One of the few things I blogged about last year was the demise of a blog… specifically, Scott Alexander’s. He had noted in (what was) his last post that he planned on returning via Substack once he sorted out his real-life job so it couldn’t be threatened by doxing, and now his actual last post at Slate Star Codex announces his new location: Astral Codex Ten (although I actually heard about it via Marginal Revolution). He’s got an introduction to the blog, as well as an overview on what happened with the old one. Reading that made me jealous of him, just as the full life of George Bailey in “It’s a Wonderful Life” made mine seem pointless by comparison when I watched that film as a kid.

I do have some reservations about him using Substack rather than his own domain: a number of people have left their publications for that, and it does seem to represent the idea of unrestricted expression to many people, but it’s still a third party that has the ability to censor any pages they host. And yeah, if I was hardcore I would be using open-source software rather than having host me, but Scott already had his own domain. Sacrificing autonomy for money & support is exactly the move many of these Substackers made when they transitioned from bloggers to professional journalists. One of those old-school bloggers who never really changed (even if it was very briefly announced that he’d be contributing to the NYT before they reconsidered) is Razib Khan, who made a point of insisting on such control before Substack even existed and who continues to maintain even while he also has a substack. I’ve also found commenting more cumbersome on substacks than at Scott’s old site, so I hope that isn’t too affected.

UPDATE 02/13/2021: And now via Sailer I see that the NYT has finally published the article Scott shut SSC down over. Scott has updated his post at SSC announcing its end (really just striking out the portions irrelevant now and noting as much), but hasn’t posted at AC10 about it. UPDATE: Scott has now responded.