This has nothing to do with bad research.
Bad Facebook, that’s another story.
So one of the basketball pools I’m in is hosted at cbssports.com. I installed their Facebook application because I was hoping it would let me log into the main site through the application, which would let me attach my bracket to my profile. (I’m 8 for 8 so far, but Villanova is making me nervous.) That didn’t seem to be an option, so I went to delete it … but first, I screengrabbed this strange status updater thing that was built into the app:
So, last year, I told a different CBS Sports application that North Carolina was my favorite team; it pulled that info from somewhere and pre-wrote all these status updates for me. Six of the eight pre-written updates insert the name of my favorite team into the update: all of the six were written as if the name of the team was singular. As a result, all of those updates come out looking like they were written by an idiot.
But here’s the thing: I can’t think offhand of ANY sports team, college or otherwise, whose name is singular. Tar Heels. Wildcats. Orangemen. Huskies. Banana Slugs. Hoyas. I might be wrong, but if I’m not, whoever developed this app for CBS has managed to ensure that six of eight of their status updates will never be right.
There’s definitely a lesson of some sort in here for researchers — beware of automated processes that might make you look stupid is probably it — but I’m not really going for the tie-in here — I’m just making fun of some bad, bad Facebook application design.