During a lull like the present one, it might be interesting for people to think about what kinds of features make a candidate a “leader,” or for that matter, about the kinds of things that make a person a candidate at all.
Such features often
have little to do with the strength of a candidate's case.
Regardless of that, I'll list a few that occur to me:1. Reputation of a candidate apart from being an Erdnase candidate.
For instance, we know of people like Hilliar and (if you are interested in card games) Foster, even apart from any discussion of them as possible candidates.2. Support for a candidate on this Erdnase thread.3. The field in which the candidate is known to have worked.
Magician candidates, and there are several, tend to be a little more interesting than someone like Edwin Sumner Andrews, not just because their background tends to support their candidacy, but because most of the people who are interested in the Erdnase controversy came to it because of an interest in magic.4. The physical appearance of the candidate.
I’m not saying that this one is especially logical, but there is probably some validity to this. Men like R.F. Foster and W.E. Sanders seem to fit the stereotype of the suave gambler. Edwin Sumner Andrews just looks like a regular family man, and he obviously had a beautiful family, which certainly supports that view. Edward Gallaway looks like a bookish person, which apparently he was. But . . . as they say, looks can be deceiving.
In an earlier post on this thread, I mentioned a bunch of other, somewhat similar, factors. A few of them are worth repeating here. Actually, now that I look at them further, they all
seem worth repeating. In my original post, I included a little discussion of each point, heavily edited here.
1. Accessibility of information.
2. Reputation of a person forwarding a candidate.
3. Colorfulness of the candidate. R.F. Foster (interesting to me, but not to most); Wilbur Edgerton Sanders (interesting to most).
4. Traction. For some inexplicable (to me) reason, some candidates, or would-be candidates, just seem to appeal to a lot of people.
5. Publicity. Obviously, people like Milton Franklin Andrews, Edwin Sumner Andrews, and W.E. Sanders have gotten (relatively speaking) huge amounts of analysis and publicity relative to that of most (perhaps all) other candidates.
6. Longevity. A candidate who has managed to hang on for a long time is kind of like mud on a boot -- hard to shake off -- no matter how weak the case. (This is not to say that all candidates who have been around a while have weak cases.)
7. Actual strength of the case.
8. Appeal of “the story.” I think some people are swept up by an interesting story that connects known evidence, no matter how utterly implausible that story may be.
At least for the time being, I have taken down my S.W. Erdnase blog.