Dear PA commenters: let's talk about bias

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 article. To read the whole news, click here

216 Comments

81. Sirius85

Posts: 14; Member since: Mar 26, 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: 104; Member since: Oct 21, 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: 519; Member since: Apr 30, 2012

Micheal is not bias, but sometimes he posts an article which people mostly think its negative...

91. roscuthiii

Posts: 2383; Member since: Jul 18, 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: 2383; Member since: Jul 18, 2010

No crusades yet, but I've heard talk of thermonuclear war... *bah-dum-tiss* ;-P

93. redmd

Posts: 1904; Member since: Oct 26, 2011

there are no biased articles. just biased comments.

94. denney

Posts: 98; Member since: Oct 20, 2011

Micheal, no matter what you get paid, you deserve a raise.

106. denney

Posts: 98; Member since: Oct 20, 2011

AAAAAAAAAAND i spelled your name wrong. Im an idiot.

111. MichaelHeller

Posts: 2734; Member since: May 26, 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: 3131; Member since: Jan 12, 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: Jan 10, 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: 2734; Member since: May 26, 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: Nov 22, 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: Jan 04, 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: Mar 19, 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. ~Nyamo

115. parkwaydr

Posts: 572; Member since: Sep 07, 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: Sep 03, 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: 132; Member since: May 07, 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: 2734; Member since: May 26, 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: Oct 18, 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: 2734; Member since: May 26, 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: Dec 22, 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: Jan 04, 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: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 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: Nov 22, 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: Jul 14, 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: 2734; Member since: May 26, 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: Jul 14, 2011

Agreed, Thanks you for seeing eye to eye with all of us
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