Aggregate reports may be a problem

Two very different topics, related by a small but important point:

Basing decisions on aggregate data can be a bad idea.
Looking at the overall cost of IT failures and critically looking at reporting on fundamentalism, and the (from my perspective, which I now know is incorrect) over-representation of Islam as much more touchy and violent than other religions and groups.

IT project failures can cost a lot, and no company is safe from massive failures. However, the huge failures can easily hide all the successful small or medium (or even other large project) successes when analysed in aggregate numbers. Even projects classified as failures may help or cause significant gains in other areas. As the Techdirt article notes, it is a better idea to take the lessons from the successes, failures and anything in between. This knowledge can be used to help create a successful IT project, or minimise a failure.

In the area of fundamentalism and violence, there are some dominating events. There are also a huge number of other events that may receive very little reporting, or may be reported with the emphasis in a different place. It is just not possible or necessary to include all the details about the perpetrator of an action, so people reporting attempt to choose the most relevant information. Unfortunately, this can often mean stereotypes or discriminatory perceptions are perpetuated.

The aggregation of these 'snippets of stereotypes' can lead to a perception that there is substantially more than there actually is. Here is where the IT projects and reporting on violence and fundamentalism meet. In looking at the 'big picture', and forming ideas from very processed pieces of information, we risk missing the real conclusions.

A reversal of a well-known saying: Can't see the trees for the forest.