It’s nice to mark milestones, so ten years ago today Positive Infinity began its migration (it took some time to complete it) to a WordPress blog. The post that announced it is here and you can catch up on some of the history up to that point. I want to look at two things: what’s happened to the Internet during that time and what’s happened to the communities and topics in which this blog takes part.
My sites had their genesis in 1997, when static sites were pretty much the norm. I’ve written code since I was eighteen; that came in handy to get my start with HTML. HTML has always been a type of code. For a static site that could get a little cumbersome; the advent of programs like Microsoft FrontPage was a blessing and made all of my sites looks better. I went on to Adobe GoLive in 2002 and Dreamweaver (for most my static sites) in 2010. In the process I got into PHP, and that’s what led me to WordPress.
It was (and is) possible to write an active site (a site which changes with comments, mobile devices, and the like) from the ground up. There are two things which make it especially difficult: a)appearance and functionality issues and b)security issues. As I delved into PHP, it became clear that an active site was doable, but the first vehicle I chose to get there just wasn’t up to the task. So when I found WordPress it seemed to fit the bill. It was a good choice: WordPress today is the single most used platform for websites, be they blogs, news sites, or whatever. It has worked well here.
Every silver lining has a cloud, and the shifting sands of the Internet were doing what they do best. With multiple sites, the most successful of which being vulcanhammer.net, I lacked the time to convert this one into a blog in a timely fashion. Blogging had its best day in the first half of the last decade, doing things like destroying Dan Rather’s stupid reporting and rallying the orthodox to the Anglican Revolt. As the decade wore on traffic started to shift towards social media, and even in the open net it tended to centralise. The dream of everyone a journalist began to fade.
Starting a PhD pursuit in 2011 forced me to put a great deal aside; I was forced to cut back on my commitment to this blog. Fortunately WordPress took care of the mechanics, but the problems of the open Internet have only gotten worse. It’s tempting to migrate entirely to social media (and I have shifted much of the day-to-day to Twitter) but I think that the free nature of the Internet—and of society in general—is imperilled by going behind the gates and their gatekeepers.
Getting past the technicalities, there have been several threads I have pursued over the years with varying results.
The Anglican Revolt is pretty much spent, and would be done if the Communion would split and be done. It was my aim to further the cause of the orthodox in this struggle; I think I have made my contribution, even before going to WordPress. It has been a gratifying experience, but I find myself shifting away towards discussing Roman Catholic issues.
Music blogging has been an up and down proposition. Many have been blessed by the effort, and I have made many friends in the process, especially among the artists and their friends (and in some cases their children.) The copyright issue persists, and the Kim Dotcom business in 2012 was a disaster. But it’s been worth it.
Political commentary has been a frustrating business. It’s difficult to get Americans to see a left-wing regime for what it is (which explains why they voted for one twice, and may repeat the feat in November) or come up with a workable alternative. It doesn’t help that some of my commenters feel it more important to be fashionable than right. I’ve cut back on political commentary; I think we’re going to have to seek personal solutions to our problems and not to look to a dysfunctional political system run by a self-centred, out-of-touch élite.
I’ve been gratified by the response to some of my mathematical and engineering posts, which mystify many of my other readers. My goal is to educate and surprise those who didn’t expect such things at a site like this, and I think I’ve achieved what I set out to do.
At this point it’s hard to predict the future. I think that basic freedom of expression is on the line here and elsewhere; too many debt-laden careerists and people who put sexual freedom at the top of the list are afraid of dissenting voices. That’s a sad state of affairs, but that’s where we’re at these days. As long as the opportunity presents itself I will make a contribution whether the morally anxious like it or not, because “We must do the work of him who sent me, while it is day; night is coming, when no one can work.” (John 9:4, TCNT.)
For all of you who have visited or contributed—even adversely—thanks, hopefully there will be more to come.