Research Blogging vee Two Point Oh

Sep 02 2008 Published by under Blogging, Science Publication

The folks at ResearchBlogging.org have launched version 2.0 with the assistance of Seed Media Group Technology. The new Research Blogging site apparently has all kinds of new and trick features although I have to confess that I've never been a user. In the even that this concept is new to you, the About page lays it down.


The whole idea of ResearchBlogging.org appears to be a certification process for blog posts. A self-certification process with quality control checking / policing of some sort. If you don't adhere to the guidelines, the ResearchBlogging.org goons will seriously mess you up!
The site also serves as an aggregator of all-research-blogging for those that want this sort of thing, unrelieved by political ranting, memes, flamewars, personal dog / kiddo pictures and the like. Not for me, but perhaps for you.
No distractions or tangents. Like this one.
Thinking about the ResearchBlogging folks' yearning for "certification" of the excellence of their work reminded me of something I was reading at A scientist's life.

interesting to hear what she has to say about the whole thing - especially a certain panellist's view on anonymous blogging (to which I can stick a finger up and say "Go fuck yourself"

Actually Lou was thinking about a comment from KH (the "she" of "she has to say") who reviewed her experiences at the LondonBloggerzMeetup2008 thingy.

The issue of anonymous blogging was raised and smacked down pretty hard by one panelist who believed that no anonymous blogger could ever have the credibility that she had as an 'own name' blogger. I don't want to get into that debate here, but again I found the response naive and insensitive to many of the fears and restrictions endured by the scientific blogging community. In sessions such as these I feel the panelists should be chosen for a perspective beyond their own paradigm, and in this case, they clearly were unable to provide it.

Lou, KH..., you know what? Ignore these idiots. Seriously. I don't have any problem with people who want to become the All-That of blogging in their various domains. And let us just recognize that there are going to be the same people as in any other human endeavor. Those that establish their voice, credentials and reputation just by putting their heads down and doing a good job. Those that shoot to the heights by some random confluence of events and google-fu. And those that spin feverishly trying to define and credential themselves into some position of imagined credibility. Let 'em. Read what you want, don't read what you don't want. Let those who enjoy your stuff read it and anyone who doesn't respect you because they don't know "who" you are? HAHAHAHA! Their loss.
Me, I can't see how my enjoyment of Lou's or KH's writing would change one bit if I knew their meatspace identities. Not for any of the rest of you-all pseud bloggers either.
and to bring this back around, I don't think that little ResearchBlogging icon thingy tells me anything about the quality of the blog post either. Dave Munger made himself into a prime example of all-research blogging long before he came up with ResearchBlogging.org and the icon dealio. My respect for his work didn't change one bit afterward, either.
Certification and credentialing just seems a little bit to me like protesting too much, that's all.

15 responses so far

  • I wasn't an early Usenet enthusiast but those who were tell me that no one ever used their real names in the early pioneer days. Hence, I would submit that using real names is for clueless n00bs who have no respect for or understanding of teh internet discussion traditions.

  • PhysioProf says:

    PhysioProf fucked with dipshits on Usenet using his own name back in teh Olden Days.

  • KH says:

    Actually what pissed me off (and this is a minor, pedantic point that I am especially prone to) was that they made no distinction between the
    'OMG! I'm a blogger. I'd better not get caught' anonymous types
    and the
    'I think I sound better if I use a nickname' pseud type bloggers.
    Oh no, it was all or nothing. Anyway, it was you, DrugMonkey, who convinced me a few weeks/months ago of the virtues of blogging under any name you like. And I'm convinced.

  • PhysioProf says:

    My theory is that the people who moan and groan endlessly about the evils of pseudonymous bloggers are credential-obsessed shitty writers who are enraged by the fact that pseudonymous bloggers can develop much greater credibility and respect without relying on "real-world" credentials, while the "credentialed" bloggers are mocked and ridiculed for being so shitty.

  • CC says:

    Actually what pissed me off (and this is a minor, pedantic point that I am especially prone to) was that they made no distinction between the 'OMG! I'm a blogger. I'd better not get caught' anonymous types and the 'I think I sound better if I use a nickname' pseud type bloggers.
    I don't understand the distinction you wish to see made. Which one do you think forfeits "credibility"? How would you know whether someone is one or the other, anyway?
    The only way I can see that distinction is with people who simultaneously use nicknames and their real names. But while I find that confusing, irritating and unprofessional, it still doesn't seem worth getting agitated over.

  • DrugMonkey says:

    Coturnix, PalMD and Dr.Free-Ride are about the last bloggers I'd describe as irritating, confusing OR unprofessional. ???

  • CC says:

    First, I didn't say that *they* are "confusing, irritating and unprofessional". Second, I'm not getting up at a conference and denouncing them over it, just mentioning that as the only case where I can even imagine what KH might be talking about. The whole anonymity thing is a non-issue to me, especially when "credibility" consists mostly of wowing the rubes with reverential mentions of Peer Review and the like. Is there a single scientist-blogger whose CV alone is enough to confer real credibility?

  • DrugMonkey says:

    Anyway, it was you, DrugMonkey, who convinced me a few weeks/months ago of the virtues of blogging under any name you like. And I'm convinced.
    I did? What'd I say?
    Is there a single scientist-blogger whose CV alone is enough to confer real credibility?
    I'm sure you meant to say "other than PhysioProf and DrugMonkey".

  • KH says:

    I felt the statement at the conference was overly simplistic, failed to take into account the many reasons why people choose not to use their real name. I don't think either forfeits any kind of credibility. Some bloggers are genuinely afraid of being outed, others use a nickname for fun. You can sometimes tell which is which. I didn't mean to get caught up in the credibility arguement, because I don't really mind what the name of the blogger is, as long as I like what they write.
    The real and nickname thing doesn't bother me too much, although I think it can get confusing.

  • DrugMonkey says:

    Personally I think the folks at Nature, both NN and the editor blogs, have a very, very deep FAIL in understanding what makes blogging work. This one here was a launching pad for much of the not-gettin-it crowd to exhibit their misunderstanding in the most recent go-round. Henry Gee's wah-wah 7/9 at 19:45GMT is also pretty educational. Bora's comment on 7/9 (their failure to provide comment linkability just adds to the critique) breaks the issue down really well.
    Trying to make people behave the way you think they should just seems asinine to me. Naive or completely ignorant of human behavior. The better approach is to start with the way people behave (say, in online communication forums) and see how you can use that.
    Some of the Nature bloggers (and to be honest, many other bloggers including Sb ones) look at popular political blogs and one popular science/political blog and think "We want the traffic without the flaming so we insist people comment like it is a Care Bears Tea Party and register their names and all that". Gee whaddaya know? They fail to get the traffic. On the blogs and in their attempts to generate blog-like discussion in the more-formal areas of their science publication (PloS has this problem too, I'll note).

  • I blog at Nature Network as well as on a "normal" blog and I agree that NN does not resemble the larger blogosphere at all. As I've mentioned on my blospot blog,

    I almost listed a Nature Network blog or two [as recipients of the latest blog award/meme thingy], but feared the consequences after unsuccessful attempts (by me and others) to introduce the concepts of carnivals and blog rolls... it's like a different country over there or something, not necessarily bad, just... different.

    I happen to like the atmosphere over at NN (maybe it's a British thing - I grew up listening to those silly word games on BBC Radio 4), but I make a very clear distinction as to what and how I blog (and comment) there compared to on blogspot, wordpress or ScienceBlogs threads.

  • PhysioProf says:

    Blogging is not a Motherfucking Care Bears Tea Party!!! That's why it's fucking FUN!!

  • DrugMonkey says:

    Cath, I do remember that comment you made and it formed part of my view of how they were failing. But there was an actual thread where some d00d was going on about how blogrolls were horrible things and that was completely gobsmacking. I mean, not wanting to maintain a blogroll, ok, no prob. but arguing that blogrolls are bad things just struck me as a big fat fail.
    It would be one thing if the goals were completely different. But it seems obvious that they have overt goals to enhance online discussion. Just like everyone else's (well there are the occasional bloggers like GregL who think traffic is more important than conversations but most everyone else is about the community) I just can't see how you get discussion without traffic...

  • Cath Ennis says:

    Here was my first and only attempt at hosting a blog carnival over there... win-win, you'd think, eh? Well, some (but not all) commenters did not agree.
    I think all future hosting will be done on my other blog.

  • CC says:

    This one here was a launching pad for much of the not-gettin-it crowd to exhibit their misunderstanding in the most recent go-round.
    I'm flattered to see that my exchange with GrrlScientist (where she addressed me with "seriously?? are you stupid or just too blind to be real?" before (or maybe after) doing a 90% rewrite with a completely different point), along with subsequent comments from others at FriendFeed, is being singled out as an example of how vicious, irrational commenters are ruining blogging.
    BTW, WTF is FriendFeed?

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