Robin Hanson over at Overcoming Bias, one of my favorite blogs, is contemplating stopping his contributions. He says
I’ve been wondering for a while if I should be blogging. Blogging is less of a conversation than I’d hoped, even among blog coauthors. It feels great to quickly put an idea “out there” in an accessible form, but I’m not sure such ideas have much chance to be built on by others. And it does take time.
Why does it not seem like a conversation? Maybe because Robin’s expecting people to comment more?
Fred Wilson, a while ago, said “A blog without comments is a one way medium. And that’s not as good as a conversation.” I disagree.
If you have something to say, why not blog it and link? Then people can comment on your input in a way that’s trackable but is asynchronous. I’ll comment when I already have an opinion. But when I need to think about something, I’m not going to go back and find the post and then comment. What would happen to this post if I put it as a comment to Fred’s July post linked-to above? I’d be talking to the air.
Professors do research; they also teach seminars. In their research they publish and cite and other researchers read the articles and then respond and cite. In the seminars the professors talk and the students comment. The latter is a great way for the students and professors to learn about the state of play as it stands. The former, though, is the best known way to advance the state of play.
Robin and Eliezer have changed the way I think. I’m not smart enough to comment in real time, but that makes their blog no less valuable. Please don’t stop, Robin.