Standing on the Shoulders of Bloggers: Carnival frustration searing my soul.


In the last few days I have had a few tweets inquiring about the present and future of Standing on the Shoulders of Giants the history of science blog carnival; what follows are some thoughts on the health (or better lack there of) and the future direction of the Internet’s only monthly round up of histsci goodness.

In June Giant’s Shoulders celebrated four completed years of existence but despite reaching this milestone your favourite histsci carnival is hanging in the ropes and is dangerously close to a KO. To exist a blog carnival needs three things. Blog posts to be collected, denizens of the Internet who read, find worthy and submit or nominate those posts and bloggers prepared to write up, present and host the carnival once a month.

As recent editions of Giants’ Shoulders have, I think, demonstrated there is no shortage of good histsci bloggage out there waiting to be read. However, what is probably not so obvious to the carnival readers, the other two requirements have become increasingly difficult to fulfil. Since at least a years and probably longer between about 90% and 95% of all the posts featured in the monthly roundup have been submitted by yours truly. Now I’m a confessed histsci obsessive and enjoy trawling the Internet looking for interesting posts to fulfil my own eclectic appetite for histsci information however if I’m almost the only person nominating posts for the carnival then I have to ask if anybody else is really interested in maintaining it. What should be more obvious are the extreme problems that we have had finding bloggers every month to host the whole show. Desperate series of tweets from myself and Dr SkySkull each month pleading and begging with the histsci community for somebody to come forward and take over the chore for the next month, which often ends with one of the small handful of faithfuls taking it on for the third, fourth or whatever time.

As should be obvious from the title of this post I am anything but happy with this situation and have been brooding about it for sometime, finally deciding to go public with my frustration with this post. What alternatives do I see? I could of course just pretend that everything is OK and carry on as before. The fact that you are reading this means that I have not chosen this course of non-action. Alternatively I could just give up on the whole thing, stop worrying and let other people decide if they want to take up the baton and try to rejuvenate Giants’ Shoulders. I must admit that in the last couple of months that has seemed the most attractive proposition and it is a course that I might yet choose. A third possibility is to ask the Internet community if they still want a history of science blog carnival and if they are prepared to become more actively involved in keeping it alive. This is basically what this post is about. If you read it and if you have an opinion about Giants’ Shoulders then please comment, make suggestions, make offers, or simply react in someway. Dr SkySkull suggested this morning making Giants’ Shoulders bi-monthly to reduce the stress of finding hosts. I personally don’t think that is the solution, maybe you do?

I haven’t given up yet but I do have to admit that at the moment I’m very close to doing so. I shall host Giants’ Shoulders #49 here at The Renaissance Mathematicus tomorrow to maintain the continuity. Jai Vidri, who has apparently successfully conquered the doctoral thesis summit and is returning to histsci blogging will host Giants’ Shoulders #50 at her blog From the Hands of Quacks on 16th August. What happens after that will be determined by your reactions to this post!


3 Responses to “Standing on the Shoulders of Bloggers: Carnival frustration searing my soul.”

  1. Richard Carter, FCD Says:

    I’ve been putting a lot of behind-the-scenes work into fully converting the Friends of Charles Darwin website to WordPress over the last few weeks (currently, the blog is in WordPress, but the rest of the site isn’t). I am keen to blow off a few cobwebs and start updating the site more frequently. It was my intention to volunteer to host SOTSOG (catchy acronym!), once the conversion is complete. So pencil me in.

  2. Richard Carter, FCD Says:

    (SOTSOG might be a catchy acronym, but I now realise that it isn’t an acronym for this carnival. TGS is, I have to say, decidedly less snappy.)

  3. darwinsbulldog Says:

    Thony, I’d like to host again soon, but with a baby on the near horizon I don’t want to commit to anything. As you know, I love the carnival and look forward to the editions, but I have been less than helpful recently with sending in submissions like I have done in the past. Apologies. But right now I have been focusing more on my Portland children and nature blog than history of science stuff. I hope you get some hosts!

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