Dispatches from the Creation Wars

Scienceblogs: To Be or Not to Be

You’ve probably seen by now that National Geographic is essentially taking over ScienceBlogs. The news leaked out surreptitiously and NatGeo put out a press release about it the other day. You may also have seen PZ asking his readers what kinds of language and tone restrictions they would be willing to tolerate.

Unsurprisingly, NatGeo is concerned about the tone of some of our blogging. It is a venerable, family-friendly company with a global reputation to worry about, so I’m neither surprised nor offended by that. But at the same time, I am used to writing without restriction. Seed was a smartass little startup and they let the bloggers write anything we wanted in whatever way we wanted. And I rather like it that way.

Unlike PZ, I have not yet spoken to our new NatGeo overlords directly, as I’ve been out of town at a conference. I did ask during a conference call last week about profanity; I am, after all, the guy who several times a week posts a “dumbass quote of the day.” I didn’t get a straight answer at the time about that, only a promise to talk it out with me individually in the hope of coming to some agreement on tone and language.

So what is Ed going to do, I’m sure you’re asking yourselves. Answer: I don’t know. I’m certainly going to take the time to speak to the NatGeo folks directly before making any decision, but I’m also actively seeking possible alternatives. That’s why I asked here and on my Facebook page for someone who could do a WordPress development project.

One possibility that I’m exploring is setting up an entirely new network for relatively like minded blogs that deal with atheism, freethought, skepticism and humanism. The key question there is whether it would be financially viable to do. And there are a lot of options on how exactly to do it if I choose to do so.

So the bottom line is this: Stay tuned. If I choose to stay, there will be some new content and tone restrictions that I’ll have to abide by and I’ll make the adjustment. If I choose to leave, I certainly hope you all will follow me to a new home. Like PZ, I view this as more than just a blog, it’s a community that has built up around the blog. And wherever the blog is, I expect that to continue.