1/ Some reflections on scientific Twitter sociology

I hadn't used Twitter much before the pandemic. I was used to the politics of peer-review, grants, large studies etc. But scientific Twitter can be the Wild West by comparison.
2/ First of all say that 95% of the scientists in Twitter are great. This is one of the 2 main reasons I use twitter, that I can e.g. ask questions from experts in other fields and they'll reply etc.

(The other reason is the ability to provide info to the population directly)
3/ But there are some more nefarious behaviors out there.

The simpler one is the scientist that resorts to personal "ad hominem" attacks (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ad_hominem), as in politics: to combat a scientific argument, discredit the person.

I just ignore and block those folks.
4/ The trickier one are groups of scientists that when confronted with an argument they don't have a real answer to, when I press for an answer for the argument, they say that it is a personal attack from me.
5/ In some cases they play the victim. After they denounce the (non-existent) personal attack from me, they continue with "you are a senior researcher attacking poor me junior / female / etc. researcher"

In a public forum like Twitter this can be very hard to counter.
6/ And they often work in groups.

Once this dynamic is established, quickly other scientists show up in the conversation quickly, and join in denouncing the (non-existent) personal attack, trying to discredit me ("you don't know anything about X") instead of engaging argument.
7/ And you see this over and over. The same groups of scientists using the same sneaking tactics to avoid having to debate arguments.

It took me quite a while to understand this pattern. I write this so that others perhaps can learn to recognize it faster.
8/ I ask all scientists to focus and engage on the arguments. What is the evidence for and against a given hypothesis? That's where Twitter convos can be extraordinary, enabling sorely-needed connections between fields , and that are far slower through journals and conferences.
9/ I look forward to continuing to talk with the large majority of scientists in Twitter who do so honestly and candidly.

And I hope this may help a few people in identifying the more negative tactics.
10/ One other feature of the "group attack", is that often they seem to call in to colleagues who may be unaware of the tactics.

So new scientists barge in, who have been told "so and so are personally attacking me" and they join the fray. Having been manipulated into doing so.
11/ This latter tactic is particularly harmful, because it starts to create a perception on Field X that "Field Y is attacking the younger members of Field X, thus the scientists from Field Y are a******s"

Which creates barriers to collab. btw fields, precisely when most needed!
12/ Some replies say "just block those scientists." Unfortunately, not that easy. Some of these folks are well-known, are routinely interviewed by major news media. And they attack many different ppl this way.

If we block, can't counter the misinformation they spread at times.
13/ Apparently this type of tactic has a name, "the moat and the bailey", kind of like an inverse straw man.

Thanks @raj_a_mehta

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More from @jljcolorado

6 Feb
1/ Science: extensive genomic analyses in Boston show the importance of superspreading

"More than 120 introductions of SARS-CoV-2 into Boston, only a few responsible for most local transmission: 29% of intros = 85% of cases"

Superspreading ==> aerosols

science.sciencemag.org/content/371/65… Image
2/ It is very difficult to transmit to a lot of people through large, ballistic droplets, or through aerosols in close proximity ("short-range airborne").

Surfaces transmit poorly (e.g. @CDCgov and @nature: nature.com/articles/d4158…)
3/ Superspreading, in every published case I am aware of, involves aerosol transmission in shared room air.

Like Skagit choir case we investigated: 52 ppl, including 13 m behind index case. High structure of their actions makes other ways unlikely. See:

Read 7 tweets
4 Feb
1/ Escuelas y COVID-19

Hay mucha desinformación sobre este tema, en muchos casos por intereses politicos (se ocultan brotes o no se investigan etc.).

La evidencia esta clara: hay bastante transmisión en las escuelas.
2/ Para aprender mas de transmisión de COVID en escuelas, recomiendo seguir a dos epidemiólogas que están resumiendo la evidencia muy claramente:

@DrZoeHyde en Australia, por ejemplo este hilo:

3/ Y Deepti Gurdasani @dgurdasani1 en El Reino Unido, por ejemplo este hilo:

Read 14 tweets
4 Feb
1/ Schools & COVID-19

A lot of misinformation on this. Best evidence: there is considerable transmission in schools.

So schools should be opened only w/ low community transmission, and w/ mitigation measures: high-quality & well-fitted masks, less density, ventilation, CO2...
2/ If you are interested on this topic, I highly recommend following two experts that have been doing rigorous work:

@DrZoeHyde, e.g. this thread:

3/ Also follow Deepti Gurdasani @dgurdasani1, for example this thread:

Read 7 tweets
3 Feb
1/ La admisión publica de @mvankerkhove de la OMS @WHO que el virus "VA POR EL AIRE" es un cambio de rumbo importantísimo.

Por fin desmienten mensajes contundentes y completamente erróneos anteriores.

Muy importante, aunque lo digan como si siempre lo hubieran sabido y dicho.
2/ En particular este mensaje, donde la OMS no solo dijo que el virus NO iba por el aire. Dijeron que **decir que el virus va por el aire es desinformación!**

Y esto sigue en su Twitter, Facebook etc., todavía no lo han quitado.

3/ Ahora hace falta pasar a la acción. El 6 abril 2020 nuestro grupo de 36 científicos nos reunimos con @mvankerkhove y el comité IPC de la OMS, para explicarles las pruebas claras de q el virus si iba por el aire

Nos dieron con la puerta en las narices. Hemos perdido 10 meses
Read 6 tweets
3 Feb
Un caso de fraude tremendo que me han contado, y me permiten contar anónimamente:

En un país de habla hispana, una administración hace un concurso para comprar filtros HEPA. Empresa propone GENERADORES DE OZONO y lo oculta, y dice que son filtros HEPA!

NUNCA se debe añadir ozono a un espacio, si hay alguien que va a respirar ese aire. El ozono mata a cientos de miles de personas al año (e.g.: nature.com/articles/natur…)

Y eso es a niveles exteriores. Con un generador en interior puedes crear niveles mucho mas altos!
El ozono SOLO sirve para desinfectar superficies cuando no hay nadie, y vas a poder ventilar MUY bien antes de que entre nadie

Pero este virus, como dijo ayer editorial de @nature (rev. científica mas prestigiosa) raramente se transmite por superficies!

Read 4 tweets
3 Feb
1/ Extraordinario EDITORIAL de @Nature, revista científica más prestigiosa del mundo

Diciéndoles a OMS @WHO y @CDCgov q dejen de marear la perdiz y digan claramente:

- El virus se transmite sobretodo por el aire
- Es difícil contagiarse por superficies

2/ "La falta de claridad sobre los riesgos de superficies, comparado con riesgo mucho mayor de transmisión por el aire, tiene implicaciones serias.

Gente y organizaciones continúan priorizando costosos esfuerzos de desinfección, en vez de invertir en mascarillas y ventilación."
3/ "La empresa de transporte publico de Nueva York estima que gastará en desinfección $380 millones hasta 2023.

El año pasado le preguntó al gobierno EEUU si debía centrarse solo en el aire. Le dijeron que también en superficies. Ha gastado mas en limpieza que en el aire"
Read 7 tweets

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