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I'm listening to NPR this morning on the way into work, and they're interviewing a guy who wrote a book about some interrogations he did for the CIA. He's telling what sorts of approaches worked in his interrogations, and what things did not.
First thing I thought was: the plural of anecdote is not data!
But is that really always true? Can we, should we always discard the anecdote purely based on the fact that it's a story someone is telling about his personal experience? When does an experienced person, discussing knowledge he's gained in the course of activity in his profession, become an authority we should listen to rather than a guy with an anecdote we should disregard? And when does that cross over into the Appeal to Authority fallacy?
So, D&Ders, when does anecdote become useful insight? When does claiming you have insight instead of stories become an appeal to authority? Is there a middle space in there somewhere?