So I know you guys might abhor blogging what you’re really thinking. I sometimes have horrifying nightmares of people stealing what I’m thinking off my blog. Especially the most recent previous post — what if someone jumps on that idea before I do? How do you think that’d make me feel? That would really suck, and especially because that’s the kind of thing I want to make my career out of , it’s kind of a risky move.

Risky only from a traditional viewpoint. Now that it’s out there in the open, I’m hoping to get a lot of feedback before I decide to do anything about it. I know that the academic institution helps you guys out a lot with that whole feedback thing, but right now I don’t have those tools. And also, you don’t have access to people like me. I know that you might have a (mild?) distrust of people like me — raving blogging loonies, I know. But at the same time, there are people who are doing some really serious work who are using both the online commons and the ivory tower. Most of these people are doing research that have directly to do with other stuff that goes on in the online commons, like alternate reality games. Still, I don’t see why we can’t start expanding the conversation to more “traditional” academic topics.

This proposal is a little bit crazy, I know. Peer review in the commons can often turn into vulgar mud-slinging flame war contests. But it doesn’t have to — I think that a lot of people have this image of the internet as pretty vulgar. And it is pretty vulgar from time to time. But you’re not going to be publishing your dissertation on 4chan. Spam filters are getting as good as spam is getting bad. There are also wonderful places on the internet where people are quite civil, intelligent, and thoughtful.

Of course you’re going to run into problems with a lot of major academic journals’ anal-retentive access policies. But you might not ever publish something in your blog that is rigorous enough for publication in academic journals. Or you might shun journals which aren’t open-access friendly. But I think I might be getting ahead of myself a little here. These are ethical choices I’m going to leave up to you.

The point is, I want to know what you guys are really thinking. I know that the internet is in a lot of ways the Wild West of intellectual life. There aren’t many sheriffs in town, and those that are there can and are wildly inconsistent. It’s not safe per se — but there are also untold rewards for people who venture out. There’s gold in them thar hills, if you will. The gold is the public.

I know you aren’t too keen on it, but think about those undergrads you have who are really bright. When do we ever get a chance to interface with you on topics outside of class and class topics? I know you might never wonder what I’m really thinking, but like I said before, I wonder all the time what you’re really thinking. I mean, you guys are pretty smart.