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November 24th, 2016, 11:33 AM   #1
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Is total of interest?

What means ' Is total of interest' ?
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November 24th, 2016, 04:18 PM   #2
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You need to supply context.
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November 24th, 2016, 10:13 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by mathman View Post
You need to supply context.
Of course,
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November 25th, 2016, 04:51 AM   #4
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What is the typical favorite number of children in kindergarten? How long is a typical answer in the forum? Well, it depends on what you mean by "typical."

"Favorite number" is categorical. If you ask 11 children, you might get a set like "one, one, two, three, three, three, five, seven, ten, one million, one googleplex." But the values here aren't what the question was asking about. The median - five - appears only once, and isn't the answer you seek because you aren't concerned about how that value compares to "one" or "one googleplex."

Averaging would be also pointless. The result would essentially be "one googleplex," which most of them haven't heard of. "Three" appears more often than any other number - it is the mode - and is the best answer. Now, most things that are categorical are not numbers, so there is no median or mean. Like "Favorite color" instead of "favorite number." I chose my example to show how numbers can be categorical.

While it may not be as dramatic a range as "favorite numbers," the lengths of answers here include some less than 10 words ("You need to supply context" - thanks for the example mathman ), many in the 50-100 word range, and then mine. I like to explain things in detail, and am exaggerating the tendency for this answer. It isn't the difference in the values - that is, the total of each - that you care about. Only the comparison of values - that my 500 word answer is more than those 50-100 word ones. If you include mine in a mean, the answer will rise well above that 50-100 word range. Just like averaging "one googleplex," my long answers will skew the mean well above the length of most answers. So you can't call the mean "typical."

The point is, that you aren't interested in the total number of words, you want to know what ranges the answers typically fall in. That would be the 50-100 range, where the median is.
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Last edited by JeffJo; November 25th, 2016 at 05:35 AM.
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November 25th, 2016, 05:39 AM   #5
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"Is total of interest" means "are we interested in the total" or "do we want to find the total" of a list of numbers. If the answer to that question is "yes" then we "use the mean". If the answer is "no" then we go to the next question and determine whether or not the distribution is skewed.
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November 27th, 2016, 02:10 AM   #6
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The chart you provide with your question isn't helpful enough.
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interest, total

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