Do say, ‘Hello!’, ‘Hola!’, ‘Bonjour!’, ‘Namaskar!’, and whatever other form of greeting you feel comfortable with, to the Scientopia Blogs, a WordPress based new blogging platform, that features many of my oft-read and favorite bloggers, including (but not limited to) our very own GrrlScientist and her consort-in-science
Arney Boh* Bob O’Hara (This Scientific Life), Drugmonkey and the irrepressible Comrade Physioprof (Drugmonkey), the excellent Mark Chu-Caroll (Good Math, Bad Math), and so forth. The fact that many (all? IDK) of these bloggers parted their lots with the Seed Magazine Scienceblogs matters not a whit to me. I am just excited to read great posts, thought-provoking, puzzling, funny, cute (Yes, Bob! Love your posted photos), and so forth. The site overlay is visually pleasing, too, in an Apple-ish kind of way.
The only problem is that now I shall have one more platform (and several corresponding blogs) to keep track of. Sigh! The price I pay to retain the veneer of intellectual literacy…
The Scientopia platform did a rather unique thing. In order to be transparent in their operations, they have come up with a code governing their site, the Scientopia Code. The code lays out their vision and site governance practices, the gist of which appears to be that the individual bloggers will be in absolute control, without much editorial supervision, and that the site shall run by consensus. Mark Chu-Caroll, currently the sole site admin, offers more insight in his blog.
In keeping with the skeptical tradition, PZ Myers made a few salient observations about the wording of the code; while liking the site generally and wishing its success, he pointed out the apparent over-use of the word “respect” in the code. To the cognoscenti, this word has attained a special status as a buzzword in the intertubes, being bandied about whenever one feels the need to silence a dissenting opinion or criticism somewhere. Mike Dunford, one of the bloggers in Scientopia (The Questionable Authority), posted a rejoinder in which he played with the semantics of the word “respect”. He also followed it up with a response to my question. Unfortunately, I wasn’t very convinced that the “respect” wasn’t a demand, but a request, in the site’s charter under the current wording. But… the good thing is that as Mark Chu-Carrol promised in his blog, individual bloggers will be in absolute control, so that in the end, all that would come down to the blogger to decide as (s)he pleases.
I was, on the other hand, a bit leery of the multiple use of the word “Collective” in their Code. Goodness gracious! Is resistance futile? Will my biological and technological distinctiveness be added to their own, and will my culture be adapted to service theirs? More importantly, will I have to sleep standing up
instead of spooning my wife?… Ahem! TMI.
But if there is one thing in their site that I abso-bleeping-lutely hate, it is the idiotic comment moderation system. In my experience with various sites, it always hinders free flow of discussion; it epitomizes anti-climax, particularly during a vigorous discussion. It is difficult to expect the blogger to sit by the blog approving comments whether they trickle or gush in. However, since the final controls will be in the hands of the bloggers, perhaps at least some of them will relax this requirement. I shall have no problem registering at the site even, if that’s what it takes.
Now, if you’ll kindly excuse me, I gotta go read This Scientific Life. I am glad that both Bob O’Hara and GrrlScientist have decided to maintain their respective NN blogs also.
Thank you, Bob!