Yesterday, the wonderful bloggers at Dynamic Ecology announced that they were hanging up their collective hat. Well, mostly; Dynamic Ecology will no longer have regular posts, but all its content will remain available and new posts may appear from time to time. (I hope!)
I want to take a moment to acknowledge just how good Dynamic Ecology was, and for how long. In part, that’s about content. There are so many posts on Dynamic Ecology that one could (one should!) keep going back to. Think of Brian McGill’s posts on “statistical machismo”; or Meg Duffy’s thoughts on well-meaning but bad advice; or Jeremy Fox’s musings on the most cited papers in ecology, and what they have to say about the potential for “shopkeeper science”. And it’s a very deep well: you could do worse than to pick a random Dynamic Ecology post to read each day.
But there’s something perhaps even more important to acknowledge, and that’s just how kind and supportive the Dynamic Ecology bloggers have been. When I began writing Scientist Sees Squirrel, almost six years ago, I thought (for some reason) that the science-community-blogging world might somehow be competitive – that more established bloggers might not be so happy to see upstarts. (Especially because even then, it was clear that the readership and influence of blogs were in slow decline.)
I was so wrong. In fact, Scientist Sees Squirrel and I as its author were welcomed and supported by Jeremy, Meg, and Brian (and by other bloggers too – but if I start trying to list them I’ll just leave someone out). We’ve emailed ideas and suggestions back and forth; we’ve developed joint or complementary posts (like Jeremy and me on why scientific frauds are so clumsy, or Meg and me on why we sign or don’t sign reviews). But one thing that you might not have noticed, but that meant a lot to me, is the way Dynamic Ecology uses their Friday Links posts. Yes, they use them to link to things they think are fun or important. But: they also use them to boost new voices.
When Scientist Sees Squirrel was a young blog, it showed up frequently in Friday Links; and a lot of readers discovered me that way. I didn’t realize it right away, and they’ve never said so out loud, but this was surely a deliberate choice by the Dynamic Ecology bloggers: not to compete for clicks, but to lift up other voices, new voices, that were beginning to blog alongside them. If you’ve enjoyed Scientist Sees Squirrel, at least a little bit of the credit goes to the kindness of the folks at Dynamic Ecology. Thanks, Meg, Brian, and Jeremy.
© Stephen Heard September 14, 2021
Image: Darwin’s fox, Lycalopex fulvipes, by Fernando Bórquez, released to public domain