Dear Tenured Radical,

I’d love to comment on your posts at Tenured Radical 3.0 more frequently, but your hosts at the Chronicle of Higher Education have made it very difficult for me.  At first, I used an old Disqus account–the Chronicle’s software recognized that account and let me post via that account earlier this summer.  Then last week, the Chronicle forced me to get a Chronicle account in order to post.  I did that, but now of course I can’t remember all of my login information, and since it’s about the eleventybillionth danged login I’ve created in order to engage in blog commentary and internet commerce, it all just seems too exhausting for me to cope with.

Why can’t I just comment over there under my username and my URL?  Is there any way the Chronicle software gurus could fix this?  Why all the super-secret, password-protected bullcrap?

One might think that the Chronicle wants us to log in so that they can monitor the tone of discussion on their articles and posts, but the comments over there don’t appear to be moderated any more than the comments on most mainstream U.S. online publications.  Some of the new commenters who have drifted over to TR 3.0  are bringing down the quality of conversation, and I wonder if some of your regular readers and commenters at Tenured Radical 2.0 would agree.

I just wanted you to know that I miss being a part of the conversation, and that my absence is not due to my disinterest in your posts.  I am, however, pretty disinterested in mixing it up with commenters like this, who are just trying to derail a promising conversation.  Where else can I go for a smart conversation about the cultural significance of Jo Calderone?  After all, I’m only a lesbian on the internets–and like most of your readers, my real life is much, much duller without you.



43 thoughts on “Dear Tenured Radical,

  1. Suddenly my browsers won’t even let me see the comments on Chronicle blogs anymore, much less allow me to try posting! Sounds like that’s possibly a good thing in this case (?), but I miss the conversation.


  2. Same here, on all of it (even Ellie’s comment on not being able to see the comments until you’re a member). TR, you’ve posted a lot of quality material over there, and I’m still a fan. But I’m going to have to be an avid lurker for now.

    Come back to Free Blogistan!


  3. Hi, Ellie and Notorious. You know, I was able to see the comments on the posts earlier today–clearly, since I posted links to a few of the offensive ones–but now I have the same problem that you report.

    (Is it because the post I linked to is no longer the top post? Wev. This is even more irritating!)


  4. I’ve been lurking over at TR – I’ve never been an avid commentator at her site, just a lurker – but I noticed how few comments her posts are getting at the Chronicle. I was trying to figure out why, because they’re such great posts, but now I see that it must be for the reasons H’ann et al. mentioned.

    (OT: I’m a little glad that the links to the depressing comments didn’t work when I tried them. I’m getting so depressed by the scary vitriolic stupidity of the internets. (I was just reading a post about death/ rape threats to female bloggers. A woman got death threats for saying she didn’t like a movie.)


  5. Hmmm. The Chronicle still lets me comment with a DISQUS account, and doesn’t require a Chronicle account. (I just created a pseudonymous one and it allowed me to comment just fine.) I mean, I can understand not wanting to have to deal with another login/ID/whatever, but the Chronicle isn’t forcing people to reveal themselves/use a Chronicle ID.

    I think the point of DISQUS is to try to adopt a relatively common commenting program – it’s one that’s used at a lot of major blogging sites (for instance, The Atlantic blogs use DISQUS, as do other sites I can’t remember at the moment – which is less helpful, sorry!). I suspect requiring the creation of accounts and logins (which most major sites seem to require of commenters) is a way to counter spam. It’s not the only way to go, and it’s not without hassles, but I think it makes some sense when you’re talking about sites with the kind of traffic that the Chronicle handles.

    I can also see the comments just fine right now. (To be honest, it isn’t like TR didn’t garner trolls over at her other site, so I don’t think the commenters are a radical difference – but I do think it’s unfortunate that bloggers can’t delete comments there.)

    None of these things are meant to suggest everyone should be rushing over there to comment and that there are no good reasons to be frustrated with the process, mind you – just wanted to throw the info out there.


  6. I followed your link to the Chronicle, and it let me access both TR’s article and comments with DISQUS. Maybe there was some kind of glitch when you tried? Or someone at the Chronicle read this post and fixed things?


  7. Thanks, caseyOR–now I can see the comments threads again. I haven’t done anything in the meantime, so who knows?

    I just don’t understand why the Chronicle blog system has to be so complicated. A decent spam filter does just fine for me, but then I don’t have the advertising or the traffic that the Chronicle has, so I’m sure that makes a big difference.

    I really don’t get why it stopped recognizing my Disqus account, when I had posted successfully with it in the past.


  8. I can see the comments now — must have been a temporary glitch.

    I think part of my reluctance to open a Chronicle account is that, at this point, my online identities have proliferated to the point where I can’t keep track of them all anymore. One more would be too much.


  9. I just posted a comment over there, partly as a test and partly because TR’s current thoughtful and depressing meditation on Title VI is directly connected with my field. I agree that the Chronicle’s insistence on people creating an account, etc., has diminished the quality of the conversation there, which is a great pity. I have gotten so sick of everyone and their dog demanding that I created a log-in and password that I just turn away, even if they try to entice me with sale prices or whatever. Enough already! No insult to dogs intended!


  10. We were just chatting about this in the blogworld kitchen over at my place, Historiann, and about how we miss being part of the conversation. The commenters at the Chronicle are sometimes the same ones as in the forums, and it seems to be a little more of a . . . well, maybe a fiefdom over there.


  11. Undine–indeed you did, and I’m sorry not to have caught that post! (And even though you linked to me, nothing has shown up in my links yet from you, so how’s that for ignorance?)

    I don’t hang out enough at the Chronicle to get to know regular commenters on the other articles–I found your analysis very interesting.


  12. I had the problem seeing comments a few days ago, too, but it seems to have resolved.

    I may be wrong about this, but I also had the impression that Disqus in general, and/or the Chronicle’s iteration of it in particular, discourages multiple identities associated with the same IP address. Since I already have a (little-used) account in my real-life name at the Chronicle, I didn’t think I could sign in over there as Cassandra as well (or, if I did, I’d have to think about when I last renewed my connection).


  13. Ditto on the hassle front turning me into a lurker. Still love TR and read regularly.

    And I wonder about possible gender impact of the move: are women less likely to comment in a forum that seems more exposed, more public? (I’m thinking about the terrible gender dynamics of authors at wikipedia, for instance.) Is is possible that the more institutional the forum, the less safe it might seem for various marginalized groups? Especially when the trolls take hold…


  14. I use Disqus to comment there, no technical problems, but I’m still reluctant, mostly because of the “likes received” listing I see every time I look at my Disqus box. I don’t give a flying youknowwhat about this, I don’t want people voting on my comments in some sort of popularity contest. I just want to be part of the community. (To that end, Disqus also makes it a closed garden in that your only profile information is what other Disqus communities you comment at.)

    I won’t use my FB or Twitter login to comment there because I don’t want to spam people on other social networks that I frequent with my comments. It’s like crossing the streams, dude!

    But I’ll mosey on over to TR’s and leave a comment, despite my misgivings about the system, because I sure do love her blog.


  15. Hey friends: I’m going to point my handler over here and see if she can address some of these issues. I’ve been wondering where y’all were — I’m having similar twinges about the loss of my sitemeter. I get daily reports, but not the detailed information I used to get.

    The folks at the Chron have been pretty good at addressing my issues when they have arisen, so I’ll see if I can get on top of some of these. I would say, re. multiple logins, that I just use the same name and password for everything, plus amazon, Land’s End, Toys in Babeland and Disqus — only the name + login changes for my financials & accessing Zenith’s system. So that helps.

    Other issues are arising with Chrome, if any of you are using that: one of you who couldn’t get to me at all, I believe it was a Chrome problem. Roxie’s World digs it, but that dead dog is the only one I know who has had a uniformly positive experience with Chrome.

    But I think there are still site issues that are being worked out — for example, since Snooki of Jersey Shore hijacked my Twitter feed a couple days ago it has shut down completely. I have to get them to deal with it.

    So point taken H’Ann — and yes I *did* almost call Arne Duncan a tool!


  16. I have a slightly different problem. I log in to the Chronicle via my department’s subscription, and there’s no way that I’m going to take that subscription and start commenting under that username. Not only would it be rude in general to start acting as if a department’s subscription was my own personal one, I have no idea how many people use it. I suppose I could create another login for the Chronicle, but then I’d have to constantly track whether I’d logged in via my independent (and unpaid) login or via the department’s subscription, and I think I might regularly mix those up. Because of this problem, I’ve never commented on anything at the Chronicle–though often, reading the comments leaves me with no desire to do so. And I’m not prepared, at the moment, to comment using facebook or something else that immediately links back to my real name(I’m sure anyone really determined to do so could track my comments, say, here, and and figure out pretty quickly who I am, but I’m a grad student who hasn’t really developed a public/online “academic” presence yet, and I don’t think Chronicle comments are the best place to start creating that presence).

    I’ve also had some trouble finding Tenured Radical since her move. Unless she’s featured on the Chronicle that day/week (which seems to lead to many more, and more troll-ish, comments on her blog), I’ve had to click my way around for a while to find her. Usually before I get to that point I just come back here and use Historiann’s link…your blogroll is very useful, by the way!


  17. On the other hand, I did find both this blog and Tenured Radical via links from other articles on the Chronicle in the past few years…so as a publicity/linkback platform, it certainly works.


  18. I get notices of TR’s posts and all the other blogs I follow in my RSS Reader. I don’t know if that’s thoroughly old-fashioned but it works to alert me. I also get many of them via Twitter but I know that isn’t for everyone.


  19. TR–thanks for replying. I did request a password reset earlier today so that I could continue to comment at your place. I am still just cranky about having to “log in” in the first place.

    I guess the thrust of the comments thread here is that your gig at the Chronicle feels more like we’re visiting your parents’ living room and having to log in and introduce ourselves formally, instead of just popping in and hanging out at your old tree house or fort in the woods. And some of us don’t even know where your parents’ house is, or how to find it except via a blogroll link!

    (Maybe I’m reading too much of my own hostility to institutional authority into it. If so, fellow treehousers/woodsfortians, my apologies, and feel free to disagree with me here below.)


  20. On a slight tangent, am I simply naive to be shocked that there are people eligible for accounts at the Chronicle — professional academics engaged in research and/or teaching in higher ed – who hold the kind of troglodytic ideas as TR’s trolls over there? I feel sort of like what Perpetua and Canuck said about the higher percentage of trolls, but I find it additionally disturbing that there seem to be more of these bottom-feeders at the Chronicle than I saw around TR’s old digs, out in the wild. They’re not all sullen teenage trolls, I would think; some of them are actually bass-ackward, hateful bigots who qualify in some awful way as our colleagues. It worries me that they seem more numerous now than before, and that there is some murky institutional power that enables them while holding us would-be commenters at arm’s length.

    I guess I also miss the treehouse.


  21. Contingent Cassandra – I have 2 separate DISQUS accounts as well as a Chronicle account, and have no problems posting at the Chronicle blog network under any of those different identities from the same computer/IP address. (This has nothing to do with whether you want to trek over there and comment, of course, but multiple addresses with the same IP don’t seem to be discouraged at all.) I do have different e-mails for the 2 DISQUS accounts (one is associated with my legal name, one is associated with my blog ID), so it may not be possible to have two different screennames with the same e-mail.

    Also, Canuck Down South, the Chronicle Blog Network is a free part of the Chronicle, so it doesn’t require any kind of logging into the Chronicle proper to read. The only login is through DISQUS, the commenting platform, which doesn’t have to be connected to Twitter or FB or the like, and can be completely pseudonymous. You couldn’t mix that up with your departmental login on the rest of the site, because using your DISQUS login wouldn’t log you in to the paid portion of the site – you could *only* get to that portion of the site using the departmental login (i.e. the paid subscription).

    Dr. Koshary – I think there *are* certainly hateful bigots lurking in this profession, but the only thing required for an account allowing you comment at the Chronicle’s site is an e-mail address from which you can verify the account. There is absolutely nothing that requires a commenter at any part of the Chronicle to be a professional academic engaged in research/teaching in higher ed (including the paid portions – all you need to do is pay for a subscription, and there is no screening process requiring you to be an academic to get a subscription to the Chronicle). It seems pretty clear to me that at least in free portions of the site (and in fact, I don’t think most of the paid stuff actually allows leaving comments), many many commenters are simply people who have strong opinions about higher ed/professors (and their only experience of higher ed is maybe having been a college student).


  22. Wow–I did stay away from reading the comments on my favorite blogs while teaching summer school! How did I miss that Historiann had been commanded to stay away from Twitter? I had best not run afoul of the Sheriff of Twitter myself, lest he cancel my account.


  23. I’m fascinated by this discussion, which I think is about something more and other than what appears to be the subject. Historiann gets at what feels like the real issue in her metaphors of the tree house/fort v. the parents’ living room. So many of us started blogging to get away from some of the constraints of our adult professional worlds. I’m genuinely happy to see TR in the Chronicle. It feels like a validation of what all of us have been doing, in our various and quirky corners of the blogosphere, to imagine and bring into being new ways of communicating about the conditions of our work lives and our world. At the same time, as so many here have already said, it still feels different and a little strange to visit TR at the new address. For me there is the awkwardness of identity — I am a dead dog using my typist to comment under her partner’s real name because that’s who subscribes to CHE in our household. Beyond that, though, it does feel a bit like one ought to be on one’s best behavior. Sure, one can say “fucke and stuffe,” but unless one is a troll (or a beloved PhysioProf), one likely won’t, because the whole vibe of the place is more like being at a conference session rather than sitting at the bar with a bunch of pals after the session. I miss some of the informality of the old place and the whole Rebel With Many Causes feel, but I think that in time we’ll get used to it — Or better yet, we’ll make the stuffy living room over into the tree house of our collective dreams!

    Peace out, kids. Thanks for bringing this up, cowgirl.


  24. Historiann–“tree house” is much better than “kitchen,” which was my metaphor, but it gets at the same thing. As Roxie says, blogging at the Chronicle is validation, so yay Lesboprof and Tenured Radical, yet it does feel as though they’ve moved into a figuratively as well as literally more formal space–into the living room, as you put it.


  25. I’ve felt the same exact thing about commenting on TR at the Chronicle, even though I read her religiously. And while I like my peeps getting a wider audience and being “authorized” or whatever as “real” bloggers… Every blogger I’ve known who has “gotten big” I’ve ultimately lost interest in. Not because I’ve lost interest in the person, but just as we commenters feel like we’re in somebody’s parlors, I think that bloggers themselves with that kind of audience… they’re in the parlor, too. And since I tend to gravitate to more “raw” blogs, well, congrats to TR on moving, and I’m still reading, but I’ve also felt less moved to *want* to comment since she’s been over there. And, I’ve seriously considered just friending her on Fb so that we can have real life conversations as opposed to even bothering with her blog. It’s not that blogging in “authorized” spaces is wrong or something – but it has an effect. And for me, as a reader, it’s not a positive one.


  26. Crazy: Friend me!!!!

    Everyone: This is a great conversation — I think part of why the Chronicle wanted me & Lesboprof is to entice all of you — so I’m going to be thinking, and maybe writing, about this. I’m glad y’all are still reading, as I have been missing your comments. And yes, there is some weird dooshbaggerie — some are conservatives who are patrolling higher ed, while some are our colleagues, friends — I’ve looked ’em up. And it is probably worth remembering that we do have colleagues at Liberty University, Oral Roberts, and a variety of less well-known places that are quite conservative.

    Also, one way to come straight to the blog w/o dodging through the Chron if you don’t want to is to just *bookmark* it.

    I’m off to get Snooki out of the Twitter feed — at first I thought it was funny, but the bitch has done something to put herself permanently on top. And I’m the top at Tenured Radical.

    Until soon…..


  27. “And it is probably worth remembering that we do have colleagues at Liberty University, Oral Roberts, and a variety of less well-known places that are quite conservative.”

    How can we ever forget it?

    Roxie and Dr. Crazy get at the attractions and the perils of having a wider reading audience. For myself, I see blogs as spaces where people of more specialized tastes and interests can meet and talk. We’re not all interested in exactly the same conversations. So for example, I’ve never in my life trolled right-wing Christianist blogs to inform them that God doesn’t exist and that Christianity is a false religion and that Christians should all be subject to reparative therapy to turn them all into atheists. And yet, some of these Godbags have felt empowered to do the equivalent at TR 3.0, and they occasionally inform me that feminism is a false, baby-murdering belief and tell me to REPENT, REPENT.

    I guess it all depends on whether we in the academic blogosphere see ourselves as writing for a more general audience (at the Chronicle, composed mostly of professional academic administrators and staffers as well as some faculty) or whether we see ourselves as writing for a smaller subset of faculty and grad students with similar research and professional interests. It will be interesting to see where this experiment with the Chronicle hosting RadFem lesbian bloggers goes–will the treehouse claim Mom & Dad’s Living Room, or will us treehousers end up becoming (in Huck’s terms) “sivilized,” or will we retreat into the woods?


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