International Cat Speculators Since 2006


The left is bizarre.

A few weeks ago, Bob McCoskrie of Family First created a survey and sent it out to people on his email list.

FAMILY FIRST NZ’s role is to be a voice for families in the public domain, and to research family, marriage and pro-life issues.

We’ve put together a list of just over 25 key family issues and policies.

Will you complete the survey for us? Your opinion will shape the work of Family First NZ, so that we can better represent families in New Zealand

While Bob was not explicit on who he was targeting, it was perfectly clear that he was surveying supporters.

Yet for some reason, the left got ever-so-excited at the idea that they could skew the results and send that man a lesson! (!!)

Two problems with that:

  1. Bob’s already well aware that people hate him. Quite how people could think he wasn’t is beyond me.
  2. Bob, like pretty much every competent survey compiler before him, removed the bad faith results. I don’t imagine they were too hard to identify – by definition supporters would agree on at least one point!

Now I agree that the results lack some clout. It’s an on-line survey, and it’s clearly been manipulated by at least 1 group.

But I’m amazed at the cries of outrage and conspiracy from people who were quite open in their bad faith. Heck, they’re even calling the 2,400 response figure “suspicious” even though Bob describes it as approximate in his own email.

Update: Apparently Bob has said that he did not remove results. I’ve also had a number of people saying “I agreed with several points”. Given that, I do wonder if the actual problem is that the campaign to skew the data simply didn’t result in enough people disagreeing with enough questions to skew the results.

People have also asked what I base my comment on. Well, I did spend some time in the past sitting in lecture theatres listing to a PHD droning on about surveys.

And finally, people keep telling me that the survey was a waste of time. Believe it or not, I agree. I don’t think it discovered anything useful whatsoever – other than Family First’s supporters agree with Family First.

Update2: It perhaps would have been most useful to have a question along the lines of “do you agree generally with the work of Family First”. That could then have been used to separate out the results from people who where just filling out the survey to try and embarrass Bob.

But according to people here, that wasn’t needed anyway since those who fundamentally disagreed were not as large a part of the survey response as some seem to think.

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Comments on: "“Hey, he ignored my bad faith submission”" (37)

  1. You mean, Bob simply deleted the votes that don’t tally with his prejudices? Quelle surprise!

    I bet he deleted my votes, even though they were made in good faith. If Bob wants to represent families, let him do so (although who elected him to that role?). If he wants to just represent the loopier religious fringe fine, but be up front about it Bob.

    • Good faith? Bollocks. Don’t make me laugh.

      • So what constitutes ‘good faith’ in your book. I answered all the questions as I honestly felt about the answers. In some cases I agreed, in a lot I didn’t.

        The problem here is that Family First are trying to use the results to say that ‘average New Zealanders’ feel a certain way about certain topics and then pointing to their survey to support it.

        So you’re saying they were just trying to survey their own members to make sure they agreed with the party line? Don’t make me laugh.

  2. The survey was on the public Internet, and there was no indication that it would only be used to describe his supporters’ beliefs. Family First uses surveys and polls to tell NZers what they think, and if this is used in any way for the same media purposes, we’ll know for sure that the survey has been manipulated.

    My all means, Bob can survey his supporters for Family First’s own internal planning purposes. It seems a bit tautological, since it will just say that “conservative Christians believe in what conservative Christians believe”, but that’s his own business.

    But if he tries to publicise the results as “represent[ing] families in New Zealand”, and we know for sure that he’s removed as “bad faith” the answers from dozens of family people just because they don’t define “family” in the narrow theocratic way that Bob does, then we’ll know that he’s misleading the public.

    • “It seems a bit tautological, since it will just say that “conservative Christians believe in what conservative Christians believe”, but that’s his own business.”

      I don’t necessarily disagree with that statement.

  3. Answering in ‘bad faith’ would mean providing answers you don’t actually believe. I don’t think anyone did that.

    In fact, my motivation for answering those questions in good faith was to let Bob now how to “better represent families in New Zealand”.

    I also think a “competent survey compiler” would have asked better questions, and if they really thought they needed to exclude some responses they’d have been open about how many they chucked and what criteria they used to do it.

    • There were many part of the survey that were, in hindsight, poorly thought through.

      But I stand by my assessment that removal of submissions that resulted from people trying to “send Bob a message” (i.e. that they hate him) was perfectly fine and not particularly surprising or controversial.

  4. I don’t want to leap in here again, but let’s get the facts straight. Bob may have “sent it out to people on his email list”, but it also:

    – was on a public website (cached here);
    – was promoted on Bob’s public blog; and
    – was tweeted from the public @familyfirstNZ account, from where it was publicly reteeted.

    None of those stated that this was a purely internal Family First matter, for members only. The survey page said: “Your opinion will shape the work of Family First NZ, so that we can better represent families in New Zealand. It only takes a couple of minutes to complete but we would greatly appreciate your input. Anybody in your household is welcome to take the survey although we would ask that each adult only complete it once. … We see this as a positive move to empower your voice.”

    So, thank you Family First for empowering our voice and helping you better represent families in New Zealand. Except they didn’t, did they? If as you say, “Bob … removed the bad faith results”, then he disempowered the voices of anyone who had different ideas, and didn’t help Family First represent the full spectrum of families in NZ.

    This leaves two possibilities:

    – the survey, though not advertised as such, will only be used internally as a survey of Family First’s members and sympathisers (though that won’t help them much, since they’ll only get the answers they already knew); or
    – the results will be publicly used to claim that the vast majority of NZers agree with Family First, when only people who agree with Family First had their votes counted.

    In other words: it’s a waste of time, or it’s fraud.

    • I think it was ill-conceived in hindsight. It was open to manipulation, and there was a clear campaign to manipulate it.

      I repeat my position that I don’t think any competent survey creator would not first remove answers that were clearly in bad faith before looking at what the results said. That would be stupid.

      But people here have also said that Bob has stated answers were not removed. It’s entirely possible that my theory is completely wrong.

      I believe the former of your “two possibilities” is the Closer to the truth. Clearly there are a couple of questions where those who answered the survey had a significant level of disagreement. And yes, this is for the most part a waste of time.

  5. I answered in good faith, and included a comment at the end noting that I was surprised to find myself agreeing with a few of their policies (especially the loan-shark stuff), while strongly disagreeing with the rest.

    I suppose there’s nothing wrong with Family First picking which survey respondents they want to include in their results, as long as they don’t go making any press releases that lie about it being remotely reflective of what New Zealanders think.

  6. Apologies if there are dozens of people making this point…

    supporters would agree on at least one point

    I remember several people remarking there were a couple of questions they agreed with. The gaming machines one in leaps to mind.

    I answered honestly, and encouraged others to do the same. I consider that in support of the stated aims of the survey. Please do not assume a difference of opinion indicates bad faith.

    Just for clarity: are you saying you know that Bob actually did as you say? Someone said they had a response from him that implied otherwise.

  7. Hi. I’m a married father of two. I could be considered to have a stake in “what families think”. I heard about the survey and answered it in good faith. I represented my views honestly: mostly, I strongly disagree with the positions espoused by FF. In some cases, poor wording on the questions lead me to think “I kind of agree with half of the question, but I disagree with the other half, so I’ll have to answer disagree overall.” And in some cases – the questions about pokie machines and loan sharking – I agreed strongly with the statement given.

    These are my opinions. I took the survey so that FF could get some feedback as to a realistic view of NZ society. I’m curious as to what basis my responses were discarded on. Or are some families just more worthwhile than others?

    • I have no idea what Bob did, whether he discarded submissions and if he did on what criteria.

      But it seemed to me that the survey was to find out what people on his email list thought. Everyone knows that Bob does not represent all families, nor every view on families.

  8. Exactly what everyone else said.

    Also, where do you get the “competent survey compiler” bit? That survey was flawed in many different ways… as anyone that’s studied an ounce of statistics or psychology would know.

    Trying to represent the result of the survey as what the average New Zealand family thinks is intellectually dishonest and destroys Bob’s credibility (if he had any to begin with).

    People tend to get a bit upset when people start misrepresenting them and telling them what they think.

    • Also, where do you get the “competent survey compiler” bit? That survey was flawed in many different ways… as anyone that’s studied an ounce of statistics or psychology would know.

      I don’t disagree that it was flawed, in fact I said so myself. One of the flaws was that it did not clearly define what it was trying to do.

      People tend to get a bit upset when people start misrepresenting them and telling them what they think.

      Yes, but Bob’s a nice guy and puts up with a lot.

  9. Um.

    “While Bob was not explicit on who he was targeting, it was perfectly clear that he was surveying supporters.”
    – No, there was no indication on the publicly available web page that it was a survey for “supporters” only.

    “Bob, like pretty much every competent survey compiler before him, removed the bad faith results.”
    – I answered in good faith. I agreed with a couple of the statements: about child care (although I cringed over the lurking definition of “family”), loan sharks and gaming machines and I honestly disagree with others. Does Bob not allow any supporters to have divergent views from his own? If so, what was the point of the survey?

    “Heck, they’re even calling the 2,400 response figure “suspicious” even though Bob describes it as approximate in his own email.”
    – The main point of statistics is usually accuracy. Hey approximately 50 other people agree with me, no wait, 500, no, 5, no, around 2400!

    This is beyond a joke.

    • Does Bob not allow any supporters to have divergent views from his own? If so, what was the point of the survey?

      As I said above, I can only theorise that bad faith submissions were removed. I doubt from what you say that yours were – if in fact any were removed at all.

      Oh, love your “lurking definition of “family”” – how does a definition “lurk” exactly?

      • I was saying that I agreed with the statement that families should get greater support with childcare despite knowing that Family First define a family in conventional terms, whereas I couldn’t care less who is sleeping whom or co-habitating with whom as long they love and care for the child. I suspect that a lot of people would have hesitated over clicking the ‘agree’ options knowing how FF define marriage and families.

  10. I answered in good faith and honestly, the whole time gritting my teeth and concentrating to get to the actual truth of the questions in the face of their contradictory content.

    Basically it appears that you (blogger) are complaining that people you call “the left” were attempting to do what actually the survey producer has in fact done: present a selected and skewed set of responses.

    How do you decide what answers are given in “Bad Faith”? Let me guess… anything which you personally disagree with? That’s what it looks like.

    Shame on you. And shame on you for attempting to declare people’s upsetness as just because they “hate Bob”. People are upset at your dishonesty and sham values.

    By the way, this isn’t “The Left”, this is “General society”.

    • I answered in good faith and honestly, the whole time gritting my teeth and concentrating to get to the actual truth of the questions in the face of their contradictory content.

      I thought it was pretty straight forward – either you agreed or you didn’t.

      Basically it appears that you (blogger) are complaining that people you call “the left” were attempting to do what actually the survey producer has in fact done: present a selected and skewed set of responses.

      I used the term “the left” because I saw the campaign to skew the survey and the complaints afterwards that the campaign failed on left wing blogs. That’s probably not an entirely accurate description I admit.

      • you thought the questions were straightforward?

        17. Euthanasia
        New Zealand should oppose euthanasia – and increase resourcing of hospices and palliative care

        This one I disagreed with the first part and agreed with the second

        5. Anti-smacking Law
        New Zealand should scrap the anti-smacking law. Amend the law to state explicitly that parents who give their children a smack that is reasonable and for the purpose of correction are not breaking the law

        Strongly disagree. The fact that this is even called the “Anti-smacking Law” is a red herring. What the law change did was remove the loop hole that allowed for reasonable force. This means that under the amendment, this woman would not have gotten away with beating her son with a riding crop and a bamboo cane. You are still able to use force if the child is endanger or endangering others. The whole problem is that “reasonable force” is subjective and had to be removed.

        6. Sex education
        New Zealand should promote age-appropriate sex education which is values based, increase funding of abstinence education, and provide support and resources for parents to be primary educators of their child’s sex education

        Strongly disagree. Values based? Who’s values? Abstinence education doesn’t work!! If anything it leads to an increase in teenage pregnancy and STIs. The fact is some parents aren’t comfortable talking to their children about sex education and safety, for whatever reason, so it’s up to the school system to fill that gap.

        Still think they’re straightforward??

  11. Bad faith? Surely asking for people to complete a survey by giving the distinct impression you want their opinion, while having no intention of including their data if it doesn’t fit your world view is the epitome of bad faith?

    If it’s the policy of FF to prune “bad faith” answers (from those of us not “one of you”, that’s fine – just please don’t ever suggest that the results are in any way representative of what New Zealanders believe.

    I had wondered why the published results didn’t include a margin of error, now I see why – it’s incalculable given the meddling with the data.

    • Bad faith? Surely asking for people to complete a survey by giving the distinct impression you want their opinion, while having no intention of including their data if it doesn’t fit your world view is the epitome of bad faith?

      No, sending tweats saying “Send Bob the message about what families *really* think is bad faith.

      • How is that bad faith? It’s encouraging people to fill out the survey. You’ve got a warped view of the world dude, just like Bob.

        Oh, and it’s “tweets”… but I guess accuracy isn’t something you guys are after.

      • But… if it’s a survey about what families think, then how is asking for people to tell him what they think in any way bad faith? Bad faith would be getting people to answer at random, to add noise to the results. I don’t think that anyone who answered the survey – even those who came to it from what you characterise as “left-leaning” blogs – actually lied about their opinions. We just wanted to give him some actual data about what people outside his relatively circumscribed peer group think.

  12. faeteardrop:

    New Zealand should oppose euthanasia – and increase resourcing of hospices and palliative care
    This one I disagreed with the first part and agreed with the second

    You tend to have one or the other. Palliative care is almost unheard of in Holland.

    5. Anti-smacking Law
    What the law change did was remove the loop hole that allowed for reasonable force. This means that under the amendment, this woman would not have gotten away with beating her son with a riding crop and a bamboo cane.

    Yes, anyone using or threatening force against a child for the purpose of “correction” is now rail-roaded through the courts, whether or not the correction was reasonable.

    As it was, in that case the police did not put up a case. I don’t think we should change the law because some lawyer didn’t bother to turn up and do his job. Then there was the fact that the “6 of the best” a) were in response to an action that was arguably attempted murder and b) bought the child’s behaviour under control – that’s how it was discovered, the child suddenly behaved at school.

    Glad you think that’s a good idea though, and that you’ve fallen for the ridiculous lie that this was not the “anti-smacking law” even though the greens themselves initially described it as such.

    6. Sex education
    Strongly disagree. Values based? Who’s values? Abstinence education doesn’t work!!

    Says who? The studies I’ve seen state that actually it has some very positive effects.

    The fact is some parents aren’t comfortable talking to their children about sex education and safety, for whatever reason, so it’s up to the school system to fill that gap.

    I’m struggling to understand how anyone could possibly think that.

    Still think they’re straightforward??

    Yes.

  13. faeteardrop: more briefly.

    You disagree with the premise of all the questions. But in the first, your “third alternative” doesn’t exist.

    The other two you disagree anyway.

    So yes, you have not convinced me that they’re not straightforward.

  14. We just wanted to give him some actual data about what people outside his relatively circumscribed peer group think.

    As I’ve said before, Bob knows people disagree with him. If they didn’t, his organisation would have no purpose.

    The fact that you think he doesn’t know this speaks volumes.

  15. How is that bad faith? It’s encouraging people to fill out the survey. You’ve got a warped view of the world dude, just like Bob.

    Thanks for making my case.

  16. If it was bad faith, the call to action wouldn’t have been “tell Family First what families really think”. It would have been “lie to Family First about what families think”.

    • I guess we disagree. It was pretty clear to me that the people saying things like that were not interested in supporting Bob’s work.

      • That would be true if Bob’s work was to find out what New Zealand families think. But that’s not Bob’s work. Bob’s work is to push a particular policy line, regardless of how many New Zealanders agree with it.

        I guess the problem is that the purpose of the survey was unclear. Was he asking Family First supporters what they think are the most important policies FF pushes, perhaps to help shape strategy decisions about where to direct FF’s resources? Or was he putting together a survey that would claim to reflect what Kiwis at large think?

        The Twitter folk who came in to give their views clearly thought it was the latter, and were either acting to balance out a perceived bias or saw it as a kind of public referendum to be won like an election.

        It all comes down to what FF will try to do with these results.

      • I guess we agree on that then.

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