I have a question about my Biology Stack Exchange post: Is there any biological/psychological reason why women find men's chests attractive?

In just 25 views, you can see 7 downvotes. But when I had asked opposite, I mean men's interest in breasts, I have 4 downvotes so far in 118 views. And those 4 came before the significant edits in question. Not after that.

So why is this biased response?


What you seem to be implying is that the reason for the downvotes is the political correctness, biased in favor of women. While this is not to be excluded, there are many confounding factors that that make such a straighforward conclusion suspicious. I list a few reasons why the numbers of votes could be different:

  • The two questions are clearly rather different in their content, so it might be that one simply appears more scientific than the other.
  • The questions might have not been presented to the same audience - there is significant variation in terms of how many people look at the sight at certain time of the day, week, school year, etc.
  • Some votes may result from a person simply being in a bad mood - a PhD student who has just had an unpleasant conversation with their professor, or the professor who makes a break between two lectures to not-so-bright students.

If we take as a null hypothesis that the two posts are downvoted with the same probability, then we could use binomial test to check this hypothesis:

  • Estimate probability for the "male chest" post: $f=7/25\approx 0.28$. The probability that you get $4$ or less downvotes on the "female breasts" post is then: $$ p=\sum_{n=0}^{4}{118 \choose n}f^n(1-f)^{118-n} = 2.81 \times 10^{-12} $$
  • Conversely, if we estimate the probability from the latter post as $p=4/118\approx 0.34$, then $$ p=\sum_{n=7}^{118}{25 \choose n}f^n(1-f)^{118-n} = 1.44 \times 10^{-5} $$

In both cases the null hypothesis can be rejected, but, as I explained, there plenty fo reasons why it may not hold. may

  • $\begingroup$ What made me wonder more is because of MattDMo Mar 6 at 23:01 comment on that question about men's attraction for breasts. His comment kind of make me feel the question was on the track of getting on topic and less opinion based. But in this case, 7 downvotes tell me this topic is imaginary, there's no truth about it. That's totally strange to me. So much concerns/research about men's interest about breasts but not that much stuff about women's interest about chest. This is extremely strange and forces me to find out the truth and ask these questions. What you say? $\endgroup$
    – vivek
    Mar 10 at 13:22
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @vivek It still looks like your question is not about biology, but about the sociology - whether people (of certain community -such as biologists) would want to discuss female breasts or male chest. It is technically off topic in the biology community, and many may consider it as a provocation. $\endgroup$ Mar 10 at 13:27
  • $\begingroup$ Okay. The questions itself can be considered provocation or my act of asking such questions here is provocation? $\endgroup$
    – vivek
    Mar 10 at 17:16

Guessing causes for downvotes can be fraught with peril, but I'll give it a shot:

For your first post, people may have thought the question was not well-posed, but didn't want to give discouraging downvotes to a new user asking their first question.

For your second post, some of those same people may have seen you've now asked two related questions, and didn't feel like your second one incorporated the feedback from the first and made some of the same mistakes. In this case, they were more free with the downvotes

Also, views are not a very good comparison measure. They include multiple views from the same people, and you've posted about your question on Meta and there have been some edits and some comment discussions - likely people including yourself have refreshed that question several times, incrementing the views, but people can only vote once.

  • $\begingroup$ "some of those same people may have seen you've now asked two related questions, and didn't feel like your second one incorporated the feedback from the first and made some of the same mistakes" - I think people should vote on the merits of the question rather than on the personality of the person who asked it. It is a slippery slope when one judges a scientific issue on the basis of what they asked previously or how they asked/answered other questions. $\endgroup$ Mar 10 at 17:26
  • $\begingroup$ @Vadim I think in an ideal world, people would downvote everything that earns it. However, in the real world, we know this is perceived as unwelcoming by some. It's a difficult balance to treat content as just content while also recognizing there is a human generating it. Retaliatory downvoting, other orchestrated voting like upvoting a lot of answers to show appreciation for a separate answer, etc, are clearly not allowable. I think it's different when you're withholding downvotes when you think a user needs information and being free with them when you know they have been informed. $\endgroup$
    – Bryan Krause Mod
    Mar 10 at 17:32
  • $\begingroup$ I am all for upholding higher standards of questions and answers in this community, but (to my taste) there is too much emphasis on punitive measures, such as downvoting. Also, I think upholding this "difficult balance" is really important, since it is a part of what we call scientific integrity. $\endgroup$ Mar 10 at 17:44

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