Years ago I remember seeing a Far Side cartoon that started with a panel titled "What we say to dogs", in which a man is telling his dog, Ginger, to stay out of the garbage. Then in the next panel, titled "What they hear", the man seems to be saying "blah blah blah blah Ginger blah blah blah Ginger blah blah blah".
I am going to turn that around a bit and warp it to fit my strange little corner of the blogosphere. In this case, we will start with "What they say", in which "they" are some commenters I will single out for special attention. But then, instead of replying with just "blah blah blah Anonymous blah blah blah", I will explain how I interpret these comments. I suppose a subtitle could be "Lost in translation" or "FSP hears only what she wants to hear".
When someone comments, as happens from time to time: You spend so much time whining about sexism, you probably don't have any time to do your research.
I interpret that to mean that the commenter would be unable to manage their time writing a blog and doing their research, so they cannot imagine that I can do it. It is interesting how people project their own abilities and time management skills, or lack thereof, onto others, but I think we all do this now and then in various situations (though in most cases our intentions are not to malign).
When someone comments: You can't conclude anything from your n=1 anecdotal unscientific study that you haven't even discussed thoroughly and which, by the way, involves something you didn't realize/mention and so you have thereby undermined your entire argument and so I conclude that you suck as a scientist. (see entertaining sarcastic version of this by 'a physicist' on Tuesday's post)
I interpret this to mean that the commenter does not have a blog, or, if he/she does, then it might not be a blog that involves writing 5+ times/week or perhaps it has a totally different style. Here at FSP, I sometimes use an anecdote or something in the news as the nucleus for a post. In some cases I don't even give any particular opinion about the post-launching topic, but I use it to discuss related things. This annoys some people, but these people somehow forgot to send me their personalized lists of exactly what topics I should write about each day and what opinion I should have and how much detail I should include so that every post will interest them and fit exactly with their own opinions about the topic o' the day. But aside from that, I don't see what any of this has to do with whether I am a good scientist or not.
When someone comments: FYI, you never actually write about Science. Your blog would be more interesting if you wrote about Science.
My response is: Yes, I know. No, it wouldn't.
When someone comments: I hate reading your blog. I read it every day and it makes me angry.
My response: Please please find a way to identify yourself so that law enforcement officials can be notified that you are bound and shackled somewhere, with your head restrained and your eyes propped open so that you cannot avert your gaze from the horror that is my blog.. every day. Such torture is shocking and I personally am against it.
When someone comments: I hate the blog posts about feminism and how you are so discriminated against. You write about this boring topic so much that it makes an objective, neutral person such as myself realize that you are the main problem and if you would only stop complaining in your blog, everything would get better and you would get a raise so that your salary was equal to that of your male peers and everyone would respect you more.
I hear: blah blah blah blah unobjective Anonymous blah blah blah
6 months ago