Votes counted. Decision made.

Thank you everyone who responded to my call to action.

The results are in.

My findings

Many Waffle Group members struggle to follow simple instructions. The simple instructions were to score each project using a certain format.
This format:
Project [project number]: [score from 1 to 5]

Many Wafflings got it right. Well done guys!
Some of those who got it right went further, adding snippets of their thought processes behind the scores awarded to each project.

Those who gave feedback, but ignored my simple scoring request, typically did it via email. That is why there is little evidence of this problem in the comments of the previous postother than my parents’ comment.
They gave valuable feedback in words, but did not provide the numbers. How am I meant to perform a statistical analysis of my data if the data is all words?
Others scored some options and ignored others.

This kind of cavalier approach to scientific enquiry is why we have things like load-shedding in South Africa today.

Still, I made do with the iffy data you, as a whole, generated for me. I assigned values myself.

  • If you didn’t comment on an option, I left the score blank (not zero — it’s different when calculating averages and so forth).
  • If you commented positively about an option, but provided no quantitative value as to how positive you were, I scored it 5
  • If you ordered projects from best to worst, I scored them from 5 to 1 (so the middle project scored 3)

Let’s look at each project, and how much you loved or hated the idea of it, going from most hated to most loved.

Project 4 — Contribute to Ubuntu-docs

Looks like helping our fellow man is not something people think is worth my time. What kind of society are we living in? Or is it just the people I’m drawing to myself?
On average, this project scored a miserable 2.00
Generally, when people really didn’t like Project 4 they just didn’t score it, but one respondent went as far as to give it zero. His rationale is that Ubuntu is an African myth, and there is no togetherness in this dark continent.

Seriously though, the real reason that Project 4 scores so low is that it won’t be any fun. No fun for me. No fun for you. I’m not sure the ubuntu-doc team would have any fun either.
Other than the dearth of fun, there is the problem of defining end-goals.
Something with no end and no fun is really going to bring a guy down.

Project 3 — Learn to programme in Python

As our friend who denied the existence of Ubuntu states: “it sounds real boring to control reptiles.” He doesn’t seem to have been the only person to think so with Project 3 only managing to rake in 2.14
It’s an interesting perspective, and perhaps he’s right.
The programming project had the greatest variance. That’s an indication of the geek-arty distribution of my friend-pool. Generally (but not in all cases) the geekier types thought the programming might be vaguely useful. The arty types found it entirely pointless. The score would probably have been even worse if they’d all bothered to vote on it, but Project 3 and 4 were often just ignored.

Your views regarding programming was that it would be too hard or, paradoxically, too easy. I suppose the goal would amount to working through the book I own, and would thus be quite a short-term project.
To me, a short-term project is quite compelling. It can easily be completed since there will be less time to get tired of it.

One respondent suggested I do whatever would make other people happiest. Surprisingly altruistic of him, but he has a point. Project 3 and 4 don’t provide any entertainment for you, my disloyal audience. The other options do.
He seemed to think combining Project 3 with Project 5 would be a cunning plan, since my struggles in learning to programme could be quite amusing if related in a blog. But not if you aren’t a geek.

Project 5 — Humour Blog

And now a project that most of you, on average, liked. Score: 3.91

Personally I’m most fond of this one, but I think that’s because it allows me to let myself off lightly with something that doesn’t stretch my boundaries.
The project is incremental. Short snippets. Something I can write in a sitting or two, once a week. It’s definitely achievable, and if I stop posting I can claim that I got sick of the project and moved on to something else, without having to admit that I failed to achieve any particular goal.

Quinn says, ‘it’s difficult to “just sit down and do,”‘ but I don’t agree. It might be at first, but if I develop a habitual rhythm to my writing, sitting down for a fixed period of time at fixed intervals, it’ll come easier.

Basically I wish this one had scored the highest because it’s a total cop-out.

That doesn’t mean I might not still sneakily carry out this option. Earlier I mentioned combining projects. Project 3 and 5 make a bad combination, but what about Project 1 and 5, as one waffling suggested?
Combining the novel with the weekly humour blog is an interesting idea. Certainly the book will then be published, and I’d find it harder to get it into traditional print media for any sizeable amount of remuneration — but that isn’t really the point. The point is to finish writing the thing. If an audience expects a weekly episode, what other choice do I have but to carry through with it?

This line of thought raises the question: can Project 2 be combined with Project 5?
It would force me to take humorous photographs every week. I think that might be a bit taxing on my abilities at the moment, and you’d end up with more photos of my foot — but with smiley faces drawn on to them. Hilarious.

Project 1 and 2: Finish book vs Photography — seriously

The comments in the previous post pointed to this showdown, and the emails I received have followed a similar trend.

Going only by scores, Project 2 comes out tops with 4.47 with Project 1 in close pursuit at 4.17.

Looks like it’s photography, but wait…

People also wrote comments.

In support of Project 2 (Photography)

  • Photography has a social nature, especially if I join a club. Some wafflings may even be persuaded to come along, as quite a few also had an interest in this hobby.
  • Another mentioned the forthcoming baby and the potential for baby pics. Since my time will be at a huge premium once my child is born, photography is the only project I can do at the same time as looking after him (or her).
  • Photography (at least at my skill level) needs less mental work than writing. Writing something, even something crap, can be like extracting saccharine sweetness from a lemon.
    Taking a bad photo is a matter of pressing one button. Not too taxing at all.
  • I have an expensive camera that I am not using to its full potential.

In support of Project 1 (Write book)

  • “Finish that book before all else,” said one waffling. Those are pretty strong words.
  • I’ve always wanted to write a book.
  • A book is inside me, bursting to get out — but also learn to take photos and produce another book with illustrations.

I’m not sure about you, but the qualitative data seems more compelling for the photography project. That means Project 2 wins on both accounts.

Based on your comments I applied modifiers to your scores that allowed Project 1 to close the gap slightly, but not step across it.

Decision time

I should be taking up photography and leaving the other projects alone. Plans are already afoot to visit a photography club and see what’s what. After visiting, I’ll be able to figure out what sort of goal I should set.

For those fans of my writing, do not fear. Although I said one project, writing is always going to be a project of mine.Ā  This is why I say I should be leaving the other projects alone. I’m going to attempt to serialise Commitment Man. This is probably the best way to get it out in the world. It isn’t going to be the main project, but it’s going to continue as a background process (as it always has been)
Project 3 and 4 won’t be getting any love from me though, at least not until the goals of Project 2 and 1 are both realised (goals that are admittedly fuzzy at the moment).
Thanks for contributing. Your input has been very valuable, and now I feel like I owe it to everyone to achieve something. Maybe I will this time.

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8 thoughts on “Votes counted. Decision made.”

  1. Neil
    The way to chose on this one is to rank the endeavours from (5) those requiring most electricity to (1) those requiring least electricity.
    Our government, in partnership with Eishkom, will then make the decision for you. Unless you still use bamboo shoots and mammoth dung paper, the book option may have to be extinguished – figuratively, that is, and preferably before your candle sets fire to the manuscript.
    I must save electricity now, turn off my computer, and take my italian-bug-infested chest and head for x-rays – if the hospitals have power (so far this weekend my quest has been unsuccessful).
    PS – please include a spell check option on your “Leave a Reply” page.

  2. “A book is inside me, bursting to get out”

    Kind of like Alien, then… that generally didn’t turn out too well for the burstee, so perhaps the decision’s a good one! šŸ˜‰

    Serialising CMan sounds like an excellent idea. Episodic content is all the rage on the interwebs these days, and that way you can parcel out the writing chores into a short chapter or two at regular intervals, rather than feeling you have to sit in isolation and complete the entire thing before showing it to the world (a daunting task).

    So make-fotografs it is; most cunning! I’ll join you wholeheartedly. Sounds like Trevor and a couple others will be interested too, always good to have some peer group support.

  3. I heartily look forward to a brighter future where a serialised, blogorised Adventures of Commitment Man (complete with photos) is taking the world by storm.

  4. good stuff – look forward to seeing the pictures that come out šŸ™‚ Also, I still own commitmentman.com and maybe we should look at putting up something that we can make serialising the book a little easier, blog type of software or the likes. Let me know and we can get things rolling šŸ™‚

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