As long as I was bashing statistics yesterday, I thought I'd do the same today, this time hitting up TechCrunch and their article about bloggers going to jail and how the number is going up. It amazes me that Mr. Shonfield didn't even bother to correlate this number to the number of blogs, because the rate of bloggers going to jail is actually decreasing at an amazing rate - indeed, utilizing his mind-set, law enforcement should step up its efforts to police blogging!

Indeed, the data (sourced from World Information Access) overall is bogus in my opinion. If you want people to take protecting bloggers seriously, you must put things into context. Since 2004 the number of bloggers has increased by hundreds of thousands - literally hundreds of thousands - of times. According to Technorati's about page, they track 112.8 million blogs, and that's just what they're tracking. Yet the point of this blog post is how horrendous it is that the number of bloggers arrested has gone up seven times. To their credit, they do attempt to list only cases where blogging was the actual cause of the arrest, and even then there were some categories they were not willing to include. So it wasn't a numbers grab on WIA's part, though TechCrunch wanted you to see it as horrific, and thus the article is dubious at best. The net effect is like saying "More deer are dying in traffic accidents!" without pointing out that the herd went from 10 deer in Minnesota to covering the plains states like a blanket.

In a world of wide and free information access, there comes the burden of thorough analysis. Trying to attract attention by over-inflating the numbers is lying to pander for clicks. It's no surprise coming from a place like WIA, but beneath what one should be able to expect from an organization like TechCrunch.

Here's hoping that they take some forethought before pandering to the crowds in the future... But if not, at least this post drove me to find details on the number of blogs out there, which was pretty interesting.


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/reading: Same as yesterday. I'm a fast reader, not that fast ;-).