I’m going to try an experiment. The goal? A steady stream of posts that will be like dissertation Legos. Little discrete blocks of thought that can stand on their own, but snap together to form something far more awesome.
Clearly posts will always be far less polished than a complete dissertation. Many technical details will probably be glossed over. Breaking a dissertation into blog posts is pretty unorthodox and perhaps heretical.
But what is a dissertation? From Wikipedia:
Dissertations normally report on a research project or study, or an extended analysis of a topic. The structure of the thesis or dissertation explains the purpose, the previous research literature which impinges on the topic of the study, the methods used and the findings of the project.
To that, add the idea a dissertation is where you show that you have expanded human knowledge just an iiiity bit. There is no reason why all of these objectives can’t be accomplished brick by brick.
I think there may be couple of big advantages too:
Thought-bricks build up a document that can quickly link to the origins of its ideas directly, rather than leaning on footnotes, references and appendices.
I’m a huge fan of iteration and bottom-up design, and thought-chunks allow me to put that bias in action. Most dissertations pop out of their author’s heads like Athena, fully formed and raring for battle. Although they can be edited in small ways, it’s much harder to fundamentally examine the organization of ideas in a longer document.
This format allows me to expose my nascent ideas to the world for inspection like Spartan babies. With your help and comments, not-so-gentle-reader, hopefully only the strong will survive.