Monday, November 2, 2020

The end of this blog?

Last week's post is planned to be the final one for The Genealogical World of Phylogenetic Networks, at least for the time-being. This post is simply to say goodbye, and to say thanks to all of our readers.

As some of you may know, Blogger has decided that it is no longer interested in having contributors who work on desktop computers. They have changed their author interface to one designed for swiping and pressing on a small touch-screen, not typing and mousing while looking at a full-size screen. This new interface is almost unusable on my computing equipment — they have taken a limited but quite usable system and made it unworkable, in practice. *

Notably, the new system for automatic formatting of the posts does not match the format of our blog, and there is thus now an added onus to do everything manually, undoing the mess created by the automatic formatter, or typing in the HTML code for yourself (which is what it seems to assume you actually want to do). It won't even paste images into the right place in the text!

Even worse, Blogger (owned by Google) will no longer even allow me to log-in using my version of Chrome (owned by Google); Safari (owned by Apple) can no longer display the administration pages at all; and Firefox (owned by Mozilla) will allow me to work on posts but not allow me to comment on them.

Moreover, recently Blogger unexpectedly deleted one of my completed posts, without warning. It has not done this for a long time, and it will be the last time it does it to me — I have had enough of the new system.

So, after more than 8.5 years (the first post was on February 25, 2012), it is time for me to say goodbye. I have had six co-authors, at various times, and I thank them very much for being here. We have now written 663 posts about lots of topics, most of them related to phylogenetics in one way or another — and most of it seemed like fun at the time, although obviously a lot of work for everyone. Here is a graph with a brief timeline, as Guido's summary of the blog's history (click to enlarge).

Timeline of the Genealogical World of Phylogenetic Networks

Finally, thanks to all of you, for being readers — it would be awfully lonely here without you. By my calculations, we are currently getting c. 2,000 non-bot hits per week, which is very respectable. (NB: viewbot hits have comprised at least 20% of all traffic, first detected after c. 100 posts.) The blog is treated as a "real" scientific output, and the posts are thus indexed by sites like Altmetric (there are a couple of their example pages shown below).

The Comments facility will soon be switched off. The blog itself will remain online, for any new readers; but it will effectively be an archive, until such times as Blogger decides to delete it (whether intentionally or not), or someone has the inspiration to create a new post.



* My local liquor chain (the only one in the country!) has just done the same thing. Instead of having one web page with all of the relevant information for each item, there are now half-a-dozen pages, each with a small amount of information, and with VERY BIG text. Parts of the new site do not work at all on my computer; and they have taken away facilities that I actually relied upon. I find this new site just as unusable as the new Blogger.

Here are a couple of example Altmetric pages referring to our blog posts (also provided by Guido).


  1. Thanks for all your time, effort and interest for essential topics (and discussions). It was a perfect example about the pros for science blogging. I hope all of you would come back soon with a new blog-site (whatever the platform :)

    All the best!

    1. Thanks for your kind words. We do not exclude the possibility of future posts.

  2. Wow, that's amazingly assholish of Google.

    But you can just transfer your whole blog, comments and all, to WordPress. At least that was possible 10 years ago; I know a blog that did that. WordPress has a bunch of advantages like allowing the blockquote tag in comments.

    (I still owe you all a bunch of comments, some of them for two years now...)

    1. Yes, it would be possible to move the site to another blogging platform. However, at the moment we have decided to not make that effort. Any comments that you wish to add to posts will, of course, be appreciated.