multiball.dev $ cat why.html
It's $CURRENT_YEAR you idiot, why are you writing a website by hand?
I'll admit it: I'm swept up. I can't remember why I signed up for Mastodon in 2017. I was at an airport waiting for my flight back to Toronto, and it seemed like a good way to kill some time. I promptly forgot about it until the... situation at the bird site. I'm sure at some point this will sound goofy and naive, but the first few weeks of November were kind of magical. I was never a big tweeter, but I consumed the firehose like anyone. It was awful! It also had just enough actual substance to keep me coming back. On Mastodon, at least right now, I'm see a lot of those good parts amplified, and it's inspiring.
There's a critical mass of people who remember the BBS era, the IRC era, the web 0.5 .html era, all gathering in the same place, and there's a new energy playing out. There's a lot of people trying to capture what made computers and the internet special in the mid-1990s, and I want to be part of it.
This isn't a thinkpiece about the birdsite or the fediverse. It's about me, personally, returning to the "small web", after a 20+ year hiatus.
I'm also trying to shed many years of self-conditioning against over-sharing. "You might look stupid on the internet, and the internet is forever." Absolutely. This can be paralyzing. I cringe when I look back at things I wrote years ago. Maybe I'm a bit older and more mature now, and those things don't bother me as much. Nobody is being forced to read what I write, my future self included. I now see it as more important to leave a legacy in writing for those who do care. I'm choosing to view it as all upside. I get to write about things I think are interesting. People out there might also find it interesting. At best, it sparks a conversation. At worst, I'm yelling in the void and I get ignored: same as it ever was.
In a lot of ways, I'm also excited about embracing an unstructured medium. For as long as I can remember now, when I think about about writing for the web, I get caught up in the technology and it just absolutely nerd snipes me... to the point where I get nothing done and give up. Posts, comments, schemas, backups, analytics, deployment... stylesheets... «shudder». As you can see from the overall vibe of this page, I'm trying to have fun with this.
I don't want this to be a blog. I'm trying not to think in terms of posts. A "post" implies publishing a finished work. I want something more akin to software, which morphs and changes over time. With posts, your words get frozen in amber. I don't want to announce when I edit anything. I'm also going to follow Patrick McKenzie's advice to not date your writing.
This is a website. It's text, in a file, that I'm writing by hand and uploading to a server somewhere, and that I'll update occassionally. At first I thought it'd be cool to put everything in one file and use anchors, but that got old fast. Cool URIs don't change, so I will try to give distinct pages their own stable name, but that's as far as I'll go. I'm not going to tag or categorize things. I don't have any kind of analytics set up, not even a simple hit counter. If someone wishes to go to the effort of contacting me, that's going to be the only way I know anyone is reading. And that's perfectly ok. It's nice to be able to let go of all of these things.
I intend to write about whatever I think is interesting enough to document, for myself or others. I don't claim to be an authority on anything, and you likely won't find any expert content here, but I will share personal anecdotes and stories. A lot of my future writing ideas revolve around my memories as a child privileged enough to have access to computers in the late 1980s.
See ideas.html for some writing ideas for the future.