Update for the reader

Slowing things down

Hello all —

No new post today, and I’m going to explain why.

First, updates to the Graham Factor are about to become much more sporadic — maybe once a month or less. Up until now, I’ve worked hard to keep a post going every one or two weeks. In some respects this works well — we have a great community of readers who are regularly engaged, comment a lot, and debate me which I like. In others, it’s not so great. I’m unhappy with typos and errors in my posts, and also just with some of the generally lower-quality writing I’ve published on here.

I’m really bad at predicting which posts I write will be popular, and which will not. (“How Depolicing Happens” is the most popular post here by a long shot, something I did not anticipate at all when I wrote it.) However, I’ve noticed that there is (unsurprisingly) a general correlation between how much time and effort I put into writing something and how much engagement it gets. Some of the best posts on here are hacked together out of thousands of words I wrote but never published. There are drafts of things sitting on my dashboard I never pushed out because I didn’t like them.

Given that I’m not monetizing this blog and don’t plan to, I’m not sure the self-imposed regular deadline makes sense. I think it makes more sense to occasionally write something really good than it does to regularly write something mediocre and make readers sort the wheat from the chaff. And frankly, I also have a lot of other time commitments that need my attention.

Second, open threads will also be much more sporadic. I think many people like them, but I also think constantly emailing them to everybody every week is annoying people who don’t like getting emails. I’m also now getting enough comments that reading and managing them all is a significant time commitment in and of itself. If you have a question or idea that can’t wait, I read all of my emails: GrahamFactor@substack.com.

Third, I’ve begun unpublishing open threads older than a couple of months. This is not because I think anybody has necessarily said or done anything wrong or that I disagree with. But it has become apparent to me that most new readers do not search through the older comments before asking a new question (I don’t blame anybody, Substack doesn’t make it easy). And I feel like these back-and-forth discussions are just that—a discussion happening at a fixed point in time. In this day and age, there’s always someone trying to cancel someone else by looking through older stuff. I have no desire to give anybody that ammo, and because I can’t easily make this forum private, I’m just going to make sure the open threads reflect the conversation that’s going on now and not the one happening six months or a year ago.

I know some people will probably be a little disappointed with the slower pace of posting, and I feel bad because I owe a lot to regular readers here. I didn’t expect to do more than shout into the void when I first started writing. But I also have to think about doing things sustainably. All that said, please feel free to email me or comment if you have strong opinions about these changes.