Originally Posted by MacRulez
This is where we might expect ankleskater, stelligent, or anonymouse to voice their requirements for citations in forum posts, but it seems they're busy or missed your post so in their absence kindly allow me:
Where has it been documented (and please keep in mind that ankleskater will only accept "an authoritative citation") that Google pays people to post FUD in forums?
Thanks in advance on their behalf.
This ought to be obvious, but, the level of proof required depends on the claims being made.
For example, a general claim that Google Maps is better than Apple Maps, requires some objective evidence to support the assertion. So far, no one has offered anything but anecdotal evidence involving tiny data sets.
A claim that one prefers Google Maps because one has had better luck with it in one's are, a) isn't an overreaching claim and b) is an expression of preference, and thus, a few local examples suffice to illustrate one's point.
The problem with the arguments asserting the overall superiority of Google Maps are twofold. First, due to publicity, including faked up examples from Google itself, people are actively looking for any error they can find in Apple Maps to jump on the me too bandwagon. Google Maps isn't receiving the same scrutiny, so these reports tend to be one-sided, thus invalidating them as evidence of actual superiority because of inherent bias in the data. Secondly, the only reasonably objective study that I'm aware of, a link to which has been posted in these forums multiple times, Google doesn't show any sort of advantage of rate of accuracy. The primary difference found between them was that Apple Maps won't return a result if it doesn't find one that makes sense contextually, whereas Google Maps will almost always return a result, no matter how fantastic it is.
If you are going to make generalized claims, you ought to be able to point to properly supporting data, not data that is inherently biased and at most supports claims of specific locale and personal preference. A Chinese forum might be claiming that Apple Maps is far superior to Google Maps in all respects, based on their local experience, but that wouldn't support a generalized claim either.
Lastly, regarding the existence of Google astroturfers and shills, as opposed to simply Android enthusiasts and trolls who don't really give a damn but adopt the Android position here simply because it's an Apple-centric forum, it is well known that Google spends a significant amount of money on lobbying of all sorts and that they go to great lengths to shape public perception on issues that affect them. Furthermore, it is also known that they frequently hire third party PR firms to astroturf for them (see Google Chrome PR scandal). These facts, combined with the company's history of dishonesty, deception, and other questionable or illegal business practices, would require someone not to be entirely naive to not suspect the presence of paid Google shills on many Internet forums. And they certainly wouldn't be the first company to do this, it's a common practice. When you then see individuals engaged in behavior that smells like shilling, it's not unreasonable to conclude that they might be a shill. When that behavior is repeated over many months, it reinforces that conclusion. You can insist that we show their W-2s or bank statements as proof, but we all know that isn't going to happen. So, we can either pretend they aren't shills, or we can trust our inferences. It's entirely, and most, reasonable to do the latter.
And, fyi, I don't think you are a paid shill, mainly because you aren't good enough to be a paid shill. You're either simply an enthusiast or a troll, and I haven't decided which.