Monday, March 06, 2006

Have Your Say

I want to get some feedback on the stuff I’ve written for this blog to see whether I might do things differently, and I have a couple of questions. I’m interested in whether people think the posts are:

Too long and too detailed (or not detailed enough)
Too diverse in topic, making it hard to know whether you’re likely to find a new post of interest
Too infrequent, even given their typical length

If anyone wants to reply to these, or give any other feedback, you can e-mail me at danrbjones [‘@] hotmail [‘.’] com. Thanks.


Blogger Alok said...

Hi Dan,

Have been reading your blog for quite some time now. I think your posts are extremely well written, very informative and very well argued.

When I initially came here I thought, what a pompous name for a blog! but your posts do justify the title :)


1:40 pm GMT  
Blogger Dan Jones said...

That's great news Alok - and even I thought my title was a bit pompous! But if the content justifies it I'm more than happy.

3:07 pm GMT  
Blogger Ricardo Azevedo said...

I took some time to read a few posts before replying, as I've only recently discovered your blog. I ended up reading the reviews of Dawkins' show and enjoyed them a lot. (Although I too am depressed at the improbability that it will ever air here in the US.) I think you should continue to do what you enjoy doing. That's the great thing about blogs: they're personal. Some write many short posts, some a few long ones, they appeal to different people, but that's what makes it interesting. As I see it, you already have your following... So just keep writing!

3:56 am GMT  
Anonymous tom p said...

Hi Dan,

I think the length and frequency of the posts is just right. It means it's possible to occasionally read a generally well-argued and interesting article of a length that can accomodate the a fully rounded argument.
The frequency means that I can read all the posts at work without getting into trouble because it's only every so often.
Quality is better than quantity

2:02 pm GMT  
Blogger Steve said...


You certainly have a flair for presenting complex topics in a readable, lively fashion. The diversity of the posts is one of the refreshing aspects of the blog -- they all fall under the rubric of your 'mission statement' so that's fine, I think. The length of the posts is justified -- I don't see too much padding, and these are complicated issues.

What you might want to consider is the underlying purpose of this blog. Is it to gain a readership in anticipation of a published book, clarify your own thinking, or publicise current events in science?

Getting to the bottom of that question will help you move the blog in the direction you want.

Personally, I think it would be great if you could grow your core readership by making the essays more accessible to the lay-public --- without compromising the depth of the content. In these days of falling scientific literacy I think it's very important that there are people who can convey these ideas to a largely ignorant public and stand-up to the wave of anti-rationalist thinking which is threatening to overwhelm the world.

7:05 pm GMT  
Blogger Potentilla said...

I think it's excellent; the length and considered nature of the posts make a refreshing change from most blogs. Your interests appear to coincide almost exactly with my own, so the diversity of topic suits me.

You might consider making pdf files of each post at some point, so they could be more easily printed out and read?

Another suggestion would be that, in due course, you could change the format from a simple blog to a website perhaps with attached blog, which would make it easier for new readers to find things without having to do summary posts as in Taking Stock. Have a look at our website (format, not content) to see what I mean. Obviously, this is more work than Blogger.

This might be a way to address Steve's suggestion to make "the essays more accessible to the lay-public --- without compromising the depth of the content." (You could post some evolutionary psychology 101 type essays in a separate place).

8:35 pm GMT  
Blogger John East said...

Do what you do best. Those that don't like it can always go elsewhere

4:37 pm GMT  
Anonymous tom p said...

ricardo - I think that PZ meyers (pharyngula) was asking after them and somebody pointed him in the direction of some bittorrents of the shows.
you may be able to get a copy from him or from where he got a copy from

5:11 pm GMT  
Blogger Dan Jones said...

Thanks for the feedback so far. As John suggested, I’ve been pretty much been doing what I wanted, and writing about what I want at my chosen length and depth. It would be a shame if people found them too long, but I’m glad that doesn’t seem to be a problem.

I thought previously about Pontentilla’s suggestion of making PDFs, and maybe hosting them on a webpage that I could link to. That’d make long posts at lot more appetising to read, but unfortunately it won’t happen immediately (I need to something more than Adobe Acrobat Reader for a kick off).

As to my purpose in doing this blog – it’s multifaceted. As I do occasional freelance writing for magazines such as New Scientist and Nature I like to keep abreast of the research I’m interested in (I’d keep up to date if I wasn’t doing this writing though), and writing these posts is a great way to get my thoughts straight on sometimes difficult topics. It’s also fun to get stuck into a controversial topic like religion or race, and again helps keep me intellectually honest (anyone can come along and knock my arguments down, and I enjoyed the debate caused by the posts of Dawkins). I also really enjoy the writing – I get in a state that psychologists call ‘flow’, which is like when an athlete is ‘in the zone’, when I get stuck into the writing. And finally it’s gratifying that people enjoy reading about new research, which otherwise might have a more limited appreciation, and engaging with more general ideas that are of contemporary relevance.

6:59 pm GMT  
Anonymous Akos said...

Hi Dan,

I'd advise you to keep up the current length and diversity. Your blog is always an interesting, if challenging read for me and I enjoy it a lot. I haven’t left any feedback till now because I feel somewhat intimidated by the intellectual quality of discussion here :).

8:38 pm GMT  
Blogger Peter said...

Hey Dan,
Don't change a thing. All good stuff!

5:05 am GMT  
Blogger gonesavage said...

Well I hope April 3 wasn't your last post, as I just found your blog and have enjoyed it! The length is fine. The material is delightful.

5:21 am GMT  

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