10 years of blogging

As of today, I’ve been blogging for 10 years!  Yay!  Time for a retrospective.

I first started reading blogs around 2006, when I started college.  I was a fan of the Bad Astronomy website which had funny material debunking the claim that the moon landing was a hoax, and other skepticism-related stuff.  At some point I found that there was an associated blog called Bad Astronomy Blog.  From there I branched off to other blogs, including The Friendly Atheist, Memoirs of a Skepchick, Pharyngula, and the ScienceBlogs network.1 After reading these for a while, I decided to start my own skeptical/atheist blog.  I called my blog Skeptic’s Play because I was bad at coming up with names.

I came bursting out of the gate, writing original content once per day.  Obviously that wasn’t sustainable, but I think it goes to show that I always had a strong motivation to write, which is probably the most important determinant of long-term success in blogging.

However, it was immediately clear that I wasn’t cut out for skeptical blogging.  To be a good skeptical content creator, you either have to know stuff, research stuff, or else you have to not give a shit and just be entertaining.  I gave a shit, but didn’t give quite enough shit to spend significant amounts of time researching every bullshit claim.  I ended up writing about a lot of low-hanging fruit, like logical fallacies and elementary philosophizing.  I also wrote about physics, math puzzles, and atheism.

Blogging about skepticism encouraged me to get involved in skepticism IRL, and I joined the local skeptical/atheist student group in 2008.  I became the leader of the group for one year, and my blogging experience made me really good at coming up with discussion topics–although it did not help me actually be a good leader.  I continued to participate in student groups until this past year.

In 2009, I realized that I was ace, and I started writing about that.  There were not many ace bloggers at the time, so I instantly became one of the most notable and experienced ace bloggers, even though my blog was primarily about other topics, and was not remotely notable otherwise.  In 2012 I would use my unique position to create The Asexual Agenda, which is one of the best known blogs on asexuality.

Realizing I was ace also caused me to join the local queer student group, and that set me on this path of being a total social justice warrior. This became an issue when in 2011, there was ElevatorGate, and a long string of feminism-related controversies in the atheist community.  I was always a bit of a contrarian and critic of the community, and that continued to be the case for a long time.  But over many years there was a gradual shift where I came to despise the skeptical movement, and subsequently the atheist movement.

So there was a shift in topics where I talked less about skepticism and atheism, and more about queerness and social justice.  I write somewhat less about physics on account of being burnt out by physics grad school.  I continue to write about philosophy, but thanks to my robot boyfriend2 who studied philosophy, I write with the benefit of actually knowing things about philosophy. I stopped writing about puzzles at some point, but added origami.

In 2015, I moved to a different website and renamed my blog A Trivial Knot.  I came up with a trivial tagline (“Everything is simple except when not”) and put a puzzle in my banner.  And in 2016, I moved again, onto the FreeThoughtBlogs network.  This came with a bit of a readership boost, and in theory I earn money, but my blog has seen bigger transformations in its time.

My blog has never been particularly marketable.  I didn’t get to where I am by aiming to please a large audience.  Instead, I have been motivated all these years by my own enjoyment.  So here’s to ten years of enjoyable blogging.

1. A bunch of these blogs still exist, but have changed their names or locations. Bad Astronomy Blog still exists but is on Slate, and seems to have dropped “Blog” from the title. The Friendly Atheist later joined the Patheos network when that became a thing, and also dropped “The” from the title. Memoirs of a Skepchick became the Skepchick blogging network. Pharyngula is technically still on ScienceBlogs, but ScienceBlogs isn’t as relevant as it used to be. (return)

2. Fun facts: He’s called my robot boyfriend because there was a time he had great difficulty with the Captcha codes implemented by Blogspot.  He also studied economics.  (return)


  1. Rob Grigjanis says

    He’s called my robot boyfriend because there was a time he had great difficulty with the Captcha codes implemented by Blogspot.

    Ahah! I’d wondered, but thought it rude to ask.

    Here’s to the next ten years.

  2. Cicada Cycle says

    Congratulations on your blogging anniversary! I thought of you when I heard the news that Ishiguro got the Nobel for literature. I’ve read a couple of his books, but not the one he’s best known for, nor the one you recommended in that post a couple years ago (maybe worth reposting now?). At any rate, with all the changes you’ve gone through over the years, I still enjoy almost everything you choose to write about, with the occasional exception of some of the more detailed discussions of video games, as I’m not big on video games. I even enjoy reading what you write about modular origami, even though I have no interest in actually doing origami myself. It’s a bit like someone who never cooks watching a cooking show, I suppose. Anyway, sending you encouragement and best wishes!

  3. says

    I did not know that Ishiguro won a Nobel today. How unusual for the winner to be an author I have actually heard of and read!

    My favorite of his novels was The Unconsoled, but that one gets a lot of hate, so I’d probably recommend Never Let Me Go first.

  4. StevoR says

    Belated Congratulations from me.

    FWIW I started off with a lot of commenting and following and discussing stuff on Phil Plait’s Bad Astronomy blog in its various incarnations too -although even before that I was on the Darwin Awards forums and BAUT fora.

    Then I got into Pharyngula for a while and also went a lot more than usually nuts for me for a while in a pretty bad time of my life for which I’d like to again, apologise. I’ve got better – I hope.

    Anyhow, congrats again and really just noting that, yeah, we’ve been on similar blogs possibly even at similar times For whatever little that’s worth. You’ve certainly done better than me though (yeah, not that’s hard or anything, still) and well done for not merely commenting but creating your own blog here.

  5. says

    @StevoR, Well I don’t have memories of your Pharyngula commenting activity, and certainly not negative ones. I wasn’t really active in Pharyngula comments most of the time. I think I was more active in the Friendly Atheist comments, which doesn’t feel good in retrospect. I’m not sure when Friendly Atheist comments went to shit, but they did.

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