The zero people who visit this website may have noticed that the content has all gone poof, and the appearance has changed. This is because I have deleted it.
It’s not gone forever, though. What I have done is eliminated my WordPress hosting with the fine folks at Dreamhost, and I instead will be maintaining the blog with a combination of simple text editors and the Hugo static site generator. It’s all served up with a combination of Github and AWS Amplify.
But why? the imaginary reader asks. A few reasons. One, I think modern content management stacks have gotten too complicated in an effort to save the writer any kind of cognitive load learning how his tools work, but it has gone too far. The process of committing text to the digital medium should solve the inconveniences of working with older tools like hand or typewriter, without introducing a rat’s nest of new problems like sluggish interfaces and high-maintenance web platforms. I suspect that the path forward that makes writing online easy, productive and pleasurable is not the one where we build ever more distracting flourishes into our composition tools. Instead it is probably one where the tools are as simple as possible, beautiful presentation is as easy as possible, with as little overhead as possible, and the writer has just a few fundamental skills under his belt instead of having to train into a particular content management system. Maybe that last bit is not even a real problem. Anyway, I think Markdown, raw text editing, static websites and Git should be within the grasp of a motivated writer.
Two, I have recently learned about this interesting IndieWeb project. I like the idea of publishing in a silo under your own control and federating it out to all the others. It makes you more resilient against site closures or censorship. The project of making good blogging tools that will work locally no matter how meager your hardware is also appealing to me. So I plan to keep my sites running using such a stack, and maybe improving it where possible. If and when I make progress on that front I’ll let you know on my Github blog.
And finally, I have a sort of efficiency fetish and the fact that my blog was “just another WordPress site” kinda bothered me. I’ve worked on a very large static site professionally and I think it’s the way to go for serving up written content. This is an attempt to act on that knowledge. We’ll see how it goes. My extremely interesting posts about Hugo/Nebula winning science fiction novels, science news and philosophy will be back soon.