i dont mean youre wasting your talent if you compete too much.
yesterday i wrote a computer language in 25 minutes. its not much of a computer language; it has 4 commands with 2 parameters each. it doesnt have a recursive parser. it does demonstrate parsing, interpreting, output, math, variable setting, and variable reference. (an additional line posted elsewhere demonstrates compiling.)
competition can be useful– without having written this thing, i probably wouldnt think you could create a competition to create a programming language in an hour or two, or that such a competition could yield anything very interesting. but i think it has potential.
then i realized, that maximizing the usefulness of that competition would come down to how the thing was judged– i dont just mean that the most impressive entry would get first place; i mean that the criteria that put one entry at the top might not reflect the strength or merit of other entries. this isnt just about whether the other entries get a fair enough shake– its about getting the most out of discovering what people can do. each entry may have unique characteristics that dont get it to the top, but are still valuable. multiple axes (both pre-chosen and ad hoc) should allow at the very least, honorable mentions to showcase ideas that are unique and have potential.
otherwise the point of the competition– to reveal talent– would be inefficiently (even mostly) squandered: most of the talent you were looking for would go to waste. now how often do we do that sort of thing in daily life? i figure we are wasting at least half the talent out there, not on the fact that we sort it, but in the method and lack of sophistication in how we evaluate it. sometimes we are too caught up in “whats best” to appreciate that “best” often means a variety of (different) things, and a single measure will only do if we are happy to evaluate things poorly. wed do better to go from “whats best?” to “whats best for what?” and from there to “whats best for… what else?”
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