Goodbye, Scienceblogs

So my decision is made. I'm closing up around here. I'm in the process of working out exactly where I'm going to go. With any luck, Seed will leave this blog here long enough for me to post an update with the new location. But I'm through with Seed and ScienceBlogs.

More like this

With this post, I say goodbye to ScienceBlogs. Am I leaving because of the fiasco with the PepsiCo blog? Not directly. That's not to say that there weren't serious issues raised by the whole incident. Many of these lie in the realm of journalistic ethics, at least as understood by people you…
Well, well, well. After spending the day dismantling and rebuilding my lab (which, to my slight surprise, was actually super fun), I return to some good news (relative to the bad news that's been flying around here over the last couple days). 1. The Pepsi blog has been shuttered. Here's the…
There's a problem brewing and ScienceBlogs, a disturbance in the Force, if you will, and it's a doozy. It's a darkness that's distubed several of my fellow ScienceBloggers to the point where I fear that some of them may leave. Indeed, it's a spectacularly tin-eared and idiotic decision on the part…
Update: Shortly, after writing this, ScienceBlogs pulled the Pepsi Blog Thinking about it overnight, I'm back for now. The short version is that I think the changes are sufficient, although I'm still very disappointed in Seed. Basically, the changes in presentation seem to make it clear that the…

PZ Meyers at Pharyngula has similar complaints about Seed to yours. He's gone on strike, until his quite reasonable demands are met by Seed. Mark, I'd encourage you to check out his demands and see whether they might mitigate your concerns. If so, you might want to align yourself with the strike. If not, I'm curious to hear what more you think would need to be done to fix things. Cheers, and thanks for all the great blog posts!

An entirely understandable decision. I look forward to following you where ever you go.

I'll check the blog in a week to see if you left any new message with your new home. Good luck looking for a new place! ;-)

Wow, this is a big deal. I will follow you to your new site, I look forward to your writing everyday. See you at your new location.

By Eric Juve (not verified) on 07 Jul 2010 #permalink

I'll be sure to add you to my updated bookmarks. Keep up the great work.

By Left_Wing_Fox (not verified) on 07 Jul 2010 #permalink


By Rory Kent (not verified) on 07 Jul 2010 #permalink

Completely understandable under the circumstances. Sadly I reckon this will not clewify the powers that be but that's on them. Looking forward to your relaunch.

By DrugMonkey (not verified) on 07 Jul 2010 #permalink

Please post your ending location! You have a great blog.


Keep us appraised, please.

By John Morales (not verified) on 07 Jul 2010 #permalink

When you find out where you're going, let Chris Clarke know.

He's graciously offered to maintain a combined feed for everyone who's left.

My best wishes for you and your continued blogging. It is a shame that SEED Media did not think to make the time and effort to work out all of the 'conflict of interest'/'cheapening the reputation' angles of how they went about raising funds. That they did not think to make the time or effort strongly supports your decision to leave. I look forward to reading you in your new territory.

By Christopher Gwyn (not verified) on 07 Jul 2010 #permalink

Please tell me it's not just over the whole Pepsico issue. If it is, then it's a bit of an overreaction, to say the least.

Keep us posted! Looking forward to reading you at your new home.

Good on you! I'll keep an eye on CZ to see where you land.

Good grief.

It's clearly marked as coming from Pepsico, and they've promised to be up front about whatever conflicts of interest each poster has. I don't think you can ask for much more than that. At least see how it turns out before you act so childish!

Great to see you standing up on a matter of principal.
I'll be linking to wherever you pop up next. Linking, that is, on my Facebook page that has over 1,000 "friends" in many companies. Seed can have their unhealthy soft-drink money via somebody else; I'll promote your rationality, clarity, and common sense to a wider group, with no regrets.

People have been telling me for 15 years to put ads on my static web domain, which gets over 15,000,000 hits per year. I always say that I don't like ads, and my readers want trusted information without obnoxious product placement.

Well let's see how quickly the libertarians jump in to defend advertising of all stripes no matter the content.

Wordpress gets a lot of good rep mainly for it's high level of customization (I like the fact that feeds can actually take up most of the width of a page instead of the standard ridiculously skinny thing stuck right in the middle of my wide screen monitor). Apparently it takes some work to get it set up how you like it though. Blogger's a lot simpler to set up. Either way, I believe both have the scripting for "click to expose post" functionality instead of clicking forcing one to visit a new page.

By Dark Jaguar (not verified) on 07 Jul 2010 #permalink

Just a lurker, but I'm looking forward to lurking at your new home, wherever it may be. As Miss C above mentioned, Zimmer over at The Loom on Discover has a thread tracking the ex-Pepsiblog diaspora. It'd be great to have a central spot for us all to update our bookmarks.

Good luck, and keep blogging!

Never posted here before, but I wanted to say that you've made a good choice and I'll keep following you. Good luck, keep blogging!


I suppose I need to grab archival copies of all my favourite GMBM posts then.

Another lurker (and artist not scientist). I followed many of the science blogs I read from their old homes when they came here and will follow you to your next home also.

Yet another lurker. Sorry to see you leave. In your position, I don't think I would have done the same, but I admire you taking a stand on principle.

I'll be there when you move into your new home.

As others have said, I hope you keep on blogging, and in a nice place full of geeky blogs. You were my entry door to Sb, and I hope you make me discover (hint, hint) another nice place.

By https://me.yah… (not verified) on 08 Jul 2010 #permalink

Your blog, along with a few others, was one of a minority left on SciBlogs that actually still discussed physical science and maths at a high level. Seems like the well has been poisoned, not just by Pepsico, but by other undercurrents of infighting, sock-puppetry and people whose primary agenda was not discussing science. A shame that there will no longer a single go-to place for catching everything, but I guess that is what RSS was invented for. Good luck.

My decision to leave isn't solely over the Pepsi thing. That was a terrible decision, and the way that the Seed management handled it made it worse. But if that was the whole story, the way that they fixed it would have been enough to satisfy me.

Unfortunately, A lot has happened at SB, a lot of mismanagement, a lot of sleaze, a lot of frustration, a lot of incompetence. And most importantly, a persistent lack of ethics. It has been going on for a long time, and it's been getting progressively worse.

The Pepsi thing is just the last straw. Taken with the history that preceded it, it convinced me that under the management of SMG, ScienceBlogs isn't going to get better. I just can't be part of it any more.

Do announce your new home on twitter and facebook.

Thanks for saying that Mark. It's been a fairly clear undercurrent in a lot of resignations, but it could be useful to say more often to either encourage others to leave or perhaps encourage management to wake up a bit.

The "we need to make money to run this ship" argument seems a bit flat for essentially an underpaid network of bloggers with moderately high traffic. They (legitimately) want to make more money, but the managerial incompetence even from the view of an outsider is impressive. How they could possibly have done this without even considering giving a head-up for feedback from their existing profit generators (i.e. you & company) was mind-numbingly stupid and I know this wasn't the first time such things happened.

@23, as a Libertarian, I can see Pepsico trying to get their point of view heard, but doing it in a deceitful way. This results in my distrusting anything Pepsico has to say. I can also find fault with ScienceBlogs allowing Pepsico to use their blogs in this manner, and thus ruining their own credibility as a trusted source. I can also applaud Mark for sticking with his convictions and leaving SB. It is also nice to see hoards of support from Mark's readers who are all willing to read his blog wherever he happens to post. And as a Libertarian, Yes, this is the way I think things should work.

Well let's see how quickly the libertarians jump in to defend advertising of all stripes no matter the content.

Was the government involved here at all? Why should libertarians care?

Sad to hear that you're leaving, but I'll still follow you on your new site.

By Feynmaniac (not verified) on 08 Jul 2010 #permalink

Just FYI, Pharyngula is reporting that Sb has reversed its decision; Pepsi is gone.

I'll still follow you on your new site too. GM/BM rules.


Yeah, I know, but for me, that doesn't change anything.

The existence of the Pepsi blog wasn't the issue. As I said before - that was the last straw, but by itself, it wasn't all that important. It's part of a long trend of incompetence, mismanagement, poor ethics, and incomprehension.

It's gotten to the point where I don't just not trust Seed, but I'm pretty much *certain* that Seed will continue to mismanage things in ways that I cannot allow myself to be associated with.

If you can't post here because they take it down too soon, will you email us? Must... read... destructions... of... bad... math...

Ah, if there are other reasons, I take back my previous comment.

From this post and your previous one, I inferred that the sole reason for your leaving was the Pepsico drama. My apologies.

I still intend to follow you to your new home. (Ok, that sounds creepy)

Seeing as I didn't think this was that horrendous of a decision, yet, and thought that any claims of other blogs being compromised by the decision ran afoul of the guilt by association fallacy, what other transgressions have led you to leave? I ask honestly, as this is the only incident I'm aware of, and I'd like to know more about one of the places I turn to for scientific writing.

By mkandefer (not verified) on 08 Jul 2010 #permalink

I hope they allow this up as an archive for a while, at least. Please let us know where you decide to set up shop next, and good luck -- we'll be waiting to follow you over.

By Luna_the_cat (not verified) on 08 Jul 2010 #permalink

Libertarians believe in freedom of association - and that includes DIS-association.

Hope to continue to follow you wherever you decide to associate - and I prefer COCA Cola anyway!

By Jens Fiederer (not verified) on 08 Jul 2010 #permalink

As a mathematician and lover of your blog, I wish you the best, and hope upon hope that you find a new home with the same great material. You're writing on mathematical and computer-science topics is superb.

Dia dhuit, a' Mhairc. Gun eiridh an rathad leat!

By David N. Andre… (not verified) on 08 Jul 2010 #permalink

Irish on Good Math Bad Math. How cool is that?

Where ever you go, do you have any plans to archive your writings from this and your previous blog? It'd be a shame to lose everything you've written so far, or to have it scattered about.


Yes. I've already backup up all of the posts here, and I'll do my best to pull them in wherever I land.

You might want to broach the topic of blog post material copyright and legacy ownership with Seed et al before you leave. Presuming your blog archive dematerializes here, they may allow you to migrate the files to your new location.

If there are larger issues with site administration, perhaps they should be aired for commentary by other Sciblog authors.

There's always the chance that productive good can come out of the bad news of your leaving here.


On that count, our contracts with Seed are crystal clear. All content of the blog belongs to me. I maintain copyright on all of my writings. So I can take the posts and do anything I want with them. SB/Seed has license to publish them here, and not much else.

Mark - while I respect your decision to move on, one thing you should perhaps consider is that while Seed has clearly mismanaged things over the recent past, their decision re the Pepsico blog honestly does seem like they are interested in change, and that they now do recognise the importance of keeping their bloggers happy, as you all are at the core of their business.

So, while they may have mismanaged things in the past, the opportunity now is there to stick around and hopefully play some part in Seed correcting their mistakes, and developing scienceblogs into a place that both the readers and the bloggers will continue to enjoy coming back to. If you leave, they'll just bring in another maths blog (clearly not one as good) - but whoever that is wont have the knowledge/seniority to stand up to any decisions they made, and scienceblogs will go downhill for everyone. That's my (poorly worded, damn early starts) concern.

But if it's your time to move on, it's your time to move on, and I'll try to follow you wherever you land.


That's what I said the last time they fucked up. And the time before that. And the time before that. And the time before that. And the time before that.

Five rounds is enough. I don't believe that they're going to change.

Your decision serves as a good example, I am glad to follow you Mark. God's Peace Bobby

By Bobby Joyner (not verified) on 08 Jul 2010 #permalink

As the others here have said, I applaud your principled decision. I hope you will be able to find a ncomfortable and viable home for Good Math, Bad Math, one of the finest blogsd about math I have ever followed.

By Michael Wolf (not verified) on 08 Jul 2010 #permalink

@54 Ah ok, I'd certainly missed a few of their other fuckups. The only difference between then and now is that they honestly seem to be soliciting the help of the bloggers, and the readers, to try and determine the future direction they'll take. But if you can't trust that, then you can't trust that, and we'll all just have to follow you to wherever you land.

If Seed management ever come to their senses, and throw out the Pepsi blog, I hope you'll consider returning.

Though I'll understand if you never trust them again.

I'll be following you 'cause I need more pot sticker recipes!

Mark, will the old comment threads be carried over to the new home of your blog? I always enjoyed reading those.

By Keshav Srinivasan (not verified) on 09 Jul 2010 #permalink

i respect your decision.

But I'm through with Seed and ScienceBlogs.

This hissy fit brought to you by a guy who works for a company that has censored web sites critical of Scientology, among other good public works.

Don't let the door hit your ass on the way out.

I'll read your blog here or wherever. Keep us posted...

"Good Math Bad Math" is the first blog I open, almost daily. I have learnt a lot from your writings. Your words are thought provoking - always. Your decision to leave is logical and is respected by us. Your decision to come back would be great as we all love you and respect you. Please let us know your new place.

By Anonymous (not verified) on 12 Jul 2010 #permalink

Very happy that you are leaving SB. Looking forward to you future blogs.

Congratulations! I'll probably enjoy your blog more once it's no longer part of the ScienceBlogs conglomerate. I find that quasi-corporate blogs are somehow less fun to read that blogs that are wholly run by the bloggers themselves.

Mark's blog was one of the first blogs I read that incited me to comment, it's really not about sci blogs, discovery blogs,or the myriad of others sites.

It's about the individual blogger, the readers and the commenter's, the topics and the science.

(as a reader and commenter)should I stay or should I go?

I choose both...If I read you right, I'll be reading you again.

By Sphere Coupler (not verified) on 13 Jul 2010 #permalink

Hi Mark,
I've always enjoyed reading your blog. Do you know yet where you'll continue blogging?

A brief message for Seed:

I head of you because of Mark's blog. I came here regularly because of his blog. I took his presence here as an implicit endorsement of Seed, and I gave that implicit endorsement a lot of respect. I have read several other blogs in ScienceBlogs, and I also frequently checked out items from Seed magazine. In my mind, Seed was accorded significant respect: I mentally classed it with publications like Scientific American or the San Jose Mercury News - publications from the press that actually *understood* science and reported it well.

That mental classification I had: that matters. That's the kind of mindshare that translates into respect, and subscriptions (although I will admit, I am not currently a subscriber). And that "implicit endorsement" effect is (I imagine) the reason why Mark is moving. It is unfortunate for you, because I am sure I am not the only one: just the one who is vocal enough to write this comment.

You would do well to realize that hosting these independent - and high quality - blogs DOES serve you well (surely enough to cover the cost of managing the site). Because Mark may be gone now, but you still have a number of other high quality science bloggers (a fact I only discovered because Mark's blog led me here). Perhaps you can figure out how to retain others.


Michael Chermside