Author Topic: Hey You Can't do that  (Read 17304 times)

caliq

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 675
Re: Hey You Can't do that
« Reply #50 on: February 08, 2015, 07:37:54 PM »
I remember being taught specifically that average=mean, and mode and median are not averages.   I see the dictionary definitions you guys posted, but it is so far ingrained in me that when I see average I automatically associate it with arithmetic mean.

Yep same here. I wonder if there are similarities in education or location for those of us who are confused by this "'average' means whatever way you feel like" stuff. Public school, graduated HS in 2005 in the Northeast US. Taught by my statistics teacher that "average" means "mean." I had no idea of that dictionary definition of "average" until you guys started posting them.

Northeast as well, graduated HS in 2009. 

I kept out of it before because while I was taught average = mean in public HS, I also took statistics in college and am aware that it can mean different things.

In terms of the 'average' 401k balance...I know a lot of people who are significantly older than 22 who operate under the assumption that they'll work until they die.  It's very sad and being only 23, I have to try very hard to keep my mouth shut about early retirement because I get very very angry death glares when I mention it.  And then I get the "oh poor child, so naive" type comments, lol.

deborah

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 8784
  • Location: Australia or another awesome area
Re: Hey You Can't do that
« Reply #51 on: February 08, 2015, 08:31:20 PM »
There is literally nothing anybody can say to me to convince me that a median or mode is an average.

Holy closed mind, Batman! Although you gotta appreciate the heads up since we can't actually see him sticking his fingers in his ears and yelling 'La, La, La!"

But I will add that there is "literally" nothing you can say to me to convince me that johnny847 is a more authoritative source on the english language than the Webster dictionary.

Mode, mean and median are all averages. Mode could definitely considered a better average if the mean and median are significantly skewed by outliers. Can you just stop writing Median average? It goes without saying that its an average. What else could it be other than an average? Just say Median, mean or mode.

There's 5 guys with incomes of 100k, 100k, 100k, 100k and 1,000,000,000 a year. What's the best average?
But the median is not skewed by outliers - in this case both the median and the mode are 100k, but the average is completely different. It depends upon what you are calculating.

We were taught that they are all averages, but who cares? Use the best one for the circumstances.

RetiredAt63

  • Senior Mustachian
  • ********
  • Posts: 11377
  • Location: Eastern Ontario, Canada
Re: Hey You Can't do that
« Reply #52 on: February 21, 2015, 07:46:08 PM »
There are 4 measures of central tendency - mode, median, arithmetic mean (what people are thinking of when they say average), and geometric mean.  Geometric mean gets used in special circumstances, and usually by people who know why.

Any stats book will explain measures of central tendency.  It will also explain variability and outliers, which is what the 100k, 100k, 100k, 100k and 1,000,000,000K is an example of.

It is a lot easier to discuss things when everyone is on the same page re terms.  Much less foam.

Am I nit-picking? Maybe, but I come from a discipline where the same word can mean different things depending on context, and we need to be clear. "Population" comes to mind.

There is literally nothing anybody can say to me to convince me that a median or mode is an average.

Holy closed mind, Batman! Although you gotta appreciate the heads up since we can't actually see him sticking his fingers in his ears and yelling 'La, La, La!"

But I will add that there is "literally" nothing you can say to me to convince me that johnny847 is a more authoritative source on the english language than the Webster dictionary.

Mode, mean and median are all averages. Mode could definitely considered a better average if the mean and median are significantly skewed by outliers. Can you just stop writing Median average? It goes without saying that its an average. What else could it be other than an average? Just say Median, mean or mode.

There's 5 guys with incomes of 100k, 100k, 100k, 100k and 1,000,000,000 a year. What's the best average?
But the median is not skewed by outliers - in this case both the median and the mode are 100k, but the average is completely different. It depends upon what you are calculating.

We were taught that they are all averages, but who cares? Use the best one for the circumstances.

AnonymousCoward

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 75
  • Location: San Francisco, CA
Re: Hey You Can't do that
« Reply #53 on: February 21, 2015, 11:46:45 PM »
Quote from: RetiredAt63
There are 4 measures of central tendency...

Don't forget the harmonic mean!

RetiredAt63

  • Senior Mustachian
  • ********
  • Posts: 11377
  • Location: Eastern Ontario, Canada
Re: Hey You Can't do that
« Reply #54 on: February 22, 2015, 11:16:11 AM »
Cool!   I had never heard of it - always something new to learn.

PS Now that I am not teaching I don't keep up with the latest slang.  What is in use these days for "cool"/"neat"/whatever?  Mind you, this place does help to keep me up to date.  My DD just about dropped dead the first time I used "First World Problem" on her.


Quote from: RetiredAt63
There are 4 measures of central tendency...

Don't forget the harmonic mean!