meta(meta)matters

(Last modified 2010-09-30. I’d love for someone to explain to me how to automate this. I’ve just discovered how to edit the displayed publication date, but I think I might prefer both that date—when originally published—and the date last modified to be shown. I have more to say on this that will have to wait.)

use of boldface and italics

I intend to use boldface for emphasis rather than italics, and reserve italics for indicating that it is the words themselves I am referring to rather than what the words mean.

use of braces and no-space-after colons

I am trying the use of braces {curly brackets} to enclose synonymous terms, or, rather, terms that I intend to be taken as synonymous, so as to make clear that I am not making some subtle distinction. What I mean in such cases is what all the terms have in common; any differences between them are irrelevant. The terms separated by commas inside the braces are alternatives to the term immediately before the opening brace. To put it another way, the text outside the braces with any one of the terms inside the braces replacing the term outside the braces still expresses something I mean.

If the term that those inside are (roughly) synonymous with comprises {consists of} more than one word, I put a :no-space-after colon {colon abutting the word following it rather than the word it follows} before it.

rationale

This site is both about trying to get it right and part of my trying to get it right. I intend it as, among other things, a public repository for my thoughts {conceptions, beliefs, opinions, views, outlooks, perspectives, impressions, intuitions, ideas, convictions, judgements, conclusions}, so that I can be corrected if I am wrong. So I’d really like you to take me up on anything you disagree with—to have it out with me. I want to get it right; that is to say I want what I believe to be right {true, correct}, to refer to :the way things actually are {what is the case, fact}, so that I make better-informed choices {decisions} that are therefore {ipso facto} more often right {optimum}, meaning that I suffer less and enjoy more (:all up {in the end, ultimately}). I do not want to get it wrong.

policy regarding comments

At the time of writing I intend not to approve any comments for publication; I plan only to acknowledge, refer to, and possibly quote (parts of) some comments within my text. One of my motivations for this policy is that I do not want either to be or to invite charges of being self-promoting. That would make me a hypocrite of the first order. More broadly, I do not intend this site to be a vehicle for expressions of opinion about me, or, to be more precise, about my sincerity or competence, which together determine my credibility {authority} (don’t they?). By disallowing publication of all comments, I save myself from having to judge whether a comment is too intimidating {threatening, frightening} or defamatory (or both) to leave on display, and avoid biasing—wittingly or unwittingly—published feedback in my favor.

I do not promise even to read all comments. Even if only a trickle of comments comes, I am not confident that I will get to them, or even that I will :remain able {have the (will)power} for long enough to do so (though I hope not to die for some decades yet!). If a flood of them eventually comes, I have every expectation that I will not have the stamina to deal with every single one.

changing my mind

Everything I write (including this!) expresses what I believe at the time of writing but not necessarily at any other time.

linguistic goals

I aim to be both clear and brief. However, I expect to frequently fail to be either.

To the extent that I succeed in being brief, the text will be dense with meaning and will require, I imagine, slower consumption than most text I have come across.

To the extent that I succeed in being clear (which includes both being intelligible and being precise), I will forgo

  • technical, jargonistic, and arcane terms, arcane itself being, I think, such a term, namely, a term (word, phrase, or expression) not understood by some readers
  • language that :is ambiguous {has more than one meaning}, especially if in context it is still ambiguous
  • formulations too complex for some readers
  • languages other than English
  • :word plays {puns} that confuse rather than help some readers
  • irony too obscure for some readers

However, I expect to fail frequently. I imagine that pulling off all of these at once, as well as being brief, will often defeat me.

In any case, these goals come, I fear, at the cost of time and effort on my part, and my desire to publish will often take precedence over achieving them.

structure of site

The site is structured as a blog only as a way to get started. I hope it will eventually become a network (more navigable, I hope, than what I first called it, a labyrinth) of nested elaborations, with brief formulations expandable into ever more elaborate ones. Readers {viewers} confused or unconvinced by the brief versions would be able to click icons to see increasingly fleshed-out versions. I imagine also a way to have my lists of synonyms either in line with the text or visible only as a pop-up when the :primary term {term immediately before the opening brace} is moused over.

In general, I would like to move away from prose wrapping around after a certain horizontal span has been covered. This is a hangover from hard-copy publications when it was a priority to keep down the quantity of substrate {paper}. On a screen white {background} space costs almost nothing and is available to enhance comprehension.

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