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Context:

Disclaimer in an intro to a reported list of selected items.

Goal:

To convey that the selection "process" of items to include from the whole was somewhat subject to the sporadic nature of human thought, mood, experience, etc. as opposed to the methodical consistency of a computer program.

"The selection of entries for this report was [admittedly] _____________, though the data..."

Space is crucial, so a single adj. is preferred, but an adjectival phrase or even suggested rewrites are welcome if they better express the intended idea.

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    ... inevitably somewhat subjective. May 23, 2018 at 15:15
  • ... somewhat arbitrary? Or ... ad hoc?
    – user184130
    May 23, 2018 at 15:20
  • 1
    These suggestions are helpful, thanks! I'm still open to more, though. BTW, I'm new to the forum and have observed people frequently answering or giving suggestions as comments rather than as answers. Why is this? Does it have to do with a lack of confidence in the information given? Is it some kind of culture specific to this forum, started by a revered user? As I type this I see below, "Comments are used to ask for clarification or to point out problems in the post..." Just wondering, because both your "comments" seem more than sufficient to be "answers". May 23, 2018 at 15:52
  • ........... lol
    – lbf
    May 23, 2018 at 17:49
  • It requires to be proved that human thought is necessarily or usually or invariably "sporadic".
    – Nigel J
    May 23, 2018 at 20:21

2 Answers 2

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I'd suggest the word whimsical.

unusual and using imagination (US)

unusual and strange in a way that might be funny or annoying (UK)

Cambridge Dictionary

b : subject to erratic behavior or unpredictable change

Merriam Webster

However "intuitive" or "personal" might be more appropriate in a business or scientific context.

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"The selection of entries for this report was [admittedly] random, though the data..."

ODO:

random
ADJECTIVE
1 Made, done, or happening without method or conscious decision.

‘They were weighted and thought out and they weren't random sporadic decisions.’

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  • While you would see "random" used in this context, I don't think it fits OP's specific definition too well. In particular, because anything subject to the reviewers' thoughts isn't truly random. It may also be misleading to say the process was random if in fact it wasn't (i.e., if they didn't automate any of the selection or leave it up to a computer to decide). So I think "subjective" might be a better fit. But on the other hand, "subjective" has a negative connotation. So I'm kind of torn on this. May 23, 2018 at 17:23
  • Thank you for your answer; I appreciate your input and hope for more on this: When I said "somewhat subject to..." I meant to convey that I'm searching for a word more to connote that human characteristic of the mind that makes dynamic, complex decisions separate from the regimented logic of a computer program, rather than a word so stark as random to describe the selecting process. Indeed, contrasting the definition you posted, far more conscious thought went into the selecting of items than would a finite program. May 23, 2018 at 17:42
  • i believe i am correct that one thing data lacks is nuance!
    – lbf
    May 23, 2018 at 18:07

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