Think about this question in the context of “Top” lists, like Letterman’s Top 10 or the types of lists I post about Halloween, etc.
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on Monday, November 16th, 2009 at 11:49 am and is filed under poll and tagged with poll.
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My vote of 3 is because it is encompassed by all of the other choices. If I would read 10, I would read anything less.
I had this same argument with my written test at the DMV. The question was, “How many feet can something extend out the back of your vehicle before you need a red flag? 10ft, 7ft, 5ft, 3ft” I, naturally, choose 3ft because if my personal limit was less than the legal limit, then I am still within the law. In fact, it’s even better. I got the answer wrong – it was the only question I got wrong – and I REALLY wanted to argue with the DMV worker, but I bit my tongue and accepted my drivers license with that one blemish.
Perhaps I’m not phrasing the question correctly, but in a way, I think you’ve answered: You want the shortest possible list. If you had wanted to read many many funny things, you would have chosen 10, right?
I think if I wanted to read many many funny things, I wouldn’t be satisfied with 10. 15 might tide me over. 3 is just not enough.
In my opinion, 3 things barely qualifies as a list. It seems more like the beginning of a list. It leaves me with an “OK, I’m primed and getting into this…now where are the rest?”…Like a wedding that only serves appetizers and leaves you angry that you went to the the trouble of putting on a suit and tie just for some wilted piece of asparagus with some unrecognizable cheesy cajun sauce on it. A list of 3 is no more than an appetizer. 5 is a borderline appetizer/minimum in my book.
So what is a topic for which 3 items is the optimal number of items? Surely there’s something out there. It seems so far that people want Top 10 lists of funny things and Top 5 lists of advice. I think 3 works for lists of things that you want to be able to remember really easily. Like my entry about conversation fodder. If I had made that list 10 different things, they’d be tough to remember. But 3 is easy.
[…] to Read? 2009 November 25 tags: poll by jameystegmaier Okay, this is the last survey in this chain. I’m curious about the optimal list length for favorites and recommendations. Like, favorite […]
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