Let’s skip the actual bad stuff like deviant solicitations and other such nonsense. Even without that, the Internet can be a rather not nice place. Negativity runs rampant in so many circles of the web.
From topics as disparate as Politics to Sports to Celebrities, things can rapidly devolve into personal attacks and flame wars. It’s enough to make you question your faith in humanity.
And yet, I feel lucky to be able spend my time trolling the internet and not really see much of that. Much of my time is spend on various science blogs and searching for neat peer-reviewed papers to read. Possibly by virtue of their small niche, science blogs don’t really generate that much inflammatory commentary. Granted, some blogs do. And certainly I can always chum the waters by superficially blogging about flamebait topics. Even when you do get the random inane comment on a respectable blog, the commentariat is pretty good about policing it.
For the most part people are looking to gather more information or it’s other scientist looking to add their knowledge about the topic. But it is not this Pollyanna, circle of peace and knowledge that is the best thing to me (Although it’s nice). What I truly love is the correspondence.
I love basketball as much as the average Chicagoan that grew up in the 80’s and 90’s. While the barriers are coming down, it would be pretty hard for me to randomly ask Michael Jordan about shot selection against zone vs. man d or his thoughts about the lack of post play from today’s nba guards. I can do that on science blogs. These are some of the top minds in their respective fields. Hero worship has taken such a negative connotation nowadays, but I’d like to think I treat these blog authors with that sort of respect. It is a joy to realize these people who’s books I grew up on are so easy to communicate with now. Try not to be too much of an adoring fan, Sebastian!
If I had one wish for 2014, it would be that the best things of the sciblog community spread to more and more parts of the Internet. Keep blogging and have a Happy New Year everybody!