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Author Topic: What is quality?
RivalOfTheRose
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Does anything lie outside of these divisions?

Subjectivity/objectivity
Aesthetic appeal/underlying form
Romanticism/classicism

What is "quality"?

- Ideas taken from Robert M. Pirsig

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Samprimary
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In business, engineering and manufacturing, quality has a pragmatic interpretation as the non-inferiority or superiority of something; it is also defined as fitness for purpose. Quality is a perceptual, conditional, and somewhat subjective attribute and may be understood differently by different people. Consumers may focus on the specification quality of a product/service, or how it compares to competitors in the marketplace. Producers might measure the conformance quality, or degree to which the product/service was produced correctly.

Support personnel may measure quality in the degree that a product is reliable, maintainable, or sustainable. A quality item (an item that has quality) has the ability to perform satisfactorily in service and is suitable for its intended purpose.

For instance, "That was a quality sourcing directly from Wikipedia, Sam."

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Samprimary
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quote:
Originally posted by Samprimary:
In business, engineering and manufacturing, quality has a pragmatic interpretation as the non-inferiority or superiority of something; it is also defined as fitness for purpose. Quality is a perceptual, conditional, and somewhat subjective attribute and may be understood differently by different people. Consumers may focus on the specification quality of a product/service, or how it compares to competitors in the marketplace. Producers might measure the conformance quality, or degree to which the product/service was produced correctly.

Support personnel may measure quality in the degree that a product is reliable, maintainable, or sustainable. A quality item (an item that has quality) has the ability to perform satisfactorily in service and is suitable for its intended purpose.

For instance, "That was a quality sourcing directly from Wikipedia, Sam."

To define quality, it is better to define what it is not - i.e., this post
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Lyrhawn
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I work at a car company, so at work Quality is defined by hard numbers. It's so many defects or warranty issues per so many vehicles as benchmarked against an industry standard.

Thus, quality is always relative to the industry standard, which is a constantly moving target.

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NobleHunter
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The definition I run off is that Quality is how well something meets specification. A relevant term is Grade which is how shiny something is after it meets specifications. Both a Toyota and and Rolls-Royce meet the specifications for a car but the Rolls is a higher grade.
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RivalOfTheRose
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But quality could mean different things for different people. A Toyota Camry is a better quality choice for say a single mom than for a high profile CEO, compared to the Rolls Royce.

Is quality embedded in the object, or in the 'observer'?

Is aesthetic quality different than performance quality?

Are there other types of quality?

Can quality be summarized in one consise definition? RivalOfTheRose's Theory of General Qualitivity?

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dkw
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quote:
Originally posted by RivalOfTheRose:
But quality could mean different things for different people. A Toyota Camry is a better quality choice for say a single mom than for a high profile CEO, compared to the Rolls Royce.

The choice is a better quality, not the car. The car is a better fit. The quality of the car is one variable that contributes to the fit, but not the only one.
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RivalOfTheRose
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But I would believe the Toyota would have less service problems and longevity then the Rolls? Anyone?
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dkw
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Irrelevant to the point. That would be something that affects the quality of the car, regardless of whether the owner is a single mom or a CEO.

Or a single mom who happens to be a CEO, since the two are hardly mutually exclusive.

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scifibum
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Rival, are you asking for thoughts that expound on Pirsig's "Quality"(TM)? I thought so, but so far nobody is responding as if they think so.

I think it's hard to have a discussion on that particular concept outside of a book club or book review site since it's so peculiar to Pirsig's work.

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RivalOfTheRose
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Yes Scifi, and yes I think I'll have to agree.
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Glenn Arnold
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It seems to me that the original post may have been more about the term quality as meaning "a characteristic."

You could say something has a "Victorian quality" and stir up a whole bunch of subjectively random reactions, from perception of social mores, to clothing or architecture, none of which would have anything to do with whether something was well made.

Raymond used to try to get to the root of something he called "the quality," which was his shorthand term for "music he liked." He hoped someone could describe a characteristic that would help him search for music. We discussed everything from types of instrumentation, to key signatures, to modes, but there were always exceptions to his taste that would fall outside what he considered "the quality." It just felt to him like there was a common ingredient in music that made him feel a certain way, but he could never put his finger on it.

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Wingracer
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Just to get back to the car thing, quality and reliability have some similarities but are definitely NOT the same thing. Give me 20k and I will build you a car from junkyard and autozone parts that will not break down, will be perfectly reliable and dependable for 100k miles but no one would call it high quality. Range Rovers are often considered very high quality vehicles but may very well be the most unreliable things on the road today.
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Loki
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See "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance" by Robert Pirsig.
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