WordPress, Ads and Yak Shaving

Since I started blogging 1,5 years ago, I have been struggling with the WordPress.com platform I’m using. The main reason for this is that it injects ads you have no control over if you are using the free plan.

People who follow me and read my stuff know that I am very critically against ads and the whole attention-based industry and this attitude has been reinforced during the past years. In fact, I highly suspect the way ad-driven platforms like youtube or facebook are built support and even encourage radicalization, therefore adding to the growing toxicity, hate-speech and even hate-crimes of our time.

Nonetheless, I had no clue where this blog would lead me to when I started and I am generally rather hesitant to spend money on media and tech (sounds strange, but that’s me).

There are also some minor things that annoy me once in a while, though for most things I have found workarounds meanwhile.

I read some things about static site generators during the last year and the possibilities and advantages really made me curious. It promised more flexibility, more customization, learning opportunities for modern tech tools and also a possibility to get my values more in line with my actions: avoiding advertising.

However, moving a blog to a static site is a huge amount of work and there are many very convenient things I’d lose or have to invest even more time and work to get them back.

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Are you sure about what you know?

“If you’re incompetent, you can’t know you’re incompetent … The skills you need to produce a right answer are exactly the skills you need to recognize what a right answer is.”

David Dunning [NYT]

Ever heard of the Dunning-Kruger-Effect? If not, you might want to change that – it’s a great scientific foundation to make fun of people who – for example – use buzzwords, obviously without knowing their meaning. It also gives you some academic ammunition when complaining about the technical incompetence of management, project lead or sales. By using the term and throwing it towards whoever you think is your opponent you can show your superiority. And isn’t it fun to insult people when they don’t even notice being insulted? Clearly a proof of your intellectual dominance, because you don’t fit into the group of incompetent people, do you? You are clever, reflected and open-minded enough not to fall to the traps of human psyche, aren’t you?

For those who don’t want to read through the linked Wikipedia-article, have this (very simplified) description:

The Dunning-Kruger-Effect describes a psychological phenomenon that people who are low-skilled in a certain topic are the most likely to think they know a lot and are skilled at least “above average”. This is due to the fact that their lack of knowledge on a subject also means they can’t recognize how much they don’t understand.
A low-skilled person can overcome these effects by education and increase of knowledge on the topic.
The other side of the effect is, that highly skilled people are the most likely to underestimate their own competence and tend to be less confident about their expertise.

dunning_kruger_effect

There’s a lot of information and commentary about the Dunning-Kruger-effect on the internet, often in combination with fingerpointing towards extreme examples of the phenomenon (you can read “Trump” between the lines here). Most of us have seen people whose lack of experience and knowledge on the subject they presented made us feel uneasy while they themselves seemed pretty confident and happy.
And I agree that it’s fun to watch the effect on others in its full glory, but if you calm down and think about it, it can suddenly become very serious (I guess that’s the reason why the work of Prof. Dunning and Kruger was awarded by the Ig Nobel Prize for “first making people laugh, then think”).

The problem is – this is not a phenomenon reserved for others. And it’s not something only present in ridiculous and extreme examples.

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