Debate and discussion of any biological questions not pertaining to a particular topic.
What your editor Ofek did (calling Dr. Danielle Lee an "urban whore" for not agreeing to write for free) was outrageous, and I will be monitoring the responses of biology-online and Scientific American very carefully. If the facts as described by Dr. Lee are correct, I would expect Ofek to be relieved of his or her duties at biology-online immediately.
What? What the what? Is it possible for Ofek's cohorts to just stop making it worse?
Do tell, what might be an ethical reason for calling someone a whore? In any context, much less in a professional context?
It is difficult for me to understand how you could have thought that sentence, much less typed it, proofed it, and posted it.
Has anyone suggested a hack by a kid (or someone) in Ofek's household (or somewhere Ofek might have left him/herself logged in accidentally)? The comment is so blatantly insulting and over-the-top that one should at least consider the possibility.
Oh,come on. If a kid or someone else in my household had posted that as a response, I'd have been instantly emailing a GROVELLING apology to DNLee explaining exactly how it had happened. Wouldn't you? If something as humiliating and offensive as that went out under my name, and it wasn't me, I would have tried to find a phone number and been on the phone personally to apologise to them.
There has been no explanation. There has been no apology. It's been about two days. Therefore, it's hard to believe it was a hack.
I have no doubt that this was an actual biology-online volunteer or employee who explicitly insinuated that a professional scientist was a whore because she turned down an invitation to write for biology-online without recompense.
Clear cut as this appears; it still really does have to be checked out. Does anyone really not understand that?
The screen shots are damning, and if confirmed (as I am sure they will be) they are inexcusable. In the meantime; it honestly does have to be checked. And almost certainly it can't be managed simply by the webmaster here. The kinds of things she can fix right away might be content on the site -- no problems reported there -- or ongoing email abuse -- no problems reported there either. So it's just the one instance of email abuse outstanding; and that requires discipline from more senior managers. Just how the management structure works here is unclear and it isn't really our business. But it isn't a big organization, and it's perfectly reasonable that the confirmation and response will not happen this weekend.
It is never ok to use such language. Dr. Lee captured the screen images of her emails, so there is no doubt at all that Ofek actually said this. As others pointed out, if someone had hacked the email, a reasonable person would have immediately sent an apology with an explanation. Since this hasn't happened, it's clear that Ofek sent this, that Ofek owns this reprehensible behavior on his own, and is now hiding from the consequences. The senior editors need to understand that fixing the problem doesn't revolve around "confirming" this, and that "legal issues" never require removing a blogger's post. They are part of the institutional problem, and need to realize that this kind of behavior remains unacceptable.
We are still waiting for true apologies to Dr. Lee.
Sometimes I take vacations and don't login for DAYS. Sometimes I'm even in such a rush to go on said vacation that I fail to log myself out. For a bunch of scientists, I'd expect more data before coming to these conclusions. I'm not saying people can't be jerks, but such blatant name-calling in a public forum from an authority figure with easy-to-trace events -- does no one think it's the tiniest bit odd?
You are trying to be nice, but you're ending up diminishing the problem, and demeaning the victim. Ofek isn't the victim, Dr. Lee is -- and rather than claiming all sorts of possibilities, let's listen to what Dr. Lee said, and ask Biology_Online for their belated response.
From a work email, not possible. You cannot explain away bad behavior on his part by assuming facts. The bottom line is, he messed up badly, failed to acknowledge his error, and this has been compounded by Biology-Online also failing to acknowledge the issue in a respectful manner.
That's all I'm suggesting. Let's find out what happened. And no, I'm not trying to be nice. I'm surprised at a horde making judgments against an unknown person in a situation where there are really a lot more questions than answers.
Yes, we are waiting. And so we should at this point.
I don't see any reason to conclude that biology-online managers *don't* think this behaviour is unacceptable. You are reading much too much into lack of instant responses. It's possible Ofek is out for the weekend rather than deliberately hiding. More seriously, wrt to his employers it is more than possible -- it is very likely -- that the appropriate senior editors might actually not work on this full time; and might not be checking work emails on the weekend. So yes, we are waiting. And so we should.
The huge irony here is that Ofek was incredibly rude just because Dr Lee didn't choose to donate her professional time. That's appalling.
So let's not make the same mistake.
Let's not compound Ofek's rudeness by demanding everyone has to drop everything RIGHT NOW and make sure Ofek is fired straight away. People have lives; there ISN'T an immediate outstanding issue that cannot wait. Fire the guy as the first item of business to be sure. Do it with due process which means that he does actually have a chance to explain himself. I can't imagine how he might explain himself, but you know what? That doesn't matter. Professionally speaking; he *does* actually get a chance to explain himself, however implausible it is that anything he could say would excuse it. Regardless: the senior managers do actually get to take a look at the matter for themselves as professionals. This does not necessarily mean that they are monitoring their employees 24 hours a day 7 days a week.
Can't believe days have gone by and you all are still silent on this. Do you really need to confer with your lawyers before you apologize for shameful behavior? Shame on you, you sicken me. What you have at this site can be easily replicated by people that have the leadership skills and social conscience that you apparently lack. I would encourage scientists and bloggers to go elsewhere with their products and services.
UPDATE: an apology letter was sent by one of the owners of the site to DNLee, dated October 13, 2013. A screenshot of this email will be posted here today upon approval. Thank you.
"Why you care about small things? World very simple place...
World only have two things: Things you can eat and things you no can eat."
- Quina Quen (ffix)
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