I’m switching over to a digital garden model as opposed to a blog with a reverse chronological ordering of “complete” articles or posts.

I am going to make the argument that the predominant form of the social web — that amalgam of blogging, Twitter, Facebook, forums, Reddit, Instagram — is an impoverished model for learning and research and that our survival as a species depends on us getting past the sweet, salty fat of “the web as conversation” and on to something more timeless, integrative, iterative, something less personal and less self-assertive, something more solitary yet more connected.
~ From The Garden And The Stream: A Technopastoral (video version)

The idea as I understand it is to publish more frequently things that are less polished in the effort to organize and formulate thoughts and learn in public. Some of this involves “writing the content you wish you could have found before”. I do this frequently at work where we have an internal Confluence instance shared across the company and I use my personal “blog” there to post solutions to problems I had, or posts about how I solved an interesting problem.

The form this will take is still up in the air. I plan to treat this space as a sort of personal wiki where I can store ideas that I’m ruminating on. This also will make it easier to share with other people what I’m thinking.

There are some principles and a “terms of service” that are needed to make this work.

Principles of Digital Gardening

The article I linked to above goes into more detail on this, so I won’t repeat all of what they said here. Briefly these are:

  1. Topography over Timelines - This goes back to the core principle of the Web as a network of interconnecting things and not a temporally restricted stream of things. This encourages wandering through on unguided paths.
  2. Continuous Growth - Content should be tended and added to as thoughts on them grow and change. The web medium isn’t a printing press so nothing is set in stone once it’s published.
  3. Imperfection & Learning in Public - No one is perfect. No one knows everything. Learning in public is about showing that process, in some ways showing your work, and also just documenting things. We only know the things we know now because people wrote them down in the past, and most of that knowledge comes from personal correspondences and other ad-hoc writings. Let’s leave something for our future selves to learn from.
  4. Playful, Personal, and Experimental - Learning should be fun. I like to “play” with ideas, and doing that in a place where I can include others might lead to new ideas.
  5. Intercropping & Content Diversity - I’m mostly focusing on the written word here, but I learn lots of things from videos and podcasts. I might some day consider contributing in these other media. Different people learn and absorb information differently, so different media can help with that.
  6. Independent Ownership - This is all just a static site generated from an Obsidian vault using a modified version of Quartz. It can be hosted anywhere I can put up some HTML and CSS files. More and more I want to get away from the social media platforms, since if you aren’t paying, you’re the product.

Terms of Service

I could repeat what Shawn Wang already wrote about in their Digital Garden Terms of Service, but I think they covered the basic points well enough.

This garden contains unfinished work and incomplete thoughts. I’ll be working out what I think about things in a public setting and so I reserve the right to be wrong. I welcome feedback but I ask that you be courteous in your communications, or better yet post it somewhere so we can have a back and forth between us and others.

It’s part of my responsibility to show my work, citing sources, and to treat others as I’d hope they would treat me.

In short, Don’t Be A Jerk.

Epistemic Status

For now I’m going to go with Maggie Appleton’s very literal gardening metaphor for marking the status of things here. Like everything, this will grow as I grow.

  • seedling Sprouting - I’ve just jotted this down so I don’t forget it. I haven’t thought it through a lot yet, what the implications are, and I don’t have a strong opinion about it yet.
  • lotus Blooming - I’ve had some time to think about this and add to it, but I’m still not certain about some aspects of it.
  • evergreen tree Evergreen - I’ve got a solid idea where I stand on this. I feel like I’ve done the reading and can confidently stake a position here. I’m open to more input though.
  • wilted flower Wilting - I’ve let this get stale or outdated, and haven’t had a time to update it, but I’ll mark them with this so I can find them, and you can be aware of my intent to address them.