Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Meltdown

Interesting times to be a science blogger. I have been blogging here for nearly 2 years and when I first started typing blather that got posted here, it wasn't long before I started reading Scienceblog.com. You couldn't not read some of the blogs on that site and still have an idea what was going on in this corner of the bloggosphere. I first started reading Drugmonkey, then Isis and through them got to know many more blogs on SB that I now regularly read.

SB was a bit of a gateway for me to the science blogging community as a whole and facilitated my getting familiar with the people out there doing similar things - whether through blog comments, linked posts or even the regular blog warz. From that perspective, I will add my voice to the many that are disappointed with how Seed Media Group (SMG) has basically blown up a really good thing through sheer ineptitude.

At this point the demise of the site as a whole appears only a matter of time. Bora's departure appears to be the shot across the bow that signals the end to a great community. Even PZ is gearing up for an exit, and he pulls in nearly half the SB traffic (according to Bora's post). All the while there is no response from SMG, either publicly, or apparently privately either (according to PZ's post). Why should anyone else stay when the powers that be don't appear to care one way or another? It's a fucking shame, but I guess there will be one blogger to hold down the fort.

The silver lining here is that this meltdown has caused a shake up in the science bloggosphere that may be unprecedented and it will be very interesting to see the lay of the land in another 1 - 3 months. Will it be better? I don't know, but it will be different. Perhaps the move away from a corporate entity will change the community in a good way and reinvest energy into communities. Perhaps other blog networks will decide now is the time to expand in a big way. Whatever happens, there will be a monumental shift in our meta community as SB bloggers find new homes and bloggers from the larger community migrate to networks that pop up, but in the long run I think it will be for the better.

For now, however, R.I.P. ScienceBlogs.

Now PalMD is leaving and Zuska is as well. PZ is on strike and the talent drain continues, unacknowledged.

Dude, Fuck. Sigh.

10 comments:

  1. Interesting times indeed. I too have watched the SB meltdown, mostly out of curiosity. Bora's farewell post is well worth the read.

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  2. Its been weird watching the meltdown. Obviously there was alot more going on than us outsiders noted. Adam's post with with the pics was just blame bad...

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  3. I applaud these folks for taking a stand. They are technically the talent and draw for SB, without them SB is pretty much just an ad site.

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  4. In a week or two, it may be just that...

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  5. ERV will probably stay at "ScienceBlogs" too ... yippee.

    I imagine what will happen is, is that the PAC-10 and Big 10 will sweep in at any point now and scoop up a few of the stragglers. Then the Big XII will flirt with a few but wind up doing nothing. Same goes for the SEC.

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  6. I'm just glad I didn't join SB when they invited me. I really don't understand the hullabaloo about groupiness followed by ex-groupiness. I found plenty of good science bloggers, one at a time, before SB, and have continued to find plenty outside of SB all along. It's hard for me to see how it's going to affect much of anything. Bora's long exit-rant was just that: LONG. I couldn't even finish it, such was the length and ho-hum. I never read his blog and I don't think I will, no matter where it is. Good writing is good writing, and thankfully on the internet, there's not much difference between one URL and another.

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  7. The SB collective disbanding is a massive shame because it was a content accumulator. I'm also interested in how much changes over the coming months with new collectives jumping on. However, I wonder if we'll ever see its like again - a one stop shop for authoritative writing on a vast array of subjects.

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  8. I think Prof-like hit on the one point of optimism. Sb, because it was such an edifice, blocked out a great deal of the light. Light in which other *ways* to do things might have flourished. I noticed some of the aftermath seems to be that bloggers seek to collectivize with others of like subject matter. Now that there are a whole lot more readers than when Sb launched, perhaps these can become more prominent. Thereby serving their root scientific communities a little better.

    It was a good run, Sb did some amazing stuff, but we should be optimistic for the future.

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  9. I mis-read what DrugMonkey wrote: I read 'edifice' as 'orifice'.

    Maybe that's what DM really meant...

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  10. I think there is a lot of positive that will come out of this. Everyone is taking some time to rethink the concept of community and what they want out of it and how they would like to set up new communities. I think that wasn't done in the same way when there was a dominant existing group.

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