Rankings update

Stop caring about BS lists! {ranking update}

[Trigger warning – if your attention span is shorter than a Chihuahua after snorting an 8-ball, this 1,500 word piece is not for you. Conversely, if you enjoy peeling back the cow manure layers of these bogus “lists” or rankings – then you will enjoy this…]

Why does ANYONE give a crap about these bogus rankings?

Recently, some FAKE promotional publication for the Garden State released their stupid annual list of “best places in NJ for families.”

It reeks.

And is proof that no matter how savvy you think you are with “data manipulation,” the whole kit and kaboodle is soulless, FAKE, and serves no benefit for ANYONE dissecting the “results.”

This FAKE publication thinks they’re truly finding good or bad things about individual cities, towns, or boroughs. By sorting through spreadsheets of numbers. Probably not, but they’re creating the lists for more than meets the eye.

One, it’s click bait hidden behind a veil of fake legitimacy. The so-called “Methodology” buzz-phrase.

rankings nj best towns for families debunked

In case you need to reminded – “methodology” is just a fancy word with how they came up with their lists. Let’s see what they had to say:

Methodology

To come up with our third annual list, we first eliminated those towns with populations less than 1,500, due to unsubstantial data. For the remaining municipalities, we collected data for average home sale prices (NJ Division of Taxation), violent crime and non-violent crime data  (NJ Department of Law and Public Safety), public high school performance (we specifically looked at the percentage of students at each high school taking AP/IB classes, the percentage of students at each high school scoring above 1550 on the SAT and the percentage of students still in college 18 months after high school graduation)  (NJ Department of Education), median household income (US Census), percentage of families with children under the age of 18 (US Census), mean travel time to work (US Census), percentage of families with less than 70% of one ethnicity to find diverse populations (US Census), number of restaurants (Yelp), number of hospitals within 10 miles (Health Grades), number of grocery/convenience stores within 5 miles (Yelp) and the number of NJ’s Favorite Kids’ Docs (chosen by our readers) who practice in each town. Based on the aggregated data for each of the municipalities, we developed an algorithm to determine our ranking.

But what does that REALLY mean?

Breaking down their “methodology” piece by piece

Let’s analyze their “data sources” one by one.

  1. First, they eliminated small towns with less than 1,500 residents. WHY? Because “unsubstantial data.” So because they can’t DIGITALLY compare things – that takes them out of contention on their stupid list? Partial proof we’re already in the matrix.
  2. Average home sale prices. WTF does that have to do with being a “best” town for families? What about rich families? Or super poor families? No explanation.
  3. Violent crime and non-violent crime data. This we can agree with. Lower crime is better. But government reports do not contain unreported crimes – so still has to be taken with a grain of salt.
  4. Public high school performance (AP classes & SAT scores & and kids who are still in college 18 months after graduating HS). HO LEE FUK. What does that have to do with being a “Best town?” Yeah, the public schools play a role. We hate schools. But parents, financial strength and much more play a role. You cannot make generalizations based on crap data like this.
  5. Median household income. HAHA laughing my balls off. One, they don’t suggest why that matters. But you can imagine that wealthy people are “more civilized,” right? RACIST!
  6. Percentage of kids under 18. A pretty broad stroke. What if 99% of them were 17 years old at the time of the ranking?
  7. Mean travel time to work. Again, entirely BS. And how accurate can that be, really? How come no list of “entrepreneurs” or “farmers” or “independently wealthy” or “retired?”
  8. Percentage of families with less than 70% of one ethnicity “to find diverse populations.” WOW. Again, a broad generalization. No specifics. And why that dataset?
  9. Number of restaurants. For one, they based if off Yelp – which is dead to us. Doesn’t take into consideration whether people like to cook at home as a family. Useless data.
  10. Number of hospitals within 10 miles. Who picked that number? 10 miles. So what? If hospital location was even relevant – EVERYONE would want to live a block away from a death zone like the frickin’ hospital. People need to get off this bogus “healthcare” scam now.
  11. Number of grocery / convenience stores within 5 miles. So hospitals it was 10 miles, and now grocery stores are five? Are energy drinks, KitKat bars and Twinkies more important? Don’t understand the logic here either way. So arbitrary and stupid.
  12. And “favorite kids’ Doctors. WTF again? They used a biased opinion poll for this valuable set of data. You know doctors probably told each patient to “vote for me.”

The most important thing: They “DEVELOPED AN ALGORITHM.” Praise the lord!

This is what sucks about these FAKE publications – they think they can get away with saying a few “official” sounding words – without getting any resistance.

Their vague explanation for their data results was:

“Based on the aggregated data for each of the municipalities, we developed an algorithm to determine our ranking.”

Sounds so scientific and technical, right?

Well – for starters – an algorithm is a complex set of instructions (much like a flowchart) which regurgitates quantitative “results” based on a set of conditions, values, etc.

Such as (follow along now) “If town demographic is greater than 90% white, and crime % is less than 3%, then lower overall ranking by 20 slots to make “diverse” cities rank higher..” ETC., You get my point.

I highly DOUBT these numbnuts used an “algorithm.” They just like saying that because it sounds so advanced and technical.

What they PROBABLY did – was use a WEIGHTED system of importance.

They had 11 general dataset categories. Let’s say 10 for arguments sake. If each set of “data,” they could easily assign each 10%. Or better – just average out the numbers to come out with an overall ranking.

However, they probably “tweaked” the weights of each particular category.

Grocery stores might have received a lower weight than crime. Or schooling might have been weighted higher than median income.

There are two reasons to “tweak” the weighting of one category over another:

1. To mirror the sentiments of the person or persons creating the “ranking” list.
2. To tweak it until the results THEY want appear where they want on the list.

How can you take those random datasets to make a determination of what is “best?”

And why didn’t they publish their “algorithm” or weighting statistics? I want to know.

And best yet – a GOOD ranking list like this would NOT publish results. They would let you find your OWN results.

They would be CUSTOMIZABLE calculators. Where YOU can adjust the “Algorithm” to match YOUR preferences in life. Don’t care about schools or travel time? Lower their importance or weight to ZERO. You’d have an entirely different (still stupid) list of what ranks where.

Plus – what about other important factors for families? Like:

Property tax rates
Ethnicity percentages
Number of “noisy neighbor” complaints
% of hot chicks in yoga pants (dads only)
Corrupt mayors, bike lanes and no parking (Hoboken is number one always)
Fluoridated water supply
Mosques
Major power lines
Etc.

In the end “BEST” is always subjective for this garbage

“Best” should be shunned as a word for this type of nonsense. But these garbage publications know that. They love using “BEST” because it’s divisive. It causes people who disagree to knee-jerk and respond, creating a “buzz” which shouldn’t exist whatsoever. Especially for such trivial and manipulated BS.

Which is why they almost always say in their tweeches or fockbock updates: “Where does YOUR town rank?” Like you give a rat’s ass what their dumb list suggests.

Best, as a word, is mostly subjective. Unless it comes to competitive or singularly statistical measurements. ALGORITHMS or “weighted” results cannot be “best.” The “best” score in a game of darts is pure fact.

You cannot draw conclusions or winners from an aggregated dataset which was manipulated based on an arbitrary and personal “algorithms” (or way of changing the outcome based on your preferred weighting.) They do NOT want you to think like that. They just love pushing your buttons and either making you happy – or irritated because your town didn’t “rank” high enough. (Hoboken was near the bottom of the list by the way. You think all these families will move out of town now because of this? HA-FUKKIN-HA!)

I’m sure ALMOST NONE of you got to the bottom of this article. If you have – please share your thoughts. I know for a FACT I’m not the only one that can see through these things. But there are not many who think like this anymore. They just accept – and try not thinking too hard. They have binge-watching and status updates to catch up on… no one wants to disturb that beauty, right?

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