At the one year (+5 days) anniversary, the natural question is: “Was it helpful for research?”
Answer: Yes, and so it shall continue.
Some evidence is provided by noticing that I am about a factor of 2 more overloaded with paper ideas than I’ve ever previously been. It is always hard to estimate counterfactual worlds, but I expect that this is also a factor of 2 more than “What if I had not started the blog?”
As for “Why?”, there seem to be two primary effects.
- A blog is a mechanism for connecting with people who either think like you or are interested in the same problems. This allows for concentration of thinking which is very helpful in solving problems.
- The process of stating things you don’t understand publicly is very helpful in understanding them. Sometimes you are simply forced to express them in a way which aids understanding. Sometimes someone else says something which helps. And sometimes you discover that someone else has already solved the problem.
There are drawbacks which should not be minimized.
- A great deal of accumulated time and effort goes into writing posts.
- Stress. Telling coauthors “I’m sorry, but I don’t have much time to actually write.” is not at all fun. And the wrists are hurting.
One of the things that I thought would be a problem was running out of ideas for posts, but this just didn’t happen. I’m hoping to have more posts by others over the next year to help relieve (1). (Also, I often find the posts of occasional posters more interesting.) Problem (2) is just an ill of success that must be coped with.
- posts 1 every 2 days, on average (150)
- comments 3/post on average (492)
- posters 10
- registered users 72
- visits per day About 2000 (some uncertainty due to sharing of webserver with less-used sites).
- unique IP addreses per month Perhaps 7000 (uncertainty due to same source).
I’ve been surprised by the growth of traffic to the site. It is odd to realize that a post here is seen by more people than a talk at even the largest machine learning conference. Radically more effort goes into any talk at nearly any conference.
Please comment on any particular thoughts, suggestions, changes, for the new year or the last.