Comments: Asked And Answered

This is depressing, if true. I always assumed that only 95% of everything is crap.

Posted by abb1 at July 11, 2008 03:33 PM

Actually, I'm ripping off my friend Rob, who in turn was ripping off Theodore Sturgeon.

Anyway, 98% of Sturgeon's Laws were crap.

Posted by Jonathan Schwarz at July 11, 2008 03:45 PM

Appell's comment was only about 70-80 percent crap, so he's beating the average.

I never read traffic signs. No footnotes, no peer review, utterly lacking in depth or justification. Why should I "stop"?

Posted by Donald Johnson at July 11, 2008 04:00 PM
For example, I think Andrew Sullivan, by becoming a blogger, has completely ruined his standing as a writer of serious political and gay analysis. Now he posts 40 times a a day, and includes so many insipid or inconsequential things and meaningless pieces of campaign gossip, and very, very little (i.e. none) of what he writes changes my life in any way whatsoever. I have stopped reading him.

Because of his smaller posts on a variety of issues, Sullivan is more accessible to the readers. Seems like Appell misses the exclusivity of conveying "the big issues truth" rather that the conversational give and take with the rabble.

Who is this brilliant detailed analysis supposed to convince? Anyone? Anyone whatsoever? Yglesias's blog post is so extremely brief and vapid, so without context or insight or passion or concern, that it's just a complete waste of everyone's fucking time.

Meh -- I don't think we expect that much expertise from blogmeisters.

Just like a friend may make a recommendation on music or movies or a book, so do the blogs point out news and views to the readers. Whether we trust the view depends on how much credibility we bestow on the blogmeister.

Why am I wasting my time reading this? Nothing Yglesias wrote there matters to me in the least

So don't waste your time reading his shit. The world is full of serious people writing seriously heavy shit. Go seek them out, and good riddance to you.

BTW, we don't only hang at the blogs to hear the wisdom of Jon, Bernard and Donald, but also to interact with commenters. Stupid as commenters are, we proles are easy to entertain.

...very, very little (i.e. none) of what he writes changes my life in any way whatsoever.

Which is a good reason to enjoy ATR in itself. :-)

Posted by Labiche at July 11, 2008 04:28 PM

I might be being dense here, Labiche, but where are some of those quotes coming from? I don't see the one about Andrew Sullivan at the link, for instance.

Posted by ethan at July 11, 2008 04:39 PM

OK, I knew I was being dense.

Posted by ethan at July 11, 2008 06:51 PM

According to the Wikipedia article to which John Caruso linked: "Sturgeon’s Law is often cited using crud instead of crap or shit. The percentage figure also sometimes varies, having been in print as 94% and even 98%"

So Jonathan wasn't really that wrong in his stealing.

Although, proving that 98% of what Jonathan writes is crap, the same article notes that there are really only two "Sturgeon's Laws" (the original being "Nothing is always absolutely so.") which make it such that only 0%, 50%, or 100% of Sturgeon's laws are mathematically possible to be crap, by definition.

However, 98% of math is crap, so there's that.

Posted by Rojo at July 11, 2008 09:07 PM

Furthermore, I'm extremely pleased to learn of Sturgeon's Law, as I will now cite it to my girlfriend, who often accuses me of "not liking anything."

Posted by Rojo at July 11, 2008 09:10 PM

The problem with blogs, imho, is that most tend to grow stale after about two years--with some variation around that mean. They get to a point where you can pretty much predict what arguments are going to be trotted out about what subjects. When you know almost everything that the author has to say, it's time to move on.

And yeah, 98% of them are crap or eventually become crap. Many of those that don't start out as crap eventually become it because they don't grow or move forward the conversation/debate. Same old same old.

Posted by Bolo at July 12, 2008 01:11 AM

No, Jonathan is correct, to within margin of error, because the crap ratio of "everything" -- the subject of Sturgeon's law -- is lower than the crap ratio for human endeavors in particular.

Most crapologists put the aggregate crap ratio for human endeavors in the 97-99% range, while a few put it as low as 94%. However there is a consensus in the crap measurement community that it is higher than Universal Crappiness Constant of approximately 90%.

Also keep in mind Drekmann's surprising discovery that standard deviation of the crap ratio in human endeavors is actually slightly greater than in the Universe at large. (Yet another anthropic mystery!) Some areas of human endeavor, live music and origami for example, have been found to rate appreciably lower than Universal Constant. Others, such as politics and project-management software, approximate the otherwise rare theoretical boundary value of 110% (the "Pure Dee" constant), driving the aggregate value up sharply. Whether the Pure Dee boundary value can be reached in reality, or merely approached asymptotically, or is simply an artifact of a crappy theory, remains a controversial question.

Posted by radish at July 12, 2008 12:57 PM

"The problem with blogs, imho, is that most tend to grow stale after about two years--with some variation around that mean. They get to a point where you can pretty much predict what arguments are going to be trotted out about what subjects. When you know almost everything that the author has to say, it's time to move on.

And yeah, 98% of them are crap or eventually become crap. Many of those that don't start out as crap eventually become it because they don't grow or move forward the conversation/debate. Same old same old."


This applies to virtually everything anybody says about politics. People only stop being repetitious over a period of centuries--slavery is finally ended, so we stop hearing those boring old predictable comments about how bad it is.

Posted by Donald Johnson at July 12, 2008 03:54 PM

The thing about blogs and the prospect of their occasional non-crappiness is not just that so much is dross, because that's partly the consequence of being a democratic medium. Yes, I know-- duh. And the sky is blue-- except when it isn't.

The other thing about blog quality is the apparent randomness of what stands out as worthwhile. Sometimes an otherwise tedious blogger may have an impressive streak of posts for a few weeks or months, either on a specific subject or on pretty much everythinhg he discusses, then...poof. Back to dross. Or even just a single post that shines. (I suppose I am echoing Donald Johnson's comment to a degree.)

Sometimes quality correlates with a background in journalism or academe, but surprisingly often it doesn't.

I'd add that that's part of what makes blogs so interesting(and threatening) to established media types-- the randomness of the good stuff suggests to people that maybe the bigshots on TV and in print who tell us what to think about stuff might not be so inherently deserving of their status, and maybe other views less often expressed may have some merit too.

OK. Also duh. But it's true.

Posted by Jonathan Versen at July 13, 2008 01:34 AM