I think it is time for me to move on from this stack. I joined originally as an experiment, as a way of better understanding the Stack Exchange model. I feel the experiment was a success, but part of the understanding I gained is that this model only works for certain subjects and writing isn't one of them.

I seem to have written the same basic answers several dozen times now, and I realize that while in programming there are thousands of small algorithms to ask about, and an infinity of bugs to fix, when it comes to writing, there are really on a few general principles, and answering questions about writing really means showing how a particular principle applies to a particular piece of writing. And that just does not fit the question and answer format very well.

Addressing writing problems works best as a back and forth about how general principles apply to particular texts -- both existing works and the works of the people facing the problems. But all of that is off topic here -- as it should be, since it does not fit the Q/A format.

So, that's it. While I'm not saying you'll never see me here again (why slam the door on the way out?), for now it is so long and thanks for all the fish.

  • 1
    good points. I never looked at it quite so succinctly. Aug 16, 2018 at 10:32
  • @MarkBaker - It's a pleasure to see you're back to posting actively again :) Sep 9, 2019 at 15:27
  • @ChrisSunami, thanks. I don't know how much or for how long, but I'll be around a little while anyway.
    – user16226
    Sep 9, 2019 at 15:44

7 Answers 7


Sorry to see you leave! I hope you decide to participate again in the future, you've been a very valuable contributor.


It's always sad to see active members go, especially members as active as you are on sites as small as Writing.SE - you've done a lot for the site. I can see that even though I haven't been active on Writing.SE, or even SE in general, for as long as you have been supporting this site.

Thanks for everything you have contributed and thanks for the insights about your reasons for leaving. I hope we'll see you around again at some point, or maybe just sporadically when you want to see how the site is doing.


Mark, you will be missed. I have always enjoyed reading your contributions. Please do pop back in from time to time.


I learned a lot from you Mark, in a very short amount of time, and now there's a mantra that echoes in my head about choices that comes from your consistent answers. I will miss you.


Mark, thanks for all the time, thought, and effort you've put into Writing.SE.

I'm very much in sympathy with your conclusions. Indeed, I've dialed back my own participation tremendously, for very much the same reasons.

What I am seeing is that the site feels healthier, more active, with questions seeing much more engagement and activity and variety, than it was a few years back. I definitely feel like we're much, much closer to the kind of critical mass we need for the site to be, pretty much, self-perpetuating. I strongly feel that your solid, helpful answers to so many questions has been a huge help in carrying the site forward to reaching critical mass.

Serious kudos, all the best, and I hope we'll be seeing you pop in when some questions do spark your interest :D


It does get pretty repetitive; I agree with that. I will also agree that the Q/A format doesn't lend itself to the most helpful kind of help; discussing particular passages. But that strays into "review" or critique of writing.

I don't see why that can't be a question; world-building gets new questions every hour that effectively are about "what to write" (how does my all female society reproduce?) or critiques of what was written (some fictional social system or device).

While we regularly go half a day without a new question to answer.

A page is 250 words; I'd think we could help more people if we did reviews of up to a page, or even half a page. It's not like they would be getting in the way of all those other non-existent questions.

  • 3
    I quite like the idea of doing reviews/criticisms of passages/chapters written by users here, especially as many new users often come here asking for their writing to be reviewed. I think it'd be a nice idea if somebody cough you? cough proposed this on meta as a feature request. This site would see more activity and would grow quicker (and so would its users).
    – Adi219
    Aug 20, 2018 at 12:14
  • 2
    I am also be for introduction of critique to the site. I would be allow us to vary form the mundane of repeating the same answers and could drastically help site growth. Aug 21, 2018 at 23:54
  • 2
    I would certainly enjoy those specific questions at times. It feels bad closing these questions over and over again. Aug 23, 2018 at 13:49
  • @WhiteEagle writing.meta.stackexchange.com/questions/1640/…
    – Adi219
    Aug 25, 2018 at 13:41
  • @TotumusMaximus writing.meta.stackexchange.com/questions/1640/…
    – Adi219
    Aug 25, 2018 at 13:41
  • 1
    @Adi219 404.... Aug 28, 2018 at 8:15

Although many members of this community have been helpful to me, I found your answers to be the most influential and insightful. I won't question your decision, but I will challenge your conclusion.

a) Although many of the questions lend themselves to similar answers, I've gained a lot of additional insight even from reading your similar answers on multiple questions.

b) In terms of writing answers, I've also found my own answers improving, sometimes dramatically, over the course of answering similar questions repeatedly.

So I wouldn't agree that this format doesn't suit this topic, nor that there's nothing new to teach or learn here.

You must log in to answer this question.