FigCat is a hobby project maintained by one very obsessive person – me, wargaluk. I initially made all these lists for my personal reference, simply because I was interested in the topics they cover. Only after I accumulated a lot of them over the years, it occurred to me to update them and make them public. I hope some of them will be relevant to your own interests.
For each topic, I started by making a spreadsheet. Then I visited large numbers (dozens or even hundreds) of other lists on the web, as well as recommendation threads on message boards. For some of the topics, I may have also consulted authoritative books or articles. Whenever a specific item was mentioned in one of my sources, I gave it a tick in my spreadsheet. Then I sorted all the items by the number of ticks.
There are several important corollaries to my using this method:
I am merely a compiler and curator, not an author. The lists do not reflect my personal opinions and do not contain my own recommendations. I don’t claim any special authority or expertise over the topics covered by them. In some cases, I’m at best vaguely familiar with a small minority of the items contained on a list!
The lists measure the popularity and not quality. I don’t claim that the lists necessarily indicate the “best” items. I certainly don’t wish to persuade you to get acquainted with any of them before you die. Instead, the lists reflect what items are most frequently recommended within their respective categories – based on the sources I selected according to my own criteria.
The lists are not meant to be exhaustive or “objective” (whatever it means). In fact, they are necessarily incomplete and biased (but there’s nothing inherently wrong about this).
- Who are you?
- I’m wargaluk.
- What’s in a name?
- ‘Cat’ stands for ‘catalog’. ‘Fig’ stands for ‘fig’ (the edible fruit of Ficus carica).
- What do the represent?
- I use fig ratings, a variant of star ratings, to give a rough idea of the relative popularity of items included on a list. An item with five figs was recommended more times than an item with one fig (but not five times more! the numbers are normalized and “squeezed” through logarithmic transformation). However, they do not indicate quality! A one-fig item can very well be “better” (according to some measure) than a five-fig one.
- Why is the item
Xnot included on a list? That’s my favorite!
- Most likely it is not included because it didn’t receive enough ticks when I was compiling the list using the method described above. It’s not a slight against you and it’s not an expression of my own opinion about the item in question.
- But can you add the item
Xto a list, since I assure you it really, really belongs there?
- No, because that’s not how this works. The lists are compiled according to a specific method that precludes arbitrary additions. I intend to update all the lists intermittently. If your favorite item receives enough mentions in my sources by then, I guarantee it will be added.
- What about the item
Ythat I dislike or think it doesn’t belong on a list?
- You should know by now.
- Can I contact you?
- I’d be happy to hear from you, but did you read carefully through this very page? In particular, do you understand that I can’t accept submissions for new items to be added to the lists? If the answer is yes, you can email me at [email protected].