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Is this forum "Fair and Balanced?"

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Is this forum \"Fair and Balanced?\"

Postby Shehan9762 » Thu Feb 03, 2005 1:49 am

I think that this forum is all about genuine answers to people who have questions about their own career. A lot of us are often blurred by our anxiety, stress from various factors. This makes it difficult to make wise choices in a career. In most cases, a lot of people who arent aware of the situation will just say : 'you re going to be all right, dont worry, you ll find yourself a good Ph D or a good job at 80000 dollars per week...'Not very convincing sometimes.

But in this forum, I think that a lot of participants are bringing their own experience to help others to get their career issues/doubts sorted out by telling them what they think it is the best to do or not to do. It makes me feel kind of reassured that people sometimes people have problems (Sorry that s human nature...)and usually, the same as your owns. More than once, I identified myself with people who didnt know whether they should start, pursue or leave a science career. More than twice, I asked myself how do people get jobs, negotiate salaries, ask for letters of recommandation... Those questions keep arising to me at various times. Reading some posts helped me a lot in gathering good info on certain aspects (good or bad) of my career.
Another reassuring thing is that there isnt only 1 sole opinion on a single question. That is why I enjoy logging in every 4 hours at work while having a brake because there is this kind of freedom of speech that is so important on that forum. I think it is hard to judge on the fairness on people's opinions. I think that Dave JAnsen is doing well by removing abusive posts (xenophobia, insults...). Anyway there's always going to be people who will abuse of this freedom of speech. Hopefully it will stop soon.

PS: By the way, CNN is a very biased news network...(Dont want to get political)
Shehan9762
 
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Is this forum \"Fair and Balanced?\"

Postby Don » Thu Feb 03, 2005 8:01 am

Dave,

My understanding is that this forum is about discussing issues surrounding carreer progression/advancement in science (both academic and industry) so that participants can glean usefull information that will help them in their endeavors. I dont understand how allowing it to become a catalogue of complaints and hard luck stories would be usefull to anyone, except those who gain some sort of comfort from perseverating on bad news.

I think the forum (both the moderators and posters) do a fine job of maintaining focus and keeping the commentary usefull. Honestly, I am unaware of any other forums like it where the community has come together in a way that works as well.

Keep it up.

D
Don
 

Is this forum \"Fair and Balanced?\"

Postby David » Thu Feb 03, 2005 8:36 am

Hi Dave
I think the answer to your question is a resounding yes! And moreover the forum provides a lot of very useful advice and apparently is unrivalled as Don suggested. I would just like to support what Phillip said in saying that success stories are so important in that they allow us to see the there is potentially a light at the end of the tunnel that is not just an approaching train.
This forum is such an amazing mix of people ranging from ?just beginners? to the really experienced. In my PhD days (Oxford) I really thought I knew what was what and of course I was wrong, As I have matured (now in my second year of a post-doc) I really see the value of learning lessons from as many sources as possible. Such sources are this one and the many excellent people who contribute.
Sometimes sitting alone at your desk/bench one can come to the conclusion that either a) you know it all and everybody is wrong or b) you know nothing and it is best to jump out of the window.
Of course the truth is somewhere in between and networking, exchanging advice and ?paying-in? to the karma bank account is where true peace of mind comes from. Thus checking in to the forum can be seen as therapy! (Of course too much checking is procrastination?.but that is a different post).

I should get back to work

Best wishes


david
David
 

Is this forum "Fair and Balanced?"

Postby anette » Thu Feb 03, 2005 8:50 am

well, i do agree to most of you guys. total negativity can be paralysing, but endless optimism leads to denial. i have a hard time to get settled in science and it is soothing to hear that others suffer the same. if i hear only the positive side and cannot see any improvement in my own situation it makes me feel that there is something wrong with me when there is actually nothing wrong with me at all. dave and nick always try to keep spirits up and that is good. thank you!
anette
 

Is this forum "Fair and Balanced?"

Postby TF » Thu Feb 03, 2005 9:41 am

In response to Dave's original post, web forums often take on a life of their own, one which is usually not quite reality.

I agree that these forums are a place that generally has more of a negative tilt than a positive one. But that's the nature of almost any place where someone is looking for advice. I mean if a given individual loved what he was doing, knew where he wanted to go, and was making good progress on getting there, this person would not likely post here. That's just the way it works. You generally seek out help when you have a problem, when things are good, there is no need to get help. And so, you have varying types of problems here, that range from altogether disgust with science in general to maybe more simple one's where someone is not able to find a job or get an interview after a number of tries and is losing hope.

To me it seems that by the very nature of being an employment forum, you attract more people with negative experiences/thoughts than positive ones. While it is nice to hear when someone has a good experience, especially after they have gone through quite a rough patch, I think the negativity can be a good thing. It will make people feel comfortable with their own issues, realizing that they aren;t alone. Hopefully this will motivate at least some people to participate and try to get themselves out of the black hole they may be in.

That's my $0.02.
TF
 
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