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Monday, January 23, 2006
The Law of Diminishing Comment Returns
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 11:58 am

David Carr comments on the WaPo no comments brouhaha in the NYT today: Soothe the Blog and Reap the Whirlwind.

Quite frankly, I don’t get the big deal about WaPo shutting down comments. There is a law of diminishing returns when it comes to high traffic sites with comment sections.

It is clearly the case that high-traffic sites with highly partisan readers will get some high octane inanity in their comments section (think: Atrios or LGF). In fact, I avoid some sites, like LGF, at least in part because of the commenters.

But apart from content, ideological, inane or whatever, once one is getting hundreds of comments per post, at what point does it cease really being a feedback mechanism? Do Duncan and Charles read all the comments they get? I am guessing not, but I could be wrong. It is obvious on some sites that the comments are never (or rarely) read by the blog’s main author. There is no interaction with the readers-it is as if the idea is: read my stuff and then talk about it amongst yourselves. This is not true feedback.

I get a handful of comments per post-indeed, most posts I write get no comments. A post with heavy comment traffic would be maybe a dozen comments. I read all my comments-it isn’t all that time consuming, and I respond to a decent number of them, although even my meager traffic is enough that I don’t always have time to address everyone.

I leave my comments largely alone, unless they are truly offensive, or are spam. Those I delete. I do leave jut obnoxious ones up in the cause of free speech. I only ever actively sought to ban on Troll from commenting, and that was over a year ago.

But back to WaPo: given that so many people want, for reasons I don’t understand, to post partisan diatribes in public spaces, it seems pointless to have comments with that knd of traffic. It isn’t like WaPo’s reporters can sit around and read hundreds of comments. And it isn’t as if meaningful dialog is taking place.

The better way to make you comments is to start your own blog and link back to the WaPo piece you wish to comment upon.

It isn’t as if avenues for self-expression don’t exist. Why should high-traffic sites have to invite, host and store a bunch of nonsense?

Filed under: Blogging | Comments (9) |Send TrackBack | Show Comments here
Sunday, January 22, 2006
Roger Staubach has a Blog
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 4:44 pm

Roger Staubach, the football hero of my youth, has a blog: Monday Morning CEO.

It is a mix of business stuff and football. The most recent post references both the U.S. Supreme Court and eminent domain and the NFL playoffs.

Interestingly it’s powered by WordPress.

I was trying to find an online version of the NFL Network commercial with Roger and Roy Williams (which is quite cool) and came across the blog.

Filed under: Sports, Blogging, The NFL | Comments (1) |Send TrackBack | Show Comments here
Blogs go Mainstream
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 3:35 pm

In the last week I have seen two different commercials for TV shows that mention blogs. I just saw a CSI: Miami commercial wherein there was something about them finding evidence via a blog and there was some throw-away line on a commercial for How I Met Your Mother wherein Doogie Howser asks “don’t you read my blog?”

So it’s official: we aren’t cool anymore-everyone knows about us.

Filed under: Pop Culture, Blogging | Comments (1) |Send TrackBack | Show Comments here
NFL Picks
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 3:21 pm

I made my picks for today over at Arguing with signposts where I am lending a minor hand to Bryan as he takes comps.

Filed under: Sports, Blogging, Academia, The NFL | Comments (2) |Send TrackBack | Show Comments here
Thursday, January 19, 2006
The Majority Leader Race: Conference Calls and Blogs
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 8:44 pm

One of the fascinating elements of the current House Majority Leader race is the degree to which the candidates have taken an active interest in bloggers to build support for their runs. I have been receiving numerous e-mails, for example, from John Boehner’s office.

Today there were conference calls from the three candidates, Boehner, Blunt and Shadegg, which were set up for bloggers. I was invited to at least one of them, but didn’t have time to participate.

Dale Franks at QandO, did, however, and reviews all three here and provides an unendorsement of one of the candidates.

James Joyner also participated and reviews the calls: Shadegg, Boehner, Blunt and provides links to other commentary as well.

Filed under: US Politics, Blogging | Comments (2) |Send TrackBack | Show Comments here

PoliBlog: A Rough Draft of my Thoughts » Bloggers and the MSM linked with [...] legitimate and worthwhile vehicle for information dissemination (and, yes, spin). Indeed, I myself have noted the degree to which members of Congress saw the blogosphere as a place to fight part of th [...]
Friday, January 6, 2006
I’m Back
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 8:57 pm

In fact, I have been back for a while, but have been otherwise occupied.

My thanks to Steven L. for helping out in my absense.

Regular blogging will, no doubt, resume tomorrow.

Filed under: General, Blogging | Comments (6) |Send TrackBack | Show Comments here
Wednesday, January 4, 2006
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 2:29 pm

I am off to the Southern Political Science Association meeting. Expect little or nothing out of me for the couple of days.

Steven L. may (or may not) fill in some for me (Steven: check your yahoo account).

Filed under: General, Blogging | Comments (3) |Send TrackBack | Show Comments here

A Knight’s Blog » USC v. UT linked with [...] at the Sultan of Brunei is my immediate neighbor, and he is a huge UT fan. I’m glad he’s in Atlanta, because were he home I’d hear his yelling from my living room. I’m rooti [...]
Tuesday, January 3, 2006
Long Day, Little Blogging
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 9:12 pm

Take a pile of work, the need for an out-of-town errand and computer woes and you get very little blogging.

Filed under: General, Blogging | Comments (0) |Send TrackBack
Monday, January 2, 2006
Munger’s Back
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 6:27 pm

He may no longer be “Killer Grease”-but he is blogging again. And he has upgraded is digs.

Filed under: Blogging | Comments (0) |Send TrackBack
Thursday, December 29, 2005
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 11:18 am

There’s a new Green in town.

Congratulations to Stephen and Melissa.

(And that is quite a cute picture!).

Filed under: Not politics, Blogging | Comments (0) |Send TrackBack
Wednesday, December 28, 2005
Blogging Political Scientists Census-Beta Version
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 2:40 pm

Note: As I receive additional information, I am updating the table. I also have added some additional commentary, and may add more.

Speaking of SPSA papers, I have been working for some time (mentioned early on here) on determining how many political scientists blog. We know that there are a large number of bloggin’ law profs-see Concurring Opinion’s Law Professor Blogger Census 3.1. Indeed, several of the top blogs are written by law prfos: Glenn Reynolds, Stephen Bainbridge, Ann Althouse, and Eugene Volokh to name a few).

While I am of the opinion that blogging is a fantastic medium for academics, there isn’t the same sort of blogging presence for political scientists, despite the obvious synergy between studying politics and blogging. Of course, the obvious exception to that statement is Dan Drezner.

I won’t even call this a full census, as I have not completed the work. I am posting to show preliminary results and in the hopes that those listed will correct me if I am in error, help fill in the blanks, and point out any sites that I may have missed.

I have collected data on blogging polisci grad students and also on those with polisci Ph.D.’s who aren’t currently working in academia (e.g., James Joyner, Andrew Sullivan, and Tom Grant). However, that information is incomplete, and therefore not included at this time.

Indeed, operationalizing “blogging political scientist” isn’t as easy as I wanted. Originally I was looking only for individuals with Ph.D’s in political science, and teaching in a political science department. However, there are those who are not in polisci departments (e.g., Paul Brewer), those who are in polisci departments, but whose degree is not in polisci (e.g., Mike Munger) and those who neither have a degree specifically in polisci and also do not work in a polsci department, per se (e.g., Mark A. R. Kleiman).

At the moment I have excluded those with doctorates in philosophy who teach in the philosophy departments, yet teach political philosophy. There are also some example of methodologists working in the area of politics that I have not decided how to classify.

Update: I would note that not all bloggers are created equal, insofar as some of the persons on the list blog quite a bit more than others. On many of the group blogs there is a dominant blogger (or bloggers) and then others who only contribute occasionally. Also, there are several political science professors who have posted once at the Huffington Post (for example: Graham Allison). However, since Allison, and a handful of others, posted only once, and those posts were months ago, there didn’t meet the minimal threshold for being a “blogger.”

I would consider the purest form of blogging to be blogs set up and run by an individual and regularly updated. Still, establishing a precise threshold is difficult to do, so as long a blogger demonstrated some level of ongoing activity or potential for activity, I included them in the list.

If a blog was dead for some time, or if a person only posted a single post, I excluded them from the list.

Here’s the breakdown based on academic rank:

Non-tenure track510.00%

Update: Information above changed to reflect that one member of the list caegorized as “post-doc” should be listed an “Assistant.”

Here’s the census, to date:

Brewer, Paul
The Public Brewery

Associate Univ of Wisconsin-Milwaukee AP
Brooke, Chris The Virtual Stoa Non-tenure track Oxford Theory
Burden, Barry Political Behavior Blog Associate Harvard AP
Cline, Andrew R. Rhetorica Assistant Missouri State Univ. AP
Crane, George T. The Useless Tree Professor Williams College CP
Dion, Michelle La Profesora Abstraída Assistant GIT CP
Drezner, Daniel W. Daniel W. Drezner Associate Tufts (was U of C) IR
Farley, Robert Lawyers, Guns and Money Assitant University of Kentucky IR
Farrell, Henry Crooked Timber Assistant George Washington University IR
Franklin, Charles Political Arithmetik Professor University of Wisconsin AP
Frymer, Paul Polysigh Associate UCSC AP
Geras, Norm normblog Emeritus Univesity of Manchester Theory

Gordon, Michael The Buggy Professor Emeritus UCSB IR
Griffith, Mark F. Political Man Professor Univ. of West Alabama AP
Hacker, Jacob The Coffee House Assistant Yale AP
Ikenberry, G. John America Abroad Professor Princeton IR
Jackson, Patrick Duck of Minerva Assistant American Univ IR
Jentleson, Bruce America Abroad Professor Duke IR
Kayyem, Juliette N. America Abroad Lecturer Harvard Policy
King, Gary Social Science Statistics Blog

Professor Harvard AP
Kleiman, Mark A. R. The Reality-Based Community Professor UCLA Policy
Klinkner, Philip Polysigh Associate Hamilton College AP
La Raja, Ray Polysigh Assistant UMass Amherst AP
Lawrence, Chris Signifying Nothing Visiting Duke AP
Lemieux, Scott Lawyers, Guns and Money Assistant Hunter College-CUNY AP
Levy, Jacob T. Jacob T. Levy Assistant University of Chicago Theory
Lublin, David Polysigh Associate American University AP
Lynch, Marc Abu Aadrvark Associate Williams College IR
McMahon, Kevin Polysigh Associate SUNY, Fredonia AP
Medvid, Stephen Polysigh Assistant Franklin and Marshall AP
Munger, Michael C. Mungowit’s End Professor Duke AP
Nexon, Dan Duck of Minerva Assistant Georgetown ???
Nye, Joseph The Huffington Post Professor Harvard IR
O’Kelly, Ciaran Neither Indifferent nor Sceptical ??? ??? CP
Payne, Rodger Rodger A. Payne’s Blog Professor University of Louisville IR
Pitney, Jr, .John J. Polysigh Professor Claremont McKenna AP
Pseudonymous Professor Chaos Instructor Anonymous IR
Pseudonymous The Jawa Report Instructor Anon AP
Rummel, R.J. Democratic Peace Emeritus University of Hawaii IR
Sadow, Jeffery Between the Lines Associate LSU, Shreveport AP
Shugart, Matthew S. Fruits and Votes Professor UCSD CP
Skinner, Richard Polysigh ??? ??? ???
Slaughter, Anne-Marie America Abroad Professor Princeton IR
Steinberg, James B. America Abroad Dean Texas-LBJ School Policy
Strolovitch, Dara Polysigh Assistant University of Minnesota AP
Taylor, Steven L. PoliBlog Associate Troy University CP
Teles, Steven The Reality-Based Community Assistant Brandeis AP/CP
Tillery, Jr, .Alvin B. Polysigh Assistant Notre Dame AP
Warren, Dorian Polysigh post-doc University of Chicago AP
Yadav, Vikash Foreign Exchange Assistant The American Univ (Cairo) IR

Filed under: Blogging, Academia | Comments (8) |Send TrackBack | Show Comments here

A Knight’s Blog » Bloggin’ Profs linked with [...] 8 pm If you are interested in the intersection of academics blogging, check out something I have been working on in regards to blogging political scientists. For a study of blogging law pro [...]
Fruits and Votes » Blog Archive » Blogging Political Scientists Census linked with [...] ofessor Matthew Søberg Shugart @3:19 pm Steven Taylor has an updated and expanded census of blogging political scientists. I have added a permanent link to the post on F&V [...]
Oh, Those Awful Bloggers
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 10:42 am

Kathleen Parker takes on blogging in her latest column, which includes the following paragraph:

There’s something frankly creepy about the explosion we now call the Blogosphere - the big-bang “electroniverse” where recently wired squatters set up new camps each day. As I write, the number of “blogs” (Web logs) and “bloggers”(those who blog) is estimated in the tens of millions worldwide.

I always find such pronouncements by persons who are entrenched part of the traditional press (in this case, a syndicated columnist) to be self-serving and odd, not to mention usually ill-informed.

I could go on, but James Joyner has already done it for me. So: what he said.

(Ok, I lied-read James, but I couldn’t resist further commentary)

I will say that as a social scientist I also find the kind of gross generalities that she engages in are most annoying. To conflate the entire Blogosphere into millions of roughly co-equal parts is simply silly, as anyone who know anything about blogging knows. Plus, in terms of comparability (and this is a point Joyner makes as well) there have been no bloggers who could be logically compared to Jayson Blair, Dan Rather, Eason Jordan or Judith Miller. If one is going to engage in comparative analysis, one has to figure out whether one has truly comparable data or not.

Along those same lines, she mixes type by comparing reporters to commentators. On balance, blogging is about commentary and analysis, not reporting. As such, direct comparisons between top bloggers and reporters for top newspapers is a malformed comparison.

And if one is going to make generalized conclusions such as follows, then it might be useful to name names, rather than make nebulous charges:

we should beware and resist the rest of the ego-gratifying rabble who contribute only snark, sass and destruction.

We can’t silence them, but for civilization’s sake - and the integrity of information by which we all live or die - we can and should ignore them.

Are there annoying, vicious bloggers? Oh, yes. Of course, in some cases, the venom is in the eye of the partisan. Of course, there are some pretty obnoxious TV pundit and talk radio hosts. Kos says some pretty mean, obnoxious things about his partisan foes, but then again, so do folks like Al Franken and Rush Limbaugh. What’s the difference, aside from the medium in which the the statement are being made?

And from the middle of the piece is this odd statement:

What Golding demonstrated - and what we’re witnessing as the Blogosphere’s offspring multiply - is that people tend to abuse power when it is unearned and will bring down others to enhance themselves.

No blogger has an automatic audience. One has to work to get readership and we all started with zero readers per hour, day or week, unless we had some claim to media fame pre-blogging (e.g., Michelle Malkin as a columnist, Hugh Hewitt as a talk show host). One of the virtues of the Blogosphere is that it as close to a perfect marketplace of ideas as once can create. Everyone can speak and if one has something interesting to say, and one works hard, one will get noticed. As such, the only ones with any “power” have earned it.

Ultimately, this column really doesn’t make much sense. I think we would all agree that there are rude, nasty bloggers-and I, on balance, avoid them. However, since Parker doesn’t name names or give specific examples, I am not rally sure what she is getting at. If she is referring to the fact that there are popular sites, like Daily Kos and LGF that often engage in partisan invective, fine: say so. However, I remain unconvinced that this is the domain solely of blogs. There is plenty of partisan invective via print, TV and radio.

Filed under: Blogging, MSM | Comments (7) |Send TrackBack | Show Comments here

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A Knight’s Blog » Those Mean Ol’ Bloggers linked with [...] nist Kathleen Parker takes blogs to task. As a result, James Joyner takes Parker to task (as do I). No Comments » No comments yet. RSS [...]
Monday, December 26, 2005
Happy Boxing Day!
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 9:36 am

Today’s the day to take all those boxes from the Christmas presents, and put them in the trash.

Or, something like that.

At any rate: happy day, eh?

Filed under: photoblogging | Comments (3) |Send TrackBack | Show Comments here

A Knight's Blog linked with Bad, Guest Blogger, Very Bad
Saturday, December 24, 2005
Merry Christmas!
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 11:37 pm

~Merry Christmas From the Taylors~

Filed under: Blogging, Kids, photoblogging | Comments (5) |Send TrackBack | Show Comments here

Fruits and Votes linked with Merry Chanukah
Outside The Beltway linked with Merry Christmas
Friday, December 23, 2005
Speaking of Commemoration…
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 2:42 pm

….yesterday was the twentieth anniversary of my first date with my wife (15.5 years of which have been spent in holy matrimony).

And yes, the photo below contains shocking visual information for anyone who hasn’t seen in me that last 6 months. (And no, I haven’t given up on contacts-just happened to have glasses on last night).

Filed under: Blogging, photoblogging | Comments (6) |Send TrackBack | Show Comments here
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