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Massive Scienceblogs exodus

I’m going to have to update the “Recovering Sciencebloggers” list at the bottom of the RHS panel; around a dozen bloggers have said they either will stop blogging, or leave Scienceblogs. When I get the time I’ll link to their new blogs.

But I have to say that the reasons to leave Scienceblogs are bigger than the corporate shilling. They have to do with the behaviour of the other bloggers (some notable exceptions are ERV, Mike Dunford, and PZ) who were unrestrained by the Seed liaisons in their abusiveness. PepsiCo is only the last straw, and more than a few bloggers have in effect said this in their farewells.

However, that is not the fault of Seed, exactly. When bloggers were signed on by Seed (with the promise of fame, riches and taut young willing nubile bodies for our pleasure; I’m sure that was in my contract), they were signed on as if they were adults, with a sense of right and wrong, decorum and basic human decency. Most of them behaved well enough, and a few (especially those above, and some who left with me last year) were more than decent; they were heroes standing up to the bullying.

Had Seed been a little more proactive in making sure that the blogging forum was not a toxic workplace, maybe they’d have fewer defections now. I cannot but praise the person – an intern – given the task of blogger wrangling (hi Arikia), because she did the best she could in difficult circumstances, but Seed has tended to treat what in another profession one might call “the talent” with a certain standoffishness. Perhaps it’s because they did presume the bloggers were grownups.

Anyway, keep track of the better bloggers. I’ll update the list later today Australian time (tomorrow, for you New Worlders).


  1. afarensis, FCD afarensis, FCD

    One would hope that this would be a wake-up call for Seed and that they will reassess their model for dealing with their bloggers. I wouldn’t think they would want a lot of Ex-ScienceBloggers cluttering up the blogosphere. High turnover does, after all, interfere with recruitment.

  2. Adam Adam

    Do you think that this has any implications for “part time” bloggers? It seems hard to maintain a stand-alone blog unless you can come up with something interesting to write every day or two. One of the appealing things about the big aggregator sites (perhaps Scientific Blogging more than ScienceBlogs) is that a person could write only on occasion and still have an audience that could see his post.

    If the blogosphere is fragmented into independent (but cross-linking) blogs, does that leave any space for the low-productivity writers?

    • John S. Wilkins John S. Wilkins

      I think we should investigate and experiment with more group aggregation blogs, so that the low traffic and part-time bloggers still get picked up by readers of the aggregation site. To that end I have started one such blog: Opinionated Bastards. See my justification and introduction, and, if you want, be the first to blog there…

      • Adam Adam

        It seems that for every thought I have, you have a blog (or a blog post). Thanks!

  3. Speaking as new Scibling, I can’t vouch for toxic abusiveness. A silence on some parts, sure, and occasional blog-sparring. But in recent months I’ve seen nothing that approaches what I gathered was last year’s meltdown. Things have been cordial, or even friendly. There have been some new acquisitions that are downright polite and engaging.

    You’re right that if it we’re just the Pepsi thing there wouldn’t be such an exodus. But this time, I don’t think it’s the social climate that’s the primary trouble.

    Rather, what I’ve got is a nauseating sense of an entity circling the drain. Non-existent tech support, for instance. No recent innovation in site design. A lack of communication from HQ. Not even any indication that HQ even reads any of the blogs. And we newbies haven’t been paid, months after starting.

    • afarensis, FCD afarensis, FCD

      Not paying people also has negative effects on recruitment.

      • ERV ERV

        That has not improved, btw.

        However, SEED unquestionably had my back when 1) I was threatened by a reader, and 2) they were threatened by said reader.

      • afarensis, FCD afarensis, FCD

        I didn’t expect that it would improve. Kudos to Seed for standing behind you.

      • HP HP

        I was going to comment here on ERV’s bizarre response to the PepsiCo fiasco (you like Mountain Dew? that’s your response?), but now I see that she’s reading this thread, and once more I am rendered speechless. Does she really think that this whole brouhaha is triggered by the fact that Diet Pepsi Maxx tastes like ass? Has it not occurred to her that others might be motivated by something other than their taste in widely available consumer products?

        I keep meaning to comment directly on her blog, but then I just go “Gaaah!” I used to admire her so much, but geez. Does this mean I’m old?

      • John S. Wilkins John S. Wilkins

        I’m afraid so. Abbie has a personal style which is more in line with my daughter’s approach to life than mine. I take it as if she were my daughter; I sigh and mildly regret my lack of current style.

      • HP HP

        I admire your ability to take my Amercanisms in stride. I’ve just been involved in a minor kerfuffle with Australians on Wikipedia (search on “We remember!”) and I’ve had to moderate my speech to an extraordinary degree in order to communicate.

  4. 386sx 386sx

    They only have one post up. What are they waitin fer? Take the bull by the horns and start posting some controversy. At least yell back at the people who are yelling at them or something. I guess they must be new to the whole blogging thingymabob.

  5. I was on the receiving end of some unprovoked ScienceBlogs nastiness recently. With one or two notable (and excellent) exceptions, I had already stopped following the self-styled Scibling blogs. I feel sorry for the innocent bloggers caught up in this mess, but I was always uneasy about the idea of a blogging super-site. It seems to run against the original spirit of blogging to me. But I suppose I’m just an opinionated old bastard.

    • John S. Wilkins John S. Wilkins


  6. Cromercrox Cromercrox

    Speaking as one opinionated old bastard to several others, who has also been caught in some Sb-induced crossfire, some of it unprovoked, all I can say is… Oh heck, I’ve forgotten. Does anyone have any watercress sandwiches?

    • John S. Wilkins John S. Wilkins

      Is that a request?

      • Mike Dunford Mike Dunford

        Sounds more like a threat to me.

    • Well I have to eat my words about corporatism now, although they certainly never tried to make me say or do anything directly while I was at Scienceblogs. Moreover, many of your blogs are spectacularly good (especially Epiphenom). But I’m happy being just me for now…


    This is pure outrageous libel.

    • John S. Wilkins John S. Wilkins

      Somehow I don’t think you need a platform, but you are more than welcome if you want to cross post. However, PepsiCo can’t pay you there…

  8. MosesZD MosesZD

    Who left?

    • John S. Wilkins John S. Wilkins

      The “Recovering Sciencebloggers” list on the right has the added evacuees, and as hiatuses become moves, I will add them.

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  10. I know I am a bit late to this party, but thanks for the shout out. What happened is unfortunate but I’m confident the science blogosphere is changing for the better.

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