#StandWithDNLee … Internet Melt Down

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.

You can read the post here where it is preserved by Sean Carroll.

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.


  1. #1 daedalus2u
    October 12, 2013

    Yup, what Scientific American did was completely unacceptable.

  2. #2 Gary Hurd
    October 12, 2013

    I got this email from a parasite the other day.

    Hi Gary S. Hurd,

    My name is Anuj. I’m Founder of Feedspot – A Google Reader replacement with built-in Search and Sharing features.

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    As your blog is adding value to Feedspot, I’d like to give you one year Feedspot Premium subscription for free. Please use garyhurd@********_FEEDSPOT as promocode to enable your annual subscription.


    You received this email because your blog ‘Stones and Bones’ got new followers on Feedspot. This is a notification email to inform you, the webmaster, about your blog’s recent activity on Feedspot.
    If you received this message in error and do not own this blog, click here to unsubscribe and remove this email id from future emails.
    Feedspot – 521 Arguello Blvd,San Francisco, California, CA, 94118

  3. […] in, including Maryn McKenna, Anne Jefferson, David Wescott, Sean Carroll, Joshua Drew, and Greg Laden. John Scalzi commented on it on Twitter, and the entire conversation generated in that thread is […]

  4. […] this today: Sean Carroll, Kate Clancy, Janet Stemwedel, Isis’s follow-up, Anne Jefferson, Greg Laden, Dana […]

  5. […] this today: Sean Carroll, Kate Clancy, Janet Stemwedel, Isis’s follow-up, Anne Jefferson, Greg Laden, Dana […]

  6. […] #StandWithDNLee … Internet Melt Down [Greg Laden's Blog] […]

  7. #7 Alex marshall
    October 13, 2013

    Jonathan. I can see what your saying… Carol`s rep0rt is great, I just got a top of the range Ford since I been making $8692 thiss month and more than 10 grand lass-month. with-out any doubt it’s the nicest-job I have ever done. I began this five months/ago and straight away began to bring home at least $80 per hour. he said ……… BAM%32%31%2E%63om

  8. #8 Joanne Manaster
    United States
    October 13, 2013

    Just throwing this out there: any idea what kind of legal issues could be forthcoming against SciAm by the naming of the biology-online website directly in a post? What if concern for a slander suit was the motivation to remove the post? Perhaps higher up corporate legal counsel is needed at this point (NPG/MacMillan), that is not available on a weekend (and a long weekend at that). Of course, if that were true, that would have been something to say at least to Danielle, if not to the public. Then again, the ins and outs of legal issues aren’t so simple.

    I support Danielle, I think the post needed to be written, and I have myself been burned by higher ups worried about legal ramifications and I was the one they put on the stake to save their potentially sued behinds. I’m not saying what SciAm did was right (as you say, Danielle was “thrown under the bus”), I’m just saying the motive may not be trying to hinder her as a woman, as a scientist or any other reason. It might just be CYA, which makes people/people of institutions act very peculiarly. They could have asked her to mask the name, at least initially, but in a panic, removed the entire post.

    I don’t know. Just surmising. Personally, I think it is premature for people to be overreacting and cancel subscriptions. But that’s just me, science trained, and I tend to move in a slow-burn mode and will wait for more evidence before I start boycotting.

  9. #10 daedalus2u
    October 13, 2013

    In the US, truth is an absolute defense against slander. I am not sure in other jurisdictions, but it would be kind of perverse if Scientific American operated under English libel laws.

    If the website actually sent her that email, then it is not slander for her to print it.

  10. […] the situation: Sean Carroll, Kate Clancy, Janet Stemwedel, Isis’s follow-up, Anne Jefferson, Greg Laden, and Dana […]

  11. […] this today: Sean Carroll, Kate Clancy, Janet Stemwedel, Isis’s follow-up, Anne Jefferson, Greg Laden, Dana […]

  12. […] this today: Sean Carroll, Kate Clancy, Janet Stemwedel, Isis’s follow-up, Anne Jefferson, Greg Laden, Dana […]

  13. […] this today: Sean Carroll, Kate Clancy, Janet Stemwedel, Isis’s follow-up, Anne Jefferson, Greg Laden, Dana […]

  14. […] this today: Sean Carroll, Kate Clancy, Janet Stemwedel, Isis’s follow-up, Anne Jefferson, Greg Laden, Dana […]

  15. […] this today: Sean Carroll, Kate Clancy, Janet Stemwedel, Isis’s follow-up, Anne Jefferson, Greg Laden, Dana […]

  16. […] reflection. (For another take on these incidents with DN Lee, you can read Greg Laden’s Oct. 12, 2013 posting, on the SciBlogs website, where he partially contextualizes it with the Pepsigate incident, on […]