Commentary: A new look. The eyes have it.

Hello Doubtful News readers. Welcome to our remodeled site!

I hope you like the new theme as much as we do. We’ve also revamped the mobile site, Facebook and Twitter pages.

We took your advice from the survey we conducted two months ago and spiffied things up a bit. I thought this would be a good time to touch on some topics in the Skeptisphere and how things are from my vantage point.

First, thanks to all who contribute to this site. Torkel and I have a pretty good system worked out to get content posted throughout the day, everyday (except April Fools Day when I took the day off). Much appreciation is due to Chew, Ross Balch, Molly Hodgdon, Steve Liberace, Meganne Valerioti, Bob Blaskiewicz, Tim Farley, Kylie Sturgess, Matt Crowley and many others who find great content and add their views. (Join us!) We have a number of regular commenters that add value to the posts. Several knowledgable twitter friends have given us tech advice. You rock! (BTW, can anyone help with CSS?)

We have many lovely supporters who have donated and/or promoted the site in some way.

Without all those things, we would not have grown over 400% in daily site hits over the past 10 months.

While looking through the survey comments I noticed one offering design work for a logo. I got all happy and contacted him. Aaron Scott Mercer had designed the new logo for the Atlanta Skeptics and offered to help us as well. He did an excellent job capturing the essence of the site with the new logo – a raised eyebrow – reminding us we should be interested, curious and questioning about news reports.

It’s not always fun to question stories in the media, some are horrendous and sad or make us furious. As is the goal of the site, if we can put hold those questionable news stories up to scrutiny and present the additional context to go with them, that’s a worthy use of time. Thanks to Aaron for being so professional and donating this truly valuable addition to our site.

Doubtful News logos created by Aaron Scott Mercer (aaronscottmercer.com)

You’ll notice the logo is a pair of FEMININE eyes. This is intentional. Obviously, I’m female and I am excited to have an image that represents the MANY and various women who promote science and reason and do outreach for critical thinking. I’ve been around the science and skepticism community for over a decade and seen the change that has taken place mostly due to the Internet.

While the diversity of the community has changed for the better, there are still not that many recognizable female faces of skepticism and perhaps it’s still thought of as an old boys’ network. Not so, I’m happy to say. Those that are promoting scientific skepticism around the world (not talking about the atheism community which is a whole other neighborhood) span the range from young to mature, amateur to professional, bold to reserved. Many of us are publishing articles and books, hosting or contributing to podcasts, talking to the media, doing research and working hard to be taken seriously. Not to be U.S.-centric, women elsewhere around the world provide important contributions we should recognize and promote.

There is not one brand of female skeptic. There is not one female agenda to advance. All I ask is to be considered on my merits regardless of those attributes I can’t control. I’m not interested in arguing about feminism or atheism here or anywhere, I’m doing my thing. I’m going to talk about hauntings and cryptozoology and Fortean phenomena and pseudoscience. Everyone go out and do their thing and encourage that wide diversity of interests and views. And the community should fairly accept them all on their merits.

Along this theme, it is not easy to be skeptically involved. Generally, we are our own worst critics and a tough crowd to please. We love to point out errors, fallacies and screw ups. We don’t provide encouragement and support often enough. There are MANY days where the disappointment and criticism is hard to take and I feel like this is not worth the effort. Then I go and look the news feed and feel compelled to share a gem that I found that I know someone will appreciate. It’s what I do. It fun to discover new stuff everyday. I hope that you will continue to visit the site and learn something cool, too. But, more importantly, pass it on to people who DON’T know there is an alternative view of that media story or a neat new explanation for a weird thing. Spread the word. Most of our hit counts come from search engines. 60% of our visitors every day are first timers here. That’s encouraging!

A big difference with the Doubtful News site is our focus on drawing in an audience beyond the “choir”. To do that, I have diligently kept to the comment policy of not allowing name calling and derogatory treatment of individuals or groups. We’re not a free-for-all or debate forum. This is information I want to get right, not be diverted. I have turned on comment moderation so you may notice a delay in comments appearing. We have had some unwanted guests of late.

If you like this site, please consider contributing a few dollars, story ideas, or your commentary. Don’t forget to support and promote the OTHER projects you love on a regular basis. It means a lot.

Watch for our year-end wrap-up of weird news.

Please send comments or requests to editor@doubtfulnews.com or add them below.

-Sharon (@IDoubtit)

Comments are tightly moderated. Please follow the Comment Policy.
This is not a forum or free-for-all. Only thoughtful additions and pertinent opinions will be approved.

  13 comments for “Commentary: A new look. The eyes have it.

  1. November 4, 2012 at 10:37 AM

    I love the new site! Love the eyes, too. Very simple but expressive, and I appreciate a prominent feminine visual icon in the skeptic web-world. And my eyes are green so I can pretend they’re mine.

  2. Massachusetts
    November 4, 2012 at 11:27 AM

    My immediate gut-level reaction: skeptical, a little bit angry, and also feminine.

    • November 4, 2012 at 12:20 PM

      On the mark.

      • Massachusetts
        November 4, 2012 at 1:40 PM

        Then…great job! Well done! It’s an attractive logo too–stylish, not clunky.

  3. Kitty Lapin Agile
    November 4, 2012 at 11:39 AM

    I love the logo, and also pointing out what seems to me to be the obvious…women are a diverse community with a diversity of skeptic interests. Some of us are “called” to one type of skeptic work, some to another. I enjoy working with UFOs and alien abduction experience “survivors”. I really enjoy the work, and yeah, sometimes it’s not as deep or “important” in some people’s minds as what they are doing. However, I enjoy it and what used to be seen as a “man’s topic” (aliens, UFOs, Bigfoot, lake monsters) now has some females saying “Hey now I get why you find this so fascinating!”

    As a teacher, I find cryptozoology a wonderful “gateway” topic for skepticism. It’s all about teaching critical thinking skills, what applies to Bigfoot applies to everything from medicine to politics.

    Keep up the good work Sharon! I love the new site!

    • November 4, 2012 at 3:00 PM

      Thanks so much, Kitty.

  4. November 4, 2012 at 5:42 PM

    That’s just the look my wife gives me each time I say I’ll get things done around the house.

  5. Carol Neumann
    November 4, 2012 at 5:57 PM

    The new logo is eye-catching and welcoming. It fits exactly to how i feel about the site since discovering it in 2011. I admire how you handle the skeptics’ tendency to divisive confrontation. Whenever i come here I learn something and have a good time.
    Just one thing: I really loved the second line: can you really believe this stuff? Sort of sets the brain to sceptic mode and enhances the fun. I’m sure you had some good reason to drop it, but would like to know why.

    • November 4, 2012 at 6:00 PM

      That was easy to add when it was the default header. With the new header, it went away and is not so easy to display. Thanks for asking. It’s still on the “About” page.

  6. macdoktor
    November 4, 2012 at 7:29 PM

    The logo is great but what I really like is that I can now read the quoted text. It was much too small before.

    • November 4, 2012 at 7:31 PM

      Ah, now I have control over such things. :-)

  7. Jim
    November 4, 2012 at 10:20 PM

    Like your new logo and love your site. Keep up the good work!

  8. Hertzey
    November 5, 2012 at 9:44 AM

    I love it. The eyes have the “what did you just say” look. Which is often the look on my face when reading articles like “Attempted child sacrifice”. It is perfect.

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