Friday, December 21, 2007

Demise of a Bird Blog

The blog formerly known as the Ivory-bill Skeptic was one of my all-time favorite bird blogs. Judging by the number of “hits” that it generated, I gather that this controversial blog was a favorite of many others as well. Initiated by Minnesota birder Tom Nelson in July 2005 in response to Cornell’s announcement of the “discovery” of an Ivory-billed Woodpecker (Campephilus principalis) in Arkansas, it provided an important outlet in the ensuing debate for people of a skeptical mind regarding the adequacy of the evidence provided in support of the continued existence of the so-called Lord God Bird. While I didn’t always agree with Tom’s assessment of the situation, his methods, or his motives, I generally enjoyed the posts and embedded links and the comments that they engendered.

In mid-September 2007, Tom announced that he was “quite bored with the current Ivory-bill hysteria” and was changing the name of the blog to Tom Nelson, leaving him “free to post about anything that interests me.” Since then, the focus of the blog has gradually switched over from Ivory-bills to the debunking of anthropogenic global warming, as revealed by the following statistics showing the percentage of monthly posting that were specifically about Ivory-bills:
  • August 2007 – 97.5 percent (39 of 40)
  • September 2007 – 46.4 percent (26 of 56 postings)
  • October 2007 – 37.1 percent (33 of 89 postings)
  • November 2007 – 11.6 percent (29 of 250 postings)
  • Tom’s Ivory-bill postings are increasingly being lost amongst his growing blather about global warming. He would have done those of us interested in continuing to follow Ivory-bill events, especially the skeptics among us, a great favor by creating a second blog for his rants on global warming.

    Martinson Collinson made a similar argument (here) about the Ivory-bill Skeptic/Tom Nelson blog, noting that 37 posts about Ivory-bills in November 2006 generated 450 comments while 247 posts in November 2007 (“nearly all on climate change”) generated just 12 comments. Sadly, while Tom has continued to post about Ivory-bills at only a slightly diminished rate (i.e., 29 in November 2007 vs 37 in November 2006), his focus on global climate change has caused his loyal Ivory-bill skeptic readers to desert him.

    Because Tom continues to post occasionally about the Ivory-billed Woodpecker, but especially because of the vast amount of Ivory-bill information still present in his archives, I have decided to retain Tom Nelson on the list of known North American bird blogs.

    7 Comments:

    Blogger mon@rch said...

    I have never figured out the criteria for adding blogs to your list! Occasionally now qualifies?

    December 21, 2007 8:23 PM  
    Blogger Bill Pulliam said...

    Well, since I made a very similar decision at almost the exact same time as Tom did (i.e. that there was little if anything more to say about the Ivorybill situation until and unless something new actually happens), I can certainly understand his shift in focus. But, my blog never was a purely Ivorybill one to begin with unlike his. I did wonder why he didn't just leave tha skeptic blog on idle and start a new climate change blog, but evidently (read the comments on Martin's post) he wanted to use the opportunity to present his global warming "information" to an unsuspecting environmentalist audience.

    Personally I find that his anti-global-warming posts brilliantly highlight the same tactics he used in the Ivorybill discussions: selective information, deliberate misdirection, and personal slander. This time he isn't allowing anonymous comments, at least.

    December 23, 2007 3:19 PM  
    Blogger N8 said...

    I thought his IBWO posts were an important voice for the time. His impact there can't be denied.

    But he lost me on the GW stuff when he linked to Cal Thomas. Ugh.

    December 27, 2007 12:12 PM  
    Anonymous TN Skeptic said...

    I think the most interesting question is WHO is paying for Tom's blogging activities? Obviously, at the rate he is posting comments, he is now doing this full-time. His views are obviously bought-and-paid-for. By whom? This could be fun to speculate on.

    January 24, 2008 4:12 PM  
    Anonymous TN Skeptic said...

    I think the most interesting question is WHO is paying for Tom's blogging activities? Obviously, at the rate he is posting comments, he is now doing this full-time. His views are obviously bought-and-paid-for. By whom? This could be fun to speculate on.

    January 24, 2008 4:13 PM  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    As the poet laureate, okay ditty laureate, and frequent commenter on Tom's IBWO blog, I take umbrage at Bill's take. Tom handled that blog perfectly. Bill was always confused by the IBWO "discovery" and especially the infamous video.

    But the rest of us were glad to have Tom as such a master blog handler. It was perfection. A true one of a kind.

    If you will remember, we had hints about Tom's "dark" side. Remember his WMD comments. We had a blast with that by turning his view of Iraq WMD into a discussion of "bullets kill more people than WMD ever did". It was a hoot.

    I also had the thought about whether he is paid now to post the GW nonsense. Either that or I picture a rather sad man sitting in the dark at the glow of a computer screen cutting and pasting comments into posts from 4am to often past 10pm at night. Man, when does that dude sleep and work?

    If a blog falls in the woods and no ones around to comment on it, does it still exist?

    Kneep....kneep....

    February 08, 2008 10:30 PM  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Pretty interesting blog you've got here. Thanks for it. I like such topics and anything that is connected to this matter. I definitely want to read more soon.

    Best wishes

    February 16, 2010 10:32 AM  

    Post a Comment

    Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

    Links to this post:

    Create a Link

    << Home

     

    The FatBirder's Nest
    FatBirder Web Ring