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Battle of the Scientific Voice

A recent vote was cast here to see what was the best science blog of the year. Two very good choices, Bad Astronomy and Climate Audit, were the overwhelming favorites. However, there were two major things wrong with the vote (A) I wasn’t told about it, and (B)I wasn’t nominated. Not even close. You would have thought that one entry every four months would have been enough to clinch it, but these things are all politics.

Nevertheless. The vote brings up an interesting conundrum. Scientific topics are both important and fun, and the fundamentals of major discoveries deserve to be communicated with an appreciation of their significance, caution in their interpretation and a recognition of the enthusiasm that drives progress. Although they aren’t primary sources, or even that good written, blogs have become a major voice that communicates science to the public (although the Coglab may have something to say about whether blogs speak with a language that communicates or just conveys. Think about it.)

Since, like everything on the internet, there’s a lot of noise when it comes to sci/tech blogs, it’s interesting to think about what the average non-scientist looks for in an entry. Legitimacy? Interest? Conciseness? Entertainment value? A focused theme or a broad spectrum?

So, I put this open for discussion as someone who dabbles in the field. What exactly is the actual role of a scientific blog, and how do you decide to come back to one once you’ve read it? (Although, to be honest, I’m not so much interested in the objective value of the answers as I am to finding the secret to a strong nomination for a 2009 Weblog award. My CV could use some significant padding.)




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