Over the past few days, I’ve set up the current site and ported over content from the old one. You should see the old blog posts if you scroll down. Out with the old, in with the new…


As for the title - although I still don’t know what I’m doing with my life, one of my goals is to be an interesting, insightful person. Unfortunately, I’m not one yet. But if I try, maybe I can get there.

(Hello World, Again)

Sorta Insightful turns one year old today. To whatever meager readership I have: thanks. It means more than you’d think.

It’s been six months since I wrote my last retrospective post. Let’s see what’s changed.


First off, I owe people an apology. Six months ago, I said the following.

I plan to start flushing my queue of non-technical post ideas. On the short list are

  • A post about Gunnerkrigg Court
  • A post on effort icebergs and criticism
  • A post about obsessive fandoms
  • A post detailing the hilariously incompetent history of the Dominion Online implementation

I haven’t written any of those posts, and I feel awful about it. I feel especially bad about not writing the Gunnerkrigg Court post. Writing that post has been on my shortlist ever since I started this blog.

Meanwhile, I’ve forgotten what the effort icebergs post was going to cover. Last I remember, I was planning to resolve the tension between constructive criticism of bad work and respect for the effort that went into it. And there was some infographic I really liked and wanted to use? Wow, it has been a while.

The obsessive fandom post is officially turning into a post about the My Little Pony fandom in particular, but it hasn’t passed the idea stage yet. As for the Dominion post, I at least have some words written down, but I haven’t touched them since March.

All these posts that want to be free, and they’re chained to the ground, not because I can’t write them, but because I’m too lazy to write them.

Yes, I know that there aren’t really people who hate me because I haven’t written these posts, but this is one of those things where I won’t feel better until I make it up to myself.


Next, the neutral news. My blog still gets basically no traffic. I didn’t expect it to. One year isn’t that long to build a readership, and I didn’t go into this expecting much popularity.

Yes, in theory I could be promoting my blog more, but there are two things stopping me. One, my blog has no coherent theme. It’s exactly what I want to write about and nothing more. If it was a purely technical blog, I could submit everything to Hacker News. If it was all about machine learning, I could be reaping r/MachineLearning karma. But it’s not all technical, and it’s not all machine learning. It’s fractured, just like me.

These blog posts aren’t just words on a page. They’re my words, on my page. Marketing something so personal feels wrong, on a level that’s hard to explain. Yes, I’d like the feeling of approval that comes with popularity, but I don’t need the validation to keep writing. Just having the thoughts out there is good enough.


Enough bittersweet stuff. What’s gone well?

Well, for one, I started working full time, and I still have time for blog posts. In the past six months, I wrote 38 blog posts, if you include this one. Now, to be fair, 31 of those posts are from the blogging gauntlet I did in May, which had a lot of garbage, but there are definitely a few pearls worth checking out. People seem to like Appearing Skilled and Being Skilled are Very Different, although my personal favorite is Fearful Symmetry. (I’d really like to revisit Fearful Symmetry, when I have time to.)

I think I’m getting better at articulating my thoughts well the first time. I don’t have any way to measure this quantitatively, but I feel like I’ve been stumbling over my own words less often.

I continue to be pleasantly surprised that people actually bother to read things I write. You could be anywhere on the Internet, and you chose to be here? Man, you’re nuts, and I love you for it.

The Future of Sorta Insightful

The future of Sorta Insightful is pretty simple: I’ll keep writing and see how it goes. Next post is me explaining my position on the existential risk of AI. I’ve had a bunch of conflicting feelings about the topic, but going to EA Global forced me to work through the bigger ones. I’m pretty excited to fully resolve my contradictions on the subject.

I wrote the start of a really, really stupid short story about dinosaurs. In the right hands, this story could be pretty neat, but unfortunately my hands aren’t the right hands. At the same time, I’m not going to get better at storytelling unless I try, so I’ll keep at it. I hope that story sees the light of day, because the premise is so stupid that it might just wrap back around to brilliant.

The post about Gunnerkrigg Court is going to happen. I swear it will. Just, not soon. After messing up the post on Doctor Whooves Adventures, I want to make sure I get this explanation right. I love this comic sooooooo much, and it deserves a good advertisement.

As always, I promise no update schedule beyond “soon”. Bear with me on this.

Here’s to another year! It’s going to be pretty great.