Monday, August 29, 2011

cyberNephrology, what a piece of cyberCrap--updated

I was browsing the Renal Fellow Network and saw a link to a website I hadn't previously heard of, cyberNephrology. It had a prominent position on the list of Other Nephrology-Related Blogs, so I went to check it out. The prefix cyberis very 1990's and cyberNephrology does not disappoint it. It has that a few years after the zombie apocalypse  feel.

Starting at the top the What's New page links to a pair of talks from 2009.

The three large banners are role overs that open to text based pages. The communication page is essentially a link to an E-mail discussion group. In today's world of Twitter and Facebook are e-mail discussion groups relevant? Hint: No.

According to cyberNephrology, e-mail discussion groups are not only a relevant form of communication, they are the only forms of communication.

The additional resources includes a link to the Highlights of the Nephrol e-mail discussion list, last updated in 2000. A link to a Nephrology Internet Bibliography, last updated in 2002.

The nephrology related websites is a page of links to a couple of dozen large institutions and a handful of defunct links to smaller sites, The Catalan Transplant Foundation (now a squatters site) KidneyWeb (a site that brings back memories of the worst of GeoCities), (now behind a paywall). Amazingly this page claims it was updated in January 2011, though they don't show any link-love back to the Renal Fellow Network.

The Education link on the home page leads to a page that is similarly outdated with links to NKF's spring meetings up through 2008. The funniest part is that 2008 is considered next years meeting, as there is a separate link to Past meetings.

The other trip down memory lane is the link to "New Technology--Palm OS, PDA." Unfortunately, for nostalgia's sake, the link is broken.

The last target on the home page is a new vision. This leads to more gobbley gook but does place the responsibility for this load of crap at the feet of none other than PBFluids hero, Dr. Robert Schrier. Shame on you Dr. Schrier.

The new vision page includes a contact form. I sent a comment and after pressing send I was redirected to this page of crap.

What's the chance I ever hear word one from them?

There was a time when having a "homepage" counted for something, but now these are just embarrassing relics. NKF should just euthanize cyberNephrology. 

It also calls into question what type of editorial control RFN has after getting endorsed by NKF. Do the editors really feel that cyberNephrology is a worthy site that belongs on the same list as Clinical Cases-Nephrology and Dialysis from the Sharp End of the Needle? Or was cybernephrology added in deference to their new overlords?

Update 9/1/11:
About 16 hours after posting Dr. Kim Solez commented here. You can read his plans for cyberNephrology below, but part of his plans included shuttering cyberNephrology and starting a new google+ charged version of the Nephrol e-mail list serve. Additionally a number of readers have chimed in, through the comments and other communications, regarding the value of the Nephrol list serves. This maybe a case where this author judged a book by its cover.

That said Dr. Solez has not made good on his promise and cyberNephrology is still up, though I occasionally get pointed to the new NephrolPlus project (not sure what's up with that). When cyberNephrology ultimately disappears you maybe able to dig up the bones at the NKF's site, which currently carries a partial copy of cybernephrology. 

Lastly, the Renal Fellow Network has removed cyberNephrology from their website and have, to my satisfaction, established that there is no editorial control from the NKF. I feel a little foolish for pointing that finger. Sorry guys.
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