If you’re a reader who used to follow this blog on ScienceBlogs, odds are, you think that the reason Scientopia exists is because of the whole Pepsi incident. That did have something to do with the timing if this launch, but scientopia was in the works long before that happened.
When Seed started ScienceBlogs four years ago, they did something great. They showed us how science bloggers could come together into a virtual community. I don’t think that any of us had the idea of doing that before Christopher Mims started approaching us for Seed.
But fairly quickly, it became apparent that the community that seed was building couldn’t be the community that many of us really wanted. Part of that was due to Seed’s mismanagement. But the larger part came from the basic conflict between the needs and priorities of a media company versus the needs and priorities of a community of science bloggers.
The idea behind Scientopia is to build an online science community that is focused on the community. We don’t have anyone outside the community deciding who gets to blog here, or what features we’ll add to the site, or whether to take ads/which ads to take. Here at Scientopia, the bloggers call the shots.
We also want to provide a better resource for you, our readers. Over the next few months, as time permit, we’ll be unveiling a lot of features geared towards making the site more fun and useful for you. We’ll be adding user forums, so that you’ll be able to have discussions that aren’t tied to a specific blogger of blog post. We’ll be adding a moderated wiki to host articles, by both bloggers and readers. We’ll be adding a variety of feed-based tools, to make it easy for you to follow what you want to follow.
At the moment, you’ll notice that there are no ads here. That’s not because we’re opposed to ads. We will, eventually, almost certainly have ads, to cover the cost of hosting and administration if nothing else. For now, there just wasn’t time to set up the infrastructure that we would need to be able to manage ads and money. But when we take ads, they’ll be as unobtrusive as possible, and we’ll do our best to prevent the worst garbage from showing up on your screens.
At the moment, I’m the sole administrator around here. I’ll do my best to keep everything running, and running smoothly. And I have to thank Scicurious for all of her help. When I started this, I sent an email around to a bunch of sciencebloggers to gauge interest, and Sci, despite the fact that she didn’t know me at all, popped up and volunteered to help. She’s done the bulk of the cat-herding while I’ve been doing the technical work. Scientopia wouldn’t be here today without her help.