This is my last editorial as Web and Multimedia Editor of The Vector. The topic is the struggle between quantity and quality.
Quality and Quantity are battling it out in almost every area, including our school day. Today, I will explore the conflict between the two in our everyday lives.
If you type “quality versus quantity” into Google, you get over 32 million search results. From looking at these results, I have come to the conclusion that most people would generally choose quality over quantity. This makes sense since there already is a high quantity of information available on the Internet, and most of it is of questionable quality. We already have quantity – quality is what we’re missing.
However, in reality, quantity seems to win almost every time. For example, the world’s largest corporation by revenue, Walmart, produces high volume, low quality goods at low prices. Similarly, the top websites on the Internet (Google, Facebook, Youtube, etc.) rely on high volumes of content rather than quality.
The same thing is happening in our lives in college. All of the top students work quickly, turning out large volumes of work. They do not spend much time working, but rather take down their assignments quickly in order to take on as many extra-curricular activities as possible. They do this for a good reason: our grading scales on each of our assignments lean heavily towards the quantity of work done, rather than the quality. There is also the popular idea of being a “well-rounded” student. In other words, you must increase the quantity of the classes and extracurriculars that you take in order to be successful.
I personally disagree with the idea of a “well-rounded” student. We only have a limited amount of resources in the form of time and energy available to us. The higher the quantity of things that we choose to do, the less resources we have to spend on each one. Therefore, it would make sense to do only a few extracurriculars, but to instead devote large amounts of your resources to each and become exceptional in them.
Why is it that although everyone seems to value quality over quantity, quantity usually prevails?
I think that the answer to this question has to do with the fact that it is harder to measure the quality of something than it is to measure the quantity. It is easy to assign a numerical scale for quantity, but much more difficult for quality.
Another reason that quantity prevails over quality is that evaluators often look at the quantity of something before they look at the quality. This is how they get their first impression, which makes a huge difference in their opinions. Since it makes the first impression, quantity has the upper hand.
What could we do to in order to prioritize quality over quantity?
I am unsure as to exactly what could be done to change the way the current quantity-favoring system works. Maybe evaluators could change the way they score assignments, consumers could try to stay away from high-volume shops as much as possible, and Internet users could try to avoid high-volume sites as much as possible. This would help our current situation, but would not completely solve the problem.
What do you think – How can we prioritize quality over quantity?