Nature Methods | Methagora

Open communication

The discussion topics below and some insightful comments illustrate how a commenting forum like this one can empower readers, allowing them to participate in important discussions of direct interest to their work. But readers are slow to seize this opportunity. We have taken a look at this attitude in a recent editorial.

Let us know what you think and how we can make this forum better for you.


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    Bronwen said:

    I read your editorial and agree that it is a shame that so few people comment or respond to forum topics.

    I have been looking at a lot of blogs and fora recently and have noticed that for the most part people write comments on subject areas that are well within their knowledge base, and where they are well-practiced in the vocabulary needed to answer the questions.

    For example: Most people have an opinion or a comment to make about Bill Clinton. No need to learn new words, and we have a lot of practice talking about him. The proportion of Nature Methods readers that feel that they have the necessary vocabulary to express their opinions on FRET, however, might be quite a lot smaller, and only a fraction of these would actually want to/have time to share their ideas.

    I would like to propose the hypothesis that highly technical blogs need to be in really specific subject areas in order to have a chance of getting a high proportion of visitors that understand each entry. That way if 0.1 % comment the blog entry will have a reasonable response.

    Browsing through some of the questions and answers of the Chemistry Forum, for example, might give you a feeling for what I mean.

    The Chemical Forum

    There are, however, also some excellent, much-more-technical chemistry blogs, for example, that get good responses:

    The Chem Blog

    Totally Synthetic

    But, I think that the target audience for these is quite specific.

    It would be great if you could disprove my starting-hypothesis. Does anyone know of any good, quite-technically-advanced blogs (or fora) that have a wide subject area, where the posts get a reasonable number of comments??