One year ago today, the four of us began writing here at Plugged In as a part of Scientific American’s new blogging network. One year – and 162 posts later – we wanted to take a moment to share our thoughts on the last year and to learn more about you. Our readers. The folks who make our comment threads come alive and our e-mail inboxes sing.

In that spirit, we would like to take a chapter from Ed Yong’s book and ask you to identify yourself, say something about your background, and tell us why you read this blog. Whatever you would like to share is fantastic, but here are a few questions to get the process started:

  1. About you - Who are you? What is your background? Where are you from? What do you do?
  2. About the subject - Where/When/How did you discover your interest in energy and/or the environment?
  3. About the blog - How did you first discover this blog? How long have you been reading it? What do you think about the blog? Do you have any favorite pieces? What could be done to make the blog better?

These questions are just a guide to get you started. Share whatever you’d like to – we would enjoy the chance to get to know you, our readers, better. But please, if you have a moment, let us hear from you.

Below are a few personal comments from each of us.

Here’s to another great year at Plugged In!

~Melissa, Scott, David, Robynne

From Scott

Hi, Scott Huler here, and I want to thank you for reading. This has been a marvelous year for us all, and I think I’ve learned two main things during this Plugged In year.

The first is what a treat it is to be part of a team. Not just the fabulous SciAmBlogs team, but the little Plugged In clique. As we’ve all found our way to different elements of energy, the environment, and our interactions with both I’ve enjoyed watching us all find different territories of special comfort. I jokingly call myself Plugged In’s official Unplugged correspondent, because of how much time I spend talking about either human-environment or human-science interactions that don’t require much science or energy at all. That is, to me the entire point of our blog and our entire joint enterprise is to pay attention. It’s been a fun year to feel like we’ve done so much of that.

The second thing I’ve learned has been the vital importance of comments threads. Science threads are especially thrilling because such a large portion of science commenters recognize the importance of politeness even when expressing fierce disagreement. In fact, fierce disagreement being such an integral part of science and science communication, managing it politely is probably one of the most important things we do.

SciAmBlog commenters in general and Plugged In commenters specifically have shown their mastery of this skill. I send special thanks to the many commenters who have called out impolite comments by others – and to those others who, realizing they had been impolite, restated or apologized. In this exalted context it becomes easier and easier to identify – and profoundly question the value of the opinions of – those who refuse to play by the rules. So remember, dear commenters: we appreciate you as you are. But if have a professional relationship to the topic we’re discussing and you don’t share it? Someone else will tell on you. We’ll know who you are. Scientists hate sneakiness, so out with it. And if you disagree? Say it loud! But as a friend’s mom used to say, you can say what you mean, but you don’t have to say it mean.

Thanks for a year of mostly niceness. And thanks for pointing out our errors where they occur.

From Melissa

Hi y’all –

Thanks to you, the other Plugged In writers, our guest authors, and the entire Scientific American community for a fantastic year.

Over the past 12 months, we have published 162 posts related to energy and the environment that we live in. We have explored some of the technical, policy, social, and economic aspects of this field in 4 unique ways – with our 4 unique voices. And, you have added layers and depth to the discussion through almost 700 comments as well as countless e-mails, facebook posts, tweets, shout-outs, crossposts,…

Thank you for being a part of this blog.

I began writing on Plugged In because I believe I wanted to help increase the constructive discussion of the interconnections between energy, the environment, and our lives. I started writing here so that I could open and join in discussions with you – our readers – on these topics.

I look forward to learning more about each of you through reading your comments on this thread, as well as your thoughts on this next year of writing on Plugged In.

Here’s to another great year!

From David

Hello, hello! Thank you for reading and commenting and emailing over this past year; it's more than just the four of us writing posts. So thanks for adding your thoughts and pointing out when you don't like something we've written.

I've taken away two big things from the last year. The first is that I really like exploring and sharing what other people are creating around the internet. If I find a unique project or group that is creating something cool and interesting, I try to share it with y'all. A couple projects that come to mind is the group trying to develop a sustainable business model for sanitation in parts of the world that don't have adequate sanitation, and 'Urbanized', the well-researched and super polished documentary on cities and urbanization, by Gary Hustwit.

The second thing, and I already alluded to it a bit, is that this blog allows me to explore the less traditional, or longer-tail topics of energy/environment/technology/policy. My interest in sanitation has grown a lot over the last year, due in large part to the amazing Rose George (seriously, I highly recommend her book The Big Necessity). Talking about poop and diseases and latrines isn't sexy and not a topic that makes the campaign trail, so I'm glad I can pile my voice on top of the other, relatively small group of poop people. Taking it a few steps before poop, food production and food policy is a topic that I've written about a little bit this last year, and something I want to explore more in the coming year.

Anyways, I encourage you to comment and email me if a post or topic stirs something within you (good or bad). Peace!

From Robynne

The past year has seen such huge environment and energy related events, including the EPA’s ability to regulate greenhouse gasses, the nation’s reaction to the Fukushima nuclear disaster, approval of the first nuclear reactor in three generations, toughened fuel economy standards for cars, an extended deadline for the Keystone XL pipeline decision, and a national heat wave that sparked both fires and drought. At Plugged In, we cover these prominent issues and the less prominent topics that don’t make national headlines.

Blogging is the slice of my work life that makes me most nervous and excited. I hope you enjoy reading the blog as much as I writing it. And I’m thrilled to have another year ahead of keepingPlugged In.

Wishing you the best.