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Is this forum "Fair and Balanced?"

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Is this forum "Fair and Balanced?"

Postby Dave Jensen » Wed Feb 02, 2005 5:01 pm

As our "troll" friend continues to operate and his posts are regularly removed, I noted that he (or she) makes a potentially valid point in one angry missive.

I can't remember the exact language, and I wouldn't want to use troll language anyway, but it was something like "Great to read about Paul's success, but we need some stories from the other side of the coin, stories of failure and loss. Too many success stories on this site."

Reading that, I'd expect to look at this forum and see nothing but glowing reviews of how great science careers are, and that everyone is just enjoying themselves so much, etc. Wouldn't that be a Pollyanna view of science careers!

I don't believe that is the case. Sometimes I think the forum leans a bit too negative, but I assume that is just for my particular taste. How are you seeing it -- do we, as Fox News touts, maintain a "fair and balanced approach"? Or, are we running too positive/negative about science career opportunities and futures?

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Is this forum "Fair and Balanced?"

Postby Kevin Rogers » Wed Feb 02, 2005 5:34 pm

Forums are always going to be slightly more negative than positive.

People (mostly) only come here when they have a problem - its like being a computer support guy - nobody ever rings you up and says my computer is working fine today

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Is this forum \"Fair and Balanced?\"

Postby Adam » Wed Feb 02, 2005 5:56 pm

I think it probably leans more negative than positive but that is to be expected because most people who come here are looking for advice to get a career and they have not had much luck (which is why they are looking for advice)
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Is this forum "Fair and Balanced?"

Postby Phillip » Wed Feb 02, 2005 6:34 pm

Personally I think it is about right. There are certainly some negative people here and I think you are right to cut off the really nasty ones, or the wandering political jabs. But, leave the stories, positive or negative, so that people can learn from them. I am surrounded by negativity in my lab and I love to read stories like Paul's and Andy's where they get a job offer, etc. In fact, I'd like more detail from these success stories about their process, etc. Thanks for keeping this forum clean and on track.

P.
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Is this forum "Fair and Balanced?"

Postby MPB » Wed Feb 02, 2005 6:50 pm


Stories of loss and despair would be fine, if they have something to say about making one's way through a science career. We can learn from the mistakes of others. But if they are just exercises in pointless complaining, you're right to remove them, IMO. What I like about this forum is that it is focused on providing a place for people to exchange information about the possibilities for building a career with a background in science. I would like to see it maintain that focus, whether the posts are positive or negative in nature. What I would like to see avoided are endless and pointless philosphical discussions and flame-wars about things that don't really matter.



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Is this forum "Fair and Balanced?"

Postby Lora » Wed Feb 02, 2005 7:17 pm

Does it matter? This isn't CNN, it's a discussion forum. Most things in life, and in science, are NOT fair and balanced. It's certainly a blessing that we don't have to invoke Godwin's Law around here, but if our troll has a better idea, he is welcome to start an EZBoard forum and moderate it however he likes. I hope he will let us all know if he takes that initiative.

I forget who originally said it, but: this is the Internet. If you can't deal with the fact that Joe in Wisconsin think's you're an a****le, then the Internet is not for you.
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A call to make it "Fair and Balanced?"

Postby A. Sam » Wed Feb 02, 2005 8:05 pm

Dave, with a thread title like that you're going to have the Fox News lawyers all over you like a bad suit (no pun intended). I think the posts here are skewed towards the frustrated, understandably so, and I would re-iterate Phillip's point that some the best reading here is from the folks who write in with a hard-earned success story. Especially the ones who get their first job out of school/post-doc. Maybe we should invite people to submit a success story or two of their own, reading them can do wonders for the psyche of a desperate and burned-out job seeker. And they can also illuminate tricks or strategies or just lucky circumstances that have lead to real-world positive results. Concrete examples are much better training tools than vague pointers, even though they may seem like a fluke. I'll tell my story real quick: I have a great job as a senior scientist at a successful mid-size biotech and have been here almost 4 years. I was in the middle of an awful post-doc and was out at a bar with my friends one night. One of my entourage started chatting up a girl and it turns out she was an HR manager at a biotech. They shoved us together, I got her email and sent her a CV the next day, I wasn't even looking for a job. At that time they were just getting started and had no lab staff and no stacks of resumes. I hit it off really well with the guy who called to follow-up. My post-doc work was totally unrelated to anything they needed but my PhD was a perfect background, and the fact that I clicked so will with the few staff they had was all that mattered. I left the post-doc early without a recommendation and have never had to speak to that advisor again, nor do I care to. The point is not that I'm proud of that, but that people don't have to put up with abuse for the sake of a good letter. Luckily, we've done really well.

Just to add one more thing, I think philosophical threads are an important part of the forum too. If every post was just some new person asking how to get a job then there wouldn't be much going on here. It's important to hear all kinds of perspectives from all kinds of people on life in the sciences. How else would we know whether or not to feel miserable about our situations? Just kidding!

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A call to make it "Fair and Balanced?"

Postby John_Mastro » Wed Feb 02, 2005 8:47 pm

Your career move is proof that it is often better to be lucky than be smart.
you lucky SOB.
John_Mastro
 

Is this forum "Fair and Balanced?"

Postby John Fetzer » Wed Feb 02, 2005 10:47 pm

O read of frustrationed job seekers, used post-docs, and many other unhappy people. Impatience and disillusionment are not rare. Those that post in contrast to those say that it takes time and perservering. I do not find that imbalanced.

I sometime feel the opposite. Too many want an instant successful career. Those rarely happen unless your name is Mossbauer.

John
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Is this forum \"Fair and Balanced?\"

Postby Harris » Thu Feb 03, 2005 12:46 am

Hi,
I think the best aspect of this forum is that it gives a lot of \"real life experience\" stories. They may be positive or negative, but neverthless a great resource to learn from other people\'s mistakes and intelligence.The other good thing here is that we have a lot of serious participants who would like to share and grow.I guess this forum is more \"fair and balanced\" than many of them that I visit.
best wishes
Harris
Harris
 

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