The rambling thoughts of a Modern Orthodox Chassid (whatever that means). Contact me at emansouth @

Sunday, May 04, 2008

A New Look At WQ

A number of years ago, Bill James revolutionized the way people looked at baseball. By taking a new approach to statistical analysis, James challenged much of the conventional wisdom of baseball. Some forward thinkers, such as Billy Beane of the Oakland A's, adopted many of the methods proposed by James (and his chassidim). These day, much of the baseball world has come to realize the value of the James approach.

Today, I am suggesting a new way to look at the Weirdness Quotient (WQ) of my shul.

Until now, we have calculated WQ as a simple percentage, to wit, the number of weirdos in shul divided by the total number of people.

Over the past few weeks, it has become clear to my chaverim and me (who are responsible for determining the WQ), that this calculation (like batting average as compared to OBP or OPS), does not capture the true extent of the weirdness. There are times, we concluded, that there are present in the shul individual weirdos of such magnitude that simply counting them once, like stam a weirdo, would not do justice to the WQ.

But where do we go from here?

Sadly, the WQ committee is comprised of three lawyers. None of us is a math geek (although one of us was valedictorian at YU and the other is a computer geek (neither of whom is me, btw)). We need help.

We are open for suggestions as to how make the WQ a more meaningful statistic. Ben? Anyone?



  • At 9:31 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I think you need an independent panel judging this. I suggest you ask (3) members of different Shul's to come daven at your Shul for (3) successive Shabbosim. Believe me, I'm sure they'll pick up the WQ after just (1) Shabbos. You do run the risk that the entire Shul could fall into the WQ group!!

  • At 9:36 AM, Blogger nyfunnyman said…

    what you have to do is assign levels of weirdness to these people- like true shooting percentage (TSP) in basketball. TSP, basically says that if you take 9 shots during a game- all 3 pointers, and make 3 of them, you're shooting % isn't 33% (3/9) but rather, since you got 9 points out of those 9 shots, you're TSP is 50%- b/c if you were taking 2 pointers all you would have to make is 4.5/9 (50%) to get 9 points.

    the same with the weirdos. you must assign point values to each weirdo- the weirder, the more points. so if someone comes in with khaki pants, weird dangling payos and a three stooges tie, but otherwise davens normally and converses normally, he may get one point. But if someone would come in in an army uniform, hijack the amud, wearing a top hat, and smell really funny, then he would get 2 points. finally, if someone were to outdo both of those (i think you think of better real life examples than i can write) he would get 3 points. now instead of having a WQ of 15/80 or something like that (im just making up numbers, i dont claim to know the inner doings of Aish) you would have a WQ 27/80- which may give a better indication of the WQ.

  • At 9:39 AM, Blogger MoChassid said…

    NY funnyman

    I think you are on to something. But the examples you give would barely rate a single point.

  • At 9:48 AM, Blogger nyfunnyman said…

    like i said, you could prob provide better examples- which i would love to hear. maybe ill see for myself at the lag baomer hilula

  • At 10:16 AM, Blogger MoChassid said…

    the WQ at the hilula is of Biblical proportions

  • At 1:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    The WQ of the hillula makes woodstock look like an accountants convention. The WQ of the hillula makes Halloween in the villiage look like yom kippur in Europe. The talmud teaches us that 10 kavim of weirdness came down to the world and 9 went to the Shul special for the hillula and the other is spread out the rest of the year.Brad

  • At 2:35 PM, Blogger MoChassid said…

    This suggestion from a friend:

    "I have a simple, though subjective formula. Number of people in shul is the denominator. Numerator is a number equal to the sum of the WP's (Weirdness Points). Each davener is assigned WPs based on the following question: how many normal people would it take to cancel out the weirdness generated by this individual and convince people the shul is a normal place. So, for example [X] is a 0 because he's normal. Guy next to [Y]yesterday was only a half. [Z] is maybe a 25. Guy in our row on shabbos is 15 etc."

    I have to think about it, but I think this works.

  • At 2:38 PM, Blogger nyfunnyman said…

    similar to my suggestion but using a different value to find numerator. more creative than mine, so i like it.

  • At 10:59 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    just like you have someone who is assigned to be the shul shsher, can't you also have a designated fashion cop.
    If someone comes in with peyos ,gartel, bekesha , kippa sruga and sandels have the gabbia say, its ok for today but next time ya gotta choose one style.
    Also whats with the clapping during shemona esrei ? Talk about distracting.
    Most people are sweet and normal but by definition they are not in your face.

  • At 11:46 PM, Blogger Fern said…

    Like NYFunnyMan, I'd like to hear about specific examples.

    I like the system that uses the number of normal people it takes to cancel out the weirdness to assign weird points. It seems like the best way to describe the true magnitude of the weirdness...

  • At 2:59 AM, Anonymous Jerry said…

    Why does your shul attract so many weirdos?

    And do any of them read your blog and know you're talking about them?

  • At 9:06 AM, Blogger MoChassid said…

    anon 10:59

    If we had a fashion cop, we would be empty. (You forgot the guy with the bekasha and the Israeli flag in his hat brim).

    Clapping is just one element of weirdness. Jumping up and down during L'cha Dodi is another. The examples cannot be counted.


    The question of why we attract so many weirdos is a very good question but beyond the scope of this post. I will need to give that some thought for a future post.

    And, yes, some of the weirdos read the blog. They are either suffering from cognitive dissonance and don't realize that they are weird or do but enjoy their status as weirdos.

  • At 9:24 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    In my experience weirdness multipies into itself. In mather terms, it's time to get exponential. Now it's calculus time.

  • At 9:47 AM, Blogger MoChassid said…

    anon 9:24


  • At 11:56 AM, Blogger tnspr569 said…

    I HAVE to see this for myself...sounds very interesting.

  • At 6:09 PM, Anonymous megapixel said…

    methinks that the shul i daven at here in lakewood is really really boring, almost everyone looks the same.
    the most colorful day (aside from Purim) is definitely tisha bav when everyone wears various color CROCS

  • At 7:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I thought that you can give points based on clothing, hats, and behavior.

    1 WP for every bekeshe
    2 Wp for a colored bekeshe
    3 WP for velvet on a Bekeshe
    2 WP for a tie with a Bekeshe
    0 WP for a suit with Srugie, Suede or borsalino style hat
    0 WP for hesder guy look shirt,slacks srugie
    -1 WP for 3 piece suit or blue shirt

    0 for Borsalino style hat or suede, velvet or srugie Kipa
    1 for a round hat
    2 for anything with velvet on top
    3 for a Streimel or spudik

    0 WP for Davenning normally, occasional clapping, or dancing when everyone else is ie mazal tov, or adon Olam
    1 WP for sustained clapping or banging
    2 WP for sustained arrythmic clapping
    2 WP for loud random clapping
    3 WP for spontaneous dancing by ones self

    I think there are some modifiers as well
    1 WP if the person is wearing one outfit, and a memember of the family doesn't wear the same thing
    -1 WP if the family member does wear the same thing
    3 WP if the person spontaneous starts wearing something which receives WPS
    -1 WP if the person starts after a life milestone event
    -1 WP for every successive year that they wear said clothing

  • At 9:11 PM, Blogger MoChassid said…

    anon 7:38

    Sadly, you miss the point. While some of the weirdness relates to clothing, it's only a small part. You also show a bias against chassidishe garb and assume that because someone wears a bekesha, he's weird. On the contrary, most of the biggest weirdos wear regular suits, often without any hat.

    It ain't about the clothes.

  • At 2:46 PM, Blogger Shira Salamone said…

    "3 WP for spontaneous dancing by ones self"

    That'll be me. :)

    Just out of curiousity, MoC, did you get any reports from female attendees at your shul's last concert about the crazy old lady who danced her feet off behind the mechitza, then limped off to the train leaning on a cane? Ya can't keep a dancer down. :)

    I've gotten something of a rep, at the JCC in Manhattan's Thursday night Israeli folk dance sessions, for free-styling, solo, in a corner during some of the livelier couples dances. The advantage of having a kid who's grown and flown is that I don't have to worry about embarrassing the Son-ster by making a fool of myself in public. I'm far from the best dancer in the room, but I certainly enjoy myself. Next time your shul has a concert, I'll try to show up and do my share to add to the Weirdness Quotient. :)

  • At 3:07 PM, Blogger MoChassid said…

    Shira, the great thing about my shul is that maybe two people noticed you. You fit right in.



Post a Comment

<< Home