I recently got a sort of a promotion: I am now the “Assistant Editor” of ScienceBasedMedicine.org, which is a Very Important Website (far more important than mine). It’s not a lofty title, but it’s accurate and good: I assist with a lot. I have considerable responsibility and authority, and it’s a great honour to be a trusted member of that impressive team (of which I am by far the least credentialled member). Constant association with them is basically like getting a free, high-quality, perpetual education.
I started out as a “copyeditor” in 2009, and for the last four years I’ve been rather humbly listed on the SBM contact page as the guy to contact about typos and formatting problems. Meanwhile, behind the scenes, I exceeded mere copyediting long ago. In particular, I’ve been a full editor to some of the SBM authors — real discussion and feedback about the substance of their posts — and the main contact for many guest contributors. I knew that I was a true and trusted member of the team when I composed About Science-Based Medicine, and they accepted my careful wording without so much as a tweak. The ideas were all theirs, but I busted a gut to create a really tight, effective summary (that might sound a bit lame, but good summaries of complex ideas are hard).
Then in late 2012 we had a staff meeting and I ambitiously volunteered to bite off more than I could chew, as one does. Suddenly I was up to my eyebrows in SBM projects, and spin-off projects, and various and sundry unintended consequences. My SBM-related email spiked alarmingly. And then, slowly but surely, some good things happened because I made sure they did. Now we have an amazing new volunteer keeping our Twitter account lively, medical student Bobby Hannum; an incredibly diligent true copyeditor, who chooses to be anonymous; a great new website design, thanks to Joe Fulgham of Holy Cow Design (and Caustic Soda: The Podcast); and major under-the-hood performance and security enhancements, thanks to server guru Steve Allen.
Funny thing: Drs. Novella and Gorski literally don’t know the half of what I’ve done — shh! our little secret — because I try to protect them from inbox clutter. Big part of the job. So while I am really content with the “Assistant Editor,” a more accurate descriptive would be “Super Duper Valuable Deputy Editor in Charge of Lots.”