Saturday, March 05, 2005

 

King comments on academic blogging

IFTF Future Now blogger Steve King posted a thoughtful comment on the earlier post Corporate vs. academic blogging. He hypothesizes that academic blogging is lagging for cultural reasons:

I think the main reason we aren't seeing more academic blogs is cultural. In academic settings people are rewarded for deep and thorough analysis, and academic writings tend to be scrutinized by their peers. Because of this, academics tend to be very careful about what they "publish".

This has the ring of truth. Many academics are extraordinarily conservative, and working on an edgy topic such as genetic algorithms for the better part of 25 years has been liberating, and a load of fun. But occasionally I forget the rules of the academic game. Thanks, Steve, for reminding me what planet I'm on, and for the sake of my reputation, I should probably shut IlliGAL Blogging down. Naaaaaahhhhh!! Keep on bloggin' momma, bloggin' your blues away.

Comments:
David:

Please don't shut down. The folks who follow genetic algorithms for the Institute for the Future will be very unhappy with me.

Besides, what do I know...

Steve
 
See: http://williamtozier.com/slurry/links/academia/theNiceKindOfSlime.html

Mr Tozier links to a Left2Right post describing emergent intelligence in the human academic ecosystem. (See also Susanne Lohmann's forthcoming book on the American university, "How Universities Think", http://www.case.edu/artsci/dean/cogsci/lohmannabstract.html) Really, blogs only stand to make that ecosystem more efficient with wider, faster distribution, wherein readers more easily find better niche content.

Why would academics not favor expanding that ecosystem? I think the answer relates to Tyler Cowen's often asked question about academics' tendency to belief in central economic planning. In both cases, there is a necessary and inherent belief in perfect, complete knowledge. Hubris tends to make the accomplished feel they can plan an entire economy, present a complete, unified theory of everything in one fell swoop--that tendency is antithetical to the bottom-up, micro-theorizing, "release early and often" open source model behind the blogosphere.

Eric Anderson
an dot anderson at gmail dot com
 
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