This is a log of my experiences here to date. Today I was pushed over the line and have won myself the right to vote; seems a good an occasion as any to do this. This log is not meant to be anything more than what it is: A record of some recollections that perhaps later may be of interest. If it's ordering appears random that is because it is.
My first post was Rituals of marijuana. I'm not sure why - the theme felt rebellious and what better way to test the waters? It initially gathered a neutral sum of votes, but I've made some changes and it's slunk back into the black. I do very much like the possibility of seeing a writeup's reputation change over time, but unfortunately that's only possible over long periods of time due to the low voting numbers on old posts. That makes it hard to get a feel for how changes to a post influence its reception. So be it. It's not the best First-PostTM - but then I can't think of anything special enough to justify that arbitrary position. I'm happy with it. Below its surface lie a few aspects of my approach to E2 in those heady, ahem, early days. For instance I'd noticed that many posts are quite romantic about past experiences, which was something I felt I should incorporate. (This makes me sound manipulative I realise, but I'd like to remind people that I still wasn't sure what I'd stumbled into). Also, I'd quickly appreciated the strength of using soft-links to link to something other than the word. Which is something I still have a lot of fun with. It's like the text shimmers with fluctuating meanings - which is what the internet was supposed to be all along; a representation of language's cybernetic nature.
Many of my next posts were about pre-Socratic Greek philosophy, which was something I was reading up on at the time. And here I found a new use for E2: to concretize and explore my ideas about interests I explore. It was also rewarding to get my first C! (thanks) which shockingly confirmed that there's a whole world of people who find things about things interesting. Thank-you all.
Another area I've already written quite a few posts is biology. In my experience, and despite peoples antipathy to maths and chemical symbols, most people are fascinated by science, they just don't have opportunities to ask scientists question and are too busy to seek out the answers themselves. With this in mind I've been trying to write some intelligent reviews that don't presume too much pre-existing knowledge. I'm not sure how I feel about my limited - only three writeups so far - progress to date. They've all gotten good responses, but I haven't gotten much feedback on what is and isn't understandable, or what else should be better explained, etc. Just today I joined e2science which may or may not help in this regard. One problem I am aware of is that those writeups were very long, and that more non-specialists would be inclined to read shorter summaries that require a less intense commitment. However I'm not sure whether I could write shorter introductions to such particular topics - e.g. retrotransposons and neuronal diversity; shorter writeups would work better with simpler topics, e.g. "neurons", than with what I'm interested in. This leads into a second problem, which is I'm really not sure what the baseline knowledge I should be presuming is, and also how much background people need in order to follow my trains of thought.
One thing I've been working on is a three-part introduction to molecular biology which will let me say to myself "People either will or won't read this, but if they won't I can't make them hear" and then use that as the baseline for writing more complicated/specialised writeups. We'll see how that goes. I should note that my science writeups have received far more "I Like This" than any of my other posts. I'm not sure whether that's just level zero users, or also non-members (I hope the latter especially), but it's a good sign.
Another area I've been submitting in are book reviews. This includes my first review which was a bit experimental and was happy to be accepted by others.
I have a habit of copying down quotes and making notes in 50c notebooks while I'm reading. Historically - i.e. before I fell into this ditch - those would never be read by anyone else. Some of them migrated to word documents - or more recently my friend Microsoft OneNote - while others are hidden in drawers and in boxes with old school books at my parents' house. I don't want to make it sound like I've got a thousand books jotted down, but I do have quite a few, and I hope, s-l-o-w-l-y to transmute them over into this place.
"What's that? Is it time already?"
Early on etouffee reminded me of XP stoicism "just cos". And I with that in mind I'd like to say that it's good to get a "I really really think this is good", which is what the C! are. Hence I'd like to thank those peoples who told me they liked stuff I wrote (C!'s): Aerobe, Pandeism Fish, IWhoSawTheFace, The Custodian, DonJaime, gnarl, Simulacron3, wertperch, smartalix, RustyLark, and vonCube. Quite a few people have given me helpful feedback, but especially DonJaime and NanceMuse. Also thanks to etouffee for being the first person to talk to me here. It makes a big difference. I can't thank everyone by name, but I know that you know that.