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Feb 24 2012

How to handle criticism

You may have noticed that all the choices in the Readers’ Choice Awards for favorite atheist blog are white, so it’s not very diverse (two women out of five candidates, though, is pretty good — a few years ago it was a struggle to even get women noticed in this movement). A few people have been criticizing the awards for that, and I noted that this is a problem that plagues online popularity contests — they tend to be ruled by the majority and exclude all minorities.

To his credit, Austin Cline has responded to the criticisms, and he didn’t dig in his heels. Instead, he’s looking for suggestions to improve the breadth of the sample next time around. That’s the way to do it!

I’m still insisting that you go vote for the old white guy every day anyway.

31 comments

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  1. 1
    michaeld

    I’d like to second what was said on the non prophets (3 episodes back i think it was)that we need fewer best X lists or contests and more underrated, best X flying under the radar etc lists/contests. Its pretty much a conclusion that PZ with his massive following can sweep a list like this and many atheists especially on the internet have probably heard of him. Wouldn’t it be a better use of our popularity to direct people to lesser known bloggers etc.

  2. 2
    brucecoppola

    FWIW, I’ve been liking Crommunist lately. Good at exploring racism in Canada and the US (with the somewhat differing ways they manifest themselves) as well as generally deflating the common stereotype of Canada as this nice polite kumbaya land of tolerance. Our neighbors have their issues too.

  3. 3
    charley

    “I’m still insisting that you go vote for the old white guy every day anyway.”

    Followed immediately by an ad for Newt Gingrich.

  4. 4
    Markita Lynda—threadrupt

    Very good suggestion, Michael D! Let’s find the hidden gems.

  5. 5
    dangeroustalk

    As I learned the hard way, you can’t have awards any more. Some group will be excluded. Someone will feel they should have been nominated. Someone will not like one or more of the nominees, etc.

  6. 6
    Ingdigo Jump

    As I learned the hard way, you can’t have awards any more. Some group will be excluded. Someone will feel they should have been nominated. Someone will not like one or more of the nominees, etc.

    Oh grow the fuck up.

  7. 7
    Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought

    I third what michaeld said.

    Maybe we could organize a little competition right here. Nothing fancy, just maybe a thread where people mention good bloggers they have found on wide internet fields during the month. Add some voting (insert a working plan) and maybe PZ can let the winner contribute a guest post on Pharyngula. Even those who don’t win would probably get some new readers.

  8. 8
    Naked Bunny with a Whip

    PZ only has 72% right now. This is plainly a schism. The Atheist Movement® is doomed.

  9. 9
    carinade almeida

    I am with brucecoppola @2. I have voted for PZ as he is truly my favorite however Crommunist has also earned my following. Good reading that is!

  10. 10
    'Tis Himself

    Who would you rather vote for, middle-aged white guy from Minnesota who writes about squid or a vibrant bi-woman from San Francisco who writes about sex? GRETA CHRISTINA IS OUR CANDIDATE!

  11. 11
    PZ Myers

    You almost convinced me, but then…you failed to mention if Greta writes about squid. That’s the dealbreaker.

  12. 12
    Anthony K

    As I learned the hard way, you can’t have awards any more.

    What’s the hard way? You were beaten? Your house was firebombed? You had to go into hiding because of death threats?

    I really hope it’s none of these, because I think finding out that the writer of a blog called ‘Dangerous Talk’ considers having his decisions criticised as “learning the hard way to just give up” would kick my weekend off right.

  13. 13
    Inaji

    Dangeroustalk:

    As I learned the hard way, you can’t have awards any more.

    Aaaaw, don’t worry, Cupcake. No one wants to give you an award.

  14. 14
    Anthony K
    As I learned the hard way, you can’t have awards any more.

    Aaaaw, don’t worry, Cupcake. No one wants to give you an award.

    Sigh. Now everything’s ruined…

  15. 15
    Inaji

    Brownian:

    Sigh. Now everything’s ruined…

    Oh…well, I suppose we could work up some sort of sniny bauble.

  16. 16
    Anthony K

    Oh…well, I suppose we could work up some sort of sniny bauble.

    We’ll call it the “Most Progressive Atheist Blog” award, and give him one out of pure tokenism.

    Gosh, I hope that’s not too dangerous for “Dangerous Talk”. Clearly, he bruises pretty easily.

  17. 17
    Inaji

    Brownian:

    We’ll call it the “Most Progressive Atheist Blog” award, and give him one out of pure tokenism.

    Aaah yes, that seems perfect:

    His word. Used eight times, in a 677-word post. Ten, if you count the title, “Tokens or No Tokens.”

    I think a nice, sniny penny should do the token trick.

  18. 18
    Anthony K

    I think a nice, sniny penny should do the token trick.

    But such an award pegged to the value of his contributions could hardly be called ‘token’ any longer.

  19. 19
    Inaji

    Brownian:

    But such an award pegged to the value of his contributions could hardly be called ‘token’ any longer.

    :digs around in catch-all drawer: I have a dull, scuffed subway token. Will that do?

  20. 20
    Anthony K

    I have a dull, scuffed subway token. Will that do?

    Perfect. And I’ve probably got one of those ‘Participant’ ribbons they give you in school for showing up on Track & Field day somewhere around here.

    Damn. The only kinds of glue I’ve got are non-toxic, though.

  21. 21
    Therrin

    You may have noticed that all the choices in the Readers’ Choice Awards for favorite atheist blog are white

    So that’s why you changed yours to blue.

  22. 22
    dangeroustalk

    Yeah, I used the word tokenism to argue against tokenism, go figure. Oh shit, I just used it twice. *facepalm*

  23. 23
    zb24601

    If it is “Readers’ Choice”, why do I only get to choose from a list made up by the people running the poll? I should be able to vote for any blog. As it is, it should be called the “Poller’s Choice Award”.

  24. 24
    Matt Penfold

    If it is “Readers’ Choice”, why do I only get to choose from a list made up by the people running the poll? I should be able to vote for any blog. As it is, it should be called the “Poller’s Choice Award”.

    The short-listed blogs were nominated by readers.

  25. 25
    mike53

    The atheist movement I once identified with has become so quick to silence any voice of dissent it makes me think that we’ve become just as bad as religious people.

    We need atheism 3.0 with leaders that care about whats actually true as opposed to promoting their own intellectually dishonest ideology and deleting any comments that disagree.

    When being politically correct has become more important than whats actually true we need a new movement and new leaders.

    Stop being sheeple followers please, get up from your pew and think for yourself.

  26. 26
    Ze Madmax

    mike53 @ #25

    The atheist movement I once identified with has become so quick to silence any voice of dissent it makes me think that we’ve become just as bad as religious people.

    OH NOES! Challenging issues that perpetuate systemic inequality = acting like institutions that are heavily invested in maintaining systemic inequality.

    We need atheism 3.0 with leaders that care about whats actually true as opposed to promoting their own intellectually dishonest ideology and deleting any comments that disagree.

    OH NOES! The idea that minorities are people with ideas and points of view that are as valid as the ideas of cis, straight white men = intellectual dishonest ideology

    (Also: being called out for being a bigot who supports an unequal system = suppression of dissent)

    When being politically correct has become more important than whats actually true we need a new movement and new leaders.

    OH NOES! Trying to improve the quality of the atheist movement by making it more inclusive = bad for the movement ’cause ZOMG PC NAZIS.

    Stop being sheeple followers please, get up from your pew and think for yourself.

    OH NOES! Challenging the deeply ingrained inequalities that permeate society = being sheeple.

    mike53, you’d be funny, if you were not so sad.

  27. 27
    mike53

    Internet forum jargon and name calling win arguments around here. Deleting any opinions that differ from the popluar opinion is fine.

    Free speech isn’t an important concept. Is it?

    Thanks for proving my point about all the yes-men around here.

  28. 28
    Inaji

    When being politically correct has become more important than whats actually true we need a new movement and new leaders.

    So…including women, people of colour and LGBT nominees is nothing more than being politically correct? Because there couldn’t possibly be any worthy voices in atheism which fit those categories, right?

    You’re an idiot, Mike53.

  29. 29
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Free speech isn’t an important concept. Is it?

    You’re free to speak your mind. Such as it is. Don’t be embarrassed by the lack of ideas you have presented. Ideas with citations (from Google Scholar) for evidence are golden. Evidently, your unevidenced ideas are turds.

  30. 30
    Ingdigo Jump

    Stop being sheeple followers please, get up from your pew and think for yourself.

    Don’t tell me what to do

  31. 31
    Cipher

    Stop being sheeple followers please, get up from your pew and think for yourself.

    Aww, everybody cut mike53 some slack. He isn’t used to engaging with real people. He is only bored enough to comment here because his new copy of Atlas Shrugged hasn’t been delivered yet. His last copy has too many pages stuck together.

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