More Questions for Educators and Lay Public!

Nov 27 2010 Published by under Academia, Basic Science Posts

Sci got very interested in the responses to her last post asking educators (and others), if they used my blog in teaching and why.

I'd like to follow up more on this, and ask another question:

What are the signs of a good basic blog? Breadth of coverage? In depth? Cited sources? What makes a basic blog a GOOD basic blog? What do you value, and what would you like to see more of?

And don't limit this to just the educators! Readers, if you aren't a neuroscientist, what are the signs of a good blog outside your field? What would you like to see less or more of?

Let me know. Sci needs some ANECDOTES. And then we'll come around to collecting some data. 🙂

5 responses so far

  • Zen Faulkes says:

    Here's the problem that anyone writing about "basic science" has, in blog form or otherwise:

    Wikipedia exists.

    Basic science is, kind of by definition, something where you can find information about it on a whole whack of places. If I want to understand how an action potential works, why would I tool around in blogs?

    I don't know how many people would read a blog just to get a series of intro posts. If there's a blog I'm reading for some reason, and it did a "Few how stuff works" posts, I may well be interested, but it wouldn't be the main reason I would be reading a blog.

    What makes a good basic science blog are good, cool stories. Things that you don't find in textbooks. Stuff that is maybe more personal.

    I do think that things like citations to original papers are still important, even when you're talking about stuff that is very famous to professionals, because it'll always be new to someone. It establishes credibility.

  • tideliar says:

    Off the top of my head broad posts that relate the science to something personal. If you get migraines, explain the neurophys of migraine; know what I mean?

    I have a metric fuckton of such posts saved, but they demand attention to detail and clarity of writing and I can never seem to find the time to finish the research and finish them up. For example, my next "project" is a critique of Near Death Experience. Some d00d has been stalking me on twitter and is an MD and proponent of "spiritual neuroscience". Something about what he's doing rubs me the wrong way, he keeps asking to investigate him so I can become one of the converted...well...time to play...

  • ryandake says:

    hi sci,

    one blog i follow religiously is http://johnaugust.com (a screenwriting blog). what makes his blog particularly wonderful is that:

    1) he is a working screenwriter, so he has credentials. (he's not just blowing smoke.)
    2) he is all over the map within the field--he posts on everything from the mechanics (how do you format a chase scene, for example) to the stratospheric (what residuals mean to you).
    3) he responds to his readers (he doesn't just post it and forget it).

    these things are true of all my favorite blogs (including yours).

    i thought at first that posting frequently was important, until i realized that i follow bloggers who post only once every few months.

    a final point: the other blogs i follow have a mechanism for responding to readers. nathan bransford (http://blog.nathanbransford.com/) does "page critique fridays"--readers submit an opening page and nathan critiques it. a blog i miss to this day is http://misssnark.blogspot.com/ --she had it all: really good advice, reader response, funny as hell, a bathtub full of gin. etc. i used to read miss snark every morning before i even checked my own email.

    so, like, in the big picture, i feel like i have a virtual relationship with my favorite bloggers. not in a creepy stalker way. but i feel like i know something about them (or their persona: i'm sure miss snark didn't actually crush wannabe writers with her stiletto heels) thru their work, and if i post to their blog they might respond, and the stuff they post feels relevant to me (even if i didn't know i needed to know that).

    sorry, this is kind of fuzzy and vague, but i hope it helps!

    ps. "... is bestes for testes".... hahahahhahahaha

  • Pharm Sci Grad says:

    I like to hear about stuff WAY outside my area of expertise, written by someone who's (much more of) an expert (than I) because then said blogger can point out the strong and weak points of the study that I might miss - even reading the primary literature - without drowning me in the detail of course - while usually making me smile and think. Like Nature News, but with an opinion. I <3 that. It's why I keep coming back. 🙂

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