And it was said, "Let thee delurk!"

Oct 07 2010 Published by under [Et Al]

Blogging is a funny form of communication. On the one hand it is a social activity, often generating a discussion of sorts among the writer and reader, as well as among readers and even other writers. On the other hand, the proportion of readers that actually comment is quite small, leading to a skewed interpretation of who is actually reading. I know a lot of people see blogs as a sort of magazine rack (I hope I'm not US Weekly) and prefer to just read rather than jump into the fray.

I have no problem with this, but on occasion I find it valuable to see if I can shake the tree a bit and get some of you who only read to voice up. While I enjoy interacting with those who comment regularly, I also like to encourage the silent readership to give me some feedback every now and then. In fact, I did this only a few months ago, but a lot has changed since then in terms of URLs and readership. From that perspective, I don't feel too narcissistic calling out the readership again so soon.

So tell me, dear reader:

1) Have you been reading for a while or found this blog in the past couple of months?

2) If you come by to read regularly, why?

3) Are you in academia/science, and if so, or not, what do you do?

4) What keeps you from commenting more often, or at all?

So let's have it, all you anonymous readers out there. What say you? Yes, YOU. Click in from your Google Readers and participate. Your feedback will be sincerely appreciated.

130 responses so far

  • highnumber says:

    Not a regular reader. I have followed Scientopia on Twitter since the Science Blogs exodus. Just like with Science Blogs, I semi-regularly read, every so often I comment. I am strictly a science fanboi with no connection to academia. I comment only when I feel that I have something to contribute or have a question about the article. And when someone says something outrageous in the comments and no one has called them on it. And when I think I can be clever without lowering the tone of the discourse. And when I am specifically asked to comment.

  • 1) A while, I think. Less than a year. Found it from someone else's blogroll.

    2) Looking for insights and advice on a career in academia

    3) Yep, I'm a postdoc in structural biology (X-ray crystallography, structure-based drug design, etc).

    4) I don't know enough about it yet, in most cases, and I try to avoid commenting without adding value.

  • noah says:

    1) Found the blog late last spring, reading regularly since.
    2) First year graduate student in science, started reading in the science blogosphere to get a better idea of what I'm getting into on the personal/professional side and liked the style and content here.
    3) Yep, and I hope to stay in academia if I can manage it, we'll see how that goes, maybe there will be more jobs by the time I graduate (and do a postdoc, or two, or...) Fieldwise I'm in a biophysics PhD program, not that much more narrowed down yet.
    4) Well I just started grad school, so first of all I don't feel like I have the time to get heavily involved in any online community (not that I have much hope of that changing, and some people manage it but it's not my top interest) and also I don't feel like I have much to say yet, so I'd rather lurk and listen and learn.

  • Cassidy says:

    1) Just for the last couple months -- when many Scibloggers moved over here I found a couple new ones to read.

    2) I like it! And I like to read blogs in my field.

    3) Second-year grad student in E&E. I'm trying to work on fleas and lice and bacteria, but we're still developing the program.

    4) I guess usually I don't feel like I have anything useful to contribute? And I browse from Google Reader, and having to hit 'v' is a major block to commenting.

  • Grad Student says:

    1) I've been reading since around May. I used to mainly read only After the mass exodus of the summer, I've been following most everything written on Scientopia, Scienceblogs, Wired Science, as well as quite a few independent bloggers. It comes out to >150 posts a day, but it's a good distraction, and I generally skim more than I read.

    2) I read mainly through Google Reader. (Subscribe to the Scientopia and the Scienceblogs combined feeds). I read because I'm in Academia, interested in what being early TT faculty's like, and because I like the breadth that reading science blogs gives to my PhD.

    3) In academia, as a grad student.

    4) I generally don't comment anywhere. The standard inertia aside, concerns regarding anonymity in science, working in a small field, and not wanting comments associated with my name apply.

  • HennaHonu says:

    1) I have been reading for a while.

    2) I find your perspective and notes about life as a junior faculty member enlightening.

    3) I am a 3rd-year PhD student. I do molecular work on environmental samples... in the interest of anonymity I won't say more =]

    4) I find that I don't enjoy commenting unless I participate in an actual discussion, which requires referring back to the post multiple times. I usually don't have time to do so. I also find that my opinion is not very unique, or my comments get ignored anyway (not just here, but on every blog I read).

  • Pharm Sci Grad says:

    1) Last couple of months.
    2) Just started my 5th year of graduate school and am running rather low on mentors actually. I'm the "old student" now who others turn to for help - the ones who came before me have mostly graduated and moved on. So I went out searching for wisdom and found FSP - then picked up on reading many other blogs. I do love you all!
    3) Yep. Pharmaceutical Sciences - biological characterization of novel (potential) chemotherapeutic agents. I HOPE one day to be on the TT too.
    4) I'm learning a lot from "listening" but have little to contribute in the way of helpful comments to those of you far ahead of me in the career path. πŸ™‚

  • darlene says:

    1. Yes
    2. It pops up on my feed, and is interesting enough to not delete πŸ™‚
    3. Sort of! Homeschooling mom (evolved homeschooler, read WEIT for freshmen biology)
    4. sometimes have nothing to add, and long threads I always get the feeling that by comment 25 no one is actually reading all the comments anyway, so why bother?

  • Ingrid says:

    1) I've only been reading a couple of months
    2) I decide whether to read based on the twitter feed. But end up reading quite a lot of your work
    3) I'm a 2nd year PhD student in Anthropology at a South African university. I look at public space in Johannesburg
    4) I'll comment when I have something worthwhile to add. But I do enjoy reading your blog. Can I go lurk quietly in my corner again?

  • atypical says:

    I did click in from my Google reader!

    1. Have been reading for a while.

    2. I like the way you write, your humour.

    3. Third year grad student in engineering.

    4. If everyone comments, you won't have the time to reply! I guess the major reason why I don't comment is because I don't think it matters whether I comment or not.

  • kael says:

    I haven't been here long - I keep ending up on Scientopia looking for bloggers I miss from ScienceBlogs.

    I read too many blogs to read any of them all that regularly. Except maybe Language Log.

    I used to do lab scutwork for various doctors while working toward a career in academic medicine, but I'm a single mother of a special needs child. I got overwhelmed. I'll go back when I can. For now I'm a hobbyist, I guess.

    I don't comment unless I either have something useful to say, or I'm part of a community of regulars, in which case we all comment rather playfully and pointlessly.

  • MitoScientist says:

    1) I followed from the old blog, and had been reading that for a few months.

    2) I enjoy reading about science, scientists, life as a scientist, and even more so from entertaining, funny people. As I consider paths to take post-PhD, experiences from many different types of scientists are helpful.

    3) I am a graduate student in biomedical sciences. So, clearly, plenty of time for reading blogs.

    4) I only comment if I have a strong opinion or feel I can add to the conversation. Your blog is one of many I read, like Drugmonkey and others of that sort, where you are dispensing advice on things I have not participated in yet. Thus, I prefer to listen and soak up the wisdom. My opinion on grant mechanisms and review panels may not have the proper gravitas to facilitate comments...yet.

  • Robert says:

    1. I've been reading for a while, courtesy of scientopia's rss feed.
    2. I've an interest in science in general, and evolution in particular. I also just like reading well-written blogs.
    3. I'm a computer guy.
    4. I rarely have anything worthwhile to say.

  • Han Aiwen says:

    1) I have been reading for a few weeks - ever since someone on the Earth Science Women's Network posted a link to IsisTheScientist's blog and I loved it and started reading it, and then she linked to your blog with the Chili Rellenos post a few weeks ago.

    2) I am currently on a Fulbright to China but starting as a junior faculty member at a PUI in a few months and really like reading the perspective of junior faculty in other departments and at other schools.

    3) I am a geomorphologist and about to be junior faculty (actually, I guess I currently am since I am on leave of absence this term to finish my grant).

    4) I didn't comment on blogs (or read very many) until I discovered that rural China is kind of boring. I don't mean that in a bad way, just that my husband and I have a lot more time on our hands than normal. We live basically at work (so no commute) and have a minimal social life (he doesn't speak Chinese). We find ourselves reading more books, listening to more podcasts, reading more blogs, riding our bikes lots more (upwards of 10 hrs/week), and playing more games. Oh, and we write a blog too. I find myself more often engaging in discussions by posting things on my blog. I guess that's not really a discussion but it sort of is. I have started commenting on blogs more as my time reading them goes up. Until we got here (in April), I only read FatCyclist, BikeSnobNYC, Climb Ski Run Repeat (a close friend), and Third Culture World (my brother). I do increasingly really like the blog format and may keep ours going when we get back to the States. Our family and friends seem to really like it.

  • Kees says:

    1) I started reading this blog a few months ago.

    2) I like to read opinions on what doing research is about and opinions on recent publications.

    3) I'm a Masters student, studying molecules on surfaces with STM. I'm also interested in the origin of chirality (or related to that, the origin of life)

    4) I only comment when I feel that my opinion matters. That's usually when I disagree with someone (either the blogger or the majority of commenters), or when the topic happens to be closely related to my research interests.

  • anon says:

    1) I read sporadically, probably over the past several months, but I'm not a regular follower.

    2) It's on FSP's blogroll, so whenever it says you have a recent update, and I have time to kill, I'll read your blog. The goal being mostly to have a better idea of what I'm getting myself into with this whole academic career thing.

    3) Graduate student. Astronomy.

    4) Usually I have nothing special to contribute. Partly I'm lazy. Mostly because I have more important things to do. My commenting philosophy is best exemplified by this:

  • hydropsyche says:

    1) Off an on for awhile, more regularly since Scientopia

    2) It's hard to find perspectives from the EEB side of biology on the interwebs, so I latch on when I do. And you're pretty funny.

    3) I am a ::mumble::-year grad student in ecosystems ecology trying to finish and find a job

    4) I mostly flip through blogs on 10 minute breaks from working, and commenting takes time and feels more like work than random browsing.

  • Bee says:

    1) I found your blog when you were a wee young blogger, and have been reading ever since.

    2) I like your writing style and attitude. Plus, the issues you face mirror mine.

    3) Junior prof at an R1 in a similar field as you.

    4) Laziness and time. I should comment, I know.

  • Sen says:


    1) The last couple of months I have seen your comments on other blogs a couple of time so your name was familiar to me. I catch the odd update when it's linked on the scientopia homepage.

    2) I follow links to posts with interesting titles.

    3) PhD student at a UK university studying chemistry.

    4) I rarely have anything to contribute. Plus I'm shy πŸ™‚


  • Odyssey says:

    I hope I’m not US Weekly

    God I hope I'm not People...

  • Jen says:

    1) I started recently when two events took place within a week or so of each other - FSP added you to her blog roll, and Isis posted a recipe in your honor.

    2) I'm enjoying your posts on reviewing NSF grants. My PI and I have done ad hoc reviews together (to help me prepare for the day when I write my own), and it helps to have a different perspective on the process.

    3) I am currently a postdoc in life science, on a teaching/research fellowship. I'm in the middle of job-hunting for a permanent academic position (so far, the job market in my field is anemic).

    4) Many of the blogs I read have an "in-crowd" mentality and respond to outsiders accordingly. I like to hang out for a while to get a feel for the community before I decide if I'm comfortable about commenting.

  • Lindsay says:

    1) I've probably been reading for about 6 months or so.

    2) I enjoy reading blogs by those further along in academia than I am. It gives me an idea of what to expect in the future.

    3) Grad student in neuroscience.

    4) I check all the blogs I follow through Google Reader so I never comment.

  • Marcus says:

    Only vaguely anon..

    1) Been reading around the science blog-o-sphere for a year or so.

    2) I'm more of a general browser of the big collectives rather than a reader of specific blogs.

    3) Yes both.

    4) This isn't a blog specific issue, but on the blog-o-sphere in general I find my comments are ignored the vast majority of the time. There are a variety of reasons for this, but the upshot is that my default is now not to comment. I'm more motivated to participate if it doesn't seem like I'm just talking to the ether.

  • Drew says:

    1) I just started reading your blog after the whole Pepsi nutrition blog controversy.

    2) I read this site daily. As a grant writer (SBIR) I like your posts on NIH grant writing and in general I like the topics you guys discuss.

    3) I have a PhD in chemistry and run a formulation group for a small Pharma company

    4) I read about 90% of my blogs on my phone and its just not a convenient interface to comment on.

  • Principle Investigator says:

    1. and 2. I read whenever I see on FSP that your site has been updated.

    3. I am an assistant professor of biology at a SLAC.

    4. I read blogs one-handed during lunch and only comment if I think I have something especially witty/helpful/obnoxious to contribute.

  • proflikesubstance says:

    People, people, people. I realize that time spent commenting is not time spent curing cancer, but one must have one's priorities straight πŸ™‚

  • phagenista says:

    1) Reading it since late 08

    2) I'm also a TT prof with child care complications. Also, the more you blog about research, the more I think we have research interest overlap and attend some of the same meetings.

    3) assistant prof, R1

    4) I read in google reader and rarely click through to the actual blog. More globally: I decided to abandon blogging/actively commenting more than a year ago because there are too many other things I want to get done. So lurk on I will...

  • Jessica says:

    1. I've been reading probably about a year or so ish? I picked up more blogs after finishing my thesis...

    2. You talk about interesting things, that may pertain to my life in some way shape or form. I also like reading groups of blogs that interact with each other.

    3. I'm a post-doc. Used to cure cancer, but am now being a slackass in cardiovascular disease.

    4. I will comment if I have something interesting to say or contribute. That said, I read these during my commute (except in rare cases, like today, when I'm stuck in lab finishing an assay for another couple of hours) and it's even harder to comment from my phone... plus the lag time between when you post and when I read just means I don't have much to say that hasn't been said.

  • I always wanted to be Guns and Ammo. I think it kinda fits with my blog.

  • Mordecai says:

    1) About a month, I think; I usually click through from FSP.
    2) I've made an effort to seek out other perspectives on academia, and I've found I consistently enjoy reading yours.
    3) I'm a pure math grad student, so I'm a bit removed from Science proper; still I enjoy reading about Science even when I'm confused by all this "lab" stuff. I keep wondering what the relevant production functions look like for scientific research, and what the output elasticities of grad students, PIs and funding might be, for lack of any firsthand grasp of its mechanics.
    4) I don't find commenting to be especially pleasant; I feel a bit out of place in a comment field filled with Science-ier (and savvier) academics. Besides, since I seek out blogs to tell me things I don't know, I rarely have anything to say to the ones that interest me, and am rarely interested in the ones to which I have things to say.

  • proflikesubstance says:

    The good news is that you can't lower the tone here.

  • proflikesubstance says:

    I think you would be surprised at how little it takes to "add value". In most cases, the trainee perspective keeps us honest.

  • proflikesubstance says:

    Hopefully you find enough around here and other blogs to help you. Check out The Hermitage for another student's perspective and Ambivalent Academic, Biochem Belle and Dr. Becca for life as a postdoc. Over there, on the right.

  • proflikesubstance says:

    You can hit the V, I know you can.

    BTW, your study subject sounds like it would be a hit at parties!

  • proflikesubstance says:

    Dude, 150 posts? Someone is going to have to schedule an intervention with you. Besides, commenting anonymously is always fine.

  • proflikesubstance says:

    Bah, I often do the hit and run commenting. Try it and see how it goes.

  • proflikesubstance says:

    Oh, but you do have things to contribute for those of us further along the path. It's always good to make sure we're not just remembering the glory days and to remind us that grad school has it's valleys too.

  • proflikesubstance says:

    Sometimes the long thread can get tedious, but you're safe here since the comment rate is low enough to keep people from getting distracted.

  • proflikesubstance says:

    You can lurk wherever you want, but don't hesitate to check in either. Sounds like ou have a cool project on the go.

  • proflikesubstance says:

    I'm proving you wrong this evening!

  • proflikesubstance says:

    we all comment rather playfully and pointlessly

    Wait, I think you just described blogging....

  • proflikesubstance says:

    All grants and faculty bitching makes a blog a dull boy. It's a good reminder to keep the topics diverse enough to draw participation form a broader audience.

  • proflikesubstance says:

    I rarely have anything worthwhile to say.

    Somehow I doubt this, but a lot of folks seem to feel this way. Trust me, bloggers have no corner on the market when it comes to insightfulness.

  • proflikesubstance says:

    I think it's hilarious that chilis got you here, but I'll take what I can get. Sounds like you may have a far more interesting setting these days, sounds like a great experience. I'll have to check out your blog.

  • proflikesubstance says:

    I’m also interested in the origin of chirality (or related to that, the origin of life)

    Hopefully you can figure something out here, because the rest of us have no fucking clue.

  • proflikesubstance says:

    Maybe I'll make a new banner that reads "Got time to kill? Come on over!" πŸ™‚

    BTW, someone is always wrong on the internet.

  • proflikesubstance says:

    That's like saying that buying groceries feels more like work than checking out the produce isle and leaving. Come on... it's free.

  • proflikesubstance says:

    I found your blog when you were a wee young blogger

    Ah yes, back in the days of blogging about that fucking diaper rash and why my parents wouldn't just give me full strength juice. I'm still bitter. Glad you stuck it out.

  • proflikesubstance says:

    I'll need to come up with more outrageous titles, apparently.

  • proflikesubstance says:

    No dude, you're more like Insight.

  • proflikesubstance says:

    PiT, I see you more as the Dorritos promo at the end of the isle.

  • proflikesubstance says:

    Stupid indented comments. Who manages this blog anyway?

  • proflikesubstance says:

    Everyone likes the chilis. BTW, when I first started gettig traffic from FSP, my first thought was "Oh shit, I somehow pissed off FSP!" Took me a while looking for a post bashing my blog before I noticed the source. Very cool, considering the ramshackle joint I run.

  • proflikesubstance says:

    Google Reader. A blessing and a curse. Aren't you ever curious to check out the discussion? Just a little? I shouldn't tell you this, but often it's more interesting than the post. Shhh, don't tell.

  • proflikesubstance says:

    You need to swear more and make outrageous and unverifiable claims. Works for me.

  • proflikesubstance says:

    We're actually working on a better mobile device interface that should be rolling out soon. It's being tested on a few other blogs. Maybe we'll twist your arm into commenting then.

  • proflikesubstance says:

    I used to go all lunch with one hand tied behind my back too, until someone asked me what the fuck I was doing. Feel free to come by and stir the pot with that one free hand anytime.

  • proflikesubstance says:

    Heeeey... I was wondering where you went off to. Yeah, being more open about my research interests has been cool for me, but I'm guessing that it's a lot easier to play pin the tail on the blogger. Meh.

  • proflikesubstance says:

    Pashaw! Only doing research on the number one cause of death in adults is so lame because it's not curing cancer! What are you thinking?

  • proflikesubstance says:

    I get confused by the lab stuff too. That's why they sit me behind a desk all day now. When I go in the lab, I'm met with terrified looks from the students wondering which experiment of their's I'm going to mess with.

  • Jen says:

    What I like about FSP's blog roll is that she is very selective about what she includes, and that pretty much guarantees a good read - she introduced me to several other blogs that I enjoy (including the sadly-departed Sciencewomen).

  • anonymous says:

    1) I've been following this blog pretty closely for the last ~ 6 months or so.

    2) I like your irreverent tone; it helps me keep the ups and downs in perspective. Also, learning what your predominant concerns are sometimes helps me make sense of the decisions my PI makes.

    3) I'm a molecular biology grad student in Toronto.

    4) I guess I haven't commented because it appears my situation is pretty unusual. I'm a second year MSc student, but I spend the vast majority of my time designing experiments, analyzing data and writing (and helping postdocs troubleshoot their experiments) rather than at the bench; I have trained two technicians who now do the hands-on work for my projects. I have a different set of concerns from most graduate students, and generally lack the experience to comment constructively on other matters.

  • 1) I found your blog a few months ago, maybe from Drug Monkey's blog. Can't remember.

    2) I enjoy your writing style and the topics you choose to write about. And, like some of your previous commenters, I particularly enjoy insights into the bizarre underworld of academia.

    3) I'm a computer scientist. I worked for a long time in industry and decided it was time to get my PhD.

    4) Mostly time. I feel like I have exactly zero these days!

  • Yoshimi says:

    1) A year or more

    2) Great insights into the assistant professor stage -- some things I don't know yet and others I'm just glad to learn are the same for many of us.

    3) Assistant prof in neuroscience at R1 starting my second year.

    4) Trying to get better about that... Shy, I guess. And busy.

  • Daniel says:

    A little late to the party but:
    1) A few weeks or so.
    2) Google Reader keeps me regular... Don't really want to look at how many I read a day.
    3) Human Factors and Cog Sci research professor currently working with military and law enforcement
    4) Usually don't click through to the actual blog.

  • Susan says:

    I have been reading for probably about a year. I am an Assistant Professor on the Tenure-Track, two years in. I worked at a smaller school where our teaching loads are higher and research funding and time is scares. I am one of the few professors in my department with active research and funding. I an also in Engineering, but I enjoy reading because I like to see the perspectives of other people going through similar situations and how they are dealing with them.

    I do not comment often for a plethora of reasons. One is time, another is that Google Reader does make it less easy. Some of it is that since I am in Engineering some things are just different for me such as a lot of the grant writing agencies are different and require different things. Because of these differences I sometimes feel I do not have a lot to offer.

  • Allyson says:

    1) Picked up more posts on Google Reader when blogs migrated from ScienceBlogs to Scientopia.

    2) Of the Scientopia updates, I pick out the ones that look entertaining or cover interesting topics. I tend to get very narrow in my research reading, so I keep up with Scientopia and ScienceBlogs to expand my perspective.

    3) Ph.D. student in evolutionary bio, almost ready to take the next step to postdoc or teaching.

    4) I usually read posts too late and the conversation seems to move on. I'm still working on posts from two weeks ago πŸ™‚

  • It's difficult to promote something when there is nothing on the table and you've got radioactive fake orange cheese dust all over your face.

  • Pharm Sci Grad says:

    LOL Oh good. At least it's not just my lab where that happens. πŸ˜‰

  • Ecogeek says:

    1. Been reading somewhere over 6 months- I'm relatively new to the blog reading world, and I have ~a half dozen that I follow reasonably regularly. I tend to like yours best, though, because even when it's venting, it's balanced. Some of the other blogs do a bit too much bashing and venting for my tastes.

    2. The posts here tend to be both interesting and relevant to me, and when they aren't obviously relevant, it's usually not too long of a stretch to find a connection!

    3. Postdoc in applied ecology, working my way towards TT, which is one of the reasons I find it really interesting to hear what TT is like from the perspective of someone who is further along in their career than me. The mentor I work with is great, but the direction I usually get from him is how to be a good postdoc, not how to prepare myself to be an awesome TT prof...

    4. I comment when the conversation strikes my interest, or when I think I have something to add to the discussion that hasn't been said yet. I have to admit that I've often commented anonomously in the past as I've learned how the blogging world works.

  • highnumber says:

    Hell, I'll take these pants off and get down to business then!

  • FunGuy says:

    1) Been reading since the early days when buying a house was your funtime.
    2) Shared pain, great story telling and writing - and really enjoy hearing how others are dealing with similar problems
    3) 2nd year TT faculty at R1 working on evolutionary biology & microbes & genomics
    4) Do comment occasionally but not always enough time to write - a lot of one handed reading during lunch too.

  • chemprof says:

    1) been reading a while after I stumbled across it via another blog

    2) entertaining posts kept me coming back

    3) tenured prof, but still remembers what it was like pre-tenure.

    4) comment occasionally, but mostly read when procrastinating and don't always have time to comment.

  • Requin says:

    1. I think I've been reading your blog since near the beginning - I must have seen a link from another science blogger.

    2. I can relate to some of the more general academic issues, and am fascinated by the science/lab posts which give me some insights into how the (non-social) sciences work.

    3. I'm a TT social scientist at a large R1.

    4. I don't have much to say about many of the posts - I like reading them but don't necessarily have a useful comment. And, like FunGuy, I often check the blogs while eating at my desk.

  • ecogeofemme says:

    1. I've been aware of your blog for a long time via comments at other blogs and have been interested in reading it, but I finally got my A into G a few weeks ago and updated everything. I reformatted my own blog and subscribed to a bunch of new-to-me blogs.

    2. It's refreshing that you're not in an entirely NIH-funded area. As an ecogeoscientist I have nothing to do with NIH, so sometimes I get a little bored/left out by the pervasive NIH discussions in the blogosphere. But your blog seems interesting in lots of other ways too.

    3. I'm a postdoc at a non-university research institution. It feels a lot more like academia than outsiders would probably think.

    4. I used to comment a LOT at all the blogs I read, but then I started a no commenting at work rule, and then I got busier, and then suddenly I was late to the party on many posts and didn't have anything to add. However, I miss the community that was going when I first starting blogging (many of the regulars have stopped posting), so I'm trying to make an effort to get back into it. I comment less here and at SB because you can't subscribe to comments by email for posts on which you commented like you can with Blogger. Or can you?

  • drugmonkey says:

    most people's honest opinion about grant mechanisms and review lacks proper gravitas. unless you are Rahm Emmanuel, that is...

  • drugmonkey says:

    You know her recipe war with PhysioProf made Isis' blog's rep, right proflike?

  • drugmonkey says:

    and FWDAOTI. That's an unbeatable strategy.

  • Hi PLS,

    1) A while. I don't remember exactly how long, but from Science Blogs anyway.

    2) You're on my Google Reader, and I always read your posts. I'm interested in what life is like in academia... blogs have been my primary source of info on life as a scientist - usually faculty are too busy to ramble to us about what their job entails and how they manage having a life on top of that, so I really appreciate having blogs to read and learn from. Helps me decide whether I actually want this career.

    3) I'm working in the field of evolution and development, with arthropods. It's fun. Have been earning for a couple of years since undergrad, and am applying for doctoral positions presently.

    4) Usually by the time I get to a comment thread, the things I'm thinking are things others have already said. I don't want to be redundant πŸ™‚ Plus I often barely have time to read all the things on my Reader, let alone comment! I'm already struggling to manage my time, whoops.

  • outoftune says:

    1) I've been reading for about a year and a half.

    2) I sort of accidentally ended up in grad school, and had no idea what I was getting into. I started reading Dr Isis & FSP, and came across your blog via the general professorialblogcommunity. I have found your blog and others like it to be very helpful in getting perspective on my work, my supervisor, department politics, and all the crazy, frustrating, and funny things that our profs can't tell us minions about in person. So thanks for writing!

    3) At the moment I'm a Masters student in engineering in Canada. I'm starting a PhD overseas soon, if/when I can get my committee all in the same place at the same time long enough for me to defend.

    4) I usually read blogs when I'm waiting for experiments during late nights in the lab, don't usually feel like I have anything clever to say by that point in the day.

  • lin says:

    1. For a year I guess?

    2. I am thinking about continuing science, or not. Stay or go? Go or stay? And you make it more easy to see what challenges lie in the future if I can make it to stay... Plus I like the humor you use in writing down the sometimes stupid things that come along with science

    3. I am in my final year of PhD studentship, in neuroscience

    4.Most of the time I do not feel like I know enough of the subject to comment, or I am just too tired, or busy to comment

  • Odyssey says:

    Hell my people scramble to hide all their samples when they see me coming...

  • Sen says:

    That would do it.

  • NatC says:

    Darn it! You've ruined my perfect lurking shadow. I guess I'll have to show myself.
    (1) I've been reading ~6mo, (before the whole sciblogs PepsiCo debacle) via Dr Isis, Drug Monkey, and then (2) I kind of got hooked on a few academic science blogs because I enjoy the discussion of a whole variety of aspects of academia, many that are relevant to me even when they don't reflect my own experience (or potential future) in (3) academic science, where I am a post-doc in a Life Sciences field looking to TT. (4) I don't know why I don't comment more. I just don't - unless there's something that I feel there is something that is absolutely imperative that I need to add to the discussion. It happens sometimes, just I guess not here yet. Somehow I'm better at contributing in real life than online. πŸ™‚

  • Jean Grey says:

    1. This is the first post of yours that I've actually read, but I added you to my list of must-read blogs a few weeks ago.

    2. I will be here regularly. I like reading other peoples' perspectives on the tenure track, both from inside my own field and outside of it. I am hoping to have a position in academia in the next year or so, so in a way I'm preparing myself by reading blogs. πŸ™‚

    3. Female postdoc in physics (academic). I guess also I started reading blogs in an attempt to find others in my species.

    4. Sometimes I think I talk *too* much, so I try to keep my mouth shut unless I think it's really worth it.

  • 1. I have been reading you for over a year and it has been nothing but a pleasure.
    2. I keep coming by to read to get the perspective of a junior faculty member as well as you are actually interesting and funny.
    3. 3rd year grad student
    4. Time keeps me from posting. Also the posting of comments to scientopia seems to be a little wonky and sometimes my comments don't get posted. Not your fault but also a hindrance to posting.

  • Oto says:

    1.) Been reading for a couple of years
    2.) I like your sense of humor and the fact that you tend to go for "bigger picture" approaches to various issues (i.e. it's not just a rehash of the particular quirks and irks of your department only).
    3.) Starting my second year as a TT ass. prof. , ecology/biology area.
    4.) I guess I'm one of those that treats the internet more like a newspaper. Interactivity makes me bashful.

  • proflikesubstance says:

    Sounds like you have your hands full for someone doing an MSc, but that doesn't mean that you can't benefit from being part of the discussion and bringing that perspective.

  • proflikesubstance says:

    Time is always at a premium and it only gets worse. Hopefully the move to academia has been a good one.

  • proflikesubstance says:

    Someone could write a book on the things I don't know yet about this job. It would probably be a really boring book though. That has ben the biggest benefit for me when it comes to blogging - getting the perspectives of others doing this.

  • proflikesubstance says:

    Might be worth checking out the comments on post you like. A lot of time the commenters make better points than I do.

  • proflikesubstance says:

    But the difference are interesting as well.

  • proflikesubstance says:

    You need to read the new posts first!

  • proflikesubstance says:

    Believe it or not, most postdocs get really good advice on how to be a great postdoc, but not how to be faculty. It is something that a lot of PIs need to be more aware of, but at the same time, not everyone is going for a TT position.

  • proflikesubstance says:

    Am I the only one who hires students to hold my sandwich so I can eat and type?

  • proflikesubstance says:

    We need more tenured commenters! Always good to have the perspective.

  • proflikesubstance says:

    You people eat too much.

  • proflikesubstance says:

    I don't know about the feed for comments. I'll look into that.

  • proflikesubstance says:

    Good luck with the grad school apps.

  • proflikesubstance says:

    I sort of accidentally ended up in grad school

    Is this the science version of waking up on a ship bound for the New Wrold after a bad night at the pub?

  • proflikesubstance says:

    It is worth noting for those you are using the bloggosphere for a window into the world as faculty that blogs may provide a skewed perspective on a lot of things. Just sayin.

  • proflikesubstance says:

    I'll settle for comments that are moderately imperative.

  • proflikesubstance says:

    I guess also I started reading blogs in an attempt to find others in my species.

    Yeah, the monkey blogs get tiresome after a while. Well, not all of them, DM.

  • proflikesubstance says:

    We've actually had an issue with the LabSpaces comments going directly to sapm and not even going to pending. I don't know why, but I assumed it was just another way to stir shit with you guys. Turns out I was wrong, but it's a nice bonus.

  • proflikesubstance says:

    There's a lot of potential internet interaction that would make most people bashful, but blogs are a pretty friendly entre.

  • 1) Have you been reading for a while or found this blog in the past couple of months?


    2) If you come by to read regularly, why?

    Obviously I have nothing better to do. Plus Drugmonkey doesn't post every day, so I need something to do in the meantime. πŸ˜‰

    3) Are you in academia/science, and if so, or not, what do you do?

    By this do you mean to imply that only academics do science? If so, my feelings are hurt. If not, I am not in academia, I do do science. I'm a microbiologist.

    4) What keeps you from commenting more often, or at all?

    Sometimes I actually do have better things to do, like work.

  • Klayman says:

    1) Been reading for a little over a year, not sure how I stumbled onto your blog but happy that I did. 2) I used to come by for the TT perspective/consolation as I'm in the same boat. However, your switch to the scientopia has made things much better. Now I get the TT perspective on top of new and fascinating science. I'm more on the ecology side of things and the evolutionary perspective makes it interesting. I can hardly keep up with the current research in my field and glad someone is helping me stay current in another field. 3) I'm TT ecologist at a large state research university. 4) Don't comment much except when I'm called out. I don't comment much because I freakin' exhausted from the day and getting the munchins to bed. In fact, I'm not sure how you manage to put together a blog. Thinking I may have to drink a lot more coffee. So, why comment now? It has a lot to do with my upbringing as the son of a Jew and a Catholic (aka guilt).

  • Heavy says:

    1. Been reading since very early at the old PLS site. Is that sort of like "I saw this band when they played at the local bar with 17 people in attendance"?

    2. I come by daily because your are in the same boat as me except a year ahead so I know what is about the happen to me.

    3. First year Asst Prof R1

    4. I'd comment more if I didn't hit the preview button and think I had submitted my post. I have a thin skin, even for anonymous criticism.

  • Heavy says:


  • Ecogeek says:

    I actually do believe it, and it neither surprises nor disappoints me- it's just the way it is. So, I watch what the profs do in addition to what they say, and I look elsewhere for that insight- like here!

  • Ecogeek says:

    Well, yeah, but every perspective is somewhat skewed. It's still a window that we might not have had otherwise! So long as it's thought provoking rather than dogmatic, it's still an improvement over not having that window.

  • outoftune says:

    Perhaps more like waking up on a one-way-only two-year-long trip to Mars after a bad night in front of a broken fumehood.

  • Ink says:

    As you know, I've been reading forever. Am an academic but not in the sciences, so there are posts where I have no idea what you're talking about. But you make me laugh, so I always come to read more!

  • Ink says:

    To clarify: I don't just laugh randomly at posts I don't understand or posts that are sad or mad or not supposed to be funny... πŸ˜‰

  • anon says:

    Rather late on this one, but thought I'd delurk anyway...I'm a hard-core lurker, but have been reading this blog since pretty close to the beginning. However, I often only check in once a week or so and catch up with posts then. As someone else commented above, I usually read this and other blogs one-handed at lunch, while eating a burrito with the other hand. I'm an assistant prof at what is usually referred to as a regional comprehensive university. I enjoy the writing here, and my research interests are in evolutionary genetics, so I can relate to a lot of what you write. I have a spouse in academia and a young baby at home, and also like your perspective on balancing work and family. Having a baby has really cut into my blog reading time, so I don't keep up with as many as I used to. Even as a lurker, I enjoy the sense of a community here. For me, the move from postdoc to faculty member, especially at a smaller school, felt very isolating, and I think I compensated by reading academic blogs πŸ™‚

  • proflikesubstance says:

    I thought I covered all my bases in the awkwardly worded question 3 (mostly via audience confusion), but no, I do not think all science happens in academia.

  • proflikesubstance says:

    I'm trying to incorporate a bit of research blogging into the mix, but have found that challenging to get into in the way I would like without making it too obvious what I do. I'm still working on it, though, and hope to have something new up next week.

  • proflikesubstance says:

    I think the old site was getting 17 people a week for a while in the beginning. I think I like this size - where the band tours in a 1985 van but has a few regulars who come out to the shows.

  • proflikesubstance says:

    Ink, you make me laugh too, both in your comments and inability to ever leave one without a clarifying follow up πŸ™‚

    I still read all of your posts as well, even if I haven't picked up a book in what feels like forever.

  • proflikesubstance says:

    Hard-core lurker, that sounds like something restraining orders get issued for πŸ™‚ But I think you're right that it is the community and sense of familiarity that keeps people using this medium. I find it both incredibly strange and enjoyable at the same time.

  • GMP says:

    PlS, I commend your valiant attempt to respond -- with humor! -- to most of the many, many comments left here! πŸ™‚

  • Girlpostdoc says:

    1) Have you been reading for a while or found this blog in the past couple of months?

    I periodically read you over at your old blog home. I think your posts are more thoughtful here. So I read you regularly now. I particularly like the research blogging and its something I'm trying to do more of.

    2) If you come by to read regularly, why?

    You are fellow evolutionary biologist.

    3) Are you in academia/science, and if so, or not, what do you do?


    4) What keeps you from commenting more often, or at all?

    Hmm... because I have been 'spanked' more than once at your old blog and don't feel like entering another battle.

  • chemprof says:

    fair point! Consider me officially out of hiding...

  • proflikesubstance says:

    Several of the first few commenters said that they never commented because their comments gets ignored. Seemed like a good opportunity to change that trend.

  • proflikesubstance says:

    Water under the bridge, Girlpostdoc. I think we both learned something from that exchange that will be useful in the future.

  • Heavy says:

    No worries Girlpostdoc, we barely remember the event.

  • I was trying to kid. Guess I didn't pull that one off so well either.

  • My problem is the opposite. I read posts too soon, and there aren't comments yet. Only occasionally do I remember to check back later.

  • Leslie says:

    1) Have you been reading for a while or found this blog in the past couple of months?
    Past couple of months.

    2) If you come by to read regularly, why?
    I've bookmarked it and regularly do a drive-by. I like your tone; still getting into the groove of the variety of posts.

    3) Are you in academia/science, and if so, or not, what do you do?
    Academia, yes; science, no.

    4) What keeps you from commenting more often, or at all?
    Some of the science oriented posts are fascinating, but so completely out of my field, I have not much to say!

    I'm an academic--I teach a heavy load and I have young kids. I started reading academic blogs in the last year, when the budget went south, and found they help to keep my brain from going completely to mush and are short enough to read quickly. While trying to write these few sentences, I've had one kid asleep on my lap and the other on the sofa next to me, asking random questions and ignoring requests to give me 3 minutes peace. I'm unlikely to comment much. πŸ˜‰

  • Grad Student says:

    An intervention would probably be warranted. πŸ™‚

    Truth be told though, I scan/speed read effectively, so that typically takes me somewhere in the region of an hour a day to process, time I think is easily worthwhile to be knowledgeable about science outside my sub-field.

    The blogs I tend to read more closely are yours, Respectful Insolence, Neurotic Physiology, Drugmonkey, and, on different note, Pharyngula.

Leave a Reply