Sunday, November 24, 2013

Those figures of fun again

We had a lot of fun last weekend with Susan Polgar's made-up figure of a billion people watching the chess. On Friday the FIDE match site weighed in with some made-up figures of their own.

Really? Where do you get those numbers from then, FIDE site?

Can you really? Give me more details of this apparent "certainty".

Ah, "estimated". "Certainty" and "estimated" are not entirely compatible concepts, some might say. But still, those look like impressive numbers. Where are they from?

Between 75M and 105M per day. Good Lord.

That might be more than watched the World Cup cricket final.

It's a bold claim. Let's look at it again.

Now, looking at that passage, you'll obviously notice the claim
Official numbers reported by the TV station itself range between 75M and 105M per day.
What you won't notice, because it isn't there, is any orange type. You'd kind of hope to see a link to somewhere where these "official numbers reported by the TV station" appear. Ideally verified by somebody independent - but some actual claim, by some actual person or organisation, would be a start.

But we don't even have that start. How strange.

Still, in the next section, there is a link. Huzzah!

"The minimum is the 80 million viewers reported in a single round." That's some minimum. But where does that link take us? What of these "80 million reported"?

The link takes us to a ChessDom story

which starts as follows

and gives The New India Express as its source.

Trouble is, though, when you click through to that story...'s actually the same as the ChessDom story. And I mean the same. The first paragraph is identical. And there is no source for the "80 million" claim. "As many as 80 million viewers watched the highlights of the third round", it says. But nobody says who said so, let alone the basis on which they said it.

So, the claim that 80 million is a "minimum" is based on a news story which gives no basis for the figure that it cites. There's absolutely nothing to evaluate, because there's absolutely nothing there.

This is horseshit, isn't it?

So when they say "certainly"...

...what they mean is that somebody has almost certainly made it up. And when they say

what they mean is "easily, if you just make it up".

But let's look at the whole paragraph:

An inquiry? That sounds like the sort of journalism we're looking for! Again, please?

So what happens when we click through to that one?

What happens - and this is just weird, if you ask me - is that there is no "inquiry". We just find that, again, we've clicked through to the same story we were already reading. (Except that this time, we click through from FIDE to Chessdom, rather than from Chessdom to The New Indian Express.)

We're through the looking-glass here, people.

Then - to the surprise of nobody - it's all rounded off with this.

That 600M+ figure, as we know, is a made-up figure too. And contrary to this claim

it was not confirmed by YouGov. It was not suggested by YouGov and it did not appear in YouGov's research.

[Email to me from YouGov]

Is chess the new craze? No, making stuff up about chess is the new craze. And it's not going out of fashion any time soon.

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