As I entered my assistant professor years in the early 1990s and worked to assemble my research team, I considered each candidate individually. I took on students based on grades and test scores, and my relationships with them were one-on-one. I didn't consider their teamwork abilities or soft skills--or the group dynamic as a whole. This approach gave me a somewhat productive lab group as measured by single member outputs, but over many years, I came to appreciate that the collective matters--a lot. Beyond the individual output of the graduate students and postdocs lies a parallel universe of teamwork, peer-to-peer mentoring, and--most important--discovery for the research group as a whole.
Local rights groups in Mali warn that the army and its allies are torturing and killing civilians from an ethnic group accused of collaborating with Islamic militants. The violence is taking place in central Mali, where an extremist group known as the Macina Liberation Front is becoming more active. Sekou Bah, the secretary-general of Dental Wuwarbe, a local group representing members of the Peuhl ethnic group, said at least eight people have been killed this year by soldiers. Another group, Association of Peuhls, alleges a higher toll of 15. Col. Diarran Kone, a spokesman for Mali's Defense Ministry, said he was not aware of the reports and encouraged the groups to come forward with their evidence.
For quite a few years now we have attempted to maintain the Revolution Analytics' Local R User Group Directory as the complete and authoritative list of R user groups. Meetup groups make this list in one of two ways: we discover the group because they have a web page of some sort proclaiming the group to be focused on the R language or someone from the group writes to us asking to have the group included in our list. We have deliberately pursued a relatively conservative strategy in growing the list, resisting the temptation to include every data science user group that may have had an R related presentation. Even so, we have been pleased to note the slow but steady growth of R user groups, and delighted to see quite a few relatively new meetup groups from South America and Africa make our list which, as of today, includes 235 groups. However, it is interesting to occasionally take a broader view.
Conversations about a group can alter its structure and development. The antecedents of group-oriented conversation are difficult to pinpoint, however, because of the complex interdependence between individual and group behavior. In this study we utilize a unique set of exogenous, group-level treatments -- the outcomes of National Football League games -- to observe how group members -- fans of these teams -- participate in group-oriented conversation on Twitter. We show first that positive group outcomes (team victories) encourage group members to talk publicly about their group. Our results also indicate that group members participate more actively in the group-oriented discussion when the the outcome is a surprise. Future directions for this line of research are discussed.