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genereg
Why people do not comment online articles? What is wrong with the online commenting system? I think this is one of the central issues in Science 2.0. Here is the test case, which is very demonstrative: http://friendfeed.com/the-lif...
Definitely a blog post in this but I would say the answer is simple - the commentary feeds off itself, you need a community in place for that to happen and there isn't any such community at the PLoS ONE site. The existing community provides people (obviously) but also context and a space which isn't empty. Comes back to the issue of modularity of contributions as well. But bottom line, the people are here (and probably elsewhere in coffee rooms etc) so the conversation happens here. - Cameron Neylon
Exactly. The conversation will happen where the people are. It's up to the publishers to figure out how to harness those conversations. Given the API, and the activity here on FF, would be cool to pull those discussions into the article itself. - Deepak Singh
If you study carefully the test case above, you will see that there are two characteristic features 1) It is easier to start a discussion where the people are (but for that it is enough just to send a link here, and discuss there), and 2) people obviously do not want to disclose their real names under critical comments. This suggests to me that the current PLoS commenting system is wrong in forcing people to register before the post, and not allowing anonymous comments. - genereg
I think its been established pretty strongly now through things like OpenWetWare and other sites that completely anonymous commenting is probably not helpful or desirable in science. Those sites that strongly encourage or require the use of "real names" see little or no vandalism, and it could be argued, a more constructive approach to discussion. I admit to being conflicted about the need to allow pseudonymity. I can see an important role for allowing people to express themselves in a "safe" way but firstly it almost certainly isn't and can't be made safe - people are likely to be found out - and secondly I think people should take responsibility for their comments. So if we can have psuedonymity that doesn't allow sock puppetry I might be happy. Others have argued powerfully against allowing even that for scientific discussions. - Cameron Neylon
But the people here at FF, they _are_ very online persons. They know all details on how to comment and so on. Still, they choose not to comment under their real names, and are very upset when their critical comments appear to be linked to a wider online audience. Afterall, scientific reviews have _always_ been anonymous, and there is no reason why online reviews should not be anonymous as well. In addition, most internet communities used to hide real names, so, again, there is no reason to avoid these traditions. - genereg
How do you reach that assumption? I know the real names of pretty much all of them, and most of us have "handles" that are associated with names. Online anonymity is becoming a strict no-no pretty fast. - Deepak Singh
That is why FF is NOT anonymous. But people who feel safe here (perhaps because it is not that easy to search, an so on) do not feel safe to expose their names on the _publicly_ available web site, where their comments will be associated with the article forewer - genereg
"people obviously do not want to disclose their real names under critical comments" What's your evidence for this? Me? I am fine with making critical comments under my own name -- it's not as though I thought the FF thread was magically invisible to everyone but my BFFs. I'd prefer to word things a bit differently in direct comment to an author (specifically, I'd explain why the lack of raw data makes me not trust him), but as I thought we'd established in that thread, the main reason for my preference (conversation here, followed perhaps by formal-ish comment there) is that, as everyone else has said, the community is here. - Bill Hooker
I am still a little confused by how you can reach that conclusion on anonymous commenting. There seems to be no real evidence or suggestion for that. Yes there are people afraid of online commenting in general, but that's a general problem. Those people don't show up on Friendfeed either - Deepak Singh
The test case above was at the FF. The people there are both _online_ people, and experts, and interested in commenting on that particular article. But they are still afraid to comment on public. - genereg
@Bill, read the last comments in that thead by Ian York - genereg
Ah, missed Ian's last couple of comments -- genereg, I think you're reaching if you are putting Ian's part in that thread forward as evidence for your claims about anonymity, too. I'm all for anonymity being available to those who want/need it, but I don't think it's any kind of answer to why article commenting hasn't taken off. - Bill Hooker
Genereg, I think you are misintepreting Ian's comment (although I'm not sure and I have asked him on that thread). I think he is making a point about asking permission before re-publishing but he makes it very clear that there is nothing "wrong" with re-publishing just that doing it to (perhaps) make a point is a bit impolite. - Cameron Neylon
In addition, I personally, would not comment that article at PLoS One under my real name. One of the reasons would be that I don't want my name to be associated with THAT article. - genereg
In addition, I do know a number of articles which I would like to comment (and I am quite an _online_ person to figure out how to do this) but I don't comment just for the reason that it requires a registration - genereg
I'd guess the difference is to a large extent due to the way PLoS One and FF are set up. PLoS One allows comments, FF is set up for commenting. FF has more comments, but they're also more ephemeral. Comments that are going to sit on my paper should be well thought of and not pesky one-liners. As such, maybe linking from the biophotonics paper to FF was a mistake. OTOH, I'd want all 'activity' somehow linked to my paper, but in a different way. - Björn Brembs
"The test case above was at the FF. The people there are both _online_ people, and experts, and interested in commenting on that particular article. But they are still afraid to comment on public." ... I am not sure how that last conclusion was made. Pretty much all of us (there will always be exceptions) are more than happy to be public with disagreements regardless of forum. It's just that much more convenient to discuss here - Deepak Singh
@Deepak, Pretty much all of us would be happy to be on public with positive or neutral comments, but honest comments on the artticles are in most cases critical... That is why the standard way the peer-review goes is through anonymous systems. - genereg
Key is --- little comments on PLOS, but many here on FF ... because the (trusted) people (in your network) are here, so the conversation happens here. --- How to move this? Backlinking FF on PLOS should be technically possible? Which FF tracks are discussing this article? A little bit like natures, which blogs are discussing this article. - joergkurtwegner
genereg, that's a very narrow point of view and does not reflect my experience. We are providing public peer review, if you want to call it that. As scientists we are quite happy providing "critical" reviews at conferences and posters, it's not like that people are necessarily averse - Deepak Singh
I think jkw has pin-pointed the most interesting question (also mentioned by Bjoern and several others): how can PLoS pull in value from conversations happening elsewhere? I think it would be a great idea if every PLoS article had a "conversations" tab as well as a "comments" tab, and under "conversations" provided links to, or inline versions of, all the commentary online in blogs, FriendFeed, etc etc. A one-stop shop for "who is talking about this article?". - Bill Hooker
There is a point in this that echoes what Eric Weinstein says about "going short" or long on an idea. The concept that peer review fails precisely because there is no personal consequences for rejecting a paper and getting that wrong. Eric uses the language of hedge funds to suggest that people should be required to "unwind their positions" - which absolutely requires identity and non-anonymity. It also provides an incentive to provide accurate and critical commentary. You go short, and reap the benefits of that. - Cameron Neylon
I think PLoS is interested in pulling this commentary in to the article space. It would be a great way of connecting up commentary. I think it is technically non-trivial but it also raises the issue of how you might summarise or aggregate the commentary in a machine readable and parseable form. Sure it is helpful seeing a lot of people saying something is great or rubbish, but how do you present that in a way that makes it possibel to triage 50 papers to find the one you're after? - Cameron Neylon
If you want (noisy) links, just use Google with link:to_article, e.g. http://www.google.be/search... . This does not give quality backlinks, and also not any real-time information like FF. So, some additional comment semantics (microblog, blog?), grouping (Wordle?), or central service is required (FF,Twitter). - joergkurtwegner
All our talks about some kind of federated comment system in the past year or so have ended up with "we need a researcherID to incentivize people". That's the opposite of anonymity. Would G Bilder care to comment on how things are going on that front? - Mr. Gunn
You guys don't believe me, but here it is -- a simple solution to the question why people do not comment online articles. Allow anonymous comments (no IP tracking, no registration requirements) and you will get at least 1 comment per 100 views of each article. That is a lot, and enough to get the system working. I am telling this both as an active scientist and as a person with ~10 year experience of online administration and moderation. It is very easy to check this idea. - genereg
I think there's different kinds of comments - some throwaway comments, some are metacommentary, some are spam, and some are thoughtful and considered reviews. The PLoS appspot comment categorization experiment that was done a while back showed this.http://scintilla.nature.com/node... - Mr. Gunn
PLoS has a hard enough time staying afloat. Aggregating comments like is suggested here would be a full time job for someone over at PLoS. Yes, there are software solutions, but most of them require human editting or verification. FWIW, guest commenting is a must for starting any on-line community. Having to register is a gigantic barrier to building a critical mass of users. Get the guest comments and conversations going first and once the community gels, people will WANT to register. - Brian Krueger - LabSpaces
Nature Network is probably the example they have in mind here, Brian. Am I correct that it takes more time to moderate the craziness in open discussion than it does to assemble aggregated content? - Mr. Gunn
It is clear that in the majority of cases conversations dont natually happen at the journal site itself. Therefore, PLoS would ideally like to aggregate all the externally located conversations that happen *about* a paper, *onto* the paper. In this way, a reader would use the paper as the launching off point - they read it, and then follow links from it to read the relevant conversations. If the 3rd parties allow it, then the text of those conversations could also be imported to the journal site. - Peter Binfield
The only problem is how to reliably link the paper to an external conversation that could have happened anywhere, without any consistent linking protocol, and at any time from the day of publication onwards. They dont all happen on FF I am afraid (some of the Darwinius discussions appeared on Wargaming bulletin boards!). This is a problem that we have some ideas about, and that we are working on... - Peter Binfield
You still don't believe that just removing the mandatory registration is enough to get the comments system working at the journal web site.... Well here is one more argument: look at the web site of BMJ, and compare how much more frequent is commenting there in comparison with PLoS. The ONLY difference is that BMJ does not require mandatory registration for posting comments: http://www.bmj.com/cgi... Yet, BMJ still requires some identification. Allowing absolutely anonymous comments would be even better. Postmoderation might be an option. - genereg
@genereg: how many man-hours and dollars does BMJ spend on moderation of their comment system? See: Revitalising rapid responses Davies and Delamothe BMJ.2005; 330: 1284 - Bill Hooker
compare: http://blogs.nature.com/wp... to http://blogs.nature.com/wp... that is, compare 2% to 18% (of papers commented on in BMC vs. PLoS ONE). - Bora Zivkovic
BMJ is the British Medical Journal, not to be confused with BMC. BMC is the same as PLoS from the point of view that you need to register in order to comment. - genereg
sorry, not meant to imply they are the same, just to point out that commenting on ONE is not shabby and the only available comparison is that to BMC. - Bora Zivkovic
Note also that you don't have to register for BMJ but you do have to send your comment by email, providing an email address and name, current occupation and place of work (including postcode). Perhaps you could try making up fake info and see if it gets published, but I'd say simply registering once under a carefully guarded netonym would be easier and safer. - Bill Hooker
@Bill, I was just able to sumit a post to BMJ with the word test in all fields, and it takes ~30 sec. It's not by email. Their submission form is the simplest form that one can imagine, you can fill whatever, and finally there is a simple antispam filter, that's it. No registration, no email validation. - genereg
Where'd you comment? I bet it won't be published. - Bill Hooker
I did not press the "submit" button, so it would not publish. It takes 30 sec to do everything before pressing the final submit button. As I said, then it depends on the moderation policy, whether the journal has a premoderation or postmoderation, I don't know what they have, both options are OK. - genereg
As far as I can tell it's pre-mod, and I don't think Dr Ano Nymus, email no@thanks.com, is going to appear in the BMJ rapid responses any time soon. I'd love to know if they require email validation. To be clear though: I'm in no way against anonymous commenting, even if it does have its problems. BMJ had to tighten its moderation policy considerably, but only after about the 50, 000th comment -- some problems are good to have, I guess. Perhaps initially a free-for-all is needed to stimulate discussion and get the community growing, and the art lies in knowing when to tighten up the control. - Bill Hooker
"and get the community growing" -- the obvious thing is that the "community" which might be willing to comment on the online articles is the Whole Scientific Community. Most people today get articles from the web, not from the local libraries, so it is not a problem for them to comment online if there are no artificial barriers such as a mandatory registration. Something like 1 comment per 100 views seems reasonable for me from my previous experience with news sites and forums. We do not need creating any additional artificial "community" for commenting. Also, obviously, there are hundreds of journals, and they will all (sure) have the feature of online commenting soon, and there is no reason to create a new artificial "community" for each journal or for each publisher. IMHO - genereg
Genereg - I think I agree with you on one point, which is that signon for all these things could be a lot easier. Setting up yet another account is a pain and we need better systems for that. But my belief is, and I think this is backed up by a growing amount of experience, that anonymity in particular destroys trust in conversations and leads to a very poor quality of discussion. In read-write forums it leads to vandalism very rapidly. Pseodonymity is ok - but it takes a lot of time for a pseudonym to build up the kind of trust and authority that you can get for free if you use your "real name" (whatever that means). Chris Messina gave a recent talk at twiist.be (http://www.slideshare.net/factory...) where he talked about the way the web seems to be moving from pseudonyms to real names. My intepretation of this would be that the web is moving from being an embarrassing ghetto to part of "real" life. To put it another way - I can have a conversation with you here because I am building up an understanding of your views, but I can't carry that conversation on easily in another forum because I have no way of knowing you're the same person as e.g. @whateveryourtwitteris Your reputation can't (easily) spread beyond Friendfeed. It used to be that this was exactly what people were trying to achieve - we didn't want people to know we were "playing" online. Now I want to be recognised for the stuff I do and put online so I use my real name to try and hook everything up together - Cameron Neylon
Cameron, suppose, the comment under the article says "you guys have to reshuffle the axes on Figure 2. He-he :)". You look at the article and realize that indeed the axis X refers to Y and axis Y refers to X, so they should be reshuffled. And you might not notice that without the anonymous comment under the article. Does it make any difference for you, who has made that comment? - genereg
It might make a difference to how much attention I paid in the first place - but my argument is that those helpful comments would be totally outweighed by comments like "man, your colour choices are so bad, which idiot did you get to make that graph?" - or the cost of moderating those out would rise to unsustainable levels. First law of comment forums - you can have anonymous commenting or unmoderated commenting, you can't have both. A concern I've heard expressed much more often than the "too much effort" one is "I don't want my comments to be seen in the context of a pile of abuse and nonsense" - creating a small amount of effort and responsibility mitigates against that very effectively. Getting the balance right is the hard bit, which is what makes discussions like this so helpful. My view is that we need to retain the fact that there is a bit of effort required, but we need to balance this with rewards for making constructive comments. That way people both take responsibility for their comments, but also want to take responsibility because they get kudos, or perhaps even financial reward, for it. So by having hard identities we can solve both problems to some extent. - Cameron Neylon
I think that comments like "man, your colour choices are so bad, which idiot did you get to make that graph?" would be absolutely OK if rephrased "I think the color choice is wrong". The moderation policy may depend on the journal, but in general, both the Netiquette and Scientific Ethics are well-developed things, they can be written down explicitly as the rules for the moderators, and in fact moderation is not such a time-consuming thing, from my experience. I guess, PLoS will require just one person to do all moderation, together with all other online support. And if some people want to be registered, they can be registered. There may be comments from registered and unregistered users. - genereg
I'm guessing we're going to have to agree to disagree on this one. The nice thing being of course that as we are scientists we can hopefully agree once there is some evidence in! :-) I definitely would agree with the argument that we need more experimentation in this space - Cameron Neylon
"First law of comment forums - you can have anonymous commenting or unmoderated commenting, you can't have both" -- In fact, I have seen many online communities, where both anonymous commenting, registered commenting and different types of moderation perfectly coexist. - genereg
definitely some scientists really afraid give a critical comments online, just because of academia and grants system (in US at least) is fucked up (in case if author of paper that you critically commented on will be you peer-reviewer in future...)! For me also could be a problem, because i'm a postdoc and my blog reading some professors(on whose papers i can comment) who going to review my papers and grants in the future. - Alexey
I express some of my thoughts here - http://hematopoiesis.info/2008... - Alexey
I disagree that commenting for scientific analytical blogs should be anonymous, because blog content should be updatable and readers should trust information that they see. In this case it's important to link to the comment associated with particular name in the field to estimate how much we can trust this information. - Alexey
Alexey, I agree on blogs, but blogs is a different story, blogs are mostly for self-promotion and self-expression, while comments on scientific articles are mainly to fix scientific problems. The motivation to fix a scientific mistake is usually strong enough to do this even anonymously. - genereg
If there were an easy solution to this, it would have been solved already. Many, many very smart people have tried to fix this already. I think, like Cameron says, we're more or less waiting for the transition to where online comments matter. To where they're taken seriously, to where they have an effect on the overall profile of your research. To where the argument can be made that you're damaging your career by not participating and getting your name out there. Because I've been steeped in this stuff so long, and because I just moved to a new and very large city and was instantly able to make contacts through the online community in which I've established myself, I get it already, but many people don't. They're waiting to essentially be hit over the head about it - for editorials that their PIs read to be written in science about how the online commentary of young researchers is vital in establishing a new career and for tenure committees to become interested in how much effort they've contributed to making the process of scientific review more efficient and for their colleagues to surpass them by getting grants and establishing collaborations that arise from their online profile. Those of us here now have an excellent opportunity to set ourselves up as the experts by writing those commentaries and establishing those collaborations and talking about it visibly and often. It's important to get the details right, such as how to handle commenting on papers, but let's not forget the whole reason WHY we're promoting that activity in the first place. It's because peer-review is slow and broken in some important ways. That's the fundamental problem we're trying to solve, which will take a correspondingly fundamental set of changes, which we have the power to bring out (and reap the first mover advantages for doing so!) - Mr. Gunn
Mr. Gunn, I understand your point about the importance of self-promotion and career track, but I think that commenting online articles has nothing to do with this. - genereg
So you think your blog and your online presence have nothing to do with your career? Why post your CV on your blog, then? Nobody that matters will see it, right? - Mr. Gunn
I don't understand completely why scientists afraid to comment papers online under their real names. I do comment on PLoS and Nature under my real name even i have a some risks as a postdoc. It's everything about your scientific authority. I want professionals in the field to know me. - Alexey
Mr. Gunn, Blog as I said is a self-expression, and self-promotion, but comments at online journals are not. PS. Please read my message concerning your blog post! - genereg
I'll do that, but you probably want to go back through your comments here http://friendfeed.com/genereg... and remove all the ones where you linked to your own blog. - Mr. Gunn
Alexey, are you sure you can say everything you want there under your name? As you said, you consider some risks for you as a postdoc. Now, assume that your risks as a postdoc are minor in comparison with the risks of a senior scientist, where there are million-dollar grants on stock. - genereg
@genereg , @Cameron - I am not interested in anonymous comments. I am an industry person working in drug development, which is probably one of the most intellectual property sensitive industries. So, anonymous comments? Not for me, even not in my private time ! If you want comments from people in industry, then we seriously need a review mechanism, not only by the blog owner, but a third party (e.g. the company people are working for). So, a global research identifier could allow this, as well as a central service. This is not easy, but if you want things going, they are never easy ;-) I might blog about my views later this week ... keep moving ! - joergkurtwegner
We have just witnessed a next round of the test case, with my own name not associated with my FF account being found in the internet and posted in a blog article discussing this thread http://synthesis.williamgunn.org/2009... . Not a big deal. However, this opens up a new large series of questions concerning what are the rules for the non-anonymous online scientific communities, and, probably provides another argument why anonymous comments should be allowed - genereg
genereg, perhaps the misunderstanding lies in the fact that you thought you were anonymous but you really never were. I didn't go searching the internet for your name - you linked directly to your blog from here. There are ways of being anonymous on the internet if that's what you really want. What your doing seems to me the equivalent to leaving your house open and unlocked, telling people your house is open, telling them your exact address, and then acting all surprised when you come home and find someone in there. - Mr. Gunn
Mr. Gunn, I am never hiding my identity, but it is also not directly associated with my profile. This means that I am safe in terms of the search engines, and my real name is associated only with things with which I want it to be associated. That is also true, if you are commenting a strange (wrong) journal article: even if you are right and they are wrong, your name will be forefer associated with that wrong article. - genereg
Unless you got out of your way to make it so, anonymity does not exist, so we should probably just get over it and worry more about being presentable. I'll offer myself up as an example - Search for either William Gunn or Mr. Gunn and try to find something embarrassing about me. Go ahead, I'll wait. - Mr. Gunn
LOL I am too old for these games. And I know Internet. And Science. The real anonymity is impossible even with anonymous peer-review. But there are a lot of reasons to have _some degree_ of anonymity in science and in the internet. It just works like this. It can't work without this. - genereg
genereg, on that last issue I have to disagree. If we want to use the web in general to discuss science, it's very difficult to separate the two. Google is not going to index you separately as a scientist and as a web participant. Well, it might, but managing that level of identity is hard, and one could argue that the two shouldn't be completely separated, just the communities might have some artificial separation. The average scientist would be hard pressed to manage that. As a community we just have to deal with it and learn to have the guts to voice our opinions - Deepak Singh
Deepak, I understand the point. However, here are additnial 5 cents, why anonymous commenting might help. At some point, there was an evaluation of BMC comments, and it revealed, if I am not wrong, only 17% critical comments. while in an anonymous peer-review most of the comments are critical. Thus, even if we forget about the decreased number of online comments due to the registration barrier, the focus of online comments is highly shifted towards positive or neutral comments, probably due to the non-anonymity. - genereg
genereg, if this statistics is correct, that show to me how immature the scientists and science online. They afraid to disclose their name and status because of money-grants-career and poke each other by critical anonymous commenting like a kids in the sand box. Be open, be confident in your data and expertise scientists, be able to accept critical comments and reply nicely and be able to discuss productively for your own benefit and benefit of scientific community and society. If you're not able to do it - do not comment online. If you're not able to do it I'm not interested in discussion with you. - Alexey
You are assuming that comments must be critical to be useful. Useful comments can include questions, concerns, and criticisms, and even the latter can be framed properly. I have said this before, and I will reiterate that there is one primary reason for anonymity; that you're afraid of making a fool of yourself in public. I admit that this fear might be related to concerns about your career, etc. But in my experience, people who really know what they are talking about are not afraid of being wrong, even in the sciences. Our efforts should focus on a proper researcher identity, and changing the current system to enable open discourse. - Deepak Singh
genereg, yea I can tell not everything from my blog, but a lot. I criticize a lot, but if i'm wrong, come and tell me about it. I'll accept and we will find the truth in discussion. I can't tell many things that I don't feel like i have enough expertise and knowledge but I can ask my readers about their opinion based on their expertise. - Alexey
Alexey, this means that you criticize the things which are safe to criticize :) - genereg
Deepak, assume that you are at a journal club in some friendly lab. Now, how many of the questions from there would you dare to ask at the comment section of the online journal? :) - genereg
How many journal club questions would I "dare" ask in a journal comments section? All of them. genereg, are you familiar with http://researchblogging.org - Mr. Gunn
All of them?! good! If this is the case we will soon get the system working :) I did not get your point about http://researchblogging.org - genereg
genereg, all of them. If there is something to say, it will be said, regardless of forum. The language might change, but the questions and comments won't - Deepak Singh
good. unfortunately other people do not behave like this. we have seen it in the example with Biophotonics paper. Many people wanted to say that it is wrong, but none said this at the journal web site.. - genereg
Let me ask this question. If this was presented at a conference, do you think people in the audience would be quiet? - Deepak Singh
not, sure. the question still, is why they don't comment. - genereg
Could it be as simple as they are not that comfortable on the web? They don't comment on Friendfeed either (the ones who do are active everywhere). - Deepak Singh
nope, i discussed this with a couple of active bloggers. they are not at FF, they are active bloggers, and they have seen the article at the journal we site. we discussed it online, that's it - genereg
Do they blog anonymously? and if not, would they blog about this? Sorry if that's been discussed before - Deepak Singh
nope. what's the reason to blog anonymously. it was discussed before. blog is to express and advertise yourself, peer-review is something absolutely different - genereg
I just don't get it. An opinion is an opinion, regardless of medium. To think that the medium somehow makes that opinion different and you are not willing to stand behind your opinion just does not compute in my head, but that's me - Deepak Singh
Just try to think why the anonymous peer-review was invented. - genereg
The primary reason for anonymous peer-review is the elimination of bias. If the reason for anonymous peer-review was to be able to criticize anonymously, then the system would be even more flawed than it is today (and it is flawed). - Deepak Singh
"Several of the other journals published by the BMJ group[10] allow optional open peer review,[11][12][13] as do PLoS Medicine, published by the Public Library of Science[14][15]. The BMJ's Rapid Responses[16] allow ongoing debate and criticism following publication.[17" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki... - genereg
These journal comments that we discuss should have been that "open peer-review" - genereg
Open = No anonymity, otherwise it's not open, and like Neil said, comments and an "open peer review" process are different beasts - Deepak Singh
right. but if it does not work this way, we can try to figure out another way - genereg
That I won't disagree with, but anonymous commenting is not the right way - Deepak Singh
it depends, what is more important for you, the ideas or the people who say them. for me, the ideas - genereg
Both, anonymity, IMO is ripe for abuse. - Deepak Singh
well, as I said, just removing the mandatory registration does not mean a complete anonymity. plus the moderation.... - genereg
Agree that scientific identity is an area with a lot of potential for innovation. The way I see it, we aren't that far apart in intent. - Deepak Singh
Haha, this is what I get for waiting a day to come back to the feed!! @Mr.Gunn for sure moderation is a time consuming job, although I think that aside from blocking spam (and this is relatively easy) that the vast majority of posts will be on topic. Things might get ugly, but implementing a community self moderation system usually works really well ex: add a "Flag this comment" button, 5 flags = removed for a moderator to decide if it's appropriate. As long as the back end system is efficient, a single community organizer could moderate the discussions. Now, finding and linking to outside content would be extremely hard. Unless a centralized system like sphere is set-up for the sci-community, but the need for that seems pretty low considering the horrible implementation and use of the current crop of SNfSs (Social network for science) - Brian Krueger - LabSpaces
Here is what I think. Never underestimate the number of possible compliance regulations people can violate. There are many of them, and the number is just growing. - http://ff.im/3haYq - joergkurtwegner
Interesting how the discussion around the original article quickly drifted away from the scientific content and toward a meta-discussion, which was continued here. Could there be something more fundamental at work here? Also, anyone got any hard data on just how unused the PLoS commenting system is? For example, "the average number of comments on a PLoS article is 0.55 - here's how we calculated it." An analysis of that sort could offer new insights. - Rich Apodaca
Rich - There are plenty of examples of deep online discussion of scientific papers that stays on-topic, and doesn't drift off-topic. But so far as I can see, it's mostly happening on blogs. See, e.g., the n-category cafe ( http://golem.ph.utexas.edu/categor... ). - Michael Nielsen
Rich: there's this (http://blogs.nature.com/wp...) and a couple other workups of the same data. - Bill Hooker
wow, direct critique only 7%. Again as with BMC there is a shift towards positive and neutral comments, probably due to non-anonymity, as opposed to the typical comments obtained during anonymous peer review - genereg
I would be curious to see the age groups for any comment percentage numbers - joergkurtwegner
Another reason may simply be technical: PLoS ONE uses a kind of pop-up window (duuno the tech term for these) that blocks the whole browser. If I am to write thoughtful comments, I usually check some sources relevant to the statements I make, so I do not find this implementation particularly user-friendly. Just now, my browser (Firefox 3) froze after I had pressed "submit" in this window, and I had to redo the rating (fortunately, I had drafted the text in a separate text editor). - Daniel Mietchen
I think there should be a shift towards neutral and positive comment between the peer review process and after a paper has been accepted. If there's no shift, the peer review process isn't doing its job. - Scott Joseph Kennedy
That is true. But in general it seems that in Internet most serious comments to serious articles tend to be critical, because neutral comments do not add anything (so they are close to spam unless they provide some additional usefull information), and writing positive comments is not self-motivating (you spend your valuable time just to say that you agree with something). - genereg
I'm thinking Jorge Cham from PhD comics must have seen this thread. http://bit.ly/9oBAM - Mr. Gunn
LOL, that's exactly what the "neutral" comments are. This spam can only happen in the absence of moderation. - genereg
Related thread at StackOverFlow: Why aren’t people rating questions? http://stackoverflow.com/questio... - Daniel Mietchen
January 11, 2013. Today I have read with great interest a recent article in the Guardian, which also proposed anonymous post-publication peer-review (http://www.guardian.co.uk/science...), and have one essential comment to it. The idea of the anonymous post-publication peer-review was firstly introduced here, at FriendFeed in 2009 (see the beginning of the thread). I introduced this idea pseudonymously under the name "genereg", and it was attacked very sharply by the Science 2.0 proponents (here and elsewhere). Here is the link to this discussion, that contains more than 100 comments: http://friendfeed.com/science... .The web site "PhD comics" even invested time and efforts to create a special comics about this discussion to make fun of this absolutely serious proposal (http://www.phdcomics.com/comics...). Now new publications are starting to arise where this idea is favored, and it would be nice if they give credit to those who initially proposed it. - genereg
January 26, 2013. Today I noticed a great new web site pubpeer.com which has implemented the ideas that I have proposed above. Ok, three years later it is still not too late :) It would be nice if the authors contact me, because their web site still lacks a couple of essential components that would be needed - genereg