Archive for the 'Academia' category

Don't tell me how to be inspired

Mar 12 2014 Published by under Academia, Activism, Synaptic Misfires

This is a rant. It's a rant because, sometimes, you've heard something just one too many times. And sometimes, things link together in my head.

I had a conversation with a friend the other day. He was shaking his head over a girl he was seeing. She called herself a fantasy fan...but she had never read Joseph Campbell! HOW?!

I am a huge fantasy fan. I've never read Joseph Campell. And I lost my temper.

sensible armor

(Don't make me come over there in my sensible armor. From this site, which is one of my favs.The actress is Aishwarya Rai Bachchan from The Last Legion (2007). )

Because I have been told, over and over again, that my education is incomplete unless I've read X. I'm not a TRUE fan of a genre unless I've read Y, and I'm just not a nerd at all unless I've been blown away by Z.

My friend stated that Joseph Campbell is important because he felt that for any aspiring fan or writer, "A Hero's Journey" would be required reading. The "methods section" of the fantasy genre, like how you have introduction to certain texts as a history major which introduce you to all the main concepts.

I disagree. Last I heard Joseph Campbell was an author (Edited to add: he was also an academic and mythologian who introduced really important concepts and tropes, like the hero's journey, which are used to this day). He did a lot of really interesting work, but he is not a required gestalt for the enjoyment of fantasy. And I think it's very possible to be an expert in something without having read the "must read" list of things that mostly old white guys have developed for us to be educated by. Does a person with a PhD and many publications in ancient Chinese history really need to read the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire to be considered an educated individual? If you answer that with a "yes," I'd really love to know your reasoning.

He may think that if you haven't read Joseph Campbell you are an ill-educated fantasy reader. I might think that if you haven't read Mary Stewart and Marion Zimmer Bradley you are just as ill-educated.

Who is right? NEITHER OF US.

You don't get to determine what inspires someone else or even what someone else considers good literature.
The "classics" do not define education in most subjects. I understood the concept of evolution long before I read Darwin, because I had read other books on the subject. After I read Darwin, I cannot say that I understood it any better. Darwin had the original concept, yes. He was really thorough about it, yes. But it is very possible to understand evolution without ever having read Darwin. It is possible to LOVE fantasy without ever having read the Silmarillion (heck, I have read it and I think it lessened my love of the genre slightly. Sorry, Tolkien).

Read what you like. Be inspired by what inspires you. Do not feel pressure to be inspired on someone else's terms.

I was reminded of this argument again yesterday as I tweeted that I had watched the first episode of Neil DeGrasse Tyson's Cosmos. It was ok.

It was my first exposure to Cosmos. I have never seen the Carl Sagan version. I was too young for it, and was raised primarily on Bill Nye, Ranger Rick and the Magic School Bus (the "inside the body" book and episode sticks in my head today. INSPIRING AS ANYTHING). My parents are not scientists, and I'm not sure they've ever seen Cosmos either. I never even HEARD of it until, like Ed, I heard about it on twitter a few years ago, looked it up, and saw what it was.

But of course, on twitter, every time I reveal I haven't seen the original Cosmos, I get a lot of "WHUT?!" "NO!" "HOW?!" I have even been told at times that I'm not a true science communicator because I haven't seen it and been inspired by it.

THAT. IS. CRAP.

And I lost my temper again. At a poor tweep who didn't know what they stepped in. Sorry @KeesEngels. It's not you! It's my past history of not having read Joseph Campbell!

It is completely possible to be inspired in science without having seen Carl Sagan. Heck, it is completely possible to have seen Carl Sagan, go "meh," and be inspired by something else! Carl Sagan is probably (to this date, still haven't seen it) great TV. Probably very inspirational to lots of people. I by no means want to knock good Sci Comm. But it won't be inspirational to everyone. And that's ok! Matthew Francis put it best.

 

 

People who require you to read or watch or be inspired by certain things are people who want to believe there is one TRUE path to science, fantasy, etc. The path they took, the true one, the best one.

Those people need to get over themselves.

Do not expect or require everyone to be inspired by the same things you are inspired by. Accept that what inspired you may NOT inspire someone else. Let's all be inspired in our own way. After all, the point is the inspiration, not where it comes from.

Fin.

 

*Footnote: My friend who was talking about Joseph Campbell recanted in the face of my arguments. Because he's a cool guy. Also, I throw elbows when I argue.

43 responses so far

#scio14 Wrapup: Read the Comments!

Mar 09 2014 Published by under Academia, Activism, Synaptic Misfires, Uncategorized

It's now been a week since ScienceOnline Together 2014 (and I don't know about you guys, but I'm still down with the hideous #scioplague. I'm really ready to be done with feeling like I am swallowing a sword all the time). It was, despite some difficulties that I hope we all move forward together to solve, a fantastic opportunity to meet new people, chat with old friends, and engage in some really interesting and important discussions on how to communicate science in an online world. This year there was a little more focus on visual forms of communication, ways to get science out there that don't always involve writing lengthy explainers. While I'm a lover of a well written explainer, I am very, very glad that these different methods, using infographics, video, virtual games and other methods are getting some play. There is far more than one way to communicate science, and I want to see them all done well.

This  year I was very pleased to lead a session, proposed by the brilliant and notorious Ivan Oransky, on commenting. The following writeup is based on the GREAT notes by Kristin Harper, who was nice enough to be the note taker. It is sometimes out of order and highly biased. If you were at the session, please do write up your own summary and help me out! Or, even....put your opinions in the comments. :)

Everyone knows you shouldn't read the comments. Comments with a nasty tone can bring your article down. Comments are full of trolls who tell you about your comma problems and call you an "unbridled" man-hater. The idea that you shouldn't read the comments is so pervasive that there's a twitter feed for it. Due to research showing that negative comments bring down the opinion of a piece, PopSci banned comments altogether.

Why do we want comments at all? I personally like comments because often...they tell me I am wrong. I'd rather be told I am wrong, get the science right, and improve my understanding and the understanding of my readers, than let incorrect statements persist. In addition, I find my commenters are often funny, smart, and can add a lot to knowledge of a topic. Other session members said that comments added multiple answers to a single question, giving different perspectives.

But as our discussion at #scio14 showed, not all comments are bad. David Shiffman of Southern Fried Science noted that because his group blog is very focused on marine science, the commenters tend to me more knowledgeable than they might be on sites that are more general. On the other hand, Ivan Oransky pointed out that on Retraction Watch, some comments might be knowledgeable, but they can also skirt very close to being libelous, and Victoria from PLoS blogs agreed that accusations of fraud and libel cannot be left in the comments section. Tara Haelle noted that when she writes about vaccines, for example, she welcomes discussion, but doesn't want links to harmful sites to slip past, and that it is sometimes very difficult to tell the difference between a concerned parent and a troll who is "just asking a question." We discussed how some bloggers prefer pre-moderations (all comments are held for approval), or post-moderation (if something harmful appears it can be taken down). Comment moderators noted that, on high traffic sites, sorting through the comments about three times a day could do the trick to separate the wheat from the chaff.

When it comes to comment moderation, there were several different options. Bug Girl said that she uses a yellow card/red card system. My own comment policy asks people to avoid ad hominem attacks and other logical fallacies. I employ a three strike method, and should you attempt to be a jerk, I'll tell you how you are violating the comment policy, and give you a chance to re write your comment. In most of the situations, I have found volunteers gladly rewrite their comments. They'd rather make the point than insult. Others at the session recommended systems that allow you to downvote comments that are bad (enough downvotes will hide the comment altogether), and those which allow a flagged reporting system that sends an email to the administrator. Still others recommended disemvoweling a terrible comment (just taking out all the vowels) or rewriting it in haiku form. Moderation AND a form of therapy. Others, like Ivan, note that he will edit comments that are libelous or severely problematic, and often includes a note saying how he edited the comment.

I myself prefer not to edit comments. I don't want to silence voices of dissent, or those who might be unable to speak up in any other forum. Ad hominem attacks, however, cross the line.

But of course, before you can have negative comments or positive comments or even off topic comments, you have to get comments at all. We noted that a lot of comments have moved, and conversations often take place on Facebook or Twitter rather than in the comments of posts. Likes and RTs are the "nice post!" of 2014. To gather these comments into one place, Victoria Costello of PLoS Blogs recommended storify, and noted that PLoS has developed a media curation tool for its site. There are also widgets that connect Facebook comments to article comments.

But it also helps if you don't require a potential commenter to create an account, or use an interface like Discus, where one account makes it easy to log in on many platforms. Several people in the session said that for those truly desperate for comments, ask a question, even give away items for the best answer.

What came out of all of this? Ivan (who proposed the session in the first place and who I consulted for advice) both agreed that we wanted the session to be productive, to come out with something useful. We decided to crowdsource ideas for best practices in commenting. Not everyone chooses to have comments, and that's ok! But I say that comments are like sex. Not everyone will choose to have it, people may choose to have it in different ways and with different people, but if you want to have comments, it's generally a good idea to use a condom. Have a set of best practices and a comment moderation policy that you can refer to.

Below are the best practices that we came up with over an hour of discussion. These are obviously not comprehensive, and we'd love to get more feedback and ideas!

  1. Have a clear written comment policy. (But expect that people probably won't read it and you'll need to remind them.)
  2. Provide positive feedback for good comments wherever possible. For example, you can link to a comment in a follow up story, make something a featured comment, or reply to a comment with a note about how great it is.
  3. Reserve the right to edit comments or delete comments. Don't be afraid to enforce your policy.
  4. Define name calling. "This person is a fraud" is just as much name calling as "This person is a stinky carnivorous hippo."
  5. Limit the number of links. WordPress often defaults to sending comments to moderation if there are two links in them or more. This helps keep spam down. Let people know that when they complain to you about their well researched comment with many links. Keep an eye out for those comments. They aren't all spam!
  6. Most importantly: Join the conversation! A good commentariat is the result of good interaction between the bloggers and their commenters.

So, how did we do? What do you think of our best practices? Let us know...in the comments.

2 responses so far

You Will Be Assimilated.

Jan 24 2014 Published by under Academia, Uncategorized

Blame Bashir for this one.

In a previous post, I talked about how I wasn't yet free of academia. How it's still got hooks in me, in the form of papers that need to be published, and that won't get published until I get them out. Bashir noted that it was like Borg.

 

 

 

Borg, for those not familiar, are characters in the Star Trek universe. The most quoted phrase is 'resistance is futile, you will be assimilated.' Borg are partially cybernetic and act as part of a "hive" controlled by a queen. Like metallic, slightly slimy looking bees. But smarter (though I have always wondered why they have to look slimy). If you get assimilated into the Borg, it's very hard to leave, they give you all these cybernetic implants that influence your thoughts and dampen your feelings. Freeing someone from the Borg is a difficult experience, with lots of surgeries to remove the implants (for example your organs have to relearn how to function on their own). Often it's lifelong, and you are never truly free.

In particular, consider the character Seven of Nine, from Star Trek: Voyager. She was integrated into the Borg when she was 6. Grew up and lived her whole life as Borg. She then ends up on the Voyager, and they begin taking away her cybernetic implants. She begins to function on her own and build a life for herself. But some of the implants, esp the cortical node, can't really be removed well. She always has difficulty with some things, especially emotions. But she has some advantages as well, she can always sense Borg activity, for example.

Seven_of_nine
(Seven of Nine. Pity her, she had emotional issues and had to wear a LOT of catsuits. Source)

De-assimilating from the Borg does, in a way, remind me of academia.

Obviously academia does not give you cybernetic implants in grad school (though if they are, they'd BETTER come with the health plan and a decent increase in stipend). But leaving academia and its culture behind can be jarring. I had been in it, in some way, my whole life. I believed that it was the best place. It is, in many ways, great. But it's also very much its own world. Some other careers may be similar, but I've only experienced this one.

There are so many things about academia that I have assimilated, and that, via slow and sometimes painful surgeries, I have to get rid of. Instead of cybernetic implants, maybe I shed them in a different way. Shreds of lab coat here, a nitrile glove there. A few examples:

1. I'm learning the outside way of behaving professionally. Emails in academia could get very passive aggressive or just out and out aggressive. Thankfully, it's a minority of people who do it, but in academia, that kind of behavior (along with other kinds of bad behavior) is often allowed to perpetuate, as long as the science is good.  I know you don't do that on the outside. I know people who feel physically sick checking their email sometimes. I still catch myself questioning many emails I receive. Was it meant to be snarky? Is there another way to interpret that? What did I do? At the same time, though, I know I shouldn't need to be handled with kid gloves.

I also don't seem to know how to communicate casually, yet professionally. I alternate between hyper-formal, ultra passive prose, and one-liners. I know there's a happy medium in there somehow, but I'm still learning where it is.

2. I don't know when to quit. If you don't have every spare minute in academia filled (and by spare, I mean til at least 1am every night, a family can count as a hobby), you are not doing enough. Find more things to do. More projects, more grants, more papers. Outside, well, don't overload yourself! Because if you do, you do everything worse. Better to do less, and do it well. This is still a major, major shock to my system. My gut is always telling me to do more and more and more.

3. I don't know how to take criticism. Or rather, I know how I SHOULD take criticism. I know I do not take it well. This is odd, because I remember a time when I took criticism well. I did a lot of theater and music, it was something you HAD to take well. I took it, I improved, worked harder, fixed things, and did better. Sometime during grad school, however, criticism began to paralyze me. Every critique felt like a critique of me, as a scientist. Since a scientist was what I WAS, all criticism began to feel like criticism of me, as a person. Sometimes it was indeed phrased that way. You are careless. You are not smart enough, why don't you get this?! You are not focused.

I remember once, my aunt asked me what peer review was. I explained, and to show what I meant, handed her a review of one of my manuscripts. When she handed it back, she was on the verge of tears. She asked how they could be so mean to me. It was an accept with minor revisions. But it was full of things like "the authors do not grasp...", "the authors fail to state...", "the authors smell..." (ok, no). And I remembered when I first read that review. How my heart sank and my stomach hurt and my PI had to TELL me is was accepted. Because it surely did not say that anywhere on there.

Before academia, I would have taken criticism and said "I can be more careful, I will work on focus. Intelligence will just have to deal." But after academia...criticism still makes me work harder, but I first spend a period completely paralyzed by panic. Panic, gnawing self doubt, and shame. Why couldn't I do better? What's wrong with me? Why am I such a terrible person? Why am I not smart enough? Isn't there a way to make myself more careful, more smart? Outside of academia, I am relearning to take criticism. It is a long process.

4. When the professional is often personal. Not that there weren't professional standards in academia of course. But when all your colleagues are all your friends (and often your only friends) and are often also your significant others, well, things get mixed up. There were colleagues you couldn't work with because your friend had divorced them and it got ugly. And of course, you're all talking about work outside of work. Often, you feel like you don't know HOW to talk anything else but shop.  Academia was my life. Soon you just become wrapped up in it, and everything else begins to lose importance. Outside, I've been relearning perspective.

5. You can be positive. So much of academia is based in criticism. It's important criticism. Science would not advance if we just said things looked nice and sent it along. You have to probe, you have to say "that's unacceptable with an n=3," you have to say "that explanation isn't adequate." It's incredibly important. But it also, over time, can make people really negative. Things you screw up become "how could you!?" and things you did right...well they were what you should be doing and deserve no praise. I've observed before that only academia could turn successes into mere not-failures. If you DIDN'T see something wrong with that talk you were just at, well obviously you don't know anything about the field! Too gullible!  Cynicism makes you look smart.

This isn't the case outside. I love that I can be enthusiastic about my ideas...and that's ok! Other people are too! We work with ideas and refine them, rather than ripping them apart before building them again. The net result may end up the same. But the process is so much sunnier. Even when people don't like your idea, they say "well, I don't think we're interested in that," as opposed to "how could you attempt something so stupid." People are congratulated on their achievements...and you feel they HAVE done something good. Sure, it's your job, it's what you are supposed to be doing, but you're good at it, and that deserves praise. This, above everything else, has made me happy to be where I am.

I'm sure there are others, pieces of academia that I will shed over time. But I hope I keep the positive things. Seven of Nine could sense Borg. She could also act without panic in a crisis. I hope I will keep my academic remnants, my training, my questioning, my background and my ability to do research. I hope I will keep some of my cynicism, so I remember to look for the flaws and stick to careful interpretations. There are advantages to assimilation, after all.

7 responses so far

Science of Ick vs Damsels with Dragons: a storify

Jan 12 2014 Published by under Academia

Yesterday, I saw something about a "boys only" program at the NC Museum of Natural Sciences. I wasn't thrilled. I tweeted. And it turned out, I didn't have complete information...and that further information made the issue even more complex. When it is ok to separate boys and girls? And to what end? Will this help or hurt participation in science?

 

I welcome more insights in the comments.

 


8 responses so far

The 'system' failed me. It should have failed me sooner.

Jan 06 2014 Published by under Academia, Uncategorized

There are some posts that punch you in the gut a little. Lately, for me, those posts have been about life in academia. About 'the system'. Whether or not it failed people. This post was one of them. It hit me hard. But it made me think, too.

The post, "The afternoon I decided to leave academe - and what happened next", describes someone who could have been me (had I been a history PhD, anyway). She loved being in academia, but in the end, facing another year of adjuncting, she decided to leave. She is now successful in a completely different career, but she still fights a nagging sense of failure.

And she could have been me. My situation, lately, is very similar. Because I am no longer in academia. I am still writing up my last few papers (which, by the way, is a HECK of a lot harder to do when you have to do the work that pays first and try to squeeze it around a completely different full time job), but I'm not a scientist anymore. Instead, I'm a writer. I love my new career. But like the author of that post, I still feel that nagging sense of failure.

I could have kept at it. Many people told me to take another post-doc, take the 'part time' (though is a 3-3 with research and service really part time?), non-TT job I was offered. To adjunct, to keep trying.

And part of me really, really wanted to. I have always wanted to be a professor. I remember seeing my father in class once, when I was very young. He is a professor, and to me, he looked like the coolest guy in the world. So knowledgeable, so inspiring, so brilliant. And I wanted to be like that when I grew up. I wanted to teach, to think big thoughts, to present new things to the world, to have everyone think I was smart.

So I went to college. I went to grad school. I did a lot of science. I felt I was doing something that would change people's lives for the better, that would help people who suffered. I wanted to save the world. In the end, I wasn't good enough to save the world, not Tenure-Track good enough. But also, in the end, I realized that I did not want to BE good enough. I no longer wanted to be big wig science professor at a big wig university.

Throughout all this, I read a lot about people who feel the academic system failed them (or their friends). They were promised jobs, or they themselves had promise, and the system weeded them out with the ruthlessness of 8% paylines. I don't know whether the system failed them or not. We're all different.

But did the system fail me? There may have been problems with funding, may have been problems with mentors, or lack of them. There may have been issues with projects or support or a million other things. There may have been problems with me, with my attitude, my smarts, my drive. Or not. Or none of the above. But in the end, yes, I DO think the system failed me.

I think it didn't kick me out fast enough.

Continue Reading »

104 responses so far

Tying up loose ends

Jan 01 2014 Published by under Academia, Uncategorized

A lot of people outside academia don't realize how slow the gears grind. Projects have to be conceived, funded, performed, written up. Submitted, rejected, submitted again, rejected with revisions, resubmitted, and then, finally, published. In an ideal world, the process takes months. In reality...it can take years. I'm out of academia. But I am not free of it. I have four first author papers still waiting. In my first few months out of academia, I spent all my free time writing three of them up. Checking all the data, dotting the i's and crossing the t's. Two have been submitted, and returned with major and minor revisions, respectively.

And now my spare time is devoted to revisions.

People ask me lately what it's like to be out of academia. It may be years until I'm fully "free." In some ways it feels like claws pulling me back to my old life. The revisions get harder and harder to do, as I get further and further from the lab. I begin to forget the literature, the established ways of writing, the phrasing. I forget how to think about things. It's hard to switch from your daily job to the work still unfinished. Especially when it's 10pm at night.

And unfortunately, the worse you get, the more you get chastised for doing things badly. And the more you fear and expect the chastisement. Emails from your old life make you sick to your stomach, even though most are completely innocuous. Academia loves sticks, and carrots a feel like they are deliberately undervalued. It really says something about academia that often, acceptance with minor revisions sounds EXACTLY like rejection until you ask somebody else.

This makes it very, very hard to complete those papers. Then you realize you're the one procrastinating and you feel even WORSE. I know it's my fault. I know. The papers need to go out. I know it's my responsibility to do them and do them well. But it is a slog. At best.

I'm determined not to give up. So far, I am putting in 30 min per day on a paper. Response to reviewers, reading it over, edits, reading relevant literature. Often, if I get into it, the 30 minutes will stretch to an hour or more. But sometimes I'm gritting my teeth and telling myself "30 minutes, you can do 30 stinking minutes." It's not much. It's not enough. But it is something.

6 responses so far

Building a new normal

Oct 21 2013 Published by under Academia, Activism, Uncategorized

This is the post about Bora. And the "community" that I thought was there. There's been other stuff going on as well. But this one is about Bora.

 

I warn you all that this post is very hard for me. Normally what you see here, even the longer ranting or opinion pieces on academic life, even the big reviews on opponent process theory or long posts on a paper? Those are drafted and posted on the fly. I hammer them out in a single sitting, fast as you like, and throw them onto the internet. Maybe I'll have a friend or two look over an opinion post. But usually not.

But this? This I went over, over and over, in my head. This I took notes for. I wrote an OUTLINE. It's the only way I feel I can fit all the thoughts and feelings in, and even then, I don't think that I'll hit them all.

I don't process on the internet. I don't process on twitter or write posts trying to understand my feelings. I never have, I probably never will. Partially because, when I process, I do so in far more than 140 characters. Partially because, at this point, if I say something I regret... I say it to 23,000 people. And I shudder at the idea of saying something wrong, or something hurtful to someone else, to 23,000 people. And it's partially because I just can't react that fast. It means I've been quiet on a lot of issues, even though people have told me I need to say something. I do want to say something. I just want to make sure I've processed, and that it's the thing I need to say. My silence does NOT mean I do not support the victims. Far from it.

It's taken me a lot of time to process. In the first few days, I drank more than was good for me, I admit. I ran more than was good for me, too (which is very possible). More miles vanished under my heels in two days than I'd run in the previous 10 days combined. I would think I felt better, and come back to a fresh cut. I went whole days forgetting to eat. Not sleeping, waking up in a panic thinking it couldn't be this way.

I know this seems like an over-reaction. But I felt like my world was falling down. Science blogging, BORA, who introduced me to science blogging, made me love science again. Bora, and his guidance, got me where I am. Entering into the world of science blogging showed me where my real talent lay. It gave me an entree into a new career that I am unbelievably excited about. I'm so glad to have found something that I'm good at, and that I love. For all this, I thanked Bora. I still do. Science blogging has become my world. It contains most of my friends. It's no longer a world I can step away from and back into the lab. It's my career now. My life.

But it turns out...Bora was not the man I thought he was. I trusted him implicitly. He told me to jump blogs, I would jump. He told me to apply for something, I would. Without hesitation. To me, he was a mentor. Almost paternal. He told me I was his oldest blogdaughter (from way back in '08). He was never inappropriate to me.

But he was horrible, horrible, to others. And it was chilling, and nauseating, to read. I met Bora like all of them did. In a coffee shop. Alone. Nervous. I was no different.

And now I wonder if I was just being used for my sense of loyalty. I think it's obvious to many people who know me. My college boss from the old coffee shop used to tell me I was like a big labrador retriever. I LIKE you! I like you all! I want you to like ME! I trust you implicitly and I think you're GREAT. And if you knock me down, I'll come bounding back, still thinking we're buds. I'm very, very loyal to my friends. They make mistakes, and I know that. Often, I forgive them instantly.

But when those mistakes HURT people. Hurt many, many people. Hurt their own families, possibly beyond repair. Hurt careers. Use power to take what they want. Lie to me. Lie to everyone. Hurt MY FRIENDS.

Even the friendliest dog has a line.

I feel terrible for his victims. I feel terrible that my faith in Bora, in a way, kept him able to harass others. I admire their bravery, their grace. I am with them in every way.

People have been having the uncomfortable, difficult, painful conversations. I've been having a lot of them myself. I have found out that this thing I thought was my community...was not a community to everyone. I have found out that where I tried to be inclusive...people felt excluded. This was not the "community" of everyone at all. I have found that the ScienceOnline meeting, the place where I felt the safest I have ever felt outside my own house...people did not feel safe.

Bora is not the man I thought he was. And the science communication community was not the place I thought it was.

The whole week has been full of downs. But toward the end. I started to see #ripples of hope. Not just the hashtag (though that alone is brilliant), but from other bloggers, saying, we can, in the future, be better. We want to be better. We WILL be better. People taking decisive action.

And I have been incredibly impressed with many of my colleagues. Yes, people fought, and jumped to conclusions, and etc. But there have been no death threats or rape threats, and compared to some communities I've seen...well I'm impressed. I always thought I wrote with and worked with some amazingly good people. Now, I KNOW it.

And it gives me hope. It makes me believe we can do better. It has made me think HARD about how I behave at conferences. Am I friendly? Am I too friendly? Do I exclude people by accident, without knowing? Am I ever in power over someone...even when I may not realize it?

I may have to change how I operate. All of us may. Our rose colored glasses are gone. But I am willing to change. I think many people are. They are willing to admit that what we had...wasn't as great as we thought. And willing to help build a new normal. I hope it's teaching us to listen. I hope it's teaching us to see. Even when we don't like it.

I'm working with some people to help. I would like to help make Science Online the amazing experience I have had for as many people as I can. I would like to make it safe. I've got a few ideas, and I've seen some great ones around. But does anyone else have ideas? Twitter has been a free-flowing stream, and I don't want things that I could help with to flow past. Please please put them in the comments. I'd love to keep track. I'd love to help build a new, better, more trustworthy normal.

 

ADDENDUM: ScienceOnline is very committed to making stuff better. Karyn is collected responses. So please if you have ideas, send her a summary (not a link or a storify or a tweet, a summary) to karyn@scienceonline.com. Together we can make this better.

35 responses so far

Guest Post 5: Accomodasians don't make waves

Oct 17 2013 Published by under Academia, Activism

Guest Post 5 is now live over at SciAm, and it's a GREAT post from Amasian V, of Scientopia! Head over to check out his fantastic post.

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Guest post 4! Don't just assume you should know

Oct 17 2013 Published by under Academia, Activism

Today I'm very proud to feature Ivonne Pena at SciAm today, telling us some important things about context. Many people just assume that others know what a syllabus is, how to get around, etc. But when you are here in academia from a foreign country, it is not so simple. Head over and check it out!

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Guest Post 3: Microaggressions

Oct 16 2013 Published by under Academia, Activism, Scicurious Guest Writers

Today I'm very pleased to show off the Microaggressions Tumblr over at SciAm. The group is doing great work and is here with me to tell you all about the harmful affects of microaggression, and how to bring them to light. Head over and check it out!

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