This chart, published yesterday, is inaccurate and meaningless / Libertas Academica / CC BY 2.0

An Important Update To Yesterday’s Think Piece

Dan Hon
Dan Hon
Aug 27, 2018 · 3 min read

You need to know this context about yesterday’s think piece.

Yesterday, we published a think piece about something that happened.

At press time, our contributor (who has now been terminated) asserted that what had happened was not what was initially reported, but instead something else.

This has turned out not to be the case. We regret the error.

This figure appeared in the original think piece. It is incorrect. The actual figure is 47.1%. NASA

In asserting that what happened was actually something else, our contributor also connected what they asserted happened (which has now been proven false, by multiple sources in subsequent reporting) to an unrelated concept.

We regret the error in allowing this connection to be published without due consideration.

The contributor asserted a link to this. It was inaccurate. It is also of no importance, it is just a black-and-white photograph of a field. Guillaume Carta / CC BY-SA 2.0

Our readers alerted us to commentary from experts in the field, revealing that the reasoning involved in connecting the original happening to the unrelated concept was inherently flawed and based on easily refutable assumptions.

We thank our readers for their unwavering support.

Our internal investigation

Subsequently, an internal investigation found that our publishing of a think piece with such a substantial flaw in its logical underpinning reveals a critical missing step in our editorial process.

The missing step is now being addressed by an independent commission and the report will be published shortly.

It has come to our attention that the chart included in the think piece was chosen purely for aesthetic reasons. No conclusions should be drawn from the chart. Ben Chun / CC BY-SA 2.0

Our internal investigation found that all of the charts and illustrations published as part of the think piece were flawed in one or more of the following aspects:

  • Inaccurate data
  • Irrelevant data
  • No x axis
  • No y axis
  • Data chosen purely on aesthetic grounds
  • Retracted by original authors or, in the worst instance, retracted by the journal in which the original research appeared but not retracted by original authors
  • Subject to an ongoing legal proceedings

The investigation also found a systemic editorial culture incentivizing and rewarding writing encouraging readers to share on social networks.


What we’re doing to make this right

We know that trust in media is more important than ever. Which is why we’re determined to show how we’ll learn from this unfortunate episode. We’ve commissioned the following articles that will appear over the next few days from well-known, trusted voices in journalism:

  • Why What Happened Must Never Happen Again
  • The Economic Forces That Lead To Think Pieces — And Our Only Way Out
  • The Cognitive Biases Tricking Your Brain Are The Problem, Not Think Pieces
  • A Liberal Government Platform Is The Only Long-Term Solution To The Think Piece Issue
  • A Conservative Government Platform Is the Only Long-Term Solution To The Think Piece Issue
  • What Norway Knows About Think Pieces, And What It Means For America
  • Yes, That Think Piece Was Bad. Here’s Why We Need Them Now More Than Ever
  • Why Twitter Let Us Down, Again

Remember: when the truth is more important now than ever and of no party or clique, democracy dies in darkness and comment is free (but facts are sacred).

Dan Hon

Written by

Dan Hon

I come from the internet and I can type.

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