Longtime blogfriend bill is laughing right about now. Or he will be soon.
I've been a considerable skeptic that Web2.0 has anything serious to offer the pursuit of science itself. Not a theological skeptic who can't see the potential, just one who doesn't think we're there yet and can't necessarily see the path to full Web2.0 / Science integration.
Nevertheless I see potential for the public outreach mission of Web2.0 adoption by scientists. Obviously- since I haven't stopped blogging yet.
Getting my feet wet allows me a little greater latitude and perspective in trying to think about what needs to be done to realize broader Web2.0 adoption in the daily conduct of science. And I have some ideas.
When you have an idea, the best thing to do is to figure out how to test it, right? To figure out what preliminary data you need, what literature is most relevant and what experts you need to consult. In the design stage, you can use all of these factors to check your assumptions. See where your gut might be leading you astray.
As you proceed along, you can try to see what parts of your protocol are working, what needs to be tweaked and what needs to be junked.
Like I said, I have some ideas. I share the broadest goals of what NPG is trying to accomplish in terms of using the more interactive internet technologies to enhance the conduct of science. I'm working on a couple of projects.
This is by way of lengthy preamble to why I would be gazing upon the cockup that is the Nature Network introspection exercise with some dismay.
Let us consider the oft-repeated goal that NPG has of having online discussions of science papers develop. Let us also consider the only slightly less frequently repeated observation that scientists are as yet, somewhat reluctant to adopt this as a new style of engaging with papers.
Then let us consider an interleaved exchange that might have bearing on the motivation of scientists to discuss science online.
Maxine: "and if some members of it are somewhat two-faced/snide about it on other (outside) sites"
I'm sorry that you saw it that way. If you're referring to the threads I think you're referring to, I saw it as NNers defending some aspects of NN while saying that they agree with criticisms of other aspects. Is it really realistic to expect everyone who uses this platform to agree that all aspects of it are perfect for every user? Are people who don't think the platform is perfect somehow "breaking ranks"?
Just to clarify, I was not referring to anything to do with ScienceOnline (which I neither attended nor followed) or ScienceBlogs when I made the comment about people being two faced. I have a lot of independent blogs in my RSS reader (not ScienceBlogs, I do not follow those because I don't like the overall quality, lack of knowledge and manner of the comments). On some of those posts I find comments from people who actively participate in NN, making the sort of comment that they would not make here. My only point was to suggest that I think it is a good idea for people to be consistent.
My apologies, Maxine, I thought you were referring to recent posts on ScienceBlogs where several NNers (including me) showed up to share our opinions.
I tend to think it's normal for people to post different types of comments in different venues, i.e. adapting their tone to fit the tone of the hosting blog. I post stuff on my other blog that I would never post here, even if it's science-related, if I'm feeling a bit venty or sweary. We all have different moods on different days, and some moods fit NN better than others
just to be even clearer, I am writing about people who take up one position when on NN and a rather different one on the same topic elsewhere. I personally value honesty and consistency.
Now of course this is yet more evidence in direct support of my hypothesis that when the civility fans assert "don't piss on my carpet" what the really mean is that you shouldn't be pissing on anyone's carpet. In short, they really do mean to assert a general, internetwide behavioral code. In this exchange, Maxine is saying that if you adopt the local culture of Nature Networks while commenting there, but adopt the local culture of, e.g., the Comrade PhysioProf blog while there, you are "two-faced", dishonest or inconsistent. Or, if we credit the progress of the discussion, if you defend your homies in one place but admit to a bit of nuance elsewhere, you are the suxxors.
No biggie, right? Just some same-ol, same-ol blogwarz. Well, yes and no. The trouble is that "Maxine" in this case is the executive publishing editor of what is considered to be one of the most desired of the GlamourMags. Many scientists are in a position in which they feel it necessary to try to publish their work in Nature. Or even if they don't feel it absolutely necessary, they recognize that it would be a very GoodThing indeed for their career and ability to continue doing the science that they love the way they see fit.
Reading an exchange like this from someone who is highly influential in whether their paper gets accepted for publication or not...well, what do you think the motivational valence is going to be?
Don't strain yourself, I'll tell you. Don't write a damn uncivil thing or, gods forfend, anything remotely critical of any NPG publication or activity. Otherwise you might be viewed as incivil, two-faced or dishonest and put your paper acceptance at risk.
So here we have the apparent corporate goal of increasing scientists' willingness to make comments, particularly on NPG published articles. And one of the senior staff is blundering about making comments that are going to be interpreted by scientists in a certain way. The effect will be to diminish their already near-unmeasurable interest in commenting on journal articles.
Heckuva job, Clarkey.