The idea of successfully protesting an issue includes attracting public sympathy. People in Quebec - and across Canada - must be bewildered over what university students in that province hope to accomplish.
The demonstrations over planned tuition hikes have been ongoing for months now, complete with violent exchanges and vandalism. That seldom gains a lot of points in the court of public opinion.
From the viewpoint of the rest of the country, the tuition increase students face, $325 a year, will still leave them with among the lowest fees for university students across the country - in the range of $3,800 a year.
Wouldn't a student in Nova Scotia, or their parents - who are footing a bill nearly twice that - love to have such tuition fees.
Also astonishing is speculation that the rampaging by students is damaging the future election prospects of the Liberal government there. It mightn't be surprising for younger persons considering post-secondary education to cast their votes elsewhere. But for the typical taxpayer in Quebec, whose taxes subsidize those students, one would expect them to applaud their government's determination.
Amazingly, despite the ugly incidents, there has been some movement toward negotiations between student groups and the government on the fee issue.
That's going nowhere fast, however, because of the continuing chaos and the possible inclusion of the more radical groups.
When you have protesters smashing windows, firing paintballs and vandalizing cars that simply happen to be in the area, how does anyone take them seriously - or think "negotiation" should be in the cards?
And yet a spokesperson for one of the province's labour federations has urged the premier to give negotiations a chance. Interesting that someone sees potential in the students' actions.
University education is supposed to be largely about advancing in a career. Prospective employers might also find themselves steering clear of this class.