Sunday, September 10, 2006

Thoughts on Quality 4

Back to the original question: I created a game (a story, a piece of art). Few other people like it. Does that mean that it lacks quality?

After all, I have reworked the material, occasionally pruning when necessary. I have sent it out to the world to get it challenged. The lack of enthusiasm must mean something, right?

Well, yes, not really, and no.

Something not accepted by the public it was made for is a poor quality something for that public. So yes. But as far as having quality and value, what matters is that the public that gives the feedback is the public to which the something is directed.

Even then, that public can decide that they don't like it, even if it has "quality". For instance, a quality story about a plane hijacking might be poorly received right after a real-world hijacking. That doesn't make the story low quality, only the reading experience at that time.

A quality something is one that "at least at some time" could be received well by the intended audience.

But wait. What if the audience is myself? Perhaps it only has quality if I have quality taste. If my taste is white sugar, processed cheese, and pratfalls, maybe the fact that I like my own creation doesn't indicate any value in the creation. Similarly, maybe my wider audience is also devoid of taste. In which case, who is to judge?

I suppose that, within the public you are aiming for, you need to have the creation evaluated by other successful creators. If they judge it to have quality, it probably does. If they don't, it may still have quality for a different audience, or may have to overcome some sort of group think against its style. More likely, it doesn't have quality.

Note: if the public is simply yourself, then the judgment of whether something you created has quality depends solely on yourself, and can only be evaluated by comparing it to other items you have previously created. To be sure that your evaluation is good, you should be widely knowledgeable about the field in which you are working. If you create a movie to please yourself, and you've never seen any other movies, you may please yourself; but you should really know more about movies before you do this, as you will better be able to please yourself with a richer creation. And then you can ignore any naysayers; after all, the movie wasn't made for them.

There is a bootstrap problem, of course, because how did anyone decide that the items that the judges created had quality? Somewhere along the line, you have to get more serious about worth. I don't know if I'm going to get any further into that on this blog. I may start trolling Kierkegaard, Kant, and so on. Or not.


1 comment:

Minirich said...

I think what you describe has nothing to do with quality, its a matter of timing and timed value to the public or it is so specific it just concerns a small fraction of the public.
I've seen such effects on an forum for screen writers, if there is a successful movie about a theme, it takes just 3 days and the forum is flooded by look-a-likes and copy-kills.
Its boils down to one story, but from different angels or with a twist, but the public (producers) don't accept them, not because of lack of quality but lack of unique value at the moment or the marketshare is to small.
Come up with this story in about an year when nobody talks about the "inspiration" and you could become the hero.