I suppose I should say something about the mess over at Scienceblogs.
If you haven’t been following the story, earlier this week Scienceblogs sold a valuable piece of blogging real estate to PepsiCo. A paid-for corporate blog was suddenly and without prior announcement dropped into the middle of our lineup of independently contracted blogs. It was a spectacular failure of management both in its execution and in its failure to anticipate the obvious reaction from the scienceblogging community. Several bloggers resigned- particularly the science journalists- and several others went on hiatus, including this blog.
Myrmecos is not a nutrition blog, and I am not a journalist, so on the surface I shouldn’t be so conflicted by sharing a server with a Pepsi-sponsored corporate blog. And I am not, at least not on the basis of some sort of anti-capitalist sentiment. After all, many sciencebloggers rather transparently use the medium for hawking their own wares. Lots of folks promote their own books. We all get paid for pageviews. And I’ll be honest- I use the visibility of Scienceblogs to drive traffic to my image galleries.
So why did I suspend my activity at Scienceblogs?
The Pepsi fiasco was not an isolated incident. Scienceblogs has systemic organizational flaws that the kerfuffle revealed in grand fashion. I recognize all organizations have their weak spots, and all people make mistakes. But the errors made by management last week reflected not just little problems but rather large ones both in the long-term vision department and in the nitty-gritty implementation department. Pepsi was just the fizzy drink that broke the camel’s back.
Next week CEO Adam Bly has scheduled a conference call to discuss our concerns. I have not decided whether to keep Myrmecos at Scienceblogs- I will wait to hear what Mr. Bly has to say before making any final decision. At this point, though, it’s going to take an honest commitment to structural- and ethical- reform to convince me to stay on.
That’s all I have to say. If you’d like additional reading on the whole sordid soap opera I recommend these fine links:
- Oh Pepsi, What Hath Thou Wrought? (Carl Zimmer)
- An Analysis of Pepsi-gate (Martin Robbins)
- Pepsico, Scienceblogs, and the Future (Mike Dunford)
- Why I’m Staying Gone from Scienceblogs (David Dobbs)
- SciBlogs Caves to Hysterics (A dissenting view, at ERV)
- Sweet Success (Another dissenting view, from Pam Ronald)