January 26, 2007

Blogging, Criticism and Writing Angry

I waited a few days to let things cool off a bit at Scienceblogs and related sites before I threw my two cents in about the now infamous Scienceblogs reviewer (if you haven't heard, you can read a couple posts about it, here and here, or just search Scienceblogs).

It is completely natural to be upset when someone is, in effect, dissing your pursuits. However, I think that bloggers, in general, have a tendency to blow things out of proportion. The bloggers that were reviewed who have made minimal comment regarding the reviewing process have made the best choice, I believe. The reviewer, after all, is just another blogger. One man, with one opinion.

Refuting him seems to be a futile gesture. There are only so many reasons one can give for liking anything until you come down to "I just like him/her/it." Furthermore, what is there to prove? We're not talking about research. We're talking about personal tastes.

I speak with a bit of experience gained over the past few years. I am an editor/columnist at a small town university newspaper, but I potentially reach almost 5,000 students, faculty, staff members, and residents every week with my words and opinions. Over the past few years, I have been hounded, confronted, criticized and trivialized by those same students, faculty, staff members and residents, from English professors to administrators, from the Office of International Studies to a pair of disgruntled Christian students from Campus Crusade for Christ.

But that's the business, babe. That's what happens when you put yourself out there.

Info travels so fast on the 'sphere that things can become frenzied. We've all seen it in the science blogosphere with evolution/creationism arguments, ID, atheist/religious propaganda, global warming denial, the latest political transgression on science, etc. Most of these subjects need to be addressed, and a solid scientific response is necessary; by nature, science bloggers cannot allow pseudoscience to go unchallenged.

What I don't like, however, are blogs that concentrate on little else. Evolution has been amply defended at this point, and except for minor points, there are websites that address all of the main arguments. I think that time would be better spent posting about evolution in a positive way; all the negativity can only add to people's distaste. I'm not the only one who feels this way.

The Just Science proposition is a good step, though I think it is delayed and ought to be a more or less permanent solution.

I would much rather blog about pandas and spiders than present my "latest smackdown" (tip: Coturnix) of IDers/creationists. But that's just me. Some people thrive on argumentation and negativity.

Bloggers (myself included, at times) need to start taking a deep breath before punching that "publish" button. If there's one thing I've learned in my limited years as a student journalist, it is to never publish anything that was written in anger. Write angry, get it out, then go back and make it palatable. Your point is often much better made this way.

Science bloggers everywhere: your time and energy is much more valuable than this! Let's talk about sharks instead:

1 comment:

  1. Great writing on the subject, I absolutely agree with all of your points. And thanks for defending Ideas Man for those Scienceblogs reviews.