An Open Invitation to Seed's Ex-Sciencebloggers

By The Intersection | July 20, 2010 12:41 pm

Given the recent Scienceblogs diaspora, we want to do our part to help old friends struggling regain blog traffic at their new sites.

So this is an open invitation to our scibling refugees (as the Blogfather Bora says, “Once a scibling, always a scibling!”):

The Intersection would be happy to host guest posts and link back to your new digs around the web. Sure we may disagree online at times, but we always consider you valued colleagues and appreciate the tremendous support you’ve shown us over the years. It’s the least we can do.

Here’s a list of those who’ve left Sb linking to their new sites where possible (H/T Carl). Go visit them!

Abel Pharmboy bids Sb farewell

A Blog Around the Clock: Read his epic farewell.

Deborah Blum

David Dobbs

Good Math/Bad Math: Mark Chu-Carroll is leaving. Will post his destination soon.

GrrlScientist Follow her at @grrlscientist

Highly Allochthonous

Isis

Jonah Lehrer: Moving to Wired this summer

Obesity Panacea

Peter Lipson

Primate Diaries in Exile

The Quantum Pontiff

Questionable Authority Follow him @questauthority

Scicurious

Science After Sunclipse

Rebecca Skloot

Superbug

Brian Switek, Laelaps

Thus Spake Zuska

Alex Wild

Interested bloggers should email or tweet and we’ll arrange your guest post.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Announcements, Culture, Education
MORE ABOUT: scienceblogs, Seed

Comments (31)

  1. That’s lovely, Sheril. I’m sure your offer will be much appreciated :)

  2. David Waldock

    If you spell “their” correctly, I suspect they’d be more likely to take the offer seriously :-S

  3. The Intersection
  4. Will you extend the offer to the Sb strikers? :-)

  5. The Intersection

    Sure. Anyone interested should email us.

  6. Jon

    I was interested to see atheism play out as a role in the exodus:

    …the network got somewhat of a bad reputation in some circles, as a hotbed of godless, pinko-commie, liberal whateverwhatever people. That reputation, even during the most recent period when only about five out of 80 bloggers focused much on politics and/or religion, seems to persist.

    Since the continuous additions of popular bloggers did not add many new readers and traffic (they were all already reading here anyway), and as the erroneous perception which Sb-haters promulgated that “there is no science on scienceblogs.com” needed to be countered, Seed invited many bloggers who never touch controversial topics and only blog about science. They also invited a couple of bloggers who are openly religious and a couple of conservatives. More recently, several bloggers who joined were reputable science writers and journalists. A new idea was to try and pick up some very new and not-yet-established bloggers, especially very young ones with talent, and bring them here and help them grow.

    But none of this helped dispel the nefarious myths about Sb being an atheism network. In this effort to dilute politico-religious content with science content, Sb grew, in my opinion, too big. I think 80-something blogs with 90+ bloggers is too big. Internal rifts and formation of cliques was inevitable in such a large group, which led to some hidden and some very public fights, and resulted in some of our prominent bloggers leaving in a huff.

    (Full disclosure: I’m not against atheism, more against the proselytizing, fighting kind with the easy scientific pretensions that’s been practiced on Scienceblogs…)

  7. I don’t see atheism playing out any role in the Sb exodus. Did Bora offer any support for that?

    On the last paragraph Jon quoted above, it didn’t ring true to me. (I wasn’t a reader at all, but I could see how Bora had such a large and loyal following from the rest that he wrote) If there were nefarious myths, wouldn’t they be held by people who never read Sb and who were highly religious, sectarian, and likely close-minded? Meaning, people that didn’t matter at all to the mission of Sb?

    Too big? I don’t know, what’s wrong with internal rifts and cliques? Isn’t that a fact of life for scientists? 80+ blogs certainly has nothing to do with it. Fighting and leaving in a huff too, what’s inherently wrong with that?

    Jon, did your parenthetical statement mean you read Sb less?

  8. Sorry about the strikers comment – the unkind side of my sense of humour came out. Although it would be amusing if PZed blogged here.

    Sorry.

    Anyway, Grrl and I hatched a cunning plan over a couple of glasses of wine – hopefully she’ll be awake enough tomorrow to contact you about it.

  9. Jon

    Jon, did your parenthetical statement mean you read Sb less?

    Where the scientific culture warriors are concerned, yes. With certain blogs, I know I’m mostly going to get new atheist red meat, and I find that dull (and reading their commenters even duller). At times, it borders on adolescent. As far as culture war matters go, other politically liberal bloggers are light years ahead. Rick Perlstein’s blog (back when he wrote one) was genius at this stuff (could you imagine something like this on PZ Myers’ blog?) Josh Marshall and his TPM Cafe is also good. Even conservatives like David Frum and Andrew Sullivan are much better at providing insights on this kind of thing than any scienceblogger I’ve read. Sometimes you have to do more than just congratulating yourself that you’re right (I almost put that word in quotes, because sometimes they aren’t as “right” as they think they are, and haven’t sought out opposing views, which again, makes for dull reading).

    On the other hand, I’m a huge fan of blogs like Deltoid and Illconsidered, which are fantastic at giving you kind of the architecture of misinformation, which is interesting and eye opening to read.

  10. @ 8 Bob O’H

    No worries, and I have a hunch PZ’s not interested.

    Will look forward to hearing what you and Grrl are up to…

  11. Jon, I think you’re concern trolling here. My point was do you read non-atheist heavy blogs at Sb less. I can’t see you or any other person answering “yes”. You and Bora are insinuating that an atheist taint hurt the entire Sb network. I find that hard to believe.

  12. Norwegian Shooter,

    that you should accuse Jon of trolling is rather ironic. You also appear to have fully misunderstood Bora’s own blog post; he was saying something roughly at 180° to what you think he was saying.

    Now, how about simply either addressing the meat of Jon’s remarks, or simply stating your own focus, without the bogus accusations?
    __________

    @ Sheril Kirshenbaum:

    “…. I have a hunch PZ’s not interested.”

    His loss. Too bad for him; eventually he will simply have to learn to tackle the hard work of arranging hosting, software and server management himself.

  13. Bryan

    There is science at sciencebloggers? I didn’t know that, actually. When I want science, I go to Medline and keyword surf.

  14. Marion Delgado

    I thought the guy moving to Wired was being weird, but he says it’s not to do with the Pepsi thing. That makes sense.

  15. Gurdur, “that you should accuse Jon of trolling is rather ironic.” Why? (btw, Jon’s original comment was CT, but I didn’t think of it until my 2nd response.)

    Also, please tell me what I have misunderstood. What was Bora saying? I take Jon’s second comment to mean that the atheist-heavy bloggers haven’t caused him to read other Sb blogs any less. Did I get that right?

  16. Sobex

    Gurdur, you do realize that PZ’s old blog (having followed it since 2004 before he joined Sb) was his own server that he maintained himself. I don’t think he’d find it hard work; tedious, maybe.

    I admit he did post a far higher percentage of science content back then.

  17. Dark Tent

    Many of the blogging “groups” like Science Blogs actually bear similarities to high school cliques (not unlike Facebook).

  18. Sobex wrote:

    “Gurdur, you do realize that PZ’s old blog (having followed it since 2004 before he joined Sb) was his own server that he maintained himself. I don’t think he’d find it hard work; tedious, maybe.”

    Way back then, his server userbase was small and manageable; as he now himself admits on the Pharyngula blog, he would have a much larger problem today. Seriously, the large, high-traffic bandwidth is a big problem, and if you think he would not find it hard work, then you have more faith than he does. Such a high bandwidth and, seperately, high logged-in-user rate (a very important issue with mySQL database management), demands professional or near-professional large-server/IT management, and he isn’t that, nor does he have the requisite knowledge or experience, AFAIK.

    This is what PZ said himself:
    “I need concrete information on setting up an independent server, technical assistance, getting ads to pay for the thing, etc. Seed has taken care of all of that painful work for me for so long, that it would be a bit of a shock to leave, and leaving is the least pleasant option for me. Hold my hand and tell me what to do.”

    Sobex, almost any computer-literate person can run a small server. Running a large server with high online rates of logged-in members is a completely different affair, and few can manage the level of expertise needed for that.

    Sobex wrote:

    “I admit he did post a far higher percentage of science content back then.”

    Which is a whole new problem of its own, isn’t it? Amidst the shrillness of the Pepsigate fuss, Bora Zivkovic raised the point about what others were saying about Science-Blogs; and what some others were reported as saying was that (paraphrased) the ranting (or if you prefer, controversial subject matter) on some blogs was hurting the image of SB as a scientific blogging network.

    In any case, it all leads back to the question of what one should expect in the way of standards for science- and science-reporting blog-networks, and how the whole cachet of ‘science’ lends legitimacy to each SB blog. And that goes way beyond what are termed ‘civility’ questions.

    _______

    Norwegian Shooter wrote:

    ” Also, please tell me what I have misunderstood. What was Bora saying?”

    This was a mistake of mine. I misread one sentence of yours; and after triple-checking it, I found I had misunderstood your post because of that one sentence and another post of yours. My mistake. I myself should go easier on the accusations of misunderstanding things, eh eh? :-;

    Nonetheless, you said: “You and Bora are insinuating that an atheist taint hurt the entire Sb network”. BoraZ actually seems to be blaming more SB for having too many blogs in an effort to counter such myths, as BoraZ terms them.

    Norwegian Shooter wrote:

    Gurdur, “that you should accuse Jon of trolling is rather ironic.” Why?”

    You could equally be accused of inflammatory trolling and sheer evasiveness, given your post to which I replied, and that line in it. Thus the irony. So, instead of the accusations, like I said, why not simply tackle points, and if you do not like certain points, make points of your own.

    Norwegian Shooter wrote:

    “(btw, Jon’s original comment was CT, but I didn’t think of it until my 2nd response.)”

    I assume by “CT” you mean off-topic? I don’t think so (but then, it’s up to blog owners to decide what is allowable on their own blogs). After all, BoraZ did bring it up as an issue, even if only to try refuting it as a genuine issue. It is an issue that may well play a larger part in the future. Or did you mean something else by “CT”?

    In any case, Mooney and Kirshenbaum are quite welcome to delete this post of mine as being too off-topic, should they think it better to do so.

    The actual original topic being the rather generous offer by them to all the SB bloggers.

    Norwegian Shooter wrote:

    ” I take Jon’s second comment to mean that the atheist-heavy bloggers haven’t caused him to read other Sb blogs any less. Did I get that right?”

    Ask him yourself, directly; I re-read his post 3 times, and he does not quite say that, so I cannot say. All he says directly is that he reads the culture warriors less. He doesn’t say much more than that, and it’s a bit unclear. Up to him to answer the question on that one.

    But if by some chain of perceived cause and effect, it all led to being another factor in the leaving of BoraZ from SB, then it is rather a big issue, no? Regardless of whether Jon or others read the much-more-sciency blogs on SB less or not. I might add that the problem cuts both ways; too much snobbishness about ‘science’ can sometimes be a problem itself. Any old how, I’ve now blogged on the matter.

  19. Gurdur,

    “You could equally be accused of inflammatory trolling and sheer evasiveness” What?!?

    CT is concern trolling, which I define as someone bringing up an issue, but not owning the statement or question, rather expressing concern through other people’s voices, the general (Americans think…), or very passively (I was interested to see…). It often is accompanied by explicitly claiming bona fides to the larger cause:

    “I’m not against atheism, more against the proselytizing, fighting kind with the easy scientific pretensions that’s been practiced on Scienceblogs” Jon

    PS I imagine Bora would say you should be sleeping at 3 am!

  20. Jon

    I’m not saying Bora agrees with me. That the new atheism is trouble is *my* argument. I laid out my reasons here in this thread. Bora is describing the problem as much ado about nothing, but nevertheless a problem. I’m saying that the problem is *real,* and not nothing.

    If you’re calling that trolling, as in being argumentative and causing trouble in a deceptive way, then I either don’t understand your rules for a “correct” form of debate, or I disagree with you on what’s acceptable.

    As for me not reading science blogs, I think I got weary of hearing a certain kind of discussion (and participating in it a few times in the comments). It got to be like, if you’ve read one PZ Myers posting, you’ve read them all. If you’ve had one debate in his comments, you’ve had them all. And the culture war analysis I read on science blogs wasn’t half as insightful or interesting as I could get elsewhere. Maybe I’m being too frank here, but I blame that at least in part on a certain ideology that says if you know the physical sciences, you know everything worth knowing.

    And I also wonder if the diversity of the new blogs that Seed added to crosscut peoples’ views didn’t bum people out in the way Henry Ferrell predicts in this post. I don’t know this for a fact, because SB is a big place and I only had a few that I read regularly. It’s more just a thought I had based on peoples’ retrospectives that I read (so my thought is based on non-rigorous induction, not empiricism, but I figure it’s still worth sharing…)

  21. Jon (and Gurdur), you’re over-focusing on the word “trolling.” You say “If you’re calling that trolling, as in being argumentative and causing trouble in a deceptive way”. No, I’m not. See above.

    But thanks for responding.

  22. Jon

    I take “troll” to mean someone who isn’t a serious part of the discussion, but is just trying to make trouble. I don’t think that describes my contribution here. And you can’t just make up definitions, just like I can’t call you something pejorative and say it’s alright because I have my own definition. This just isn’t me: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Troll_(Internet)#Concern_troll

    I have a perfectly straightforward argument to make (even if it’s a hard case to make briefly), so I resist the notion that I should be labeled this way. A prominent blogger gave his interpretation of something, and I gave my interpretation of that. I don’t see why it merits someone blowing a whistle and calling it “concern trolling,” as if I were being disingenuous. Nope, nothing up my sleeve, no “trolling”, I’m being perfectly straightforward just like any routine contributor to the intertubes. (Maybe not the intertubes *you* hang out in, though.)

  23. Jon, I never said you were disingenuous. If a definition is in the way, I’ll completely take back the “troll” part. Sorry. Let’s get back to the issue if you want to keep discussing it.

    Your interpretation was “I was interested to see atheism play out as a role in the exodus”. I disputed that. If you’d like to reply to that here, fine, I’ll keep checking the post.

  24. Jon

    I would say that new atheism definitely played a role in the editorial decisions made by Seed that led people to leave. Bora says as much. Did the atmosphere brought on by new atheism itself lead people to leave? I’ll admit that I’m short on any evidence, but I’d be interested in hearing each blogger’s’ take. (I know of at least two bloggers who left in the past for that reason…)

  25. Anthony McCarthy

    So much happens when you’re offline for a while.

    I didn’t avoid Scienceblogs because of the people who blogged there who were obnoxious anti-religious bigots and pseudo-skeptics I avoided some of them because of that, though it didn’t help.

    As a non-ideological leftist (well, unless you count socialist) that wasn’t the reason I didn’t tend to go there out of habit. If anything I found the hot blogs there to be politically naive and utterly conventional. The arguments surrounding Ben Stein’s movie in 2008 would be a good example of that. The position that Ben Stein’s movie and ID were false but that it is an indisputable fact of history that eugenics sprang up as a result of Darwin’s writing and well within the Darwin inner circle was a position that the blogger and the community couldn’t seem to fathom. The history of eugenics among Darwinists is unambiguous in a way that even most of science isn’t, it’s recorded unambiguously in the words of people like Francis Galton and Leonard Darwin. Yet you couldn’t BOTH accept evolution and historical accuracy at some of the Scienceblogs.

    I didn’t like the obnoxious boy pack communities that seem to be the heart’s desire of many of the Sciencebloggers. And those have such a high spillover from new atheist culture and Randian “skepticism” that it’s practically the same entity.

  26. Jon,

    “Bora says as much.” That is worth exactly nothing. This was the point of my first comment (#7), and I still don’t agree with what Bora said. You have not even tried to argue that you or he is correct.

    “I’ll admit that I’m short on any evidence, but I’d be interested in hearing each blogger’s’ take. (I know of at least two bloggers who left in the past for that reason…)”

    This is exactly the type of concern whatever that I was complaining about. Name the bloggers, link to the bloggers’ takes on why they left or Seed’s editorial decisions. Stop expressing “interest” without any support or follow up.

  27. Ajax Plaza

    (could you imagine something like this on PZ Myers’ blog?)

    When pigs fly!

    It has been said in the past but bears repeating:

    PZ Myers is the Rush Limbaugh of the left. It’s all about him, him, him, (and his gargantuan ego), 24 X 7.

  28. jrv

    Hmm, are you sure that Isis has left Scienceblogs? She still seems to be a scibling …

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