Recognizing Sloppy Writing

Every once in a while, the Reality Dispatch heuristics flag a “news” article as very biased, when it wasn’t.  The author was just sloppy.

Our algorithms generally determine bias, or passion, pretty effectively.  They’re less good at prejudice… as in right vs left… because too much context is needed for that.

A few days ago, the top article for both bias and prejudice was actually not biased or prejudiced, but just badly written.

For that day, the top three biased articles were:

The second – yeah, that’s going to be pretty political.  And the third – police as criminals in uniform – that’s pretty biased too.  But resume-writing?

Okay, let’s look at prejudice:

Okay, yeah, I buy it.  An article on DACA threatening deportation is going to be very far from the left.  Anything taking Christianity seriously is going to be pretty far to the right, or even considered insane by ABC.

But how did the resume article make the top of both lists?

Through bizarrely bad writing.  The list of tropes and bias-phrases it includes form a thorough tutorial:

  • “needs to be”
  • “accept such a risk”
  • “little room for error”
  • “misstep(s) can be costly”
  • “asking and answering”
  • “ask yourself”, twice
  • “laughed at”
  • “nail down”
  • Avoid the “red flags”
  • “missteps and mistakes” (redundant to no purpose)
  • Adjectives including: hilarious, tragic, outlandish, creepy
  • Nouns including: trash can, garbage folder, pinnacle
  • “the truth is”, multiple times!

This “article”, more of a sponsored post, is ostensibly trying to help people craft a better resume, but was so poorly written that even our automatic system couldn’t handle it.  We wouldn’t hire him (Eric Titner, the author) either.

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