Welcome to scottaaronson.blog !

If you’ve visited Shtetl-Optimized lately — which, uh, I suppose you have — you may have noticed that your URL was redirected from www.scottaaronson.com/blog to scottaaronson.blog. That’s because Automattic, makers of WordPress.com, volunteered to move my blog there from Bluehost, free of charge. If all goes according to plan, you should notice faster loading times, less downtime, and hopefully nothing else different. Please let me know if you encounter any problems. And huge thanks to the WordPress.com Special Projects Team, especially Christopher Jones and Mark Drovdahl, for helping me out with this.

20 Responses to “Welcome to scottaaronson.blog !”

  1. Scott Says:

    On a completely unrelated topic: I just attended Dorian Abbot’s Princeton Zoom lecture (the one he was going to give at MIT before they cancelled it), and it was outstanding! He’s a really clear and engaging speaker. I went from knowing zero to knowing ε about the cloud covers of tidally locked exoplanets, how cloud cover could allow for liquid water (and habitability?) for planets much closer to a star than was previously believed possible, how the James Webb Space Telescope will hopefully soon tell us more about this, and how it could feed back into testing and improving general climate models of Earth. I just wish that they’d cut the 20 minutes of introductions extolling the value of free speech and used the time for Q&A! 🙂

  2. Paul Topping Says:

    Inoreader.com didn’t discover any feeds at scottaaronson.blog. I assume it looks for an Atom or RSS feed within the home page at that address but I don’t know this for a fact. The old feed continues to work and redirects to scottaaronson.blog so I’m not sure what’s happening.

  3. Daniel Filan Says:

    Will we be able to use the same RSS feed?

  4. Tim McCormack Says:

    If you use a feed reader, you can update the feed URL to:


    (That’s the Atom link; you can also subscribe via RSS, and that’s linked in the site footer. Most feed readers accept either, but Atom is a more sane protocol, so I recommend it.) Some feed readers will update the feed URL automatically when they see the redirect (as mine did) but you may need to update yours manually.

  5. Scott Says:

    Tim #4: Thanks so much for answering that! I wouldn’t have known.

  6. Jr Says:

    Congratulations on the move.

  7. asdf Says:

    Old blog seemed to load reasonably fast, though posting comments was slow. I’ll find out in a moment whether the new one is faster ;). Why not blog.scottaaronson.com or something like that? Anyway, congrats on the move, I guess, though at the end of the day I always prefer self-hosting.

    Added: Oh nice, yes comments do post faster, and I like that there is a 5 minute editing window! I just noticed that a couple of minutes in.

  8. Anonymous Says:

    Why even move at all? Now my userscript linking comment numbers broke. (Easy to adapt, but still…)

    Also, should I now expect obnoxious advertising and ‘analytics’ to start appearing on this blog, neither of which you have control over?

  9. Scott Says:

    Anonymous #8: Hmm, why would I—a busy, barely IT-literate theoretical computer scientist—accept an offer from the experts who make WordPress to take responsibility for all the technical aspects of running my blog, free of charge, including getting it to load faster and preventing the downtimes that I’ve often had with Bluehost? That’s a real chin-stroker. 🙂 As I said, hopefully you won’t see any new advertising, “analytics,” or anything else that I don’t personally want.

  10. Tim McCormack Says:

    Ah, I see how it is — Automattic owns the .blog top-level domain, so this is probably good marketing for them. I guess that works.

  11. Job Says:

    Tim #10,

    They don’t own the .blog top-level domain right, they’re just registrars?

    It looks like wordpress.com has several hosting packages, including a free one (the most expensive one is $45/year?).

    I assume that Scott is paying a yearly fee for the scottaaronson.blog domain name plus hosting. They just moved it free of charge?

    I’m guessing that this is their way of siphoning WordPress customers from BlueHost.
    Scott is probably much better off as a result.

    I can see the new setup being incompatible with some extensions, but those usually require too much maintenance anyway.

    I like the edit feature, already paying off.

  12. 1Zer0 Says:

    I always wondered if the website is self hosted on an raspberry pi 1 because it would load so slow.

    It’s faster, but with the bonus of more tracking activity on the website;
    For example stats.wp.com/e-202142.js – a wordpress tracker, https:/ /secure.gaug.es/track.js ((function() {
    var t = document.createElement( ‘script’ );
    t.type = ‘text/javascript’;
    t.async = true;
    t.id = ‘gauges-tracker’;
    t.setAttribute( ‘data-site-id’, ‘6165d574ad4fe5563e1e4971’ );
    t.src = ‘//secure.gaug.es/track.js’;

  13. asdf Says:

    The question of what makes lower bounds proofs hard has come up in this blog’s comments section a few times, so here is an interesting paper (about proof complexity rather than lower bounds proofs per se) that I just came across. It’s from FOCS 2019 and unfortunately the URL that I could find is messy:


  14. DR Says:

    @asdf #13 why not supply the title, authors, and a stable doi link, and people in the future don’t have to worry about a rotted direct pdf link?

    Ján Pich, Rahul Santhanam “Why are Proof Complexity Lower Bounds Hard?” https://doi.org/10.1109/FOCS.2019.00080

  15. Tim McCormack Says:

    Job #11, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/.blog describes Automattic as holding the rights to the .blog TLD, and this About page has additional information: https://my.blog/about-knock-knock-whois-there/

    I think they’ve done a bit of a disservice to Scott in changing the domain name, even if redirects are in place. I don’t think that needed to happen in order to move hosting.

  16. Dan T. Says:

    Although the WordPress people do have control over the .blog domain (one can endlessly argue the semantics over whether that constitutes “ownership”), there is apparently no requirement that such domains be hosted by wordpress.com or use the WordPress software; it’s open to registration like any other open TLD, and can be pointed at any hosting provider using any platform.

  17. asdf Says:

    DR, thanks, that didn’t occur to me, but also the DOI link goes to a paywall or at least registration wall instead of just giving the pdf.

  18. asdf Says:

    Regarding WordPress offering to put its own geeks in charge of hosting this blog for free, I wonder if this is WordPress trying to enter the market of Substack in hosting prestige blogs as magnets for other stuff they host. If that’s the situation, then they should really be paying Scott quite a bit instead of just not charging him. Scott, I don’t know the particulars of Scott Alexander’s deal with Substack, but you might ask him. I get the impression that it is pretty juicy. He does probably have a wider readership though, and he writes a heck of a lot.

  19. 1Zer0 Says:

    asdf #18

    It’s most certainly not selfless on WordPress part, given that privacy invasive trackers are now present on the website. Sure they can be blocked, but it would be nice if @Scott could encourage the wordpress admins to remove those from the source code deployed to power this website.

  20. sms Says:

    Hi Scott. I think the email/rss follow link is not working any more, probably due to this migration. Just a heads up

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