Should people write hubs using biased information?
I've seen quite a few hubs eulogising Margaret Thatcher. Usually posted by people with little or no experience of living in the UK and with no experience of living under Thatcher's rule.
When challenged they often insist that they know more about the subject than those who've actually lived in the UK.
Would you ever write a hub on a subject that depended on the biased works of others?
As a History student, I often have to rely on biased opinions when writing papers. So in answer to your question I suppose one must answer yes.
I do however understand the views that you express on the question of Margaret Thatcher in particular.
Until just six years ago I spent all my life just a few miles from your home in Manchester now at 50 I remember the Thatcher years all too well. In recent history classes here in the US I often came across American students who see Thatcher as almost a madonna in political terms. When I would share my experiences of the 1980's I often got, how would you know about what was happening? Were you there? To which all I can reply, Yes, I stood in the dole queues along with millions of others.
The main problem is all history is biased. So all we can do is cry in the wilderness asking for a reinterpretation, rather than re-adoration.
The bias of history is a spectrum. I just finished reading Krushchev's memoirs - very biased. I am now reading the transcription of the Kennedy tapes on the Cuban Missile crisis, the people are biased, the account is accurate. Depends on the author.
It is very hard to be totally objective without bias. I think the only time this is possible is with scientific papers, and still bias is always there lurking in the background. I suggest you write a hub yourself from the perspective of someone who lives in the UK. It would add perspective. I really think that's the only way to eliminate bias - to provide alternative viewpoints.
I echo Bretsuki's comment regarding bias. I believe most information has a bias and effort must be made to search out multiple sources of information to try and sort out the bias. There usually is a difference, though, between a lie and a bias. Some of my articles have an unintended bias and a few have an intentional bias. None contain intentional lies.
They shouldn't, but they do all the time. If a person writes a Hub based on specific research for that Hub (as opposed to being a Hub that's based on objective information, even if assimilated knowledge) the Hub should present both sides. Otherwise, it's essentially a half (or less) researched piece of writing.
On the other hand, if a writer makes it clear that his Hub is a matter of his own thoughts on the matter, combined with assimilated knowledge and/or previous research not specifically done for that Hub; I don't see a problem with presenting one side to an argument, along with whatever works of others back up that one side. News writing, objective reporting, historical accounts, objective analysis, etc. should always present all sides. Not all writing has to be (or should be) objective. Writers have thoughts, biases, ideas they want to present. I think the main thing is that writers be careful to present what they write in a way that makes it clear to readers whether the piece of writing amounts to "reporting" or presenting facts/research or, instead, amounts to the writer's presenting his own thoughts and whatever he has to back up those thoughts.
One advantage to having that "intimate familiarity with the subject" that Google mentions in its list of what "webmasters"s should ask about their content is that intimate familiarity allows the writer to recognize what sources appear biased, flawed and/or otherwise inadequate; so while I think it's certainly possible to produce an objective, research-based, article without intimate familiarity with the subject; I think people need to be extremely careful when it comes to seeking out several sources that contribute to being able to present all sides of a subject.
But, having said that, I think if a Hubber wants to present his Hub as "Here's my personal impression of, and tribute to/condemnation of, Margaret Thatcher," there's nothing wrong with that. I just don't think the Hub should be presented as "an informative article". I don't think the writer of that kind of Hub necessarily should be required to have lived in the UK to voice his thoughts/impression or to raise questions he thinks readers ought to be asking. Readers can take it for what it is (as long as they know, exactly, what such a Hub actually is).
No source of information can ever called completely unbiased. Primary sources, written, oral or otherwise, all have their own biases, and statistical data, however well-sampled, is never without a margin of error.
In the case of hubs regarding Margaret Thatcher, it is my personal feeling that it is foolish for an individual who never lived under her government to claim a better understanding of Thatcher's government than a resident of the UK.
As a writer, however, distance provided by time and geography, as well as the ready availability of statistics, make it very possible for non-residents to form an opinion of a government's positive or negative effects on a country without the distraction of an emotional connection.
In the end, it really depends on whether or not the writer of an article or hub is writing in a scholarly manner (claiming to be unbiased), or is writing editorially to commemorate Thatcher or espouse her style of governing.
I lived in the United States during the Thatcher years. I was never very impressed. I should go read the hubs, and I would love to read a hub of yours, John, to get another view.
On the other hand, I was getting information from the news media. They also glorified Ronald Reagan, even though the media hated him.
I have several thousand history books, and I have read countless varied periodicals (list available if you really want.) I have some incredibly biased history books, and the bias is evident from a few pages in. I have hundreds of history books that are fair and even handed. I am sick and tired of the revision of history, but I thoroughly support fixing the bias of the past.
The news in the US tends to be so biased as to be irrelevant in terms of "what happened" or "what does it mean?" I gave up on newspapers years ago because I went to a few "events" later reported by the news and felt as though I had been to the wrong place.
Science magazines are incredibly biased, which has always been confusing to me since I grew up with a dedicated scientific researcher who would have never put up with it. Of course, magazines tend to be written for a specific audience who already agrees with the premises and conclusions.
Anyway - uhhhh - your question. Yes and no. We all support our own position, and that is natural. At the same time, we should do our research so that we can write with credibility. I have found that Hubpages is largely opinion, not scholarly writing. (I am probably guilty myself.)
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