Silent majority

by Henry Farrell on September 22, 2005

“PZ Myers”: announces that it’s Lurker Day, that day of the blogospheric calendar where readers who usually never make comments tell us what they like about our blog, what they don’t like, who they are etc etc. Sounds like a good idea – we have no idea who y’all are, but would like to find out.



Viro 09.22.05 at 8:57 am

I like this blog’s minty fresh breath.


coturnix 09.22.05 at 9:21 am


I keep coming here almost daily, mostly via links. It seems everybody always links here! And for a good reason. I think I commented a couple of times before, but not much.


Mo MacArbie 09.22.05 at 9:38 am

I check in pretty much daily. I’m an American who likes the political commentary, especially that relating to the wider world (gotta learn me somehow). The music and sports threads are a lot of fun too (does Babelfish have a Cricket to American translator?). The inside-the-ivory-tower posts don’t fire me up so much, except to make me glad that I rejected the academic route early on! Not to disparage y’all, but rather I’d be pretty ill-suited to it.


kutsuwamushi 09.22.05 at 9:47 am

I read your blog because I like to learn things. I also like seeing fools made fools of, so your posts about creationists and other assorted crackpots are entertaining. As for who I am, I’m a wannabe-linguist in Missouri somewhere.

I hope you get only five comments. =)


kutsuwamushi 09.22.05 at 9:48 am

Err, I meant to say that I hope you don’t get only five comments.


josh 09.22.05 at 9:53 am

Lurkers called out…

I read via RSS, I enjoy the blog for the variety. Interesting posts on a wide range of subjects. (I heard about Jonathan Strange and Dr Norrell here, thank you).

However I fear my computer is broken as I am unable to smell the minty fresh breath.


Rice 09.22.05 at 9:53 am

Hey there CTers! Love the blog, subscribe to the feed! Mostly I like the variety of intelligent perspectives on a wide range of subjects, from Science Fiction to Academic Politics. Don’t usually have time to comment, so I remain a lurker. Thanks for finding the time to write though.


paul 09.22.05 at 9:54 am

he published that yesterday.

atypical for CT: a day late and a something-or-other short.


skarphedinn 09.22.05 at 10:17 am

I’ve been “just watching” for quite a while, made a post or two only very recently.

While the debate is usually pretty well thought-out and interesting, what fascinates me most about this particular site is how quickly certain subjects devolve into personal attacks and polarized perspectives (especially those subjects with a gender-related component). I think that says something about the current state of academic sociology (which I assume is where most of the posters come from), but I’m not quite sure what. I’d be interested to hear the contributors’ perspectives on that.


Corey Colyer 09.22.05 at 10:21 am

I found CT via a link from Jeremy Freese . [Actually, I found Kieran’s blog via Jeremy, and followed Kieran here]. Generally, I like reading CT for the discplinary diversity of posters & commenters alike.

In particularly, I enjoyed the recent series of posts & comments regarding Jared Diamond’s work. Henry, I found your reasoning and approach to be a refreshing contrast to some of the other contributions to this topic in the blogsphere (or is it blogosphere?).

I’m a sociologist at West Virginia University.


Jerry 09.22.05 at 10:25 am

I came at you originally through the suggestion of my aggregator (Bloglines), and enjoy the site for the depth of the commentary that I find interesting, both in subject matter and in perspective. Don’t comment at all, seems there are already enough people doing that.


Jim P 09.22.05 at 10:33 am

I have CT on one of my Firefox tabs and read it almost every day. I quote it, fully cited, on my blog often.


galah 09.22.05 at 10:49 am

I lurk on rather too many blogs, so am destined to remain mostly a lurker who greatly envies the apparent ability of others to both read and write extensively. CT’s great strength seems to me its variety of perspectives and willingness to talk on many subjects, including those of interest to antipodeans caught up in cold North Lands where Babel fish are required for conversations about rugby and cricket.


Benedict Eastaugh 09.22.05 at 10:52 am

When I view this site in an 800px-wide window (I don’t think this is incredibly uncommon, despite the fact that most Windows users maximise their browser windows), the central column is really, really skinny. Moving (for example) the links from the right-hand column onto a separate page would make me very happy.


jake madison 09.22.05 at 11:09 am

well let’s see here…

I’m a student at a junior college in vancouver canada studying politics and economics, and CT seems to have much more interesting analysis and debate than any of my classes.

I like that the majority of the comments generally add to the entry, rather than being superfluous or shallow sectarian bickering.


Abi 09.22.05 at 11:21 am

Hi, I have commented here a couple of times. I don’t comment more often, simply because I don’t have much to say on many things you guys discuss here. On the other hand, I do link to your posts, directing my readers to some of your more interesting posts.


Random Kath 09.22.05 at 11:28 am

I just started lurking a couple of weeks ago, found you guys through links from various other blogs. I love the wide variety of topics discussed here – you do such a great job. I usually don’t have a lot of time to comment, but if something really moves me, I will.


sean 09.22.05 at 11:49 am

I “come here” through the RSS feed and enjoy the generally high content of the posts — it’s almost never a link-and-“heh”, their breadth, and their general un-shrillness. I lurk both because I don’t have the time to write many thoughtful comments, and because I don’t think unthoughtful, hurried participation is beneficial.

ps — this preview-as-you-type thing is most impressive. I may have to comment more just to enjoy watching it insert en-dashes — and “smart” quotes.


Branedy 09.22.05 at 12:01 pm

I’m an RSS lurker. And I skim this site several times a day. I have never commented before. And I tend to lean the same direction as your Crooked Timber does.


Rob Breymaier 09.22.05 at 12:03 pm

I enjoy the neo-academic feeling. I miss the college atmosphere sometimes and this often reminds me of the feeling I had in grad school seminars where people are bouncing ideas around and having a good time with it.


Katrina 09.22.05 at 12:11 pm

Me: History grad student, UK.
I visit often, but comment rarely.
(but do sometimes refer & link to CT posts on my site!)


fulsome 09.22.05 at 12:13 pm

I am a biologist by trade who also majored in philosophy and is more-or-less a sucker for politics and international relations. I think I often get overwhelmed by the information available and since I am not an expert on these topics am generally content to read and learn.


smart shade of blue 09.22.05 at 12:15 pm


I confess, I´m a lurker.

(not quite, since I think I have made a comment here once)


jayinbmore 09.22.05 at 12:43 pm

I’ve commented once or twice. I read via RSS. I like CT because the posts make for some of my favorite reading more consistently than any other blog.


auderey 09.22.05 at 2:18 pm

i’m a lurker, and i enjoy the broad spectrum of interesting posts, and especially the lively and more-often-on-topic-than-other-blogs comments.


Chris Clarke 09.22.05 at 2:26 pm

PZ Myers announces that it’s Lurker Day,

I see that citing of primary sources is alive and well in academe.


mister luker 09.22.05 at 2:27 pm

Silicon valley engineer. Started reading Kos, Drum, and Atrios summer before the election. Election made me sad, and I stopped
reading anything political because it just made me sadder. Six months later, came back. I’ve been slowly growing the set of poli-blogs in my “open in tabs” bookmark. Followed enough chains of links ending up here that I added you about a month ago.
Never posted anything other than this here.


Aryky 09.22.05 at 2:27 pm

I’m another who has commented once or twice. But mainly I like to lurk. Part of what I like about blogs is that I generally tend to find listening to other people talk more interesting and thought-provoking than talking myself. CT’s one of my favorite blogs because of the wide variety of subjects discussed (both things I already know I find interesting and things that I might not have heard about without reading), the perspective (academic, leftish politically, international), and the intelligence – even when I disagree with y’all, I generally find what you say well-stated and thought provoking. And there’ll probably be several people I do agree with in the comments.


DB 09.22.05 at 2:31 pm

“Lurker Day” is some kind of scam, isn’t it? You can’t make me comment!


md 09.22.05 at 2:39 pm

I’ve been a resident of Los Angeles for 3+ years and a British citizen for, um, somewhat longer.

CT has been on my list of RSS feeds for a year or so, I think, and I forget how I came to add it there in the first place. Probably got fed up following links from Yglesias.

The contributors (commenters as well as posters) seem to have hit upon a nice blend of informed discussion and accessable writing. Which is probably just as well, considering how varied some of the topics can be.

Anyhow, ’tis good. Keep it up!


PZ Myers 09.22.05 at 2:40 pm

That Chris Clarke…doesn’t he know that it’s who shouts the loudest, not who shouts first, that establishes priority in academe?

I haven’t commented on CT in a while (I guess that makes me a lurker now), but it’s only because I take it for granted.


dr. matt 09.22.05 at 3:18 pm

Lurkers? Hey! That means me!

Graph theorist in the American Midwest, and so very interested in the occasional social networks post that appears here. The general mix of topics and opinions here appeals to me.


Darby 09.22.05 at 3:22 pm

Hi. I pop in now and then and usually find something of some interest. Eventually I’m going to read Iron Council then peruse the China Mieville seminar.


dasmoment 09.22.05 at 3:36 pm

I lurk here. i lurk there. sometimes it seems i’m lurking everywhere. i do sometimes make comments too, but usually I don’t intrude. when i write, i get confused, and lurking leads to clarity.

but really, do you care? and does it even matter what i say? i’d rather sit in silence with my wife. I’ve had some training, and read so many things; it seems a selfish pretense to propose a conversation. most of the people who speak to me are dead. and for that matter, so are the living, if i’m reading.

and now you lurk, if you dare to read. hello! I’m already gone. This wasn’t even me.


mike d 09.22.05 at 3:38 pm

OK, you got me. I’ve never commented, mainly because by the time I’ve read through the 20 or so other comments, the topic has been thoroughly hashed out and I have nothing intelligent to add. I appreciate the breadth of scope as well as the intelligently thought-out comments. CT is part of my daily routine.


katuah 09.22.05 at 3:41 pm

hello, Timberites. Or is that Timberers?


Hung 09.22.05 at 4:28 pm

It’s like Mike D spoke on my behalf.

That’s an example of reasons why I don’t comment.


Capt. Automatic 09.22.05 at 4:39 pm

I enjoy lightbulb jokes, cursory discussions of anglo-american philosophy, and long walks on the beach. I wish I could say the same about the Australian political scene and cursory (and somewhat more than cursory) discussions of sociology and economics. Be well, crooked timber.


Dan K 09.22.05 at 5:33 pm

Reads CT daily. Swedish. Like the mix here. Consume political, cultural and tech blogs daily. Culturally conditioned towards the liberal blogosphere but find right wing blogs anthropologically interesting. The day job includes university teaching and researching organizations. Prefer lurking, the day job includes enough writing. Oh, and I’m not the Dan K that posts frequently at TPMcafe (likes his stuff though)


dm 09.22.05 at 5:40 pm

I’m a computer consultant in New Zealand. I check CT at least once a day, but have not previously posted a comment. The main attractions are the high standard of postings, the breadth of topics and the standard of comments – the more successful posts generate extraordinarily good discussions. Keep it up!


andrew 09.22.05 at 6:32 pm

Your blog is great, and I check it every day. Sound analysis, bit of a tin ear politically when it comes to American voters but that’s neither surprising nor uncommendable. I rarely comment because just reading the blog and occasionally the comments already takes too much time without coming up with something to add.


Laura Carroll 09.22.05 at 6:54 pm



Shannon 09.22.05 at 7:20 pm

I avoid coming to this site for months in spite of many of my regular reads linking here almost everyday. I have been a regular lurker here for the past 3 months or so, and I dig a lot of the issues raised here.

Keep up the good work.


Ruchira 09.22.05 at 8:01 pm

I found your blog via Saheli and enjoy your intelligent coverage of a variety of topics.


Scott Eric Kaufman 09.22.05 at 8:56 pm

I read it for the same reason Laura does (but didn’t have the chutzpah to admit here in a public forum): that fascist Holbo demands all Valve contributors set our default homepage to rotate between Crooked Timber and John and Belle. So I frequently scan the titles of the latest entries to see if there’re any I could later be quizzed on, then leave.

Actually, my contemporary political theory simply isn’t up to snuff. Ask me about turn-of-the-century American politics and how the pernicious myth of “social Darwinism” influences the way we think about it (not to mention “its” supposed instantiations since), and I’d be the best blog commenter in whole darn world!


Thompsaj 09.22.05 at 9:05 pm

Started reading CT this spring, probably googling for figures on Social Security (remember when that was big?) Never was too interested in blogs before, and CT really is the only one I read regularly; however, its main value to me is as a trustworthy way to find info and analysis that I wouldn’t have found otherwise on TV or in, say, the NYT. The commentary is at a high level and even the people causing trouble at least have to appear to have an argument. Also, I’ve learned nearly everything I know about what’s new on the internet in the last two years (and sunk innumerable hours in the process) from Eszter’s posts.


;-) 09.22.05 at 9:13 pm

Lurking classics grad student in Pton (where all grad students are sketchy lurkers regardless)… enough writing on dissertation, so no comments. Love the blog, nice blend of non- and non-non-academia links and thoughts…


Ian 09.22.05 at 10:21 pm

I read it to impress the ladies.


shmuel 09.23.05 at 4:57 am

Read daily and enjoy most of the posts. Can do without the once in while esoterica such as book “reviews” or inter-blog drive by shooting. The quality of the post is typically high same about the writing quality. It does help in enriching my day.

Comments are a different story all together. Do you really must practice the first amendment?. Or, could there be a resento-meter where aggrieved readers can shoot at repeat, and hellish, offenders?

I am a computer scientist at GWU.


Grimmstail 09.23.05 at 12:33 pm

Dang, I suppose I’m ont a true lurker now, since I have commented on a post for the first time today. But wait! That post came after this one! No, there is a time stamp on comments. Ah ha! I’ll lie! I’ve been a lurker here for several months now. There is slightly more information about me in comments over at pharyngula and cosmic variance if you care.


Mike Molloy 09.23.05 at 1:56 pm

I found Crooked Timber by links on lots of other sites. I think Uncertain Principles was one that led me here. I like the variety of topics discussed, and the general sense of academic activity in the air. I’m a refugee from academia (philosophy), which has something to do with that, I suppose. CT has also been useful to me as a recommender of other sites–I believe I first found Making Light via Kieran’s post on the Cryptonomicon–and for recommending Kelly Link’s work.


dale 09.27.05 at 5:34 am

I like fantasising about the breast-sizes and testicle-densities (and combinations of each) of the various contributors. I like rubber. Your site makes me think of rubber. I like your site, in a second-order sort of way. I like cleaning products, too. Your site makes me think of rubber, though. Predominantly.

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