobbyists.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 16th, 2010 @ 9:31am

    Re:

    I'd go with War on Drugs in this example. Is the Mission Accomplished? /Bush flies in on a Pablo Escobar made of 100% pure Columbian.

    "If such a law was enacted, I suspect it would be as successful as the laws passed in response to the "video nasties" hysteria in the UK (i.e. not at all, and actually creating a vibrant black market that would not have existed without the laws)."

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 16th, 2010 @ 9:43am

    I have a genuine question that I would like to ask - I'm not trying to troll, but this question has been nagging me for a long while...

    Why not have a law that requires parents or guardians to go out and buy the violent video games for the kids? I'm not advocating censorship here - just responsible parenthood. The media keeps pushing the (very likely false) idea that violent video games create violent kids. Even if this is 100% false, and it can be empirically proven, wouldn't it be a smart idea to enforce the rating system anyhow? They don't allow stores to sell Alcohol and Cigarettes to kids, and movie theaters are not allowed to admit young children without the consent of an adult with them.. so is it that far of a stretch to say that a parent who wants to let their kid play a violent game be the one to actually go out and buy it?

     

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    Michael Long (profile), Sep 16th, 2010 @ 9:45am

    Re:

    Without this, the sound bites on BOTH sides of the fence are meaningless.

    While the poll may be biased, without access to all of the questions we don't know one way or another. Mike sets up a few biased examples of his own, then continues on to assume that this poll was in fact "designed to elicit a particular response."

    Again, no data, just assumptions and rants.

     

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    Ziro_Opinion, Sep 16th, 2010 @ 10:00am

    They can take away my games...

    When they pry them from my cold dead hands.
    If something like this were ever to pass, I would think that the next thing that would need to be sanctioned were violent movies and television shows. We would have to demand no more violence in movie trailers because who knows who is watching. TV Shows like Law and Order and even some daytime drama violence would have to be moved to late night during "safe harbor". Where will it end, if ever? When will people start taking responsibility for themselves and monitor their children? I'm a father of 2 and I play violent video games after my kids go to bed... my kids and I play Little Big Planet and ModNation Racer together. It's my responsibility... not my governments!

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 16th, 2010 @ 10:10am

    Re: Re:

    All polls are designed to elicit a particular response. And since an anti-video game group (Common Sense Media) set up the poll and is interpretting the results as "most parents want a law to ban video games," I don't think Mike's assuming too much.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 16th, 2010 @ 10:12am

    Re:

    I think that would generally be reasonable, except that it adds potentially uneeded legislation and enforcement, neither of which is good or even neutral. If the problem can be solved without a new law, it should be.

     

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    Dark Helmet (profile), Sep 16th, 2010 @ 10:21am

    Re: Re: Re:

    His head would have exploded...

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 16th, 2010 @ 10:31am

    I wonder if those parents know how to stop their children to download violent games from the internet? That's because, I think, that's gonna be the next source of games.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 16th, 2010 @ 10:38am

    Re:

    Movie ratings have no legal backing; theaters voluntarily enforce them (mostly to avoid lawsuits from the same incompetent parents involved in this story).

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 16th, 2010 @ 11:02am

    Re: Re: Neglegence?

    Where do you think kids get the money for the games? Mom and Dad. Who do you think buys the M (18+)rated games for Snowflake? Mom and Dad.

    If Mom and Dad need laws to protect their kids from the things they, the parents, buy or finance, they shouldn't have kids.

    Why is it such a hard concept that parents should pay attention to what the kids buy, watch or play?

    It's similar to the parents screaming about violent TV shows or sex scenes on TV during prime time. No one is forcing your kid to watch these shows, you're ALLOWING it.

    If you don't want your kid to play violent games, watch violent movies or see sexually explicit content, parent them, monitor their viewing and vet the video games. Then use the big, bad NO word. I promise, it won't scar your kids, stifle their creativity or damage their wittle self esteem or keep them from self actualizing.

    My parents, and hundreds of thousands of others have managed it. Why is this generation so damn different and/or inept?

     

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    Ziro_Opinion (profile), Sep 16th, 2010 @ 11:33am

    Re:

    Retailers like Gamestop and Walmart will not sell violent or mature rated games to kids without their parents being there, and the employees are instructed to explain the rating on the game and why it is rated in such a way.
    My wife worked for Gamestop and I have seen some parents refuse to buy the games after hearing the rating and reasoning and I have seen other parents just wave off the cashier and buy the game even though their child does not meet the suggested age requirements. The same thing happens in the movie theaters and nobody has anything to say about that. It is a ridiculous double standard. I think what Gamestop employees have to do is all that needs to be done, at that point it is the responsibility of the parent and all of this "lawmaking" needs to go away. Capitalism is built on the power of the consumer, you don't like it then get out of this country!

     

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    Aaron (profile), Sep 16th, 2010 @ 12:14pm

    Consume?

    Do you support a law that takes your freedom of choice as a parent over what sorts of media your child might consume?

     

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    Aaron (profile), Sep 16th, 2010 @ 12:19pm

    Re: Consume?

    Stupid Enter key.
    What I meant to post was:

    Do you support a law that takes your freedom of choice as a parent over what sorts of media your child might consume?

    It is impossible to "consume" media. Unless people actually eat their CDs, DVDs, etc, it's not possible to do so. Watching a movie, listening to music or playing a game does not "consume" it.
    Perhaps we should start rejecting the term "consumer" as well, as it implies all we are is cattle to "consume" whatever is provided to us.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 16th, 2010 @ 12:41pm

    Re: Re: Re: Neglegence?

    Yeah -- the same concept can apply to R rated movies, alcohol, unprotected sex, drugs, firearms... I mean, really, if you don't want your kids getting into that stuff, why can't you just monitor them every minute of every day? it's ridiculous to think that liquor stores should be responsible for protecting your little baby from Absolut, especially if YOU'RE the one who gave him the allowance that's paying for it.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 16th, 2010 @ 12:49pm

    Re: Re: Consume?

    A secondary definition of "consume" is "to purchace" or "to utilize as a customer." Other definitions are "to engage fully" or "to absorb" or "to engross," all of which can apply to media content without involving the actually devouring the physical medium.

    Just because your vocabulary is limited doesn't mean these expressions are unreasonable or insulting.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 16th, 2010 @ 12:53pm

    Re:

    People can be charged with criminal negligence, and while I'm sure you made the comment intending to be funny, the problem I have here is the implication that letting your child play violent video games is negligent. I don't believe that's always necessarily true.

     

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  48.  
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    Michael Long (profile), Sep 16th, 2010 @ 1:51pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    No Mr. Coward, ALL polls are not designed to elicit a particular response. Well-designed polls attempt to minimize the bias you so readily assign to them.

    What Mike seems to be saying is that everyone with a vested interest in a subject always manipulates the results. In short, everyone always lies.

    Of course, if you don't have an interest in the subject, you probably wouldn't be sponsoring a poll on it, now would you?

     

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    Griff (profile), Sep 16th, 2010 @ 2:42pm

    all polls be required to disclose the exact question wording ?

    Well, in the interests of scientific rigour, how about they disclose all the polls they also did that gave results they didn't like.

    Kinda like getting a drug company to publish ALL trials, not just the successful ones ?

    At the end of the day, it maybe makes more sense to just educate people to interpret what stuff like this means (and does not mean).
    If only every kid left school understanding enough basic stats and human nature to
    - draw conclusions from numbers
    - know when a survey is obviously biased
    - understand the concept of a group with a agenda


    There's a famous catfood commercial in the UK.
    "8 out of 10 cats prefer Whiskas" goes the strapline.

    Noone ever asks "to what ?".

     

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    Aaron (profile), Sep 16th, 2010 @ 3:49pm

    Re: Re: Re: Consume?

    "Just because your vocabulary is limited doesn't mean these expressions are unreasonable or insulting."

    In the context of the article, you are correct. And I am aware of the other definitions.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 16th, 2010 @ 4:30pm

    HA HA went to there website, what a joke...

     

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    abc gum, Sep 16th, 2010 @ 6:36pm

    Re: all polls be required to disclose the exact question wording ?

    "Well, in the interests of scientific rigour, how about they disclose all the polls they also did that gave results they didn't like.

    Kinda like getting a drug company to publish ALL trials, not just the successful ones ?"

    Both would be a step in the right direction, however - I doubt that will happen. The whole point is to obscure the method of obtaining what they wanted you to hear.

     

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    abc gum, Sep 16th, 2010 @ 6:47pm

    Re:

    "I don't need him being exposed to the graphic nature of war."

    - You must not let him watch the evening news then.

    "... should have to take a test to be a parent, we would have better children"

    - Better children? I doubt that. In addition, can you imagine the bureaucratic nightmare of such a program?

     

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    PaulT (profile), Sep 17th, 2010 @ 3:21am

    Re: Re: Consume?

    Reality mocks your single-minded, single definition of words. From dictionary.com, your definition isn't even the primary one:

    con·sume   
    [kuhn-soom] Show IPA
    verb, -sumed, -sum·ing.
    –verb (used with object)
    1.
    to destroy or expend by use; use up.
    2.
    to eat or drink up; devour.
    3.
    to destroy, as by decomposition or burning: Fire consumed the forest.
    4.
    to spend (money, time, etc.) wastefully.
    5.
    to absorb; engross: consumed with curiosity.
    –verb (used without object)
    6.
    to undergo destruction; waste away.
    7.
    to use or use up consumer goods.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  55.  
    icon
    nasch (profile), Sep 17th, 2010 @ 8:53am

    Re: Re: Re:

    He would have said "Playstation 2? That's not even on the market yet! And God of War won't be relased for another six years! How did you get this stuff??"

    ;-)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  56.  
    icon
    nasch (profile), Sep 17th, 2010 @ 8:56am

    Re:

    They could just as well phrase it "Would you support or oppose a law that will inevitably be struck down for violating the First Amendment, after great taxpayer expense repeatedly defending it in court?"

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  57.  
    identicon
    nessuno, Jul 20th, 2012 @ 12:14pm

    all violent movie made in this country should be elimineting ,because peoples are sick mind,including the movie makers and dont show these garbage in europa infecting the breans of the european peoples.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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