Biology Online fires Ofek, apologizes to Dr Lee

A site admin lays it out on the Biology Online forum:

We would like to express our sincerest apologies to Danielle N. Lee (DNLee) and anyone else who may have been offended by the way our recently hired employee, Ofek, handled the conversation with her. Ofek’s behaviour was completely out of line and after gathering the facts we immediately terminated his employment. Ofek failed to show the respect and prudent behavior expected of him as a contributor to Biology Online. [Read more…]

Scientific American responds

Mariette DiChristina offers a fuller explanation in a blog post.

Scientific American bloggers lie at the heart of the SA website, pumping vitality, experience and broad insight around the community. Unfortunately our poor communication with this valuable part of the SA network over the recent days has led to concerns, misunderstandings and ill feelings, and we are committed to working to try to put this right as best we can.

We know that there are real and important issues regarding the treatment of women in science and women of color in science, both historically and currently, and are dismayed at the far too frequent cases in which women face prejudice and suffer inappropriate treatment as they strive for equality and respect. We recently removed a blog post by Dr. Danielle Lee that alleged a personal experience of this nature. Dr. Lee’s post pertained to personal correspondence between her and an editor at Biology-Online about a possible assignment for that network. Unfortunately, we could not quickly verify the facts of the blog post and consequently for legal reasons we had to remove the post. [Read more…]

Urban bloggers

Update: this post is confusing if you haven’t read the one before it. The article is a good article; my commentary continues from the previous post.

Another article on DN Lee and Scientific American, Nobody Ever Called Einstein A ‘Whore’. (Yes, yes, frisson, blah blah collective outrage, yadda yadda impure motives. Noted, Jeremy, now go monitor someone else for a few years.)

Danielle Lee is another one of its well-known scientific writers. Lee, a biologist who studies animal behavior, mammals and the ways organisms interact with their environment, earned a doctoral degree in biology from the University of Missouri–St. Louis, was named Young Professional of the Year by the Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis, and her urban science blog was named as a finalist for the 2011 Black Weblog Award in the best science and technology category. When not blogging, Lee works for the Missouri Department of Natural Resources. By all accounts Lee is well-known and well-respected in scientific circles… [Read more…]

How not to ask for a favor

So how are things going for Scientific American? Not very well, from what I can see. There’s a lot of very strong criticism of their move in taking down Danielle N Lee’s blog post about the editor at Biology Online who called her a whore when she declined to write for Biology Online for free. Most of it is coming directly from working scientists. That can’t be what they want.

I still haven’t seen any explanation of their reasons for taking down the post; as far as I know there hasn’t been one.

They can’t take refuge in the claim that their blog isn’t the right place for personal quarrels, because this wasn’t personal. [Read more…]

Sean Carroll is in

Ah, nice – Sean Carroll (the physics one) has a post on the how not to address a colleague who has the bad taste to be a woman issue, and Scientific American’s response to same.

Where I grew up, when people politely turn down your request for free stuff, it’s impolite to call them a “whore.” It’s especially bad when you take into account the fact that we live in a world where women are being pushed away from science, one where how often your papers get cited correlates strongly with your gender, and so on. [Read more…]

Guest post by DNLee: Tell Someone “No”, Get Called a “Whore”

We’re requested to repost this to amplify its signal, so I’m doing that. DNLee is asked to write for a blog, politely declines, and gets a less than polite response.

DNLee reports:

wachemshe hao hao kwangu mtapoa

I got this wrap cloth from Tanzania. It’s a khanga. It was the first khanga I purchased while I was in Africa for my nearly 3 month stay for field research last year. Everyone giggled when they saw me wear it and then gave a nod to suggest, “Well, okay”. I later learned that it translates to “Give trouble to others, but not me”. I laughed, thinking how appropriate it was. I was never a trouble-starter as a kid and I’m no fan of drama, but I always took this 21st century ghetto proverb most seriously:

Don’t start none. Won’t be none. [Read more…]