As most of you will know, the blog you’re reading now is the fourth iteration of Tetrapod Zoology, hence the name ‘Tet Zoo ver 4’.
And as most of you will also know, ver 3 was hosted at Scientific American blogs where things were good for a while but ended up being not so good eventually. The reason for this short article is that an unusual and very bad thing has just happened: Scientific American blogs have just (within the last several days) switched to a ‘subscription only’ plan whereby readers will only see their blog material if they’re paid-up subscribers to SciAm’s online content. The first I knew of this was when I visited one of my ver 3 articles, only to see this…
Other readers report that this does not yet affect them (and that they’re able to see ver 3 material just fine), and others say that they’re seeing messages that they “have x complimentary viewings left”. I consider this a total disaster as goes the dissemination of information and find it shameful that SciAm has gone down this route. I’m not about to argue with anyone there, since it was clear to me during my time at SciAm that decisions like this were made high up and typically by people who have no direct interaction with the team involved with blogging. But at a time when humanity needs all the science-themed communication it can get, this is really bad news.
I have yet to dig out my SciAm contract and see exactly what the deal is as goes use of my own material (I’m going through an exceptionally difficult time as goes workload at the moment), but my recollection is that TetZoo material is mine, and that I can do what I want with it once a short (one or two month) grace period has passed. In view of that, my aim is to migrate ver 3 material to here: many thanks to those who’ve helped salvage the material concerned (I now have all the text and images, but not the comments). This takes time that I don’t have… whatever, I’ll prioritise those articles that are ‘most valuable’ as goes online presence, and herein we find the reason for this article: dear reader, which articles are ‘most valuable’? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below. Possibilities high on my agenda include…
The multi-part guide to crocodile diversity, evolution and systematics
The multi-part guide to Australian agamid lizards
Brian J Ford “I’m smarter than everyone else, all palaeontologists are idiots and all dinosaurs were aquatic” smackdown
Domestic horses of Africa
Raymond Hoser smackdown
The “why the world needs to ignore pseudoscientist and self-promoter extraordinaire David Peters and his Pterosaur Heresies and ReptileEvolution sites” article
The multi-part guide to the world’s petrels
On why humans and other apes are actually monkeys
No trunks for sauropods
Piltdown man and the dualist connection
Ok, thoughts appreciated. If all of this turns out to be a mistake, and access to the articles is reverted to its previously open status, I can relax a bit. But for now, it really looks like everything has to be moved. Not good when your stated aim (my stated aim; evidently not that of SciAm) is the dissemination and sharing of knowledge, not its locking away.
Oh – and… to those of you who immediately say “don’t worry, the articles can still be found on wayback machine” or “don’t worry, the articles can still be seen if you open them in incognito mode” or whatever… please remember that these things are not much use to those who want information quickly and will give up immediately if a page doesn’t give them what they want (viz, 99% of internet users).