Alright, it’s time to tell you: in a couple of days, Shtetl-Optimized will cease its two-year independent existence, and become a part of MIT Technology Review. Please check out the new shtetl at technologyreview.com and let me know in the comments section, here or there, if anything is amiss. (Note: You have to register at technologyreview.com before you can post a comment there, but that should be pretty quick and painless.) If everything’s OK, then we’ll start redirecting the scottaaronson.com URL’s to point to the new location.
Naturally, selling out to an MIT subsidiary is not a step I took lightly. The following considerations are what finally induced me to say “yes”:
- I’d already sold my soul to MIT, so why not my blog too?
- As explained earlier, Bluehost (my current hosting provider) sucks: the sites they host routinely stop working, and when they do it’s always your fault and never theirs. Indeed, every webhosting company I’ve dealt with strikes me as basically a scam operation that does a tiny bit of hosting on the side. So when TR told me that they would be that at which the buck stops — and that if anything went wrong I could walk the two blocks to their East Cambridge office and yell at them in person — their pitch fell on receptive ears.
- From now on, TR’s expert staff will manage all technical aspects of the blog for me, leaving me free to concentrate on deeper, biting-vagina-related matters. This will be particularly welcome as the demands on my time shift from the “severe” to “ludicrous” range.
- “The Benjamins.” As explained earlier, as a matter of principle I accept bribes and kickbacks from absolutely anyone, trusting that the money from competing groups will cancel each other out, thereby leaving my overall judgment unbiased. Plus I can actually use the dough, now that I have a mortgage to pay.
- I’ll now be under contractual obligation to blog “at least twice a week on average.” I actually welcome this change, since it’s the only remedy I can think of for the blog-procrastination (i.e., work) that’s often afflicted me in the past.
- If this experiment doesn’t work, I’m allowed to back out on two weeks’ notice, retaining all the “rights” to my blog. Of course, I hope and expect that it’ll work.
- Most importantly, Jason Pontin, the editor-in-chief and publisher of Technology Review, has personally assured me that I will have complete intellectual freedom to blog about anything I want, exactly as I did when the blog was independent. You can rest assured that Jason will come to regret his guarantee in the days and weeks ahead. (TR does have a policy of fact-checking blog entries, but as I explained to them, the very concept of “fact-checking” is not particularly relevant to Shtetl-Optimized.)
Indeed, the only real disadvantage I could see to hosting the blog on TR was the amount of screen space taken up by ads. Sorry about that! Fortunately, the ads look pretty ignorable to me.