Jan 24, 2015


Tonight I discovered this map, which is slightly less tongue-in-cheek than this map (previous iteration here, conceptual forerunner here).

Scott Alexander's map is more awe-inducing than Randall Munroe's, not by virtue of its craftsmanship, but because the map can be used to jump directly to each place plotted.

And the quality of some of these places is superb.

I know this not from a thorough investigation of these locales, but rather from some innate sense of quality (by quality, I mean a mix of aesthetic sense, substantive content, and authorial restraint).

Scott Alexander restricted his map to rationalist places and places affiliated with rationalist places. This is a small community in the scope of the internet. Yet the content in this community is dense, intertwisted, and immense.

I am boggled by the amount of quality stuff out there. It's common knowledge that the internet is a big place, but I consistently estimate the scale of the thing. Thousands and thousands of thinkers, each with their own thoughts to type out. It's true that a lot of this production is nothing but fluff and plumage, but even with fluff and plumage accounted for, so much quality stuff is pouring out into the world.

warning: navel-gazing ahead.

I have no idea where my little blog fits in the pour. I am new to this business, and to public content production in general. A part of me cares about the reception of this place, I want to see it grow and thrive. Another part of me wants to disregard the reception altogether, and this part has so far been dominant in the structuring of this project. But I'm pulled both ways by these desires.

I feel lost about this. I think the best I can do at the moment is to write honest things that scratch some itch. This policy, at least, will protect me from being horribly derivative.

[rereads: 1, edits: fixed link, cut clause]