Blog Announcements A Farewell Post

A Farewell Post

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After three years as the Lead Editor of the APA Blog, as my term comes to an end, I am writing to say goodbye, and to officially hand over the reigns to Skye Cleary, who has been with the blog since its launch, and for some time has been serving as the blog’s Managing Editor.  I was extremely fortunate to find Skye as part of the initial editorial team, and I can’t wait to see what she has in store for the blog!

I am extremely proud of what we’ve accomplished with the blog over these three years, and we couldn’t have done it without the hard work and effort of the current and former editorial staff, the support of the APA, and the many people who have contributed content to the blog.  My hope was that the blog would be a valuable venue for members of the profession, offering resources and perspectives that the APA membership would find useful, as well as a way to connect the membership with each other, and give members a forum to voice things that they find important.  I think we’ve done a great job of offering those things, and I hope our readership agrees with me.

Now is a great time, as always, to approach the blog team with your ideas for content, posts you want to write, posts you want to see written, etc.

Congratulations again to Skye, and thanks again to everyone for contributing, reading, and supporting the blog so far!

3 COMMENTS

  1. Good luck to you in all your future endeavors, and thank you for providing this open window in to the world of academic philosophy. I’ve learned a lot from the experience, not always what you’d want me to learn perhaps, and not always what I wanted to learn either, but still, learning is learning and I’m glad to not be quite as ignorant about your world as I was previously.

    I’ll admit to being troubled by the self congratulatory tone of your remarks, as it suggests the editing staff is complacently satisfied with what has been accomplished by the blog. Perhaps this is an incorrect impression on my part, but I am unable to develop evidence to the contrary, so for now that’s what I’m stuck with.

    To back up this claim, I would suggest there is little to no evidence that APA members wish to engage with each other here. As best I can tell, members are content to receive the validation of seeing their words on the Internet, and ask no more of the experience than that. If I was an editor this lack of engagement would trouble me. Is anybody reading the blog? Is anybody actually interested in what they are reading? I’d want to have answers to these questions.

    I visit a variety of philosophy blogs and have observed that blogs by individual academic philosophers, while rarely being overwhelmed with traffic, typically receive considerably more engagement from readers than articles posted here. I’ve begun to wonder whether the group blog nature of this site, with a different writer being presented every day, might be part of an explanation. Perhaps the resolving door here is limiting the ability of readers to bond with any one writer? There are solutions to this, but seeking them would require the acknowledgement that a lack of engagement is a problem which requires a solution.

    For me personally, continually writing in the absence of almost any engagement is a strange adventure indeed. It’s very foreign to my experience. I’ve actually begun to wonder whether my persistence in doing so might be an early symptom of senility. Of course I’m kidding. Almost.

    So Phil, what do you think about that?

    Well Phil, I don’t mean to be rude, but your changing the subject to yourself seems a bit self indulgent.

    I hear ya Phil, you’ve got a point there I must admit, but if I’m always going to be talking to myself here on the blog, wouldn’t it be reasonable for me and myself to discuss our favorite topic, ourselves?

    Ok Phil, but the thing is, if anyone else ever comes along you’re gonna look pretty silly talking to yourself.

    It’s hard to argue with that Phil, but then I do believe in truth in advertising, and what are the chances of anyone else joining this thread??

    Well Phil, probably none now.

    Now? When was there such a chance?

    You’re too darn clever for me Phil, I weary of your endless rebuttals to everything and anything. Have you ever considered getting a life?

    A life? You can do that? Why didn’t someone tell me sooner???

    I’m sure someone did, but you were too busy telling them why they are wrong to hear it.

    Oh dear, I bet you’re right about that, but hey, at least now there’s engagement on the blog, right?

    Ok Phil, consider yourself engaged, and please see a doctor about the senility thing.

    Ok, will do, thanks for the chat!

  2. Ah, this is interesting. According to the ad sales web page for this site…

    https://www.apaonline.org/general/custom.asp?page=WebAds

    … the blog section of the APA site receives “over 12,000 unique visitors per month”. So that works out to roughly 400 people a day visiting the blog.

    And ballpark, generally speaking, on average, more or less, close to none of them decide to comment upon whatever they’ve read. So it appears, as best I can determine, that there are a group of people who have the time and interest to come here and presumably read one or more pages, but generally not the time and interest to comment upon what they’ve read.

    If we were to apply a philosophical style analysis to the blog itself, the first question we might ask is, does the above matter? Is this a subject which merits our attention?

    NO? On one hand, perhaps it doesn’t, as the editors, APA officers, contributors, and most readers probably have many irons in the fire other than this blog.

    YES? On the other hand, perhaps it does matter, given that this blog seems to (as best I can tell) do a pretty good job of representing the world of academic philosophy. To the degree that is true, if it is, then perhaps these numbers reveal useful information about a larger picture than just this particular blog?

    Assuming for now this to be so, what are these numbers trying to tell us?

    are the visitors shy?
    are they reluctant to engage for some other reason, say maybe, they feel comment section participation (ie. below the fold) will somehow lower their stature?
    are they not really reading the articles so much as coming in from a search, scanning an article quickly, and then hitting the back button?
    do visitors think academic philosophy might be interesting, but upon scanning it decide this not to be so?
    are visitors being abducted by aliens so that their organs may be harvested for genetic manipulation?

    Dunno, but these are interesting questions, at least to me.

  3. Ok, here’s the answer. 🙂

    Is the blog about philosophy, or the philosophy business?

    PHILOSOPHY BUSINESS: If the blog is primarily about helping members advance their careers, then contributors will have to write carefully, color within the lines of the group consensus, avoid “inappropriate tone” and other excessive personality flair and so on. Professional, but boring. Contributors look good in print, but not many folks are looking, and those that are aren’t very interested. This seems to be where we are currently.

    PHILOSOPHY: A blog about real world philosophy might be compared to a group of philosophical friends meeting in a pub. Hair gets mussed, beer is spilled, voices are raised, a lively dance between reason and passion unfolds. Not as professional, but much more interesting.

    I posed the question as an either/or, but such a constraint is not necessary. The blog could stay just as it is, with the exception that the comment section is closed as it’s emptiness shines a light on how little interest there is in these articles, and it seems to be a magnet for, um, typoholic wackos. Not so good for business.

    A forum could be opened, perhaps limited to APA members, and maybe invited guests. Members are allowed to post with anonymous screen names, freeing them from the stifling limitations of career concerns, allowing a fuller range of their humanity to flower on the page. This would be quite interesting imho, because we’d all get to see what professional philosophers are really thinking.

    I now realize that I’ve been entirely misguided in trying to generate conversation within the existing format. Very illogical. I’ve been trying to pound the round peg in to the square hole, willfully ignoring ample evidence that this is never going to work. The articles published here are never going to be interesting to almost anyone but those who wrote them so long as the blog is chained to the ivory tower career ladder.

    I would like to be wrong about this, but my guess is that nothing substantial will change here because as the article above suggests, APA editors are largely content with the status quo. I don’t get why they are content publishing articles that their peers show little interest in, but so what, this doesn’t matter.

    Best I can do….

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