In the past few days I have received four e-mails from Adam Bly, founder and proprietor of Seed Media Group and Scienceblogs. OK, they were group mail sent to all the SciBlings, but four e-mails from him is more than I have received before in 3Â½ years at Sb. And now Adam has become a SciBling himself, writing at Science is Culture. Head on over and make him feel welcome! I'm going to follow the new blog with keen interest. Folks here have wished for a long time that they knew better what Adam is thinking.
Lassi HippelÃ¤inen is right. About everything. But then I would say that, wouldn't I?
Indeed. Are you thinking of any particular pronouncement of Lassi's?
Yes, his comment about networks on your Pepsiblog post, and his comments no. 23 on Adam Bly's first post.
Martin, I'm sorry, I'm being obscure, which is not helpful. Maybe I should elaborate. I agree with Lassi principally on two points:
1. The great value of Sb is as a network of nodes of quality science writing (with the added value of the humour and other human interest stuff that the writers may choose to inject). I don't know how many millions of blogs there are, probably no one does, but I am not in a position to go browsing through them all looking for interesting stuff. Even if I were, it would never have occurred to me to go looking for material on Scandinavian archaeology - I could never have imagined that it is a field that someone could make interesting and entertaining for me.
As it happened, I entered Sb via a node on human genetics, because that was what I was looking for. Once in the network, I linked to your blog, liked what I saw and decided to hang around. That is typically how I have found most of the blogs that I read regularly, and most are in subjects I would not have thought to go searching for.
2. The way to change something you don't like is to engage with it, not to walk away. Every time a blogger leaves, it diminishes the network, so they are not just hurting Sb, they are hurting their fellow bloggers. I realize that some who have left had other issues, apparently including technical issues, but again, the way to get them addressed would seem to be by collective action, rather than by leaving. Bloggers joined Sb because they were attracted by the concept and maybe because they felt honoured to be invited to join such a distinguished group of science writers - when issues developed that they didn't like, surely it would be better to try to get them fixed.
Switek has gone. Because he was at Sb I used to read him occasionally, but he does not write stuff of sufficient interest to me that I will try to track where he goes to. (Which is kind of strange, because I have had a lifelong side interest in paleontology.) So he has hurt his fellow bloggers, and has lost an occasional reader. I just give him as an example because apparently he is regarded as one of the 'heavy hitters' of the science blogging world, I am not singling him out for criticism. MarkCC is someone else I used to read now and again, but again it is unlikely that I will remember to try to track where he goes to. I did follow Razib Khan when he left quite a while back, but he is on my fairly short daily reading list, along with your good self and a few others.
Lassi also made a point about trying to engage more engineers, and he is right that there is a scarcity of good engineering blogs, but I think the point there is that engineers don't seem to blog much. Maybe we are just not very bloggy people, for whatever reason. Besides, we are boring. We engineers even frequently bore each other.
You also made the point that archaeology needs to be made interesting and accessible to people. Engineering doesn't. People might dump science unless the public can be engaged, but they can never dump engineering, not unless the world somehow reverts to a tiny human population. And even then we would need to engineer sharp sticks to poke animals with. So we can safely continue to be boring.
But if Lassi can find a way to make engineering interesting and accessible, I am willing to agree with him about that too. It is better to engage than not engage.
Thank you, Sandy. Brian Switek was one of the SciBlings I read most frequently, but now that he will no longer be on the "most active" or "readers' choice" lists here, I'll probably miss out.