Inadvertent Support

Everyday, thousands of colleagues use social media to express surprise, dislike, or even outrage for the impact factor, for articles in luxury journals, against closed access, against Trump and so on and so forth.

This voluminous response carries a powerful self-sabotagemessage about the influence and visibility of what is criticized; this response and its hyperlinks tell internet search engines just how influential and thus highly ranked the criticized pages should be. It is a self-defeating response, a response providing strong and vital support for the nemeses. This support is unintended and inadvertent but powerful.

There is another option. Focus on spreading and sharing what you like and admire, i.e., what is worth sharing. Whether that is a great paper in a luxury journal or a great paper in a less visible journal, share it for its own merits. Emphasize the good since the bad is not worth your time or my time, or the high rank that search engines will give it. And what about the these transgressions that you find outrageous? Ignoring them is a far more powerful and effective message than honoring them with your attention. They do not deserve attention. Consider this:

Ellsworth Toohey: There’s the building that should have been yours. There are buildings going up all over the city which are great chances refused and given to incompetent fools. You’re walking the streets while they’re doing the work that you love but cannot obtain. This city is closed to you. It is I who have done it! Don’t you want to know my motive?
Howard Roark: No!
Ellsworth Toohey: I’m fighting you and shall fight you in every way I can.
Howard Roark: You’re free to do what you please!
Ellsworth Toohey: Mr. Roark, we’re alone here. Why don’t you tell me what you think of me in any words you wish.
Howard Roark: But I don’t think of you!
[Roark walks away and Toohey’s head slumps down]

– The Fountainhead

One thought on “Inadvertent Support

  1. Well said. I think that it’s much easier to complain about all the bad things than to try and build something good. And there’s a lot of good things out there worth bringing attention to!

    Along these lines, I’m always struck by commentary around Nobel Prize time when people talk endlessly about how bad all these prizes are, when the real way to delegitimize these prizes is to do the opposite: stop talking about them at all!


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