With the relaunch, NewYorker.com runs on WordPress, a more robust, user-friendly CMS. “We’re looking at almost total upside there,” Thompson tells me. Because the tools are no longer getting in the way of producers doing their job, NewYorker.com is now able to publish a greater volume of stories every day. The site used to top out at 10 or 12 stories each day: now, it publishes around 20 per day. “It’s a lot easier to be productive now, and we can now make the site fresh a lot more quickly than we used to,” says Thompson.
The Curse of Meh: Why Being Extraordinary Is Not a Matter of Being Universally Liked but of Being Polarizing | Brain Pickings
But the notion that variance is a good thing holds out across nearly every field of endeavor as well as in science. (Smell, the most direct of our senses, is best triggered by dissonant input.) In social science, it is known as “the pratfall effect.” Rudder explains:
As long as you’re generally competent, making a small, occasional mistake makes people think you’re morecompetent. Flaws call out the good stuff all the more.
In a sentiment that calls to mind Anne Lamott’s beautifully argued case against perfection, Rudder adds:
This need for imperfection might just be how our brains are put together.
Rudder’s conclusion might come off as a platitude, were it not for the hard data and profound insight behind it:
At the end of it, given that everyone on Earth has some kind of flaw, the real moral here is: be yourself and be brave about it. Certainly trying to fit in, just for its own sake, is counterproductive… It also sounds a lot like the advice a mother gives, along with a pat on the head, to her big-nosed and brace-faced son when he’s fourteen and can’t figure out why he isn’t more popular. But either way, there it is, in the numbers.