UPDATE 2024/01/04: This post originally appeared on my Civility and Truth Substack newsletter. I’ve moved it to my main site in an effort to collect all of my writing in one place.
I’m out of town this week on a business trip, so I haven’t had time to prepare a proper post. However, I wanted to keep to my weekly schedule, so what better than a quick post on why I’m so slow in putting my opinions out on the Internet?
The simple fact is that my personality is not suited for hot takes. Before I write something about a topic I feel compelled to have as deep an understanding of it as I possibly can. Unfortunately, given that blogging is a spare-time hobby of mine, that means it can be a long time between the time I conceive of an idea for a post and the time I actually publish it.
For example, one of the posts I did for my “Creating the Chrysalis” series took about a year to write, because I just didn’t feel I knew enough about the technologies and concepts that went into how the Chrysalis amphitheater was designed. In the end it took watching two hour-plus videos featuring Marc Fornes (the Chrysalis designer), transcribing all of one video plus a good portion of the other, reading two books on Computer-Aided Design, and trying out for myself the CAD software that Fornes used.
Another example is my “Seven Answers” series: I was inspired by a post that Jason Booms did in January of 2018 prior to the primary election filing deadline, laying out “seven questions” for the local Democratic candidates to address. I didn’t start the series until late March, and didn’t finish it until just before the general election. If I’d been running for office it would have been a dismal performance.
But the simple fact is that I’m not running for office. I’m also not writing for a living, or looking to become a social media “influencer.” If I need to take the time to understand something before commenting on it, nothing is stopping me from doing it.
Well, nothing except the obligation I feel to those of you who’ve signaled your willingness to read what I write by signing up for this newsletter. The compromise I’ve made is to try to put something out every week, even if it advances by only a bit the end goal of saying something interesting about whatever topic I’m currently focusing on. (Lest we forget, right now I’m trying to get my head around housing affordability, density and zoning, and related issues.) And along the way you’ll get the benefit of seeing how I fumble my way to a better understanding, with links and code and data if you want to explore things further on your own.
So thank you for your patience, which I’m afraid I will continue to try.
P.S. If you’re interested, I also was finally able to publish the code and data for my previous post.