Upfront bias declarations

This whole “blogging for money” thing (see Mark, CavLec, Doc, ad nauseam) seems to be suffering from the Webloggers Overblown Disease where it becomes the end of the world, although the main people commenting (the above, other luminaries — you know all their names) seem to be lucid and reasonable, which cheers me up. I’m in general opposed to secret shadowy influences, but on the flipside I’m not convinced that there exists impartial advice any more. Everyone comes to everything with some bias. Declaring that bias up front is, OK, useful, but what it leads to is a world in which everything is disclaimered. I was disappointed to see the X-Box Linux project have a disclaimer saying, “Everything done on this project is for the sole purpose of writing interoperable software under Sect. 1201 (f) Reverse Engineering exception of the DMCA.” A hobbyist project now has to clearly state its aims in the hope that it won’t get into trouble, because you might be assumed to be wrong. Declarations of bias are much the same; yes, it’s handy to not have to think about whether you’re reading an advertisement or an independent review, but on the other hand some critical analysis skills wouldn’t go amiss. If you expect to be warned of bias, then you lose the ability to detect it. ——-

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