Respectful Insolence

I can’t believe it.

I really can’t believe it.

I really, really, really can’t believe it.

Bora has left ScienceBlogs.

Readers of just this blog probably don’t know what a body blow that is to the ScienceBlogs collective. Readers of multiple ScienceBlogs probably realize that Bora was the proverbial heart and soul of ScienceBlogs. It’s news that’s left Isis the Scientist speechless and GrrlScientist “deeply upset.” Even ScienceBlogs’ big macher PZ Myers has pointed out how Bora compared the situation here to to Bion’s Effect, where the departure of a few people at a party triggers a sudden end to the event. I don’t know whether Bora’s departure is the seismic shift that leads to the collapse of Sb or not, but I do know that it’s a wake up call to me that maybe I was too quick to go back to business as usual after our corporate overlords decided to invite a corporate blog to be added to the Sb stable as co-equals with the rest of us, hopelessly blurring the line between content and advertising.

Why is this such a big deal?

It’s because Bora, more than any of us, personified ScienceBlogs and what it was meant to be at the beginning. Bora, more than any other ScienceBlogger, put his work and sweat into trying to turn this unruly bunch of disparate and unruly bloggers into a real community, often more so than even management seemed to have done. Don’t get me wrong. We’ve had some great “community managers” (or, as we like to call them, “cat herders”) over the last four and a half years, but over the last two years they don’t seem to have had much support. When someone like Bora decides to jump ship, someone who had been more committed than any other blogger to building ScienceBlogs as a collective and community, it signals that something is wrong. Very wrong. Mark Chu-Carroll’s departure, as jolting as it was (given that I am his blogfather, so to speak, having inspired him to start his blog) I could dismiss it as being due to his unique situation. After ScienceBlogs got rid of the corporate blog, I could then put Seed’s serious misstep out of my mind (mostly) and move on, taking a “wait and see” attitude.

Not so much after Bora leaves.

And not PalMD, either, who, shortly after Bora left, announced his departure from ScienceBlogs as well. PalMD and I are friends. We’ve hoisted brews together. We’ve worked together on another blogging project. I respect his writing, and I respect his ethics. If staying with Sb bothers him, then I start to wonder anew whether it should bother me more as well and whether taking a “wait and see” attitude is simply due more to inertia and laziness than anything else.

Still, I’m torn. As has been the case for both PalMD and Bora, by and large blogging at Sb has been a fantastic experience for me. I met people and made connections that I highly doubt would ever have happened if I had stayed at my old Blogspot blog. Being part of Sb at the beginning was fantastic. There was a palpable energy and purpose, and it was an honor to be part of it. Even though we were all very different, we bought into the shared vision. True, it may not have been possible to keep such a group on the same page as it tripled in number.

Even so, even as late as last year, Sb seemed to hold together remarkably well, even in spite of the occasional outbreak of internecine blog warfare among ScienceBloggers. This in spite of a deteriorating blogging infrastructure, a template design that was becoming more and more outdated by the month, and being not just passed but lapped in technology by other competing scienceblogging platforms. Last year, Seed Media Group was very late with blogger payroll not once but at least a couple of times. We (mostly) understood, as the economic meltdown of 2008 hit media companies hard. This year we’ve only just received our April paychecks. Of course, I don’t do this for the paycheck. If ScienceBlogs had never been created or had never invited me on board back in late 2005, I’d still be blogging, and doing it for free. However, if a company makes a contract, and I more than keep my end of the contract, doing far more than the minimum number of posts per week and watching my traffic quadruple since I’ve been here, it is not unreasonable to become disturbed when that company doesn’t keep its end of the bargain.

Despite all that, I still don’t know what I’m going to do. As I said, four and a half years is practically an eternity in the blogging world. That’s a lot of history, and it’s really hard to turn my back on all that. Others may be able to do it rather quickly and decisively, but I can’t. Part of me is seriously tempted to get out now while the gettin’s good, while another part thinks I should stay and try to be part of the solution–at least until ScienceBlogs either finds its way again or Seed Media Group forced to turn out the lights at the ScienceBlogs office. After all, I can move to doing this for free on a different blogging platform just as easily then as I could now. Which part of me will win out? I don’t know yet, but my guess is that a decision won’t be too long in coming. Maybe in the meantime I’ll go back and reread Bora’s post to remind me of why ScienceBlogs was so cool in the beginning and what’s gone so disappointingly wrong over the last year and a half.

Comments

  1. #1 Jason Dick
    July 20, 2010

    As a small side comment, I personally think the occasional bit of blog warfare actually makes things interesting here at Science Blogs. But then, that’s as a reader, not a blogger, so perhaps the perspective is a bit different on the other side of the page.

    Whatever happens here at Science Blogs, I think it is the people that matter, not the web address. If things fall through here, I know I’ll follow you (and a number of other SB bloggers) wherever you go. If things do fall through here, I can say that I hope a majority of you will be able to find a new home that understands blogging better.

  2. #2 titmouse
    July 20, 2010

    Well I can’t involve myself in conversations at ScienceBlogs because I’m always spam trapped. How or why that happened, I dunno.

    So I say go.

    Find a place that will allow comments with funny Photoshopped pics. Argument by Photoshop rules.

  3. #3 DLC
    July 20, 2010

    Damn.
    Well, when you and PZ leave it’ll be time to wipe my sciblogs links.

  4. #4 Rogue Medic
    July 20, 2010

    Mostly, I read your blog.

    I should read Mark Chu-Carroll’s blog more often, since understanding statistics and the representation of data is important if one does not want to end up making the mistakes of the anti-science mob.
    .

  5. #5 Stella
    July 20, 2010

    After reading Bora’s post and following his links Sb started to remind me of the dead or dying relationships Ive been in. I always stayed too long, thinking things would get better if I just put more into it. I was wrong every time, and I didn’t know it until I got out.

    Sb took on new bloggers when they weren’t paying their existing bloggers. They are still behind. They won’t fix the software for their bloggers or for their users. They have no ethics.

    Don’t support and encourage their crappy. Go!

  6. #6 Dana Hunter
    July 20, 2010

    Dearest Orac, whatever you decide, we’re there for you, and wherever you go, we follow.

  7. #7 Wehaf
    July 20, 2010

    I was describing l’affair Pepsi to my roommate, and as soon as he knew that the wall between editorial content and advertising money had been breached (on a site indexed by Google News, no less) he was appalled, and rightly so. That Sb backed down from the Food Frontiers blog under pressure is appropriate; that they ever, ever, ever thought the idea was even close to okay in the first case is incredibly worrisome.

    I am only a reader; I do not have the history or experience with Sb that you do. I know that there are many things weighing on both sides of this decision. I think, however, that were I in your position I would have a hard time overlooking the egregious lack of ethics shown by Sb leadership in this instance, and a hard time believing that it didn’t extend to other instances.

    Regardless, I’ll continue reading your blog as long as you continue writing it.

  8. #8 Pareidolius
    July 20, 2010

    Having read Bora’s very eloquent final post I think I finally understand the exodus from Sb goes far beyond the Pepsipocalypse. If you push the button, we will follow.

  9. #9 wanderinweeta
    July 20, 2010

    I can thank ScienceBlogs for introducing me to fabulous bloggers I never would have run into otherwise. But I’ve seen too many good sites go down over the years; once the rot has set in, they don’t recover. Time to go.

    I’ll follow you wherever you end up.

  10. #10 WMDKitty
    July 20, 2010

    As others have said, where you go, we will follow.

  11. #11 cjumper
    July 20, 2010

    Your blog is a welcome dose of sanity in a crazy world. If you leave, please let us know where you land.

  12. #12 Cath the Canberra Cook
    July 20, 2010

    if you leave, I’ll follow you to the new URL.

    But what I’ll miss most is the “last 24 hours” where I stumbled over so many new blogs. Science blogs is (was?) so much more than individual blogs.

  13. #13 Janette
    July 20, 2010

    Orac, I love your stuff, but I’ve seen you post some variation of “I’m really rethinking my position on this Sb thing” about thirty times now.

    As trollish as this sounds: Get a backbone or kill the drama. Otherwise it seems like you’re just trying to collect anti-Seed cred so you can keep your perch guilt-free.

    If the overlords suck as bad as it sounds like they do, you guys should just split. It would take only one of the big names around here to blow the dam. It’s remarkably easy to set up a .com hub these days. Volunteers and eyeballs will follow you (me included).

  14. #14 Bob O'H
    July 20, 2010

    I’ve been getting these musings second-hand from GrrlSciencist for some time now. Now that PZed is openly musing about leaving, there won’t be many left: it might just be you, ERV and Adam Bly.

    My unwanted advice is to decide whether you’er more attached to SMG/Sb, or to the community. There are noises being made (as I’m sure you know) about alternative blogging collectives being set up (and there are a few out there already, as Bora mentions), so if you’re attached to the community, there will be places to join.

    Or you could ask this Gorski chap whether it’s worth joining Science-Based Medicine. :-)

  15. #15 k
    July 20, 2010

    Keep us posted and keep on posting, no matter where you go.

  16. #16 Vasha
    July 20, 2010

    I’m with the other commenters who say “Go already”. I’ve already added my favorite Sb blogs (yours included) to RSS individually and never check “Last 24 Hours” any more.

  17. #17 Orac
    July 20, 2010

    Orac, I love your stuff, but I’ve seen you post some variation of “I’m really rethinking my position on this Sb thing” about thirty times now.

    You exaggerate by approximately ten-fold.

  18. #18 Scott
    July 20, 2010

    As trollish as this sounds: Get a backbone or kill the drama. Otherwise it seems like you’re just trying to collect anti-Seed cred so you can keep your perch guilt-free.

    Or that it’s a genuinely hard decision that requires a lot of thought and soul-searching.

  19. #19 Diane
    July 20, 2010

    just echoing the comments that I read the blog, not the host, so I will keep reading Pal at his new site, and it RI moves to a new host, I will keep reading.

  20. #20 Jojo
    July 20, 2010

    Personally, I really appreciate all of the posts on Sb that have been mulling over the “should I stay or should I go issue”. It’s very interesting to follow the thought process that different bloggers are going through as they struggle with this decision. It makes each blogger’s decision very transparent to the readers and helps us understand the different factors that are being considered. It seems to be a balancing act between integrity, community, resistance to change, and personal commitment. Every blogger came to SB for a reason, so it’s not surprising that leaving is not an easy thing to do.

    Although, if they haven’t paid their content providers since April and the only solution they could find to solve that problem involved selling their soul, I don’t see anything positive happening in the future.

    Of course, like a good little minion, I’ll follow wherever Orac goes.

  21. #21 MikeMa
    July 20, 2010

    If you decide to pull up blog stakes, make sure to send a note to Jake, Augie, STY & the others so they don’t get lost. Wouldn’t be the same without the foil they invariably present.

  22. #22 Kimbo Jones
    July 20, 2010

    Hmm. Stay with the collective and benefit from the added community and traffic while putting up with some unsavory business from above, or leave that nonsense to go solo but also lose the community benefits. Tough one.

    As I follow blogs from my RSS, ScienceBlogs is just a feed to me. I recognize that behind the scenes, things are different. But the loss of community at SB might provide the chance to participate in (or start) a new community elsewhere. I have been made aware of other blogs here mainly through the cross-linking of quality content, not by manually sifting through the dozens of blogs. So I have re-followed many ex-SBers on their new blogs with only the slight hiccup of having to enter the new feed into Google Reader and delete the old one and I’m still able to check links for other good blogs.

    My point is: should you move elsewhere, I would follow and would be nonplussed by the change. Should you stay, I’d still be a reader. I bet others are in the same camp.

    So I guess it comes down to your tolerances. Can you or can’t you continue to work with SEED? Are you or are you not hopeful that SB can regain some credibility and repair relationships with the bloggers? Etc.

  23. #23 titmouse
    July 20, 2010

    I’m kinda “meh” about the Pepsi issue, which admittedly I haven’t followed closely.

    I like it when rich people pony up to pay for stuff, rather than me paying. High traffic websites are expensive to maintain. The money has to come from someplace.

    Advertising budgets translate into journalism, arts, and entertainment, so the bigger the better IMHO. Anytime we can get the wealthy to pay for good science rather than woo I think we’re on the right track.

    So long as there’s transparency about who is writing an article and whether that person is writing for a large interest or is speaking as an individual, I trust the collective of rational thinkers to sort out any bogus claims presented.

  24. #24 titmouse
    July 20, 2010

    Heh. For my previous post I entered a different but valid email and changed my name, but was still spam trapped. I have a dynamic IP, so if IP filtering is used an entire block must be on the filter list.

    I’ve tried posting at perhaps six ScienceBlogs web sites and I get trapped at all of them. So I must be on a general filter list for all of ScienceBlogs.

    I’m curious to know how that might have happened. As you know, I did piss off one of your trolls. But how would that person gain access to my IP? Hmm, perhaps by posting a link to a honeypot that I happened to click.

    But how would that person get me added to a filter list?

  25. #25 Mandos
    July 20, 2010

    After reading Bora’s post, I think it’s pretty clear that it’s time for you to take your show on the road again.

  26. #26 Pablo
    July 20, 2010

    Let’s be clear here: I don’t give a rat’s fart about ScienceBlogs. I read blogs for who and what they are individually, nopt by who hosts them or sponsors them. I stumbled here through a reference from Myers, not by searching SB. When bloggers I read reference someone that sounds interesting, I will check it out. If it is succiently interesting, I might hang around – but probably not.

    What I am saying is that SBs means nothing to me – only the bloggers do. And very few of them at that.

  27. #27 Isis the Scientist
    July 20, 2010

    Brother Orac, remember when this used to be fun?

  28. #28 titmouse
    July 20, 2010

    OK I read Bora’s article and now appreciate an issue I hadn’t considered: Google site rank.

    Forming a network with many links between articles cranks up the rank. Rank translates into readers and social authority. Thus, maintaining journalistic standards generally among network members matters. Ad content has to be kept distinct from the content produced by individuals who can be held accountable for what they say.

    Even though I was “not a titmouse” for #23 I see I became one. I assume that was an Orac intervention, not a ScienceBlogs intervention.

    Trying to figure out why I’m always spam trapped is making me sound tin foily.

  29. #29 Ahistoricality
    July 20, 2010

    I came to SB because of Orac, and I only read one or two other SB feeds (one of which no longer exists) and sometimes follow links to PZ or one of the others. There isn’t time enough in the world for this historian-blogger to read all the science blogging that would be interesting. I’ve added SBM to the list, now, and I’ll follow Orac wherever.

    I’ve not commented much on the Pepsi/Seed issue but the combination of bad judgement and poor management — more or less the same thing, really — certainly makes it unlikely that SB is going to thrive again the way it has, and more likely that other credibility lapses are going to come out (indeed, Boraz’s post cited some I hadn’t seen).

    One thing I’ve always appreciated about Orac’s pseudonmymous blogging, and have aspired to in my own, is that it precludes appeals to one’s own authority as a form of argument, requires good sourcing and good argumentation. In the process the pseudonym can build up an authority and credibility all its own, but it’s also a fragile thing. Orac’s increasingly public stance makes it unlikely that he would lose a great deal of credibility, even staying with Seed, as long as he maintains an open and honest relationship with his readers, but it makes certain arguments more difficult.

  30. #30 M.
    July 20, 2010

    For what a random person’s assessment is worth: time to move. Those of us who read you (and I have, since your third post on the old blog, before Sb) will accompany you.

    What I worry about, given the lack of action by the management, is that Sb will simply go offline suddenly. Then you’ll have to scramble, and all of us will have to search around to find the new place you end up, wherever that may be. If the management steps up with a reasonable, promising new plan, then staying may look appealing; but otherwise…

  31. #31 Prometheus
    July 20, 2010

    It isn’t Bion’s Effect it is called a Puputan, that is, when confronted with a harsh reality, stab yourselves to death en mass (move to wordpress)in the view of whoever or whatever is offending you. It is cultish and insane.

    Over seven million people have read your blog. That is a lot of debunking, critical thinking and quack busting.

    If you are in this as a social exercise, fine. If you are in it for the principles your blog espouses then leaving is antithetical to the most basic critical thought or utilitarian ethic.

  32. #32 BGT
    July 20, 2010

    Great, PAL gone, Lealaps gone, Bora gone, Orac and others on the verge, and PZ on strike.

    Does SB management have any clue how to maintain an enterprise?

  33. #33 Foster Disbelief
    July 20, 2010

    As others have pointed out, and as I’ve said before, I am loyal to the blogger, not the host. I read you daily here, and every post at SBM. If you choose to move the Insolence elsewhere, I will update my favorites and follow.

    As to whether you should stay or go, I have no opinion worth sharing. I think it’s easy to say that you should leave (or stay, for that matter) for those of us who honestly don’t have a horse in this race. I think Seed made a huge mistake with the Pepsi blog, and Bora makes a strong case for leaving. I do understand your history with SB, and know that the decision is not going to be easy. Do what you feel is for the best, Orac.

    Now I wonder if Abbie will show up to tell you to “get over it”?

  34. #34 phoenixwoman
    July 20, 2010

    If you’re still on the fence, PZ suggests trying a strike before leaving:

    http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2010/07/pharyngula_on_strike.php#comments

  35. #35 quietmarc
    July 20, 2010

    Mostly a lurker here, but since I discovered science blogs about a year ago, you’ve been one of my regular reads. Further, because I’d been reading respectful insolence, I was much more prepared than I might have been when my sister sent me a school report filled with antivax nonsense (Wakefield, AIDS-isn’t-HIV-isms, the works) to challenge her and help her look at things from a more rational perspective (she won’t read you, though: you’re “just a blog, not from a book”, so your info is worthless. So are the half-dozen other sources I gave her. Sigh.) But, basically, your work here has had a tangible, positive effect on my personal life, and has helped shape how I think about and respond to different types of woo.

    I don’t have any advice to offer regarding the scienceblogs apparent melt-down, but I wanted to express my appreciation for hard work you do. I definitely think that you (and the sciblings) deserve to be recognised for the valuable content you provide, and I have no doubt that your content will be a valuable asset to many, no matter where you end up or what you do.

  36. #36 T. Bruce McNeely
    July 20, 2010

    Orac:

    Here’s some music to ponder by:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LZBPu7jJbJU

  37. #37 PalMD
    July 20, 2010

    Sorry, bro.

  38. #38 anton singov
    July 20, 2010

    u really are full of yourself. sorry

  39. #39 Ahistoricality
    July 20, 2010
  40. #40 sillysaur
    July 20, 2010

    Orac, I think it’s wonderful that you’ve met and become friends with people here, but nostalgia alone isn’t enough to stay on a sinking ship. It disturbs me greatly, from reading PZ and Laelaps, how disconnected the site overlords are from their cash cows.

    While I don’t know if I’d recommend leaving quite yet, I like PZ’s idea of going on strike.

  41. #41 Jody
    July 20, 2010

    I love Sb and am quite sad to see this whole place dying. I’ve been here since I followed both PZ and Orac over years ago. I promptly discovered an incredible, incredible amount of gifted, opinionated writers who exemplified how curiosity, skill and, yes, argument, were integral to the pursuit of knowledge.

    And now the whole thing is imploding.

    The reassuring thing is, thanks to the power of RSS feeds, it’ll be easy to find all of you folks again, but the collective power of Sb, its “Borg-Force”, is rapidly dissipating. It’s tragic that it’s not going to be a force to be reckoned with by the end of the month.

    I think that’s a long way of saying “Go. Go with Cthulhu.”

  42. #42 aidel
    July 20, 2010

    Orac, you are one of several bloggers/former bloggers that deserve serious respect. Your posts are thoughtful, articulate and honest. I can’t remember seeing you participating in any of the ridiculous antics of some of the cliques here. Your writing (as well as your person, we have met) reflect the highest possible ethical standards. There is only one conclusion: You must go. I can’t imagine you’d be solo for long. I think you will be pleased and surprised with the opportunities that are waiting for you. (I’m not a member of the psychic friends network, I’m just guessing based on the quality of your work and your integrity.)

  43. #43 aidel
    July 20, 2010

    uh, deserves

  44. #44 JP
    July 20, 2010

    What would JB Handley want you to do?

  45. #45 Glendon Mellow
    July 20, 2010

    I applaud the efforts that bloggers like yourself, Greg Laden and PZ have done while staying at Sb. You’re addressing the issues that concern you head on.

    I seldom comment here, but I’m always reading and directing friends and family to your blog. My wife is an educator who works with children with autism and other challenges, and your work here is so good. I’ll continue to read no matter how this shakes out.

  46. #46 OMGWTFBBQ
    July 20, 2010

    And not PalMD, either, who, shortly after Bora left, announced his departure from ScienceBlogs as well. PalMD and I are friends. We’ve hoisted brews together. We’ve worked together on another blogging project. I respect his writing, and I respect his ethics.

    PalMD has gone to WordPress. The same WordPress that pulled Michael Hawkins’s blog at the request of uber-quack Andreas Moritz.

    Where can I get me some great “ethics” like that?

  47. #47 Chris
    July 20, 2010

    Then don’t read any wordpress blogs. No one says you have to read blogs.

  48. #48 OMGWTFBBQ
    July 20, 2010

    Then don’t read any wordpress blogs. No one says you have to read blogs.

    Obviously the point went about ten miles over your head.

    Orac is praising the “ethics” of someone who is leaving ScienceBlogs to go to a hosting service that removed the blog of a scientist at the request of a cancer quack who had been spreading dangerous misinformation about cancer, which misinformation had been pointed out by said scientist.

    Tell me genius, what are the “ethics” of that situation?

  49. #49 DLC
    July 20, 2010

    Personally, I think I like PZ’s idea better.
    He’s gone on Strike.
    I can support that.

  50. #50 Chris
    July 20, 2010

    Actually, OMGWTFBBQ, you missed that was where PalMD’s blog was before he came to ScienceBlogs. Which was long before the Mortitz affair. What you should be judging his actual writing, but you are being a concern troll (and yes, I noticed you elsewhere).

    If you don’t like what someone writes, then don’t read it. Avoid all WordPress blogs like Scicurious, Neurological, ScienceBasedMedicine, etc. Because it is obvious that you find one incident poisons everything.

  51. #51 JohnV
    July 20, 2010

    I dunno Chris, if we were judging blogs based on their actual writing as opposed to the activities of the host company, we wouldn’t be in this mess in the first place :p

  52. #52 AILOM
    July 20, 2010

    the real reason pz stopped bloggin:

    Is America burning yet?

    Maybe we need some more…

    we use the DIVINE against the ESTABLISHMENT… you?

    we do better DEMOLITIONS than you, savage…

    RENOUNCE YOUR ATHEISM AND JOIN THE SOCIALIST FAITH!

    let them know if the MDC continues more people will die…

    the WORLD TRADE CENTER PROPHECY – THE DANCE OF DEATH

    WORLD TRADE CENTER PROPHECY

    FLUSH ATHEISM!

    Actually it is a ROYAL FLUSH!!!

    Let me show you how ATHEISTS were partially responsible for 911

    These ATHEISTS NEED TO BE ON THE TERRORIST WATCH LIST!

    You don’t even have SCIENCE on your side…

    You’re a perfect example of when PHILOSOPHY becomes an ENEMY OF LIFE…

    http://stephenlaw.blogspot.com/2010/06/playing-mystery-card.html

    not quite samantha with her *supernatural spit*, eh?

    this isn’t one of your little WORD GAMES…

    blasphemy is a DEATH SENTENCE

    you people actually BELIEVE the BS you preach!

    GOD 1 – atheists 0

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jQcNiD0Z3MU

    Atheists,

    you are ENEMIES OF GOD AND ARE GOING TO BE ANNIHILATED…

    Repent and turn to God or be destroyed…

    YOU HAVE NO CHOICE…

    my interpretation of the STATUE FIRE… it symbolizes the SPIRITUAL DEATH of atheism…

    ttp://www.salon.com/news/2010/06/15/us_lightning_strikes_jesus_statue

    http://static.guim.co.uk/sys-images/Guardian/Pix/pictures/2010/6/16/1276680110544/The-King-of-Kings-statue–005.jpg

    http://www.latimes.com/media/photo/2010-06/54332292.jpg

    http://friendlyatheist.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/06/butterjesus-1.jpg

    PRINCESS DI IS WEARING A NEW DRESS!

    http://www.princeofwales.gov.uk/speechesandarticles/a_speech_by_hrh_the_prince_of_wales_titled_islam_and_the_env_252516346.html
    ______________________________
    http://skepticblog.org/2010/04/06/would-i-ever-pray-for-a-miracle/

    Shermer, I WANT TO SEE YOU BEG FOR A MIRACLE…
    ___________________
    we do like your music Lady Gaga, but…

    The B**BQUAKE – 911

    Let me show you the FATE OF TRAITORS…

    http://www.loiterink.com/photos/products/182_3424_500x500.jpg

    they are incapable of telling the difference between SCIENTIFIC *FACT* AND
    RELIGIOUS AND PHILOSOPHICAL *TRUTH*… FATAL ERROR!

    they also preach a *VALUE FREE SCIENCE* called *POSITIVISM* that ignores the
    inequalities of wealth and power in capitalist civilization…

    for a sample taste of PZ Myers’ GARBAGE…

    http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2010/06/sunday_sacrilege_imagine_no_he.php

    HIJACKING IN PROGRESS!!!

    http://hawaiiwebgroup.com/maui-design/wp-content/uploads/2009/05/website-hijacking.jpg

    HIJACKING IN PROGRESS!!!

    how can these HEADLESS IDIOTS BET AGAINST GOD!!!
    ________________________________________
    what happens when you LOSE Pascal’s Wager…

    http://www.peterkreeft.com/topics/pascals-wager.htm
    ____________
    you FIGHT PAPER MONSTERS…

    the blood and bodies of the atheist movement…

    you mofos killed MICKEY MOUSE!!!!

    this has more TRUTH then what Dawkins, Randi, Harris, Myers, and Shermer
    combined have said in their entire lives…

    http://www.youtube.com/watch#!v=5R2wE8Sduhs&playnext_from=TL&videos=hht1U_19anc&feature=rec-LGOUT-exp_fresh%2Bdiv-1r-3-HM

    they tried to BULLDOZE the entire METAPHYSICAL DIMENSION…
    they LOST THE WAR……

    you have FORFEIT YOUR SOUL, shermer… you have become an object in the material world, as you WISHED…

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eUB4j0n2UDU

    http://farm1.static.flickr.com/7/11792994_ffaaee87fa.jpg

    we’re gonna smash that TV…

    They had become ENEMIES OF THE PEOPLE AND OF GOD…

    you pushed too much and *CROSSED THE LINE*

    degenerates (PZ) or children (HEMANT) – ATHEISTS!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bRRg2tWGDSY

    THE BOOBQUAKE – 911!
    ****************************************************
    http://dissidentphilosophy.lifediscussion.net/philosophy-f1/the-boobquake-911-t1310.htm

  53. #53 Chris
    July 20, 2010

    Bingo, JohnV!

  54. #54 Chris
    July 20, 2010

    To help OMGWTFBBQ make sure he avoids any WordPress blogs (and I knew ScienceBasedMedicine is one when I have to log in) I found a list of ex-ScienceBloggers here. From the imbedded links in the names the following are WordPress blogs for him to avoid:
    Blog Around the Clock (Bora!)
    David Dobbs
    Highly Allochthonous
    Obesity Panacea (it is a WordPress theme)
    Science After Sunclipse
    Brian Switek
    Thus Spake Zuska
    Alex Wild.

    Now go to them and complain about them using WordPress!

  55. #55 razib
    July 20, 2010

    the only thing i will add is that i want SB to make it. there are some excellent new blogs which don’t have all the acclaim they should yet. observations of a nerd, thoughtful animal, and such.

    whether orac goes or not is his business and decision. i just really hope the ship doesn’t sink just yet.

  56. #56 Sili, The Unknown Virgin
    July 20, 2010

    I’m uncomfortably reminded of Darren Bleuel’s leaving Keenspot – that he himself helped found.

    Keenspot was a factor in my starting to read many webcomics, but Sb honestly haven’t held the same brand quality to me.

  57. #57 Rogue Medic
    July 20, 2010

    @ 30 Prometheus,

    If you are in this as a social exercise, fine. If you are in it for the principles your blog espouses then leaving is antithetical to the most basic critical thought or utilitarian ethic.

    I disagree.

    The principles are the reason to leave.

    Another blog network could provide many benefits:

    Cause fewer headaches.

    Put a priority on principles.

    Take better care of bloggers.

    Fewer Scientology ads.

    There would be a decrease in influence, but that would probably only be temporary, unless you believe that the influence of scienceblogs is based on scienceblogs and not on the bloggers’ content.

    I think that departure, and networking with some of the other ex-sciencebloggers, may be the more principled choice.

    I have been in this situation at work. I eventually realized that I was not going to change anything significant by staying. I was only adding credibility to an organization that did not deserve any credibility. I was trying to change it from within, but it was never going to happen.

    I took a big pay cut to leave, but I ended up someplace where I am happy. I can trust my employer, although we disagree on some things. In the few months after I left, most of the other medics left. The organization had no integrity. Those of us who cared about taking care of patients were the only integrity they had. The organization interfered with taking care of patients.

    I think that Orac and PZ and a few others can go anywhere they want. They can join, or set up, a blog network that is more principled than scinceblogs. I think that they will dwarf scienceblogs within a couple of years. They can network with as many of the ex-sciencebloggers as the network feels is appropriate.

    Tell me that you would not respect a blog network run by these bloggers.

    Maybe I am an irrational and hopeless optimist, but I think this is inevitable.
    .

  58. #58 Adam_Y
    July 20, 2010

    If you don’t like what someone writes, then don’t read it. Avoid all WordPress blogs like Scicurious, Neurological, ScienceBasedMedicine, etc. Because it is obvious that you find one incident poisons everything.

    Egads… You are making the same mistake that the concern troll idiotically is making. I originally mentioned the WordPress afair because well its quite easy to host a WordPress blog on your own. WordPress.com and the engine it runs on are two seperate things.

  59. #59 Chris
    July 20, 2010

    Oops, sorry (kind of a blunder on engine versus site). But still, it does come down that he is only criticizing one blogger who went to WordPress. I will note that a subject of this article, Bora, is at a WordPress account, http://coturnix.wordpress.com/, and was not the subject of such concern troll judgment.

  60. #60 zoe
    July 20, 2010

    You should have left last week. Now it just looks like you are considering it because your friends left. Maybe there is an editorial team you could get on to ensure this problem doesn’t happen again, and get rid of the other corporate blogs?

  61. #61 Orac
    July 20, 2010

    Possibly.

    However, it wasn’t so much that some of my friends left that lit a fire under my behind. It was that Bora left. I don’t think you understand how significant that was to me and a lot of others here.

    Let’s put it this way. PalMD’s a much better friend to me than Bora. I work with him on other projects and we live reasonably close together, while I’ve only met Bora two, maybe three, times. Yet even PalMD’s leaving in and of itself (or in combination with a lot of the other bloggers) probably wouldn’t have been enough to get me to jump ship. Bora was just that important to Sb.

  62. #62 Passerby
    July 20, 2010

    I think you should unwad your panties.

    It doesn’t matter a flying f*ck if you stay or leave. You and other popular bloggers have built your groupy following. They will read your posts, where-ever you are.

    This isn’t about management, it isn’t about Pepsico and corporate partnering.

    It’s about cost/benefit. The cost of leaving is that you have that period of readjustment to new software, effort in learning the macro ropes and fine-tuning controls.

    That’s a minor upset, a change in routine and it carries a bit of a stressor in life. It ain’t the end of the world.

    If you stay, you might have the worry of whether or not Seed et al and the general negativity fomented by many unhappy commentaries here will tarnish the lust of your blog. On the other hand, the brand ain’t been that bad and there is still a critical mass of popular bloggers – just not the ones that are your posting pals.

    But then again, you’re presuming we give a shit, which, frankly, most of us who are not sheople, don’t.

    We don’t care if you stay or leave. The window dressing IP from which you post is largely irrelevant.

    You will network with the other bloggers, and you will continue to post because it’s a comfortable habit and a means of networked connection to a large social group. It’s emotionally satisfying for you and for your readership.

    The only difference is the change in IP addy, and that’s a quick hyperlink away. Those who read your blog will continue to do so.

    Life will go on and whatever point you think you are making by either staying or leaving will grow insignificant in a few weeks or months.

    The Big Picture is: continue blogging and making whatever contribution to public understanding and awareness that you feel is important.

    You enjoy writing and your fans enjoy reading. It’s that simple.

  63. #63 Orac
    July 20, 2010

    But then again, you’re presuming we give a shit, which, frankly, most of us who are not sheople, don’t.

    For someone who so loudly proclaims he doesn’t give a shit, you sure did write a lot.

    Thanks for caring.

  64. #64 Passerby
    July 20, 2010

    You’re welcome.

  65. #65 ipmat
    July 20, 2010

    I came to Science Blogs after Effect Measure moved. I only started browsing around after they shut down, hoping to find something decent to read. Magazines are useless shells of their former selves these days.

    I was just starting to pick through the offerings looking for good info on the spill when this all blew up. Now the place is falling apart.

    Dang! Do companies have to ruin EVERYTHING with product placement and infomercials?

  66. #66 OMGWTFBBQ
    July 20, 2010

    Chris the Moron:

    Actually, OMGWTFBBQ, you missed that was where PalMD’s blog was before he came to ScienceBlogs. Which was long before the Mortitz affair. What you should be judging his actual writing, but you are being a concern troll (and yes, I noticed you elsewhere).

    No, I didn’t miss that. It just isn’t particularly relevant. PalMD himself made it about something other than his writing by throwing a hissy fit. And you have demonstrated that you clearly don’t know the definition of the term “concern troll”.

    If you don’t like what someone writes, then don’t read it. Avoid all WordPress blogs like Scicurious, Neurological, ScienceBasedMedicine, etc. Because it is obvious that you find one incident poisons everything.

    Reading comprehension fail. I was calling a self-absorbed blogger out on his hypocrisy. I don’t give a shit what WordPress or any other hosting service does because the market is hardly a monopolistic or even oligopolistic one. I just get tired of people who anoint themselves as “the media” or any other such narcissism as if there aren’t a million other people who can do what they do. It’s no different from Dan Blather refusing to go on the air (as he did around 1987) because the start of the newscast was delayed a few minutes. In television this is known as “anchor monsterism”.

    But of course, I pissed on one of your idols, and you had to charge in to the rescue! Perhaps you could visit your local elementary school and sign up for a remedial course in reading comprehension. About second-grade level should do it.

    By the way, Chris, if you don’t like what I write, take your own advice and DON’T FUCKING READ IT.

    Imbecile.

    Countdown to another whiny polemic from Chris in 5…4..3…2…1…

  67. #67 OMGWTFBBQ
    July 20, 2010

    Posted by: AILOM | July 20, 2010 4:14 PM

    Oh, look, it’s a Mabus clone. Or is it the man himself? On any other day he would be the dumbest commenter here. But Chris beats him out this time!

  68. #68 Coryat
    July 21, 2010

    I’m not in any position to be giving you advice Orac, so I’ll just say that I love what you write and I’ll still be reading you, whether you go or stay.

  69. #69 JSB
    July 21, 2010

    If you leave, I’ll hunt you down…and read you where ever you land. I’m mostly a geology, archaeology, paleontology, and history nerd. I like other sciences, but I don’t usually seek out articles on say medicine for example. So Sb lead me to some excellent writers in fields I would not have noticed otherwise. A few months ago I was diagnosed with cancer. Now I’m really glad I know where to find bloggers who are not filled with woo and misinformation. I hope, if you do move, you’ll be part of another respectable, evidence based, science collective. Make it easy for people like me to find and appreciate you.

  70. #70 Kristen
    July 21, 2010

    I started reading RI about a year ago. This was the first blog I ever commented on, the first that I added to my Google Reader. I will continue to follow RI.

    The sad thing is; since this whole Pepsi thing, I have been checking out the blogs that have been leaving. Some look very interesting, but I will probably not have enough of an attention span to wait for them to get going elsewhere (just honesty).

    I occasionally read PalMD and PZ Myers (I need to be in a certain mood for PZ (Xanax helps)), but I am pretty sure I will continue to check in with them from time to time, regardless of where they end up.

    The fact is, for me, Science Blogs is irrelevant. I have my RSS reader, and I usually find new blogs when they are linked to from my regulars.

    I have been trying to consider carefully how I feel about this whole mass migration (which is weird, I am usually very impulsive). But reading Bora’s post and his reasoning, I think I understand the decisions that have been made.

    To summarize a far too long comment: Orac, I will continue to read RI, I don’t care where. Just don’t leave without letting us know. If you choose to stay or leave, I know your decision will have been well thought through. I don’t envy you the position you have been put in.

  71. #71 Joseph
    July 21, 2010

    It’s about cost/benefit. The cost of leaving is that you have that period of readjustment to new software, effort in learning the macro ropes and fine-tuning controls.

    It’s not that simple. There are probably 3 things that Sb bloggers need to consider before leaving.

    1) Traffic loss. Much of the traffic you get is due to visitors who are not your loyal followers. You may no longer have the same page-rank, links to your blog will be broken, etc.

    2) Income loss. SMG pays bloggers; perhaps not very much, and I understand one of the problems is that it hasn’t been paying on time lately.

    3) Credibility associated with the platform. This does exist in the real world, even if we think it shouldn’t exist in an ideal world. The exodus of bloggers obviously hurts Seed’s credibility, which is probably at an all-time low at the moment.

  72. #72 Orac
    July 21, 2010

    1) Traffic loss. Much of the traffic you get is due to visitors who are not your loyal followers. You may no longer have the same page-rank, links to your blog will be broken, etc.

    True. I don’t really have a good handle on what percentage of my readers are ScienceBlogs readers who happen to drop by every now and then when a post title catches their interest and not regular readers of my blog in particular. Another big problem is that Sb is indexed by Google News. My calculations are a rough guess, but I anticipate that my traffic would probably drop by half if I were to move, with no way of my knowing how long it would take for it to recover or whether traffic would ever recover to where it is now.

    2) Income loss. SMG pays bloggers; perhaps not very much, and I understand one of the problems is that it hasn’t been paying on time lately.

    Not a huge deal for me in that I was blogging for free before and, if I left, would probably blog for free again. I do, however, expect a company with which I signed a contract to keep its end of the bargain and I become disturbed when it does not. Moreover, one thing I expected from SMG, even if I don’t get the money, is tech support and a solid blogging platform. We don’t have that and haven’t had it for some time. The site design is rapidly looking more and more outdated, and there is in essence zero tech support. I didn’t even know about it when the last guy who was doing tech support for Sb left.

    Worse, I worry that the recent problems in keeping up to date on payroll indicate that SMG is about to go belly up no matter what is done. Certainly it’s not a good sign. Personally, I’d be willing to consider a pay cut or to forego pay if I thought it would contribute to SMG’s survival and not just delay an inevitable bankruptcy. Believe it or not, after all this I would still like to see Sb succeed again and reclaim some of its former glory. But if all I’d be doing is to delay the inevitable, then best to get while the gettin’s good now and take the traffic hit.

    3) Credibility associated with the platform. This does exist in the real world, even if we think it shouldn’t exist in an ideal world. The exodus of bloggers obviously hurts Seed’s credibility, which is probably at an all-time low at the moment.

    This is still probably the biggest problem and the one most likely to drive me away, at least when coupled with management cluelessness over the last 18 months or so. As for those out there who say that it shouldn’t matter, well, yes, in an ideal world it shouldn’t. But it does, and if it’s not your blog reputation on the line it’s really easy to pontificate about how I should just ignore the whole Pepsi thing, how there’s no “rational” reason it should concern me, and that people who think it it matters are irrational boobs. People who make such arguments (and, yes, there are a handful of people making that argument in the comments of other posts) aren’t living in the real world and it’s not their reputation that takes a hit.

  73. #73 anthrosciguy
    July 21, 2010

    An analogy for what Bora did for Science Blogs is what the Indigo Girls did for the first Lillith Fair. The elements were all there, but it needed gelling, and they gelled it.

  74. #74 JennyM
    July 21, 2010

    Did someone mention Indigo Children?

  75. #75 roguemedicblog
    July 21, 2010

    Another big problem is that Sb is indexed by Google News. My calculations are a rough guess, but I anticipate that my traffic would probably drop by half if I were to move, with no way of my knowing how long it would take for it to recover or whether traffic would ever recover to where it is now.

    Scienceblogs is indexed by Google News. Is that because of Seed Magazine or because of the Sb bloggers?

    It may be a little of both, but I believe that the people at Google may be much more likely to be open-minded about non-traditional media than others.

    With the right mix of bloggers, a blog network should be able to show that they should be indexed the same way they were with the same content as at a different URL.

    The failure of the traditional media – the record industry, the movie industry, the newspaper industry, . . . is a failure to realize that McLuhan is no longer relevant. The content is the message.

    Sb is just a medium. If it does not adapt to the changing environment, how much effort should be made to adapt the environment to the species. Failure to adapt, and based on what Bora wrote that describes the approach of Seed, leads to decreased likelihood of survival.

    The extreme of this may be the music industry, which has decided to treat its customers as criminals. The people who examine this problem seem to come to the same conclusion. Those who download music also buy a lot of music. I do not begin to have an answer to the way to what the music industry should do. Maybe extinction is their future, but treating customers as criminals is maladaptive.

    Seed has driven away many important bloggers. Divide and conquer is probably not their goal, but it appears to be the result. Coordinating with the other bloggers to form a new blog network, or making a coordinated move to an existing blog network, might lead to the least loss of readers and influence. I believe that this loss, while it may last for half a year/a year/2 years, would only be temporary.

    Having something that you can point to as yours, rather than working for Seed, might also provide a lot of satisfaction.

    You can assuage guilt by allowing Seed free advertising on the new blog network. ;-)

  76. #76 Todd W.
    July 21, 2010

    @Rogue Medic

    It may be a little of both, but I believe that the people at Google may be much more likely to be open-minded about non-traditional media than others.

    IIRC, Age of Autism is indexed with Google News, so anything’s possible.

  77. #77 Chris
    July 21, 2010

    OMGWTFBBQ, do you feel better after your hissy fit? So you don’t like PalMD. Who cares? I saw you being silly on his blog. Going off on him using WordPress was just a silly excuse to spew your feelings. Oh, by the way, I have a backbone, your silly name calling is nothing compared to late 1990s Usenet.

  78. #78 Rogue Medic
    July 21, 2010

    @ 76 Todd W.,

    IIRC, Age of Autism is indexed with Google News, so anything’s possible.

    Perhaps under the category of Object Lessons?
    .

  79. #79 Jud
    July 22, 2010

    Orac writes:

    I worry that the recent problems in keeping up to date on payroll indicate that SMG is about to go belly up

    Looking at this from way on the outside, so obviously my impressions should be taken with a few pounds of salt -

    This all seems, sadly, to be of a piece: Slow pay, little information, unresponsive management, deteriorating infrastructure, otherwise tone-deaf decisionmaking explicable only if a need for money is of outsize importance…. Now that quite a few bloggers have left, how likely is it these circumstances will be reversed? Not likely at all.

    Given the foregoing, the question at this point would seem to be, “Where’s the best place to go?”

    Wherever it is, I’ll be there.

  80. #80 steve frey
    July 27, 2010

    hey PalMD, don’t let the door hit you in the ass on the way out, nothing lost here.

  81. #81 Daniel J. Andrews
    July 29, 2010

    What Pablo said, back at comment 26. It is more of an issue for bloggers than blog-readers. I just update my bookmarks and continue to read favourite sites/writers regardless of what platform they’re using.

  82. #82 Jacqueline
    August 7, 2010

    “You should have left last week”. …”Now is the time to go”…., etc

    You have to make the decision yourself.

    Where you go, I go too, in respectful appreciation….

  83. #83 Doc Stevens
    August 29, 2011

    This is an old issue, but, reading these comments, I can’t believe some of the rancor. I found this blog through A Photon in the Darkness, and this type of thing turns me off. Nice site, but this type of thing kind of ruins it.

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