DN Lee is a scientist and science blogger. She was asked to write for one of those annoying re-posting and aggregating sites that we bloggers are often approached by. I’m shocked to find out that this site is actually linked to, business-wise, a reputable site like Scientific American, but that’s another story. Point is, she asked about the details related to timing, scheduling, number of posts, and compensation. The contact person at that network, some dude named “Ofek,” answered her questions and she politely declined. The response from Ofek-dude was to call DN Lee a whore. Seriously. I am not making that up. See, look:
DN Lee posted the details of this conversation on her blog at Scientific American, and that post was then summarily removed by the Scientific American Blogs editors. My understanding is that Scientific American Blogs is claiming that the post was not about “discovering science” and that is why it was removed, but no one is buying that. Clearly, mistakes were made.
When PepsiGate happened, lots of people became righteously indignant and ran away from Scienceblogs.com even though Scienceblogs actually made good on that goof by apologizing and immediately closing down the Pepsi blog. Many of the people who slammed the door on scienceblogs.com ended up at Scientific American. Now, Scientific American Blogs has failed to “#StandWithDNLee” who was deeply insulted and abused by the editor of a Scientific American affiliated site. Even if Scientific American Blogs took down DN Lee’s post because the post itself wasn’t “discovering science,” the effect of taking down her post was telling her to shut up when she was in fact making an incredibly important point. So when looking at the bigger picture, its more like a tidal bore than a shitstorm.
Anyway, nobody believes them. I will officially remain agnostic as to whether Scientific American was making an excellent and appropriate editorial decision in taking down DN Lee’s post, or whether they were shoving her under the wheels of the bus. But really, it was the latter. That’s pretty obvious.
But even if that editorial decision was made entirely on the basis of the lack of DN Lee’s post to discover some science (or whatever) Scientific American Blogs has to put that post right back up and leave it alone or they are dicks.
Now, people are canceling their subscriptions to Scientific American Blog’s RSS feed, and burning copies of Scientific American in the street and even turning their back on Nature (same company owns it all, apparently) I have to say that this is wrong. Make no mistake, I’m very pissed off at the editor who dissed DN Lee. He is a jerk, and he should be fired for what he did. Immediately. And if that site does not fire him, it should be boycotted and shunned. But, it is simply not the case that every wrong of every magnitude deserves the death penalty, or the internet equivalent of the death penalty (which is “I’ll never click on your damn link ever”) I’m not sure what should happen. I want to hear more from DN Lee about it. I want some time to go by. I want to hear more from Bora and the other managers and editors at Scientific American Blogs. But right now Scientific American Blogs is in a hole and it is up to them to either dig it deeper or somehow climb out of it.
But they need to put her post back up right away because no matter how nice I’m personally willing to be about it all, they’re doomed if they keep playing it like Dick Cheney wearing an George Orwell mask. They need to put that post back up. Then we can all have a conversation.
And now, DN Lee says:
I was invited to Guest Blog post for a Life Science blog. I asked about the process, expectations and compensations. They responded. I said no.
The Blog Editor then called me a whore.
This is my response.
ADDED: Blog posts about this topic are being curated, Bora style, HERE.