As I’m sure just about everybody who visits here (which is to say just about nobody in the grander scheme of things) has noticed, my activity here has been steadily decreasing for quite a while. I think I’ve stayed with it a lot longer than most people, but it’s still less active around here than it used to be. It’s funny to think that I actually switched web hosts a while back because I was worried about hitting the bandwidth limits at my old host and the new one had a more cost-effective plan for where I expected to be. The reasons for the relative lack of activity are several.

  • Amy obviously takes up a lot of my time and – more importantly – energy. It’s not that I’m complaining. She’s a source of endless joy and only occasional frustration, and I’m delighted to have her in my life. Nonetheless, that does mean less of me here online than would be the case otherwise.
  • More of my technical focus is at work than used to be the case while I was at EMC, and I don’t feel entirely comfortable posting anything that might reveal what platforms or techniques etc. we’re using to work our magic. I’m also working in areas that are probably of less general interest to readers than the distributed-filesystem kinds of stuff I was doing previously. It’s more nuts and bolts kinds of stuff, so there’s often not all that much to say about it.
  • Politics has obviously become more of a focus for me than it used to be, occupying more of that precious time and energy, but I find that posting political stuff here is not very rewarding and I know that most of my readers are less interested in that than in my other topic areas.

It’s this last point I think deserves more explanation. When I think about something political I’d like to write, often sparked by something else I read in my morning “rounds” through the links you’ll see in the sidebar, I’m always faced with a choice: post it here, or on a forum (or both)? More often than not, I’d rather post it on a forum. I do like to think that my writing has some small effect on people’s thinking, and posting to a forum gives what I write a broader audience than if I post it here. That’s also more likely to provoke discussion, allowing new information to be revealed and ideas to be refined. That’s why I have over 3000 posts at Whistle Stopper in the last year and a bit, and only a few hundred here. The decision does go the other way sometimes, particularly with my more rambly philosophical ideas, but most of the time I’d rather post there than here.

What I wonder is this: is what has been true for me true (or likely to become true) in general? Are forums destined to eclipse weblogs as a venue for political conversation on the web? They’re certainly better designed for it; all of the trackback/pingback/whatever hacks in the world will still be less effective than software which was intended since day one to advance dialogue over monologue. There are a lot of problems with most forums, technically and “editorially” and socially, but overall I still think they’re inherently better for sharing ideas that are inherently social in nature.