In addition to being the best comedy TV show ever, Seinfeld was a great source of wisdom. In one episode, Jerry counsels George: “When you hit that high note, you say goodnight and walk off.” Later, George has a good line at a meeting at Kruger Industrial Smoothing. Then he says: “Alright! That’s it for me. Goodnight everybody.” The show followed its own advice by ending production after Season 9, despite the fact that it could have continued for several more years.

Other shows had made the same wise choice. Breaking Bad ended while it was still going strong. So did Deadwood, Friday Night Lights, Flight of the Conchords, Rome, and, of course, Star Trek. (Not by choice, in the case of Star Trek.)

Then there are the shows that ended after their prime. Examples are Dexter (should have stopped after Trinity), MASH (three good seasons), and the ultimate example: Happy Days which gave birth to the expression “jumping the shark” because of an episode where Fonzie literally did a waterski jump over a shark.

Which brings me to the point of this post which, to quote George Costanza, is: Alright! That’s it for me. Goodnight everybody.

I have pretty much covered all the topics I wanted to cover in this blog. So at this point I have three choice:

1. Start reporting on daily trivia such as the antics of my cats Dizzy and Miles. (Did I mention that Dizzy caught a mouse a few days ago?)

2. Start posting every other month. (No good: people stop reading.)

3. Stop.

I think the third option is the best.

To all of you who have been reading the blog: thanks. And a special thanks to those who have commented or written guest posts.

Who knows, perhaps I will start another blog someday. But for now, Hasta la vista, baby.



  1. blakemcshane
    Posted December 16, 2013 at 7:13 pm | Permalink

    Sad to see you go! This was a terrific blog while it lasted and I learned a great deal from reading it. Thank you!

  2. todd
    Posted December 16, 2013 at 7:32 pm | Permalink

    It would be silly to try to talk someone out of ending his own blog. But technically, “Start posting every other month. (No good: people stop reading.)” is not totally accurate. Between RSS and Twitter it’s pretty reasonable to expect a well-done blog to maintain a readership without giving people a reason to reload regularly.

    • Chris
      Posted December 17, 2013 at 4:42 am | Permalink

      +1. I personally think blogs with a low output but high quality much more interesting than those with meaningless daily updates. RSS-Readers to the rescue! Thanks anyway…

    • Ryan
      Posted December 17, 2013 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

      Yeah, RSS subscriptions mean I follow plenty of people who post only rarely, as long as what they post is interesting.

      The “daily trivia” solution is the one that will convince me to unsubscribe.

    • Posted December 17, 2013 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

      I second that. High quality low frequency posts have higher signal to noise ratio and hence would interest significant number of readers (especially the busiest ones).

    • Posted December 24, 2013 at 9:21 am | Permalink

      There is also blogroll and there are blog collectives (e.g. R-bloggers). Being a part of a high-visibility blog roll will bring traffic to your site when you are ready to post. I came here via Nuitblanche.

    • Posted December 26, 2013 at 9:09 pm | Permalink

      +1 I’d love a once a month

  3. David Rohde
    Posted December 16, 2013 at 8:05 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for blogging! I imagine the posts you wrote were fairly time consuming to write as many posts were complex enough to be very time consuming to read. I will go back and read and reread your old posts over time.

  4. Posted December 16, 2013 at 10:02 pm | Permalink

    If you go, we lose one of the sanest and most interesting voices in the foundations of statistics-related blogosphere. I invite you to set up a once-a-month “Wasserman’s Wisdom” or “Normal Deviate Corner” on (as I did long ago). No restrictions, no relation to anything else on my blog required. Anyone else think agree?

    • Roberto
      Posted December 16, 2013 at 11:10 pm | Permalink

      Absolutely. I enjoy this blog and I believe that i have learned from it. Please keep write at errorstats!
      (from an IMF economist)

      • Roberto
        Posted December 16, 2013 at 11:12 pm | Permalink

        Sorry for the typo. “please keep writing at …”

  5. Posted December 17, 2013 at 2:14 am | Permalink

    Option (2) is perfectly fine. Same as many others I follow this blog via RSS, and some of my favourite bloggers posts only a few times in a year. No problem in getting alerts when new posts are available and no point in unsubscribing from their blogs just because they do not update often.

  6. Yair
    Posted December 17, 2013 at 2:42 am | Permalink

    Very sad to see you go. I enjoyed reading a blog that I can actually learn something from. I for one would continue to read your blog even if you posted once a month. In any case, thanks for the blog, it was great while it lasted

  7. Posted December 17, 2013 at 5:27 am | Permalink

    Kudos! If only I could quit…, I would immediately start a blog called blogholics.anonymous….

  8. Leon
    Posted December 17, 2013 at 5:32 am | Permalink

    Thanks for the many fascinating and exciting posts. It has been a wonderful blog. I subscribed by email, so every second month would’ve been no problem, but I agree that it’s good in general to quit while you’re ahead.

  9. Posted December 17, 2013 at 10:26 am | Permalink

    Bummed to see the end of Normal Deviate!

  10. Posted December 17, 2013 at 11:45 am | Permalink

    I would like to second (or third, or Nth) the point made by others that even infrequent and/or irregular Normal Deviate posts would be valuable and worthwhile. I very much enjoy higher-quality intermittent blogs like this one. I would hate to see it disappear completely if occasional posts are still a viable possibility.

  11. Posted December 17, 2013 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

    In the continuing chorus of people echoing this sentiment… there is a place for blogs that have high content levels but low posting rates. I’ve put yours in that category for quite some time and appreciate it when something new shows up as it is almost always interesting. If the readers have any vote, I would ask you to reconsider option 2 and lower the posting rate.

  12. spop
    Posted December 17, 2013 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

    I’ll keep you in my RSS feed, just in case!

  13. E
    Posted December 18, 2013 at 4:54 am | Permalink

    Too final! What if tomorrow you have an idea? Will you start a new blog for it? will you start a new ‘ideas for a new blog’ list? better (I hope) keep this one open. Lower frequency posts has also to do with declined traffic and google-algo rating but who cares? Certainly none of your readers.

  14. kenmccue
    Posted December 18, 2013 at 5:56 pm | Permalink

    Unfortunate (your decision). Your blog has been most helpful in presenting current statistical research in a straight-forward manner (by this I mean a simple example that presumes a passing knowledge of the probability calculus and statistical techniques). In an attempt to induce guilt, I will point out that you did promise (somewhat, no real commitment, ok, you didn’t, but still) a discussion of whether the Dempster-Shafer approach could overcome the by-now manifest difficulties with non-informative priors in Bayesian inference. A final post discussing the issues there would be most appreciated.

  15. Christian Hennig
    Posted December 19, 2013 at 10:14 am | Permalink

    Thanks for all the postings here! I learnt a lot.

  16. P A
    Posted December 19, 2013 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts … Most appreciated … Good luck!

  17. Posted December 20, 2013 at 4:44 am | Permalink


    There is a fourth path:
    – Allow guest postings.

    “…il faut imaginer Sisyphe heureux…’


  18. Zen
    Posted January 22, 2014 at 5:57 pm | Permalink

    Thanks, Larry! I enjoyed reading all the posts. All my best.
    Zen (aka Paulo)

3 Trackbacks

  1. By Linkage | An Ergodic Walk on December 19, 2013 at 12:24 pm

    […] Larry Wasserman is quitting blogging. […]

  2. […] stats blog Normal Deviate is shutting down. Larry Wasserman has said everything he wanted to say, so he’s stopping. I’ll be sad to […]

  3. […] Wasserman (“Normal Deviate”) has announced he will stop blogging (for now at least). That means we’re losing one of the wisest […]

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