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 Post subject: Percentages
Post #1 Posted: Fri Jul 23, 2021 4:59 pm 
Dies with sente

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I have a gripe with how it's common for many standard items to be purposefully constructed as to be ambiguous. Normally the exact ones you want to be ambiguous. It's as if the more precise a meaning a word must have, the more ambiguous society makes it's meaning. It's as if we're attracted to confusion and chaos.

Per deci means per 10th. Per cent per 100th, milli, 1000th. This means every time someones says 'per cent', it must be followed by a reference vale. Uptake of membership increased by 5, %, of the previous uptake rate or the previous total members. Two values were mentioned, the reference value must be distuished between those two. It would be saying respectively after two items while stating only one. It would be like saying uptake of membership increased by 5 hundredths. You'd immediately ask. But if I say 5 percent instead you'll assume which one I mean.

The examples of the many ways percentages can lead to confusion are abound so I shan't dwell too much on them here. However for a fair number of years I've wondered whether percentages justify themselves. I mean their existence.

See, a fraction gives a precise value of parts of a whole, A decimal it's conversion into a cumulative sum of fractions with denominators in powers of the base, usually ten, with it's own notation, the point. However what function do percentages as a notation actually play? Would it not be better to simply say x hundredths, to make sure the reference value, the thing, isn't left out. If I say something increased by x percent, you are likely to assume what hundredth of what reference value, the thing, increased by x hundredths. In the case of me saying it increased by x hundredths, you are likely to ask me x hundredths of what, and wonder why I left thing who's hundredths x is increasing by.

And this is the thing about percentages. It's like half-understanding east-Asian go terms and attempting to apply them on the board--a disadvantage often. Likely. It's likely that there a very few instances in which the phrase 'percentage' is useful, such as in ai winrates where there aren't quite any competing variables and a shorthand phrase for fractional representation is handy. In other cases it seems useless, if not damaging, the latter case occurring much more often than it is helpful. Sorry to whoever invented percentages. It would seem the majority of mis-perception and misunderstanding of percentages had some full or partial cause in the very reference-value ignoring nature in which it is used.

Practical honeytarian

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