Sunday, February 9, 2014

omebody sent us electronic mail!

Not all the mail I've received has been caring and supportive.  It does provide fodder for another post, which I appreciate even more.


There's a disgraceful display going on in the comments.


 don't see much growth in the new website.


his blog is terrible. I cannot believe how awful it looks. You'd be better off deleting it and spending more time with your cats.   Do something you're good at.


Zero for originality. You've just taken someone else's brilliant idea and done nothing to it. This is the worst excuse of a website I've ever seen. Is there a lawsuit in your future, dummy, duh, I think so. You're not even trying to disguise the stolen content and idea.


Shameful.


All I can say is that if you people EVER engage in a disgraceful display in the comments section, you better tell me about it.  I want in on that action.

 

31 comments:

  1. Is that all from one troll, or a variety of trolls? Why do people waste their time like that? Well, entertainment value, I guess, but it's just so ... I can't see relishing being a dick for sport. God, I hated eighth grade. Ignore the haters, Ben.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. To be honest, I don't know and I'm not that curious. They might be trolls or just people who think this page is truly an affront to how they think faculty should behave. Either way, their opinions lie outside what we will accept as normal behavior here. They are not "wrong," just inappropriate here.

      While I delete comments like this, I will save their emails because they can be pretty amusing.

      Delete
  2. Don't like the site? Go away and/or start your own.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Beaker Ben, can you start a 2nd blog, "Academic Water Cooler for Idiots", and send some of these people in that direction?

    ReplyDelete
  4. WTF is up with the asshattery? Praise His Noodly Appendages that the idea lives on.

    ReplyDelete
  5. In good faith I am a troll, I guess. I care so much for the profession. I see the way your complaining harms the academy. You let the public view us as petty and mean, and that's not all of us. It may be you.

    But some of us love our students and hate the idea that parents and prospective students might find this unprofessional mess of a blog and think, why bother, if it's only these assholes we'll be taking classes from?

    Surely you can understand that. I get sick to my stomach when I think of this blog and the one that preceded it.

    Please do the right thing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Tamara--

      I started a couple of answers to your comment, since I'm quite willing to believe it is, indeed, written in good faith, and represents one reasonably-common reaction to the RYS/CM/AWC tradition, but found myself having trouble, mostly because, despite your professed love for "the profession" (a profession of which those of us who post and comment here are, remember, a part, just as you are), there seemed to be a great deal of anger behind it, which in turn was evoking angry, combative responses on my part (perhaps it still is). Instead, I ended up answering Cynic, below, because it was much easier to write something that describes in a positive light what I think we do here, than to try to defend it against the accusations of being uncaring, complaining, petty, mean, unloving, unprofessional, assholic(?), and nauseating (see what I mean about the anger? That's a lot of accusations. For some reason, this place and its predecessors apparently really get to you, to the point that you're apparently chasing the RYS/CM/AWC community around the internet, just to tell us how awful we are).

      I'm not sure quite what to say. I'm assuming you think that "the right thing" would be to stop the conversation, or at least remove it from public view, but I'm not sure how else but in public people from such farflung corners of the academic universe would find each other, and have the chance to share impressions, stories, and concerns. One of the best things about this blog community, in my experience, is that it does span such a wide range of geography, type of institution, rank, discipline, etc. We get to communicate with people we'd never otherwise encounter, and we also get to communicate more frankly with people in institutions like our own that we might be willing to do non-pseudonymously. Such "frank exchanges," as the diplomats call them, aren't always pretty, but they're often productive (and I suspect ours are more productive than many diplomatic "frank exchanges"). This place is, indeed, what Ben has named it -- a watercooler -- but an idealized watercooler, where there are no divisions of rank or discipline or kind of institution (or at least where such divisions don't confer more power on one speaker than another). What emerges from the conversation here is, indeed, some pretty serious unhappiness with many aspects of higher ed (including the way many of our students have been educated and socialized up to now), but also some pretty clear agreement about what is right with higher ed, and what could be made better, and how. In that ways, it's an extremely professional (if sometimes also profane) conversation.

      Delete
    2. So, since you're apparently following along, and we've now got a more neutral name (no misery required), perhaps you'd like to join in? Assuming we're not going to shut the conversation down, what should we be discussing? Admittedly complaining often makes for more lively conversation than celebrating (I'm not sure how far a conversation that started with "I care so much for the profession" or "I love my students" and nothing else would go), but perhaps there is, if not a complaint you'd like to make, then at least something about the profession, your students, etc., that perplexes you, that you'd like to describe to the best of your ability in writing, and then see refracted through the perspectives of a wide variety of smart, caring (if perhaps a bit skeptical/profane/cynical) academic professionals? If so, write it up and send it in to Ben, and let's see what this community makes of it. I, for one, promise to take it seriously, and to be as professional, and as kind, as I can manage to be.

      P.S. If you're afraid that your initial comment might predispose community members to react negatively to your post, I'm sure it's also not too late to choose a(nother) pseudonym. Only Ben will know it's you, and I'm sure he'll keep your secret (well, as long as you don't actually start stalking us across the internet and causing mayhem and wasting everybody's time, like certain actual trolls we know).

      Delete
    3. Tamara, for you, the right thing might be to stop reading, if it distresses you so.

      Delete
    4. Tamara, I accept you are a concerned and dedicated faculty member. Your opinion is not outrageous on its face. However, this blog is what it is. You will not be welcome if you continue to tell us that this blog should not exist or that it should fundamentally change its purpose. (Consider if you attended a model railroad club meeting to tell them repeatedly that they should not discuss model railroads. They would nod politely then tell you to leave if you don't like it.)

      Moving forward, you are welcome to contribute posts by emailing them to me. You must have something amusing, embarrassing, interesting or unusual experiences that you can share, right? If you feel that you would rather not contribute and just read, observing our unseemly behavior, you can do that too. (Your pageviews count as much as anybody's.) I hope you choose to contribute within the accepted norms of this page.

      Delete
    5. A few times over the past few years, this community has saved me from acting unprofessionally in person. Simply knowing that people on this page would frown if I admitted to blowing up at a student has helped me to keep my shit together. Picturing Stella calling bullshit on me or Cassandra offering an honest analysis of the situation helps me to NOT completely lose it from time to time. No, my job isn't always miserable, but when it becomes so, knowing that I'm not alone certainly helps me to behave in an adult fashion.

      Delete
    6. Tamara,

      I'm not a professor, just a student with a Bachelor's who reached this site by CM, RYS, and the site that shall-not-be-named. Was also a grumpy sergeant whose military job meant enforcing standards and instructing folks on those standards. So, allow me to respectully disagree with your conclusions from a student's standpoint.

      If you spend more time on the site or CM, you'll see that many here care deeply about the profession as much as you do. I don't see most posters here as petty or mean, just venting about the student snowflakes and administrators and, well, a system that pays adjunct professors so poorly some of them require food stamps.

      This site made me aware of professors' perspectives. I am grateful for that and I became less of a snowflake as I finished my degree. From my view, too many students are petty--they see education as a financial transaction. "I give you (or someone else's) money and you give me a piece of paper saying I have a degree." I say that as someone who sat in the same room or discussion area with those folks.

      I remember doing a couple of group projects with a fellow student who did zero work. It sucked for the rest of us. I won't add more stories. Anyway, I just don't love all students. Period. I have an educator friend who does and God bless him, but I do not. I appreciate his positive outlook, but sometimes griping is valuable.

      Tamara, part of me loves, loves, loves the idea that parents or prospective students might read this blog. Maybe they would have more respect for education and what it's about.

      Kindly, Grumpy

      Delete
  6. Wow. Someone has far, far too little to worry about.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I, too, am distressed to have somehow missed the disgraceful display in the comments. Better luck next time, I guess.

    I'm also wondering exactly whose "brilliant idea" you're supposed to have stolen, and who is likely to sue, given that you've clearly got the blessing, and the support, of the RYS/CM braintrust. Is somebody feeling proprietary about one of the linked/mocked/thirstied articles?

    ReplyDelete
  8. I wish that millions of parents would read this blog to see the ways in which their children behave when they get to college.


    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Indeed. Loving your students (and/or your children, or even your colleagues) sometimes means holding them accountable when they're not behaving well (and we all behave badly sometimes). And comparing notes (and occasionally blowing off steam) with colleagues (or other parents) is a time-honored, and pretty effective, way to (re)calibrate your sense of what is and isn't acceptable, outrageous, etc., and to regain your cool enough to do the holding-accountable in a reasonably calm, effective way. Although we're not always nice (or professional in the more superficial sense of the word) here, I think we do a pretty good (if more than occasionally rather profane) job of holding each other accountable. I also think we take the profession pretty darn seriously -- enough to try to figure out what's right and what's wrong and how what's wrong might possibly be fixed. It's not always pretty, but I suspect that parents (and students) who have dealt with frustrating work situations themselves might well recognize the dedication in between the lines of the complaining. I believe I linked to a somewhat similar military blog a few months ago, and, though I haven't found them (because I haven't looked), I very strongly suspect, in part from listening to the conversation of students who are already working R.N.s, that there are similar discussions taking place among doctors, nurses, and other health professionals. Whether or not it would be a good idea for patients to take a look at those is an interesting question; I'm guessing that some (those with an already-somewhat-jaded view of human nature, and an interest in knowing how not to unnecessarily piss off professionals who genuinely wish to help them) would reap some benefit, while others would come away horribly disillusioned, feeling betrayed that those nice, caring people aren't really nice as they seem (and perhaps even thinking that they don't really care, either). It is, to a considerable extent, a matter of personality. While I think there are significant dangers in falling too far on either end of the spectrum (entirely pollyannaish or entirely cynical/suspicious), and I recognize that we lean more toward the cynical/suspicious (or at least skeptical) end of the spectrum here, I think we actually, over time and in aggregate, tend to drag each other back toward the middle of the spectrum, which strikes me as a good thing, and not something I'm afraid to have anybody, including students and parents, watch.

      Delete
    2. Oh, Cassandra, you are 100% right that there are blogs where nurses come to vent, and tell ED stories of the "I have a horrible headache, worst in my life, I am allergic to all pain medications except for that one that starts with a "D" (pssst...they want Dilaudid), and I need a warm blanket, some footie socks, a sandwich and some ginger ale, my TV isn't working right in here, and while you are getting my sandwich, you can get my SO one, too...except she/he wants a Coke" patient.

      The chime-in is usually prompt, vigorous, and far from pretty.

      In all the years I have been a reader, not ONE month has gone by without some nurse who does not and never has worked in an ED, or some ex-patient, wandering into the site (which is very clearly identified as being for ED nurses), and telling us what horrible, unkind, heartless people we are, and how unfit to be in the profession.

      What-eveh. If you are shot, or your grandmother is having a stroke, trust me, I am the one you want. You will think I am kind then.

      Same for my teaching; I WILL teach you how to stay safe, keep your patient alive, and thrive as a top-notch nurse. Want to act like a snowflake? Not follow instructions? Skate by on the minimum, or less? Get out of the way of my learners who want to do it right.

      I think my colleagues here feel the same way. Do it right, or don't do it at all.

      Delete
  9. I think that the passion for academic life shines through this and its predecessor blog like a starry constellation in a dark night. The people on this blog only bother getting worked up because they care. Do the right thing indeed...

    ReplyDelete
  10. I come here because I love my students. It's my colleagues I can't stand. (That second thing's a joke, mostly.)

    I set the bar high in the utter conviction that my students will reach it, and they typically do; when they don't, I try to do better. If I didn't love my students, I would check out, phone it in, cash my paycheck, drink more, etc., anything but try to improve, anything but seek the council of other professionals during my leisure time.

    It is a fact of life that in dealing with other beings who possess self-determination, one will occassionally be disappointed. Among other things, my position demands that I resolve other people's disappointment with each other. None of them can do the same for me, and that's part of why I'm here. It would not be acceptable for me to be isolated because some other people are not able to accept being reminded that the world is not perfect.

    I doubt that I could take seriously a blog where everybody is always positive and everything is always kittens and rainbows. If they haven't articulated some of the problems I've had, how can I trust that they have actual experience? Too many times, solutions offered by those who have not been there, done that are long on idealism but short on efficacy (c.f. Dunning-Kruger Effect).

    Here, we tell it like it is, and if we embellish, it is in the manner that art is the lie that reveals the truth. We empathsize, then we provide real solutions born of experience. I believe that people of high intellectual capability have no problem partitioning what happens here and what happens on the job, keeping only the constructive aspects of the former when acting in the latter.

    I will now be glib. If you're a parent, and you raised your kid right, then anything negative about students we may say here does not apply to you or your kid; in fact, your kid is at a completely different institution. You may move along, nothing to see here. If you are a student and you don't do the stuff we compain about here, you may move along. If you're in the profession and nothing like this happens at your institution, you may move along if you are so inclined. Telling us not to talk about the problems as we see them will not make them go away. Trust me: we are all better off if we deal with this stuff in the manner we do.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I couldn't have put it better myself. Thank you for writing this!

      Delete
    2. I suspect you'd have spelled 'complain' better than I did, but you're very welcome.

      Delete
  11. I find it amazing the mods of an academic blog have to deal with this kind of crap. What's with all the haters with time in their hands?

    I'm wondering if Tamara is representative of the least trollish of them. Preach, sister. First, I think not taking oneself too seriously, and mocking the self-aggrandizing excesses of true believers, is a mark of intelligence. What happened to the old school idea of the intellectual as an individual bent on questioning the premises driving the status quo? We're here; the four or five of us that are left, that is.

    The academic enterprise (in higher ed now that the overlords are done with fucking up high school) is going to hell in a handbasket, especially in the USA. If you have a rosy view of things in the face of what's going on around you, you're either poorly informed, or too uncritical to be a real academic. It is a sign of the decline, and of where we are, that we can only afford to be critical anonymously.

    Tamara, if you don't like or don't understand the function of academic blogs like this one, you're part of the problem.

    ReplyDelete
  12. !! I love your blog. This is a cool site and I wanted to post a little note to tell you, good job! Best wishes!
    opslagruimte

    ReplyDelete
  13. Thanks for taking the time to discuss this, I feel strongly about it and love learning more on this topic. If possible, as you gain expertise, would you mind updating your blog with more information? It is extremely helpful for me. cell phone detection

    ReplyDelete