I read this phrase from this article (https://towardsdatascience.com/can-analysts-and-statisticians-get-along-5c9a65c8d056)

Follow the one golden rule: call your shots before you take them or stick to describing what’s in front of you.

Real statisticians turn their noses up at your so-called “insights” if you failed to follow the one golden rule: call your shots before you take them. Otherwise, stick to describing your dataset and don’t reach beyond it. Please don’t take yourself too seriously and don’t ask anyone else to either.

I have tried to look up "call the shot". But in this context, I am not sure does I understand it right though.

1 Answer 1


"Call the shots" and "call your shots" are different idioms.

Someone who "calls the shots" is simply someone who is in charge. It is equivalent to saying they make decisions and give orders.

"Call your shots (before you take them)" refers to announcing your intention of doing something before you do it. I believe it comes from pool, snooker and other games of the billiards family, but it may predate this, I am not certain. At any rate, in some variations of these sports, you must announce which ball you are intending to strike before playing a shot. This is because striking a ball other than the intended counts as a foul, so if you did not call your shots before you take them, you could fraudulently claim you intended to hit whichever ball you happened to hit.

I am not very familiar with the world of statistics and statisticians, but I believe the analogy with science would be: declare what you intended your experiment to measure before measuring it. Or declare what relationship you are investigating in your data set, and so on. As opposed to taking some data, noticing something interesting about it, and publishing a paper as if you were looking for that in the first place.

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