Open Thread

I was recently reminded that I probably ought to revive these things.

First a few ‘meta’ observations regarding content on this blog, then I’ll leave the word to you:

I was recently reminded of the fact that people sometimes read stuff I’ve written a long time ago (usually I try – mostly successfully – to put it out of my mind that this ever happens). So it’s worth pointing out two things here. First, if I wrote something 5 years ago, I’ve probably changed my mind about it at least three times since then. Very occasionally I will by accident realize that I’ve written something awful a long time ago, and if that happens I may decide to delete the post or make corrections to it; but usually that doesn’t happen, so there’s a lot of crud in the archives which I’ve simply neglected to get rid of because it takes a lot of time and effort dealing with that kind of stuff unless you just delete everything indiscriminately, a move I’ve been hesitant to make (perhaps with little justification). Secondly, if I just published a post (people who subscribe to the blog in one way or another will, as far as I’ve been made aware, usually be able to tell when a post was published) here on the blog and you’re reading it right after publication, there’s a high likelihood the post will change later on. I often feel a desire to make corrections and perhaps add stuff to or delete stuff from a post within the first hour or two of a post’s existence. If you only plan on reading a post once then reading it right after I published it might not be the optimal strategy as it’ll likely at that point still be a work in progress. The more words I’ve written on my own, the more likely it is that corrections will be made later on. Sometimes the time-lag between publication and correction can be significant, e.g. it sometimes happens that I post something before I go to bed and then make adjustments to the post the next day. Some people would probably argue that this procedural approach is inefficient and that I ought to finish the post, with corrections, before I publish it, but one reason why I’m not that careful about such things is that I consider most of the stuff published here to be relatively ‘fluid’ anyway; this isn’t a book, I always retain the right and the opportunity to correct errors, delete a paragraph or a post I don’t like, or really whatever strikes my fancy. If a few people happen to come across a few error-ridden and in retrospect only half-finished posts along the way, I don’t really mind that. Usually those errors will get corrected in time and thoughts will be developed in more (or, as the case may be, less) detail. I have considered how to approach major adjustments before – one option I’ve considered is to rename the posts and add a ‘revised’ in a parenthesis to the post title, perhaps with a little note at the beginning as well, in order to inform readers who’ve only read what later turned out to be an early draft that the post has changed – but I haven’t really found a solution I like. So for now it is the way it is. Feedback and ideas are welcome.

Okay, the word is yours. Read anything interesting?


May 4, 2014 - Posted by | meta, Open Thread


  1. I will get the ball rolling.

    I don’t know if you have ever read Stanislaw Lem before — if you haven’t, you certainly should! — but he is considered to be one of the greatest sci-fi writers of all time. Here is a ridiculously nerdy love poem written by him to whet your appetite.

    Comment by Manfred Bühler | May 5, 2014 | Reply

    • Lem’s name came up during one of my visits to your place. I seem to remember that his name came up during a conversation we had while walking in the park, I think it was that time a lot of airplanes got redirected and caused a lot of noise last year (I actually also seem to recall that it was your spouse, rather than you, who first brought up Lem’s name, in response to a question of mine about reading habits, but I’m not completely sure if I remember the details right as this happened a while ago and I do not have an eidetic memory – if I had I certainly wouldn’t have forgotten the recommendation, and until now I actually had forgotten all about it…).

      Anyway I’ve never read any of his stuff. I’ve added a couple of his books to my ‘to-read’ list on goodreads. As I’ve mentioned before it’s usually more difficult for me to figure out what fiction to read than it is for me to decide on non-fiction stuff (I’m aware that Lem has written both, but I’ll start with the fiction). Thanks for the recommendation.

      Comment by US | May 5, 2014 | Reply

      • Heh, one thing I forgot to mention in the original post is that I also often make alterations to the comments I post (for example I changed the wording of the comment above multiple times before I settled on the stuff that’s posted now). This is probably also worth having in mind.

        Comment by US | May 5, 2014

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