The problem with stupid questions

datePosted on 22:02, June 23rd, 2009 by Lew

… is that they tend to beget stupid answers. Or at least unexpected answers.

Via James at Editing Teh Herald, it seems the UK’s Daily Mail (whose egregious abuses of truth and decency are legend) has gotten bit by this simple truth, with an online poll receiving a response 96% in the affirmative to the question “Should the NHS allow gipsies to jump the queue?” The Daily Mail, bless ‘em, wouldn’t stand for this and it now shows 100% in the negative.

Now, I’m not saying that the s59 poll is that insultingly loaded, and obviously we can’t use twitter to vote in referenda, but groups like The Yes Vote are counting on people being similarly insulted by the dishonest and misleading question that they’ll consider how the framers clearly want people to vote and vote the reverse in order to demonstrate that they don’t appreciate being treated like democratic cattle to be herded in the direction the lobby wants.

So here’s another meaningless poll: have the AAS lobby over-egged their question?

L

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4 Responses to “The problem with stupid questions”

  1. Michael on June 24th, 2009 at 00:43

    the level of negative attention their wording has received is certainly welcome

  2. Thomas Beagle on June 24th, 2009 at 08:29

    For those who are unsure, I think that the most powerful argument against voting “no” is the sheer ickiness of the type of people you’d be aligning yourself with.

  3. jcuknz on June 24th, 2009 at 08:30

    There a lot of people who are so used to five word TV bites that they cannot think their way through something a little more involved. It took me a few moments but I remembered some of my skills and found it made a lot of good sense. I’m suprised that so many people who I would have expected to have the ability seem so lacking.

  4. Lew on June 24th, 2009 at 12:13

    jcuknz,

    Found what made good sense – the s59 question?

    It only makes sense if you accept the assumed premisses; that a smack can be part of good parental correction (which I don’t accept); and that it’s automatically a criminal offence (which, Graeme’s arguments notwithstanding, is widely disputed and as yet untested by a court). Since you accept the framers’ implicit arguments, of course it makes sense to you – but many people don’t.

    The framers have presumed these two contentious premisses are universally accepted, in an attempt to make them part of the discursive backdrop (the accepted wisdom, as it were) of the smacking debate. That’s why the question is dishonest – its purpose is not to seek an answer, it’s to influence the debate.

    L

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