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[Avian Flu Diary] Solidarity For Science Bloggers

Posted by Automator On July - 8 - 2010

(Thu, 08 Jul 2010 11:31:00 +0000)



# 4708


UPDATED:   According to PZ Myers on his Pharyngula blog the powers-that-be at Scienceblogs have reversed course (see PepsiCo has been expelled).


Not everyone who left is likely to return, however.  David Dobbs makes his case for staying away in Why I’m Staying Gone from ScienceBlogs.




Although I’m not on Scienceblogs, a lot of my favorite blogs (and bloggers) are . . . or were, anyway.  So the sad goings on over at that blog portal are of great interest to me, and no doubt to my readers as well.


Two days ago the news broke that the managers of Scienceblogs had `sold’ Pepsi Cola a blog slot on that prestigious venue.  


This was billed as a corporate sponsored blog, called Food Frontiers, that was to highlight the work being done in the nutritional field by PepsiCo researchers.


In other words, thinly veiled PR (public relations) and indirect advertisement.


And, as Maryn McKenna so aptly put it in her blog, `a crapstorm ensued’.

Although many of the resident Sciblings have weighed in on this controversy, I’ll refer you to the postings of two of personal favorites; David Dobbs and Maryn McKenna.


A food blog I can’t digest  -  Neruon Culture

Pepsi: Messy  – Superbug


Maryn has since suspended blogging on Sciblogs pending the resolution of this mess. A number of other science bloggers have done likewise, or have left the site entirely. 


Some of the media coverage includes Carl Zimmer’s blog on Discover  Oh, Pepsi, What Hast Thou Wrought? and a scathing assessment in the UK’s Guardian ScienceBlogs, we have a problem.


While blogging is generally thought of as `free’, it doesn’t come without significant personal cost to the authors. To be done well, and consistently, requires an inordinate investment of time, effort, and usually money.


And most bloggers never see a dime in return.


It takes years of steady blogging to develop a loyal following and a reputation. So moving away from Scienceblogs isn’t something to be done lightly.


It involves not only a lot of effort to move posts and setup shop elsewhere, it also entails the considerable risk that some of your regular readers might not manage to follow you to your new home.


So the decision to exit isn’t an easy one.


Nor is the decision to go on hiatus, as many readers will fall out of the habit of checking for updates.



To help loyal readers along, Chris Clarke on his Coyote Crossing blog has a very useful ScienceBlogs Diaspora RSS feed post, which should help those with RSS feed readers to follow their favorite bloggers wherever they land.


Carl Zimmer at the Discover Blog, The Loom, is also keeping a list of ex-pat Sciblings and where they end up.


If you are a regular reader of these excellent blogs, please take the time to follow and bookmark their new homes.  


And if you don’t already know these blogs, now is a great time to explore their varied offerings. 


You will not only be expanding your horizons, you will be showing solidarity for these science bloggers.


I’m still hoping for some resolution to this fiasco that doesn’t involve the continued exodus of talent from Scienceblogs.  But right now, the prospects appear dim.


Whether a good science blog remains at Scienceblogs, or sets up shop elsewhere, they deserve your support and attention. 


There is far too much drek and pseudo-science online posing as `fact’ and `truth’, so those sites that take evidence-based science seriously should be treasured.


I’ll update this story in the future, but your best source of information on it will be from the ex-pat bloggers who are now setting up shop elsewhere.

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