Another week begins. Mayhew is still at it, still publicly fuming about the way I blog. It’s on Google+ this time, and she did some research. She also did some attempted argument.
I pointed out the lazy blogging habits of certain Freethoughtblogs authors because it bothers me to see people trying make a name for themselves by posting fluff, when there are so many quality, hard working science advocates and educators out there.
That’s the argument part.
It’s a stupid argument.
One, “trying make a name for themselves”? How does she know that’s what we’re doing? How does she know all of us or any of us are doing that? How does she know we’re doing that more than anything else, or to the exclusion of anything else? She doesn’t. She doesn’t know any of those things. My main reason for doing it is the fact that I like doing it. When I started doing it I had no reason to think anyone would ever read a word of it.
Two, “when there are so many quality, hard working science advocates and educators out there”? Wut? Of course there are. There are tens of thousands of them. If we’re talking the whole world, there are millions of them. What’s that got to do with anything? Do I have some big fraudulent label on my blog that says “quality, hard working science here!”? No. Am I taking anything away from any quality, hard working science advocates and educators? No. That “when” is as random and meaningless as if she shouted at someone for eating lunch when there are so many quality, hard working science advocates and educators out there or going for a walk when there are so many quality, hard working science advocates and educators out there or burping the baby when there are so many quality, hard working science advocates and educators out there.
Three, don’t make me laugh. She suddenly starts complaining about “the lazy blogging habits of certain Freethoughtblogs authors” out of some broad social concern for quality science and education? Please. Out of all the bloggers in all the world, not to mention all the problems in all the world, she zoomed in on the putative lazy blogging habits of certain Freethoughtblogs authors…because she has a burr up her ass and she just can’t shut up about me. It’s got nothing to do with quality science and education. Her attempt at a “Dear Muslima” is pathetic.
Now for the quality hard-working research.
Here are some recent posts from Butterflies and Wheels, which shows how many words were copy/pasted from a secondary source, out of the total words of the post:
How to read satire 555/895
Michael Nugent visits the slime pit 556/791
This isn’t simply trying to be transparent and quoting people accurately. Anyone who took high school English knows that if you can’t summarize a large chunk of text, you probably don’t understand it. Quotes should be supplementary, not nearly 50% of your piece.
This isn’t high school English, Sara. A blog isn’t a term paper. It isn’t a book report. It isn’t a dissertation. It isn’t a magazine column or a book chapter. A blog is a blog, and one of the distinctive features of the blog as a medium is that there are no rules. No rules at all. You can do anything with your blog you want to (within the law).
My aim isn’t to summarize stuff I read. I know how to summarize a large chunk of text, thank you, but it’s hardly ever what I want to do here. You’re trying to invent a new rule but it won’t work, because you’re not in charge of blogging. There’s no such “should” as “quotes should be supplementary, not nearly 50% of your piece,” not for blogging. There is for other kinds of writing, of course, but not for blogging. Blogging is a flexible, shifting, creative genre, and your invented rules cut no ice.
Blogging isn’t the same as handing in an academic paper, but having this much of someone else’s writing pasted into your post is intellectually lazy and sloppy writing. You could argue substance over style, but there’s so little substance there. It would be fine to do a TMZ/tabloid style take-down of subjects, but even those mediums have an element of entertainment and/or humour; it’s not to be mistaken for serious, quality information.
I’m not saying these peanut gallery style blogs shouldn’t exist. I’m saying that they should be given the credibility a peanut gallery deserves, which is much much less than well written, content focused bloggers who aim to communicate science and secular humanism with quality information. Those are the bloggers that deserve your serious attention and the guest speaker chairs at events.
Aha, now we get to the point! Nobody should be asking me to speak at events! Mayhew is pissed off that someone occasionally asks me to speak at an event.
Why? Why me, why now?
I have no idea. Maybe she’s used up her other targets and cast around for a new one.
It’s funny how I’ve never seen fit to do this to Mayhew. I don’t tweet and post and Facebook update to say she does shitty work and doesn’t deserve your serious attention and the guest speaker chairs at events. I don’t talk about her at all – until she starts poking at me.
Kylie Sturgess has a couple of very good comments on Mayhew’s post. Mayhew would be wise to heed them.