Banish the Bias

As a member of a couple of social networking website that specialise in connecting travellers, I find participants’ inability or unwillingness to provide accurate or honest answers to questions, extremely frustrating.

This is not a one off, or just one particular website. It happens time after time as members manage to praise one place while giving a disparaging account of another. Yet some, by their own admission, have rarely if ever, visited the areas they are condemning.

I appreciate that having a passion for a particular place makes answering easier, but it is important not to let it take over every reply you make, whether relevant or not. Even worse, ignore the questors’ needs just to make your point.

To be objective means not having a pre-set opinion and word choice can indicate a posters bias. It doesn’t have to be negative. Posters who are overly favourable also display bias. Objectivity receives respect and trust from readers whereas obvious bias will often turn a reader away from the ideas the poster is trying to make.

In some folks, biases are deeply ingrained or perhaps they are just the sort of person who takes delight in forcing their own preferences and personal prejudices on others. However, I believe, if you are going to take an active part in helping travellers with their queries, you should be aware of your own biases and how you express them. Try to adequately substantiate or prove your statements (I like to give images from the internet that back up my comments particularly the island weather that can vary from one place to the next) Otherwise, it is just personal preference or even worse hearsay.

I would love to ban bias, but I am sceptical as to whether it can be reduced, let alone eliminated.

For more on Tenerife including daily weather read Queenie’s Daily Snippets everyone’s favourite Tenerife Blog  
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3 Responses to Banish the Bias

  1. ceejayblue says:

    On the travel site I’m on (you know it well Meryl 😉 ) I have found that one particular forum causes endless problems because the “regulars” refuse to accept any criticism of their “paradise”! Despite ongoing problems that are well documented lots of the fans of this particular place continue to say “Well I’ve never seen it”, when other visitors post that they have seen the problem for themselves. They refuse to accept that there is a big expat community there, nothing wrong with that unless you are asking the question “Where to go for somewhere typically Spanish and no Brit bars?”

    I have been on the wrong end of the bias to this particular area, and have had posts removed, even though I was the voice of reason between two warring factions! I have met one of the perpetrators too and almost got sucked into the bias, till I realised I was being “groomed”. That person has been removed from the forums at least 3 times in the last couple of years and either works in the background with their co-horts or comes back as another person! This means the bias is always there!

    In my area of the coast, I know the bad points and the good and I always post about the bad things too, because the last thing I want is to tell posters how wonderful it is but leave out the main road running throught it, the steep hills and the less than perfect beach in one area (whilst pointing out the really good places along the coast).

    Unfortunately you will never get rid of bias, we all have it in us to show a bit of bias towards our favoured places, but some of us are happy to tell all the pros and cons and not cherry pick the best bits to encourage people to visit. When I first thought about going to Tenerife, all I’d heard was from an old boss who had timeshares in LC and in PDLA and his verdict was that PDLA was the Benidorm of Tenerife and that put me off (mind you my view of Benidorm is clouded by the dreadful TV documentaries that I’ve seen about it and perhaps I would love it 😉 ). It was only when I was researching my first visit to Tenerife, 6 years ago and I came across your blog did I realise there was a totally different side to the Island. Plus when I did visit the first time I realised that yes there are Brit areas (where in the world aren’t there? lol!) but there is so much more and if you are prepared to have a look around and explore a bit you will find some wonderful and amazing places around. Take a few trips inland or along the coast and see a different view and you will see that those that are biased towards some places are actually very narrow minded and if they only broadened their horizons they may well see some of the cons in their places that others see.

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