Friday, August 16, 2013

We have hosts for the next three months

After much yelling we have now procured CoE hosts for the next three months:

Sep 01, 2013EvoAnth
Oct 01, 2013Reconciliation Ecology
Nov 01, 2013Pharyngula


Wednesday, August 7, 2013

We have a host, but we need a host

Great news. Madhusudan Kati (Reconciliation Ecology) has volunteered to host an edition of CoE. Alas, semester starts in September, so he has asked not to do it then, but will instead host in October.

Do we have anyone who could host #63 in September?

Several people have voiced concerns about what gets into CoE, and suggested that perhaps the reason that the diminished interest in submitting to CoE results from too many submissions that aren't really about evolution (just mentioning the word is of course not enough) or are pseudoscientific or too controversial. An example of the latter is a couple of posts submitted by David Peters, who allegedly are on the fringe about Pterosaur evolution. You can read a post by Darren Naish here explaining what the problem is.

I welcome such discussions, but emphasize that it should be made clear when people disagree. I think this should be obvious when blogging about science in general, but when the blogger in question doesn't explain this, the CoE host should do their best to bring it to attention. This would be easy when submissions come from Uncommon Descent, but not equally so in some other cases. To that extent I sincerely hope that knowledgable readers will post-review by commenting on the blog in question.

Any other suggestions?

Monday, August 5, 2013

How to deal with potential junk science bloggers?

I received this email from a CoE reader. My reply is below. Does this seem reasonable to you?

> This is the second C of E to feature a post from the Pterosaur Heresies [], a junk science site. Is there any screening going on here? Could we see posts from Uncommon Descent in future editions?

The screening we have is reliant on the host. The host reads all submissions and ultimately decides what is in and what is out. The guideline is simply that it must be about evolution, not that it be factually correct or far from the fringe. Yes, there is nothing inherently wrong with including posts from UD, but none has been submitted.

I was not familiar with this blog before. I see that people disagree strongly about the things discussed there, and you may well be right that David Peters is crazy, but I don't think that should deter us from reading it. It would great if the CoE host could point out that there is a discussion going on, and that most people think David Peters is wrong, for example. I will add something to this effect in the CoE instructions before next month.


P.S. We need hosts. Would you be interested?

Friday, August 2, 2013

CoE in trouble

The 62nd edition: The Whig History is up at Joachim Dagg's Ecology and Evolution Footnotes. It's a voluminous and excellent edition, but as Joachim notes, getting enough submissions is more and more becoming the chore of the host.

Bloggers have issues with the site that we use for submitting posts (, because they now require people to log in every time they submit. It's really easy to register and log in, but it is of course another hurdle that many people would rather be without. Is there a better way to handle submissions? A script that trawls the web for serious evolution posts?

It is also up to the host to filter the submissions for spam and posts that are not really about evolution. We don't want CoE to be a dump of random posts marginally related to evolution - we want it to be where people go for the best blogging about evolution every month.

So we need hosts who are willing to read a lot of submissions, make sure they are legit, and write up brilliant summaries in an creative format. If that's you, please come forward. We need hosts for the fall.