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Author Topic: "Quit pissing in the pool or get banned", an open letter to michael  (Read 33520 times)
hjulenissen
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« Reply #40 on: January 30, 2012, 01:44:31 PM »
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I would seriously hesitate to suggest bias by a reviewer without some serious investigation, which simply isn't possible on the web. Because a suggestion of bias goes directly to a person's reputation and credibility, and makes claims against his honesty, I don't see any way that a guy sitting in his mom's basement with his Mac-Mini would be qualified to comment.
I think questions should always be allowed. Making poorly founded claims or blatant lies is something else.

I think it is good practice by journalists, reviewers, scientists and others who we are to trust in some form or another, that they go a long way in informing the reader of any _potential_ conflict of interest. Did they at any time work for the company they review products for? Do they drink beer with the CEO regularly? Did they invest a lot of stock in some involved company? As long as they do, it will be up to the reader to decide what they think. If they don't, I think it is fair of others "in the know" to inform reader of this.
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...I would suggest that if Mark wanted to sue some of you guys for libel, he would have a case.
I don't live in the US, but then I never commented on Marks (or michaels or Schewes) connections with any products they are talking about.

I do think about what is "good behaviour", and how my actions affect others. I suggest we take it from there (and not the legal side).

-h
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sandymc
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« Reply #41 on: January 30, 2012, 01:56:12 PM »
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He is faced with a situation where ugly claims are being made against a friend, and there's really no way to refute them, because they are simply based on bullshit, and how do you refute bullshit?

No, let's get real - there's an easy way to refute this that is very well known across the whole spectrum of journalism, blogging, etc - it's called disclosure. Of any freebies, discounts, special access, expenses paid trips to the factory, whatever. It takes one line at the bottom of the article, and readers can then make up their own minds. And anyone that doesn't have faith in their reader's ability to make up their own minds based on facts, shouldn't be writing anything for public consumption.

Sandy
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BJL
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« Reply #42 on: January 30, 2012, 02:03:58 PM »
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Those that can afford high end MFDB are frequently criticized for claiming that the high end stuff is superior. ... On the other side it often looks like sour grapes when the people that don't have a MFDB back claim that their, and always specifically their particular DSLR is at least as good.

We are not debating photography here. We are displaying human insecurities.
And that is why a lot of us would like such discussions to stay with objective arguments and evidence, and stay away from (1) allegations about the motives of people who disagree with us, and (2) subjective claims about "I can tell the difference" or "nobody can really tell the difference" not backed by evidence.

And there is a lot of evidence and science out there; it is far from being just "he says, she says".


P. S. When the questions are about the image quality that various equipment options can produce, rather than the "total user experience", then one does not necessarily need to own all the equipment: image files and prints can be examined objectively.
« Last Edit: January 30, 2012, 02:05:54 PM by BJL » Logged
daws
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« Reply #43 on: January 30, 2012, 02:05:31 PM »
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An anecdote that may be germane - Some years back my flatmate asked me what I thought of some new music on his hifi. Straightaway I asked him what he's done as his system sounded noticeably better. The reason for the improvement, he went to Maplins [an electronics store] got some chunky cabling, added gold phono connectors and replaced the stock phono leads between the CD player and amp and voila a better sounding hifi for very little money. I should underline, that I was not told or even given a hint that he'd altered anything, yet I still noticed an improvement in sound quality.

Interesting, but my first question would be about the electrical integrity of his old cabling. Were the connectors loose? Tarnished? Was there frayed insulation? Poor shielding? Was the amplifier old (i.e. did the act of moving it about to change the cables jiggle something that improved performance)?

To leap to the conclusion that expensive cabling and not good cabling practice made the difference in audio quality is, I think, precisely the point of those who, like myself, were annoyed by the author's appeal to audiophile gear.

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bjanes
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« Reply #44 on: January 30, 2012, 02:48:19 PM »
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Bill,
    I agree that there is a lot of evidence for self-deception in subjective evaluation of exclusive tools (whether due to rarity or mere cost); it goes in the same category as the unreliability of eye-witness testimony now being acknowledged: out minds adapt and interpret raw sensory input in elaborate, unconscious ways to make the results more useful or comfortable.

There is one big difference between violins and cameras though: those cheap, inferior, new-fangled, modern violins from makers like Sam Zygmuntowicz mentioned in the NYT article already cost about $55,000!

Photography is relatively cheap as either a hobby or profession, when you compare to the cost of things like the fishing boats of many hobbyists, or the custom trucks, workshops, and tools need by many people in skilled trades.

Things are relative. A MFDB may cost up to $50,000 and a mid-priced dSLD may sell for $1,000. The above mentioned violin is quite inexpensive compared to a Stradivarius.
 
On 21 June 2011, a 1721 Stradivari violin known as "Lady Blunt" was bought by an anonymous bidder for £9,808,000 ($15,932,115) (Wikipedia)

Regards,

Bill
« Last Edit: January 30, 2012, 03:10:29 PM by bjanes » Logged
feppe
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« Reply #45 on: January 30, 2012, 02:55:40 PM »
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I would seriously hesitate to suggest bias by a reviewer without some serious investigation, which simply isn't possible on the web. Because a suggestion of bias goes directly to a person's reputation and credibility, and makes claims against his honesty, I don't see any way that a guy sitting in his mom's basement with his Mac-Mini would be qualified to comment. I don't think it's ethical in any way to suggest bias, and I would suggest that if Mark wanted to sue some of you guys for libel, he would have a case. Too many people are willing to claim that if somebody has a connection with a product, then any discussion by them, of the product, must be corrupt. That's plainly and clearly not true. We all know that Schewe either is or has been involved with Lightroom, but he remains an invaluable, if opinionated, source of information about the system. Therefore, I would suggest that "Discussion about whether an author with a connection with a product or manufacturer may be subject to unconscious bias despite their very best and scrupulous attempts to avoid it," will be based on bullshit. How could you possibly have any reliable information on such a thing? I suppose you could "note" that a person has a connection, and go no further -- but even that contains an implication of dishonesty, and on the net, it *always* goes further. This, I suspect, is one reason that Michael reacted to a lot of the posts with anger. He is faced with a situation where ugly claims are being made against a friend, and there's really no way to refute them, because they are simply based on bullshit, and how do you refute bullshit?

Bias in such relationships is far from "bullshit," as it's recognized from stock investing to law to academia. Full disclosure is common practice in journalistic circles, and I don't see why such intimate industry relationships as Dubovoy's or Schewe's couldn't be expressed on LL articles, or ads looking like articles for "workshops" appearing to be promotional tools, such as PODAS. Michael of TOP has a disclaimer in his posts for similar reasons, as I believe it became a law in California.

Your point about suing people rather than having a proper debate is a sad reflection of the state of your society.

edit: edited to protect the innocent from frivolous lawsuits.
« Last Edit: January 30, 2012, 03:05:13 PM by feppe » Logged

PierreVandevenne
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« Reply #46 on: January 30, 2012, 02:58:54 PM »
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Extremely long and well documented double blind test of high end power cables, with audiophiles and manufacturer participation can be found here

http://www.hometheaterhifi.com/volume_11_4/feature-article-blind-test-power-cords-12-2004.html

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feppe
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« Reply #47 on: January 30, 2012, 03:06:02 PM »
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Extremely long and well documented double blind test of high end power cables, with audiophiles and manufacturer participation can be found here

http://www.hometheaterhifi.com/volume_11_4/feature-article-blind-test-power-cords-12-2004.html

I've been calling out for double-blinding photographic tests for years, there are no takers. It is telling that ABX has been used for years to build a "transparent" codecs - eg. mp3 compression scheme that sounds indistuingashable from a ripped CD -, meaning that there is scientific inquiry into audio quality which is lacking in photography.
« Last Edit: January 30, 2012, 03:09:30 PM by feppe » Logged

Dave Millier
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« Reply #48 on: January 30, 2012, 03:13:55 PM »
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John

You misunderstand.

I'm not advocating a discussion about whether any particular individual has any kind of relationship or not with respect to any particular review.  I'm suggesting that a discussion about whether it is possible for anybody to be truly unbiased while reviewing (or writing about a favourite topic for that matter).  And what steps (if any) can be taken by someone writing under those conditions (or reading such and article) to disclose a relationship to indicate what impacts such a relationship might conceivably have on their judgement. This would be a discussion about principles, not specific cases.

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hjulenissen
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« Reply #49 on: January 30, 2012, 03:16:37 PM »
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Things are relative. A MFDB may cost up $50,000 and a mid-priced dSLD may sell for $1,000. The above mentioned violin is quite inexpensive compared to a Stradivarius.
 
On 21 June 2011, a 1721 Stradivari violin known as "Lady Blunt" was bought by an anonymous bidder for £9,808,000 ($15,932,115) (Wikipedia)
I do think that musical instruments are a relevant analogy to cameras. In both cases there are complex relationships between the artist and the end-result that makes it interesting to analyze.

Say that camera A have similar image quality potential to camera B, but because of its brand-name, technology or something else, one or more photographers are actually able to make better images using camera A. Is it then a "better" camera? Do we want to exclude these "joy of ownership" factors in our assessement?

-h
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BJL
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« Reply #50 on: January 30, 2012, 03:30:39 PM »
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Extremely long and well documented double blind test of high end power cables, with audiophiles and manufacturer participation can be found here

http://www.hometheaterhifi.com/volume_11_4/feature-article-blind-test-power-cords-12-2004.html

And the punch-lines:

1. To many in the engineering community, blind ABX is an accepted experimental design. Using the blind ABX protocol, we failed to hear any differences between an assortment of generic power cords and [$2500 in 2004] Nordost Valhalla. Therefore, we cannot conclude that different power cords produce a difference using the blind ABX protocol.

So credit to him for that. But then:

2. However, we also cannot conclude that there are no differences. We simply failed to prove that differences can be detected to a statistically significant degree using a blind ABX protocol.

John Johnson ... suggests that if there are differences between cords, they appear to be so subtle that a blind ABX test cannot discern them with small numbers of participants. Failure to discern them could be due in part to the time it took for cable changes, and the possibility that accurate auditory memory is shorter than that. It may be necessary to switch between cords in a much shorter time.

Unfortunately, as John notes, we don't know of a way of accomplishing fast power cable changes ...


And yet, as far as the limits on auditory memory goes, his original review confidently reported that he eventually detected an advantage to the Valhalla wires, but only about a month after changing to them.

Maybe just goes to show that you cannot prove a null hypothesis beyond any possible weaseling doubt. Fortunately, for most of us it is instead a matter of wanting sufficient evidence for rejecting the null hypothesis before we spend an extra $2,500 on wires.
« Last Edit: January 30, 2012, 03:38:34 PM by BJL » Logged
feppe
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« Reply #51 on: January 30, 2012, 03:36:54 PM »
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Which maybe just goes to show that you cannot prove a null hypothesis beyond any possible weaseling doubt. Fortunately, for most of us it is instead a matter of wanting sufficient evidence for rejecting the null hypothesis before we spend an extra $2,500 on wires.

Or put another way: if you can't tell the difference between two cables separated by a few minute cable change, it's probably not worth $2,500 unless your trust fund pays for it.
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Alan Goldhammer
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« Reply #52 on: January 30, 2012, 04:23:57 PM »
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Looks like we are rehashing a lot of ground that was previously covered.  I will only add to this that folks might want to read Danny Kahneman's new book, "Thinking Fast and Slow"  Kahneman won a Nobel Prize in Economics several years ago for work done on decision-making.  There are a number of concepts in this book that are relevant to this ongoing discussion.
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John Camp
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« Reply #53 on: January 30, 2012, 05:45:59 PM »
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John

You misunderstand.

I'm not advocating a discussion about whether any particular individual has any kind of relationship or not with respect to any particular review.  I'm suggesting that a discussion about whether it is possible for anybody to be truly unbiased while reviewing (or writing about a favourite topic for that matter).  And what steps (if any) can be taken by someone writing under those conditions (or reading such and article) to disclose a relationship to indicate what impacts such a relationship might conceivably have on their judgement. This would be a discussion about principles, not specific cases.



I didn't misunderstand, and I agreed with most of your post, which is why I only quoted a piece of it. What I am saying is quite simple: before you make an accusation, you should know what you're talking about, and in detail. An ethical journalist (and I was one) would not suggest that Mark had a conflict of interest without first investigating whether or not Mark had a conflict of interest. You also have to disclose any circumstances which might obviate the conflict. Who did any of that?

As to your more general point, a discussion about principles, I don't think that a landscape photo forum is the place to do that -- I'm not even sure it's necessary, since it's been done at exhaustive length at any number of other places. As to disclosure, do you think people charged Mark with a conflict because they somehow investigated him? No, they didn't -- they knew because Mark had previously disclosed it, or it had at least been discussed openly, and it was common knowledge around here.

Anyway, I'm done with this. I'm not only tired of it, I'm disgusted.
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michael
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« Reply #54 on: January 30, 2012, 06:11:43 PM »
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You're disgusted? How do you think I feel after having to wade though this endless nattering.

Enough already guys. Enough. You've made your points. Let's move on. I'm loath to close the thread, or any thread, but please, just give this whole topic a rest, will ya!

Michael
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jjj
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« Reply #55 on: January 30, 2012, 09:03:51 PM »
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Interesting, but my first question would be about the electrical integrity of his old cabling. Were the connectors loose? Tarnished? Was there frayed insulation? Poor shielding? Was the amplifier old (i.e. did the act of moving it about to change the cables jiggle something that improved performance)?

To leap to the conclusion that expensive cabling and not good cabling practice made the difference in audio quality is, I think, precisely the point of those who, like myself, were annoyed by the author's appeal to audiophile gear.
Good questions. All pretty new gear [2-3 months] and the new cables were not expensive, he made them up with good quality stuff from electrical store to replace the bog standard cheapo phono leads.

I've not read the thread with audiophile references, but have come across numerous arguments online about such things before with people denying the differences in audio equipment, which always comes as a surprise to me as having done listening tests on audio the differences between even very expensive amps/speakers etc can be very noticeable - to my ears. But then again I've lost track of the numbers of times I've heard the comment "all Latin music sounds the same", which is as dumb a comment as all European music sounds the same. Just because someone cannot tell the difference between audio gear or different Latin songs [or whatever] does not mean there is no difference.

This does not mean I think buying a £200 per metre oxygen free copper speaker cable wrapped in merino wool and blessed by Buddha will automatically make your hifi sound better. But replacing crappy wires or cables that came with your audio gear with some reasonably decent cables and good connectors can indeed make a noticeable difference.
« Last Edit: January 30, 2012, 09:14:57 PM by jjj » Logged

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hjulenissen
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« Reply #56 on: January 31, 2012, 01:35:28 AM »
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..I've lost track of the numbers of times I've heard the comment "all Latin music sounds the same", which is as dumb a comment as all European music sounds the same. Just because someone cannot tell the difference between audio gear or different Latin songs [or whatever] does not mean there is no difference.
Are you sure that you are interpreting that comment like it was meant to be?

If someone told me that "all country music sounds the same", I would interpret it as the variation was so low that one song had the same value as another for a particular listener (meant as a negative remark towards one genre). If the statement was supposed to be "no-one will ever be able to distinguish song A from song B in a blind listening test", that is indeed a strange comment, and one that should be easy to disprove.

Arranging and participating in blind-tests have opened my eyes for the wonderful and complex relations between what I sense, what I feel, what I (think that I) know, etc. Using scientific methods and reading papers should not make us any less impressed by nature.

-h
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Christoph C. Feldhaim
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« Reply #57 on: January 31, 2012, 01:58:00 AM »
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My impression is,
the thread is leaving the state of "beating a dead horse" and
developing into a state of a perverted sadistic fun of annoying Michael.

I officially want to ask Michael here to shut it down.
I'd also suggest to ban any discussion of wine, audiophilia and Stradivaris on this forum for at least 6 months.
Maybe some others can support me with this request.

~C.
« Last Edit: January 31, 2012, 02:00:05 AM by Christoph C. Feldhaim » Logged

BernardLanguillier
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« Reply #58 on: January 31, 2012, 02:00:18 AM »
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This does not mean I think buying a £200 per metre oxygen free copper speaker cable wrapped in merino wool and blessed by Buddha will automatically make your hifi sound better. But replacing crappy wires or cables that came with your audio gear with some reasonably decent cables and good connectors can indeed make a noticeable difference.

The only difference that matters anyway is the satisfaction of the buyer.

The potential problem is that the satisfaction of the buyer of high end audio equipment is often tightly correlated with a boost of ego resulting from the purchase of new equipment. The satisfaction requires the admiration from peers and the confirmation by them that it does sound better [than the equipment it replaces].

I have the solution though.

My recommendation is simply to always support claims made by audio equipment owner that their gear sounds better now than it did before. It is key because it will make them provide similar compliments for your own gear further down the road which will make you happier and more productive (copyright Radiohead). This is the royal way to the consumeristic nirvana we are all trying to reach.

The final piece is to start believing in the following statement "we all have different taste and there is therefore no value in comparing the absolute value of 2 different equipment".

We need to be commited to this thing my friends, the future of high end audio relies on our ability to behave well as consumers!  Grin

Cheers,
Bernard

p.s.: by the way, I own what I think is some of the best stuff available at any price point (although it is much cheaper than most)... and I am very happy about it, including my cables!
« Last Edit: January 31, 2012, 06:07:52 AM by BernardLanguillier » Logged

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« Reply #59 on: January 31, 2012, 02:47:12 AM »
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I am wondering if contributors to the site with regards to articles will now think twice about contributing? Will they accept the level of abuse? It seems that some are hell bent on ignoring Michael and bringing about a banning or worse. Too many large egos bouncing off each other. Huh Embarrassed
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