Back to the short and sweet. Yeah.

Okay, so Sturgeon’s Law was something I’ve encountered while roaming that cursed territory known as TV Tropes. If we go by the site’s definition of Sturgeon’s Law (or Sturgeon’s Revelation, as it is more properly known) then we’ll be giving ourselves headaches, so we’ll just stick to the most basic definition (and I guess, the most relevant one):

90% of everything is crud.

The remaining 10% depends on your worldview: if you belong to the ‘half-empty’ camp, then the 10% is also crap. If you have faith in the world and is firmly in the ‘half-full’ camp, then the 10% redeems the rest.

Other than promoting TV Tropes Yet Again, what’s this all about? For me, with the coming of the Internet, this law has become more applicable than ever. Many, many things can be mass-produced online without the quality check. I’ve seen it myself. Fanfiction? Expect to slog through pages upon pages of search results searching for a story that won’t bleed your eyes. Graphics? The same. Online products? Be sure to check they aren’t hacks or worse, scams. Web services? Ditto. Online opinions? If they were voices, half the world would be deaf already.

Simply put, we’re inundated with online content. As I wade through pages upon pages of Hetalia fanart, I came to these little thoughts:

If you want the best, expect to waste time finding it.
If you want quality, then it’s pretty hard to find it online. Popularity does not assure quality. Check the references, look if it’s high-res, read the whole article for inconsistencies and such. Of course, there are the savvy ones who get the search engine optimizers to put their product/org names at the top of the search list, but laziness on your part (aka ‘It’s the first thing on the list – CLICK!”) kind of calls off the whole quality assurance thing.

…and if you have found what you think is ‘best’, spend time to make sure it isn’t crap.
Related to the first one. Double-checking is the key.

Don’t expect large numbers.
Unless you’re willing to dig wide and deep. If the subject being searched is popular/widely known, expect to get assaulted by massive numbers of mediocre, poor and downright unrelated content. If the subject is obscure, be assured of a lot of syntax and keyword wrangling just to bring in more results.

There is no consensus which, of a given body of work, belongs to the ‘crud’ and the ‘non-crud’.
Some people love Twilight, Eragon and the Sword of Truth books. Some don’t. Some think that Eminem’s latest album is great; others don’t. Your classmate might praise your newest sketch, but you personally consider it to be crap. Remember: everyone’s opinions differ, and don’t begrudge them for it. Maybe it’s even constructive criticism, especially if the work in question is yours. Your blood might be red to you, but others will call it scarlet. Or green.

Seriously now, I guess that’s one of the problems of the good ol’ Net: there’s no quality assurance. Oh, some communities might have, but in general it’s very, very easy to upload anything and everything. You have to know where and what to look, and it can get rather frustrating. Occasionally, the mediocre is so abundant we just give up altogether and settle for less. There are those who think they can get away with the subpar – because the intarwebz is filled with the subpar – so they do publish content of poor quality, thereby contributing to the number of junk littering cyberspace. The funny thing is, the occasional gem (factual information, high-res image, excellent fiction etc) found makes it shine all the more brighter since it’s found amidst the dull and grimy lot.

Now excuse me while I start my galaxy exploration (I’m starting to play Noctis, shh).

TV Tropes on Sturgeon’s Law