Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Real Goddamned Mail - "The Others" Edition.

Yesterday, Cal's comment about the group of CM readers who rarely post or comment generated about 40 overnight emails. While this is not the usual format of Real Goddamned Mail, I did want to share a few samples. (In three cases I've deleted some unrelated comments.)

  • Tell Calico and the rest of your team that you can call us "The Others." We're out here, reading, sniggering, cheering you on. But for me, I'm just not a joiner. When I think of something funny to say to the always great posts, I'll let you know. But I'm out here all the same.
  • I sent many posts to RYS in the old days, but never got on the page. It warped my view of myself and so choose to just read along. I love Frog & Toad and the Contemplative Cynic the most!
  • Some of us choose to keep our heads down, don't ya know? I've seen what happens when a newbie pokes his or her head up. It can get brutal. I don't need that kind of drama. But I read every day.
  • I commented a few times when you first started your website, but it never resulted in any kind of a useful dialogue, so I stopped. I still enjoy many of the posts, but the comments always devolve. They are uninteresting.
  • I don't know if this is what it's like for others, but I don't want to take a chance that my complaints might be recognized by a colleague at my terrible school. But I couldn't get along without you.
  • I've often thought of joining your numbers, but I confess it seems like a lot of work. I cite Great Lakes Greta, who I admire more than I can say. She puts up a post fairly regularly and occasionally only get a couple of comments. They're always positive, of course, but I'd be heartsick if I wrote some of those delicious haiku only to get a roaring silence in response. I like a lot about what your writers discuss, and I rarely miss a day.
  • I love your page but I choose not to join the fracas. I love it when one breaks out though.
  • You would have more new participants if new people got treated better. There are numerous occasions where somebody new has been beat up pretty badly by some of your regulars. I'm not a conspiracy theorist like honest_prof, but there is a definite pecking order there, and you have a couple of alpha males (and one flat out misogynist) who makes the place unwelcome to new people, especially women.
  • I think contacting the blog via email is reasonable. I don't always want to comment on the whole blog, but enjoy interacting with the moderators. (There is more than one, right?) In fact I've had some really interesting online conversations with Fab Sun about the issues on the page. I don't need to share those with the whole website, but nonetheless I love talking over issues in the profession with someone else who's smart and interesting and invested. In the few times I've taken part in the comments, I've been dismissed out of hand.
  • Your comment sections are not welcoming places. I rarely read comment threads because the same 2-3 people try to co-opt the conversation every time. It's a quandary because some of the posts are so funny and good.
  • I think College Misery is okay. It's not anywhere near as good as RYS, and that's because anybody can say anything they want. I often complain to the moderators, and that's my right as a reader. I wouldn't complain about label use (I've never even noticed them), but I complain often about posts that are so dull that they put me to sleep. I think a moderator should act as a gateway for posts, and only put the good ones on the page.

41 comments:

  1. None of these emails are real. The moderators made them up to feed the myth that anyone reads this page. I think it's important that academics tell the truth, be honest, and be forthright in all they do.

    This abomination of a website and its ridiculous handful of readers needs to come down once and for all.

    I say that with all sincerity and hope the rest of you will understand I'm just trying to do what's best. There is actual lesbian pornography in the advertising, and I'm disgusted.

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    1. Really? You're getting actual lesbian pornography? I think that's totally unfair. I NEVER get lesbian pornography. I bet the RCMP stop it at the border.

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  2. Damn you, Adblock! If I'd only known about the actual lesbian pornography!

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    1. No kidding. It's just not fair that Honest Prof gets the ads for lesbian pornography. However, by mentioning lesbian pornography, I now see a sidebar ad for Thai Love Links dating service. It's not lesbian pornography but it is a good start. I'm glad that both of you mentioned lesbian pornography.

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    2. The only thing I see that might CONCEIVABLY termed porn is the very beautiful female bodybuilder. Some men have a problem with that...is that the truth, dear one?

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    3. Actually, now that lesbian pornography has been typed on this page so many times, I'm getting racier ads. I pray that nobody types the words "dildo" or "pleasuring."

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    4. Darla, or starts talking about cold war era nuclear penetration theory...

      To this day one of the most hilarious papers I ever read was called something like "How We Learned to Pat the Bomb" about the sexual language behind defense intellectuals. I think it was in one of Keller's Feminism and Science edited volumes.

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    5. I have "Russian Love Match." Or maybe "Russian Love Match" has me?

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    6. I had Islamic Love Match a few minutes ago, i'm disappointed it's gone...

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    7. How unsexy am I? The damn page wants to sell me a Kindle!!!!

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    8. That's what I'm getting too - a Kindle from Amazon. I guess I need to navigate to lesbian pornography sites to get lesbian pornography ads while perusing CM.

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    9. Ugh, I have Christian mingle and baby clothes. Give me a kindle any day!

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    10. So I turned off adblock, just to see what would happen. Apparently the Google Gods think I need more busty single Latinas in my life.

      Back to adblocking.

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  3. It constantly boggles me that people are so stupid as to not install adblock. Way to reinforce the "profs are all fogeys with no clue about technology" stereotype.

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    1. I could do that, but then I wouldn't get any inadvertent lesbian porn.

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    2. I use Firefox (AdBlock) and I'm seeing a USC watch ad and a Kindle ad. Are there other ads I'm not seeing?

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    3. Frisky, if you are using AdBlock and seeing ads, you need to "teach" it. Hover over the ad, right-click, and select "Adblock Plus: block image" in order to tell it what it has missed. You'll never see that ad again.

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    4. Yes, don't look at the ads. Make sure that Compound Cal has to pay for the site and the IP blocking software every year.

      :)

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    5. SHEESH. You still get paid for these ads, my browser just filters them into white. Win/win. It's the lesbian porn Nigerian scam artists that lose a buck.

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    6. @AM: That is not the case at all. And we're talking about pennies a day. It's not a windfall, but the ads allow us to pay for the tiny amount to pay for the domain name and IP blocker, and CM - just like RYS - donates the money to the Red Cross.

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  4. As an avid reader (and frequent poster) of this site, I have to express surprise at the implication that this is an "Old Boys Club" with some pretty misogynist players.

    I'm a woman and a pretty fastidious feminist. I point out any and all uses of the impersonal He because it bugs me to have to assume everyone is a man to get what people are saying. And my misogyny alarm is pretty tame here. If it weren't, I'd have stopped coming by long ago. So that's an odd attack.

    I do see the occasional rip and sometimes they do focus on new people, but I think the sort of person who needs a misery outlet is the kind who needs to overeact sometimes. And honestly, some of our best conversations have been contentious. Remember the "To Have Kids or Not To Have Kids" thread? Wowza.

    That being said, I have to poke the bear. Hell's yes, WhatLadder. I just blink at these discussions about ads and wonder how old these commentators are. I haven't seen an internet ad since about 2007. Neither should you.

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    1. I was brand new when I posted my complaint about people in my department and their kids and their schedules and their kids, and their demands, and their kids... and yet, here I am... a year? two? later... and people know me and I know them. I didn't give up and get disgruntled after the criticism. That's what it takes to become part of a community... and I am grateful every day for the people who post on here (even the ones I don't agree with) because it gives me a place to come to vent and laugh and commune.

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    2. I think about that thread all the time.

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  5. Christian and single and ready for love here! I mean the ad that was served to me, I'm actually only two out of three. Yeah, it does seem like the regular commenters are a bit mean-ish. I sometimes just give up altogether when a discussion I inadvertently began disintegrates into 'your-typos-are-evidence-of-your-moral-failings' or the ol' condescending Misery-Off about how no one else deserves a shred of sympathy, ever, as long as the Misery-Off Champion is around. I mean, I try to keep it up, but then I just resolve never to look at the page again because if a comment irritates me, I don't voluntary return to look at it again.

    I would say it's about 35% decent-minded, thoughtful discussion and 65% irrational hatemongering comments. Which reminds me - I have to go read mine on another thread, which is already more than 24 hours old so no one really cares about it anymore.

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  6. Welcome to all the "Lurkers." It is great to know that you are there. I really enjoyed reading your e-mails.

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  7. I'm someone who wrote to the RGM last night. I love the page, but always feel as if the comment threads just go off the rails too often. Even this thread had to veer off to deal with the ongoing troll that is the Honest Prof. I guess I'd vote for moderation of comments sometime. I see that the Programming Patty thread went haywire earlier today and has now been shut down for comments. Not a moment too soon either.

    I'm never going to be a regular voice here, but like "the others," I love to read the posts.

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    1. Ha, that's good to know! It was probably my fault for replying to every single comment; I thought that was being polite but apparently it was a jerky thing to do. According to an e-mail I received from the always-courteous CM mod: "Nearly everyone who writes to me assumes everyone else on CM hates them. It's generally not true, even if you can point to 2 mean comments over a six year period."

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    2. I don't know, I feel like the conversation below the post is like the schmoozing after a conference. Are we really only going to talk about attending early modern women and the post-modern interpretation? Hells no. We're going to wander off and talk about what so-and-so was wearing, and how those assumptions will impact us, and what the FUCK is going on with so-and-so's grammar????

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    3. Well, shit. I thought that a comment thread on an anonymous complain-about-academia website would be the one place we could meet without an agenda.

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  8. I love the lurkers and the Real Goddamn Mail, we get to see what people think. And we picked up some new trolls! Good to see the high school janitors think this site is just `bots and spam.

    Meanwhile, Nando has dropped College Misery from his blogroll over at Third Tier Reality. I think people were hard on him because he is hard on the law schools, which as we all know are (like the sports teams) where the universities really make their money.

    I haven't said much about Muammar El-Gazzafi and his death. I think he should have been tried. Right now it looks like his dictatorship was less bloodsoaked than the new goon regime. As for Syria, Bashar Al-Asad needs to realize that Ba'athism has run its course. Finally, if Israel attacks Iran, it deserves any nasty thing that happens to it, including dissolution as a state. Things are already bad enough, we don't need another war.

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    1. Nando's one note tune got boring real quick, even if I did agree that law schools have a set of problems similar to ours.

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    2. How do you feel now that you are in the Hall of Fame?

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    3. The College Misery Hall of Fame. In the right sidebar. On this very page.

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    4. I had no idea. How long has that been up there? I must have been distracted by the Thai singles dating ad.

      Obviously, Mom is proud.

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  9. Hey, RGM, that was nice of you to post my email about how much I love my own posts. :o)

    PS I'm feeling left out because I'm not getting any porn popups. What the dealio?

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    1. There is no porn; that psychomaniac thinks underwear ads are erotic.

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  10. "I think a moderator should act as a gateway for posts, and only put the good ones on the page."

    Absolutely! Because being moderator here pays so well that the RGM quit his day job, and has nothing else to do.

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