Ignorance and Voice

1 minute read


I’ve noticed a few troubling trends in my blog-posting activity.

  1. I only write a few posts a year. I would like to become a better writer, and a better thinker, and writing on an obscure blog seems like a good way to practice both of those with little risk. Given those goals, I should be writing more.

  2. I have been choosing odd topics to write about. Yesterday, I wrote about applying decision theory (which I know little about) to gun control (which I know little about).

  3. Relatedly, I am not writing much about my research. I enjoy research, but I rarely write about it.

I’ve been thinking about why 2 and 3 have happened, and here is my tentative conclusion: with a moderate understanding of a topic, I see the opportunities and possibility for applying the topics, while maintaining my ignorance about the others who have already traveled those paths before. My ideas about those topics feel new and exciting. When it comes closer to my field, I am aware of all of the great things that have been said by others, and it’s harder to see how I have anything to add to the conversation.

So, my goals are three-fold: First, start writing more. Second, have more confidence that I have good things to say about computational social science and online communities. Third, have less confidence that I have good things to say about things I know little about!