Belatedly on Tribble

And this is all I intend to say on the matter of Tribble v Academic Bloggers (the subject of much controversy over the last couple of weeks, for anyone who didn’t already know; catch up here, if you’re really bothered).

What she said. I thought the article was entirely ignorant about the reality of academic blogging, and of concern only if significant numbers of people on search committees (and fortunately for me, the CHE is virtually unknown amongst British academics…) were to take it seriously and, on finding that any job applicant has a blog, simply dismiss that person out of hand without actually reading it.

Having said that, I think that bloggers are responsible for what they put out online under their own names; it’s a public sphere and it’s a good idea to behave accordingly (with courtesy and fairness and so on); and if you want to blog regularly on very controversial and sensitive, or very personal and intimate, topics, then it’s wise to go pseudonymous. Think about what you write.

But saying that you should blog carefully and responsibly is not the same as advising you never to put your name to an opinion on academic and/or social issues on a blog (or any other online space). All forms of conventional academic publication involve taking risks. If you write a book, it could get bad reviews, which a potential employer can read. If you publish articles in journals, the potential employer can read them and might hate them. A colleague of the potential employer might have met you at a conference and thought your paper was half-baked rubbish. You don’t try to prevent these situations by not publishing. Instead, you do your best to produce good quality, professional work.

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2 Responses to Belatedly on Tribble

  1. mjones says:

    You know, the more I think about it, the more I believe that “Tribble” was deliberately poking a stick into a hornet’s nest in order to create a buzz. And we all have obliged. But some important things have been said, so it’s all to the good.

  2. Pingback: Alun » No posts till Saturday

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