personal

Some time back I tried to move almost completely to a wiki based writing system. Arguments in favour of that are here. I have, since then, reverted my views on that. This post tries to elaborate that new view starting with my reason for writing and then moving on to the organization issue.

1 Why write?

Apart from the general benefits, one personal reason for me, even though I haven't really employed it so far, is to gain clarity of thoughts. Specially when you work with high level and/or initial phase ideas, writing things down really helps in formalizing and providing solid next level goals.

2 Why write in public?

Even though there might be zero readership, writing in public helps create a ghost audience and puts a sort of accountability on my part.

Though I don't think this is really important as long as ideas are communicated where and when they matter. The same effect can be generated without an explicit public face, but this way doesn't hurt too.

3 Organizing writings

The main way I have been thinking about the organization of text files has been according to the topic they touch. This is useful but is an overkill if you don't have a lot of files for each topic. And when you merge every kind of topic in a single blog, it starts to add to the confusion where you keep thinking whether that new piece is okay to go in. From the last post:

Sometimes I have been putting personal experiences, other times half baked opinions. A few times, I have pushed because there was nothing in here for a long time.

Since this confusion is the only immediate problem for me right now, I believe allowing, somehow, more of the files to pass the screening can help in clarifying the confusion by letting me look at a fuller shape. While the setup should not encourage a lot of stupid contents (like in various social networks, specially the ones that expect you to spend more time on them), it should not stand in your way too.

3.1 Wiki

Keeping a personal wiki was one way to resolve this. A tree of files, all mutable at will. It should have helped slack the screening process but I realize that a wiki is not really good for posts (as compared to pages).

Suppose you are working on a new algorithm. Does that go as a wiki page or a blog post? A wiki can hold a pointer to it or the whole but only if the thing has a family of interlinked content. Most of the experimental stuff doesn't have this family yet and so come out better in a news feed.

3.2 New page types

Instead of fighting for posts in the main blog, I can just create a dedicated place for more flowy things.

Formalizing it a bit more, what I want is to classify the pages according to their mutability characteristics. Leaving corrections aside, a page can, in a future time, demand a change in either its text (literally), its main conclusions or both. As an example, a wiki page can house content that I am free to modify both textually and conclusively. A diary page allows only conclusion mutation and is going to be like a blog post which can be safely assumed not final but persistent.

Here are some page types that I plan to work on from now:

type m text m conclusions
blog
journal
wiki

The journal is new. An extra degree of freedom this allows is related to subjectiv-ish posts which I will tend to avoid putting on my main blog. You keep getting exposed to new ideas every day and its really hard to look back and not delete a stupid post a few weeks back.

In all fairness, a regular blog also allow this freedom but I just haven't felt the same with mine. So the journal is an auxiliary blog which leans a little on the micro blog side. More focused towards event based posts, maybe impulsive, maybe planned. Maybe just a post on an idea I am not going to work on. Or maybe something I am working on but have only done so partially. In any case, it will have a relatively higher post frequency.

As for the others, the wiki will only have resourcy pages and the main blog will have finalized posts of more general (and objective) interest.