Only our most obsessive readers will remember that I once wrote a post about why I was still blogging even as other bloggers were stopping. The post was framed around the old joke about how the hardest part of spelling “banana” is knowing when to stop. Trouble was, the beginning of the post accidentally made it sound like we were going to stop blogging! But this time, the joke about spelling banana actually applies to us. We have a big announcement to make: Dynamic Ecology in its current form is coming to an end.
Note that it’s an end, not the end. Brian, Meghan, and I are going to leave the blog up. We hope and anticipate that we’ll post occasionally in the future, when we feel inspired to do so. But we’ll no longer be posting once or twice a week, never mind the near-daily posting we used to do back in the day. Many blogs these days are “slow blogs”; that’s what Dynamic Ecology will be too.
Between the pandemic, and our growing personal and professional obligations, it’s been a long time since any of us had both the time and inspiration to blog well. So Dynamic Ecology has slowly been going downhill, in terms of the number, quality, and variety of posts. That’s reflected in our traffic as well. We now get many fewer pageviews than we used to, both on a per-post basis, and in total. Our posts are no longer widely shared on social media (which may reflect changes to social media as well as to Dynamic Ecology…). We still retain many longtime readers, but other readers have gradually drifted away, and we’re no longer attracting many new readers. For a while, we hoped that all this was just a temporary state of affairs, that we’d eventually get back to normal and feel the urge to post again. But the longer any “temporary” state of affairs goes on, the more permanent it feels. The three of us talked recently, and we all agreed that it was time to read the writing on the wall. Dynamic Ecology’s never going to go back to what it was. It’s time to acknowledge that, and turn it into something else.
Dynamic Ecology has been a big part of our professional lives for the last 9+ years (yes, it’s been that long!). We’re proud of our body of work, and gratified that so many others have found it interesting, thought-provoking, inspiring, and helpful (while also recognizing that we weren’t always perfect…) And even in our current diminished blogging state, we still have a large readership, for which we’re very appreciative. It’s tremendously validating that so many of you have read, shared, and discussed our posts over the years, and we’ve learned so much from your comments. We didn’t want to let Dynamic Ecology just silently peter out, which is the fate of so many blogs. So below, we each reflect on Dynamic Ecology, and say a big THANK YOU to all of you for reading. We hope that you’ll continue to do so in future.
A few additional thoughts from Meghan:
Back when Jeremy first invited me to blog, I knew it was an opportunity I didn’t want to pass up, and I’m so glad I’ve had this opportunity — grateful that Jeremy reached out, grateful to Jeremy and Brian for all the conversations we’ve had over the years, and grateful to all the people who’ve read, commented on, and otherwise responded to posts I wrote over the years. Hearing from readers about a post that resonated meant so much!
So why stop? In the past, I would write posts in my head all the time — on a run, walking to daycare, during seminars. During periods where I didn’t have enough time to get them from my head into wordpress, it almost felt like I would explode for not being able to write them. Then the pandemic came.
In general, right now, what feels right for me is to focus my energy and time more locally. (I’ve also been off twitter.) Maybe that will change some time in the future but, for now, I think it’s telling that, for the first time in over a year, I found myself unable to stop my brain from trying to write a post at 2AM. It was this one.
I shall remain forever grateful to Jeremy for inviting me to join this blog and to Meghan for also agreeing to join. I knew when invited that it was one of those things that my career advisors would tell me to reject (if I asked them), but that I was going to say yes to. Hard to believe it’s been 9 years. I’ve said since the first day that the reason I blog is to have discussions with a community I could not talk with through other channels (i.e. more than my university, my colleagues and my meetings). And that has happened in spades. DE has been blessed with what is surely the best commentor community ever. I have agreed, disagreed, and learned a ton from commentors, all while having fun. And Jeremy and Meghan have become very close colleagues. So I am really glad I ignored my head and followed my heart and jumped on board!
For me the transition has been gradual. The pandemic has not helped for sure. But I had been trending to fewer posts even before. Partly other career directions (including the increased levels of service that come with advancing career stage and fun things like working on a book). Partly the shifting social media trends (twitter is where it is at these days, at least in professional academic circles, and I have no desire to move over there and honestly even felt like it robbed the blog of some of its ambience as a place for thoughtful discourse). And a big part is just that I have now already said a lot of the things I most cared about saying (question whether complex statistics are an improvement, do science for science’s sake and ignore attempts to quantify productivity, think deeply about how science works and how science is embedded in society, biodiversity is unsurprisingly showing really complex and varied responses to human impacts and if scientists want to earn credibility we have to do better than sweeping scare stories implying the world is doomed, academic careers are achievable and can be really rewarding, be kind to your peers who are mostly trying to be kind to you, and much more). Probably the thing accomplished that I’m most proud of is that I think all 3 of us did a lot to write down and decode the unwritten rules of how to succeed in academic ecology – I hope there are people still in science today that otherwise wouldn’t have been.
I’m not done done. I’ve still got random posts rattling in my head, and plan to continue to post on an occasional basis. But it is important to recognize the transition. And hence to take this opportunity to express my gratitude to the community (who I hope will also continue to check back in) and to my co-bloggers.
The fox knows many things, as our pretentious tagline says. Including when to stop blogging so much.
Some readers will know that I’ve actually been blogging about ecology for even longer than Brian and Meghan–almost 11 years. At this point, I think you have what Meghan calls “old school science cred” if you read my work for Oikos Blog. 🙂 Blogging’s been my main professional identity for years now. At in-person conferences (remember them?), most everyone I meet, friends and strangers alike, compliments me on Dynamic Ecology or else apologizes for not reading it. So you might be surprised to learn that I’m not sad about closing this chapter of my professional life. Indeed, I’m a bit surprised myself to discover that I’m not sad! It feels like the right time to stop–like a retirement.
One small indicator that it’s the right time: I have no urge to go back and total up all the posts we’ve written, all the pageviews and comments we’ve gotten, etc. I know the ballpark figures without having to look–we’ve written 2000ish posts and gotten millions of pageviews. But I can’t be arsed to look up the exact values. I’m sure longtime readers will agree that, when I no longer feel like compiling any data to make my point, something has clearly changed for me. 🙂
So I’m not sad, and I hope you’re not either. I was very lucky to have had the opportunity to start blogging, I tried my best to make the most of it, I had a blast doing so, I’ve gotten a lot of positive feedback from others, and hopefully I’ve had some net-positive influence on ecology. Oh, and last but most: I now count Meghan and Brian as two of my closest colleagues and best friends in ecology. What more can anyone ever ask for, professionally? And who knows, maybe one of these years I’ll finish the book I’ve been trying to write–the ideas for which all grew out of my blogging. Dynamic Ecology is over, at least in its current form, but its legacy will hopefully live on for a little while yet.
I’ve been on a music kick lately, so I’ll leave you with this. It feels apropos.
In the internet age, the decade is the new century. Congrats on what is truly a major achievement and for keeping it going for an almost-decade. And thanks for the stimulation, provocation, and opportunities to contribute to enjoyable discussions. It will be missed…
Thanks for the kind words Mark. And thank you as well for your guest posts over the years. Your standing invitation to write guest posts still stands.
Many thanks Jeremy, Meghan and Brian – the Dynamic Ecology blog has been an important part of my professional life too, by turns inspiring, fascinating, infuriating and entertaining. But always stimulating. I hope that there still is the occasional post from you all, but I can appreciate why it won’t be as often as it used to be.
To paraphrase Douglas Adams: So long, and thanks for all the bananas!
Thanks Jeff! You’re one of our longest-standing and most active commenters, so thank you for all that you’ve contributed to the DE community over the years.
It’s funny you mention “infuriating”. A couple of days ago, I was looking back at some of my first posts, and found one in which you and I got very annoyed with each other in a comment thread! I’ll miss our exchanges. And I’m sorry I never got to take you up on that offer to fly to your place so we could go see that play about George Price. 🙂
Wow. Well, I just wanted, and need, to say a big Thank You (with bowed head touching the floor) for all your work in this blog. Dynamic Ecology has been, along with Marco’s Sobrevivendo na Ciência and Stephen’s Scientist Sees Squirrel, and still is one of my main inspirations in science and one of the sources where I learn how to be a better scientist and ecologist, one which I often speak of to students and other ecologists, and a huge inspiration to my own work.
And I also think that you could make a compilation of your 200 best posts and publish them as a book, if you have the will, time and energy to do so.
And as a final though, slow blogs may be a great way to do blogging in these times, when there is so much material being produced daily that it’s basically impossible to read everything. Sometimes, fewer posts may have a larger impact. Which is to say, I’ll be anxiously waiting for your occasional posts. 🙂
Thanks Pavel! And thank you for all your comments over the years, and also your wonderful guest post (one of our best ones ever). It’s both gratifying and humbling to know that we’ve inspired ecologists around the world, many of whom we’ve never had the pleasure of meeting (perhaps one day…)
“And I also think that you could make a compilation of your 200 best posts and publish them as a book, if you have the will, time and energy to do so.”
I was just thinking today about maybe organizing a bunch of old posts into categories, and then putting up a page listing those categories, to make our archives more easily navigable. I feel like that’d be more likely to be useful to more people than a book would. (Of course, I’m also planning/hoping/idly daydreaming about getting back to my own book. But that won’t be a compilation of blog posts.)
A post categorizing the major blog posts has been at the top of my wish list for a couple years!! I don’t quite remember the right google keywords to easily find the posts I know were great/revealing and I’m sure there’s just as many that I missed.
For a while now I’ve thought of DE foremost as a repository of ecological wisdom – both scientific and the professional kind that only good, close mentors will tell you (assuming you have them, and even then experiences differ drastically).
I’ve only been following since 2013, the year I got into ecology as a junior undergrad. I am happy for this post as an opportunity to give you all (and the commenters) a huge heartfelt thank you. Oftentimes we are at places or times when we feel some academic isolation; I struggle with the Twitter format and how hard it is to quickly find the thoughtful threads vs all other things people tweet for. So I hope occasional posts here continue, and by now I’ve had a couple ideas I’d like to share too like scale separation (turns out I’m not that great at writing opinion papers overviewing and building on tons of literature… may be an adhd of mine, or maybe its a function of time spent on one question / sub-discipline…)
Thanks Vadim; your vote for an organized compilation of our old posts has been noted…
Thank you very much for all those years of blogging, Jeremy, Meghan, and Brian! DE has been an excellent forum for discussion and learning. I’ve started my own blog a few months before DE, as a natural evolution from the tutorials I used to post on my lab’s website since 2007. In the past years, some outstanding collaborators, especially Renata, have also joined the mission.
We’ve noticed the same trends reported by you during this time, although living on the other side of the world and blogging in a different language. Nowadays, it’s challenging to maintain traffic if you don’t boost your posts on social media. But I’ve personally decided to leave Twitter, Instagram, and the like this year (I bade Facebook farewell much earlier in 2015). Social media became surreally toxic environments, and I don’t need the aggravation, especially in the coronapocalypse.
Renata and I do not intend to close our blog soon but decided to post when we feel like it, regardless of periodicity and traffic. We still think that blogs occupy the niche of “informal career guidance” much better than social media or YouTube channels, mainly because the blogosphere is a much less hasty and toxic ecosystem. Another natural evolution of our blog was publishing some books (https://marcoarmello.wordpress.com/livros/), which represent compilations of our best posts. By the way, it would be awesome to read a “DE Handbook to Academia”! 😉
“Nothing is constant but change” – Heraclitus.
Thanks Marco! Really appreciate all your contributions to the community here over the years.
Re: social media, I’m interested to hear that you’ve left it. I tried dipping a toe into Twitter a couple of times, years ago. Twitter didn’t really work for me. Anecdotally, several friends and colleagues of mine have left Twitter recently, for the same reasons you cite. With Twitter in particular, it does seem like there’s an increasing amount of self-selection for certain uses, and for users with certain attributes. Not that there wasn’t ever any self-selection for our blog’s readership or commentariat, of course–there absolutely was. But the end result of that self-selection was a readership and commentariat that functioned well overall, both in its own eyes and (I think) in the eyes of most others who didn’t often read or comment. Different strokes for different folks, of course. I’m sure there are plenty of people who find Twitter useful and enjoyable for the purposes for which they use it.
Interested to hear that you published a compilation of your best posts as a book. Can you talk a bit more about your thinking on that? Do you feel like the book reached a bigger or different audience? Or was there some other motivation?
You’re welcome! It was an honor and a great pleasure to contribute here. Mainly because DE is a place where we can freely discuss topics that “serious people” consider either taboo, trivial or soft skills (I abhor the “hard vs. soft” false dichotomy, by the way), but which are crucial to building a career in science. I’ll miss the exciting discussions!
We’ve published two books derived from our blog: one focused on science newbies and the other on fresh faculty. Our goals were not related to audience size or profile. Instead, the primary motivation was connecting the posts and telling a coherent story, which is considerably more efficient for mentoring than randomly posting.
That was quite exciting because we’ve always followed inspiration or suggestions to write the posts. Thus, there’s no linearity in the blog. Nevertheless, in both books, we’ve used Campbell’s “hero’s journey” as a metaphor to explain the decisions, challenges, and opportunities faced by most people who aspire to become professional scientists. Especially in a third-world, unstable country such as Brazil. Based on reader feedback, it’s much easier to understand our advice this way.
Anyway, I love books with all my heart. So turning the blog into a series of books has always been in my mind right from the beginning.
Very interesting Marco. You’re of course absolutely right that a book has coherence and narrative “flow” that a series of unplanned blog posts could never have.
Sad to see you sort of going. Following your blog has been one of the highlights of my late entry to the world of social media. I have been greatly inspired by many of your posts. You will be missed.
Thanks Simon! We’ve appreciated your comments over the years. And I think you’re just about the last person on Twitter who still shares our posts regularly, so thank you for that as well! 🙂
Thanks to all three of you for many years of thought provoking posts!
Thank you all for the interesting posts! I really enjoyed reading DE starting as an undergraduate.
All the best for your future endeavors and I am looking forward to the occasional posts.
So two final darwin/evolution references in pop culture:
Thanks JK! Wow, you started reading DE as an undergrad? That puts you in rare company, we’ve never had many undergrad readers!
Thanks for the music videos. Hadn’t realized that Right Here, Right Now had an evolution-themed video!
Echoing many others in saying thanks for so many thoughtful posts, and for showing what a good thing a blog could be. All three of your have been brilliant (in interestingly different ways) and DE has been an inspiration for my blog among others!
Thanks Stephen. Your words mean a lot, coming as they do from someone who’s such an accomplished blogger himself. 🙂
I dont do anything on social media; DE is the only Blog that has attracted my attention in a regular fashion, and of the comments I have contributed to Blog articles, DE has gotten 95% of them. you 3 are GREAT, and well worth reading. Thank U.
Thanks Eric! That means a lot, coming from such an accomplished ecologist as yourself.
I’m sorry to see you go! DE is the only scientific blog I regularly read, and I always find it enjoyable and thought-provoking. I hope you keep posting once in awhile, even if it’s a great while.
Thanks for reading Bob!
Bummer, I’ve really enjoyed reading posts over the years, one of the best places on the internet for thoughtful science discussions, thanks for all the hard work!
You’re welcome AJ, thanks for reading.
Thanks to all three of you for your important contributions. I’ve really enjoyed reading DE, and can’t believe it’s been >9 years!
Dears Jeremy, Meghan and Brian
I can’t lie, I feel very sad about this decision. How many times, walking with my son, have I told the stories I read on this blog. My son says Jeremy is my friend so many times I’ve talked about him (laughs). But I understand that it is not easy to publish texts with content and quality, very often. J, M, and B helped me rethink the importance of statistical analysis. I also looked forward to new information about plagiarism and result manipulations. I learned a lot from you over the years. And I hope to be able to somehow continue to hear from you, even if it’s only sporadically. I’ll miss everyone! Thank you!
Wow Georgia, thanks so much for sharing that story! It made me smile. It sounds like your son knows the blog better than my own son does! He’s aware I have a blog, and that it’s ending, but doesn’t really know much about it.
Thanks Rob, we can’t believe it’s been that long either!
Several years ago, as my interests began to lean towards a more rigorous understanding of ecology, I discovered Dynamic Ecology. Although many of the posts were directed to those with academic careers, I found much to marvel at in the world of statistical biology, scientific rigour, and the fundamentals of ecology.
My gratitude for this blog goes much further than this. It piqued my interest in the world of academic ecology. Largely because of Dynamic Ecology, I decided to return to university, as a (very) mature student. For me, after a decade of commercial honey-farming and then two as a professional geophysicist, the blog inspired me to take a few university classes in ecology. Although I had been out of school for over thirty years, I signed up for something called “Quantitative Biology II”. I was both nervous and awed when I realized that one of the professors would be Jeremy Fox! You see, I have lived in Calgary for years and the University of Calgary became my clear choice of school. I was delighted to learn that such a high-ranking ecology department was a few minutes drive from my home. I am still associated with the U of C, slowly working on a graduate degree under the supervision of the renowned pollination scientist, Lawrence Harder.
When Jeremy, Meghan, and Brian began Dynamic Ecology a decade ago, they couldn’t have known the many different ways they would affect and influence readers. Thank you all for the work and dedication you put into your project. I will miss the regular features (especially Friday’s Links), but will remain subscribed and look forward to any future words of science, humour, and wisdom that will appear here.
Wow, thanks so much Ron! It’s deeply humbling to know that Dynamic Ecology had such an effect on the direction you’ve taken in your professional life over these past few years. (And I look forward to seeing your thesis when you finish it!)
Thanks Jeremy, Meghan and Brian, Dynamic Ecology has always felt like a refuge where civil disagreement could exist…and not by dictate but because you created a culture and environment that tolerated thoughtful (even if wrong) positions. You will be missed. But I will be keeping my eye out for your book, Jeremy, and yours, Brian and presumably yours (at some point), Meghan. All the best, Jeff H
Thanks Jeff! You’ve been one of our most active and thoughtful commenters over the years. Thanks so much for helping make our comment threads a venue for thoughtful professional discussion.
You have been very appreciated and will be very missed! But agreed, one of the greater wisdoms of life is knowing when to stop doing something (or at least, when to do it less often). Love your setting sun fox pic. Rae
Thanks Rae, that’s very kind.
It is a lovely pic, isn’t it? 🙂 I should clarify that I can’t claim credit for it. I couldn’t find a pic I liked with a creative commons license, so I shelled out a few bucks to get permission to use that one. It’s from a stock image licensing company.
Thank you so much. And yes, I feel old for knowing the times when Jermey blogged at Oikos ….
Thanks Gregor. Thinking back to my days blogging for Oikos makes me feel old too!
I’m quite sad to see this go. But how you three had the energy to prod and entertain us so long, in addition to maintaining productive careers is beyond me..
As I think I revealed in an old post, the secret to blogging for me is that it’s how I procrastinate. Most people procrastinate, including most academic researchers. The only difference is that I get blog posts out of my procrastination.
Now I guess I’ll have to find a new way to procrastinate. 🙂
All three of you deserve the heartfelt thanks of the ecology world. I have enjoyed and learned from this blot. A lot.
But apparently have not learned to type any better. That is “blog”, not “blot”.
A whole new concept – an Ecology Blot 🙂
Oh, I’ve written a few posts that could aptly be described as “blots” rather than blogs… 🙂
Thanks for the kind words, Hal. That colleagues we respect think so highly of DE has been one of the best rewards of blogging, and one of the things that kept us going so long.
Thank you so much for all that you have written – you have absolutely succeeded at decoding the unwritten rules of how to succeed in academic ecology. I started reading Dynamic Ecology when I was in college and I am now a professor. I found a lot of your blog posts incredibly helpful in getting here, and plan to refer my students to them in the future.
Wow Emily, thanks so much for sharing that! To hear that DE was THAT helpful for you…just wow. You write these things hoping that they’ll reach the intended audience, but you so rarely know whether they actually have. So glad you found DE so helpful.
I had a feeling this was coming, but it’s still sad. Thanks to all three of you for so many hours of entertainment, education, and even for inspiring some research. Can we look forward to an occasional reunion tour?
Now I’m wondering how many longtime readers had an inkling this was coming. I know Stephen Heard isn’t totally surprised by this news either, so that makes two of you. If I had to guess, I’d bet that there are many longtime readers who aren’t surprised, and many who are. But I wouldn’t venture a precise guess as to their relative proportions…
I also wonder how many readers had an inkling before Meghan, Brian, and I! I only started consciously wondering if we ought to call it a day about a week ago. Though perhaps I’d been subconsciously wondering for much longer; who knows…
I’ve also been wondering it, based on the rate of posts (and even somewhat their nature), particularly as we hadn’t heard much from Meghan and Brian here for a while.
On a different front, I found DE while we lived in Quebec City (my husband did his ecology PhD there). While he studied ecology, I studied academia, knowing that’s where he wanted to go. I’m 1st-gen for college and academia so had no models until I stumbled upon DE. What I find utterly remarkable is that I likely found DE just as it was starting, and our careers have followed and leveraged the hidden curriculum you three demystified. I never meant to get into academia as a career, but the insights you all shared made it seem possible for me to understand what my husband was aiming for and made that professional environment even remotely fathomable for me. You’ve modeled ways of thinking I now strive to share when mentoring students (I’m NTT, so don’t directly advise) and in my scicomm courses. You have helped me pull off the “fake it ’til you make it” mantra to an extraordinary degree given I work in ecology spaces but am trained as an artist, educator, NGO director, and science writer. While administrative issues can be frustrating, I’ve never felt as well-matched to a career move as I do in academia, and I have DE to thank for even understanding it was an option and then seeing how to do it. Many a conversation in our house starts with, “Did you see what Jeremy said today?” (thus unspiring many lab meeting topics) Or “I remember Meghan had a great take on that” (hence my husband’s whole approach to mentoring plans), and there are many ways that Brian’s career path has encouraged me in mine.
Ultimately, you’re also inspiring us all by demonstrating the merit of ending something well-done. The sunk cost fallacy sinks far too many experts. Of course, some of us don’t work closely in your areas of ecology (like me). So, I do feel a twinge knowing I’ll have less sense of closeness to three folks I’ve come to regard as colleagues. Meanwhile, I anticipate I will *continue* to recommend DE to anyone consider an academic career in ecology for a long time to come. Here’s hoping we bump into each other at ESA sooner than later!
I never knew this Bethann! Thank you SO much for sharing this. This just makes my day. 🙂 🙂
And let me take this opportunity to thank you for your fine guest post for us on teaching science writing. I think of that post as a paradigmatic DE post–bringing a combination of data and personal experience to bear on an issue that many readers care about.
Oh good, glad to share, Jeremy. And, it was a real honor (and great fun) to do that post. I think Meghan invited me, so it really felt like I’d “made it to the big leagues” when you two took on that post/project with me. It’s come full circle, too – more on that soon! 🙂
Thank you so much for the inspiration over the years – I will miss you!
Thank you Angela! Especially for your guest post with Jeff on latitudinal gradients in species interactions. That was one of our meatiest, most provocative posts ever, just great stuff.
This is sad news, but on the plus side, I’ll now be extremely excited when I see the email telling me that one of the new occasional posts has been published!
Thanks for all the engaging content over the years. This blog has genuinely felt like a bonus set of mentors/advisers through my PhD and beyond. And the great thing is, there’s no reason the archived blog posts can’t continue to do that for new students (and me…). After all, I was usually a few years late coming to a post, and often lost a few hours to the pingbacks.
Thanks again to all of you. And I can’t wait to read your thoughts when you do dip back in!
Really a pity that the blog will be much less active. I’ve (silently) followed it for many years and I think it was a very valuable service to the community (another one not well valued as Brian mentions). I recommended it to grad students as the best existing ecology blog. It will be missed. Thanks a lot for your posts all these years.
Thanks very much Emili.
This is a bit sad, especially since I only started following a bit earlier in the year. I see very few science blogs these days and I don’t think that’s a good change. But if you think you’re done with it, then that’s that. I’ll look forward to the rare future posts and hope you continue with the Friday links. It’s always nice to get a summary of interesting topics that might’ve been missed.
Yeah, sorry, I’m not going to keep up the weekly linkfests. And sorry you didn’t find us earlier. Maybe have fun digging through our archives?
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As a long-term reader, commentator and intermittent fellow blogger, I’m sad to see it go. Some of the posts on here over the years have genuinely changed my perspective on a number of issues in the field, and even when I’ve disagreed it’s always been a space where thoughtful discussion has been possible. That said, I must confess to being gradually less loyal, and I’ve gone from reading every post to being quite selective, which reflects my dwindling time rather than the quality of writing. I’m also actively seeking out voices from different parts of the world because I think our field as a whole hears too much from white academics in Europe and North America (that includes me). Farewell Dynamic Ecology, long live blogging!
P.S. Go follow https://kendiborona.com/ instead.
Thanks Markus. One of my prouder blogging achievements is to have shaped your thinking enough to have shaped your ecology textbook a little bit. Back when I started blogging, I’d never have imagined that one day my blogging (or a paper that grew out of my blogging) might get a shout-out in a textbook!
Re: our field hearing too much from white academics in N. America, there’s a lot that could be said about that…One nice thing about the internet is that space is unlimited, so there’s no crowding out. One person posting some bit of content doesn’t prevent anyone else from posting their own content. Of course, even though there’s no crowding out, the distribution of attention is still highly skewed–a small fraction of the stuff gets a large fraction of the available attention. And the stuff that gets most of the attention isn’t necessarily the “best” or “most important” (for any value of “best” or “important”), and isn’t necessarily diverse on every dimension. I confess I’m skeptical of anyone’s ability to do much to equalize the distribution of attention, or steer it towards (what they think is) the “best” stuff. Over the years, I’ve just written about and linked to stuff that I personally happen to find interesting/important/useful/funny/etc. I think and hope that my posts have reached some people who find them interesting or helpful, recognizing that not everyone will (for which thank goodness! It would be a bad and boring world if everyone shared my interests…) It’s been gratifying to read this comment thread and hear from such a diverse group of readers who’ve all found DE valuable for their own reasons. And in a funny way, I find it reassuring that our traffic has been slowly dropping for a while now. We haven’t been posting as much, and our posts haven’t been as good, so some of our readers have started paying attention to other stuff instead–as well they should! Nobody should keep reading DE (or anything) purely out of habit, or just because other people read it. Fortunately, I don’t think many people do that.
Ohhhh an end of an era, for sure! You all have been formative for my career and thought processes…I remember bingeing old posts for a while when I discovered you all and found so many posts so validating, scientifically and personally. And as Steve said in his blog post, I really appreciate how much you’ve lifted up other bloggers–I know I’ve benefitted so much from that personally! Thanks for sharing your thoughts and yourselves with us all these years ❤
Thanks Ambika–I was hoping you’d stop by and say goodbye! Hope you keep up your own blogging. I’ll continue to look forward to reading your posts, even though I won’t be doing any more linkfests of my own.
Also, I really want to see a breakdown of the readership and engagement trends for “blogs” vs. the “new wave” of newsletters, which strike me as blogs with less formatting. Some of the “modern newsletters” I subscribe* to are weekly, some daily, and the top four or so that I follow are thought-provoking, long-form, and seemingly random in topic. And, as far as I can tell from Twitter and the interwebs, these newsletters-not-blogs (yeah right) are surging in readership. (No question here, just musing.)
*For fun, here are the main ones I’m following right now, all for *very* different reasons: https://www.meatandhair.com/, https://lifeisasacredtext.substack.com/, https://annehelen.substack.com/p/meet-generation-disaster, Letters from an American (https://heathercoxrichardson.substack.com/), and https://audacity.substack.com/.
Yes, newsletters do seem to be an up-and-coming thing. I’ve been wondering whether I ought to try a few. Thanks for the suggestions. My own cursory searching hadn’t yet turned up any ecology/science/academia newsletters that I’d personally be that into. For instance, last time I checked, the top Substack newsletters in the “science” category were several cryptocurrency newsletters, a couple of tech industry newsletters, plus not one but two newsletters by Colin Wright. None of which is up my alley.
Of course, I’d also be interested in newsletters on other topics besides ecology/science/academia. Clearly I need to broaden and diversify my search efforts, so thanks for the suggestions!
I did find this newsletter on innovation policy, which I like: https://mattsclancy.substack.com/
And those damn music video links! So I click on a link of Scary Pockets with Lucy Schwartz who I’d never heard of and they’re fabulous and also sounded reminiscent of 10,000 Maniacs who then showed up a couple weeks later on a Friday linkfest. Of course I had to watch all the Scary Pockets which prompted me to click on the Postmodern Jukebox which prompted me to click on Tatiana Eva-Marie & the Avalon Jazz Band, and then…. Shoot, I used to be productive member of society. And then you prompted the Squirrellmeister to follow suite with his Music Mondays and he put up Stan Rogers which just me cry cuz I still miss him (killed by secondhand smoke when some dastard smoking in the lavatory set the airplane on fire). It’s going to take a long time to crawl out of those foxholes. So long (sort of), fabulous Mr. Fox, and thanks for digging up all those damn tripping-hazard foxholes.
Um, I’m both happy and sorry to have killed your productivity Chris. 🙂 Thanks for the kind words.
[Never did figure out how to navigate WordPress. This comment was supposed to be first]
Well shoot. Thank you all so much, bloggers and insightful commenters. I stumbled onto the blog 5-6 years ago searching for something and hardly missed a post since. You really created a community of thoughtful thinking on ecology (writ large), careers, publishing, science integrity, equity, and more. From your demographic polls, I’ve been a far from the median reader (a non-academic ecotoxicologist) and appreciated being able to participate in the discussions. It’s a funny thing, feeling so connected to a group of people I’ve never met in person, as I picked up on perspectives and personalities of the loyal commenters. I’ve been late to work many a day reading new posts with links to old posts that were new to me, and then off down a warren of foxholes for hours. And that was before you started doing those damn music links. I’ve been amazed at how you had the time to put it together, and I knew that one day you would decide you didn’t. I can’t say you didn’t warn us with various remarks and polls about declining views. You’re going out on top. But as so many others have said, hope to hear new musings occasionally. With a treasure trove of old material, chipping away at categorizing them will bring new eyes and new thoughts to them. Thanks again.
“You’re going out on top”
If we’d wanted to go out on top, we’d have stopped back in 2016 or 2017! That’s when our posting frequency and traffic peaked, if memory serves. 🙂
I am so glad that we decided to stop, so that we go to throw a little “retirement party” in the comments. So much better than just silently petering out. Not sure why more bloggers haven’t done the same. (Or maybe many have, I just don’t know about them?) The only blog I know of that announced it would stop while it was still fairly active was statistician Larry Wasserman’s blog. No advance warning, no decline in posting frequency. One day he just announced (in so many words) ‘I’ve said all I have to say, so I’m stopping’: https://normaldeviate.wordpress.com/2013/12/16/the-end/. Larry’s example has been in the back of my mind over the past few weeks.
I find it amusing that our “About” page has gotten more clicks in the last two days than it’s gotten in years. Now that Dynamic Ecology no longer exists in its original form, people want to know what it was all about! Like the Beatles almost sang, “You say hello/I say goodbye”. 🙂
More broadly, it’s funny (unsurprising, but funny) that the post announcing the end of the blog in its current form is the best post we’ve written in a long time, and is drawing the best and most active comment thread we’ve had in a long time. If only we could stop blogging again, and again, and again–then we’d be inspired to post all the time, and we’d have a huge readership! 😛 I’m reminded of an old Bugs Bunny cartoon in which Daffy Duck and Bugs are vaudeville performers competing for audience approval. Daffy eventually wins–by blowing himself up. Bugs applauds his performance, and IIRC the ghost of Daffy replies “Yeah, but I can only do it once.” 😛
(To be clear, our About page isn’t getting all that many clicks in an absolute sense. Less than 10 so far today, not that many more than that yesterday. But most days, it gets many fewer clicks than that.)
I don’t have anything to say in response that I haven’t said before.
Your open and honest manner of tackling tough issues in ecology will be missed, or maybe just not appreciated as often. I will continue to follow whatever is posted.
The upbeat morose song at the end of the post…
Well, more pleasure than lack of good days.
And what a cool video.
I see DE posts come into my email feed and then I save them for when I need a change of pace, or when my insomnia kicks in. That’s why I’m often late to the party. I’m not super-surprised either, the trend of fewer posts and main bloggers fading away has hit other blogs I’ve read too. I appreciate though that you are leaving things up because the content is still timely and I refer others to it. And I imagine you all will have something you need to say at some point. Having a index or some such would be great. The posts on hiring in ecology were super helpful for me when I was in admin (reformed now, btw) and trying to inform committees and other admins with facts. But I’ve used other posts for grad students and learned a lot too for my science. On that note, I particularly appreciate the statistical machismo business.
Sharing the music posts in the last year or so have really turned me back on that period in music that you and I seem to share. I’ve even switched up my presets on satellite radio. Not sure my 14-yr-old is super-psyched about that.
On that note, I’ll leave this link here for a one-hit wonder from the 80s that I tried to leave on a Friday but it disappeared in the ether and I didn’t feel like redoing it. It’s certainly about a relationship, but I like to think it was sung to a graduate career. Or maybe it’s oddly appropriate for a long-lived blog.
Finally, I’ve never seen any of the Matrix movies (really!). But I had a ex-girlfriend who was constantly torturing me with Matrix references. She was a real domamatrix.
Be well, Jeremy, Meghan, and Brian.
Thanks Skip. Interesting to hear that you used some of our posts at the admin level. One thing Brian, Meghan, and I used to talk about “behind the scenes” was how nobody seemed to write blog posts giving advice to senior faculty on tasks that tend to fall to senior faculty. Such as department administration, serving as a journal EiC, serving as a scientific society officer, etc. We tried to write a few ourselves–you noted a couple of them, to do with how faculty search committees work. But sometimes, we found ourselves wishing that there was some blogger out there more senior than us, whose blog we could go to for advice.
Glad you appreciated the Ok Go video. Given that we seem to have similar musical tastes, I’m not surprised that you recognized why I thought it was such a good fit. A song and video about something sad–the end of a relationship–that refuses to be sad.
You get -1000 Internet Points for “domamatrix”. 🙂
Shucks, I thought I’d increase my meager store of internet points with that one.
I wish there were blog posts for senior faculty roles too. Might have come in handy. Maybe I’d even still be in admin. I’m definitely not senior, but I got into admin early, months after getting tenure. There was a time or two I thought I could contribute something like that, but I never could outline something useful, rather than really fuzzy. Now that I’m not in admin anymore, I’m reviewing more and there are some journal practices that are driving me mad. But maybe I’m an outlier on those. Anyway, if there’s a “thoughts on being senior faculty” blog out there, I’d read it.
And thanks for that Bourgeois Tragg song. Definitely also a good fit for this post. Although the video kind of emphasizes the downbeat side of the song, at least to my eyes (dim lighting, dark color scheme, frowny band members). I like how OK Go pairs a song about wanting to make your former partner smile one more time with a video that brings a smile.
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Looking back, DE has accompanied me since the official start of my professional scientific career, aka the start of my PhD project in 2011 (yes, in France, PhDs students are also professionals with an actual full-time contract…). Since then it has always been to me the example of what a scientific blog should be, not only because of its content, but mostly because it managed to create the frank but courteous and inspiring debate and community that science is supposed to be. As I was only an irregular reader and frequently discovered with pleasure old posts I missed at the time, I am lucky I will probably find quite a few that are still new to me! 😉 Thanks a lot to the three of you and good luck with the rest of your projects (I’ll keep an eye opened for the book(s)!)
We now have a work-in-progress catalog of our old posts up on the homepage, so you (and other readers) can look forward to continuing to read many old posts. 🙂
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I mostly lurk, but I was so thrilled when one of my (very infrequent) blog posts made it into one of your Friday links posts. More than my selfish dopamine hit of social media glory, I am grateful that you helped make transparent that which often seems like the ‘hidden curriculum’ of being a professional scientist. My deep appreciations for all of your work over the years.
Thanks so much Christopher. I’ve been struck by how many of the commenters on this post share your feelings about us having made the ‘hidden curriculum’ transparent. That’s certainly something we set out to do. But somehow until this week, I don’t think I fully realized just how many people appreciated Dynamic Ecology for that reason. Perhaps because posts on other topics tended to draw more comments. It can be harder for bloggers to tell which posts the lurkers find most useful. Which is really too bad, given that lurkers comprise the vast majority of the readership of any blog!
End of an era! Glad the blog will stay up, lots of posts are great resources for teaching. Thanks for all the posts over the years from the three of you, and for providing inspiration for many of my own blog posts! 🙂
I was first introduced to this blog at that point in my phd where it felt like I had been there forever, my enthusiasm was waning, and there didn’t seem to be an end in sight. An introduction to the world of science blogs was invigorating! I felt inspired and I started embracing and expanding on the ecological aspects of my work more fully (I’m an ecological physiologist now but all my prior training had been in physiology), and I actually learned more about the hidden culture of academia than I had previously known!
Thank you so much for contributing to the boost that saw me through my defense and for shifting my career trajectory and research interests into the ecology realm. I’ll miss new posts but will look forward to the occasional blog that pops up here!
Thanks! Glad you found DE invigorating.
Ecology is going to miss you three blogging. Thank you for the decade of thoughtful commentary and synoptic wisdom. I think I’ll keep coming back here anyway, I know there are hundreds (literally) of posts I want to read in the backlog.
Looking forward to your books.
Thanks Jeremy, Meg, and Brian for so many interesting and thoughtful posts! Enjoy the freedom of having a little extra time to explore your other interests and goals, scholarly and otherwise. Cheers! – Rich
Thanks Jeremy, Meghan and Brian. I still have lots of posts to read, but also have incorporated ideas and evidence you have highlighted into many of my discussions about ecology. It has also been great finding fellow readers and fans in all sorts of contexts. Best wishes Mark
Having followed DE and Jeremy’s Oikos blog over the years, it’s sad to see DE go. I can relate to the decision though, as my own blogging has followed a similar development. Maybe more to discuss here, but for the moment I just want to say many thanks and appreciation for so much work on creating a space for scientific conversation on the internet, accessible to everyone, which I have always thought of as the main purpose of blogging!
Thanks Florian. I miss your blog too.
Maybe it’s time to start a podcast 😉
What did I say that sounded like “I am looking for a new project that would be much more work than a blog?” 🙂
Heh. Just stumbled across this by accident. Quoting myself, from our Friday linkfest post of Dec. 20, 2013 (https://dynamicecology.wordpress.com/2013/12/20/friday-links-18/):
“I have no plans to stop blogging myself. But I hope that, if there ever comes a time when I’ve run out of things to say that are worth saying, I’ll be able to recognize that and quit while I’m ahead.”
I realize I’m a month late here, but I just wanted to say thank you and I really appreciate all the work that has gone into this blog. I switched from physics to ecology a few years ago, and this blog was really great to read as I was getting into the field, and very encouraging. I found all of the posts on job hunts/career development really helpful, and appreciated the perspective here. It was always really thoughtful, and I feel like gave me insight into things that I couldn’t get from reading papers or textbooks. Thank you for running this!
Thanks for reading Micah.
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