You are overcomplicating things ...

By: --- (, July 10, 2022 12:21 pm
Room: Moderated Discussions
Mark Roulo ( on July 10, 2022 9:00 am wrote:
> Paul A. Clayton ( on July 10, 2022 5:20 am wrote:
> > When science fiction writing was criticized as being 90% crap, Theodore Sturgeon observed that 90% of
> > everything is crap. Previously, I had thought such excessively pessimistic — and if one interpretes
> > "crap" as nauseating and dangerously unhygeinic I doubt
> > one could reasonably claim 90% of everything expressed
> > such negative quality — but I sometimes feel the observation expresses significant truth.
> >
> > Obviously, some of the perception comes from a common human discontent with current conditions.
> ...
> You are complicating things WAY too much.
> People adjust expectations.
> To illustrate, the US NFL (National Football League) has 30 people playing the position of starting
> quarterback. Because of the pay for these positions and the desperation of the teams to win it
> is very likely that these 30 people are in the top 40 people world-wide at what they do.
> The typical football fan often describes the least talented
> 10 or 15 of the 30 starting quarterback as "sucking."
> Someone who is almost certainly in the top 40 worldwide at
> what they do sucks because they aren't in the top 10.
> The safety record of Russian commercial aircraft "sucks" ... because it is roughly
> comparable to western commercial aircraft from the 1970s. In the 1970s the western
> commercial aircraft safety record did not suck. In the 2020s it does.

aka Louis CK's corollary...

> Some items do not have a 90% suckage ratio. Generic items such as flour
> or sugar where it is difficult to excel and there is a common floor.
> But as it becomes easier to differentiate then below the best is seen as sucking. Pre-Zen AMD chips sucked,
> but only because they were compared to Intel x86. By objective measures they were pretty okay.
> So Sturgeon is seeing that for many activities there are a lot of people who want
> to do them and the "best" is a very small percentage. Probably not true for garbage
> men or family doctors. Certainly the perception for writing, sports, music, ...

A different aspect is that what counts as "sucking" differs to different people. This is perhaps easiest to see in the context of, say, movies or music. We can all agree that "90% of Netflix sucks", but we will all violently disagree on exactly what should fit in the 10% that doesn't suck.
But some of the same is true even in the context of large programs. People like Joel Spolsky or Stephen Sinofsky have pointed out that the same is true for Word or Excel -- everyone agrees that 90% of the programs are bloat, but disagree violently as to what comprises the 10% that isn't bloat.
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TopicPosted ByDate
[OT] Sturgeon's Observation: reasons for its truth?Paul A. Clayton2022/07/10 05:20 AM
  You are overcomplicating things ...Mark Roulo2022/07/10 09:00 AM
    You are overcomplicating things ...---2022/07/10 12:21 PM
  Knowing what is and isn’t your responsibilityGreg2022/07/12 05:42 AM
    Knowing what is and isn’t your responsibilitysomeone2022/07/12 01:47 PM
      Knowing what is and isn’t your responsibilityGreg2022/07/12 03:25 PM
  [OT] Sturgeon's Observation: reasons for its truth?anon2022/07/13 04:27 AM
    [OT] Sturgeon's Observation: reasons for its truth?Brett2022/07/13 12:18 PM
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