1. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Need some mental floss after those inane, irrelevant, and fatuous comments. Stay strong PZ.

  2. DonDueed says

    Sure, PZ, I’d like to know how to make a niche for my knickknacks.
    Wait, that’s not what you meant?

  3. says

    Niche construction refers to the reciprocal interaction between organism & environment — while selection modifies populations, the population is changing the selection pressures.

  4. says

    On the camera: I’m not using my itty-bitty cheap-o webcam, I’m using my Canon t5i. Big change in image quality, and being able to use a low f-stop changes how I use the lighting. Could still be better — suddenly, the off-yellow paint in my office is annoying me a lot, but I’m not going to repaint the room for this side effort.

  5. says

    I don’t have the energy for spewtube yet but I did put some work into the comments at the friendlyatheist blog in the most recent post involving the Krauss accusations. Practicing political instincts is not a simple thing and it’s amazing how hard it is to get gossipers to link and cite their reasons that this accusation is affected by other social conflicts. I ran into some familiar deplorables and one featured at thewehuntedthemammoth blog.

  6. luclonde says

    Looking good! I’m getting back into making YT videos and I can’t decide whether to allow comments at all. I’m not even covering anything controversial, just camera and computer stuff, but I know how it will end up.

    If you ever get more ambitious and start looking for motion graphics, titles, and/or animations, I might be able to lend a hand.


  7. billyjoe says


    A video on “Niche Construction” would be much appreciated.

    I have a reasonably good idea about what is meant by “niche construction”, and what your ideas might be on this topic in relation to Epigentics, but it would be interesting to see your ideas on this topic explained in video form.

    “Niche construction” is used as evidence to support, what its proponents call, the EES (Extended Evolutionary Synthesis), which is based on the idea that epigenetics represents a paradigm shift in thinking about evolution. Most evolutionary biologists, of course, do not see a paradigm shift at all. Instead they see a much deeper understanding of Evolution via epigentics. It has simply become part of Modern Evolutionary Theory.

    Looking forward to the video if you decide to make it.

  8. Mak, acolyte to Farore says

    PZ, was there snow on the ground when you recorded this? The lighting has that cleanish white glow to it.

    It’s nice!

  9. forodrim says

    Not sure if this is a good way to deal with comments. In the world of Youtube (and all blogs) getting mentioned by the author is a form of reward. When you do a video about those bad comments, you are rewarding them. I think the way PBS Idea Channel did this is a good way. They did a comment response video to each episode, but they only replied to good comments, honest questions or simply mentioned the good, insightful comments. I think that really helped to form a good community. The sad thing is, to have a good community requires work.

  10. unclefrogy says

    well I like the videos also. The many hours you have spent explaining this stuff and your actual love for it show. What also shows is your respect for people, you think we can understand this stuff too. thank you

    I also think you like to kick the anthill once in a while just for fun.
    uncle frogy

  11. methuseus says

    Yes, you have a nice voice that is easy to listen to and easy to understand. As someone who has a lot of hihg-frequency hearing loss, your voice and mannerisms make understanding you easier.

  12. leerudolph says

    I have a reasonably good idea about what is meant by “niche construction”

    The work of a particular group of specialists among the anonymous builders of cathedrals, making places to display statues of saints.

  13. says

    “— suddenly, the off-yellow paint in my office is annoying me a lot, but I’m not going to repaint the room for this side effort.”

    This can be tweaked in post. You can mute or change that color if you want.

  14. says

    #17: What you are advocating is bad advice that has stunk up the internet for decades now: “Don’t Feed the Trolls”. It doesn’t work. Never has. It’s one factor that has led to our current state of affairs, with infestations of these lulz-happy idiots in every medium.

  15. Owlmirror says

    I have a gripe with the term “Peterson fans”. Yes, they’re responding to criticism of Peterson, but his fans are part of something that precedes Peterson, and would probably exist without him. If he weren’t prominent, they would glom onto someone similar (and some of them no doubt already do). His fans like him because he gives intellectual cover to something they already feel.

    Unfortunately, it’s a little hard to come up with a term that encapsulates what the “something” is that all of his fans are part of. Essentialism? Anti-egalitarianism?

  16. forodrim says

    #22: I advocate to feed to good people, the kind of community you want. Trolls should be dealt with quickly, not by giving them attention, but the banhammer if possible. And yes, this approach has worked multiple times for various online communitys. Back in the days of usenet some german tech groups were moderated that way and it worked and resulted in decent communities with valuable and useful input. (see here, an Article by Kristian Köhntopp about those groups: ) Sure, that might be tricky to adapt for usage with youtube, but I think the gereral idea can be used on youtube as well.

    For example take a look at the youtube channel “PBS Idea Channel” who largely ignored the trolls and fed the good commenters. That worked as well, the comments were usually much better then the rest of youtube. Especially of course soon after a new video was uploaded.

    Attention is the currency of those communities, given that to the trolls is not good and will not make them go away.

  17. unclefrogy says

    but pokin’ fun at them does not hurt either.
    trying to get down on their level and argue is what they want and need so laughter and ridicule is what they do not want.
    kind of easy since they are mostly fools anyway.
    uncle frogy

  18. rietpluim says

    Peterson I’ve never even heard of until PZ noticed him on this blog. Not that I am the measure of all things, but I do have an above average interest in scholarly subjects, so one may expect that I’ve heard of the allegedly most popular scholar.

    The one scholar who deserves that epithet much more, perhaps even the most, just passed away recently.

  19. rietpluim says

    “Don’t feed the trolls” only works when one is truly a troll, i.e. only in it to disturb the discourse. I’m afraid these YouTube commenters are serious about what they are writing.

  20. Raucous Indignation says

    Go ahead. Paint your office. It’ll be fine; none of us will be upset.