Asexual Research Reading Group Proposal:

In a recent tumblr discussion this week, the idea was brought up of having some kind or reading group for aces (and others!) interested in discussing asexual research and other issues about asexuality in academia; I hope to continue the discussion here and get something started.

My current thoughts on a possible format would be something like this:

Each week, we read a new article, with someone perhaps making a detailed summary available to those who cannot access the original article or finding another way to get everyone access.

Next, we have some sort of a skype or other chat group to discuss; ideally we set up a defined period (~1 hours) when as many as possible can make it for a formal discussion of that week’s article. (although the group would remain open at other times as well if anyone wants to talk about anything else. Times will probably be chosen by doodle poll; if time zones become an issue, we could split up into multiple groups if needed)

After that has concluded, we post a transcript of the skype group (s), links to the paper (and summary if already available) on a static page, where asynchronous discussion can take place (proposals include Asexual Agenda, if they’re cool with it, or failing that I can host here).

Another idea is for a volunteer (probably whoever chose that weeks article) to write up a summary of the article and some of the main points to make available for a more casual audience, if no summary exists.

Also, a question for those interested:

1. Is skype an acceptable format for everyone for the initial real-time discussion? If not, what other platform do you suggest?

Also, if you have any other questions, comments, or suggestions – or just want to say you might be interested – hit me up in the comments below!

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14 comments

  1. We also have a temporary skype group set up in the meantime; if you’re interested in joining you can add me on skype as “sennkestra” – just mention that you’re interested in the discussion group and I can add you in.

    Also, to adress another concern: group discussions would be in skype group text chat, which is completely free, so no need to worry about premium membership or fees or any of that.

  2. As I’ve been thinking about this more, I suspect that what I’m picturing this group to be like is different from what you and writingfromfactorx are picturing and that’s why we’re pulling it in different directions. Is anyone still interested in having some type of more casual reading group at the Asexual Agenda that would be open to anybody interested in participating? I feel like I want to explore this idea further for it’s own sake even if it ends up being a separate thing from what you’re working on; I think it might be a good way for me to contribute to the Asexual Agenda, which is something I’ve been looking for.

    As to the Skype idea, I’ve already read as many academic papers on asexuality as I can find freely available to the public. Is the group intended for people who are newly-reading these papers?

    1. Re: skype: It’s intended for anyone interested- many of us are already familiar with much of what’s available, but it’s also open to people who are just starting, and I doubt any of us have read everything that’s out there to be read.

      May I ask what in particular is different from what you are thinking of? While skype chats would be among whoever joins the skype group, conversations on wherever it ends up being hosted would be completely open to anyone interested, and would probably be designed such that they do not require being in the previous skype group or reading the transcripts (though they may be informative).

      1. I guess what I was picturing was a situation where people could leave longer, more detailed comments discussing various aspects of the paper that interested them, be able to read what other people have said and respond to that if they want, and that they would be able to take their time on it. A live chat sounds to me like it would be focused on a fairly rapid pace of discussion with short comments rather than detailed analysis. I think you can see from this why I think a blog works better for my idea while Skype or a similar service works better for your idea.

        1. Ah, I see what you mean. When I post longer, more detailed comments I tend to do them simply as stand-alone blog posts, so what I was looking for was more a place where I can interact directly with people. Still, as I conceive it, this is what the second part of the discussion group would be: a blog-type setup where people can post longer comments and take their time, either using ideas discussed before or starting fresh.

    2. While people on tumblr were talking about starting a chat room on the Psychology & Sexuality issue, I proposed (in private communication) that The Asexual Agenda host an open thread on the same subject. The idea was that the blog comment discussion would complement the chat room discussion. It seems that this idea has now expanded in two ways: 1) The open thread would include a transcript of the chat room discussion, and 2) It would be periodic discussion, rather than a one-time thing.

      I’m not really sure how this doesn’t give you what you wanted, since it includes a blog-based open thread. Are you worried that the presence of a long transcript would be a barrier to casual participation?

  3. One good thing about Skype text chats– at least based on some stuff I’ve done with other researchers– is that messages are queued for participants who aren’t there at the time. This is something I’m not sure any other mainstream IM system does.

    So if you’ve been added to a chat room but are unable to make it, you’ll still receive all of the messages that were sent during it… and if you send something then, it’ll go out to the others the next time they log on.

  4. I would definitely be interested in such a reading group!

    Just an idea, but we could synthesize all the ideas proposed so it would be:
    1. Some sort of chat group at a fixed time
    2. The log of the chat would be posted somewhere (the Agenda?) so that those who couldn’t make it to the chat meeting would still be able to read the discussion
    3. Some sort of recap of the chat (so that people wouldn’t have to wade through all of it) and then
    4. an open thread for continued discussion (or for people who prefer blog format to chat format).
    That way everybody gets what they want, and everybody gets a way to participate through their medium of choice.

  5. How about a Google+ Hangout? It automatically records it to a YouTube video. Plus it can be more easily made to notify people of when it comes up because you can set it as an event and they get to say whether or not they are going to make it.

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