Ruby on Rails
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January 20, 15:44

The Best of the Best falsity

The notion that all things claiming to be good must be held up against The Best of the Best is a mistaken, irrelevant, and painfully uninteresting falsity.

So you think that the hot dog stand at the ice skating ring should have four people instead of one serving it, so you can get your food faster? Or that the consumer watchdog program should unveil master conspiracies every week? Or that your favorite discussion board should remember your name, let you instant message with your friends, alert you on new messages, and more?

Don't. The world doesn't revolve around you and your needs. People and organizations aren't working to please you. Rather, they're working to please a coarsely-grained super-type of you. One that rarely exceed or even meet all your imaginable needs.

Nobody is working to create the Best of the Best bar nothing. It's all under the constraints of certain resources. Time, money, skill. If you let your sense of comparison include this sense constraint, a happier life awaits. You'll be able to appreciate people and organizations doing good or even awesome things in light of not the Best of the Best, but the constraints governing their situation.

Challenge by JF on January 20, 16:45

What was the inspiration for this post?

Challenge by David on January 20, 18:26

Much of it stems from the debate on Kontant (the consumer watchdog program), but it was actually triggered by the response of a classmate today. Asked on some question in our interaction design class, he answered that it was taken for granted that designers where always striving for the Best of the Best.

This stroke me as incredibly telling for how most people think of things they're giving critique for. You can always find something to bitch about when comparing to the Best of the Best.

But it lead to the more profound realization that it's actually the constraints that makes the work interesting. We humans probably wouldn't know what to do with unlimited possibilities, but somehow we often think that's exactly what we have. Even in spite of the opposite staring us right in the face — as many commercials for early or even present computers constantly reminds us ("8-bit graphics! Unlimited possibilities!").