Blogfather and blogchildren

A few days ago, The Commissar started making a family tree of the blogosphere, asking:

Bloggers, please leave a comment noting:
  1. Your blogfather, or blogmother, as the case may be. Just one please - the one blog that, more than any other, inspired you to start blogging. Please don’t name Instapundit, unless you are on his blogchildren list. Usenet was my blogfather. My blog was a natural--excuse the term--evolution from my activities on alt.revisionism and on Usenet. I cannot name just one blog that, more than any other, inspired me to start blogging, although it was not long after I discovered the medical and science blogosphere that I decided I had to give it a try.
  2. Don’t email me to tell me that you have no blogfather/mother. If that’s your view, that’s fine. But what I’m doing here is tracking intellectual heritage, or just strong influences. If the idea of blogging came to you fully-formed and no other blogger influenced you, I do not object. But I’m tracking lineages here. Sorry; I guess I just won't e-mail you then. However, strong influences early in my blogging included CodeBlueBlog (that is, before it went off the deep end with the Terri Schiavo case, anyway); Pharyngula (with regard to science and "intelligent design" creationism); the Cheerful Oncologist (patient stories, which I don't do nearly as much as I used to); The Millenium Project (debunking of quackery and pseudoscience); and The Examining Room of Dr. Charles (patient stories again). Of course, as you can see by browsing the early archives, I rapidly developed my own inimitable voice and finally gained blogosphere fame (if not fortune) in June after this infamous post. The reason it took such a short period of time is because I had already honed my voice on Usenet for 7-8 years before I started blogging.
  3. Include your blog-birth-month, the month that you started blogging, if you can. December 11, 2004 at 3:06 PM EST, although my first substantive post was three hours later.
  4. Identify your blog as Left, Right, or Other. Definitely Other, although leaning a bit right.
  5. If you are reasonably certain that you have spawned any blog-children, mention them, too. I have no idea if I have spawned. However, now that I'm approaching my first anniversary, that means that the blog's rapidly approaching middle age; so I suppose it's possible. So, if anyone considers himself or herself one of my blogchildren, please let me know with an e-mail or a comment here.
This is as good a time as any to mention that it is very likely that sometime in the next month or two I will be changing blogging platforms. Those who have been around a while realize that I've said this intermittently over the last several months but have yet to actually do it. The main things holding me back are (1) laziness; (2) sheer inertia; and (3) the fact that I much prefer dedicating my limited blogging time to writing new content for this site rather than fiddling with the template (something that's probably painfully obvious from my continued use of this lame generic Blogger template and the fact that I haven't updated my "Essential Orac" sidebar in at least two months). #3 is mainly because I'm almost HTML illiterate. However, Blogger's limitations are finally starting to grate on me enough that they may finally overcome all these impediments, and I tend to look at my upcoming blog anniversary as a deadline of sorts to get off my behind and make some major changes around here, even if it means taking some days off here and there from writing fresh material over the next month and a half.

If I do make such a major change, though, I want to do it right. The theme for any future new template for this blog obviously has to be Blakes 7-inspired, given the 'nym I choose to use. Aside from that, any feedback is, as always (well, usually anyway, depending upon the level of hostility) appreciated.


  1. Even if you don't blog about it, it would seem that one of the things you must do is, rather than pointing at Blogger (which does have these unexplained "down" times), is to figure out what it is about the choices you made for your blog that you end up not liking, as well as a realistic assessment as to why you think a new blog will fix something about that.
    I watched intueri change her site, and in particular stop allowing comments, and I think the quality of her blogging has declined since then. Cause and effect? I don't know, but her recent blogging seems more self-absorbed and in the end less interesting.

  2. From another Paul.....;-)

    Just a few thoughts:

    Changing a URL is a rather dangerous thing. This applies to ordinary websites, blogs, and single pages. With one fell swoop, the owner of the URL commits cyber suicide by disconnecting the site or page from all reciprocal links. Those links have been placed all over the place by fans and interested parties, and now their work and appreciation is being dismissed, overruled and invalidated. Dead links are a plague, and often end up in the garbage, without being replaced.

    I know that there are no bad feelings involved on the part of the URL's owner, but it still creates a lot of work for others.

    One starts all over again at the bottom. High rankings with search engines are achieved by hard work, and that takes a lot of time and effort, not only on the part of the webmaster, but also on the part of friends.

    I know that circumstances can force such changes, but they must be pretty drastic and dreadful to force one to change a URL.

    Is that REALLY the case here? You may feel uncomfortable about some things, but what do your fans think? Are they really dissatisfied? I think you're doing GREAT! Why change a good thing?

    Just something to think about.....



    Paul Lee

  3. For what very little it's worth, your blog is one of several that I'd think of as a blogparent. It's not the subject matter, per se. Rather, I've found your posts where you consider issues related to your field interesting. You're one of the medbloggers who seems to do more than just post a link with a quick comment.

    (I'd be interested in reading what you might have to say about the utility of screening mammograms, too. I don't think I've seen you much take that one on.)


  4. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  5. Comment spam deleted.

    Oh, well, I guess that Blogger's Word Verification feature isn't perfect.

    As for the value of mammograms, I actually was thinking of writing on that, because there was a rather prominent article recently in the NEJM about that very topic. I doubt it would be until later next week, though, if I get to it. My posts for Monday and Tuesday are already planned (if not entirely written).

    As for the comment from Paul #1, I may contact you.

    Paul #2: I understand the consequences of changing my URL, but I rather suspect that they would be fairly transient. In any case, although I have achieved a popularity I never thought possible when I first started blogging, that isn't the main reason I blog. I'd probably still do it if I only got 50 visits a day rather than 1,000. (Of course, I'd love to double my readership by this time next year, but that's a smaller concern.) As for TLB Ecosystem ratings, I'd actually find it a rather fun challenge to see how long it would take me to get back to my present level after a switch.

    In any case, if I do decide to switch, I wouldn't delete the Blogspot blog. I'd keep it around (for several months, at least) as an archive site, with prominent notes both in the top post and in the sidebar pointing to the new URL. It's not so much that readers have complained or don't like things here; it's more that I'm unhappy with the same template and am frustrated at the lack of certain features on Blogger, such as scheduled autoposting, more robust spam and key word filtering, and better tools that don't require a lot of HTML knowledge to design a template that's cool-looking, fits the whole Orac/Ensor/B7 theme, and is easy to read.

  6. Orac,

    Re: your claim that you lean right.

    You routinely identify yourself with the right but I've not once seen any evidence that you share any views with the right. As such I have a question for you, what about your views do you think favors the political right rather than the left?

    -Socialist Swine

  7. I'm a strong fiscal conservative, for one thing. (Yes, I know, the Republican Party has utterly abandoned this principle, which is part of the reasons for my disillusionment, but there are still some of us deficit hawks out there.)


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