What is ISideWith’s Bias?

What is ISideWith’s Bias?


Neutral Bias
This article has neutral bias with a bias score of 0.21 from our political bias detecting A.I.

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Winston Wang
Managing Editor
Contributor on The Bipartisan Press

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In case you haven’t noticed already, we display the ISideWith political quiz results of our frequent writers in a section above the content.

One question that is frequently asked regarding this is “Many political compass quizzes are biased. How do you know ISideWith isn’t?” or “Why are you using isidewith? It’s biased.”

Once of our writers, Mike Kauffmann, wrote an in-depth piece analyzing the bias of various political quizzes here.

Specifically, he found that ISideWith and People’s Press’s Political Typology quiz were the least biased, but isidewith was still biased in that they were emphasizing a two-sided answer approach, with their use of Yes/No questions.

We re-reviewed the quiz, and generally, found that the questions were generally unbiased and they tried to utilized user feedback to make their questions more unbiased.

However, we did find a few biased descriptions/questions that hinted at isidewith’s bias in general. Though we will note that this is most likely not done on purpose, but an example of subconscious bias, which is notoriously hard to get rid of.

Question: Should the U.S. raise taxes on the rich?

Description: Australia currently has a progressive tax system whereby high-income earners pay a higher percentage of tax than low income tax. A more progressive income tax system has been proposed as a tool towards reducing wealth inequality.

Votes: 60% Yes, 38% No

This question is pretty neutral and doesn’t use loaded words or have any slant, though it is a bit vague. However, the description and choices were somewhat biased towards making users choose “Yes.” The given answers were:

  • Yes
  • No
  • Yes, and raise taxes on all income brackets
  • Reform to a flat tax
  • No, but lower taxes for the poor
  • No, keep the current tax structure
  • Lower the income tax rate and remove all existing tax loopholes for large corporations
  • Abolish the income tax, disallow all deductions and increase the sales tax

First off, the description only provides a positive reason for increasing wealth tax (reduce wealth inequality), and doesn’t provide a con, making users more likely to support the “pro” side without being given any further info. Interestingly, 63% of users selected “Yes” for this question.

Furthermore, the lack of on option that says “No, and lower taxes on the rich,” which one would assume to be a common option, is also somewhat concerning.

Overall though, we would rate this question 2/10 for bias, and left for direction.

Question: Should the government require children to be vaccinated for preventable diseases?

Description: In January 2014, 102 measles cases linked to an outbreak at Disneyland were reported in 14 states. The outbreak alarmed the CDC, which declared the disease eliminated in the U.S. in the year 2000. Many health officials have tied the outbreak to the rising number of unvaccinated children under the age of 12. Proponents of a mandate argue that vaccines are necessary in order to insure herd immunity against preventable diseases. Herd immunity protects people who are unable to get vaccines due to their age or health condition. Opponents of a mandate believe the government should not be able to decide which vaccines their children should receive. Some opponents also believe there is a link between vaccinations and autism and vaccinating their children will have destructive consequences on their early childhood development.

Votes: 69% Yes, 29% No

The inclusion of the last line is comically misleading but important enough that we feel the need to point it out. It is a scientific consensus that autism and vaccines have absolutely no correlation. This is backed by the CDC, WHO, and various scientific studies and journals, and was put into the public eye by a flawed study. However, the inclusion of misinformation could potentially sway the results.

We aren’t giving a specific bias or direction for this since people on both sides generally agree that autism and vaccines are not correlated, and isidewith was most likely just including this statement to address the population that is underinformed/unwilling to accept this.

Question: Should foreign terrorism suspects be given constitutional rights?

Description: In 2002, the George W. Bush administration issued the Torture Memos which argued for a narrow definition of torture under U.S. law. They included granting the CIA authority to use “enhanced interrogation techniques” on enemy combatants. The techniques included waterboarding subjection to extreme cold and confinement in small boxes.

Votes: 24% Yes, 76% No

This question is slightly negatively worded. We feel that “Should the Constitution apply to the prosecution of foreign terrorists?“ is more unbiased because “giving terrorists constitutional rights” is vague (could be referring to other rights) and could generate a negative connotation.

Upon reading the description, it is clear that the question refers to the Amendment Eight on the Bill of Right, which says, “Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted,” in regards to whether or not that should apply to foreign terrorists. However, the description isn’t totally relevant to the question itself. Instead of talking about the arguments for and against giving terrorist rights, it discusses the use of torture in the past, thereby withholding any context or further information needed to make a decision.

Therefore, we rate this question 3/10 on bias and for the right.

We went through the other questions and found that in general, the questions and descriptions on isidewith weren’t biased, but some were outdated, such as “Should police officers be required to wear body cameras?” which cites an Obama-era petition that has since been taken down (archive link).

If we had to give isidewith a bias, we would say it would have minimal bias in favor of the left, though it is generally nonexistent and pretty fair.

Take the quiz here and see for yourself: https://www.isidewith.com/elections/2020-presidential-quiz

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  • comment-avatar
    Barbara Wright September 9, 2020

    Yes, I DO take exception to the information regarding vaccines and the alleged proof that ‘there is scientific consensus that vaccines and autism have no correlation’. The CDC & WHO wouldn’t know because there has NEVER been a legitimate placebo controlled study completed on even ONE of the childhood vaccines. Big Pharma has completed the actual’safety’studies using other vaccines as their control which is a flawed practice; the CDC has taken them at their word. In a video of a session at WHO the lead scientist herself was seen verbalizing that legitimate safety studies were NOT in place. This is the tip of the iceberg . . . Bottom line is that YOU need a legitimate fact checker for information regarding the safety of vaccines.