Congenial communication

There’s a bit more I wanted to say about the podcast from Science…Sort Of that I flagged up earlier.  I was very much appreciative of the way the guys there handled the situation and sought to resolve it, and was an excellent demonstration of how science discussions should (but rarely do) work. This did get a garbled minute on the podcast, but is worth talking about further.

As noted long ago, a decent and proper discussion can be really hard on the internet with vicious (and often inappropriate / wrong) comments from anonymous sources flying around in vast numbers. Even well meaning and well intended polite corrections and criticism can be overlooked or misinterpreted in the storm given the general tone of the surroundings. When everything is shrill and nasty, something that is not, but still negative in content, if not tone, might be seen to be worse than it is.

It was then, with a little trepidation, that I left what was intended as a polite but firm rejoinder to their initial podcast (77) that left much to be desired with regards to pterosaurs and my paper. In hindsight, I could and should, have made it more polite and constructive. Mea culpa, lesson learned, and this does yes make me look a little (but not much, I hope) hypocritical. However, the guys there understood that the tone was intended to be friendly, took no offense, and mailed me back almost immediately to ask what they could have done better and how best to fix it. Brilliant! We could do with a little more of this I think and it’s great to see people respond in this way. It’d be nice to see a few more polite comments online in general, and in the literature too on occasion, but sadly hell remains hot and the pigs are grounded.


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