Why I am not an A-lister

If you aren’t up on the latest blogging scandals du jour, just ignore this.

  • I’m not on the “Townhouse” email list…in fact, I never even heard of it before.
  • I only read the Daily Kos for DarkSyde. I think Markos is an inconsequential part of the community there.
  • Markos has never told me what to do, and if he did, I’d ignore him.
  • I went to YearlyKos, and the A-listers bored me…but I thought the community was wonderful.
  • I think that coordinating responses by email is smart and practical, and that the righty nutcases who think it is cheating are just trying to undermine any hint of organization on the left.
  • Not enough open threads.
  • Even when he’s pouting, I think Gary Farber is a blogging god. (Petulance and a sense of entitlement are obligatory elements of divinity, right?)
  • I am not a goddess.
  • Jerome who? Armando who?
  • I keep writing incomprehensible science articles that get almost no comments.
  • I don’t measure quality by the numbers on a sitemeter.
  • Not enough sex. Or what there is involves more chelicerae or tentacles than anuses.
  • Jesus hates me. The feeling is mutual.
  • I don’t resent Atrios.
  • Everyone tells me I’m too softspoken and quiet in person—must start biting heads off kittens in public to strengthen reputation.
  • I don’t have a Pirate Mode any more.


  1. says

  2. I’m a fan of the incomprehensible science articles – even if I don’t comment on them — it gets old saying, “Wow, cool” or “I didn’t know that.”
  3. I must be in the minority – I check this site out daily. I visit Daily Kos maybe once a week. In fact, I don’t visit most of the A-list blogs.
  4. You are an A-lister amoung pirates and Cephalopods.
  5. says

    Well, as I’ve said to other science bloggers, just because no one comments on the science articles doesn’t mean we don’t appreciate them. It just means that you have the PhD in biology and we don’t so it’s only natural that we don’t feel as if we have anything to contribute. At least that’s what it means for myself.

    Besides, when it comes to the purported A-listers I have the same reaction you did at Yearly Kos. They bore me.

  6. says

    Dude, we love the incomprehensible science articles long time. Fifteen dollar would not be too beaucoup! It’s just that none of us understand them quite well enough to be able to give the impression that our comments are meaningful. We just have to admire them from afar.

  7. says

    What tng said – I enjoy all science articles you write that I understand, but there’s very little if anything I can say about them. Usually the only comments I can leave are requests for clarification of a point I didn’t get.

    I don’t read Daily Kos, period. I read DarkSyde’s posts on UTI; I don’t even know if he posts things on Daily Kos without crossposting them, and I’m not particularly interested in the comment threads on Kos, which eerily remind me of my Democratic Underground days (coming from me, it’s not a compliment). I’m fairly certain that your blog’s the largest I read.

  8. Rey Fox says

    OMG, you admitted it! you DO hate Jesus and that’s why you’re an evil atheist but could still be converted to see the loving light of God!!!!1 *gasp* *hyperventilate*

  9. cp says

    Maybe the readers don’t like the Typepad thing you have here… :) (It never remembers my login info) Or they don’t comment because they are not scientists.

    The blog still makes an interesting reading, though.

  10. JST says

    This blog is very important to me. I read all the articles and comments every single day (but rarely comment myself.) I am, in fact, a member of a dreaded internet species — the Bifurcated Lurker. (Well, except the the bifurcation part. I just thought that sounded good.) I especially enjoy what you call your “incomprehensible science articles”! So please don’t take a small comment volume to mean nobody cared.

  11. Torbjörn Larsson says

    I don’t know what and who the A-list is (as usual), but I know what I like when I see it! (For some reason, in the art world that is taken to mean you are incompetent to judge art. Well, at least you have a reaction…)

    The science articles is part of what makes this blog stand out, it is often interesting and artful done. (For a similar physics experiance, see Cosmic Variance or Tommasso Dorigo blogs.) And, one has the opportunity to ask for clarifications on science one doesn’t know much about!

    That sex usually doesn’t involve many anuses is here compensated by fierce and a là squid manypronged attacks on creatinists, funda-mentals and conservated people. Arrgh, lassie, who needs the cheap paraphernalia of pirates when it is gold in the cutl-ass-pricking!

  12. Moses says

    Well, you’re “A-List” to me. And if it makes you feel any better, I de-listed “The DailyKos” because they’re a bunch of shrieking ninnies and doctrinal facists. I also don’t have “Atrios” bookmarked because I don’t think what he has to say is that interesting and his constant “Another Open Thread” is tedious.

    OTOH, I do have Gary Farber’s blog linked and read it frequently, though I don’t comment.

  13. says

    So please don’t take a small comment volume to mean nobody cared.

    Seconded–in fact, I rarely have anything to say about the science articles because I don’t already know about what you’re teaching, so I don’t have much to add.

    It’s like participating in lab discussions in virtual space, and learning from the give-and-take. I learn from you every time you post one of these articles, and a great deal of what you’ve inspired me to study further on my own is ending up in my dissertation. (Don’t take this as too much of a threat, but you’re getting a copy when it’s done. :)

  14. says

    Hey, now, this is a mocking post. Don’t worry, I don’t measure the worth of a post by the number of comments it gets, nor do I care how many sitemeter ticks it earns.

    I’m babbling for myself here, so nothing is changing for a while now.

  15. JST says

    Of course I grokked your self-mocking attitude. I just wanted to take the opportunity to say “Thank you, Dr. Myers.”

    (Wow 2 comments on the same day. I’m exhausted.)

  16. says

    I read almost every article here almost every day. I’m a regular on Eschaton, and a regular on Echidne of the Snakes, too. I often don’t comment here because I don’t know very much about the natural sciences, but I like to read about them. Well, except for articles about spiders, since I’m actually rather arachnophobic. I had to quit that one halfway through. The amber was nice, though.

    My Master’s degree is in rhetoric, and I’m a technical writer (mostly software) and pro-am historian, so you do draw quite a diverse crowd, if that’s any consolation. :)

  17. says

    The 44 blogs on scienceblogs.com are THE A-list! Who would ever need any more?

    And your sciency posts are great teaching tools – how do you think my students learn what Hox genes are?

    And, since the underlying motivation of all politics is sexual politics, I tend to read those smart people who understand this, like Amanda, Pam, Shake’s Sister, Echidne…

  18. steve s says

    One of the great things about the deep science posts is the stark relief it casts on the difference between sites like this and PT, and sites like UD, where nobody knows enough science to write such posts.

  19. mjfgates says

    I just threw the article about homologies between gills and the parathyroid gland at my thirteen-year-old last night, and after a minute or so of thinking about it with a bug-eyed expression on her face, she pronounced it “Whoooa”. Not just “Whoa”, but “Whoooa”, with three Os.

  20. Ed Darrell says

    I think that coordinating responses by email is smart and practical, and that the righty nutcases who think it is cheating are just trying to undermine any hint of organization on the left.

    Did someone “accuse” liberals of doing that?

    Don’t look now, but the Republicans have been bragging about that for years. They coordinate, daily, by fax, e-mail, and any other medium they can hijack.

    If such idea-sharing is sinful, we can rest assured there will be no Republicans in any venue where sin is a bar.

  21. says

    Yes, it’s the basis of a complaint about Kos: that he tried to squelch discussion of some guy’s (this Jerome fellow?) legal problems, by asking on an email list that bloggers starve it of oxygen.

    This is apparently a heinous thing for a liberal to do.

  22. Dawn says

    Well, PZ, I’m really out of the loop, because I don’t read any of the blogs listed! OTOH, I read you, Orac, Tara, Afarensis, and several others-Scienceblogs and other bloggers-daily. I may not comment a lot and certainly don’t understand all that I read (especially some of the more scientific ones). But, I do read you on a regular basis.

  23. SEF says

    The science articles are the best. They’re not incomprehensible. However, there’s not necessarily anything much to say – certainly not worth the hassle of logging in to say something just for the sake of it. Meanwhile, although some of the US-related antics are amusing (I mostly followed the Dover stuff via Mike Argento’s entries), other bits of that are relatively incomprehensible. Eg the stuff about Anne Coulter doesn’t mean much (I hadn’t even seen the interview that was allegedly on UK TV).

  24. MYOB says

    “I keep writing incomprehensible science articles that get almost no comments.”

    I read this site everyday. I don’t post because some of the subjects are above me. I’m an electrical engineer with an expertise in embedded systems and microcontrollers. Give me a lounge chair and I can put motors and a CPU in it. Give me a baby crib and I can put motors and a CPU in it(for what reasons I can’t really say) but the point clear is that I can take inanimate objects and bring them to life with some semblance of intelligence. So in some ways I AM A CREATOR. But the intricacies of CPUs, Memory, and IO gave me an understanding of human physiology and somehow made me ‘aware’ of things that I could sense in nature that tells me that there is no judeo-christian-muslim god.
    So if I don’t comment it’s because I am unqualified to do so which makes me more honest than the ID-creationists who have even less experience to comment on biology and evolution but do so anyway.


  25. says

    I’ve just got to say that with Firefox “the hassle of logging in” is two clicks. I don’t have to retype my info, so it’s … two clicks. That’s not much hassle. That said, I don’t comment here much because I’m learning it all (or relearning it) and also because saying “what they said” is against my deeply introverted nature… (But today – consider it said.)

  26. Respectful Dissent says

    The dust-up between Daily Kos and TNR is turning operatic, and is actually quite the fun sideshow. It’s evolved to include Steve Gilliard of The News Blog, and also highlighted some really weird opinions over at TNR. Like the fact that Kos is a fascist because he demands absolute fealty because of his violent childhood in Central America. I don’t read DKos, but I respect them for the community they’ve built, and the amazing, amazing output this community regularly generates. The media can only focus on one guy and they’ve made Kos the public face of Left Blogostan (and the lightning rod as well). Too bad they miss the bigger picture.

    Anyway. PZ, I read this blog because it’s funny, because the Flying Spaghetti Monster asked me to, and because I want solid arguments about how strongly different disciplines all support evolution. Also for the kinky stuff involving the spineless.

  27. says

    Judging from Kathy Griffin’s show, Life on the D-List, I don’t know why anyone would want to be on the A-List. On the D-List you apparently get a lot of the perks, like a nice house, but you don’t have the paparazzi following you everywhere and everyone wanting to get all up in your business.

  28. SkookumPlanet says

    If you aren’t up on the latest blogging scandals du jour, just ignore this.

    1) I ignored your ignoral instructions.

    2) Anticipating much delight, I’m storing the incomprehensible science articles in an “Intro to Evo-Devo” folder for future reading. Keep ’em coming.

    I think that coordinating responses by email is smart and practical, and that the righty nutcases who think it is cheating are just trying to undermine any hint of organization on the left.

    3) I can intuit what this is about. Is the left taking the criticism seriously? If people are actually talking about it, God help us….er, you know what I mean.

    Is there a quickie summary? A real quick quickie?

  29. suezboo says

    Dear PZ

    I know this is Off Topic but the moment I read Waters of Genesis on Jesus General, I thought of you. Would you please pop over and check it out? You’re the only scientist I “know” and I’d love to know what’s happening here.

    Thanks you.

  30. suezboo says

    Oops, forgot.

    I am a total science ignoramus but read this blog daily. I learn stuff but am much too ignorant to comment. The feminist blogs are also daily but Kos and Atrios only when referred by someone else.I find all this biology absolutely fascinating – I had No Idea !!Thanks again.

  31. George Cauldron says

    That’s odd. I just can’t seem to find where Jesus said, “I hate PZ Myers.”

    Funny, I can’t find where Jesus said “I hate homosexuals and liberals”. What’s your point, troll?

  32. says

    I’m babbling for myself here, so nothing is changing for a while now.

    I’ve often viewed the whole blogging phenomenon as a little masturbatory. However, I do enjoy reading them and leaving comments at times, which makes me one of those guys who occasionally gets his jollies by looking through the peephole. So who’s creepier: The frequent masturbator or the one who occasionally likes to watch? Where’s a philosopher when you need one? Someone better get Lindsay.

    If you’re not an A-lister, PZ, that’s okay. Personally I prefer the the lower traffic B-list sites. Keep up the good work educating us evo-devo wannabes.

  33. Efogoto says

    More love for your blog, sir. I enjoy your science articles very much – I was particularly impressed with your Plan B write up. Thanks for sharing with us.

  34. says

    John, “B-list” implies lower quality, I think… but Pharyngula’s quality isn’t lower than Atrios’s. On the contrary, it’s far higher. There are very few generalist blogs that can rival the specialists in depth of coverage, and none of them is A-list – the largest I can think of is Majikthise.

  35. SkookumPlanet says

    PZ, a suggestion/request.

    I don’t remember to regularly check “A Taste of Pharyngula”. I’m certain I’ve missed some evo-devo-type posts/reposts I’d like to capture. I found some new ones just now. [The link to hox_cluster_disintegration produces a missing-file notification.]

    Is it possible when you add such a link to flag it visually in some way? That’s much easier to notice quickly, than reading through a list of titles that aren’t always [to good effect] descriptive. A little colored flag like the red arrow but a different hue.

    Another option is a variable-size sub-category marked by a seperator, like the gray dotted line under “A Taste of Pharyngula”. You’re half-way there with a great title for a category — Incomprehensible Science Articles. It’ll keep the riffraff out.

    Finally, another approach altogether is just a page of these links which could be categorized in any number of ways. This slips into the archives eventually, and gets added to there, and occassionally the entire page is reposted or mentioned and linked to whenever current posts dictate.

    I suspect any of these, but especially an “evo-devo-type”-page would be a popular addition to Pharyngula.

    Or, have I missed something?

  36. says

    Funny, I can’t find where Jesus said “I hate homosexuals and liberals”.

    Exactly right, and anyone who says Jesus hates them is a liar and a fraud.

    What’s your point,

    That you dismiss anyone with a legitimate point as a “troll?”

    No, wait. That’s not it.

    Oh, I know. That PZ is a liar and a fraud. That’s it.


    That, too, I guess.

  37. ice weasel says

    Can I bitch about blogs for a minute?

    Ok, but first, good stuff about Pharyngula.

    PZ, you’re A-List. No question about it. So whatever false humilty caused you to say otherwise, get over it.

    I love Eschaton. It’s been my longest running daily read for years (since not long after Duncan started it). I think Duncan as Atrios displays an unusually canny ability to sort through a ton of material and keep posting on and linking to interesting things. At least they’re interesting to me.

    What I hate, or maybe, what I’ve grown to dislike about Eschaton, the comments. And here PZ you nailed this thing to the wall with such brevity and finality that I cheered when I read it. Maybe it’s my own ego that is involved but I hate enormous comment threads. I have nothing against “community” but when the bulk of any comment thread contains mostly personal messages to other commenters, cries of “frist” and when “open threads” are required just to manage the level of cross communication, well, I’m bored with it.

    An as example, I hate call in shows. I love to hear experts discuss or debate something. People with knowledge on an issue and ability to communicate to those who may not be experts. In other words, I demand to be taught. I want to learn. It why callers on call-in shows seldom add much to the discussion, especially when they merely want to add a comment and not a question. I find that it seldom really adds much depth to what is being discussed.

    But back to the comment threads. I dig into comments because I want more depth, more discussion, a gloss, as it were, on the issue at hand. I don’t want to hear about anyones’ dog, that they’ve been drinking all night or when they are going to sleep. I think it’s wonderful that people can meet online and build a friendship but it sure as hell gets in the way of conversation. So as much as I love Eschaton I seldom even open the comment threads anymore much less participate.

    I think that’s a shame. But it’s not my blog and if hundreds or thousands of people are having a good time then I won’t be the one to stand in the way. Besides, there are a lot of places where great commentary takes place, places such as Digby’s Hullabaloo and Steve Gilliard’s News Blog, to name just two.

    Oh, and Pharyngula might be one the best places to read through comments. I seldom add anything myself. I don’t have the details like so many here but what wonderful discussions do take place here!

    Echidne’s point about community aside, I don’t look to political or news driven blogs for friends. I look to them for information. If I wanted friends, I’d spend time on MySpace or some analog I suppose.

    Anyway PZ, I thought the list was hilarious and as most good comedy, the reality, the truth inherent in it was what made it so funny.

    And I do think you should reinstall pirate mode at some point.

    Thanks PZ.