25 September 2015

Do you take science to where the people are, even if they’re at a vile cesspool?

I saw this question from a Reddit “Ask me anything” (known as AMA for short) science session on Twitter:

The gist of the question is, “female Neanderthal... do you bang or do you pass?”


The answer is pretty funny, but the question comes close to encapsulating why I, personally, am less and less inclined to try to do an AMA on Reddit.

Lots has been written about Reddit’s culture of sexism (here’s one, two, three, four for starters). And yes, there is good stuff on Reddit. I have an account and post there from time to time. Some women report having never experienced sexism on Reddit. I get that.

Nevertheless, there are enough examples of problems that I ask myself: “Is this a forum I feel comfortable appearing in?”

Increasingly,  my answer to Reddit is no. Because from a distance, I’m kind of getting the impression the place is mostly a cesspool.

But I say this realizing that... there are a lot of people on Reddit. If you only go to where there are like-minded people, you can consign yourself to irrelevance.

For my fellow scientists, have you done outreach on places that are opposite to your views? Would you? Why or why not? Would you do a spot on Fox News in the U.S.? (Or, if you happen to be a politically conservative scientist, MSNBC?

Additional, 10 August 2016: The Science and Everything Science sub Reddits won’t let you post research from a journal article unless the journal has an Impact Factor of 1.5 or more. Another reason to avoid the place.

External links

Why Reddit is sexist
Sexist, racist – the web hounding of Ellen Pao shows the trolls are winning
Why Reddit Tends Towards Sexism In 1 Chart
Reddit’s woman problem

1 comment:

Mike Taylor said...

Yes, that AMA question is nasty. But I can tell you from my own experience that when I did an AMA it was a great experience -- lots of really interesting and respectful questions. I would certainly do it again (and probably will the next time I name a new dinosaur).