Participation psychology

Interesting post over at F & L concerning journals that provide comments facilities for online papers, with a couple of rather amusing examples.

Stew asks the question: what sort of comments will people leave and how often? From what I’ve seen so far, comments are not generating raging debate – there tend to be from zero to one for most articles. Why is this? It seems to me that biologists fall into two categories – those who love, enthuse over and promote online participation/collaboration (a tiny minority) and those who don’t (most). What is it about the second group that holds them back? Perceived lack of time/rewards, ignorance, lack of computer literacy, laziness? I’m sure that there’s something psychological at work but I can’t quite define it.

2 thoughts on “Participation psychology

  1. Pedro Beltrao

    Honestly I think that it is mostly lack of time and awareness. Most people don’t spend a lot of time at the computer, they are working in the bench and only sit to see the email/news, analyse data and write documents. I might be biased by my interests but I have a feeling that scientist that are active on the net are mostly doing things relating to computational biology and evolution, areas where you have to spend a lot of time in front of the computer. There were some periods where I tried to do some more bench work and when I was doing this it was very hard to keep the same level of interest on the online world, I was tired from he bench and I just didn’t feel like sitting down to read stuff and participate.

  2. neil

    Good point. I guess we computational types find it hard to understand those who aren’t at a computer all day.

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