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Reposted 1347.

Microfeatures I Love in Blogs and Personal Websites


In this post, I talk about pleasant but seemingly minor features in personal sites



2024-03-07 Why do we even blog?


This article gets better every time I open it because Alex adds something to it. It goes about classic ontological, ethical and motivational problems of publishing texts online.

Alex talks about the thrill of getting comments and his fear of judgement in this comments. Well, I do not share this feeling. I do like getting comments (and I get them less often than I want), but I wouldn't call it a thrill. Certainly not “It makes me nervous. The heart beats. The heart bleeds.”-level thrill. Although I often find myself not knowing what to post in my Telegram channel, which is my most popular and least tended to writing place.

I like this quote:

Blogging turns into a performance where I feel like I’m demonstrating my moral character.

But is it blogging? I think it's the social and parasocial ties in general that make us perform. To real people, not just some internet people, I show some positions. Are they my true opinions? Do I really care about this or that topic? Maybe not so much.

And who cares about those laborious system administration blog posts where I struggle with this or that ephemeral problem. All these issues are lost pages. Nobody cares.

Please do continue your Butlerian Jihad notes though. I will need them in a couple of years, I feel that.

And there are so many posts to read, the folders on my disk with saved articles and snippets are more like compost heaps, where layer upon layer of good stuff gets dropped, never to see the light of day again.

I encourage you to curate this compost heap. Throw away 90 %.

The key is to find that happy state where the imagined audience adds a little zest

I think you have found it.

And now, the real banger quote comes:

For me, this imagined audience is more important than getting it right. Which is why I write my blog posts with the wiki spirit. All these sites are pretty similar, in essence. Blog, wiki, digital garden, Zettelkasten, there’s not enough difference to draw lines. It’s all a question of intent, of culture, of belonging. The blog spirit is to write pages over time, and they disappear into the archive. The digital garden spirit is to write unfinished articles and papers, to be refined or not. The Zettelkasten spirit is to follow the trail of thoughts you thought and add new branches, small notes with new thoughts leading to more thoughts on new notes. And the wiki spirit is to write and edit online, to hit the Save button and then it’s live. There is no editor, there is no draft. Wiki is like brutalism in content management. I can see the page sources and the end result is obvious and full of that old web power. It’s not an app. The software has no idea of process. The wiki spirit is to open that window, write the text and hit save. And then I read it again, and edit it. And tomorrow, I read it again, and edit it. And next week, perhaps, I read it again, and edit it.

I no longer live in the Wiki Now. The pages are intended for future readers but they are not timeless. I add timestamps all over the place. The blog spirit is strong. The pages do disappear into the great compost of thoughts. The archive gobbles them up. I do go back but I don’t rewrite the pages completely. I’m more likely to simply add a timestamp and some thoughts like I did on this page.

Abandoning the Wiki Now is one of the lessons I took from Alex. I'm now adding the timestamps in a lot of places. Even on Minecraft signs, to be honest. It just makes rereading a little bit cooler and more useful. But I do rewrite texts sometimes. I still believe in Wiki Now.