Terra Sigillata

Here’s a Saturday morning open question to the readership:

I’m experiencing some changes in my life that may affect my blogging frequency in the negative direction (but not the quality, of course). I’ve always blogged intermittently – this has always been a labor of love, intellectual stimulation, and public education rather than ego fodder – but I already feel a little frustrated with myself, for example, in being able to address topics you submit or questions you ask via e-mail.

Several others at ScienceBlogs and elsewhere start team blogs or take on additional bloggers with a similar outlook and/or in a similar discipline to add consistency and richness to their own discourse. Other bloggers bring in like-minded colleagues to help ward off blogger burnout.

From a very practical standpoint, my longtime grad student bud Shelley Batts stopped writing Retrospectacle and teamed up with Steve Higgins at Of Two Minds primarily because Shelley is trying to finish her PhD dissertation this year.

Sometimes a blog, even a science blog or a ScienceBlog™, is just a journal for the musings of the author – so, would you find it of value to have an additional voice here?

Any comments or thoughts from readers, bloggers, or reader-bloggers would be greatly appreciated. Thanks – hope you’re having a great weekend.

Comments

  1. #1 McDawg
    April 26, 2008

    Yes Abel,

    Given your circumstances, I would most welcome input from a co-blogger on your blog.

  2. #2 PhysioProf
    April 26, 2008

    Co-bloggers kick total fucking ass!

  3. #3 PalMD
    April 26, 2008

    It’s a great idea…you have a great blog, and if a like-minded person could add to it, that would be great.

  4. #4 isles
    April 26, 2008

    Makes no matter to me, I’ll keep reading with or without a co-blogger. Post when you can!

  5. #5 decrepitoldfool
    April 26, 2008

    Recently I made my son a co-author on my blog. Why a 26-year-old graduate student in mathematics would want to write on a blog called “Decrepit Old Fool” is beyond me but he has written some wonderful posts and it’s added a new dimension. It’s like opening a little gift to bring up the browser and discover he’s posted something.

    I really enjoy reading your blog, by the way, and you are likely to pick someone very interesting to share the writing.

  6. #6 Dave Munger
    April 26, 2008

    I vote against a coblogger — I think it will dilute the voice of your blog (odd, coming from someone with a coblogger, I know, but we have a very nonstandard coblogging arrangement).

  7. #7 bill
    April 26, 2008

    Whether you simply post less or pick up a co-blogger, I’ll keep reading.

    Which, of course, doesn’t help you in the slightest… I can’t think of anyone to suggest, but I trust you to pick someone worth reading, so I’ll vote yes.

  8. #8 Joe
    April 26, 2008

    You write on a topic of great interest to me. If you can interest increase that traffic, I will appreciate it.

  9. #9 DrugMonkey
    April 26, 2008

    you gotta be careful with the co-bloggers. they SEEM all cute and cuddly at first but then you feed ‘em after midnight and….watch out!

  10. #10 PhysioProf
    April 26, 2008

    Fuck you, asshole!

  11. #11 Lab Cat
    April 27, 2008

    It depends on whether you have a coblogger in mind who writes the way you like. Otherwise you could just join the rest of us who post intermittently.

    BTW: Photographs are a great blog filler ;)

  12. #12 DuWayne
    April 27, 2008

    I will continue to read TS whether you post less or get a partner. Really, it makes little difference. If I like the coblogger I read their posts too, if not I ignore them.

    I should note that I am pretty horrible about regular posting. It’s a good month if I get more than two posts up (or even that many). Yet I get pretty steady traffic with regulars who check in a couple times a week. I occasionally get email complaining that I should post more, but for the most part it doesn’t seem to matter.

    That said, if you take on a co-blogger like PhysioProf, be very careful what you feed them and when, because apparently they can get quite cranky. I would love to see you take on a partner who has a similar interest in the nature products, as it could take some of the heat off the emails you receive.

  13. #13 AnnR
    April 27, 2008

    I think a co-blogger is a good idea.
    I fully appreciate how challenging it can be to put these pieces together.
    I think you have an interesting topic and if you could turn someone up who also doesn’t have enough time to post all the time it would be fine with me.

  14. #14 Abel Pharmboy
    April 27, 2008

    I really appreciate the thoughtful responses, folks. I am touched by those who suggested I not take a co-blogger. I appreciate that vote of confidence.

    If I had the photography skills of Lab Cat (or her knitting skills for that matter), I could show off my other side.

    In thinking about this, I came across another option: Kevin Pho at Kevin, MD, has started posting “Reader Takes,” guest blog features to give other bloggers a more visible platform. We are nowhere near Kevin’s 10,000 hits per day but offering something similar here on blogger posts topical to the Terra Sig “mission” might be another option for keeping continuity while I freak out about my new outside responsibilities.

    I’d welcome someone like PhysioProf but he’s already taken – some may think he’s cranky but he’s just simply too wicked smart for us minions.

  15. #15 Abel Pharmboy
    April 27, 2008

    Oh, and DecreiptOldFool, I haven’t read your blog since your boy joined but kids today seem to think that being uncool is so uncool that it’s actually cool (from what I know of this Anti movement).

    The 5 yo PharmKid does however hold great promise, at least on the side of humor. To wit:

    PharmKid: Daddy, stop singing.

    APB: Do I really sing that badly?

    PharmKid: Yes.

    APB: But you loved me singing to you when you were a little baby.

    PharmKid: I couldn’t talk then.

  16. #16 3+speckled
    April 28, 2008

    I’m not sure a “Reader’s Take” will help you/us. It would be a great opportunity to hear from those who don’t have the time to do their own blogs, but you would probably spend a lot of time reviewing submissions and that would make your own posts even less frequent. That would not be good.

  17. #17 revere
    April 28, 2008

    I’m following this with interest as we are also contemplating taking on additional co-bloggers. I think Readers Take is not a good idea because it inevitably will lead to accusations of censorship as you decline to print certain views you find off base or worse. Better to be up front and say you own the front page, period. That’s this reader’s take, anyway.

  18. #18 DrugMonkey
    April 28, 2008

    I’d welcome someone like PhysioProf but he’s already taken – some may think he’s cranky but he’s just simply too wicked smart for us minions.

    Thanks a bunch Abel! My fax is whirring with new contract demands from PP (who the hell is “Leigh Steinberg”, anyway?)……

    A serious thought is that if you are expecting changes in your life, maybe to wait until things settle out a bit. See how your blogging is changed, evaluate any changes in interest, etc. Then think about what you might want to do with TerraSig. Just a thought.

  19. #19 isles
    April 28, 2008

    “I couldn’t talk then.”

    Priceless!

  20. #20 Anonymoustache
    April 28, 2008

    AP,
    Co-blogger or not, I’ll be checking in regularly.
    Also, with that witty retort, PharmKid shows great potential to be your co-blogger. We could always use a Thursday Sprog Blog.

    DM,
    Leigh Steinbergh? Pffft.
    I’d have thought that PP would have wanted representation by nothing less than the bastard child of Scott Boras and Drew Rosenhaus.

  21. #21 Abel Pharmboy
    April 29, 2008

    Thank you for the interesting thoughts about Kevin MD’s reader post idea – thinking about it more, he’s got a very different style in that most of his own posts are very short commentary/aggregator type snippets so perhaps the reader essays will add another dimension to his blog. Good point also from 3+speckled that my time spent going through suggested posts would be equal or more than what it would take to put up original content of my own.

    Very good advice from the DrugMonkey regarding a wait-and-see attitude; it would still be fun to have a guest-post every once in awhile but I may hold off on the co-blogger idea until I see how things go (and, btw DM, there’s enough online vitriol toward PP that my accolades should be easily offset wrt any unusual demands he is making). My colleague, Erleichda, already writes just as many Friday Fermentable posts as I do anyway.

    isles and Anonymoustache: the PharmKid has also expressed some displeasure with my blog content after seeing Janet Stemwedel posting SprogArt at AiES: “Why aren’t you putting my drawings on your internet, Daddy?”

  22. #22 Joe
    April 29, 2008

    After more thought, I had one other observation and returned to see that, too my horror, I wrote “You write on a topic of great interest to me. If you can interest that traffic, I will appreciate it.” I meant “increase” the traffic. To make matters worse, by “traffic” I meant the number of posts.

    However, traffic was on my mind. I don’t have data; but others have observed that the more posts to a blog, the more people return regularly. I do not check many blogs; and some of those I used to like have fallen off the map since they stopped regular blogging. For that reason, I would like it if you joined forces to post more.

  23. #23 DrugMonkey
    April 29, 2008

    “Why aren’t you putting my drawings on your internet, Daddy?”

    I would check to make sure PharmKid has not established a back channel with those Sprogs if I were you…

  24. #24 Abel Pharmboy
    April 29, 2008

    Joe, thanks. I was able to fix your earlier comment to reflect the clarification.

    DrugMonkey, I would not be surprised if the Sprog cabal was working behind the scenes with Ginny Hughes to be the next addition to ScienceBlogs. Since there’s already a blog called, “A Good Poop,” maybe they start one called, “Long Since Potty-Trained.” I’m certain they would eclipse the traffic of our blogs combined.

  25. #25 Kelly
    May 6, 2008

    You could take on a pharm student blogger that I’ve read since you introduced him — http://secundumartem.blogspot.com/
    Not that I’d stop reading if you just posted less often :)

  26. #26 DrugMonkey
    May 6, 2008

    maybe they start one called, “Long Since Potty-Trained.” I’m certain they would eclipse the traffic of our blogs combined.

    They might even give Greg Laden a run for his money…

  27. #27 Abel Pharmboy
    May 7, 2008

    Kelly, indeed, N.B. is a great blogger. Glad to know that you followed my recommendation.

    DrugMonkey, I think the sprogs might even give PZ a run for his money.