All right, I know you all wanted to know

Sci has not been well these past few days.  The issues inherent in PepsiCo blogs and everything else have been a really rough strain.  Even more of a strain has been watching everyone ELSE react to the mess.  Sci has seen rationalizations and justifications for leaving, for staying, for doing absolutely nothing, and for judging the people who did any of the above.  It all makes her teeth hurt (the candy she’s been eating over the past few days might also have had something to do with that).

So I’m not going to analyze or judge anyone.  I cannot say whether what I did was right for anyone but me.  I can tell you (to a limited extent) the reasons which, to ME, were salient enough to make me leave (OMG, I just used “salient” in a non-science context!  I’m so proud of me!).  These issues may overlap with some, they may not apply to others.  In total, they turned out to be important to me.

So here we go.

1) Tech Support: There have been problems with this in the past, and Sci never really got the tech support she needed.  There was even a Trojan on the site, which resulted in Mr. S having to completely wipe and redo Sci’s harddrive last week.  All Sci got if she pointed out problems was “we’re working on it”.  Often problems really didn’t get resolved in a timely manner.

2) Advertising:  This is NOT about Pepsi.  Sci could care less whether it was Pepsi or frakkin’ Whole Foods.  And obviously, this wasn’t the first time there had been sponsored blogs.  It was merely the most recent time.  Each time, it made Sci more uncomfortable, for reason #3.

3) Scibling consultation: Each time a new corporate blog rolled out, we got consulted less and less.  This resulted in…some rather bone-headed PR moves.  And this kind of convinced Sci that…well…that SEED didn’t really have a good grip on this, and didn’t really know the blog audience.  Or the bloggers, for that matter. And that brings me to #4.

4) I felt like I didn’t matter: I can’t help it.  The past few months made me feel less like a respected member of a community and more like one of Mr. Bly’s stable of cash cows.  While Sci is a very small cow indeed, it’s not a nice feeling.  And sure, Mr. Bly and SEED may really have the best interests of bringing science to the public.  But every time something went down, and the bloggers got restless, it felt like we were handed something to placate us…and then something would go down again.  And I get the feeling that this may happen again.  The Pepsi Blog got pulled, and everything will get quiet…and then something new will happen.

So for Sci, this was just the straw that broke the camel’s back.  She felt like SB took a big credibility hit, but mostly, I feel like I wasn’t really valued, and that similar boneheaded things would keep happening, just in different ways.

But it doesn’t make leaving less upsetting.  I loved the exposure, I loved the community of really amazing, bright, intelligent, wonderful bloggers.   And I loved the hits.  They are like crack to us, precious.  Dropping down from almost 100K hits a month to 100 a day?  There’s some withdrawal.  And Sci misses her SciBlings.  I still don’t know if this was the right choice, or if there is a right choice.  But I know that with the problems above, Sci wasn’t happy, and couldn’t be assured that it wouldn’t happen again.  She could be wrong and there could be a big change coming. So for ME, it was what had to be done. For others, she can’t say.  She doesn’t blame the people who want to wait and see.

25 Responses

  1. I completely agree with this – especially regarding that tech problems and the ads. There is no way that a site like SB should have ads with trojans – and I never got any reply from anyone when I reported this problem. That is, well, unforgivable. This is all weighing quite heavy on my mind while I decide what Eruptions does next.

  2. Sorry to hear about all the troubles! 😦 You’re a great writer, though, and very sharp; I’m confident you’ll build up a big audience again really quickly!

  3. “While Sci is a very small cow indeed”.

    I am enjoying imagining a tiny, five pound cow.

    I’m sorry that sciencblogs didn’t work out for you in the end.

  4. HOLY CRAP YES I WOULD MAKE SUCH A CUTE TINY COW!!!! With a little caffeine-shaped patch on my rump. TOO CUTE!

  5. I love your blog. No matter where it is. And 10,000 hits or 100. It is like the “starfish on the beach” story:

    It matters to that one (hundred).


  6. Welcome to my blogroll, Sci.

  7. It seems that most of the reason fro you leaving are ‘behind the scenes’ issues so I believe that none of us readers can say whether your decision was the right one. I’m sure, thought, that you put a lot of thought into this (going from 100k to 3k has to be something to ponder about) so I fully trust your own judgement.

    I’m grateful with SB for hosting you in the past, because that’s the way I found your wonderful blog. So don’t be sad, you know Sci rocks and she has a loyal posse of readers :).

  8. very well outlined sciC. The blogger crack does maintain behaviour, doesn’t it?

  9. Agree with the above. Excellent analysis.

    I had to wipe out and rebuild my **LAB’S** computer because of the trojan. Because I was reading blog posts in between running some analyses. My computer and time is one thing, but to mess with my labmates’ productivity was insane. Totally ridiculous. And insane that (while the offending ad appears to have been removed) it was ever actually addressed publicly or directly with the bloggers.

  10. Thanks for letting us know. It does sound like you made the right decision for you… and as far as I know, crack isn’t as good for your health as the advertising would have you believe.

  11. You’re new (old) blog is already back in my RSS feeder 🙂

  12. Sounds like you made a good decision for you. And for what it’s worth, X thousand hits per month will get you more support and less retardo commenters. (Just my perspective, never having seen higher numbers). Perhaps a silver lining?

  13. ScienceBlogs isn’t the only community out there. I joined FieldofScience late last year and am happy with it. The traffic is good, and growing. The staff is small (one guy), but he’s dedicated to improving. And I can’t imagine him ever taking on a corporate blog. Come check us out.

  14. I was contacted when FieldofScience started up, but didn’t join, exactly because I wanted to avoid the sort of things Scicurious describes – I don’t know if FieldofScience would ever get into such problems, but it’s impossible to know up front.

    One difference between ScienceBlogs and FieldofScience, there is no money given to bloggers at FieldofScience (unless that has changed since then).

  15. Sci, do what feels right and what is in your best interests, and don’t worry about the haters. You aren’t *hurting* anyone by leaving Sb, so you have no reason to feel bad about it.

  16. I’m normally a lurker (just a dang’d sw engineer fwtw) with no useful thoughts to contribute. BUT, on this I’m proud that some bloggers forced the PepsiGate issue to the breaking point. I was sorry to see you leave, but like a comment above I altered my RSS to your current blog when I found it. As for “Salient”, that was a term I’d never even heard until 2nd year engineering when an EE prof used it and I had to go look it up! Salient indeed! Write please cause I, for one, want to read!

  17. Thanks for posting your reasons, but it really wasn’t necessary. It’s your decision, and the only change for me is the URL in my bookmarks folder.

  18. Well-put, Sci. I agree.

    It seems to me like most of the exodus is either for journalistic ethics issues (Skloot, Dobbs) or for mismanagement/poor support (Mark CC, you, Switek).

  19. Only read that blog because of you, so now its in a different place with a different name, no problem. Keep it up, you are one of the few individual blogs I bother to read on a regular basis. Enjoy! /rb

  20. FWIW, this cow-so-small-I’m-really-a-cow-shaped-amoeba is happy you’ve made a decision that goes against the grain.

    You’re now in my blogroll. 🙂

  21. What kind of candy?

  22. I’m a new regular reader of yours. I’m only looking at the blogs of those who have left SB, and no longer at those who have stayed.Thanks for your action.

  23. Thanks sci for drawing the line in the sand and holding firm.

  24. I’ll be following you here. Frankly, I was never that impressed by SB anyway, only a few of the blogs (like yours).

    As for the tech support issues, I’m not surprised. There isn’t really that much money to be made off advertising, and without money tech support is hard to get.

    I suspect that either they had a long-term strategy of building a valuable property (readership) then trying to cash it in, or they became desperate because of the bad economic times. The latter would give them the benefit of the doubt, but do they deserve it?

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