Community of Science

Community of Science

Join the Community for #ScienceSunday and #ScienceEveryday .

Brought to you by the curators of ScienceSunday (Allison Sekuler , Robby Bowles , Buddhini Samarasinghe , Chad Haney , and Rajini Rao ).

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49 Responses to Community of Science


  1. Can I have an invite please?

  2. Rajini Rao says:


    Sure, coming right up. Can you just click on View Community and ask to join?

  3. Rajini Rao says:


    Not sure why I have to approve all requests to join when it is a Public Community? I joined the Space Community and did not have to wait for approval.


  4. Maybe there is a setting where it says new members have to be approved. That is how it was on facebook groups

  5. Rajini Rao says:


    Haha, I hope these don’t go the way of FB. Let me check…

  6. Jan Moren says:


    It’s a community setting. Pretty sure you can change that on the left-hand side.

  7. Rajini Rao says:


    Looks like the Community was set up as Moderated joining and it may not be changed now.

  8. Thomas Kang says:


    I don’t see any buttons or links.

  9. Thomas Kang says:


    I made Astronomy, and before I did anything someone else seems to have joined up, but even there the dials don’t seem to be doing much just yet.

  10. Rajini Rao says:


    Did you try clicking on the View Community Blue Box in the post, Thomas Kang ?


    On your community page, you should be able to toggle between posts, members, moderators, etc.

  11. Thomas Kang says:


    I can’t seem to do much with my Community page, at least not yet. I don’t even see any choices for the communities that I’ve been invited to. Once I click the View community button, it just shows me a profile pic, with the number of members right below that. Nothing else.

  12. Rajini Rao says:


    Yeah, it’s not well laid out. Click on Owner or your face and see if a header comes up with Members, Moderators, Invites, etc.

  13. Rajini Rao says:


    Thomas Kang , in your Astronomy profile pix, if you click on the members (to the left of Public), that brings up the header. Also, under Actions, you edit info.

  14. Thomas Kang says:


    Actions seems to be the only thing working for me at this point. Clicking on members does nothing. I get the feeling that this new thing is still being built and I’m exploring when only the foundations have just been laid and nothing else.

  15. Jim Carver says:


    This is Capt. Carver of the Starship Cruiser ‘Canyon Lake’, the ship has been captured by aliens. Initiate auto destruct, authorization Jim Omega 1. Initiate! 


  16. Oh wow, that was fast: from request to approval in 35 seconds flat.  Honored to be a part of the community… I promise I will try to be quiet… (??!!) No wait, maybe that wasn’t the idea… Hmm


  17. Oh dear! The ever-plussing riches of G+ that are denied to folk trapped on Third World lines, courtesy of my prat-headed government, which has yet to hear of the 21st century. Trying to access Communities on this macaroni line is like trying to warp to Alpha Centauri on a penny-farthing.


  18. I awoke today to find G+ engulfed in a wave of community mass hysteria. Remember Hangouts that ended up as unwieldy hang-ups? Remember Events that turned out to be pretty damned uneventful?


    Remember Farcebook? 


    I checked out some nascent communities; the potentially interesting ones were full of people already in my circles.


    I see inherent dangers in the community format: the MODERATORS! 


    These putative dictators will have arbitrary powers to shape the community’s input, resulting in mutual admiration societies, full of incestuous tittle-tattle and vacuous bar-fly banter. 

  19. Rajini Rao says:


    John Condliffe , there are way too many communities but I suspect that  many will fall by the wayside while others will thrive. As with profiles and pages, the engagement/activity/collective wisdom will determine their fate. So I’m not too concerned with the mass hysteria- I see it as a necessary temporary annoyance.


    As of now, the moderators are essentially removing spam and in some forums, accepting members. The Communities I’m involved with, including this one, already have moderator’s roles worked out via their Pages. We check for accuracy, stay away from wildly political posts or humor that crosses the line. We will apply the same basic criteria to the communities. Other than that, there is no reason to tittle tattle or banter there. One can indulge in those proclivities on one’s own posts, or better yet, in private communities.


  20. Rajini Rao Concerning “humor that “crosses the line”  Sometimes we need to cross it to find where it is- I fear that we will see cabals, not communities emerging here.


  21. John Condliffe please help me better understand where you are coming from: Are you saying communities may best function in anarchy?  I will give you that “community” is probably the wrong term here, perhaps ‘forum’ — even though an overused term — may be closer to what is being attempted.  So…


    Looking at it as a forum… we just had a national election in the US which included, among other things debates in front of national audiences – televised ‘fora’ if you wish.  Would you say such debates (which happen in online fora, too) would have been  more effective without moderators?

  22. Rajini Rao says:


    I just deleted 5 spammy posts from the Science Sunday community page. Another example: I asked a poster to cite the source of their image. Someone has to do it, although these are more janitorial in nature than true moderation. 


    I’d also like to ask John Condliffe  whether you saw cabals emerge in the Pages (say, ScienceSunday ). Those were moderated too. 


    John Christopher , I love the word ‘fora’ and will endeavor to use it at my next opportunity! Much more elegant than the more plebian ‘forums’ 🙂


  23. … Janitorial (!!)  Lol  🙂

  24. Rajini Rao says:


    Sometimes I use the phrase “sanitize” when I have to clean  my comment thread of rubbish and unwanted phone numbers  🙂


  25. Hi Rajini Rao agree….and I have decided to wait to allow any members to join up. I am also thinking about limiting the community/group numbers and applying social rules of conduct. 


    All posts will be monitored too….and I use a verb from nature “pruning” same idea as “sanitize”. So I will call the process gardening


  26. Rajini Rao Unsolicited phone numbers from  vultures sporting their nubile plumage makes my blood boil, too, and with all those aborted female fetuses in Asia, it will just get worse.


    Science Sunday is  sometimes very cozy but not a cabal, I think you are missing an essential difference: the moderator in communities will become a sentinel, jealously guarding admission as well as the perceived integrity of the community.


    Just take a look at Cheryl Ann MacDonald ‘s comment: “limiting” “allowing” “applying rules”.


     Witness the rise of “Cheryl-the-Wise”poised to chastise, judiciously wielding the One Ring of Power. And she is far from alone: this terminology is already common parlance among would-be arbiters of community values.


    Scientists once called huge chunks of DNA “junk”, and astrocytes were dismissed as “ballast”.DIVERSITY is essential, I do not want to see it “pruned”, “sanitized” or planted in a euphemistic “garden”. Lastly, Rajini, isn’t it dangerous for an incorrigible perfectionist to take on this extremely time-consuming role?


  27. Finally: I am not a scientist, but I believe that evolution has primed me for interacting with people, not prefabricated, gated communities.

  28. Rajini Rao says:


    John Condliffe , sorry for the delay in getting back to you, I’ve been unwell. To your last question first: yes, managing a community is a lot of work and I’m not likely to be doing it. We’ll probably find a set of qualified and interested people who can take over, while I focus on my own outreach efforts on this page and via curating the ScienceSunday page. I’ll stick to what I do best, which is to post as often as I can on all aspects of biological science that are interesting and informative. 


    The sort sanitizing I do is purely against the crude and rude brigade. Certainly not against differences of scientific opinion. There’s plenty of diversity on these posts, don’t you think? You may be overestimating the power, interest and even time commitment of community moderators. Most of us have full time, demanding careers and put in a bit of time and effort on G+, when we can. 


    As for “junk” DNA, that term was hyped by the popular press, who are now similarly overselling the importance of intergenic DNA. I’ve been appalled at the sensationalism, oversimplification, and the Pollyanna like predictions in the science press, ever since I began reading it  – since I’ve been on G+. Previously, I had only read refereed articles with data and conservative conclusions…one’s peers do not allow a colleague to get away with overreaching claims. Re. astrocytes, without action potentials, they are not considered to be as “exciting” as neurons, but they’ve never been dismissed as not important, not to my knowledge anyway. 


  29. Hope you are feeling better Rajini Rao (the flu is really going around out here)

  30. Thomas Kang says:


    Hi John Condliffe As far as I can see, the pruning that Rajini Rao and Cheryl Ann MacDonald are talking about are for spam. A comment out of the blue like “Hello, baby, how are you feeling today? doesn’t help to advance the discussion about enzymes or DNA. I could be wrong, but I doubt that Rajini, Cheryl, or most other science moderators on g+ are thinking beyond that in terms of curation.

  31. Thomas Kang says:


    Having said that, I agree with you wholeheartedly about not enjoying prefabricated, gated communities.

  32. Thomas Kang says:


    I’m still unable to join any communities or do anything with the one I made, so my comment has nothing to go by except imagination/wishful thinking. What I find appealing about communities is that I will have the choice of visiting a g+ stream that is devoted to a particular subject — or even a microsubject, so to speak — rather than navigate through a constant flow of desultory stuff in my streams, even if that is mostly good.


    I expect communities to function even better than hashtags. When g+ first started, I wanted to be able to follow not just people but rather by tags. I think communities will fulfill that function well. People will be seeing plenty of each other in the various communities, but they will now be able to do so in subject-specific communities in addition to a “common room.”


    People still have access to the current way of navigating through g+, but now they can split channels and narrow bandwidths to suit their tastes and needs. That, to me, sounds great, whatever weaknesses turn up in the execution..


  33. Thomas Kang Rajini Rao  I returned to the Web little more than a year ago after a 15-year forced absence to notice that things have changed…It’s a magical place, but sometimes it looks frenzied: Control freaks chasing choices.”split channels and narrow bandwidths to suit their tastes”


    How about “refine” or “synchronize” rather than carry on “splitting”?

  34. Thomas Kang says:


    John Condliffe You can think of hashtags (#science #ScienceSunday) as subject tags, so that if there’s a particular subject that you’re interested in you can check the stream just for that tag. If you do a search for #anysubject, your stream will fill with posts that have that tag.


    From the standpoint of an individual user, I think the communities will be a functional equivalent to what hashtags do, though perhaps now with a bit more structure to it because it consists of members.


    Like hashtags, communities have the effect of narrowing down the subject matter in the stream. Now that there are communities, though, I like the idea of being able to dip into any pool of information readily by subject matter.


  35. I’m worried that science will leave the “common room”; As communities grow, I think they will become top-down constructs with people splitting off and retreating into increasingly narrow bandwidths.

  36. Rajini Rao says:


    John Condliffe , if you follow a good collection of profiles/pages, as recommended by Science on Google+: A Public Database (you have your choice of disciplines too), you can access the posts directly on your stream without going to a Community. That’s how I get the nearly all of my science news.

  37. Thomas Kang says:


    I just expressed the same concern in the comments of my post here (http://goo.gl/ozKS4). I was hoping that people could post simultaneously post to their individual streams and to a community (or communities) so that I can have the choice of viewing my general stream and catching stuff indiscriminately or of going to a specific community for information.


    As it is, it sounds as if the communities will have the effect of diminishing the general streams, which would force people to get subject-specific news from the communities. In a worst-case scenario, it could split subject-specific posts, with some found only in communities and others found only in individual streams.


    I’d rather put up with duplicate posts and be able to access stuff through both the general stream and community streams.

  38. Rajini Rao says:


    I don’t want to duplicate posts on my profile. It seems like an inelegant solution. I found that one could not simultaneously share a post to Public and to a Community, even though the options are there in the pull down menu. A message appears that one cannot do that.

  39. Rajini Rao says:


    Chad Haney posted a link to another summary post on communities: http://goo.gl/FocFB


    I’ve not had the chance to read all this yet, Thomas Kang . If we had been given a heads up on this Community launch from the Google peeps, we would have thought this through better. Right now it’s a redux of the Events mess.

  40. Thomas Kang says:


    I only survived Events as a passive victim, but I’m far more interested in the communities, given their potential to deliver information with less noise.


    From what little I’ve seen, some people seem to be pulling in their own public posts into a community stream by reposting it there. That’s apparently one way; another that I might expect is that people will make intuitive calculations on the fly whether particular posts are more suitable for public and others for a community. That should have the effect of pushing more hard-core information into communities, leading to lighter information in the public streams.


    Of course, “lighter” communities — say, lolcats, fun GIFs, and so on — could proliferate as well, but I seem to be coming across very few pure leisure based communities and many more serious, interest-based communities.

  41. Thomas Kang says:


    When g+ first started, I was really hoping to be able to follow certain people by tags rather than the whole person — so that if there happened to be someone who posted prolifically on knitting (which I’m not interested in) along with cool science posts, I could follow just the science.


    I think communities will enable me to do that, but I am concerned that this could lead to too much compartmentalization of information — akin to how Windows folders compartmentalize files vs. tags, which are not limited to a particular folder path. I might enjoy the community posts of certain individuals, but I could be missing very good posts that those individuals are posting to other communities that I don’t happen to be in. That’s what I was hoping the general public stream would be for.


    It’s a lucky thing that the signal-to-noise ratio is already quite good as it is here, but I’m envisioning significant gains on one front, with potential losses on another.

  42. Rajini Rao says:


    Very thoughtful comments, Thomas Kang . Communities may functionally replace hash tags. While curating ScienceSunday today, I noticed that hash tags used in a Public Community post were not visible in a public search, which is troubling. Let me know if you can verify this.


  43. Great  metaphor Thomas Kang – dipping in and pooling resources.- I hope it will counteract the forces of fragmentation. Your post and Chad Haney’s link indirectly highlighted my major concern:: about giving  serendipity some space instead of narrowing it down.


    But my perspective is very different. I disgorged myself proactively on G+ as Big,Bad WolfJohn to provide me with a convenient alibi for all my shortcomings.. As scientists you have rigorous standards and reputations to maintain and therefore, less space.

  44. k m shivaiah says:


    Panmal Sethia namaskar


  45. Yes Rajini Rao Now, even I will agree that a judicious “pruning” may be necessary – giv ’em the blow-torch, or we”ll see an epidemic of mutual admiration threads, like those above. I’m a slow learner, but I’m still rolling my stone, and will get there before Achilles.Now getting toxic-cryptic again, Rajini, so I’ll be gone on Icharus’ wings, not a vulture’s


  46. A shared sense of humor is just as binding as a promise, and far less risky; speaking of which: tying up loose ends is a neverending story for a linguistic conservationist, perfectionist and iconoclast.

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