Why aren’t you more serious?


I get more hits to my site and RSS feed in a typical month now than I used to get in a given year. For a fifteen year old blog that started life as a Perl CGI script in high school, it’s been wild to see. Whether you’re coming here from Hacker News, Reddit, Twitter, Discord, newsgroups, or the BSD Now podcast, hi! Sometimes I talk about tech here.

This marked increase in traffic corresponds with more feedback email, a not altogether insignificant number of which are negative. I’ll address some recurring themes here, because they’re Jason Bourne of the same misunderstanding of the kind of site people have come across.

Once you filter out the obvious trolls saying BSD is dead, Apple computers are for posers who value form over function, and that we’re all sheep for wearing a mask, most of the remainder concern the tone of my posts, and what they consider the ancillary topics I cover. They claim that my writing is too jovial, my site mascot drawn by Clara is inappropriate, and inclusion of posts about cooking garlic are a waste of time and somehow detract from my serious technical and political posts.

(One gentleman spent an inordinate amount of time criticising Rubi’s skirt in such lurid detail I felt but the tiniest twinge of what women must feel as creepy men ogle them walking past).

I appreciate—most of—the feedback, but respectfully disagree. There may not be many of us doing this anymore, but this is specifically a personal blog. This site has always been a labour of love for me since I started it in high school in 2004, and will necessarily be about stuff that’s on my mind and that I’m interested in. There are drier technical blogs by people I respect out there, but that’s not my style.

I’m also unsure how one can quantify detraction in this context. I remember having a similar debate with a WikiProject Albums contributor, who claimed compilation album articles similarly detracted from the quality of Wikipedia. In a finite space like a newspaper or book that might make sense, but in an electronic medium it seems to me the easiest solution is to ignore things in which you have no interest. Your also free to find an anime mascot drawn by my girlfriend offensive, just as I’m free to include her to make the world a slightly nicer place.

Which dovetails to the third comment which I take more seriously. I haven’t received permission to quote their email, but in summary they said my serious posts about COVID, social security, and attitudes in open source software communities are valuable, but sporadic. The implication is it’s incumbent upon me to only discuss important topics, and that by including what amounts to sidebars I’m trivialising them.

This one, selfishly, comes down to self-preservation. I need to write about the intricacies of BSD text editors and fun engineering or cooking videos to afford me sufficient mental fortitude to discuss serious topics. Sometimes we all need a break, and this is how I do it.

As I wrote on my first post fifteen years ago:

… it’s a blog site with random stuff on it that I think is groovy, weird etc … maybe one percent of it, or maybe two, might be useful to someone, especially with respect to some of the tech problems I’ve had and solved over the years. So here it is.

Thanks for reading.

Author bio and support


Ruben Schade is a technical writer and infrastructure architect in Sydney, Australia who refers to himself in the third person. Hi!

The site is powered by Hugo, FreeBSD, and OpenZFS on OrionVM, everyone’s favourite bespoke cloud infrastructure provider.

If you found this post helpful or entertaining, you can shout me a coffee or send a comment. Thanks ☺️.