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Need Clarification on TOS8
kstuart
post Sep 27 2012, 02:05
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QUOTE
8. All members that put forth a statement concerning subjective sound quality, must -- to the best of their ability -- provide objective support for their claims. Acceptable means of support are double blind listening tests (ABX or ABC/HR) demonstrating that the member can discern a difference perceptually, together with a test sample to allow others to reproduce their findings. Graphs, non-blind listening tests, waveform difference comparisons, and so on, are not acceptable means of providing support.


I've read some of the linked discussion on TOS8 as well.

All of it covers objective vs subjective.

What IMHO needs clarification is the first phrase:

" All members that put forth a statement concerning subjective sound quality... "

Can a mod or admin clarify - in an official way - "put forth a statement" ?

For example, if I were to post "Joe Blow, the editor of AudiophileGuys magazine, says that the new Megabuck 9000 amplifier sounds better than any other amplifier", technically that would violate TOS8 - even though that Joe said that, is a fact that is easily substantiated by a reference to AudiophileGuys magazine web site. The statement is what someone said, not actually making a claim about audio.

Clearly, that is not the intent of TOS8. Rather it seems to me that the intent is with regards statements like "flac files always sound better than 320k MP3s" which would then need the substantiation required by TOS8.

Okay, then here is where the clarification is needed.

If I were to state in a post " In my setup, using ASIO output seems to sound better than WASAPI output. " - is that a violation of TOS8 ?

The discussion that TOS8 links to, suggests that TOS8 is designed to prevent statements of sound quality "fact" - as opposed to statements of personal observations. In other words, "ASIO always sounds better than WASAPI" is a TOS8 violation, while " In my setup, using ASIO output seems to sound better than WASAPI output " is just reporting an observation - and NOT an assertion of audio fact.

Am I correct, and is that how you would differentiate ?

Thanks.

This post has been edited by kstuart: Sep 27 2012, 02:12
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pdq
post Sep 27 2012, 10:55
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My unofficial response is that even a statement of "I think I can hear a difference" must be backed up by proper testing. Also, I have seen references to someone else's unsupported statements receive a warning, but usually of the form "a friend of mine says".
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Canar
post Sep 27 2012, 14:58
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QUOTE (kstuart @ Sep 26 2012, 18:05) *
In other words, "ASIO always sounds better than WASAPI" is a TOS8 violation, while " In my setup, using ASIO output seems to sound better than WASAPI output " is just reporting an observation - and NOT an assertion of audio fact.
This is wrong. Neither is acceptable. Furthermore, there's some degree of collective agreement on what is true around here. Talking about how different audio output modes sound different is totally disingenuous and outright bogus unless there are significant driver problems. They should sound bit-identical, audio reproduction accuracy notwithstanding.

Show up with an ABX of the difference or you're in trouble. Cite an article that makes that claim without proper methodology, and we'll tear it to shreds.


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greynol
post Sep 27 2012, 17:16
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QUOTE (pdq @ Sep 27 2012, 02:55) *
Also, I have seen references to someone else's unsupported statements receive a warning, but usually of the form "a friend of mine says".

Informal, sure, but to my knowledge no one has ever been issued an actual logged warning for this.

The language of just about every rule can be nitpicked, but enforcement of most of them, especially TOS #8 has been very uniform in terms of what has been allowed to go unchallenged and what has not. Generally people who are new are granted some leeway except for certain hot-button issues such as wasapi/asio.

A poster's intent is usually apparent based on the content. People who appear sincere in wondering if what they hear is real are generally given help whereas people who are trying to argue a point in such a way as to skirt the rule are called out. If you try to present graphs and numbers without double-blind data you had better acknowledge that you are not using them as a means to demonstrate audibile differences unless it is completely uncontroversial.

We work hard to keep the signal to noise ratio high on this forum; mods, admins, and regular users alike. Cases where rules have been misapplied by either staff or by regular users are generally rectified either in discussion or through private messaging.

This post has been edited by greynol: Sep 27 2012, 17:27


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Porcus
post Sep 27 2012, 17:18
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QUOTE (Canar @ Sep 27 2012, 15:58) *
Show up with an ABX of the difference or you're in trouble.


That's applicable if the statement claims a difference. The TOS item does not refer to statements of difference, merely to statements of subjective sound quality.

There are a lot of claims of the form that codec X with setting Y is by and large transparent, and I have yet to see moderators step in to call such statements a TOS #8 violation, although a claim to transparency certainly constitutes “a statement concerning subjective sound quality”. Sometimes a quite strong statement too.

I've always thought that the TOS item was never intended to require users to support experimental evidence for the null hypothesis – and I am ready to admit at any time that this is my rationalising it in order to make it sensible (of course, jurists do that all the time). But to readers who do not immediately pick up that concept, the wording is everything but clear. If the TOS item were rephrased to reflect (what I think is) the intention, one could at least avoid the uneducated impression that the TOS item is largely ignored except when you step on some moderators' pet view. (Edit: of course then, it could also avoid questions that for the sake of enlightenment could just as well be asked and answered, even though it would have to be done over and over again.)

This post has been edited by Porcus: Sep 27 2012, 17:20


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greynol
post Sep 27 2012, 17:57
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...and it is done over and over again. You make a great point.

Everything is assumed to sound the same until shown otherwise through objective means in the way of double-blind test results unless uncontroversial.


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kstuart
post Sep 27 2012, 19:00
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QUOTE (greynol @ Sep 27 2012, 09:57) *
Everything is assumed to sound the same until shown otherwise through objective means in the way of double-blind test results unless uncontroversial.

The problem with this is that there is actually a spectrum from obvious to imaginary sound quality differences.

You turn on your audio amplifier to listen to some music, and you hear nothing.

You do not say " I need to do a double-blind test ", you say " I need to buy a new amplifer ".

Another time it sounds like there is too much bass, and you look at the amplifier and find a roommate has turned up the bass knob. Again, subjective sound quality assessment but no double-blind test needed.

The spectrum continues all the way through to imaginary differences. Remember that the Placebo Effect says that there IS a difference in the mind of the person who just bought a $10,000 amplifier - but it is an imaginary difference - just like the "snake" which someone sees in a dimly lit garage that turns out to only be a coil of rope.

I think this is why TOS8 uses the word "claims". TOS8 does not say "No is ever allowed to say anything about subjective sound quality" but rather says that they must support their "claims".

So, if someone says " I like the sound of ASIO " why is that a violation ? There is no claim.
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fuflo
post Sep 27 2012, 19:36
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QUOTE (kstuart @ Sep 27 2012, 21:00) *
So, if someone says " I like the sound of ASIO " why is that a violation ? There is no claim.


That's not a claim about sound quality. That's a personal statement. If you remove the 'i like' part and remake the statement into "ASIO sounds better than DS/WASAPI" etc, then that's a claim that needs specific evidence.

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Porcus
post Sep 27 2012, 19:50
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QUOTE (greynol @ Sep 27 2012, 18:57) *
Everything is assumed to sound the same until shown otherwise through objective means in the way of double-blind test results unless uncontroversial.


But you do see that this is totally at odds with the wording of TOS #8?


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Porcus
post Sep 27 2012, 19:53
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QUOTE (fuflo @ Sep 27 2012, 20:36) *
QUOTE (kstuart @ Sep 27 2012, 21:00) *
So, if someone says " I like the sound of ASIO " why is that a violation ? There is no claim.


That's not a claim about sound quality. That's a personal statement. If you remove the 'i like' part and remake the statement into "ASIO sounds better than DS/WASAPI" etc, then that's a claim that needs specific evidence.


So the sentence “I think anyone would see it as proven that Hydrogenaudio user fuflo is indeed a teapot flying around in the asteroid belt” is not a statement about provable fact, as long as I make sure to include the first two words?


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greynol
post Sep 27 2012, 20:00
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QUOTE (Porcus @ Sep 27 2012, 11:50) *
But you do see that this is totally at odds with the wording of TOS #8?

I never claimed it wasn't.


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greynol
post Sep 27 2012, 20:02
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QUOTE (kstuart @ Sep 27 2012, 11:00) *
The problem with this is that there is actually a spectrum from obvious to imaginary sound quality differences.

Did you intentionally choose to ignore my use of the word uncontroversial?


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Canar
post Sep 27 2012, 22:52
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QUOTE (kstuart @ Sep 26 2012, 18:05) *
" All members that put forth a statement concerning subjective sound quality... "

Can a mod or admin clarify - in an official way - "put forth a statement" ?
Missed this specific question. I think that "put forth a statement" is synonymous with the verb "predicate". This is not being said in official capacity. As greynol directly alludes to, we only even bother enforcing it in cases of controversy.


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kstuart
post Sep 27 2012, 23:33
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QUOTE (Canar @ Sep 27 2012, 14:52) *
QUOTE (kstuart @ Sep 26 2012, 18:05) *
" All members that put forth a statement concerning subjective sound quality... "

Can a mod or admin clarify - in an official way - "put forth a statement" ?
Missed this specific question. I think that "put forth a statement" is synonymous with the verb "predicate". This is not being said in official capacity. As greynol directly alludes to, we only even bother enforcing it in cases of controversy.

But what is "controversial" is not only subjective, it fluctuates over time. And only someone who reads this forum daily over a long period of time is going to know in advance what is controversial here.

==

I find that the typical interchange on one of the software support forums here on HA would go:

User: " I want to report that ASIO output is not working with my setup using the WonderSound USB DAC. "

Bored Guy: " Why are you using ASIO ? WASAPI is just as good. "

User: " I prefer the sound using ASIO. "

To me that is not a violation of TOS8 - the user is not "putting forth a statement" or "claiming" (both are wording from TOS8). In fact, I think that if the user states instead:

User: " It sounds better using ASIO than WASAPI. "

that we are still in the area of not "putting forth a statement" or "claiming". User is not coming to HA to troll, or to engage in subjective vs objective fights, he is just trying to report a problem, and is only reporting his own personal observation.

But, I've seen this sort of thing flagged as a TOS8 violation.

Just like prohibition of "politics or religious discussions" on most forums, it seems to me that TOS8 is designed to avoid endless discussion of subjective vs objective issues, not to avoid any possible reference to subjective sound quality.

But, that's just my opinion, it's not up to me, and whatever is decided is fine - as long as it is clear.
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greynol
post Sep 28 2012, 01:36
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QUOTE (kstuart @ Sep 27 2012, 15:33) *
User: " I prefer the sound using ASIO. "

To me that is not a violation of TOS8 - the user is not "putting forth a statement" or "claiming" (both are wording from TOS8).

...and unless the user explains what is going on in a way that is non-controversial (there are drop-outs or some other issue; the part of the rule about language should be a guide as to what kind of things won't be tolerated) then you would be wrong.

QUOTE (kstuart @ Sep 27 2012, 15:33) *
User: " It sounds better using ASIO than WASAPI. "

that we are still in the area of not "putting forth a statement" or "claiming". User is not coming to HA to troll, or to engage in subjective vs objective fights, he is just trying to report a problem, and is only reporting his own personal observation.

But, I've seen this sort of thing flagged as a TOS8 violation.

Read my previous reply; it fits this scenario too.

QUOTE (kstuart @ Sep 27 2012, 15:33) *
Just like prohibition of "politics or religious discussions" on most forums, it seems to me that TOS8 is designed to avoid endless discussion of subjective vs objective issues, not to avoid any possible reference to subjective sound quality.

This would be incorrect also. It was put in place to get reliable feedback about the tuning of lossy encoders. The rule also happens to fit other things, though not quite as nicely. That zealots and trolls come here and flagrantly violate the rule and/or tell us that it's stupid and that we're idiots with shitty equipment and tin ears is just an unfortunate consequence.

I am not saying that there isn't room for improvement. To be frank we've had this discussion before and I've previously laid out where I think the rule is lacking. FWIW, I've done so with at least one other rule as well. As usual, one should search before trying to reinvent the wheel.

This post has been edited by greynol: Sep 28 2012, 07:25


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Porcus
post Sep 28 2012, 07:46
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QUOTE (kstuart @ Sep 28 2012, 00:33) *
User: " I prefer the sound using ASIO. "

To me that is not a violation of TOS8 - the user is not "putting forth a statement" or "claiming" (both are wording from TOS8). In fact, I think that if the user states instead:

User: " It sounds better using ASIO than WASAPI. "



Assumning that “subjective statement” is not a contradiction in terms, then an “I think”-type sentence is indeed a statement that you think what you say you think, and an “I prefer”-type sentence is a statement that you prefer what you say you prefer. Now opinions are like lowerendofspine-orifices etc., and the core issue to your ASIO/WASAPI example is not the “I prefer” statement, but the “sound using ASIO” part of it.

If it turns out that it isn't the sound using ASIO vs. the sound using WASAPI, but rather a placebo effect, then “I prefer the sound using ASIO” is, clearcut, a false statement. The true statement would be that whatever the user prefers, it is due to sound quality differences. Now until/unless this “turns out” part is established to sufficient degree of objectivity, TOS #8 assigns a burden of proof. What is ruled out, is not an undocumented “apples over oranges!”, but an undocumented “think they sound different” (where “better” is, obviously, taken to imply “different”).


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skamp
post Sep 28 2012, 09:56
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QUOTE (kstuart @ Sep 28 2012, 00:33) *
User: " I prefer the sound using ASIO. "
To me that is not a violation of TOS8 - the user is not "putting forth a statement" or "claiming" (both are wording from TOS8).


I'd say the claim (that ASIO sounds different from WASAPI) is pretty much implied there (and obvious). For there to be a preference, there must be a difference, real or imagined.

This post has been edited by skamp: Sep 28 2012, 09:58


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[JAZ]
post Sep 28 2012, 19:36
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I think we all understand what the rule is meant to say, so, if the wording is not adequate enough, maybe we can improve it.

Main target of TOS#8: Someone says there is an audible difference when none is expected.

- The subject: It doesn't really matter if the subject is the one claiming it, or just linking to someone else. The rule applies nevertheless, since it is a requirement for a claim to provide methods to be verified. Of course, if the user just links to a third party subject to start a talk about it, the subject becomes the link content creator. The user would only be explicitely asked for DBT if he uses the link as a proof and there isn't one that complies with the TOS.

- The verb: "I think", "I like", "I preffer", "I know", "I heard", "It is obvious". There is no exception to the rule, but depending on the type of claim and the context of the claim, it might not be enforced. It doesn't matter if the user just thinks it or is fully convinced about it.
Hydrogenaudio posts are expected to be objective and verifiable. Opinions, if being about something opposed to the knowledge of the forums, are just as succeptible to be TOS'ed.
(Note: preferences are not seen as violating the TOS, if a difference is expected, and the preference does not imply sounding better than the one expected to sound better).

- The object: The object is the claim, and the claim is that an audible difference exists. It does not matter how this difference is described ( it is better, it has better quality, A is poor compared to B, it misses the high spectra,... ).
Said that, it is quite important for us that the subject makes clear what the object is (there is a clear difference between saying "it is better" and "it misses the high spectra"), since that can give a clue to what the user is experiencing (beliefs, faulty software, wrong tools), and/or what is causing it to happen (EQing, clipping, faulty speakers, wrong impedance).


The wording could be seen this way:
- The "puts forth a statement" means that the person writes the sentence to make a point (i.e. to be the main topic, or being the reasoning behing the main topic).
- "subjective sound quality" is any wording that says, implicitely or explicitely that there is an audible difference between two experiences, and that one is better than the other.


So, going back to the rule's reason of existence: We want the forums to contain objective information and provide methods to differentiate between experiences that can become knowledge and experiences that are flawed.

This post has been edited by [JAZ]: Sep 28 2012, 19:45
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Porcus
post Sep 29 2012, 11:17
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QUOTE ([JAZ] @ Sep 28 2012, 20:36) *
- "subjective sound quality" is any wording that says, implicitely or explicitely that there is an audible difference between two experiences, and that one is better than the other.


The problem, IMHO, is that while TOS#8 captures these cases, which I think it was intended to, a statement of “subjective sound quality” is not only any phrase saying wording A sounds different to B, but also any phrase saying A sounds just as good as B, or merely any wording that says A sounds good.

“I think my hi-fi sounds pretty good” is a statement of subjective sound quality. (Would anyone deny it is?)

A claim to transparency is a claim to subjective sound quality. It is a very strong claim even with a “by and large transparent” reservation; anyone who would claim that they can quadruple your storage even over .zipping and without you noticing you were missing anything, is making a claim they might in some jurisdictions be fined for using in marketing, unless they can offer evidence for the truth value. Here we switch the burden of proof. For good reason, I might add, but there is nothing in the actual term of service that says a claim to difference and a claim to “I achieved something equally good as” should be treated different.


The easy and quick fix to the TOS#8 wording, is to put a “differences” after “quality”. It clarifies what users commit to, and it clarifies to some degree why it is there. Two improvements in one word, and ... is there anything that would go missing?

(For nitpickers who would say that no difference is just as much a difference (that would my fellow math guys I guess): deliberately putting the word there should be taken to mean that the likely interpretation is not the one where it would be redundant. Or if all else fails: “concerning” --> “of”.)


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kstuart
post Nov 8 2012, 19:05
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No matter what word you use, people divide themselves into two political sides. They want one thing to be true and they want the other side to be wrong.

I find that the "Objective" group are more emotional. I also find that a majority of "Objective" posts refer to audio gear that costs ridiculous prices, in other words " An $11,000 cable !! ". Of course, the price has nothing to do with whether there is an objective and scientific sound difference - the electrons know nothing about the price.

So, mentioning the price is a statement about people, not about wire, and yet it is constantly made. Because it is more about 'my side winning over your side" than about audio science.
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greynol
post Nov 8 2012, 19:16
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As far as forum policy is concerned this is nonsense. You wish to make claims, be prepared to offer unbiased proof in accordance with TOS8.

Check your red-herrings, straw men and character assassinations at the door.

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Garf
post Nov 12 2012, 21:28
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The idea of TOS8 is to make a simplified explanation of the philosophy of the forum, relevant to the scenario that actually plays out here in 99% of the cases.

The philosophy of the forum is that in order for any discussion (about audio quality, but you can see it broader) to have any use, it should refer to things that are objectively measurable (which, for audio quality, is possible by a subjective blind test!) and falsifiable[1]. i.e. it should be possible to make forward progress in the discussion and at no point it should boil down to a series of claims which can't be verified or tested.

Regarding opinions vs claims: there is no difference. It was said in another context, but I think this quote reflects my view on this: "You are not entitled to your opinion. You are only entitled to what you can argue for." We can all state our opinions all day long and nothing changes. This is the kind of thing you do on Facebook. Here, we'll require you to defend your opinion, and maybe figure out who is wrong and who is right. That's progress. That's what we want to promote.

[1] This address the sentiment stated earlier that the "default" is "no difference". Claiming nobody can hear a difference is a falsifiable statement, because we can try to find someone that can prove (through ABX) he does hear a difference. If we'd take the reverse position "there is a difference", we'd have to prove there is nobody on the world that can hear a difference to falsify it. That isn't possible, so it's not a stance that allows forward progress on the discussion. Hence it's a bad hypothesis to start from.

So basically, the point of this post was to explain TOS8 is a simplification in itself that catches the common case. If someone comes up with a formulation of the above that is as easy to explain to new people as the current TOS8, I'm all for it.
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kstuart
post Nov 12 2012, 22:19
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QUOTE (Garf @ Nov 12 2012, 13:28) *
The philosophy of the forum is that in order for any discussion (about audio quality, but you can see it broader) to have any use, it should refer to things that are objectively measurable ...

The problem is that "objectively measurable" is impossible. Measurements are made by human beings.

As a broad example of what I am talking about, the original false idea that heart disease is related to total cholestorol came about because in a peer-reviewed paper in a journal, the writer had accidentally changed a positive numeric value to a negative value, and none of the editors or the peer-reviewers caught it. (Of course, since the pharma industry sold millions of dollars of placebos as a result, you have not heard much about this.)

Anyone who is actually involved in testing or measurement professionally (raises hand) knows how easy it is to get wrong results. And there is no detached "Objective" entity available to tell us when we have screwed up the measurement.

Human activities are judged by results. The results are judged by other human beings. There is no objective source of judgement.
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Porcus
post Nov 12 2012, 22:59
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QUOTE (kstuart @ Nov 12 2012, 23:19) *
Human activities are judged by results. The results are judged by other human beings. There is no objective source of judgement.


Oh, come on. So humans make errors, therefore ... any implications for TOS#8?


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Garf
post Nov 12 2012, 23:05
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QUOTE (kstuart @ Nov 12 2012, 22:19) *
QUOTE (Garf @ Nov 12 2012, 13:28) *
The philosophy of the forum is that in order for any discussion (about audio quality, but you can see it broader) to have any use, it should refer to things that are objectively measurable ...

Anyone who is actually involved in testing or measurement professionally (raises hand) knows how easy it is to get wrong results. And there is no detached "Objective" entity available to tell us when we have screwed up the measurement.


It's called reproducing the experiment.

And yes, there's a bias in science to have experiments perform the "expected" outcome. Hence the importance of documenting the process fully and correctly so the measurement and experiment can be properly repeated. And not being afraid of reporting negative results.

You'll find that in most cases where multiple researchers went astray, it usually involved the above.

I don't see how you go from "it's possible to fuck up a measurement" to "objective measurement don't exist hence no point in striving towards it". You're claiming science doesn't work. Scientists occasionally cock up, but the process works for sure.
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