David - a couple thoughts.

1. Make it possible for people to pay you. Even if you don't want the money, even if you give it away to charity or something. If you don't, the signal you are sending to some (whether you like it or not) is "I don't think this is worth money". Having the option to pay removes most of that signal, even if you don't pay-gate any of your content.

2. Once a day is probably not "too much", but it's also probably very heavily in the realm of diminishing returns. If it was me (it's not, because I'm lazy) I'd drop to 2-3 posts a week. 3 a week is still "a lot" for non-community-builder posts, and it's not at such a level that you'd have to worry about fatigue.

3. I don't think anyone really minds the variety of subjects. The only other real viable option besides that is the kind of blog that's about someone's specialty - say a crypto guy who only writes about crypto, or only about defi yield farming - and I don't think that's what you are trying to do. Outside of that, I've come to the conclusion that nobody minds variety even if that means not every post is an absolute winner for every single person.

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The frequency is much too high for me, I think one of two posts per week would be better. I also feel that letting people pay you and not hiding anything behind a paywall is obviously strictly better than not allowing and not hiding? (Ignoring second order effects such as incentivising future self to paywall content, or making people accidentally feel guilty for not paying.)

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Thanks to everyone who commented. For the moment I'm cutting down to a post every two days, in part in the hope of developing longer comment threads. I may try to set things up so people can subscribe for pay but get all posts and can comment even if they don't. I'm a little tempted by the suggestion of setting up an AMA, possibly restricted to people who pay, possibly not. Would I do that by enabling the chat option?

Someone suggested that if I got paid and didn't want the money I could donate it to a worthy cause. The relevant worthy cause would be IJ, the Institute for Justice, so if you disapprove of them ...

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I think you should reduce the frequency. It’s a marathon not a sprint.

You should probably mention it on Scott’s Substack. People know you there.

Charging $5 a month would be a good idea. Just one paywalled post a week maybe.

I think it’s great so far.

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I followed you here from your prior blog because I found your comments on SSC interesting. I'd noticed your posting frequency had gone way up, and vaguely wondered why. In any case, I'm OK whatever the frequency, and prefer quality to quantity - i.e. post as often as you feel you have something worth saying, and time to get it into shape for a post, and no more frequently.

I think I like the way you've been posting on a variety of topics. If you wanted to be all economics, all the time, or all libertarianism all the time, I'd still follow you. But I like this better, as it means I'm not constantly disagreeing with what you say, and thinking about whether or not to respond. (I don't want you feel like I'm here just to critique/harass you, and also it takes *time* and *effort* to post a worthwhile critical response.)

As for charging for the blog - once you do that, there's a risk of changing your actual incentives, and a high likelihood of changing your perceived incentives. You don't need to feel like you owe it to your subscribers to post on a schedule, even when you have nothing much to say or insufficient time to post well. Your readers don't need to wonder whether you are slanting your posts to get more paid subscribers (e.g. by preaching to a choir), rather than thoughtfully.

I am aware that some people value things based on what/whether they pay for them. More fools them. Please don't change your habits to accommodate that particular non-rational human tendency.

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I wouldn’t do everyday. I would keep it as a variety of topics because you have interesting thoughts. I would set it to 2/3 per week, whatever you can maintain.

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I created my substack to give away short stories to bring attention to my novels. I only enabled subscriptions as a "what the hell" but several people have signed up despite the meat of the blog being free. I'd recommend turning on the subscription option just in case anyone's been waiting for a chance to throw money at you.

As for frequency--a post a day won't bother me, but they'll sometimes sit for a week while I catch up on other stuff. A more sustainable rate might be better to maintain habits.

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Keep doing what you're doing and respect the law of demand.

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I like the variety of topics. I don't always read everything (or read to the end), but by posting a variety, you're making it easier for me to wander into something I didn't know I'd be interested in (and thus would never search for). I'd never heard of "unschooling" and enjoyed those posts a lot, for example. Making 15 posts on a topic before moving on to the next topic would be a worse experience for me -- rush to keep up or long waits for the next change, depending on my level of interest in the current topic.

Daily posts are a lot to keep up with. This means sometimes things sit in my inbox for a little while before I can read them -- fine for me as a consumer (and this is why email subscription is an essential feature for me), but I generally don't try to comment on things that have aged a bit, on the theory that people have moved on and/or others have already covered what I would have said.

I don't have a strong opinion on payment. If you don't need the money then my naive approach is "then why bother with the hassle of setting that up?", and I've been reading blogs and the like that people put out there freely for decades so this feels natural to me. But I don't know much about the marketing factors that might push toward having a paid tier anyway. What are the norms here on Substack?

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I love this Substack so far. I've been amazed at your cadence and I enjoy all the posts. I've heard, but have not seen evidence, that frequent posting is the best way to increase audience.

Charging seems reasonable to me but I hope you continue to allow comments from free subscribers if it doesn't add much of a moderation burden on you.

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I prefer having lots of posts on different topics all mixed together as opposed to "ten or fifteen posts on one topic, then a bunch more on another?" I think one post a day is too much, personally I don't mind although other readers might find it too much. I don't have a opinion on paid subscription.

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Not really qualified to offer advice but, uh, "honest consumer feedback", ie I don't know what you should do and this is how I feel when you pop up in my feed.

#1 I recognize you. Not like we hang out but I've seen you around various forums and you've been mentioned and writtent about. It's not like you're an unknown guy, it's like "Oh, he's got a substack now. Cool!"

#2 No pictures. Don't know why, but the only people whose posts show up in my feed with no pictures are you, me, and Curtis Yarvin.

#3 Really liked the education posts. Clicked on it because it's interesting to me and I'd heard you'd done some weird/cool thing for your kids' schooling.

#4 Like the variety but haven't clicked on the variety. Don't really know why.

#4 Kinda waiting for the effort post. Like, oh, this guy has a world-class understanding of a few subjects, I wonder when he's gonna write about them.

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Personally couldn't keep up with a post per day from here due to time constraints. I already have a backlog as it is.

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I like the frequency and the variety of topics. I think more people would get your newsletter if you didn't charge.

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AnonymousFeb 20, 2023

I pretty much love what you’re doing, no complaints. I personally wouldn’t pay if you put stuff behind a pay wall but that’s because I’m a broke uni student but it would probably be up there with the things I would be willing to pay for once I’ve got some extra cash.

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Every day is too often in my view. As a regular schedule, twice a week is preferable.

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