Dan Ott <>
Fri Dec 1 08:29:21 2023 -0500

When does creation happen?

I’m continuing to muse on this experiment. It occurs to me that there is no affordance in the GitHub interface for adding an empty commit. Creating posts in this format MUST happen from a remote git repository. Outside the veneers of GitHub.

Is the distinction between git and GitHub apparent to everyone? GitHub is an interface into the raw data stored in git. With useful layers of guiding process and organized collaboration. Usually git commits tell the story of an artifact being produced. And GitHub pull requests tell the story of refinements to that artifact. Both automated and human.

How would editing a post work in this format?

git commit --amend
git push --force

There would be no record that anything changed. Unless someone was keeping a remote git repository and encountered the need to reconcile differences.

A non-fungible log of events could ensure that all events stay on public record. NFT? Not for this.

What is a blog? Is it the author’s words being captured and broadcast? Does it include the commentary and interaction that get layered on top via an interface? Does it include the presentation and interaction? There’s probably a spectrum.

GitHub is interesting because the data store of the commits and blobs that make up the working tree (git) is distinctly portable from the layers of presentation, interaction, and collaboration wrapped around those commits (GitHub). And I’m not even talking about the working tree that makes most git repositories useful. There are layers of useful information. In other forms of writing this editing process is usually invisible. The remnant is a mention of thanks in an introduction or conclusion. With git and GitHub we can see the signals of collaboration and refinement. If one is committed to writing about their writing with the same vigor as writing the artifact they’re trying to produce.

Using empty commits as the primary data store loses a layer of information. It will never be clear why something changed. Which is often a mystery in writing. And in writing about writing. And in editing writing about writing. And what about editing writing about editing writing?

How did an author choose to manage the tension of competing values while editing writing about editing writing? What words did they choose to explain how they managed the tension? Did that editing process itself have subroutines of evaluation? Exploring divergent branches of possibilities while considering competing values can be expressed in git. All these layers of execution and evaluation are useful to someone who is deeply interested in learning the crafts. It’s feedback loops all the way down.

And then on a blog they get compressed into a single layer. Ready for sediment to pile on or erosion to run its course.