ScienceBlogs Goes To War

In Sunday's NYT Magazine Virginia Heffernan dinged the twenty-odd science bloggers to leave ScienceBlogs over the drama now called PepsiGate. Money quote:

Clearly I’ve been out of some loop for too long, but does everyone take for granted now that science sites are where graduate students, researchers, doctors and the “skeptical community” go not to interpret data or review experiments but to chip off one-liners, promote their books and jeer at smokers, fat people and churchgoers? And can anyone who still enjoys this class-inflected bloodsport tell me why it has to happen under the banner of science?

David Dobbs of Neuron Culture counters:

I hope readers understand that just because the science blogosphere is uneven and chaotic and cacophonous, it does not mean that it lacks high-quality material. The MSM is also uneven and cacophonous, but the best of it is good indeed.

Heffernan answers Dobbs in the comments. Apparently she isn't a big fan of blogging in general:

With notable exceptions, blogging, as a form, seems to me to have calcified. Many bloggers who started strong 3-5 years ago have gotten stuck in grudge matches. This is even more evident on political blogs than on science blogs. In fact, after being surprised to find the same cycles of invective on ScienceBlogs that appear on political blogs (where they’re well documented), I started to think the problem might be with the form itself. Like many literary and art forms before it (New Yorker poetry, jazz, manifestos) blogs may have had a heyday – when huge numbers of people were inspired to make original contributions – before, seemingly all at once, the moment is gone. Some people keep doing it, and doing it well, but the wave of innovation passes, and the form itself needs new life. (Twitter? Tumblr?)