“Excuse me, are you the author of Curving Normality? I am quite a regular reader of your blog.”
I can’t think of a nicer place than the useR! conference to find my single reader. Or, at least, one of the not-all-that-much readers. He appeared to be a sociologist, quite involved in the German ‘blogosphere’.
We ended up having lunch, while discussing differences between the Dutch and German sociological community. Apparently, there are not that many differences. Both have had a debate between proponents of quantitative and qualitative methodologies, and in both countries the quantitative groups seem to have ‘won’ the discussion, in the sense that quantitative methods are gaining in influence and relative number of users.
Interestingly, he was amazed by the openness of American professors such as Douglas Bates, whose session we had both attended. When I attended the ECPR conference in Rennes, France, I had a similar discussion with a German PHD-student. It seems that in Germany the distance between student and professor is indeed a lot larger than in other countries.
Well, B., should you read this: it was nice meeting you, and hopefully we run into each other a couple of times more during the conference.