Delurkpalooza, with Polls!

I am presuming most people who are reading are former Academic Jungle enthusiasts, but I might be mistaken. While stats say that people do read, I get considerably fewer comments than I used to over at Academic Jungle, even on posts that do solicit reader input. That puzzles me! And being puzzled means I have to investigate, which I will do by, ironically, soliciting even more reader input!

Dear reader, tell us about yourself — are you an academic (student, postdoc, prof, lecturer, administrator)?  If you read regularly but don’t comment, what would help you comment more? Anything in particular you like or dislike about Xykademiqz? If you commented over at Academic Jungle but don’t comment quite as much any more, what do you feel has changed? Is the commenting interface uninviting? Do you feel the posts are different? Any other thoughts? 

In case you don’t feel like commenting,  here are some polls!


  1. I’m an undergraduate Chemistry major about to graduate. I’ve been involved in academic research at a Major Research University in the US for over 3 years.

  2. I was mostly a lurker on AJ, maybe I commented once or twice. I’m a neuroscience postdoc. Honestly, I read too may blogs and I read them on Feedly. So I read too much to comment and having to click over to a post to comment is usually to high an energy barrier for me unless I’m passionate about a topic.

  3. I was a big fan of AJ, and very happy that you keep blogging. I normally never comment, because i) I’m usually too late to deliver a brilliant punch pun sparkly comment that would not sink among other comments, and ii) I read mostly in my RSS, so commenting would require me to make one… extra… click! But seriously, keep the great job 🙂

  4. I’m a postdoc in chemistry, was enjoying AJ and now enjoying XYKetc. The comics are great! Didn’t know you had that in you, in addition to everything else. Thanks for blogging!

  5. Came here from Academic Jungle. I commented occasionally there, have not previously commented here — some kind of mix between nothing to add to the post and worry about transgressing the norm here, which seemed to be no comments (few comments).

    I didn’t at first realize you were drawing the comics yourself. Impressive work. You can really convey a character with a few lines.

  6. Came here from Academic Jungle. I commented a few times at AJ but was always amazed at the vitriol poured onto any commenter who did not agree with the general way of thinking of the other commenters. Made me pretty gunshy of joining the conversation!! I do the same here. I enjoy your writing, but don’t like the direction that the comments seem to go.

  7. Followed you here from academic jungle. I was/am a regular reader and really enjoy your writing. I am a postdoctoral reasearcher in physics at a large university on east coast.

  8. I am a graduate student in the physical sciences. I read several academic blogs but yours (in both incarnations) has always been my favorite. I haven’t commented much on either blog because I don’t usually find I have anything to contribute that hasn’t already been said in another comment.

  9. I read and commented on AJ also, so had to leave that poll question blank.

    I have always regarded it as part of my obligation as a reader of a blog to comment occasionally—I know I get frustrated as a blog writer when there is no response to a post I put a lot of effort into. Did it flop? Did any of the viewers actually read it?

    I don’t see any reason for an empty “me too” comment, but like a classroom, blogs work better if almost everyone participates. One can expresses agreement or (polite) disagreement—either is better than silence.

    Incidentally, I agree with with Comradde PhysioProffe—the blogspot interface often refuses or discards my comments due to bugs in the software. It seems that Google continues to have no interest in maintaining a functional blogging platform. I’m glad you moved to WordPress, which has been much more functional for commenting. I’m curious, though, why you chose to set the comment parameters to have a flat discussion, rather than allowing replies to be linked to specific comments.

  10. I’m commenting less everywhere right now- it is just a phase due to a lot going on and not having as much time to read posts “on time” and comment. I’ll no doubt be back once I figure out how to have the time again.

  11. @gasstationwithoutpumps: I’m curious, though, why you chose to set the comment parameters to have a flat discussion, rather than allowing replies to be linked to specific comments.

    Good question. Mostly habit, I think. Also, I tried nested comments on Blogspot and was irritated for some reason, I forgot why, so I reverted to flat. It might be time to try again.

  12. Postdoc (with kid) in CS. I enjoy your blog and admire your energy – both motivate me! Reading blogs is an indulgence I can get away with because I read fast. Commenting takes more time, so I usually only comment if I have something that needs to be said.

  13. American Postdoc (expecting my first child) in chemistry at a research institute in Germany. Came over from AJ. Always read in my Feedly, and I’m generally not a commenter when it comes to any of the blogs I follow. Enjoy reading though.

  14. Tenured prof from AJ. Somewhat agree with profdean that non-Mainstream and critical comments were not welcome on the AJ blog by other commentators or GMP.

  15. Thanks everyone for delurking! It’s great to meet you all, so many new faces!

    Stemprof and Profdean, I am sorry you feel the AJ/xykademiqz comment section was/is uninviting to dissenting voices. However, I don’t think AJ was worse than most other academic blogs in that sense. Part of the reason is anonymous commenting at AJ — people (me included) have no context for what you are saying, and quickly jump on the defensive when a comment seems to come from just another drive-by anonymous. I have certainly gotten into my fair share of trouble in other people’s comments — sometimes the opinion is welcome, sometimes not, you kind of have to be prepared that people might not appreciate it, but sometimes they do. And often, even if they sound like they don’t, they go back and think about it a little more and you actually do end up affecting their opinion. I think commenting consistently with the same handle does help; when people get to know you as a thoughtful individual, they are more likely to listen without jumping to conclusions and to support you even if you offer a dissenting view. Also, what comes with the professorial job description is a tendency to come across as a little patronizing in the comments even without ever indenting to (I have certainly been guilty of that), so that’s another aspect to consider when gauging people’s reactions.

    Finally, when you blog you share a bit of yourself with the world, so really harsh comments are hard not to take personally. Hope Jahren has a great post on why she turned off commenting altogether on her blog, I think it may help people reflect on how vitriolic threads look from the standpoint of the blogger.

    Please comment when you feel you have something to say, and let’s see how it goes!

  16. Tenure-track professor in the Physical Sciences here. I’ve followed from AJ, and I miss a bit the more personal posts, while still enjoying the academic stuff. I don’t comment often because I am more of the silent-type, and that carried over to the Internet.

  17. Research scientist in astronomy. I will probably comment as much here as I did before on AJ, but I just arrived.

  18. I’m a grad student who occasionally commented anonymously on AJ. Decided to stop reading/commenting because of some of the reactions I got to my comments. I think that if a comment is well-written and thoughtful, even pointed as long as not personally insulting, it should be welcome by GMP and other commenters alike. Is it really that hard to just read what someone actually wrote, take time to think about it, and respond if you like? Or must we be able to put people in a box — thoughtful commenter, my friend, a prof – in order to listen to them?

    Also, not sure what the point is starting a new blog when you announce you’re the same person posting. But basically, as long as you keep writing interesting stuff, I’ll likely read it.

  19. Tenure track earth scientist. Don’t comment much, in part because I’m sometimes days behind in reading posts. Was happy to see that you started blogging again. AJ was one of my favorite academic blogs.

  20. Junior STEM prof in Neverland. Obsessive lurker on AJ and now here. Infrequent commenter at AJ, mainly due to the mob mentality among commenters in trying to a put straightjacket on everything according to a particular worldview. Plan to be a frequent commenter here.

  21. Grad student in engineering. I lurked on AJ and probably won’t comment much here, either. But I like the blog!

  22. I was an occasional commenter on AJ. Yours is one of my favorite academic blogs and I am very glad your are still posting. I enjoy your mix of academic, feminist and personal posts. my main reason for not commenting is that I read on feedly, and previously the blogspot captcha would eat my comments. WP is much better

    I am a TT prof at an R1.

    & I enjoy (and am much impressed by!!) your comics.

  23. Tenured faculty – longtime fan of AJ! I have been enjoying your more frequent posts (and comics). Unfortunately, between student recruiting and NIH grant deadlines, I’m in time debt, so not much chance to comment. Keep up the good work!

  24. Grad student in the social sciences. Long-time reader of AJ as well as several other blogs by female professors. I’ve never been much of a commenter, but I enjoy reading the academic stuff as well as the more personal stuff.

    I am going on the job market this year and facing the uncertainty of my life post grad-school, including such happy questions as TT job (I am currently on one short-list, flying out there in 4 days!) or postdoc (I have two possibilities at the moment, one in Canada and one in the US, both would be awesome, but neither is guaranteed at the moment); North America (if the aforementioned plans work out), Europe (where I (think I) have some connections) or back home (which would be a huge setback, possibly the end of the life I have worked for for about 8 years now, and generally a very depressing thought); and whether my current relationship with another grad student who is also on the job market will survive the stress of this year and the very likely eventuality that we will have to be apart for at least 1-2 years.

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