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With respect and affection for Chad, I must disagree (while supporting his decision to stay). I pay Typepad to host Cocktail Party Physics; it's a standard business transaction, and I've been very happy with the service. But it's no Science Blogs. Science Blogs has always been much more than that. It's an impressively diverse community of individuals -- smart, opinionated, often boisterous and loud, occasionally rude, but always interesting. They fight with each other, and support each other, and they supported SEED Media; "good soldiers," every one. But they are not, and never will be, patsies for the Overlords.

The diversity you cite is the core reason why I don't feel that upset about the whole thing. The fact is, there is no collective "ScienceBlogs." It's a collection of 70-odd individual blogs. There is no coherent institutional voice, or style, or editorial guidance. Some of the individual blogs barely manage to have a coherent voice-- how can "ScienceBlogs" as a whole be said to be anything.

There was a time early on when it might've become more coherent, but the site has gotten too big and too diverse to be considered as anything but a collection of individual blogs.

If there were some central editorial control over what people wrote, then I would agree that something disreputable elsewhere on the site affected the credibility of everyone on the site. But if there were central editorial control, I wouldn't be blogging at ScienceBlogs any more.

Agreed it's a loose conglomeration, but you're ignoring the fact that there IS a selection process: people have to be invited to join Science Blogs. It's not open to the general public. The blogs have to be nominally related to science, too, either because blogger is a scientist, or the subject matter is scientific in nature. And then there's the fact that Science Blogs -- whether you like it or not -- has become a successful, immediately recognizable "brand" in the public sphere, particularly in the scientific community.

It could not be more different than Typepad, Blogger, or Wordpress.

"Understandably, the strongest objections came from bloggers who specialize in health, nutrition and medicine, and from professional writers like myself, for whom this was a clear violation of journalistic principles."

At the risk of picking a nit, I think the entire Earth Science* sb community has either walked or stopped in protest.

As it turns out, there are numerous Earth scientists industry bloggers (not of science blogs) who have a very hard time drawing the line as to what should and shouldn't be said. There are some obvious limits (e.g. the ones that send us to jail for insider trading, or get us fired and sued by our bosses). Sadly I've approached this problem in the past year or two by phasing out content. But a hopefully productive question is this: What sort of blog-related activities could industry scientists do that would be good for science education without being professionally hazardous?

* Not including climate, which I don't follow.

Nice recap Jennifer.

In defense of people who are/initially were undecided about this thing:

I was, at first, on the fence about this, and I call myself a part-time freelance journalist. Three reasons for my "let's wait a minute here" move:
1) I'm not a "shoot first, ask questions later" kind of person,
2) I like to give people the benefit of the doubt and
3) I'm not a member of the Sb community (a serious disadvantage in terms of keeping a pulse to things/maintaining institutional knowledge about ScienceBlogs'/Seed Media Group's previous offenses).

But ultimately it became clear to me that Sb/SMG management stepped over the line -- as my twice-updated post points out (end of shameless self-promotion). Although I think the company has gained back some sizable Jenga blocks of trust in a post-Pepsigate era, it didn't change the fact that they toppled a large portion of their trust structure with that silly move (aka launching "Food Frontiers" in its initial state).

Behind closed doors, I'm guessing they justified their actions pre-launch in a way similar to this:
"Hey, we've had a few other corporate-sponsored blogs before, so this PepsiCo ad -- er, blog -- shouldn't peeve anyone." And that was their first mistake.

In defense of the people who left immediately, they were probably:
1) more in tune with SMG's previous irritations,
2) smarter than I and
3) had a very good reason to take an immediate stand (i.e. professional journalists).

So there.

In my mind, the remaining question is this:
Why didn't bloggers raise such a huge stink before, when other corporate-sponsored blogs were launched? I understand the format was different (i.e. guest posters wrote, not company employees), but in principle I don't see it as that much different. I feel the integrity of the content is similarly suspect in those blogs.

I may have found part of an answer in the fallout (feel free to drag this conclusion into an alley and beat it up, though):
1) that whole "institutional knowledge" thing I mentioned. It seems a lot of bloggers are new, and most (of the vocal) early bloggers have left/gone by the wayside;
2) the "individual blog" nature of ScienceBlogs that Chad mentions above. For evidence, see Rebecca Skloot's comment on the Knight Science Journalism Tracker post:

Can anyone here shed a more light on this question? I think there is a big lesson for all of us in it, bloggers, journalists, scientists, and readers alike.

And yes, I like lists.

Looks like the Skloot link got stripped out in the previous comment. Here it is:

I, personally, was not aware there were prior "corporate sponsored" blogs. That definitely would have raised a red flag in my mind. But then, I might be invested in the Sci-Blog community by virtue of being tight with several of the earliest bloggers there, but I wasn't part of the fold -- by choice. It would have caused me to email a couple of my pals about it, definitely....

Some Sciblings genuinely don't care/don't see the big deal, although I think those voices are now in the minority.

My personal take is that blogs have kind of gotten a pass re: the usual accepted standards of journalism until now -- we saw this in the Dave Wiegel firing from WaPo for daring to have private opinions about the poeple he covered (although that seemed like more of an overt targeted "hit" on Wiegel). [For the record, I thought the WaPo was wrong to fire him.] The MSM wasn't taking blogs seriously. Now blogs are being taken seriously, and moving into the mainstream -- and running smack into the kinds of pressures, ethical guidelines, and tensions between business vs editorial freedoms that publishing grapples with on a daily basis. Hence my reference to the blogosphere's "growing pains."

ANd that's why those of us who care about the future of journalism, and blogs, and how these two will evolve should care about Pepsigate... not because we like a good melodrama, but because, for all that, these are very serious underlying issues. Pepsigate is going to be the poster child for this kind of thing for a few months, I think in journalism classrooms. :)

...since when is it antithetical to love what you do and also make a living wage?

Why when the moral and ethical principles of science blogging are compromised in any way, shape or form by the very presence of money, even if that money is less living wage and more like half of minium wage! Just ask David Colquhoun... =P

Of course as a blogger who does make a little something to cover the blog's bills and a little extra, I have a few opinions on that...

Jennifer - Well done, thoughtful remarks. But a small typo. In your links you provide a "this, this, and this" set of embedded links, one of them to my colleague Paul Raeburn's post on this at . You left out the j in ksjtracker so it doesn't go anywhere. Thanks, keep up the good work. / charlie

With all respect to Chad, even as he admits he's not a "journalist," that so totally misses the point that it makes his point. I'm a professional journalist. As a journalist, his statement would be like me saying I'm not a physicist so I don't care if I know somebody who has willfully and fraudulently performed physics research and reported them as true to a peer-reviewed journal. All crafts, arts and scientific disciplines have codes of ethics, some written out, some not. Without adherence to them, all trust falls apart. And in the case of physics, so do bridges and tunnels. Sorry Chad, you can't compartmentalize forever.

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    • Heavy G
      The perfect pick-me-up when gravity gets you down.
      2 oz Tequila
      2 oz Triple sec
      2 oz Rose's sweetened lime juice
      7-Up or Sprite
      Mix tequila, triple sec and lime juice in a shaker and pour into a margarita glass. (Salted rim and ice are optional.) Top off with 7-Up/Sprite and let the weight of the world lift off your shoulders.
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      The perfect nightcap after a long day struggling with QED equations.
      1 oz dark rum
      1/2 oz light rum
      1 oz Tia Maria
      2 oz light cream
      Crushed ice
      1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
      In a shaker half-filled with ice, combine the dark and light rum, Tia Maria, and cream. Shake well. Strain into an old fashioned glass almost filled with crushed ice. Dust with the nutmeg, and serve. Bongos optional.
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      Electrify your friends with amazing pyrotechnics!
      2 oz brandy
      1 oz Campari
      1 oz fresh lemon juice
      Combine Campari and lemon juice in shaker filled with cracked ice. Shake and strain into chilled cocktail glass. Heat brandy in chafing dish, then ignite and pour into glass. Cocktail Go BOOM! Plus, Fire = Pretty!
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      Dr. Strangelove's drink of choice.
      3/4 Triple sec
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