Standards and Practices

April 25, 2011

Language. For me, it boils down to language.
I’ll let the Big Dog fill you in:

How would you react if, for instance, profanity filters went up on the comments? Right now, it’s a real free-for-all in the comments, but I do clean up spam, ban certain elements that have demonstrated their trollishness, and will occasionally swoop in and erase comments that reveal personal information or contain nothing but bigoted raving. Would you leave if some automated software converted certain four-letter words to euphemisms, or if comments containing such words were held up until you edited them to meet the standards? What limits to expression would you accept?

This, Dear Reader, is a set of question I am interested in posing to you.
You’ll notice that I don’t really deploy too much of the naughty talk on the blog and if anything I only started to slip after a few years of blogging. So the record suggests I can get away without Carlin’s seven dirty wordss. Probably without calling anyone an asshat, douchebag or dipshit too.
But I’m not entirely sure that I want to. That’s the rub. I’m okay enforcing my own standards with this blogging stuff. But if someone expects me to toe a line of standards for expression….that’s getting over the line into professional work. For which I’d expect something more like a professional salary. Which….I can’t accept because I have a day job.
More importantly I’m not entirely sure I want to blog somewhere that Brayton’s titling of his posts “Dumbass quote of the day” is over the line. Mostly because I think this is the route to an enormous failure as a blog network. See Nature Network, for example. Discovery Magazine blogs manages to pull it off, kudos to them, but they have a very different model of blog collective. 100% heavy hitters from the git go. Not a rag tag collection of uneven talent (and you know I’m placing myself on the ass side of that one so don’t get bent, sciblings) profiting from traffic driven by political blogging by Myers and Brayton. As you know, I prefer the latter model.
But trying to kick the rag tag model into the snifter-snooter version in one fell swoop? I don’t think it can be done. So if PZ’s words about a new overlord looking to heel us to some “national level magazine*” standards of practice are to be credited…..
The only thing they could possibly be interested in long term** is the brand name of ScienceBlogs. In the short term, of course, they want PZ’s traffic numbers but that won’t last.
UPDATE: Ed Brayton weighs in on the topic.
*and I’m assuming it is not our Legionnaire’s disease ridden “national level magazine”.
**yeah…I don’t know anything much. They haven’t really expressed any details but seem really, really keen on 1) not answering clear questions about their intentions, vis a vis “standards and practices” via email or general conference call and 2) keen on personal phone calls to discuss matters***.
***look, I’m sorry but in my experience, corporate / administrative types who insist on phone calls and refuse to answer questions via email are looking to lie to you and don’t want to be quoted later.
The RumourMillTM is at Retraction Watch.

8 Responses to “Standards and Practices”

  1. becca Says:

    I dislike it when automated software edits my comment. I don’t so much mind it if it is caught up with a request to edit. And I don’t mind any standard as long as it’s reasonably understandable. (i.e. I ❤ IBTP, but their comment instructions are so draconian that I don’t think I’ve ever tried).


  2. Fucken goddamn motherfucken asshole shittbagge dickewadde motherfuckers can go fucke themselves.


  3. Eli Rabett Says:

    You misspelled fuck


  4. Isabel Says:

    Hmm, can you provide us with any other examples of “Standards and Practices” under consideration? All the fuss here and at Pharyngula seems to be about profanity, but it sounds like there may be more at stake.


  5. DrugMonkey Says:

    Part of the difficulty, Isabel, is that there has been very little in the way of specifics. That makes imaginations run wild.


  6. I am sure that certain of these blogs could join with Bora and find an independent site with no “standards and practices.”
    The traffic of Pharyngula would probably be expensive, if PZ chose a different site; what I think, though, is that the potential loss of Pharyngula and other heavy hitters on SB may make the offer less attractive. I suspect, too, that by spilling the beans you and PZ are trying to queer the deal in a passive-agressive manner. Big Money may decide that you guys can’t keep anything secret and drop the offer.


  7. DrugMonkey Says:

    I am not trying to queer the deal and likely could not, anyway. I very much doubt even PZ could make it blow up it at this point.
    Let’s face it, the existing Sb model is not financially viable. It couldn’t continue. Now there will be a new way to go. The question is whether the new way departs radically in terms of content and desired audience.


  8. Trent Says:

    Oh goode thinge your coked up friend pp has adoptedde this kinde of writing. can escapes the spam filterz ZOmg!


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