Bora Zivkovic of A Blog Around the Clock has officially announced that he is leaving Scienceblogs effective immediately. His post is well worth a read, long though it may be, as he spells out his reasons quite clearly — not only in relation to the latest PepsiCo scandal, but with regards to the history and management of Scienceblogs by the Seed Media Group. In particular:
We have built an enormous reputation, and we need to keep guarding it every single day. Which is why the blurring of lines between us who are hired and paid to write (due to our own qualities and expertise which we earned), and those who are paying to have their material published here is deeply unethical. Scientists and journalists share some common ethical principles: transparency, authenticity and truth-telling. These ethical principles were breached. This ruins our reputation, undermines our work, and makes it more unpalatable for good blogger to consider joining Sb in the future.
[We] got an infomercial posing as one of us.
It is completely irrelevant that it was Pepsi.
It is completely irrelevant that it was about food.
It is completely irrelevant that they never got to post anything on the blog before it was removed under the storm of criticism by us, readers and the media.
It is completely irrelevant if their content was going to be good or bad.
What is relevant is that a corporation paid to have a seat at the table with us. And that Seed made that happen.
Personally, I hope the fracturing of Scienceblogs stops soon. Many of my favourite bloggers — PZ Myers, Pal MD, Orac and Janet Stemwedel — are currently blogging there, and Seed have already lost Mark Chu-Carroll of Good Math, Bad Math in the fallout from the Pepsi blog. Individual blogs are all fine and dandy, but there’s a power in networking that I’d hate to see lost in this instance.
UPDATE: Turns out I was wrong — Pal MD of The White Coat Underground has already left Scienceblogs, as of today. Damnit.