Friday, October 18, 2013

Bora Zivkovic resigned today from his position at Scientific American. 

But you probably already know that. I don't intend to give all the facts about what happened here. I also don't plan on defending Bora; what he did was wrong.

Bora is arguably the most influential person in science writing today. Following him on Twitter over the past year has been informative enough for me that I all but stopped using an RSS feed; If it was good I knew I was going to see it on Twitter anyways. Bora has also been a great personal help to me. I sent him an e-mail about a year ago telling him about my blog and the aspirations I had of being a well known science writer. He took the time to read a few of the things I'd written, gave me some simple feedback, and gave me tips on how to share the things I was writing. Bora leaving Scientific American is a huge blow to the scientific community.

But Bora had to go. Sadly, he had to go for all the same reasons that made him great. He was influential. He guided young scientists and writers. He organized important meetings, tweet-ups, and forums. Someone with that amount of influence and power can't act the way he did and keep that influence.

There might be some that would argue that Bora should stay with Scientific American. They might say the good outweighs the bad. They would be wrong. If he were to stay at Scientific American it would send the clear message that inappropriate behavior is acceptable - as long as you balance it out with a position of power. But remember, it's the position of power that is the problem in the first place.

Influential people aren't immune to criticism, they're the most deserving of it.