We aten’t dead


I’ve been reading the obituaries. So many people, friends and foes alike, have expressed their confidence that Freethoughtblogs is dooooooomed, because Ed Brayton has left. It’s all going to fall apart without his iron hand ruling this motley crew! Without him, no one could possibly be interested in reading anything on this network! They only ever read the old white men here anyway, so losing one is an irreparable loss!

Let me explain a few things about how FtB works. These people don’t have a clue.

  • Ed never actually “ran” this place — no one did, or does. This is one of those pinko commie anarchies. He managed the books, arranged for the ad services, that sort of thing, but all of the blogs here are autonomous. No boss. Get it? If you’re an authoritarian, maybe not.

  • The kind of minimal, managerial oversight needed to keep the lights on has fallen into the hands of the executive committee, a small subset of the people here who handle mundane issues that affect the whole network. Just to let you know how busy the executive committee is, we initially proposed to meet once a month. I don’t think we’ve met in over a year.

  • The network is not a vanity project for the white men who set it up. It’s an anti-vanity project. The whole purpose of the network was to leverage our traffic into creating a space for a diverse group of bloggers. They’re still here! Ed and I could drop dead on the spot, and it’ll still keep ticking along.

  • Building a diverse network also produces a robust network. There is no single point of failure. By design and by diffusing the leadership all along, there’s no way to take it out with loss of a single blogger (we’ve lost and gained bloggers all along, you know).

  • We do have to worry about maintaining a volume of traffic to maintain ad rates. But this is a group that does not prioritize making money off their writing (although it sure would be nice…) but on maintaining independence. I’d be writing for free — I was writing for free years ago — and what money we do make is distributed among the bloggers by traffic. There is no central authority skimming off the profits.

  • I do have one serious worry about an ongoing failure. That’s all you people who say you only came here for the PZ and Ed show. You’re doing it wrong — I’m not going to object to you reading my stuff, but the whole point of the network is to give all those other voices a platform. You should go read them.

So here’s some suggestions.

Go look at the main page. See all those bloggers?

Go look to the left, at the sidebar. See all those bloggers?

Scroll down on the sidebar, and look for the “Latest Posts Around FtB”. See all those bloggers who have recently posted stuff?

Broaden your horizons a bit. Go read one or more of those links.

Don’t trust me. Go read Miri, who is saying exactly the same thing.

You can also stop annoying us all with the ill-informed doom-talk.


  1. arthur says

    I came here because Ophelia Benson moved her blog here. Now we’re going home, back to the original B&W. She probably shouldn’t have left.

    I certainly don’t doubt the sincerity of PZ, Ed and others , but the project isn’t going to work. Bloggers should go solo. As a reader, I can subscribe to you regardless. If you want to promote a fellow blogger, just provide a link.

  2. says

    I started with Ed and PZ on the recommendation of my elder daughter, back at Scienceblogs, and followed you two here, where I found a whole new bunch of people to read. Thank you, PZ, for giving me even more reasons to avoid the housework. ;-)

  3. grumpyoldfart says

    I like to read blogs written by freethinkers. This is the perfect place to do it.

  4. chigau (違う) says

    I was reading here before Ophelia moved here.
    I think I’ll continue reading here.
    I think I’ll also continue reading Ophelia.

  5. Kevin Schelley says

    I came here originally for you, but I’ve become a fan of people like Heina, Ashley, Miri, Jason, Stephanie, and Tariq. I actually seek out their posts more than yours, oh grand poopyhead.

  6. PatrickG says

    Scroll down on the sidebar, and look for the “Latest Posts Around FtB

    When the hell did this get enabled?! Ever since the redesign, I’ve been sulking about the “No Latest Posts” issue. Somehow I just missed when it came back in.

  7. Trebuchet says

    “Go look at the main page” would carry more weight if the current main page wasn’t such complete crappe. As long as you have Dana Hunter, I’ll be here. I can get nearly all of what Ed provided two or three days earlier just by going directly to http://www.rightwingwatch.org/.

  8. grendelsfather says

    Thanks, PZ. I think I get it now, but I am still confused about one thing. When Ed was here, how did you decide which one was the woman?

  9. says

    When Ed was here, how did you decide which one was the woman?

    You still don’t get it. No man, no woman, this network is a syncytial asexual organism that reproduces by budding.

  10. grendelsfather says

    Thanks, again. As a former microbiologist who worked with the strangest of organisms, that makes a lot of sense. I am glad to know that the on-line world has lots of real world referents.

  11. AlexanderZ says

    Ed never actually “ran” this place — no one did, or does.

    Just to let you know how busy the executive committee is, we initially proposed to meet once a month. I don’t think we’ve met in over a year.

    That is not reassuring.

    Anyway, I hope you’re right. This network is the focal point of progressive online atheism. With every blogger leaving asshole atheism seems that much stronger. Then again, it could be my depression talking.

  12. Artor says

    You still don’t get it. No man, no woman, this network is a syncytial asexual organism that reproduces by budding.

  13. says

    I get the point, PZ, but I am still going to read almost exclusively Pharyngula. That in itself consumes enough of my internet time at this moment, if I tried to read other blogs too, I would not get anything done.

  14. AlexanderZ says

    Actually, I had a useful thought.
    How about separating the active blogs from the inactive/off-network blogs on the FTB’s front page? That way it’d be easier to navigate through the blogs that are being updated.

  15. raven says

    Freethoughtblogs is far more powerful and important than Ed or PZ know or anyone else here for that matter.They are the leaders of the US No Religions movement.

    1. When FTB’s went down due to the DDOS attack, I looked around for other similar websites.

    2. There wasn’t much. Patheos has a fraction of the traffic of FTB’s and most of it is for…religion. Now that Ed Brayton is there, I finally visit it often.

    3. Fortunately, the No Religions, Atheist +, anti-Fundie xian Dominionism, etc. is a true bottom up mass movement. As PZ says, it has no real leadership and no single point of failure.

    4. The fundies created it. They are our best weapons just by being themselves. The second best weapon is the bible, a kludgy old book of obvious fiction. The xian gods help by being Nowhere and doing…Nothing.

  16. raven says

    One other important point.

    1. Freethoughtblogs is great!!! It’s well done!!!

    2. I did follow Ed Brayton to Patheos. Without even leaving my chair. This is the internet, after all. We aren’t going from place to place on horses any more.

    3. Patheos is OK but it is no FTB’s. It loads much slower on my home system, many seconds as opposed to seconds. It’s doable. It’s not as user friendly as FTB’s. The sidebars and some of the other features of FTB’s aren’t there.

    4. Patheos shows that FTB’s is well designed. It’s clean, simple, and loads fast. I’m at Patheos now. I’m still at FTB’s. Who spends all their internet time at one site anyway.

  17. MadHatter says

    Well, I followed you here from sciblogs PZ but I keep the entire network on an RSS feed and scroll through everyone’s posts. I may read yours the most often, partly because many of the other bloggers write longer posts that I need time to get into, but I have seen most of them and been impressed. I’ve looked at Patheos from time to time and with Ed there I did add it to my RSS feed. But I hate the website and it truncates all of the posts in RSS feeds to force me to go to the site. So…FTB (and Orac) continues to be my primary blog site and will be so long as there are good bloggers here keeping the lights on.

    The in-network fighting about who said what on which social media platform that I don’t follow not-withstanding.

  18. Knight in Sour Armor says

    Should seriously consider implementing some sort of anti-bullying policy so that you don’t have destructive nonsense like this erupting uncontrollably again, ‘cuz it probably will in the future.

  19. says

    Um, does no-one click on that big square box with the hand in it , top left?

    All the latest posts with their titles. Pick a title that interests you regardless of the blogger.

    What are we , fanbois and girls?

    Shit, I’d have never have read Mano if he hadn’t put the word “cricket” in one of his titles.

  20. Mobius says

    But, but, but…I’ve been told on numerous occasions that YOU are the absolute overlord of FtB, and that Ed was just one of your slavish minions.

    Actually, Ed was one of the reasons I read FtB, and I have followed to his new digs. But he wasn’t the only reason. There are still quite a few wonderful bloggers here and I will continue to read their stuff as long as they remain.

  21. blf says

    With Ed’s “iron hand” gone, now we only need to remove poopyhead’s “iron tentacles” and then teh trvth willl out!!!!!: There are rabbits in the Precambrian!

    (The mildly deranged penguin says the Precambrian cheeses were pretty good too, albeit since they hadn’t yet crawled out of the sea, rather salty. They could make a sailor blush.)

  22. kellym says

    There’s still no LATEST POSTS AROUND FTB block on the home page. You have to either click a PZ post, then scroll down to find it, or to read the entire homepage, and from memory, see if there’s a post you haven’t read yet. I would visit FTB more often if it had the LATEST POSTS at the top of the home page.

  23. chigau (違う) says

    kellym #25
    That might considered be a Tech Issue.
    There is a link on the very top of the page.

  24. Al Dente says

    motley crew!

    That’s Mötley Crüe and what does heavy metal have to do with this discussion?

  25. Kengi says

    PZ @27: “There is a long list of things about the main page for our tech person to fix. A LONG list. That’s on there.”

    I hope that’s a priority. I agree with PatrickG. The biggest thing I still miss from Science Blogs is the “Last 24 Hours” page, which was really not limited to 24 hours, but was a most recent posts across the blog. A handful of most recent posts on a sidebar isn’t enough.

    I made the most recent posts page my default page at Science Blogs (and it still is) primarily because it allowed me to see other writers on the network more often without using feeds and readers and whatever else I’m supposed to do to follow a network. I try scanning the homepage here for recent posts in different categories, but it’s far easier to just have a page for that.

    And that page should be a prominent link on every post on every blog on the network.

    Since getting readers to look at other writers in the network has always been a priority, and is now more than ever, making that easy for the readers in every way possible should be a priority in the design of the website.

  26. Trickster Goddess says

    I’m at a bit of loss… With Ed gone, I’m not sure what I’m supposed to groupthink anymore…

  27. lordxor says

    dn’t thnk yr blg ntwrk s dd r dyng. thnk t s jst pln wrthlss nw.

    ws fn fw yrs g, bt gt trd f th chldsh BS, ls, chrctr ssssntns, nd pntlss drm. Nw njy chckng bck prdclly t s hw fr dwn th slw sprl t cmplt nnty ths ntwrk hs gn. Krm’s b*tch.

    N, t s nt dd. t wn’t d. t s jst wll dwn th rd f mdcrty nd rrlvncy. t’s t bd bcs thr r sm blggrs n ths ntwrk hr tht wld b bttr ff n thr wn. Bng ssctd ths ntwrk slls thr rpttns nd drgs thm dwn n th slym, mck nd “myrs”…. pns ntndd. :)

    Ths plc s th slympt f th ltr lft.

    [Bye! –pzm]

  28. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    This place is the slymepit of the ultra left.

    Having attended university during the radicalization of campuses during the ‘Nam war, I’m interested in what you consider to be just normal left, versus ultra left.

  29. chigau (違う) says

    Nerd #32
    I’d be interested in reading about that, too.
    But I expect lordxor is a drive-by.

  30. PatrickG says

    @ PZ Myers:

    Would your tech person accept some help? I know they’re overloaded and from what I remember, basically doing this pro bono, and, well…. Websites, databases, UI design… it’s the strange trajectory my career has taken since I aborted my PhD studies in CFD and atmospheric dispersion.

    Of course, that might not be feasible; I don’t know if there’s an adequate firewall between the UI and sensitive information. I definitely wouldn’t even want the slightest hint of a shred of a chance of access to user accounts, for example (and I’m sure nobody else would want me to have that either!). But thought I’d offer.

  31. says

    Security is a HUGE (oh, wait, must pronounce it correctly) YUUUUGE problem — we’re not going to let just anyone tinker with the insides. Not that I don’t trust you, it’s that I don’t trust anyone.

  32. PatrickG says

    Figured it was likely to turn out that way… but hey, I get to feel noble and virtuous for offering!

  33. says

    Speaking of being not dead, PZ, would you consider stickying the Tyrant post for a week or so? There have been new ideas proposed that people would like input for, and curators wanted.

  34. Trebuchet says

    Um, does no-one click on that big square box with the hand in it , top left?

    That just takes you to the current, largely useless, main page.
    Just going back to the previous main page would be a huge improvement, except you’d half to change at least half the bloggers.

  35. yubal says

    Well, nobody with a sane mind would expect FTB to go doooooom because of this.

    On the other hand, how come FTB acts as blogger’s graduation platform to the Patheos network for some time now?

    I could imagine a long list of diverse and valid (and also not much so valid) arguments here.

    Point is: what would encourage bloggers from Patheos to join FTB?

    Not reading Patheos much over here (lack of time and FTB content is usually better suited to my interest)

  36. AMM says

    Knight in Sour Armor @21

    Should seriously consider implementing some sort of anti-bullying policy so that you don’t have destructive nonsense like this erupting uncontrollably again, ‘cuz it probably will in the future.

    In order to do so, you’d have to define “bullying” in some way that would (a) give you an unambiguous answer as to what was bullying and what was not and (b) most people would agree with.

    Was the outcry against Dawkins’ comments about women, child rape, and his “Dear Muslima” bullying? He and his friends thought so. Many people here did not.

  37. says

    If it’s not dead it might as well be; PZ really needs to read “How to make Friends and Influence People” – all he and his other lackeys did is turn themselves into social outcasts in the online atheist community by attacking 90% of its respected members for “saying things they don’t like”, while at the same time running a website with numerous cyber-bulling pages.

    This isn’t even an atheist website anymore, just a far-left propaganda site promoting the silly idea of “equality of outcome” (and yes, this is a Wikipedia definition of far-left). PZ and his peanut gallery’s logic basically goes like this:

    “Women, blacks, minorities, etc” are “more oppressed” or “have it worse” than others, therefore behavioral double-standards are necessary to justify the net social outcome. PZ’s also of the foolish notion that generalizations even when true about GROUPS are not automatically true about every individual MEMBER of the groups.

    Just as while it’s a fact that violent crime rates in the US are higher among blacks than whites, this however is not the case with every INDIVIDUAL black or white person.

    This faulty and unethical “logic” is how PZ things he has the the gall to name call, make jokes about murder and suicide, and slanderous rape claims – yet find the time to whine about some enemy of his using a “misogynist word” on the internet- because the skin color, genitalia, etc of the subject person is more important than anything which was actually done or said.

    Since PZ has no values, morals or ethics, the hypothetical quasi-Marxist end (of somehow achieving social equality by complaining about every usage of a “sexist word” on the internet”) justifies the means, even when the means themselves are completely ineffectual (not to mention unethical).

    And why anyone takes advice on women’s issues from a mediocre biologist with little global acclaim even in his field is beyond me – you wouldn’t take dating advice from the programmer who designed the boobs on your female WoW character, so where does someone like PZ who uses words like “asshat” OUTSIDE of 4chan think he has any qualification to discuss social issues anyway?

  38. anteprepro says

    I just find it amusing that you were so confident in this little turd that you decided the best way to really stick to mean ol’ PZ was to bury it in a thread from three months ago. Brave Hero, Suave Assassin.

  39. says

    Does the fact that the main page hasn’t even been updated since 2014 give you a hint?

    Or the fact that this guy even created an article calling Darwin, the founding father of evolution a “sexist asshat” not give you a clue – that’s paranoia on par with Andy Schalfly at Conservapedia deciding that the Bible has a “liberal bias”. He’s gone completely off the deep end.

  40. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Since PZ has no values, morals or ethics,

    Compared to who? You, who is an amoral loudmouth without a conscience?
    Or various atheists who advocate prejudice, xenophobia, misogyny, and authoritarianism?
    I’ll take PZ everyday of the week over those amoral atheists.