Version Controlled Thinking

Version Controlled Thinking

All of my posts are version controlled, meaning that you can see past edits, who they were changed by and when. E.g. See the history of this page.

Why do you do this?

I hear you ask…


Reason 1: As an accountability mechanism. I have opinions and I update them in light of new evidence.

… because one of my ways of learning is to write down what I think and share it with smart people. If those smart people convince me to change my opinion, I change it. If they don’t, I leave it.

It is hard to show how thoughts and opinions change over time. I also think it is humbling to remember that you have not always held the enlightened opinions you hold now.

Reason 2: To prevent myself from clogging the internet with more junk. Junk makes people angry.

I there is a lot of outdated junk on the internet and that makes some technical topics even harder to navigate. I believe that if we do not clear up after ourselves, then this happens:

Wrong on the Internet

Duty Calls by XKCD CC-BY-NC.

I mean to cause you no pain in reading this blog, dear reader. If I have got something wrong, please email me on lucy [at] and we’ll talk!

Reason 3: I aspire to write concisely

“If I had more time I would have written you a shorter letter”

Time is precious, I don’t want to waste yours. Occasionally, I will work out a much more consice way to explain something and go in and change it.

Why you might want to use the version control

You do not have to ever look back at the history if you don’t need to, however, I give you this option for a few reasons:

  • Maybe you referenced something and now can’t find the quote because I changed that text?
  • Maybe you preferred a previous version of a diagram?
  • Maybe you just want to see how many times I changed my mind. (I don’t recommend this for the earlier posts, it was a lot!)

How to use the version control

In this case, simply:

  1. Visit the Github repository for the site and find the page you are looking for. Or, if you are looking for an update on a particular post, go directly to the posts.
  2. Select the post or page and click on the ‘History’ button to see a list of changes made to that post. You can click through on a particular change if you are interested in more details.

I’m interested if anyone apart from me does use this feature, so I’d love to hear from you if you are using it! (lucy [at]

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