One of the things I’m proudest of about Dynamic Ecology is something that’s largely out of the control of Brian, Meg, and I: the number and quality of the comments. We have great comment threads. And that’s not because you’re not seeing all the crap I filter out, because I don’t have to filter out any crap. I’ve literally only had to block like four comments, ever. I could speculate on why that is, but right now let me just say how glad Brian, Meg, and I am for it. Other scientific blogs have had to turn off commenting as their audiences grew (e.g., Hope Jahren). Thanks sooo much to all of you that we haven’t had to do that, or even consider it.
As with any blog, it’s only a fraction of readers who comment. I wanted to give a shout-out to our most active commenters, the folks who do the most to start conversations and keep them going. We have many active commenters, but our most active in 2013 were:
Thanks to all of you, and to all of our commenters. Looking forward to continuing the conversation in 2014.
So … is it reasonable to be proud of something that is largely out of your control? Just asking. 🙂
Well, it’s not entirely out of our control. We do as much as we can to encourage good comment threads. For instance, Brian, Meg, and I are all active in the comment threads ourselves, which I’d think helps “set the tone”, and serves as an “honest signal” that we really do value comments. And we sometimes highlight particularly good comment threads, write posts inspired by comments, and do other things (like this post!) to show that we welcome comments and take them seriously. And if terrible comments (insults or whatever) were to start showing up more frequently, I’d block them without hesitation, since bad commenters will drive away good ones. All that may be necessary, but it’s far from sufficient, as Hope Jahren’s experience illustrates. Hence our feeling both proud and thankful for our comment threads.
p.s. I think our commenters should also be proud that the comment threads here are so good. Probably should’ve said as much in the post.
I’m not well trained in ecology so I feel like a groupie backstage at a rock concert by lurking here. And occasionally the spirit moves me to comment, apparently more than I’d thought! This and a few other blogs have been influential components to my continued development in science (who knew I’d still be developing at my age) so keep doing what you’re doing. You (that’s the plural you) do it very well.
I suspect that’s the first and last time Brian, Meg, and I will ever be compared to a rock band! 🙂
You guys are doing a **great** job, all of you. The quality of ensuing discussions always starts with the blogger(s) themselves, I’m fairly convinced of that. Not easy to give thoughtful answers to readers’ replies and keep everything on track, I know that from experience.
Just mildly curious though–can we expect our cash awards and ribbons at the annual banquet then?
“can we expect our cash awards and ribbons at the annual banquet then?”
You didn’t read the legal fine print, did you? This blog is null and void in the continental United States, Hawaii, and Alaska. In fact, it’s null and void in all jurisdictions except Ankh-Morpork.
I had a sneaking suspicion you were going to start expecting us to actually read stuff here at some point.
Thanks for the kind words, Jeff and Jim, and to you both for contributing so actively.
I just want to second Jeremy’s sentiments in the original post. Its the quality of the discussion (i.e. the comments) that makes blogging worthwhile for me. And I feel Dynamic Ecology has been very lucky in the discussions we’ve had. There have been some intense disagreements but the discussions have been very substantive and never degenerate into mud slinging. This is extremely rare on the internet in my experience.
And I want to third Jeremy’s sentiments. I am so, so glad we haven’t had to deal with the trolls that people like Hope have had, and I very much hope it remains that way! The thoughtful discussions that go on in the comments are fantastic.
A leading economics blog (The Incidental Economist) also is shutting down their comments, at least temporarily:
I suspect part of the issue for them was that, as an economics blog writing on issues of public interest, they probably got a fair number of uninformed, unproductive comments from political partisans. But I’m speculating on that.
Pingback: Happy new year, and back on track! | theoretical ecology
Pingback: There are ecology blogs, but no ecology blogosphere | Dynamic Ecology