About

Author

My name is Steven Tammen and I am an undergraduate student at the University of Georgia. I am triple majoring in Computer Science, Classical Culture, and Ancient Greek, although I will have also taken a couple semesters of Hebrew by the time I graduate. (There is no degree program or minor for Hebrew at UGA).

My other activities cluster around the pursuit of perfection – in design, in thought patterns, in character, and so forth. This takes the form of research and thought on a wide variety of categories in engineering, cognitive psychology, philosophy, and other disciplines as necessary.

Purpose

This site exists to

  • Give me a centralized internet presence
  • Give me a place to showcase my work
  • Give me a platform to spread my thoughts on a wide variety of otherwise unrelated categories
  • Contribute to free and open knowledge

This site does not exist to

  • Let me paint myself as more capable, educated, or experienced than I really am
  • Make money through locking content behind exclusive mailing lists, monthly subscriptions, or other things of the sort
  • Make money through advertising
  • Make money through selling stuff

Writing and Biases

I do my best to avoid letting my personal background (race, socioeconomic status, etc.) and personal opinions (religious, political, etc.) affect the writing on this site, which I hope to keep as objective as possible. I also do my best to avoid conflicts of interest: I make no money from running this site, and I do not have institutional or corporate ties influencing me to write in a certain way.

If you believe any writing on the site is truly biased, please tell me, so that I can fix it.

Backend

A concise technical summary of this site’s operation may be found in the Technical Overview Section of the Readme in the site’s Github repository.

Publishing In-Progress Pages

I believe in publishing in-progress pages for two reasons: 1) waiting until pages are “finished” before publishing means that they aren’t useful to anyone else until the very end of the research and writing process, and 2) I am far from a perfect writer (and my knowledge in many areas is less than complete), so giving other people opportunities to critique my writing from the very beginning of the process will help improve the content more than waiting until some arbitrary point of “good enough for others to see.” To use an analogy, open source code projects don’t wait until their code is “good enough” to push to GitHub, they start open source from the get go, and are better for it. Obviously prose is not code, but the same general logic applies:

  1. Multiple people working on the same thing will yield better results than a single individual
  2. This is true at all stages of the creative process, not just for edits of an already-finished work
  3. Therefore, enabling multiple people to contribute at all stages of the process will yield optimal quality

Open Source

As the progression above shows, I believe that open source projects will generally be of higher quality than non-open source projects. Software has been part of the open source movement for a while now, and hardware is beginning to get there, but, to my knowledge, there has not been much of a push to open source websites themselves. I find this somewhat puzzling, since open source projects offer so many advantages and so few disadvantages. I have designed this website to be entirely open source, and the content is licensed under open source licenses (see below). Contribution guidelines may be found in the Contribution Guidelines Section of the Readme in the site’s Github repository.

Continuous Improvement

I view this site as a perpetual “work in progress” rather than a collection of static documents in an immutable framework. This constant refinement over time is, in my opinion, essential to long-term quality. Changes to individual pages can be tracked by viewing the commit history of their markdown source in the site’s GitHub repository. I may clean out the commit history every once in a while if it gets too cluttered, but, for any given page, you’ll generally be able to get a pretty good idea of what’s happened in the last few commits.

The contents of this site are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

In short, you may use these materials in any way you see fit so long as you give attribution where it is due and share any derivative works under the same license. This license is an example of what is commonly termed “copyleft” – instead of depriving people of freedom, copyleft maximizes the freedom people have to distribute and modify materials while ensuring that this freedom is preserved. To achieve this, copyleft imposes one and only one restriction (in essence): the limitation of further restriction.

You may find information on best practices for the attribution of Creative Commons works here.