29 January, 2021

The 2021 Scholar's Stage Readers Poll!

It is a new year and that means a new reader's poll. Every year I put one of these together to get a sense for who my readers are and what they most value in The Scholar's Stage. This is a special poll because in a few weeks a redesigned Scholar's Stage will be launched, and this poll is your last chance to comment on what shape you would like it to take. 

You can access that survey here. That survey is open to all readers; a slightly tweaked version is available to my lower tier patreon supports here, and my higher tier supporters here. I place special value on feedback from my patrons, and so have split up the surveys accordingly.

The survey has three parts. The first asks about how you originally found this website and what content you most want to see published on it; the second is a demographic questionnaire, and the third asks basic questions about your political beliefs. I only ask that you fill out the first section. I would be pleased, however, if you filled out the other two, as I am curious about the demographics of this site's readership. If enough people fill the second and third sections out, I will write a post up that explores the data.

One of the questions on the survey asks what posts of things you most enjoy reading here at the Stage. I split my posts up into five broad categories:

1) ‘Clear eyed’ takes on international affairs and contemporary security issues (with a focus on East and Southeast Asia). 
2) Long-form essays on macro-historical topics or little known historical events (with a focus on East and Southeast Asia).
3) Accessible summaries or excerpts from larger books or studies in social science or history
4) Criticism and analysis of modern American culture, politics, or society through a comparative or historical lens. 
5) Meditations, musings, and long form essays on great works of literature, political philosophy, and history

Some examples of the first category from the last year would include the posts "Why I Fear for Taiwan" or the various essays I wrote this year for Foreign Policy and Tablet.  

In the second category I would file my long essay on the UN intervention in Cambodia for Palladium, the post "On Sparks Before the Prairie Fire," as well as older posts like my series on the Han-Xiongnu wars

The third category might include some of my most popular posts (like "Tradition is Smarter Than You Are") as well some of the smaller posts from this year (including January's "Bootstrapping Marx," December's "A Theory of Authoritarian Politics" or September's "On Diplomats in Chief".)

The fourth category includes some of my biggest hits from the last year ("Conservatism's Generational Civil War," "On Days of Disorder," "On Cultures That Build," or "In the Shadow of the Boomers.")

 The fifth category might include posts like "Adding Phrases to the Language," "Introducing Asibiyah," and "History is Written by the Losers."

Some posts defy all categories (see "Why Do Public Intellectuals Have Short Shelf Lives") or fall under multiple categories (see "Spengler and the Search for a Science of Human Culture"). But by and large I think these five categories describe the majority of what I write. Take the survey and tell me which sort of thing you like best!

EDIT: Because I have received several questions about this: in the Likert scale questions at the bottom of the survey, "1" means unfavorable and "5" means favorable.

5 comments:

Nick Weininger said...

I assume that in the news site ratings section, higher ratings are better; you didn't make that clear.

Thomas Leahey said...

I just tried to do your evaluation, doing all but the last section. You did not specify on what variable I was to rate each publication, nor what he ends of the Likert scales meant (Good-Bad v. Bad-Good, for example)

Roger Sweeny said...

Because the survey forced me to, I picked two of the five article types but I actually like all five about equally. Because they are consistently high quality and usually add to my understanding of things I'm interested in (which admittedly is a lot of things). I don't get stuff here I could get anywhere else.

Silva said...

Thanks. I think the voter fraud question should have "I have no idea"; I didn't answer (I expect both parties to commit fraud, but don't know how much and don't really have an idea on whether the presidential election was flipped). While I'm not saying you "should", I, in your place, would've asked about "transgenderness", just to find out whether you have a total of about 3 readers claiming to be women, who are all men.

CJ said...

This might de-anonomize me, but in when asking for one book you should read, I suggested Japan and the Shackles of the Past, completely forgetting you have read it and commented on it some time ago. My Bad.

I would suggest my other choice, Replenishing the Earth: The Settler Revolution and the Rise of the Angloworld by James Belich. I've read this one after Razib Khan wrote his positive review on the books, and I would add my own recommendation to his.

Also, I saw your tweet on another reader's suggestion that you learn Russian/Japanese and another world language afterwards, and it reminded me of this post on Turkic linguistics:

For someone venturing into Turkic studies there is only one problem. If he/she wants to undertake these studies seriously, it is not sufficient to obtain the literature we have cited, the grammars, dictionaries, texts and critical investigations: it is necessary first to acquire a basic working knowledge of several languages, i.e. English, French, German, Russian and Turkish. To progress further, it will also be necessary to learn some Japanese and Chinese. This means, of course, a total commitment to the discipline – for life.