[Reading] Ribbonfarm

Writing on his blog Ribbonfarm, Venkatesh Rao says,

I was asked in a DM conversation whether I use AI for writing, and I said no, it would be like going for a walk in my car. 

This was a great opening sentence! It made me alight, and it said something that I experience as very true.

Later in the post, Rao said this about his blogging.

Writing for me has always been about thinking things through for myself. Thinking with a passive recording medium in a feedback loop. At some point I realized others enjoyed watching me do this, and I enjoyed the validation to some degree as well […] This means when I do things that seem audience-pleasing, it’s because I enjoy them too.

(Here is the bit that caught my attention.)

More generally, I mostly don’t care about the aesthetics of writing, which are almost entirely for the benefit of readers. This includes the aesthetics of brevity and structure (the architecture as opposed to the brick-by-brick part). Sometimes I enjoy the challenge of maximal tightening, compressing, re-ordering for better flow, shortening, and simplifying. Mostly I don’t. I prefer the scenic route through my thoughts. Once it’s ordered and tightened enough that I understand what I’m saying, doing more for you feels like work. So I don’t do it. So what’s a through-line idea for me might be a word-salad for you.

This struck me because, to a degree, it matches how I write here in [S][J][P]. I’m probably more concerned with my (small) audience's ability to come along for the ride as I think about stuff.

However, reading Rao’s thoughts has me wondering if I’m too concerned about that?

When I read Rao’s posts on ribbonfarm, which tend to be long, I’m generally engaged by the content and style of the posts. However, there are also posts I don’t care enough about to finish. I don’t force myself to finish them. When I realize I’m not into what Rao is thinking about I stop, mark as read, and move to whatever is next in my RSS feeds.

I hope that is how people read whatever I post here.

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