Ain't got nothing to do with fruit or fruits, but it does involve dogs.

It's a term used for picking the easy job over a more difficult one. I first ran across this while in the Army serving as an electronic technician. Presented with a variety of jobs to accomplish, certain people will invariably 'cherry pick' -- take the easiest one.

This can sometimes lead their supervisors (when their supervisors are STUPID) to mistakenly think these workers are productive. All the while their co-workers know that said individual is just a cherry picker.

Some people tend to gravitate towards working on 'dogs' - the time-consuming pieces of shit you'd really rather avoid. But given copious amounts of alcohol the night before and precious little sleep, even the best workers have a tendency to become cherry pickers in the morning -- at least until that third cup of coffee kicks in. These workers have earned the right to cherry pick once in a while.

Cherry picking is usually the result of selfishness or low self-esteem. That is, trying to make oneself look good at the expense of others or fear of failure. Garnering a reputation as a cherry picker is not a good thing. Analagous to Noding For Numbers; i.e., choosing quantity over quality.

In science, social science or any other form of endeavor that uses data, especially statistical data, "Cherry Picking" is the term for picking out data that fits a particular hypothesis. Cherry picking can be done through malevolence or accident, and is almost always a bad thing to do. Purposely cherry picking data is usually considered to be unethical. However, it certainly seems to happen often enough.

There are also some times when it is unclear whether a process would be cherry picking or a sensible way to control data. For example, say that a researcher was trying to find correlation between median income and poverty rate in all the communities in a state. In such a case, excluding communities below, for example, 5,000 people might give a better view of the general trend, as well as saving the researcher time and confusion. Or it could be seen as a form of excluding data so that a certain result can be reached.

The other time when it can be acceptable to cherry pick is to disprove something. The fact that Fairbanks, Alaska has a higher percentage of African-Americans than San Francisco, California doesn't prove that the larger a city, the lower percentage of African-American residents it will have. However, it does offer a disproof of the contrary: as long as one example can be given, getting a perfect correlation in the opposite hypothesis will be impossible.

In full court basketball, "cherry picking" is a derogatory term for when a player does not get back on defense, instead camping out at his team's offensive end and waiting to receive a long pass from a teammate to score an easy, undefended basket.

Cherry picking is not technically illegal under most forms of basketball rules, but it is widely frowned upon as unsportsmanlike and also lazy. Accordingly, "no cherry picking" is often considered an unwritten rule of the game that is enforced with bullying, mockery, and ostracization, as necessary.

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