Blogging Medicine

Am I that oblivious? Did I actually win?


When I mentioned a while back that, although I like awards as much as the next guy, I don’t go actively seeking them, I wasn’t kidding. As evidence that I wasn’t kidding, I point out that, until some of you started letting me know about it, I had no clue that I had actually won the 2008 Medical Weblog Award for Best Health Policies/Ethics Weblog of 2008. In fact, even though I do peruse Medgaget, the blog that hosts the competition, I had somehow missed the post last Friday announcing the winners.

Of course, it would have helped if the Medgadget guys would have shot me a quick e-mail.

In any case, I am surprised and humbled. I realize that a lot of readers probably think my expressions of amazement at the size of my readership and my “aw shucks” bit in the face of praise is an act, but it’s not. Even four years on, I remain amazed that anyone cares about my self-indulgent blather. It’s not that I don’t think I’m any good. It’s rather that I still have a hard time believing I’m that good.

Whether I am or am not “that good,” I remain grateful to my readers, who voted for me in sufficient numbers to put me over the top. You keep me going, and you keep me honest when I screw up.

Also, I’d be remiss if I didn’t congratulate the other winners, including longtime favorite Kevin MD, Life in the Fast Lane, Running for My Life, Clinical Correlations, Life as a Healthcare CIO, and Six Until Me. Good goin’, everyone!

By Orac

Orac is the nom de blog of a humble surgeon/scientist who has an ego just big enough to delude himself that someone, somewhere might actually give a rodent's posterior about his copious verbal meanderings, but just barely small enough to admit to himself that few probably will. That surgeon is otherwise known as David Gorski.

That this particular surgeon has chosen his nom de blog based on a rather cranky and arrogant computer shaped like a clear box of blinking lights that he originally encountered when he became a fan of a 35 year old British SF television show whose special effects were renowned for their BBC/Doctor Who-style low budget look, but whose stories nonetheless resulted in some of the best, most innovative science fiction ever televised, should tell you nearly all that you need to know about Orac. (That, and the length of the preceding sentence.)

DISCLAIMER:: The various written meanderings here are the opinions of Orac and Orac alone, written on his own time. They should never be construed as representing the opinions of any other person or entity, especially Orac's cancer center, department of surgery, medical school, or university. Also note that Orac is nonpartisan; he is more than willing to criticize the statements of anyone, regardless of of political leanings, if that anyone advocates pseudoscience or quackery. Finally, medical commentary is not to be construed in any way as medical advice.

To contact Orac: [email protected]

21 replies on “Am I that oblivious? Did I actually win?”

It’s not that I don’t think I’m any good. It’s rather that I still have a hard time believing I’m that good.

Perhaps the competition is crap. Or maybe the selection process is crap. Okay, I don’t buy either of those alternatives.

You’ve done a number of superb articles on many important topics – cancer, doctor-patient communication, anti-vaxxers, cancer-woo, and so forth. You have both heavy-weight posts and light-weight posts, both serious posts and humorous posts. You’ve tackled a number of very difficult topics (doctor-patient communication, again, the deaths of AIDS denialists and their relatives, children suffering from curable cancers because their parents believe in woo, and so on ). You may not be ‘that good’ at any one thing (well, except cancer and EneMan, where you clearly are that good) but you’re very good at a wide variety of topics.

You post frequently and consistently – there are no long unexplained silences, and no long periods without either the humorous posts or the heavy posts.

You have strong opinions, which you explain and support well, and they don’t fit neatly into any of the stereotypical boxes. Finally, your blog is old enough to have picked up something of a community before there was much competition.

Some months ago, PZ posted a list of the attributes he thought a blog needed to be successful. Other than PZ’s, yours was the first blog I thought of which had all those attributes. (Of course PZ has no hope of winning best medical blog.)

So the award is well-deserved.

Congratulations Orac. This and are definitely two of my favourite blogs.

Congratulations – This, Not Exactly Rocket Science and Neurologica are my favourite blogs. Plastic boxes of blinking lights everywhere are proud of you.

Keep fighting the good fight against the anti-vaxers and woo mongers.

Congratulations! Very well done – Orac is a blog I read most days even if I don’t comment that often.

Yay, another victory for Big Pharma – so tell us, what bonus are they paying you for spreading their lies and disinformation?
No, that’s total rubbish – I was joking.
Well done, Orac, I’ve just started reading Respectful Insolence, and voted for you too. You use that anger, get it out there, and keep up the good work.
And note, possibly gloating, that for all the power of PZ, he was beaten by a climate-change denialist website – watch out for Age of Autism next time round 😉

Orac “…I don’t go actively seeking them, I wasn’t kidding.” Off course not, that is why you ask your readers to vote for you and I in fact did. Congratulations.

Actually, what I meant is that I didn’t keep lobbying. I mentioned it once and then never mentioned it again. Heck, I didn’t even keep track of the voting. Otherwise, I would have known on Friday that i had won…

It must have been all the kava and Ginkgo that keep you so fresh and sharp. Think how much better you column would be if you released you chi! Well-deserved congratulations.

What makes a blog “that good”?

In my opinion:
1. Coherent writing style with proper grammar, spelling, and punctuation.
2. Daily posts.
3. Some semblance of mastery over blog topics.

Most blogs fail to deliver one or more of these. Thus, they are relatively more obscure. It takes discipline, time, and research to produce an award-worthy blog. Many of us have at least one great blog post. Not many of us have an entire blog that produces notable updates daily.

I do think you’re “that good”. You’re “that good” because the rest of us simply aren’t organized enough to produce good content on a reliable schedule. That’s the magic that brings readers back and makes awards roll in.

Remember, Orac — you’re a cut way above average. To you, it comes easily. Go browse LiveJournal someday to see what your comeptition is. Then maybe you’ll see just where you are on the relative scale of things!

Congrats! You deserve it! I love your style, science with a side of snark!

Oh, btw, I am getting our local DVD rental store to get the Blake’s 7 series! I can hardly wait to watch it!

You certainly deserve it, Orac.

…One thing I need to do is get my readership back up to the ~300 visits/day I used to have before I started drifting off last summer.

Guess I should try leaving more links to myself in comments when it’s on-topic.

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