So, you like blogosphere discussion, do you Nature?

Apparently this is a "Bash Nature" day around these parts. I found the following gem in my mailbox:

Dear Drug Monkey:
The following post you wrote on Nature News has been hidden by the moderator.
http://bluelabcoats.wordpress.com/2009/02/05/falling-below-the-line-is-your-proposal-just-not-good-enough/
http://scientopia.org/blogs/drugmonkey/2009/02/running-out-of-grant-funding
The moderator gave the following reason for this action:
Please make a comment rather than just posting a link
If you disagree, please feel free to comment again and re-phrase your comment.
Thank you.
-Nature News editors


I'm all whiskeytangofoxtrot? When did I post that? On what? That must have been one or two weeks ago....


Now in my defense I've recently been thinking about this latest bit of Nature's puzzling duality when it comes to the blogsphere and generating online discussion. So after venting a little bit to some peeps [lightly edited for rating]:


see, this is why I hate those [muppethuggers]. I can't even remember which damn thing I posted this on, must have been a week ago. maybe more. I can understand spam filters but this looks like some [person] actually looked at it and canned it. [physioprofism deleted].

Now, because I can't just let it go (SIWOTI and all), I figured from my referenced post and that of drdrA, I must have posted that comment here.
[Editorial aside: Good news for one of the subject PIs, btw, turns out NINDS adjusted their payline upward so that Professor Darcy Kelley got her grant continued, see the update at the bottom of the original article.]
Now just compare the comment threads for the original article and for the two blog posts I tried to add over there (because of course, they don't do any sort of pingback/trackback...which, if they were really into the discussion you think they might encourage. unless they use MT like we do, that is...). I think my contribution was highly on topic. As are those of the DM and Blue Lab Coats commentariat. They shouldn't have rejected my linkage.
Muppethuggers.

36 responses so far

  • DrugMonkey says:

    fixed....you could have just gone into MT and edited that little mistake yourself you know...

  • HAHAHAHAH! I got better things to do than clean up after you, DoucheMonkey!

  • Dave says:

    What the hell are you and CPP talking about, DM? Don't you have each other's real email? And what the heck did you think would happen by you posting nothing but a link in a regulated online forum? Obviously links are not disallowed. You just can't do nothing but post a link, lest the comment sections collapse in a pile of misdirected porn and spam. Ideally, you would have synthesized and summarized the most relevant and insightful comments from BlueLabCoats and DrugMonkey and posted them, maybe with a link as a reference. But just sticking the links in there is just lazy and annoying traffic redirection.
    Oh, and...
    http://network.nature.com/site/terms
    Or I'm completely missing the point of what the hell you are talking about in your gibbery pile of code-words and links above, then... well... Go back to the first two sentences of this comment.

  • DrugMonkey says:

    But just sticking the links in there is just lazy and annoying traffic redirection.
    I totally disagree and in fact encourage this practice for relevant discussion on other blogs and online venues when it comes to the DM blog. Partially this is because our engine doesn't do trackback but then again the other biggies, blogspot and wordpress, seem to handle trackback only spottily. So I really like it when someone is talking about related stuff comes back to post a link. It saddens me when I notice some link and related post long after the fact (Hi, Lou!) because I wish I'd seen it at the time and because I wonder what other discussions I am missing.
    I also submit that it is basic blogger and blog reader etiquette. Now true, the profit making entities of SMG (of which Scienceblogs is a part) and NPG (of which Nature and related blogs, etc are a part) have an interest in capturing as many page views as possible. And in theory compensated line bloggers such as myself have an interest as well. but this is shortsighted. far better to do whatever one can to encourage a vibrant blogosphere within one's interest domains. pageviews are food pellets and comments are blogger crack.

  • Dave says:

    Perhaps I did not make myself clear, DM. I think links are great if they are used as pointers to source material, extended discussion, or perspective. But links should never be used as a substitution for an original contribution. Link-pooping is not quite plagiarism, but it's just as lazy and crass, in my opinion.

  • DrugMonkey says:

    I think links are great if they are used as pointers to source material, extended discussion, or perspective. But links should never be used as a substitution for an original contribution.
    I disagree with this latter assertion. The purpose of linking is to point people easily and directly to additional material that might be of interest. It is not "plagiarism" and in fact quite the contrary if you think about it for half a sec. Crass? well that's in the eye of the beholder, wot wot old chap?

  • drdrA says:

    I'm with you DM- it's great to keep disparate discussions connected for readers using links in comments. I can't see their issue. Kinda stupid if you ask me.

  • Dave says:

    Thanks for the kind recognition, Isis. It tickles me all over to know you care about my opinion. Sort of back to the subject, though, here is an interesting poll:
    http://erik.thauvin.net/blog/surveys.jsp?id=4

  • Dave says:

    Whoops. I forgot to mention that I thought choice #8, currently in second place, was the relevant one for this discussion.

  • chezjake says:

    FWIW, I almost never follow any link that has no indication/explanation of its relevance, no matter who has posted it.

  • Cashmoney says:

    FWIW, I almost never follow any link that has no indication/explanation of its relevance, no matter who has posted it.
    whoopee for you? i follow 'em all the time, what's your point?

  • DrL says:

    Very interesting post.
    What is even more interesting, that the last comment in the discussion where your comment was moderated, contains a http link:
    "There is also a Nature opinion forum on the crisis of confidence in scientific careers here http://network.nature.com/groups/naturenewsandopinion/forum/topics/3901?page=1"
    but hey, this link shows the opinion of the "Nature Opinion forum"... not of the whole internet! seems like links are allowed though, but they have to be linking to the host's forums, not outside ones!

  • DuWayne says:

    Fuck 'em. Why reinvent the fucking wheel? While I am occasionally prone to turning some of my longer, rambling comments into blogposts, I'm generally not inclined to re-write something at any length, when I just wrote a huge fucking post saying the same fucking thing.
    Hell, when it comes to discussions involving the legalization of currently illicit drugs, I am generally prone to just linking posts I've written about the various really good reasons for doing so (which or all depends on the context). They include links to evidence, with more links in the sidebar and I don't get flamed for writing one to four thousand word comments.

  • Silver Fox says:

    FWIW, I almost never follow any link that has no indication/explanation of its relevance, no matter who has posted it.

    FWIW, I do. Also, the links DM is talking about are just like trackback links or links-to-this-post (on Blogger), and are not comments but links. Those kinds of links do not have comments; sometimes (not often) they have bits of quoted material from the linked-to post.

  • Dave says:

    "I am generally prone to just linking posts I've written about the various really good reasons for doing so (which or all depends on the context). They include links to evidence, with more links in the sidebar and I don't get flamed for writing one to four thousand word comments."

    It's fine to be proud of what you've written, DuWayne, but I still think it's inappropriate to link-poop all over. If your blog entry is relevant to some discussion that you come across, I think you can enter a precis in the comments with a notation that you discussed this more extensively elsewhere. Then -- and only then -- should you include a link, as citation and in case someone is interested in reading more. Most won't be.
    To summarize my objections to excessive link usage:
    1) Links usually turn what could be a pithy 100-word statement into a semi-coherent book-length ramble spread across multiple web sites. This is perhaps ego-satisfying for the bloggers involved, but painful for the reader.
    2) Links, especially to other blogs, tend to redirect and dilute good discussion. Why not keep it all in one place?
    3) Links are almost always a lazy and ineffective argument. I can only think of three reasons why I object to link-pooping. If I instead used links to bolster my argument, I could probably come up with 50 links. That might look impressive, but I bet I wouldn't be able to make my point any better.

  • Stephanie Z says:

    It's fine to be proud of what you've written, DuWayne, but I still think it's inappropriate to link-poop all over.

    That might be relevant if DuWayne did any such thing. He doesn't. He writes thoughtful, relevant posts on topics he's studied or on which he's had personal experience that enriches the conversation. There's absolutely no reason for him to limit his contribution based on your imagination or skills.
    If you don't like links, I suggest you don't click.

  • Dave says:

    "If you don't like links, I suggest you don't click."
    That gives me an idea for a reason #4...
    4) Links will only be followed by a few readers. Links are thus filters. People most likely to follow a link are probably those who agree with linker's argument anyway. Therefore, links preferentially dissuade the most important audience: folks who could offer valuable error-checking or critique. Experts typically have better things to do than chase ignorance around the internet. If you want a bunch of nodding heads following you around the blogosphere, link away. If you actually want to hone your ideas, have some impact, or learn something, then state your argument without relying on links.

  • DuWayne says:

    Actually Dave, The reason I post a link to my own posts, with a very minimal descriptive, is because I like to provide evidence for my assertions - not to other blogs, but to articles, papers and hard data. Most comments filter multiple links - I honestly don't give a shit if many people actually follow the links - those who ask for evidence and actually want to see it will.
    And occasionally I write a specific response to the actual blog post. Rather than making a comment in the thread, I will mention that I posted a response and post the link. I welcome people to do that in response to my own posts, because it draws the conversation into back and forth posts between blogs. This has the advantage of throwing traffic between the two (or more) blogs involved and also prevents massively long comments in the threads.
    And if one states their arguments without links, quite often the response is where's the fucking evidence. When I make assertions about the advantages of legalizing illicit drugs, people want to know what makes me think that's a reasonable thing to do. My word for it is generally not enough. Neither are my well reasoned arguments. People want the evidence, I provide it.
    Just because you're a snooty asshole who doesn't find it worth his time, doesn't mean that everyone is. I engage a lot of people who aren't experts on addiction or the impact of public policy on illicit drugs. And quite often they actually want to learn more - whether they agree with me initially or not. And there is more than one person out there who's been persuaded by my arguments and the evidence that accompanies them. Likewise, I've been persuaded I was wrong on many occasions and greatly appreciate it when it fucking happens, because I fucking hate wallowing in fucking ignorance.
    Feel free to be a narrow minded fucking know it all, not all of us are there.

  • 2) Links, especially to other blogs, tend to redirect and dilute good discussion. Why not keep it all in one place?
    At the risk of stating the obvious, this is the Internet, you know.

  • Lab Lemming says:

    I assume that naked links or links with non-specific introductions are just spam that crept through the filter. After all, that's what most of the ones that show up in my moderation queue are.

  • Dave says:

    DuWayne,
    It sounds like you agree with this...
    "I think links are great if they are used as pointers to source material, extended discussion, or perspective."
    Who wrote that? Oh yea, it was me, way back in comment #6. Please read my words carefully before jumping into a fighting stance. This is not to say that I think you and I totally agree. After all, my real point was this:
    "But links should never be used as a substitution for an original contribution."
    In which case I MIGHT disagree with your statement that...
    "The reason I post a link to my own posts, with a very minimal descriptive, is because I like to provide evidence for my assertions"
    ...if by "with a very minimal descriptive", you are actually forgetting to include the 'assertions' in the first place. Pointers should not substitute for the point.
    Make sense? I don't see why this is so controversial. Link-pooping is the equivalent of a review article with nothing but the bibliography.

  • DuWayne says:

    And my point, Dave, is that there is no reason to spend much time making much of an assertion, when the assertion has already been made.
    For example, if the assertion I'm responding to is along the lines of; "ADHD is just a bunch of bullshit to give schools an excuse for extra funding and to let parents off the hook for being shit parents." I'm unlikely to say much more than; "Umm, no. ADHD is far from bullshit, though it's diagnosis is way overused." embedding a hyperlink to a particularly evidence heavy post I wrote about ADHD specifically to respond to fucking morons who say that sort of thing.
    I'm not going to turn around and spend any amount of time making the arguments that I spent a great deal of time writing the first time around - why the hell should I? And while the moron who made the original statement may not actually click over, every time I get into one of those discussions to post that link, I get a hella lot of traffic to that specific post. And inevitably end up with three or four emails from people with questions about ADHD, most of which are along the lines of; "I just realized from reading that, that my kid really may have a problem, are there any decent alternatives to medication?" or "After reading that, it occurred to me that I might actually have ADHD, are there any decent resources for adults with ADHD."
    Because Dave, there are a lot of people who read comments, yet never, never ever drop one. Given the traffic here at DM, I can assure you that there are probably quite a few people following this little exchange of ours right now. And a lot of those people, as well as the ones who are actually involved in the discussion do follow links. With great regularity.
    I quit arguing about ADHD in specific comment threads a long time ago. It pisses me off and wastes my time. One of the blogs I frequent, who occasionally finds reason to mention her own ADHD in posts will drop the link into the body of her posts. I don't so much post the link because I think it's going to change the mind of fucking moronic denialists, I drop the link because I think it's important that people who don't know much about it, don't have a strong opinion, know that what was said is total bullshit.
    And at a lot of the blogs I frequent, I'm well known enough that even people who don't agree with me on a lot of things, people who really don't like me (because you are far from the first person I've called a fucking asshole) know that I make well reasoned arguments for the most part. When someone objects to me dropping a link as argument, even people who despise me are inclined to tell them to just follow it.
    Indeed, on one forum, there is a residing commenter who absolutely hates me. She has neanderthal attitudes about gay marriage, feminism and is ardently anti-choice. I'm really fucking outspoken about all three of those. Yet she has, on more than one occasion, dropped links to my writings on illicit drugs, something I actually changed her mind about completely and my posts on ADHD, because she has two boys with severe ADHD. And she wandered over to that forum after I quit even trying to repeatedly make the same fucking arguments and started just dropping links with little explanation.
    And again, another circumstance I will drop links in comments, is as a trackback, because I responded to a particular post. In that case, I usually just throw the title of the post and first line - one of which refers to the post I'm responding to.

  • DuWayne says:

    2) Links, especially to other blogs, tend to redirect and dilute good discussion. Why not keep it all in one place?
    To answer this one specifically Dave, because the people who read my blog, may not read Joe Blow's blog. After I post about something from Joe Blow or his commenters, at least some of my readers are going to click over to Joe Blow's. Some of them are likely to stick around there. Likewise, some of the folks at Joe Blow's blog are likely to wander over and frequent mine.

  • Dave says:

    DuWayne,
    For the same reason I can't read every newspaper in the world, good as many of them may be, I can't spend all day jumping from blog to blog trying to understand someone's point or the development of his views. I recognize that I may miss a little incisive life-changing commentary now and then. But it is a sacrifice all readers must make.
    In any case, I appreciate your taking the time to address my comments, DuWayne, and the thought you've obviously put into your use of the internet.
    I also appreciate that you didn't simply post a link.

  • DSKS says:

    "2) Links, especially to other blogs, tend to redirect and dilute good discussion. Why not keep it all in one place?"
    This discussion has been redirected and diluted here.

  • This is one of the dumbest arguments I've seen here at DrugMonkey, and there have been some fucking doozies.
    Copy/Paste is your friend.

  • Dave says:

    Well, yea, CPP. But it was a pretty dumb original blog entry. I think DM fell victim to #2 in the Blogging is Stupid Manifesto: http://blogging.infogami.com/manifesto.html (unneeded updates).

  • Pinus says:

    Time to move on to something of worth...any good gossip on stimulus grants!

  • DrugMonkey says:

    More from Bora:

    Finally, let me just notice that both Nature and Nature Methods published pro-blog editorials on the same day. And they also interviewed me this week for a topical issue on the state of science journalism/communication they are planning for a couple of weeks from now. I don't think this is a coincidence - Nature group is cooking something and we'll have to wait and see what that is.

  • Lou says:

    Re: #5
    Hi DM!
    I apologise for not posting links to your blog when your post(s) spur a posting over at mine. There are a few reasons why I don't do that (time difference is one), but if you want me to, I will do that from now on.
    Especially for you! *heart*
    I guess I never thought of it (i.e. putting the link of your follow-on post to the original blog's comment section) as being part of the blog etiquette, because if the author of the original post wrote it coming from one point of view, and I wish to take the argument towards a tangential point, would the original author be that interested in where the tangent leads to? Personally it feels like hijacking of the original thread.

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