Observations of a Nerd

Why I’m Staying…for now

By the latest count, ScienceBlogs has lost 11 bloggers over its mismanagement of the PepsiCo sponsored blog (which is now RIP). That’s around a quarter of our Sciblings. Notably, we’ve lost some of my favorite bloggers, like Brian Switek and Scicurious.

With the strong reaction many had to this PepsiCo fiasco, you might be wondering why I am still here.

In part, it’s because I don’t feel that the incident was as bad as some of my peers did. Yes, it was poorly managed, and the blog needed to be well labeled as sponsored/ advertising/ something to make it blatantly distinct from the other blogs here. But a sponsored blog is nothing new for ScienceBlogs, and while this one was instinctually more offensive, when I carefully thought about it, I couldn’t see a reason to be more pissed at this instance than any other. After all, Seed has put a blog from Shell on here – let’s be honest, a year ago, that could have been BP and no one would have blinked, even though now bloggers would be up in arms about it. There seems to me to be a bit of a double standard, that certain corporations are OK and others aren’t. But when we get down to it, just about every major corporation has egregious human, animal, or environmental infractions to their record.

Let me make it clear, though – I don’t blame anyone for leaving. I don’t hold it against them. While I may not have had the same visceral reaction they did, I also haven’t been here that long. I haven’t dealt with this kind of mismanagement and gotten fed up about it over and over again. I can easily see how, for many that left, this was the last straw. For me, though, this was the first time Seed did something wrong.

I also stayed because I decided it was the right thing to do. When I saw my friends jumping ship, the thought of leaving crossed my mind. That thought, however, was fleeting, and I decided instead that I needed to stay.

I originally wanted to blog on ScienceBlogs because it is a community and a media outlet that I believe in. This hasn’t changed. I still think that ScienceBlogs is an important member of the scientific and journalistic communities, and I feel that it is important. Now that the battle is over and the smoke has cleared, it’s time to mourn the losses suffered and rebuild. I’m still young, naive and optimistic enough to think that Seed can and will do better in the future, and that it’s a future I want to be a part of.

I hope that you all continue to read the Sciblings and ex-Sciblings that you know and love, wherever they end up. As for me, I’m going to be here for a little while longer, and I hope that you’ll stick around for it.


  1. #1 Stephen Moore
    July 8, 2010

    These recent happenings have had me somewhat confused. Reading through various SB bloggers’ reaction I understand that this seems to have been something of a last straw for many that compelled them to leave — and the SB Overlords did seem to make a few botches with the implementation of Food Frontiers — but to me, as a reader, it seemed much ado about nothing.

    Having visited the Food Frontiers blog it was quite clear, even before the changes to make it even clearer, that this was a PepsiCo blog. That there may well have been some bias in what was presented is a fair critique, but how much more bias than might be found on any other SB blog had not yet been established. It was all conjecture, based simply on “Oh noes! Corporate Blog!!!” There was more than a faint whiff of anti-vax type hysteria going on, by which I mean Corporate science = bad science. Or, if bad science is too strong, certainly at least untrustworthy science.

    And it seemed somewhat insulting to the readers of SB, the suggestion (inferred) that we would not be able to detect any bias that may have been present. I was looking forward to reading what these research scientists in the corporate world would write.

    Oh, well. What with all the discussion going on about this, at least you’ve got one more reader seeing (and poking around) your blog, adding it to their rss feed!

  2. #2 Lilian Nattel
    July 9, 2010

    I’m sorry to hear about this. As a science reader and not a science writer, I really value having access to a community of science bloggers.

  3. #3 Hank Campbell
    July 10, 2010

    In a sense, it’s easy to leave over this but staying when clearly Scienceblogs is in crisis and therefore needs clearheaded people the most who will guide it in positive ways is admirable – they fixed the immediate issue and you can bet Scienceblogs is the most valuable part of Seed these days so they likely won’t make the same mistake again.

  4. #4 saƧ ekimi
    July 11, 2010

    Hi all;
    A fatal flaw was that they failed to have any representative posts ready to go up when the blog went live.

    Had they done so, and had the content been surprisingly acceptable, the reception might have been better.

    Instead we get this “Hi! Welcome to ShillBlog!” (crickets) and everyone, quite reasonably, expects the worst.

New comments have been disabled.