Main Sturgeons Law Discussion

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09:47:35 AM Apr 3rd 2015
Question: Does Sturgeons's Law apply to itself, creating the paradox that 90% of the fact "90% of everything is crud" crud? If so, would it mean in fact only 9% of everything is crud? Or would that apply again, potentially altering the number further? And if not, why? After all, Sturgeon's Law is "something", which usually gets included in "everything".
02:27:24 PM Apr 14th 2014

Pareto Principle of Genres
  • First Principle: 80% of a Genre's Tropes will be determined by 20% of the works in that genre. This need not be the initial 20%, though the more recent 50% should not contribute much in the way of novel ideas.
    • Genre Split Corollary: If a significant number of novel ideas come from the latter half of a genre's works, this may indicate the presence of a Genre Turning Point.
  • Second Principle: 80% of a Genre's reputation will be determined by the reception of 20% of its works by no more than 20% of the populace, whether they are the intended audience or not. Note that the applicable 20% of either works or populace need not be constant over time. (This second principle is related to the Ghetto Corollary.)
11:15:05 PM Apr 14th 2014
That seems more like a separate trope. Pareto's Principle is similar and related to Sturgeon's Law but not the same thing.
04:29:56 PM Jul 30th 2013
I propose the Ghetto Corollary: A "respectable" genre will always be judged by the 10% of good works, but a stigmatized genre will always be judged by the 90% of bad works.
02:00:17 AM Jul 28th 2013
There is no Internet Law I more firmly disagree with. Very few things lack some value to me, no matter how far i is form being The Dark Knight level perfect.
12:27:43 AM Dec 14th 2012
Just out of curiosity, what do MLP fanfic authors have to do with Sturgeons Law?

08:35:50 PM Dec 31st 2012
Fixed. That page isn't an index, but it was marked as such.
09:41:53 AM Apr 9th 2012
edited by Jhimmibhob
I'd argue that Sturgeon's law should have the following major corollary: "Sturgeon's Law is a baseline." In other words, it's not necessarily true that 10% of a given thing is good. For example: depending on the genre of literature/film,/TV/etc., the percentage of crud may range from 90%, to 95%, to 99.99[vapor trail of 9s]%.

I'm inserting this for discussion because it seems to contradict a few of the other corollaries, and adding it might require minor rewrites to the latter.
11:25:58 AM Oct 7th 2012
edited by supergod
Why not 85% for some genres? I think people take the actual number way too seriously, treating it as if it has been scientifically determined. The main point he was making is that science fiction is not inherently worse than mainstream fiction. All that matters is that mostly everything sucks, not exactly 90%. Used as an serious statistic, this fails because:

  • 1) Nobody is going to be able to read every work in a particular genre.
  • 2) Even if they could, people wouldn't be able to agree on what is or isn't crap
07:09:30 PM Apr 13th 2013
One thing bothering me about this, and it's purely a mathematical quibble: trailing nines after a decimal point (.999...) is exactly equal to 1. Therefore, 99.999...% is the same as saying 100%.
08:04:03 AM Mar 29th 2012
Sturgeon's Law is particularly obvious when the barriers to entry the whims of publishers are removed. Self-publishing, especially in the virtually cost-free environment of the Internet, makes the cruddy 90% visible to the public; it no longer languishes in an aspiring writer's desk drawer.

Is that really the case? I was under the impression that Sturgeon was talking about published science fiction vs. published anything else. I rather suspect that in unfiltered accumulations of stuff, the percentage soars rather higher than 90%.
07:07:33 PM Apr 13th 2013
Maybe so, but if 90% of published material sucks, then clearly quality is not the only, indeed perhaps not even the biggest, factor in publishing, which therefore offers the very real possibility that 10% of non-published material is perfectly decent.
07:28:00 PM Jul 15th 2013
You could also make the argument that Sturgeon's Law filters works in tiers: 90% of a given sample might be "bottom-tier" crud, but 90% of the 10% that's left might still be "crud by comparison" to the absolutely highest-tier works.

Also, not all editors have the same standards. Sometimes crud just gets past the radar.
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