Thought for the day. Fountain Abby ruins and the Royal Yacht were voted joint-favourite U.K. attractions. But are they?
The result came from a poll reported in the authoritative consumer magazine Which.
Which commented that it was ‘easy to see why’ the two won over better known visitor magnets such as Stonehenge, Westminster Abbey or the Tower of London.
Not so, I muttered to myself. What’s going on here, then? Closer inspection of the news item (reported in most of the print media) gives a clue.
Which has its long-established way of arriving at the best products from cars to carpet cleaners, computers to climbing frames. It involves listing a set of desirable features and adding them up. The product with the best total score is rated the best.
This approach provides an answer, a league table of products.
Unfortunately it is, to put it mildly, only as credible according to what these days might be described as its algorithm, the list of criteria, and any weighting allocated to each criterion.
These are also influenced by the people doing the rating.
So: the rating of this survey was ‘during April and May’
The attractions were ranked by ‘nearly 3000 Which members’
Value for Money
Lack of Crowds
I have a general suspicion about this sort of aggregation to select a clear winner. It just about works in sporting events like heptathlon, then gets more dubious with beauty contests (including Strictly Come Dancing, Crufts dog show, and the Booker Prize for Novel of the Year).
In this particular case there is also an additional flaw which I am leaving for readers to puzzle out. Any comments will be studied, and the best selected for mention on our weekly newsletter.
How will the best be chosen? Not, of course, by votes of ‘nearly 3000 TudoRama subscribers’
Yes, you’ve guessed. The editor’s decision will be final. Competition closes on September 30th. Results will appear in a subsequent TudoRama newsletter.