An Addition to the Site Disclaimer
Here’s the update:
This site features content going all the way back to the 1990s. Pieces I’ve written here reflect my views and writing style at that time. A piece written years ago may not reflect my current thinking on a topic, whatever that topic might be, nor might it represent how I would approach the topic stylistically. It is often useful to check to see if there is a more current piece on the topic that better reflects my current thinking and writing style. There is a search function on the site.
Why have I added it in? Basically, because I’m not at 51 who I was at 29, which is how old I was when I started this site. I’m also not who I am when I was 35, 40 or even 45. To be clear, I think there’s a pretty strong through-line between 29-year-old John Scalzi and 51-year-old John Scalzi; I don’t think you would read something I wrote then and be confused as to who the author is. But twenty-two years is a long time. Times are different than they were at the turn of the century, and with that, some of my opinions are different, as are the ways I would choose to express them.
Having written here for more than two decades, I don’t think it’s possible or useful to go back and try to tweak the site’s contents for 2020s sensibilities; I don’t have the time, and even if I did the Internet Archive is out there with the originals. Generally speaking I’m not ashamed of anything I’ve written here, and I think there’s something to be said to having a record of who I was (or more accurately, how I chose to publicly express myself) over the time I’ve written here.
Consequently, with a few exceptions I have kept the text here as it was when I wrote it, plus or minus edits shortly after posting, mostly for clarity or to remove unintentionally offensive things. Basically, it’s very rare for me to update a piece more than a couple days after originally posting. Thus, this site includes not a few pieces that I look at today and think eeeeeeh, I wouldn’t put it that way now, and at least a couple of actual and genuine fuck ups on my part. I have it as part of the site disclaimer that “I can be as full of shit as anybody else”; I didn’t put that in there just to be amusingly disarming. I have bad takes on a bunch of stuff on this site, and a few things I had to go back and apologize for. Pulling these from the site wouldn’t change the fact I wrote them at one point, and I’m okay with people seeing me in my full and flawed scope.
For all that, from time to time I have seen people pull something from the site from, oh, like, 2003, and post it elsewhere as if it was reflective of my current thinking, or how I might state things today. On one hand, it’s entirely fair to quote me, if indeed I did say something that one time way back when, and I wouldn’t stop someone from doing it, even if I could, and even if their intent in doing so is to paint me in a bad light. On the other hand, when someone does that, or if someone comes across something that I wrote way back when via a Google search or suchlike, and is confused/upset/angry by something I wrote, I think it’s reasonable for me to be able to say, “Yup, I said that then, and also, you might want to check to see if that’s still a position I would support.”
Because sometimes it is! But sometimes it’s not. And in all cases, further context is probably useful. I do think it’s all right to suggest that people over time might change their minds, or evolve their thinking, or be less of a raging dickhead, or however you want to put it. It’s especially helpful if there is textual evidence of that change, which, as it happens, I often have, because I’ve been writing here for more than two decades.
(Whether people will choose to believe that later text more accurately reflects my current beliefs is another matter. People will believe what they want to believe, and also, some people think I’m a smooth operator who changes his public opinions solely to stay in the good graces of whomever they believe to be the thought police at the current moment. I find this belief delightful; the fantasy version of me they have in their head is far more industrious and canny than I am in real life.)
I will additionally note that I have not achieved my final form; the 55-year-old John Scalzi will be different from me today, and the 60- and 65-year-old versions of me more different still, and so on. This site, as long as it exists, is made by the current me, who very quickly becomes the past me. I suspect there will always be things here that the then-current me will look at and say “huh, I’d do that differently today.” It’s part of being a human, and (hopefully) growing and thinking and changing as you go along.