Ada Initiative status report


I promised that all donations to Pharyngula for a couple of weeks would go to the Ada Initiative, less the price of taking my wife out to a nice dinner; I’ll be sending them the money on 1 October. I figured I’d fill you in on how things are going.

OK, I splurged. I took my wife out to the fanciest restaurant in Morris, Minnesota, and we just went nuts and ordered a fabulous meal. I hope you’ll all forgive me: dinner for two was -$21.18. A little extravagance was acceptable, I think.

The sum remaining is $1756.82. You could add more to that anytime — just click on that big “DONATE” button on the sidebar.

Giant stack of grading!

I have foolishly scheduled the exams in my two classes back-to-back…so it’s therefore twice the usual size. Furthermore, like a good liberal-artsy professor, my questions include a couple of subjective, explain-why-you-think-this-answer-is-right sort of questions that are going to be hellish to grade. How do you humanities professors cope?

Now sinking into a sea of red ink…

The trolls feed on your contempt

We had some discussion here a few years ago about implementing some scoring method for comments — there were some proponents who thought it would be a useful way to get community input. I’ve always been dead-set against it. It turns out I have scholarly justification now.

Abi Sutherland discusses a psychology paper at Making Light, which examined the effect of up- and down-voting on large user communities at CNN, IGN, Breitbart (oops, there’s a dollop of poison in the database), and allkpop, a Korean entertainment site. Cheng, Danescu-Niculescu-Mizil, and Leskovec proposed to test a prediction of the operant conditioning model, that peer feedback would lead to a gradual improvement in the quality of posts. That’s not what they saw.

[Read more...]

Status report on the Ada Initiative donations

I promised to pass along everything donated to Pharyngula until the end of the month to the Ada Initiative, less whatever it costs to take my wife out to dinner this weekend. You’re a generous bunch: the total so far is $1583. I know many of you also donated to Janet Stemwedel’s similar fund drive, and that’s just fine — we’re not competing, and it’s all good no matter how the money gets there!

Haters of the Skepchick/FtB Axis of Evil:

I am about to disclose a completely confidential correspondence from Rebecca Watson. She’s trying to rip me off, so I must have my REVENGE.

I’m trying to sell off as much inventory as possible before our move to SF in a few weeks and I have SO MANY MUGS. Too many mugs.

Can you do a post about them or something? And people can take 50% off everything using the code hellyeah50 at checkout. I’ve just reduced the mugs to $10, so then they’ll be $5. I’ll take a loss basically but it’s worth it just to clear up some space. Here’s the link:

Pharyngula Travel Mug | Skeptical Robot

Thank yoooooooooou!

I will get no money from this deal. We all know how important the vast sums of cash I receive from Rebecca Watson are to me, so every sale will make me lie here crying my eyes out…”No money, no money, no money”. I’ll probably weep so copiously that I’ll dehydrate, to the point that my kidneys fail and I end up dying agonizingly. Every sale will cause me so much pain.

And look! She has confessed that she’ll be losing money on this deal. Everyone who complains about how the Social Justice Warriors are just getting rich off the drama has an opportunity to strike back where it hurts: buy those mugs, make her bleed cash with every transaction. And as a bonus, you get a trophy: a Pharyngula mug that you can flaunt ironically, with a sneer.