Dear PA commenters: let's talk about bias
0. phoneArena 27 Nov 2012, 19:59 posted on
We here at PhoneArena can have something of a thankless job, but it is a job that we love, and one that we attempt to do as well as we can. We try our best to present you all with news, reviews, and analysis in an honest, thought-provoking, and (if possible) entertaining way. But, it seems about time we directly address our comment community, because many of you seem to have a skewed idea of the word "bias"...
This is a discussion for a news. To read the whole news, click here
159. kach22 (Posts: 153; Member since: 04 Nov 2011)
Have you ever rated any HTC device higher than the contemporary Iphone device? Just curious and would love to know.
As far as I remember HTC one X was seriously criticised for non removable battery and lacking sd card slot.
165. remixfa (Posts: 14255; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)
the problem with cross OS comparisons is that not all things are equal. If you just do inner OS phone to phone comparisons its also not equal. So its a bit of a scoring connundrum.
Why do I say inner OS scoring isnt equal as well? Take the Note2 for example.. when you compare it to other Android devices, your comparing it to a field of contenders from the DNA, Nexus4, SGS3 international, on and on and on... all similar spec'd super phones. When you take the latest iphone.. the i5 and compare it, it has no real inner OS competition for the top spot since there is no other choice for "iOS superphone".
Its also hard to make direct comparisons in many things between OS devices because of the differences in OS. That is purely 100% judgemental and bias driven unless you doing nothing more than a simple and boring feature "check off " sheet. However that doesnt mean you cant reign in and keep bias to a minimum.
Like I said before, I still bust Ray when his fanmeter flips into "full apple". That HTC vs Apple article recently is a perfect example of that. His comments on Apple's design had no relevance to the article since they were just his opinion. Frankly, I find the iphone bland and boring after 3 generations of no real physical changes to design and an OS that hasnt changed in looks in 6 generations. That's my opinion... and its clearly labeled as such, not passed off like fact in a comparison article like Ray's is.
169. MichaelHeller (Posts: 2701; Member since: 26 May 2011)
The HTC DROID DNA got a 9, which matches the highest the iPhone has gotten.
215. kach22 (Posts: 153; Member since: 04 Nov 2011)
That's my point Michael if you are kind enough to notice. It took a true HD 5 inches display with 440 pixel density and superb build quality also the newest android OS to match the Iphone 5 with somewhat revamped iOS, an unusual 4 inch (just taller), poor aluminium casing (scratches easily even out of the box), subpar mapping capacity (definitely will improve later but subpar it is as of now ), camera with purple glow (Suddenly we were told it is normal for phone camera).
Tell me what more it would take for a cell phone to receive a rating above 9.
42. imkyle (Posts: 1071; Member since: 18 Nov 2010)
Anyone that posts "sheep", "iarena" "iphonearena", or any other stupid stuff, just delete their account phonearena.
45. 14545 (Posts: 1468; Member since: 22 Nov 2011)
Michael, I believe you are one of the few that seems to play it as straight down the middle as possible. There are a couple of other authors here that don't seem to do that, but you do. So I can't complain about your coverage, on either side, at all. But sometimes, it seems like on every list the iPhone is top of the list. Period. And I'm sorry, but I just don't believe they are the best at anything other than gouging the slow among us. I think that Android and WP are the only two out there worth having. And I myself only like android, because it is a lot like WinMo
48. pongkie (Posts: 533; Member since: 20 Aug 2011)
I think this site is not biased but some of the authors are, sometimes I feel articles are biased depending on who's the authors and what platform they support because some articles looks like an advertisement.
49. nicholassss (Posts: 368; Member since: 10 May 2012)
i dont think you guys are that bias. I've never noticed it, most of the times I saw comments saying you were bias were when the iphone came out. Which i thought was ridiculous because you give any other phone just as much coverage . It was always stuff like "OMG this is the 5th iphone article today. gosh" but i just always thought, "come on guys, the iphone 5 just came out, of course there are going to get a ton of coverage."
53. rex1213 (Posts: 77; Member since: 29 Jul 2011)
Yes it's about time someone should step up and stop all those flame wars. I am actually thankful to Phonearena since I am updated about mobile tech news like I check the site every 12 hours since they release news articles rapidly.
However, there's one particular article that sounded a bit off to me. The article sounded like a "rant of a butthurt fanboy" rather than news.
The article I am referring to is this:http://www.phonearena.com/news
54. elandrumiii (Posts: 109; Member since: 20 Mar 2010)
I just went thru and read these responses or comments and it wont stop. I believe anything you guys write about apple that isnt negative will get you slammed and labeled. I personally like the Gnex and it is the only Android phone Iike. that aside i dont see you as biased. If you didnt write about the news as it hits even Apple news you would be wrong. There are so many Android/Google devices you will never get them all but you will get blamed for not giving them all glowing reviews for not bashing Apple everytime you review them or discuss them. Do what you do and tighten up on the rules. I like Apple just dont own an iPhone and probably wont. Good work Mike
57. androiddownsouth (Posts: 598; Member since: 02 May 2012)
Too many times an opinion is misconstrued as bias simply b/c someone disagrees with something stated. The vast majority of the bias comes from the keyboards of certain individuals who post on this site, and I'm not talking about the writers. Most of the articles, imo, have either minimal or no bias. Far too often people look for bias or offense when there is none to be had simply to have something to complain about or bash someone over.
Just because myself or someone else may disagree with an article or two, or several, that does not indicate bias. We all have opinions, and should be free to express them. I've said before, if we all liked the same things, this world we live in would be pretty f***ing boring!
155. jroc74 (Posts: 5999; Member since: 30 Dec 2010)
This times 1 million. I have been labeled a fanboy....simply because I didnt agree with the other person at one site. I spent more time explaining about debating and opinion than the subject at hand.
Ypur last sentence is absolutely true.
67. darkkjedii (Posts: 20161; Member since: 05 Feb 2011)
The JEDII likes your article, and agrees with it.
69. zackh121556 (Posts: 101; Member since: 01 Feb 2012)
Let's be honest phonearena, we are all human and have a bias to lots of things. Even parents will tell you in secret they have a favorite child however will not tell you which one. But you are able to tell by the actions they present. You truly run more iPhone articles than any other platform. I have found I am able to find news on other websites I can't find here due to the OS. Also the bias is seen through your reviewing of devices. I at one time was the owner of an iPhone and realize its no longer the leader. That said, its obvious the Galaxy S3 is the current smartphone leader and it just seems correct to run more comparisons against it then always having an iPhone vs..... also I am not a GS3 owner but we are all capable or seeing the facts.
71. belovedson (Posts: 986; Member since: 30 Nov 2010)
If the comments are too harsh get out of the kitchen.
Getting back to apple, the business practices of late (bogus patents and lawsuits) have prompted much hate from both apple and android communities. Prior to apple vs Samsung, the flame wars were limited to a group of people.
Don't get me wrong people (including me) still love apple products but honestly I hate apple business.
Here's another example of apple business absolutely sucking. I bought the most expensive iPad 3rd gen only to realize a new iPad 4.......6 months after later.
Really?!...... Apple you suck. Seriously. Charging three times the value I can swallow, but allowing the product to depreciate and become obsolete (lightning cable or whatever they are calling it) is absolute bs.
75. nwright94 (unregistered)
My only issue with this site is the commentators don't allow you to have an opinion unless its google-only. I enjoy android devices and reading android articles, but I personally prefer using iOS, but god forbid I mention it in these comment sections or the android people go directly to insulting your intelligence. The iPhone fanboys used to be the worst, even as an apple user, but lately they've been angels compared to what I get from android users on this website. You guys go on so much about choice, but guess what, I've made my choice and boohoo if it isn't the choice you would've made. Learn to respect others. To the editors and authors: I enjoy your articles. The android articles, apple articles, windows phones articles, all of them. I especially like the cool images taken with your cell phone, no other website does that. I don't find you biased, just some people can't stand people having differing opinions.
189. -box- (Posts: 3991; Member since: 04 Jan 2012)
I would disagree with google-only. There are a number of well-regarded and frequent commentors that can offer candid reasonably-fair opinions on stuff, even if it's not their system of choice. There has been much positive feedback for Windows Phone and Sailfish, for example, and many of the more rational commenters want these systems to succeed so that their own choice system will continue to improve and remain competitive, rather than stagnate like BB, palm, or apple.
76. radji (Posts: 16; Member since: 26 Mar 2012)
The only problem I have with PA articles is they sometimes are NOT proofread or spell-checked. Otherwise, I always enjoy their presentation of mobile news. I think the users who start the flaming or the bias don't even read the article. Like my great-grandma, they look at the first few words in the title and then make up the rest in their tiny little heads.
77. Samsomesh (Posts: 195; Member since: 11 Jun 2012)
I love phonearena... And i dont think they r biased... They r honest... But some idiots will not get that..
79. bluescreen (Posts: 154; Member since: 22 Nov 2012)
ok i havent even read all of this article nor did i read half the comments but i just wanted to skip to my possible solution to so called flame wars or rude commentors whatever....anyways i was on this dating site a few years ago and people could get 90mins free in a chatroom for one day then they were done and had to wait till the next day for 90more mins....now no matter if they created another new freebie account with a different email address somehow their site would still reckonize its the same person trying to gain access and when they went to chat it would say something like you already used ur alotted time....anyways point being....why not just impliment something like that on these comment sections to the people always hurling insults around and being negative....u cant say u cant do that cause this is your site and u can restrict access to whoever u want....let them access ur site still just no longer allowed to comment....sure some computer guru will prob find a way around it though....btw i like most of the articles and comments on here.....helps me find out alot about the phones and tech stuff so keep up the decent reporting :)
80. DigitalJedi_X2 (banned) (Posts: 346; Member since: 30 Jan 2012)
Michael, you have to admit, the writers here do strongly favor Apple. And while you're not as bad as Victor in that respect, you do favor Apple. PA may not be as biased as iBGR or iEngadget, but PA has earned the nickname iPhonearena. You say its because of Apples success, which cannot be doubted but the fact that they've continuously put out a mediocre product in the iPhone with features that have been out since 2009-2010 but they're touting as "new" and "magical" and Phonearena cheers them right along and agrees with them along with the rest of the North American media cannot be ignored. Now if Phonearena is actively trying to changed that, that's great! More balanced news and reporting is what's needed. Somehow, I doubt Phonearena will stop the Apple cheer leading but one can hope. Good article by the way!
85. nwright94 (unregistered)
Is there anything wrong with Michael preferring apple though? No. It's just as fine as another person preferring android. You just have to learn to live with people liking things that you may not :)
86. DigitalJedi_X2 (banned) (Posts: 346; Member since: 30 Jan 2012)
No. There's absolutely nothing wrong with Michael preferring Apple products. To each his own. But if he's supposed to be writing an article on say... Android or WP or Blackberry and continuously compares them toApple even though the article has nothing to do with Apple, then there's a problem. He's supposed to be objective, not subjective. Unless he's writing an Editorial. That's the problem.
88. nwright94 (unregistered)
Yeah, I understand what you mean. Personal preference should be left out of reporting unless, like you said, it's an editorial because then that little snippet of personal preference calls the whole articles integrity into question.
109. MichaelHeller (Posts: 2701; Member since: 26 May 2011)
See, there is my number one issue. I do not favor Apple. I own only Android products, and my wife actually routinely calls me a "Google whore". You are coming in expecting to see an "iPhoneArena" slant, so that's what you're going to find, regardless of what is actually there. If you go back through everything I've written, there is no Apple bias, I can assure you of that.
That said, I fully recognize that many people out there truly enjoy Apple products, so I try to use that perspective in my writing, because I personally don't see the allure.
130. JBurd3 (Posts: 11; Member since: 07 Mar 2012)
Maybe you, and some of the other writers on here are stereotyped. In your case, ironically, if you're an advocate of Andriod and ppl think you favor Apple then that really shows how UNbiased you really are lol. I love the website because it keeps me updated and informed on the lastest and greatest in the mobile world. I wouldnt single any one writer out and call them biased but the site on the whole takes on an "I prefer apple" type attitude. I think because of that, it gets taken on the authors. But one of the reasons why so many feel like that is because theres SO MANY (a lot with no real significance) articles revolving around apple/steve jobs compared to everything else. Ppl feel like Tim Cook couldn't even break a toenail without it being posted on here with it somehow relating to how it may or may not affect apple's profit margins for the quarter. In the phone reviews so many get compared to the iphone as if it is THE GOLD STANDARD as far as mobile devices. A significant portions of these reviews will phrase the phone for all of its innovation and high points but leave a "this phone is awesome... just not as good as the iphone" type of impression. And Im by no means saying that ALL of them are like that.
180. MichaelHeller (Posts: 2701; Member since: 26 May 2011)
Yep, actually just got married back in June down in Jamaica.
190. -box- (Posts: 3991; Member since: 04 Jan 2012)
@Michael H: So I guess the attempted switch to Windows Phone didn't stick? ;)
207. MichaelHeller (Posts: 2701; Member since: 26 May 2011)
Oh, I never expected that to stick. That was purely to familiarize myself with the platform, so I could be better about writing on the subject.
81. Sirius85 (Posts: 14; Member since: 26 Mar 2012)
PhoneArena you guys do a great job, don't listen to the naysayers in the comments that continually insult anything and everything thats posted. I read the vast majority of articles you guys post beginning to end and very rarely do I ever see anything thats biased towards certain brands or carriers or operating systems. I think many people may be confusing you guys for being biased when comparing phones to others, or pointing out specific devices that tend to do certain things better. I personally have had every type of device with the exception of a WP7, and they all have their pro's and con's. I myself have a preference but I guarantee you'd never be able to tell if I were to write a review. Anyways, keep up the good work PhoneArena.
82. kevkyle (Posts: 97; Member since: 21 Oct 2012)
an opinion on a news story - comes from the writer's interpretation of the story....which will be very subjective and thus open to critique. Our opinions - both the writer's and the commenters are far from facts.
It is easily swayed by our own biases - i suggest that the writer give more room for his patience to be more flexible. Take it with a grain of salt....(unless it gets too personal)
it differs from a news article or item - which is more or less, factual. (less rancor)
Like it or not some of us who make comments - are just around to to stir a hornet's nest - just for the fun of it. The more it affects you - the more they celebrate.
But most of us believe Phonearena is the HOME for real tech enthusIasts.
Feels so snugly around here....unlike other sites", )
Keep it up Michael - Astig!
90. phil2n (Posts: 487; Member since: 30 Apr 2012)
Micheal is not bias, but sometimes he posts an article which people mostly think its negative...
91. roscuthiii (Posts: 2209; Member since: 18 Jul 2010)
The only way to remove the bias is to remove comments entirely. Humans have a natural tendency towards an "us and them" mentality in social interactions
Just look at the conflict between Christians, Muslims, and Jews... where they all worship the same invisible man in the sky, but have a history of thousands of years of bloodshed
over just who the spokesperson should be and which is the holiest day.
Products are no different. They all have a label. Labels do one thing: differentiate.
Once differences are defined, it's only a matter of which side of the fence you fall on. You're either with "us" with the label, or with "them" without the label.
96. nwright94 (unregistered)
Lets hope there's no crusades in the name of iOS or android :)
99. roscuthiii (Posts: 2209; Member since: 18 Jul 2010)
No crusades yet, but I've heard talk of thermonuclear war...
93. redmd (Posts: 1253; Member since: 26 Oct 2011)
there are no biased articles. just biased comments.
94. denney (Posts: 98; Member since: 20 Oct 2011)
Micheal, no matter what you get paid, you deserve a raise.
106. denney (Posts: 98; Member since: 20 Oct 2011)
AAAAAAAAAAND i spelled your name wrong. Im an idiot.
111. MichaelHeller (Posts: 2701; Member since: 26 May 2011)
Hey, at least you realized it. There are plenty of people I've corrected a number of times, but they still misspell it.
105. RORYREVOLUTION (Posts: 3104; Member since: 12 Jan 2010)
You cant deny that some of your authors/reviewers are iphone fanboys. As much as I love Ray S and his reviews the guy doesnt deny or even try to hide that he loves apple. You cant have one phone review without apple or the iphone being mentioned. Hell most of the articles themselves have mention of the iphone or apple even when it has nothing to do with them.
Clearly I dont hate or even dislike this website as I have been coming to it for years but there is definitely some apple kool aid drinking on this website.
110. ez31k (Posts: 45; Member since: 10 Jan 2012)
"We just ask that those of you who are more engaged to help us out, because we really appreciate the value and discussion that you guys bring to our site, and the dedication that you have to being a part of our community"
This last sentence is completely biased against gals....
113. MichaelHeller (Posts: 2701; Member since: 26 May 2011)
Ha! Definitely true. I do tend to assume our audience is like 95% male. I'll fix that.
146. bluescreen (Posts: 154; Member since: 22 Nov 2012)
maybe cause most girls dont pay attention to specs they just care if its pretty and pink or purple or glittery
191. -box- (Posts: 3991; Member since: 04 Jan 2012)
Or if it fits in their pocket or purse without taking up too much room, and is OK to hold in case of extended conversations
114. nyamo (Posts: 274; Member since: 19 Mar 2011)
While I do agree that the constant bickering in the comments can get stale rather quick. I do find them amusing for some the articles written here. And yes. While some users here get a bit out of hand, I feel that being a tech site that this sort of problem comes with the territory. And on topic I did not bother to read each comment this time, I do stand by that for specific articles the bickering compliments the article much more than one might think.
115. parkwaydr (Posts: 572; Member since: 07 Sep 2011)
I know this is kinda off topic, but one thing I would love to see come to an end is all the "Nokia needs Android to survive" bs. That people spout. Don't get me wrong, I love Android. But I feel like some don't realize the need for multiple platforms. I gripe with Apple purely because of business practices, not products. The mobile tech world needs multiple platforms, because it breed competition, which in the end benefits us. Windows phone may not be doing well at this moment, but that doesn't dictate performance in the future. Remember, Android wasn't the king a couple of years ago, did it fail? No. So just because Windows isn't dominant at this moment, doesn't mean it will be a complete flop. I welcome success from Apple and ms. Because I know in the end that will only push Google to make Android even better, which will only benefit me. I do agree what Apple is currently doing is ridiculous and the uspto needs some work. But the bright side is it could always be worse.
117. Sick49er (Posts: 3; Member since: 03 Sep 2012)
my work phone is a HTC Rezound and my personal phone is an iphone 5. i enjoy both, they both do the same but just differently! i can tell you all my iphone 5 is 99.9% bug free. so if i had to chose any for heavy use i would def go with my iphone!
120. verty (Posts: 122; Member since: 07 May 2012)
I have a grouch especially against you Michael H. You may claim you are not not biased but BIAS is what I see in your articles. How come nobody is accusing you of being bias toward Andriod. Bias can be subtle and it can also be direct. Is it possible for you to write and not make it evident that you prefer Iphone over other platforms or that the iphone is supperior to other platforms. This you do always(even in this article). Why must you always benchmark other platforms against apple and why must you always reference apple first in all/any of your analogies. This to me is BIAS subtle BIAS as I SEE it. I like the article as I see that Iphone Arena is now becoming Phone Arena.
124. MichaelHeller (Posts: 2701; Member since: 26 May 2011)
Things are compared to Apple because it is easy and because Apple is one of the major forces in the mobile world. There is one iPhone, one iPad, and one iPad mini, while there are myriad Android devices across the spectrum so it's harder to make a quick comparison.
That said, I'm getting tired of readers trying to tell me I'm biased for Apple. I give Apple credit where it's due and i try to be conscious of the millions of people who honestly enjoy Apple products. But, as i have said many times, i don't own Apple products and can't imagine choosing iOS over Android. Everything in my life runs through Google and i like it that way.
The references to Apple in this piece are because that's the most common claim by readers is that we are biased for Apple.
This is why i want you guys to stop and consider. You seem to have me pegged to have the opposite bias to what is true. And as i have said, if you go looking for Apple bias, you'll probably find it, but you're likely to ignore evidence to the contrary in the process, because you're looking for Apple bias, not because it's actually there.
135. AppleConspiracy (Posts: 637; Member since: 18 Oct 2011)
Michael, sites like these must rely on people's stupidity and uncritical thought, and must provoke it to gain publicity. I really don't know why are you irritated by it.
Where I publish my articles, I always try to summon as much as biased zombies and make them hate each other, as well as me. Because this is the reality of this medium, and therefore reality of the World. We all hate each other by identifiyng ourselves with some brands on a most superficial levels. It's unevitable, because it's in our nature. At least let's make some money out of it!
123. AAABall (unregistered)
Here is my two cents on the bias at PA.
1. I do not understand the points system used by PA to rate phones. What is the criteria for the score? Why are they inconsistent? The RAZR HD received an 8.5, while the RAZR MAXX HD received an 8.7. Price not withstanding, they are identical, other than the battery life and bulk. Yet, the RAZR got a 9 and the RAZR MAXX got an 8.5. These are also identical units, with size and battery life as the only difference.
PA, lose the points. A more extensive Pros v. Cons section be would better. More comparison articles between phones would help as well.
2. Why have you stopped reviewing feature phones? The last Verizon feature phone you reviewed was the Cosmos 2, in July of 2011. I know it is 2012, not 2007, but the feature phone market does still exist. Not everyone wants/needs/can afford a smart phone. During Super Storm Sandy, I was grateful for my 8300 with its 3+ day battery life, while others were in a pre-bill-panic over the wi-fi being down.
PA, don't forget us basic phone users. We are 47% of the cellular market. 47% made a difference on election day.
126. MichaelHeller (Posts: 2701; Member since: 26 May 2011)
Thanks for the comment. I'll chat with the editors about the review rating system. As for feature phone reviews, i assume we don't do them because while feature phone users may be 47% of the market, that number is plummeting fast.
128. Droid_X_Doug (Posts: 5993; Member since: 22 Dec 2010)
Personally, I would keep the point scale. Just make it more objective. Maybe an averaged set of scores across the major categories? If you do go with an average, the raw scores should be published with the review, so a reader who is willing to trade off one function (multimedia) for another (camera) can get the scores of each.
192. -box- (Posts: 3991; Member since: 04 Jan 2012)
I like the averaged idea, or perhaps something like how Fifth Gear reviews its cars: each contributor assigns a score, then they are averaged and also totaled, i.e a 6, a 6, an 8, and a 4 would average to be a 6, and total points would be 24/40, indicating a middle-of-the-range phone
196. remixfa (Posts: 14255; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)
I like that idea, however the major flaw is it would take eons to get a review out and would make the review irrelevant. the news cycle for cell tech is instant.. flash in the pan.
The reviewers are spread out across the world, so unless the site started getting/buying more review units, that's not the best scenario since they would be mailing that phone back n forth for testing.
147. bluescreen (Posts: 154; Member since: 22 Nov 2012)
actually i can sorta see where their coming from giving the razr maxx hd a .2 higher of a score cause the battery is a bit bigger however they are putting a 100 dollar premium on that phone cause of the bigger battery when u could probably land urself the same thing for under 30 but to me its not worthy of a 100 dollar price jump
129. jtech (Posts: 101; Member since: 14 Jul 2011)
Michael, you and Maxwell are my two favorite authors. You both are not baised and give use news straight on with a little of your own opinions, which is good and all but when I read anyone else's stories regarding news about Windows phone and Black Berry it is where I see biased especially from Ray S. I noticed that he is always mentioning Apple or the iphone in stories that have nothing to do Apple. In his video review, he reviewed the HTC 8X but it really seem like he was bashing the OS instead of the phone itself. Just a few suggestions if I may to clear this mess up.
1. Each author should have a correspondind os they do news on
2. Stop comparring every phone that comes out to the iphone
3. Stop comparring OSes to each other. Each one have a pro and con. Just because one has something doesn't always mean another would have the same thing.
A few weeks I sent in news that few sites like this wrote about. Out of all the apps in the ios app store. 400,000 where never downloaded even once. I search for this artical to see if you guys had wrote about it but I never found it, which thus lead me to believe that phonearena is pro Apple and don't want to publish any negative news regarding iOS or anything Apple
171. MichaelHeller (Posts: 2701; Member since: 26 May 2011)
The comparisons are good though. People want to see those, because they want the help in choosing what to buy. We just need to be careful to frame the comparisons as "if you like this, buy this. if you like that, buy that" rather than "this is flat out better than that, end of story"
214. jtech (Posts: 101; Member since: 14 Jul 2011)
Agreed, Thanks you for seeing eye to eye with all of us