WUWT web retooling – comments welcome

After 2.5 years with the same design, I’m looking to do an upgrade to WUWT to give it more modern features. I’ve got some professional help involved to do this. It will be a complete rework from the ground up with a new theme

I’ll be staying with wordpress.com as a host, since it solves all my bandwidth and DDoS attack issue with ease. That means I won’t be able to do wordpress plugins, such as a comment edit/preview feature that everyone asks about. I wish I could, but the security outweighs the convenience.

One thing I do plan is a way to keep the most viewed/discussed stories available on top longer. Some days they scroll off too fast when there’s a lot of news.

That said, I’m open to suggestions. Feel free to drop suggestions in comments.

Tell me what you want to keep, tell me what you want changed or improved. Brainstorm ideas. After all, its a community blog, so I value the input.

About these ads

184 thoughts on “WUWT web retooling – comments welcome

  1. Hi Anthony

    Would it be fairly easy to have a seperate tab for popular articles (along the lines of Tips & Notes), and retain the current chronological order everyone is used to?

    Andi

  2. Hotair.com has a two column format where the right column scrolls down with every new post going on top. Posts that have some reason to stay up longer get moved to the left column where they scroll down slower.

    That seems to work well. If I want to read everything then I look to the right. If I want only the more interesting posts then I look left.

  3. Anthony,
    I am sad to hear the upgrade bug has bitten you. I love the site just as is. But if you must do changes, please keep it simple as you can. It is the words — the facts — here that matter and not the “look and feel”.

    One man’s opinion; worth every penny you paid for it. :-)

  4. When I want to look at some of the items low on the list of “Reference Pages”, the topic line has to be right at the top of the page, or else I can’t get to the bottom items. So, I have to scroll the topics up, and then move my cursor down to the item. Would it be possible to have the items in a double column, rather than single?

  5. “.. more modern features”
    More features that are modern, or features that are more modern? ;-)
    Either way, I hope you don’t lose the simplicity

  6. Any chance of getting rid of the html requirement, and substituting the highlight and click (for bold, italics etc) feature? Apart from being clunky and slow, the manual html seems to cause a lot of formatting errors when users make an accidental error.

  7. I agree with markstoval (12:10 p.m.)
    Personally, I would read everything up here, whatever the format. I regularly go to:

    http://www.numberwatch.co.uk/

    which is probably the worst laid out site of all time but the content is well worth it.
    This means it doesn’t matter how I feel so do whatever you consider serves the needs of the site and the message!
    Best wishes from the UK.

  8. In the comments section it is very helpful to have reply comments embedded (and indented) so that you can follow the thread of a discussion rather than having to scroll down to see @so-and-so or so-and-so says with the reply.

    I also think the right side is too long (TMI). Perhaps link buttons like Recent Posts, Recent Comments, Blogs, Publications etc and you can click to see them rather than having them all listed.

    Maybe too many links on the top menu bar (under the graphic) as well.

    A picture of A Watts on the top right-hand side would personalize the site a bit more. After all he’s a pretty good looking guy ;)

    The information and discussion on this site is still the key to me (and it’s great) so keep up the great work.

  9. Anthony

    I get the feeling that the number of articles carried in any one week has increased over the years. This means that an article that is just getting into its stride with comments is suddenly bumped down the list when a new one is listed and as a result the number of comments drops as people swarm over to the new article.

    As a consequence i feel that the breadth and depth of discussion has , on the whole, diminished.
    Would it be possible to run fewer stories or alternatively design the site so that the last five articles are all featured prominently in ‘top’ position?
    Tonyb

  10. I agree with Tallbloke. Please do not add “thumbs up” and “thumbs down” icons. It discourages thinking and reduces the quality of the discussion.

    I like the format of the site quite well as it is. The only thing that I find difficult is searching through the mountains of posts to find something that I read previously and would like to refer to again.

  11. Doug says:

    September 2, 2012 at 12:15 pm

    When I want to look at some of the items low on the list of “Reference Pages”, the topic line has to be right at the top of the page, or else I can’t get to the bottom items. So, I have to scroll the topics up, and then move my cursor down to the item. Would it be possible to have the items in a double column, rather than single?
    =========================
    I used to do the same thing, until I discovered that leaving the cursor positioned anywhere over the list of topics, and then scroll with the mouse wheel to show the bottom items.
    Did that make sense ?

  12. I understand there will be built in limits. One feature I’d like to see is the ability to search for comments made by an idividual across post. ” F” will find words in a particular post but it would be nice to search across post.
    (I’ve made comments that I’d like to recall that are now archived but don’t remember when I made them.)
    Another feature might be the ability to mark a comment as “read/unread”. Sometimes when a post becomes “hot”, loading all the comments bogs things down for those of that are still using hammers and chisels.

  13. That shout be “Contol key “F”‘

    AHHHHHHHH!
    “Shout” should be “should”.
    PS How about “spell check”?

  14. I am quite happy with the site layout and don’t really need any radical changes, the only thing I would really like to see improved is the discussion. It would be really nice if it was possible to respond to a particular comment rather than to add yet another comment downstream … and subsequently for the commenter to see instantly who replied. What I would like best is if “root comments” were always visible and replies/discussion to them was hidden initially with an option to show them per comment, similarly how it’s done e.g. on this site:

    http://www.zive.cz/clanky/zpravy-a-tyden-zive-hromada-stroju-s-windows-8/sc-3-a-165233/default.aspx?artcomments=1

    (sorry it’s in czech, I don’t know about any english example; you can unroll discussion to each comment by clicking on “odpovědi” below the comment)

    … but I’m afraid it won’t be possible given the WordPress constraints.

  15. Remove the “Recent Comments” section from the sidebar. It pollutes Google search results of WUWT with multiple entries.

    Tonyb wrote:

    I get the feeling that the number of articles carried in any one week has increased over the years. This means that an article that is just getting into its stride with comments is suddenly bumped down the list when a new one is listed and as a result the number of comments drops as people swarm over to the new article.

    Agreed, but moderating all those discussions must be burdensome.

    Why not have a separate unmoderated forum (perhaps even on a separate site) for people to continue discussions? That is, after a few days, comments are closed for each article and a link is provided to the relevant section in the forum.

  16. security outweighs the convenience

    Ain’t that the truth.

    On the other hand, Drudge’s cutting edge design is good for 900,000,000 or so hits a month.

    On the gripping hand, a ton of horrible javascript & maybe a big flash intro would keep jerks like me away. ;)

  17. My only recommendation is to avoid big bang changes. My long time standard recommendation is to introduce new features one or two at a time so you can gauge the reaction to each one of them accurately. If you throw twenty new things in all at once, the comments both good and bad simply get lost in the noise. I also find that if you throw too much change in all at once, excellent new features may not get explored at all by the users and fall to the wayside because other new features, particularly the bad ones, are grabbing all the attention.

  18. Clean and simple for people without university bandwidth. You have a great site here, content is king. So add a ‘thumbs down’ on commenter thumb ratings. :-)

    All that said, an index or extended TOC feature might be welcomed.

  19. Second TonyB’s observation. Substantive posts often get buried under ones that are trite but newer.

    Why is it that using wordpress.com as a host prevents use of wordpress plugins? Seems counterintuituve…

  20. Every so often I’d like to include a chart or graph with a comment – could that be an option, within reasonable limits of size?

  21. Roger Sowell said on September 2, 2012 at 12:02 pm:

    It would be nice to have a way to indicate agreement or disagreement with a comment. Perhaps a “thumbs up” and “thumbs down” button or icon.

    This was tried once before using the wordpress plug-in for it. Killed page loading on dial-up as each instance in each comment was something else to load, plus wreaked havoc on slower machines, those with less memory, older browsers, etc. For each comment there were separate bits for an up thumb and a down thumb to download and monitor, and the counters, the continual “phoning home” to check the counts for each and every comment… I had to use AdBlock to get rid of all of that to make WUWT readable again.

    Unless wordpress comes up with a better plug-in, best to never try that again.

  22. “Recent Comments” is one of my favourite features. Please keep it. I would like to see it move back towards the top.

    The ability to switch to a larger font size is a choice I often appreciate on a website.

  23. Anthony,
    Would it be possible to automatically insert a “more…” link within a comment(s) that runs more than one paragraph (or 6 or 7 lines) in length? This would allow faster skimming through comments and faster page loading for those with slow connections. Also, it might compel those who tend to be long-winded to get to their point.

  24. I believe you can have a preview option via having a wordpress account linked?

    I would ask for an edit button limited to typo correction, but that would certainly change the moderation process.

  25. The solar reference pages are a mess. many graphs have no axis labelling, and some expanatory text would be helpful.

  26. Anthony,

    I have no issues with the on-line format. I concur with others that you keep the changes to a minimum. I defer to others what is needed and in what priority.

    However, I would like to see either changes to make your blog more mobile friendly or to have the ability to detect a mobile device and serve up an optimized (smaller) version. Your current layout is not mobile-reader-friendly in that only a limited amount of text shows initially. Fine but there is usually not enough text to judge my potential interest in the post, so I have to follow the link to the full page, which is definitely mobile friendly, at least not for a Verizon Driod x.

    Thanks for considering changes…love the blog.

    David Charlton

  27. Richard Keen said September 2, 2012 at 1:26 pm:

    Every so often I’d like to include a chart or graph with a comment – could that be an option, within reasonable limits of size?

    That currently requires administrative/moderator privileges. Which is good, as it should not be something mere commentators are allowed to do.

    Here’s why. Some anonymous someone drops by, puts a graph into their comment using a link to an online pic service somewhere. Moderator checks graph, approves, comment with graph posted.

    A month later when no one is looking, the pic at link is changed from the graph to kiddie pr0n or something similarly offensive and objectionable. Notification goes out that WUWT has posted the content, to government authorities, media, politicians, wordpress, etc. End of WUWT, with massive legal fees and possible jail time and other punishments for Anthony and moderators.

    So mere commentators cannot post charts or graphs or pics with their comments, and that’s how it should be.

    Heck, I worry about wordpress letting in the YouTube video links. When someone links to an hour-plus feature that no moderator has the time to fully preview, who knows what’s really in there?

  28. If the video ad underneath the main post is profitable, ignore this comment. It it’s not, I wish you could just make it go away. Or else make it appear somewhere else. It delays the appearance of main text – minor annoyance, all things considered.

  29. 1. I’d like to see the Recent Posts section moved up in the sidebar, ideally all the way to the top. At present, after I’ve got to the end of one thread and want to check out where I want to go next, I have to hit Home, then page-down seven times to get to it.

    2. I’d like to see WUWT’s threads referred to as threads or articles, not posts. A post means a comment, to me.

    3. Amazon and a few other sites have a clever way of linking Replies to Comments. Each Reply is tagged with a clickable link that says “In reply to “, and hovering over that link brings up the first half-dozen lines of that comment without having to click on it.

    4. I wish the “Post Comment” button weren’t usually below the edge of the screen, forcing one to click outside the comment box and move down-page to get to it.

    5. Tips and Notes shouldn’t be allowed to grow too large.

    6. Teaser-titles on threads are bad because they don’t get correctly indexed by Google, I suspect. And they make it hard to browse the archives when searching for material on a topic. Boring, descriptive titles with common keywords are better. Make the teaser-title a subtitle. Or, if that won’t do, provide descriptive subtitles.

    7. There should be a permanent sister-thread to Tips and Notes that consists only of links to recent threads in other skeptical sites that are noteworthy for one reason or another, but not “newsworthy”, which is the focus of Tips and Notes. There are probably lots of good threads elsewhere that don’t get enough attention here.

    8. Have a typo-report button, so article authors and Mods get notified privately, but regular thread-readers don’t get offended by us sticklers.

    9. Provide a way to view all of a poster’s posts. This would help in researching what others had said–and also in retrieving one’s own earlier remarks when a topic previously discussed comes up again.

    10. I endorse this idea:

    Gary Pearse says: March 31, 2011 at 12:14 pm
    “To raise the quality of comments, it would seem a good idea to highlight in some way the 10 best (or some such) comments of the week as an incentive to be on topic, have a good take, be succinct, be informative (or possibly entertaining).”

    How about another permanent thread, one where everyone can copy and paste their favorite quotes? (With a per-day and per-week limit for each submitter.) This Best-Of thread would be an attractive entrance point for newbies.

  30. Comments longer than 2 screens are often poor quality rants. So I agree with Duke C: condense comments over 7 lines with “more,” if practical. [I'll expand anything from from Lucy, Leif, Bob Tisdale, Mosher-san, RGB, Tallbloke, Frank Lansner, and a few others.]

    Agree with johanna re application of HTML codes on highlighted text, if feasible.

    Agree with Steve from Rockwood: I don’t use the “Recent” stuff feature, but it would be nice to be able to expand or link to the list, if feasible.

    Agree with Gunga Din re cross-comment searches. I could still use a general web search to find my old posts, if Gunga’s suggestion is too much trouble.

  31. tallbloke says:
    September 2, 2012 at 12:15 pm
    Disagree with Roger Sowell. People who disagree or want to say “me too” should do so in words, not by waving arms.

    See your point, but I think encouraging everyone to concur with a particular statement by issuing another statement to a similar effect to the one concurred with would often result in too many words buzzing around the same flame. I would go a third way, with the also-familiar format of choosing yes or no on whether you ‘found this point useful.’ Often times points I may not simply back or like are still useful and I want to flag that it’s the quality of a point rather than it’s particular angle that earns respect rather than an actual –often literally political– vote.

  32. Forget the column thing. The ICECAP site is a good example of a bad presentation. Also, kindly keep the back ground White. All those colors on Jo Nova, not necessarily annoying, but distracting. Great site.

  33. From JJ on September 2, 2012 at 1:16 pm:

    Why is it that using wordpress.com as a host prevents use of wordpress plugins? Seems counterintuituve…

    There’s a small suite of plug-ins available for free wordpress-dot-com accounts. There are more provided with paid accounts. The selections are decided on by wordpress-dot-com management, what they allow is what you can have.

    If using the free wordpress software available at wordpress-dot-org on server space they themselves provide, site owners have a much larger suite of available plug-ins to play with. ComicPress with WordPress is a popular choice for online cartoonists, for example.

  34. Anthony,
    I am disappointed that you are thinking of changing the format of WUWT as I find it one of the best web-sites to use and look at and search through, at present on the web. Why change a winning format. What counts is the content not how it is tricked up or decorated. I love the site just as it is. Please keep it as simple as you can.if you must fiddle with it.

  35. ossqss says:
    September 2, 2012 at 1:38 pm

    “I believe you can have a preview option via having a wordpress account linked?

    I would ask for an edit button limited to typo correction, but that would certainly change the moderation process.”

    Get Firefox, and download the CA Assistant from climateaudit. Adds preview and shortcut buttons to WUWT’s input box. No wordpress account necessary.

  36. kadaka (KD Knoebel) says:
    September 2, 2012 at 2:03 pm
    “Heck, I worry about wordpress letting in the YouTube video links. When someone links to an hour-plus feature that no moderator has the time to fully preview, who knows what’s really in there?”

    youtube has their own content flagging system; and current flash players show a preview thumbnail when you hover the mouse over the horicontal time axis.

  37. Another vote for keeping it simple. The more bells and whistles, the more distractions from just reading the posts and comments, the slower the loading, the greater chance of something going wrong.

    One thing, though. I noticed another Steve C above, who isn’t me. Any way of maintaining links between commenters’ names and emails, with perhaps a ‘name already in use’ message, or is that another security/privacy abyss waiting to open up?

    And hello to the other Steve – nothing personal, you understand, but it was a bit of a surprise coming across myself before I’d commented …

  38. D.I. says:
    I think that linking replies to comments would be useful.

    Indented replies can work well, as it keeps related comments together. But too many indents may make a thread unreadable.

    A preview button would be good, and buttons to auto apply simple HTML, such is bold.

    But I like the general layout of the site

  39. If possible standardize on an image size for every post, at least in the short version off the main page.

    What would be nice is a post of the week auto pinned to the top.

  40. Il ike your blog just the way it is.

    If you do make any changes I would definitely recommend against a “like,” “dislike” buttons as I feel this makes it too easy for trolls to trash any given post. “like” and “dislike” are, in a manner of thinking just a way of getting a consensus.

    As several poster above have mentioned I think a “more”/”less” option for long posts would be a good choice.

    In any case thanks Anthony for a great site.

  41. ossqss said September 2, 2012 at 1:44 pm:

    Just for the record. The window for using older equipment and older operating systems is closing.

    http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows/help/end-support

    Leaving the doorway to switching to Linux still wide open.

    The era of forced obsolescence to accommodate the M$ desire for obscene profits should be over. The wake-up call was the foisting of bloated DRM-enforcing spyware as the new Vista system, which was hugely rejected by businesses, governments, and individuals.

    I just upgraded Debian on two laptops and a PC. The entire Debian distribution is available for about $15 for an 8-DVD set from assorted vendors, which includes the OS and thousands of free software programs for virtually anything you want to do, with many alternatives to assorted commercial offerings waiting to be installed. Only one set needed for as many machines as I want, with the caveats that there are different versions for 32 and 64 bit systems and for different processor families.

    But I could have downloaded all of it for free, and there is a “net install” version which only downloads what you need and want. Other Linux distributions are also available, also free for the download.

    How much would I have shelled out to upgrade Windoze on all three machines, provided M$ decided it would still allow me to use my old hardware? I’m finishing up the assembling of a new 64-bit machine. What does M$ demand for a fresh install of their latest OS?

  42. Try making it wider. You can edit the PHP. I get tired of the scrolling. The downside is it might make people write longer comments to fill what they perceive as empty space (you could put the posts in a div of fixed width to preserve the current characteristics. A large postive would be posts benefitting from more space available for larger images with plenty of room for text. Maybe start with 50% wider and see how that looks.

  43. I’ll repeat what others have asked for: My number one request is to have a preview function for posting with HTML.

    • yes and the preview html function is the one item I said at the beginning we couldn’t have due to plug in requirements

  44. If you can manage to improve the site without damaging anything, I guess that’s good. But my personal feeling is that the internet would be a far less annoying place if web site designers operated on an “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” basis. The constant replacement of simple, basic HTML that works with complex stuff that doesn’t is a pita.

    I can’t think of anything about the site that is sufficiently annoying that it HAS to be fixed.

  45. 1. I like to keep trrack of what I’ve read by position on the page. So, if you keep popular articles on top, it will be (a little) more work for me.

    2. I like the look & feel as is, so please don’t make changes just for the sake of making changes. (Yours is one of the web sites that I visit a couple of times a day. I regularly forward your links to friends who are running for office.)

  46. I have one notable problem with the general site layout.

    At the top toolbar, when I mouse over “Reference Pages”, the resulting vertical bar of pages occupies all the space in the browser window on this laptop (1024×768). I have to precisely place “Reference Pages” right at the top of the window to get it all in, the menu does not have scroll option.

    Before you add any other reference pages, can you shorten that somehow, maybe add sub-menus to that bar?

  47. Holy Dooley the perfessor is a Yankee-Doodle! Have the academic standards in WA dropped so much that Oz has to import its looney tunes? I’d have thought there was an over abundance of home grown clowns.

  48. Formatting buttons and the ability to reply inline, under specific posts.
    This seems to be a standard format these days, but don’t know if wordpress supports this.

    Almost all of the mainstream media have accepted the fact that they have to allow comments to articles. MSNBC, and others have dealt with their mostly negative comments by only showing the last 10 or so comments. That prevents ongoing threads staying alive for very long. It really does not allow any in depth discussion and so they have escaped accountability for their slanted, biased articles.

    There should be a way to keep a lively discussion alive.

  49. Agree with many that big changes are rarely a good idea.

    NESTING :: Bad idea. That would be a drastic, huge change! Just take a look at Climate Audit or Judith Curry’s for how bad it can get once you are a few levels deep.

    EDITING :: Sounds good on paper but there would be thousands of edits all the time (!). Moderating is hard enough, editing would make it impossible. It works okay and is practically a necessity on highly technical blogs but there are different policies in place such as one-strike and your out, to keep the membership honest. WordPress is not designed for this, other software is, such as IDB.

    PREVIEW :: Also sounds good on paper but I never see it for sites without editing. If they have such a thing for one non-editable comments it would be great of course.

    SUGGESTION :: Add a button or link or contact form to each thread for people that feel the necessity to offer factual and spelling and other corrections to the moderators so they can keep them out of the permanent comments. Alternatively you might just enforce a rule that all comments with corrections are deleted in moderation and ask commenters to submit separate posts for commentary and corrections. Typically a typo in the top post will lead to a string of permanent comments about it, with Anthony or mods having to say “done” over and over.

    SUGGESTION :: I always felt that in the comment section text area, the margins were a little too big. In other words there is extra whitespace to the left and right of the comment text. If you scroll to where it says xx Responses (right above the first comment) you see that the left margin is increased further compared to the top post, the right one matches it, but really both are too big leaving shorter sentences as a result. Perhaps the actual page width itself should also be widened but that might screw up mobile screens.

    BUG :: There is that strange bug in the comment box, a javascript or CSS error that seems to almost randomly decide what height to make it. Sometimes it jumps to full size of the text you paste in, at other times it is 3 lines high (right this very second the SOB is exactly 3 lines high. Arrrghh!). The programmer responsible should be waterboarded. And then punished. This seems to be confined to this blog, not other WordPress sites that I have seen.

    BUG :: The cookies for WordPress might be set to expire too quickly (my speculation, haven’t researched it). Sometimes you need to login to WordPress to post, sometimes not, there is no rhyme or reason to the interval either. This is on all WordPress blogs. But I’m not sure if it is browser dependent or not, sorry. And it might be between WordPress and Gravatar.

    Overall, it is nearly perfect now, I would suggest only bug fixes and choose whatever theme very carefully!

  50. Please DO NOT add the “like/dislike” (thumbs up/thumbs down) to your site.

    Many a site gets itself bogged down with the popularity contests that comes with this feature – people bragging about number of likes, or upset at the number of dislikes. It also draws out the trolls who will show up to try and “downgrade” a particular post or poster.

    One site in particular (WeatherUnderground) added this feature, and tied the ability to see “good” posts based on the number of dislikes – allowing people to deliberately “dislike” everything a particular poster says (no matter what the content), making posters disappear, and forcing admin to go in and clear out the counters.

    I personally don’t care if someone likes or dislikes a post I make. They’ll have every opportunity to comment on it later on.

  51. Personally I could do without the ~20 second dead pause that Facebook imposes on each and every one of your pages at open time (that is for those that have opt-ed out of the Facebook party and run at high security themselves☺).

  52. Comment – Right now WUWT is a site that is pretty mobile-friendly. Please don’t go for too many bells&whistles that complicates (or slows) rendering for mobile devices. Some sites just overly complicate with too much ancillary content.

    Wants- Other than that – I enjoy the reading blogs with the ‘nested’ comment feature – as it makes commenting more relevant and ‘punchy’…? Not sure if it is possible, but it is a ‘nice to have’ features vs. the ‘must haves’ like security and mobile device support.

    Great job Anthony!

  53. TFNJ says: September 2, 2012 at 1:53 pm

    The solar reference pages are a mess.

    The biggest issue I saw was a bunch of broken links due to the shut down of Japan’s National Institute of Information and Communications Technology (NICT):

    “The NICT Real-time Space Weather Simulation Service ended at the end of March 2012 because the lease period of the supercomputer for the real-time simulation expired and because a supercomputer for the real-time service will not be immediately available. We plan to develop more accurate and practical space environment models, hoping to be able to resume the real-time simulation in the near future. http://www.nict.go.jp/en/terminated-web-service.html

    I’ve removed these broken links.

    Many graphs have no axis labelling

    We can’t really help with the axis labeling, WUWT is simply an aggregator, all of the data is linked from third party sources. You would need to go to the source of a particular graph in order to try to get the axis labels added/changed.

    some expanatory text would be helpful.

    Can you be more specific, e.g. are there particular graphs or sections where explanatory text would be helpful?

  54. Old Ranga from Oz says:
    September 2, 2012 at 5:06 pm
    “Please keep the present font size, Anthony. So easy to read. Much appreciated by many of us.”

    Use “ctrl +” to magnify the font size in your browser, “ctrl -” to decrease again. Works in firefox and IE.

  55. Anthony,
    In general, I think the site works very well–it’s clean, as many have said, and easy to read.
    I’ve found contributing articles confusing, though. The main thing is that when I send in an article pasted from Word, the formatting is lost, including paragraphing. It would be nice to get a WSIWYG submission window, including graphics (submitting graphics is also a bit complicated). Perhaps a bit more explanation of how to submit would help.

  56. kadaka (KD Knoebel) says:
    September 2, 2012 at 4:00 pm
    “I just upgraded Debian on two laptops and a PC. The entire Debian distribution is available for about $15 for an 8-DVD set from assorted vendors, ”

    Debian is always 2 years behind the curve. I would currently recommend Ubuntu for normal users.

    Debian has silly issues with Firefox. The Firefox logo is copyrighted but cost-free; this violates Debian’s “everything must be free” dogma so they forked the project and call their browser IceWeazel.

    And Debby and Ian are no more together.

  57. Amino Acids in Meteorites says:
    September 2, 2012 at 4:37 pm
    “Too bad you can’t make advertizing dollars like Lubos does.”

    Do you use an ad blocker? WUWT has google ads between the article and the comments.

  58. If possible, I think some form of nested comments would be amazing. Much easier to follow multi-commented discussions.

  59. Anthony,
    I like the current format of WUWT. I have often used it as an example to others for how an effective website should look.

    However, if you absolutely must make changes please keep the following in mind:
    1) Please don’t reduce the font size. Some of us with older eyes have a much harder time seeing small detail.
    2) Please don’t add more columns. More columns simply means that I have to scroll further down to read the articles or you have to reduce to font size to fit more words in the same space.
    3) Please keep the background white. Using images for backgrounds is the number one reason that I cannot read certain websites. I use the net to gather information. If I have to slow down and slough through a website to read it, I will get my info elsewhere.
    4) Please keep the chronological layout of the main page. Do not add more than 1 or 2 pinned articles as the top items. When I visit your site, I expect to see the newest items at the top. If I refresh the page and do not see a newer article at the top, I assume that nothing has been added. This means I occasionally miss newly posted articles. If you pin more articles as “top articles,” I will have to scroll down every time I refresh to see if there is something new. In this case I will most likely stop reading WUWT very frequently.

    Minor changes I would like to see:
    1) Thumbs up/thumbs down voting on comments. I have often wanted to agree (or disagree) with a comment, but did not wish to pollute the comment stream with an additional “me too” type of useless comment.
    2) Add a “reply to” to the comments. This would save the hassle of having to cut and paste other peoples comments before replying to them. It would also keep comment strings together and not sprinkled throughout the other comments. This would add a lot of readability.
    3) Add a “see more” feature to the comments. This would initially limit long comments to 5-10 lines and allow full viewing if the reader is interested.

    Thank you for the opportunity to give my feedback as you decide on potential changes. The community here at WUWT is a very important part of the readers’ experience.

    Respectfully,
    wermet

  60. It is hard to deal with this site if you don’t read it every day. “Recent Posts” should be shorter and near the top, followed by a link to an Archive index… a page which begins a reverse chron index of all posts.

    If I’m gone for a week, it seems that I have to keep hitting the link to the previous story until I reach familiar ground… one article at a time. Usually I want to read all articles, but it’s a pain getting back somewhere so one can follow the interwoven activity. (Or to find a story that one saw sometime in the past month.)

  61. John S says:
    September 2, 2012 at 4:12 pm
    “I’ll repeat what others have asked for: My number one request is to have a preview function for posting with HTML.
    Anthony Watts says:
    September 2, 2012 at 4:16 pm
    “yes and the preview html function is the one item I said at the beginning we couldn’t have due to plug in requirements”

    Perhaps a button that displays the message “Why didn’t you read what I already posted, dumb ass” would be appropriate.

  62. Is it possible to add a sequence number to each post? I have seen it elsewhere but can’t think of the blog at present. This also helps with referring to previous posts, you can simply say Boris Badenov (#33) says…, and it allows you do quickly scroll to roughly where the post is.

    Not much else needs changing. If it ain’t broke…

  63. Anthony,
    please keep the current general design, its so easy to read!

    Many of the other sites that have “updated” are now significantly more difficult to read – or have confusing fonts. Take Jo Nova – great content, but bolded words can actually be smaller, highlighted live links come up light brown, and diagram legends can be 6 point or smaller!. The old Jo Nova layout was much easier to read.

  64. My only issue is one that has caused me to stop bothering to read comments. You get far too many responses to keep up with everything. The only answer is some sort of filtering when viewers look at comments.

    The like/dislike type of feature has some weaknesses, as others have mentioned. One way to address those weaknesses is to only have moderators do the voting.

    Another entirely different approach is to have moderators do some sort of categorizing of the responses. Such categories might be “Additional technical discussion”, “Expressing outrage at the misbehavior”, “Saying thanks for sharing that”, etc.

    To prevent this from being a burden on your moderators, it needs a simple method of categorizing the comments, such as a set of “approve” buttons, each with a category.,

    Joe Dunfee

  65. Adding a Date to the Recent Posts and having some kind of last week, week before type navigation would be helpful. Also if the ‘search’ could have a qualifier so indicate that you are searching on coments or searching on the Post and allows a not-before date and have a Google like search (mandiroty word/phrase, oeional word prhase) then the site would be more useful as a reference.

  66. Oh, and please don’t make the face any smaller, serif, or even more gray. Judith’s site is hard on the eyes due to all of these factors even at ‘large font’ and at 175% zoom. I noticed others have requested the same in thier comments, and I agree. Others can reduce it to 75% if they have excellent eyes (so far) and like compact text. I think we all too used to be that way before the many years of staring at a monitor!

  67. vukcevic says:
    September 2, 2012 at 2:31 pm
    if ain’t broke don’t fix it !
    ==========================================

    Yes, I agree 100%.

    I read somewhere that (Quote: “Normal people believe that if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it;
    Engineers believe if it ain’t broke then it doesn’t have enough features”)

    I’ve seen more than one web site turned to FUBAR.
    Please leave everything alone as no changes are needed!

  68. Two More …

    VOTING :: Some of the posters may not have been here but one year ago comment voting was tried here and it was murder on usability, dragging down page loads and adding vertical space to each comment so the thread actually became physically longer. It also takes away something from the professional appearance with added clutter. Jump between JoNova and WUWT to see the difference. This one is better left dead IMHO.

    SUGGESTION :: Apropos of what someone else said, you may want to design separate CSS styles to be used on the top post to help differentiate between what you write and what the author of the article writes. For example a style with italics and a certain font and color for your intro called ‘Anthony’. Another one with different elements called ‘Article’. Then you just wrap HTML tags around the two sections like so …

    <DIV CLASS=”Anthony”>Your intro text here</DIV>

    <DIV CLASS=”Article”>Posted article here</DIV>

  69. A thumbs up/down would help along with the option to rank by user feedback. However that tends to weight the first comments much higher than later ones.
    I like detailed categories to help find similar articles.
    Lengthen the number of top posts eg from 5 to 10.

  70. Interested in double columns. When composing a response, I often have to scroll back quite a way, find an author, copy an extract, scroll back down to ‘leave a reply’ paste it, repeat for another quote from another blogger. Lots of time spent scrolling and visual searching with the reply box open and part finished.

    Australian government is talking about getting more and more intrusive, censorship, etc. If your silo can be hardened, that would be good.

  71. Don’t change your system for no good reason. What features do you look to gain? If you have good reason to change, dump wordpress. Consider moveable type.

    Disclaimer: I have no relationship with moveable type, but I know wordpress sucks, blogspot is limited, and Perl is best scripting language in the world.

  72. From u.k.(us) on September 2, 2012 at 12:41 pm:

    I used to do the same thing, until I discovered that leaving the cursor positioned anywhere over the list of topics, and then scroll with the mouse wheel to show the bottom items.
    Did that make sense ?

    To fix the same problem I have with the “Reference Pages” tab?

    Not if you don’t have a mouse wheel on your laptop! And there are still mice out there without scroll wheels.

    But now that you mention it, this old ThinkPad has both the red pointer stick button (which I use) and the touchpad (which annoys me) for mouse-like functions. Under Debian, the right edge of the touchpad has a scroll wheel-like function. Tried it, works like you said.

    However, this machine was set up for dual-boot “just in case” with an XP partition. (Came with the COA sticker. Rarely use it.) XP doesn’t give me any scrolling function.

  73. Suggestion:

    A two-column “front page” article format with one column showing the blogged articles in reverse chronological order and the second showing articles with recent comments.

    Active discussions relating to older postings then maintain “equal” priority with new ones. If things are “slow”, then articles will appear close to each other in both columns — there some more thinking about the value of eliminating/”compressing” those “duplicates”. My personal thinking is that people will scan either one column or the other so an optimisation will lead to some people failing to see articles. But then I’m not a cognitive psychologist. Maybe Lewandoofski has some “input”. ;-)

    Sticky articles in the header bar above the two columns.

  74. Hsre are my thoughts, for what they’re worth.

    1 Nested/Indented Replies – Several blogs I like use this in comment, and it makes it much easier to follow discusion the first time I read a thread… Which is usually also the ONLY time, as it means each time I check for new posts I have to look through the whole thread. So, good for reading a discusion, not so good for HAVING a discusion.

    2 Like/Dislike button – I have to agree that this leaves a lot of room for abuse. But having everyone posting to say “I agree with so and so” can really clutter up a thread. What I’ve seen some do is reply to a post they agree with with a “+1″ (Judith Curry does this often) What about a +1 button? If you strongly agree with a post, give it your vote. If you strongly disagree, post why.

    3 See more button on comment – Oh God Yes! So many rants and manifestos. I would suggest a cut off of about 20 lines, that way you’re not having to “open” every other post. And usually by the first page you can tell if it’s an in depth discusion of a relavent topic or the 30th repeate of the author’s favorite 8 page rant.

  75. As per other comments, the ability to have comments to a particular post indented, such as the format on Forbes blogs.

  76. Almah Geddon says:
    September 2, 2012 at 6:44 pm
    Is it possible to add a sequence number to each post? I have seen it elsewhere but can’t think of the blog at present. This also helps with referring to previous posts, you can simply say Boris Badenov (#33) says…, and it allows you do quickly scroll to roughly where the post is.

    Agreed. (Or one can quickly “find” “#33″.)

    Also, if the site adopts the suggestion of allowing buttons to be clicked to create italics etc. in comments, there should be a button for “block-quoting” (indenting and italicizing). I find the feature improves the comprehensibility of a comment (see above), but it’s a pain to type in the tags at present.

  77. Regarding the side-bar:

    The side-bar eats up valuable real estate on a fixed-width format, especially if you adopt my suggestion of two columns of articles on the front page. You can still provide the side-bar on article pages, etc.

    Otherwise:

    Too many different things in the side-bar. De-cruddification will help people to locate what they want and make your adverts stand out more. ;-)

    The postings calendar of postings is useless, IMNSHO.

    You can (vertically) compress the archives section by seleting a pull-down list option or using a click-through or pull-down selector for years 2006-2012 and months Jan-Dec.

    Tag cloud can live in the footer.

    Paste your bloggies, etc. in the banner area. (Tallbloke manages this for RSS, etc)

    Provide a page of tools. (similar to Tips, etc.)

  78. Anthony,
    Agree with the comment that changes should be gradual not significant in one shot.
    I don’t know if it is even practical but possibly an option for the author to provide a final summary of the initial post along with a brief analysis of significant comments incorporating significant contributions and rebutting erroneous claims. One of the problems I have on conplex subjects which I have limited knowledge is to decide which comments to “believe” and which to reject and I would welcome the author’s summary (Optional).
    Keep up the outstanding contribution to science, I often send your stuff to others unlesss the material is too technical/complex for them to wade through. You are helping to get the message out!!

  79. Threaded comments (nesting replies:

    Overall a fair idea but with limits to say a level of sbout 3. Otherwise they become unreadable due to indents.

    “Titles” for comments would be nice to have on occasion.

    Look for an “engine” that allows readers to “collapse” the threads with the possibility of remembering via user cookies which ones were collapsed – and highlighting the collapsed ones with newer replies. (CA Assistant doesn’t assist in that respect.)

  80. For ipads users, a newest to oldest on comments option would be helpful, scrolling a long post of commments is very cumbersome. Or, pages of say,20 posts each. Other than that,a summary page of the issues with the best links provided that i can direct people to. To the ones i direct here, some get lost In the recent posts not finding the bigger picture they are looking for. Overall simple and clean is what I like the best.

  81. There’s nothing wrong with the look of the site. Why are you messing with it? You have the all important characters per line dead right (Between 66 the Bringhurst optimum, and 90). You generally stay away from flashy plug-ins. It’s great as is.

    You are suffering from Politicians Logic (In the words of the Great Sir Humphrey Appleby):
    “Something must be done. This is something. Therefore we must do it.”

  82. I often come here and rarely have anything of value to add. But I read. On the other hand sometimes I read and still, the article is over my head.

    I would love an associated wiki that let some subset of users that you approve of detail the various posts, enumerate / link sources of climate data, provide details of how modeling works, post links to software analysis tools, list and organize the various arguments pro and con regarding AGW, list the important papers, outline the timeline of climate change, and all that stuff.

  83. Anthony,
    An after thought to my comment above re final summary.

    It would seem to me that each of these summaries could be a chapter in one or more published books that would broaden the exposure to a greater audience for a long time period down the road.
    There are a lot of books or other technical publications at least in the engineering community that are based on a series of papers/documents.
    Lots of effort, yes!! But if completed as “you go” it would be a valuable resource that might gain penetration beyond the blog community

  84. tallbloke says:
    September 2, 2012 at 12:15 pm
    Disagree with Roger Sowell. People who disagree or want to say “me too” should do so in words, not by waving arms.

    Hear, hear! I get quite a bit of pleasure from the banter (including vigorous disagreements, which I welcome to my own posts) in this present format. The up/down option irks me on other sites, and it is a lazy way to register support or disagreement.

    You’ve greatly improved this site since I first started to visit, Anthony, but I understand your desire to freshen things up. Encouraging banter as we do is very healthy for the community and generates some really great ideas, I hope we can keep doing this!
    Best, Charles the DrPH
    p.s. I miss REP!

  85. Typically, “upgrade” means less user friendly and “modern” means slower. Microsoft is well known for this. Is Vista really better than XP? Benchmarks show it is a lot slower. Many features no longer work.

    For one of your previous “upgrades” to WUWT, I had to change systems just to post comments. Other wordpress.com sites still work fine on my old system, but this one requires a new system. Whatever you do, please test it on older operating systems and browsers.

    Unless a change truly adds improved functionality, it is probably a bad idea.

    BTW, I agree with sdsparky, reading comments on an ipad is very painful. That would be worth fixing.

  86. I appreciate the way people insert comics and photos and videos and would do so myself but I don’t know how. Perhaps a Help Page link to assist us non-coding types would allow us to enhance our submissions. It needs to be accessible right next to this window – HTML help. *Click*

  87. Anthony; it’s not broken… in fact WUWT? leads.

    …and note there is a Grease Monkey app that automatically provides full formatting and preview options for WUWT? every time it is opened via Firefox.

  88. For those of us who live in a different part of the planet and hence time zone than the bulk of your readers, by the time we get to make a comment or ask a question of someone, several new topics have arrived and the person(s) we would like to answer have moved on to other topics and perhaps never get to see our hopefully pertinent input.

    And so a way to reply to individual comments and perhaps also to bring those replies to that persons notice, as per some other blogs, ie. Judith Curry. would be appreciated.

    Though it seems that those methods based on nesting only go about three deep, perhaps there is another way to achieve this.

  89. Anthony, I really like the clean, clear layout of the site as it is so be careful not to lose that. I also agree with the very first comment – I sometimes get confused when posts are held at the top and occasionally miss new posts, so keeping the popular posts separate from the chronological order posts would be good.
    Whatever you do though, good luck and keep up the good work.

  90. Recently, WordPress has started inserting a panel at the bottom of the page when viewed on a mobile whenever you scroll down from the head of the page. The panel seems to have no purpose, other than listing the name of the site, and jumping to the top of the page when it is clicked. It takes up an inordinate proportion of the page for this trivial function, and makes the mobile version of WordPress almost worthless in view view.

    Is there anything that can be done to remove this utterly pointless annoyance?

    Thanks.

    PS. Other WP sites have the same issue – since it only occurs using phone, I’m amazed that it hasn’t already caused enough complaints to make WP remove it, but no luck so far ;(

  91. Anthony, as you said in your intro, security is a high priority – and especially so in view of recent events and moves by “authorities” to initiate internet restrictions. WUWT is just right as it is.
    I agree with Tallbloke and subsequent commenters about like/dislike buttons.

  92. More opportunities to vote on something would be nice.

    Being able to vote (?) on Arctic ice extent was fun, the second time round, it was still fun, but it also had the side benefit of making me think about it more before I gave my answer.

    An opportunity to occasionally vote on something would be nice, harmless fun and interesting. It need not be a regular thing, if it were a weekly thing or happened too often then that would perhaps spoil it.

    May I suggest two votes to put to your readership that I would like to be able to participate in;

    (1). A vote on NSIDC ice max, not just ice min as at present, that way we get to vote and think about that twice a year, that’s surely not too often.

    (2). A vote on who we think should run the IPCC, I suspect the current incumbent would not fair too well in the outcome. To my mind there is one outstanding candidate, I vote for Judith Curry.
    Whilst many would no doubt vote for the indomitable Anthony Watts, I feel his contribution to society is better served by continuing with WUWT.

  93. I concur with tallbloke: absolutely no agree/disagree buttons!

    No nesting of replies, it makes it very difficult to follow a debate when one opts for e-mail alerts. Combined with a column lay-out, the results can be utterly vile, with ‘nests’ being reduced to one single letter …

    A number for comments makes it easier to reply, and a ‘read more’ button, collapsing comments to about five or six lines is an excellent idea.

    As so many other have said: keep the white background, keep the font, and don’t change too much all at once!

    Thanks, as always, for the valuable work of you and the mods.

  94. Can you please fix the first image on the right column under the heading Live Weather Roll. It is frozen on the same page from a year ago. The link is:

    If you go to the home page of that site it doesn’t seem to update either.

  95. How about threaded comments (as slashdot has), i.e. a second reply to someone else’s original reply are placed directly under the original reply, indented. Easier to follow discussions than having to scroll to find the next reaction.

  96. The site is already excellent, clear and easy to use.

    However it is often easier to find older posts and the excellent comments and debates by using Google rather than the WUWT search facility. There is so much tremendous information in past posts and comments that it would be a plus if there was a simpler way of accessing this.

  97. I often find myself wondering whether a piece of text is a quote or part of the new writing. Climate Audit could serve as a template for how to clearly mark a quote!

  98. RE: Stark Dickflüssig says:
    September 2, 2012 at 1:02 pm

    On the gripping hand, a ton of horrible javascript & maybe a big flash intro would keep jerks like me away. ;)
    ————————————————————————————————————
    Java – Arrrrgh!

    I had my own share of Java-debacles only recently, when a broken or corrupted Java-applet shut my computer down.

    It took me a whole day to restore everything back to working order.

    And about Flash Intros: Again – Arrrrrgh!

  99. RE: Frank de Jong says:
    September 3, 2012 at 2:26 am

    How about threaded comments (as slashdot has), i.e. a second reply to someone else’s original reply are placed directly under the original reply, indented. Easier to follow discussions than having to scroll to find the next reaction.
    ———————————————————————————————————————
    Excellent suggestion!

  100. EternalOptimist was seen on September 2, 2012 at 3:56 pm saying:

    Keep it simple
    __________________________________________

    Bingo, +1

  101. #
    Paul Deacon says:
    September 2, 2012 at 12:13 pm

    Anthony – please keep your font and font size, and your simple clean layout.
    #
    tallbloke says:
    September 2, 2012 at 12:15 pm

    Disagree with Roger Sowell. People who disagree or want to say “me too” should do so in words, not by waving arms.
    ******************************************************************************
    By and large I like the site the way it is, it’s the content that counts.

    However, these two comments are ones I particularly agree with as, if you spend as much time as I do reading here, you want something easy on the eye. There’s enough work to do following the discussion points.

    I don’t like the idea of like/dislike buttons, one can read and make up one’s own opinion, I always feel they can be misused and ‘bombed’ by one side or the other of an argument to make it look like there is a ‘concensus’!!

    Keep up the good work.

    Steve T

  102. Would like to see a better way to post a link to someones comment so that other can review it . . . other than this long option . . .

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/09/02/wuwt-web-retooling-comments-welcome/#comment-1070333

    it works, but sometime it gets real long . . . so it is not a really a abject priority . . .

    How about a spell check . . . and an option to send a copy of ones comment to one self for ones files! Especially for those comments that get snipped, that way we can ‘not repeat’ our mistakes.

  103. I would rate the current set-up as excellent. However, in general, be aware of the load times, I have no option (economically viable, anyway) but dial-up, 28.8 Kbps usually. This may partially be an XP issue, but I often get a minute or so of blank page before the browser starts to render(98 did not do this). It varies from web site to web site. WUWT is longer than most for some reason, I suspect it is due to web pages calling off site content, icons, widgets, etc. Fyi this is using Firefox 13.0 with all the “speed up” settings in the about:config that I have found. Keep up the good work.

  104. Gunga Din says:
    September 2, 2012 at 12:49 pm

    That shout be “Contol key “F”‘

    AHHHHHHHH!
    “Shout” should be “should”.
    PS How about “spell check”?

    Spellcheck wouldn’t have helped you, since “shout” is a correct word, just not the word you wanted. Read through your comment before you post, that’s the best “spellcheck”.

  105. I would get rid of the left and right empty borders. All they do is take up screen real estate for only aesthetic purposes.

  106. apologies if this has been suggested, but keep it simple and include hints or buttons for html coding e.g. “blockquote” “/blockquote” etc

    JMHO

  107. I favour keeping the discussion threads in chronological order rather than embedding by response. I’ve found it’s much easier to scroll for changes in discussion rather than having to revisit each thread. Sites that have + or – buttons and let you sort by “most liked” will often only have 1 “liked” comment on the top 2 to 3 pages with all of the linked comments below. I don’t want to see the responses, I want to see what the majority of readers actually support. If embedding of comments is what you chose to go with, please allow for the user to toggle whether to see the embeds, and default to “off” so that first-time viewers of an article can see the posts actually responding to the article rather than pages of discussing minutiae.

  108. Oh yes, numbering of responses is a good idea. If a banned or obnoxious person interrupts the cue and has their post erased, don’t correct the numbers, leave them as an identifier. Gaps in the numbering will let the regular readers see which threads are being carpeted, and help raise appreciation for the wonderful job your moderators do. Moderators are a lot like the police or maintenance workers, when their job is done right, no one notices and recognizes all of the work that goes into keeping things running smoothly. Thanks mods!

  109. As a developer using the WordPress platform, I believe you are making the right move by staying with WordPress.com. The security and bandwidth capability are worth it. Plus, now you can substantially customize a given theme, for an extra fee.

    For a front page, I think you should always have the newest article on the top left of the page where everybody naturally looks for the newest information. I don’t think it is a big deal to have a window/section/block next to the new article where you can prioritize your sticky posts. That way it will be less confusing when you want to keep a post active, and on top.

    You can change the header graphics, but we are all used to the current look. It is part of your brand.

    I think you need to control the content of your sidebar. It is very long with lots of stuff. It is cluttered. You need to have a strategy for placement of ads, and consider what is important to put on the front page. But, that is why you are employing professionals.

    So, shorten up the page. Put the sticky posts in their own block. Cut down on sidebar clutter.

    Good luck.

  110. Some kind of discussion forum facility – even one as basic as the one at Bishop Hill – could be massively useful as it will help to keep ongoing issues alive and updated separate from blog post discussions which soon go down the memory hole….
    …please please please consider enabling such a facility!

  111. Laurie Bowen says:
    September 3, 2012 at 6:06 am

    … an option to send a copy of ones comment to one self for ones files! Especially for those comments that get snipped [or lost], that way we can ‘not repeat’ our mistakes.

    Seconded!

  112. I disagree with tallbloke: agree/disagree buttons can be very useful as long as anonymous replies are not allowed. Since our names and emails are already in your database, there is little possibility of someone spamming the responses. Simply don’t allow people who have not made (let’s make it up) 10 previous comments over a period of say 3 weeks or longer from being able to make a selection, with the only exception being someone who has already posted comments for that specific article. In other words, regular contributors and contributors to the current discussion should be able to “vote”. The options should be something like “I agree”, “off topic”, “excessively rude”, and the like. And there would not simply be a count – it must be possible to see who voted.

  113. The chronological format if familiar and works well. One way to emphasize more important pieces with minimal interruption is to follow the model of Gateway Pundit Jim Hoff.

    http://www.thegatewaypundit.com/

    Right below the title bar on his front page Jim adds a shaded block of space containing the title/link for a “featured post.” Individual posts pages do not display the “featured post” title/link so that there is no confusion about the title of those posts.

    The only difference I would make is to include the featured-post title/link in a section of the title bar itself, say in the upper right corner of the current WUWT title bar (but as Jim does, leave this off of the individual post pages). That would be better than Jim’s set-up, where the “featured story” title is still too intrusive, being in-line with the flow of his front page. Having it off to the side on the title would be minimally intrusive.

  114. Some of us use Firefox. Be aware that it does not display comments on some blog sites, requiring a temporary shift to IE. This is NOT true of your current site. Please be sure that no changes impede display on any of the common browsers.

  115. Rather than up/down voting, what is the problem with responding to a comment with a counter-comment? In the course of a thread, the truth is generally arrived at through back-and-forth discussion of the facts. And we can already vote on an article by clicking on 1 – 5 stars.

    My 2¢: keep “The Look”, Anthony. It is your brand. Think about cost/benefit regarding any changes. If a change is not exceedingly worthwhile and beneficial, please leave it the way it is. People are comfortable with the current format. As someone pointed out above, Drudge has a very simple, stark format, and he claims more than 900 million page views a month.

    WUWT doesn’t need to be fixed. It’s the Top Dog of climate sites. So any changes should be small and incremental.

    / 2¢

  116. To the many people who have requested spell check – Firefox provides that capability. Therefore, there is no reason for WUWT to also provide that. Just find a better browser.

    In addition, the size of the comment entry box is browser dependent. Firefox 13 has an icon you can drag to change the number of available lines, Firefox 15 no longer has the icon because, like IE8, the size increases as you type.

    I use multiple browsers because the older ones tend to have features removed from the newer versions. Unfortunately, WUWT requires a newer browser because you can no longer post comments with my preferred older browser.

  117. Hi Anthony,

    By far the best interface for blogging I’ve encountered is that on Goodreads — see goodreads.com (it’s worth joining if necessary to experience it). You could ask the GR IT folks who provided it originally and what kind of add-ons they’ve built. It is awesome. The only thing it lacks AFAICT is a latex interface (and I never tried it for dropping graphics into replies). Otherwise, it counts characters on a (large) character limit, permits previewing and sequential re-editing (including edits after posting, although it does timestamp the last edit so people can see if you went back and edited out of sequence in a thread). It’s still not quite “perfect”, but it is damned good, and the GR people have been very responsive to user requests (they implemented several of my suggestions fairly expeditiously).

    Specific features that your site could use include automatically indented and included replies — I spend a fair bit of time cutting and pasting, and am too lazy to decorate every inclusion with its origin, the ability to edit/correct your own replies (this would also make it easier on proctors), perhaps some quick navigation buttons for very long threads. I don’t like “like” and “dislike” (or “agree”/”disagree” buttons — science isn’t a popularity contest. I really, truly would like an easy way to drop graphs or graphics into a reply in a reasonably formatted way. And finally, the immensely useful “preview” before post feature, which also saves embarrassment and the need to edit after posting, especially when one is trying to enter e.g. latex and forgets a trailing $ or the like.

    rgb

  118. Brian H says:
    September 2, 2012 at 9:09 pm
    I just did a search for “contol” and got 37,500,000 million hits!
    I guess there are 37,500,001 people out there that need “spell-check”. 8-)

    As far as the site changes, on the home page I’d like to see, in addition to the number of comments on a post, the date and time of the last comment.
    And, rather than muliple columns the ability to “mark” the comment being responded to so I can jump back quickly to where I was. Or a “reply” button that would open the “Leave a Reply” as a popup box.

    Thanks for trying to make the site easier for the users, just don’t make it harder for you and the Mod Squad.

  119. A couple of small suggestions:
    Lose the “Recent Comments” index. This constantly changes, to the point of meaninglessness, and confuses spiders and crawlers that index otherwise sensible content.

    In the Posts by Date calendar control, add arrow buttons to go back a month or to the next month, within the limits of storage.

  120. Rather than up/down buttons, I prefer the SBNation “recommend/flag” buttons on the comment threads. The “flag” button is just used to alert the moderators of something bad, and the “rec” is something readers use when they think a comment should be read by everyone. A post gets 5 recs, and it is highlighted.

  121. I would like typographical or grammatical errors to result in instant banning of the commenter, rather than have to point out the errors and shame the user into leaving.

  122. Been entertaining kids and grandkids all week, including today at the beach, so apologies for not reading all the comments. But. . .

    Duke C. says:
    September 2, 2012 at 1:33 pm
    Anthony,
    Would it be possible to automatically insert a “more…” link within a comment(s) that runs more than one paragraph (or 6 or 7 lines) in length? This would allow faster skimming through comments and faster page loading for those with slow connections. Also, it might compel those who tend to be long-winded to get to their point.

    Please, NO! I hate comments pages with truncated text that needs clicking to see the rest. It’s an absolute abomination.

    I guess I appreciate (but without understanding) your reasons for no Preview function, but how about a real Reply box with Quote, Emphasis (italics), Strong (bold), type size, etc. commands? That would make life infinitely easier than typing HTML commands in angle brackets.

    And please keep the very clean and readable font, leading, main column.

    Better searching would help. I also agree with making changes incrementally, rather than in one fell swoop. Letting design ‘professionals’ work on your web page can be a mixed blessing. Some have brilliant ideas and sensibility; others see ‘design’ as overriding content and reader interface values as secondary. Above all, it must be easy and friendly to read, as for the most part, it has been.

    My $2 worth (about what it costs to get 2 pennies worth of candy these days).

    /Mr Lynn

  123. AnonyMoose says:
    September 2, 2012 at 6:18 pm

    It is hard to deal with this site if you don’t read it every day. “Recent Posts” should be shorter and near the top, followed by a link to an Archive index… a page which begins a reverse chron index of all posts.

    That’s one reason I created “Ric Werme’s Guide to WUWT (updated daily)”. It’s up there on the right side nav column. http://home.comcast.net/~ewerme/wuwt/index.html Heads up – when Anthony changes the format, the “updated daily” part will be a lie until I can adapt.

    Click the icon and you get a page with the last 14 days of posts listed by headline (I’m not fond of uninformative headlines…). And links to Tables of Content for each month and for each category. I include the number of comments so you can see the ones with the most responses, and the ones still active (generally with people bickering over something).

    Umm, are you sure you want “an Archive index… a page which begins a reverse chron index of all posts?” At one line per post, it’s 7600+ lines. A bit long to display on a smart phone.

  124. I like it like it is!

    If you do anything, I’m confident that you will have given it a lot of thought. And the best part is that should you choose to make any changes, there is no sense of urgency as is pushed by “post-normal science”. Change for the sake of change?

    ***No “thumbs button” please.***
    A temporary/personal marker to quickly jump back to a post being responded to may be nice.
    “Preview” function would be nice.

    But I still like it just the way it is!

  125. Adoption of a feature of the blog Climate Etc. would be welcome. If one responds to a comment then this response appears as indented text below the referenced comment.

  126. The comment system could best be changed to allow images. It seems to presently permit youtube videos but not simpler images. While this is not a forum exactly, almost all forums do so, and, with the mods already previewing comments before appearance anyway, there is zero risk of someone getting anything too inappropriate posted.

    For example, on the recent sea ice topics, a combination of seeing both http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Features/ArcticIce/Images/arctic_temp_trends_rt.gif and http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/hadobs/hadisst/charts/NHEM_extanom.png together is worth 10000 words.

    (EDIT: Actually, just while writing this, I see the latter is so illustrative that they already realized they needed to delete it, with that address no longer working; however, I saved it to webcitation 3 days ago so the following functions as a verifiable substitute link: http://www.webcitation.org/6AKKakUIo ).

    But just text links to graphs are utterly crippling, when only 1% to several percent of viewers will click on a link, so I didn’t bother posting or arguing with the warmists in the recent sea ice threads when they could so readily just ignore such, when I’d be using time extremely inefficiently at not a tenth of normal effectiveness.

  127. A total retooling of something incredibly successful… seems a bit much. Modern these days seems to lead back to a hunt for practicality & functionality in the end. Truth be told… its an incredible site & I trust its creator, just hope it keeps its “In your eye” simplicity. The only improvement would be the retrievable archive – not only to relieve Ric a bit but because it has become such an incredible chronlogy. I mean take this “tome”, drop it in the middle of the IPCC and watch an immediate, horrid case of the “runs” accompanied by an equally tenacious case of the “itches”. I love this site… so I guess the running ticker in my head saying “do no harm” is natural.

  128. Select a WordPress option that flags or highlights those comments that are NEW since the veiwer’s last visit to the thread. Some sites already have this feature, though usually they’re ones with nested comments, where this is a virtual necessity. On WUWT, where the comments are chronological, something simpler could be provided, such as a dividing line with a label one could search for. This would cut down on time wasted trying to “find one’s place.”

  129. Thanks to commenters above who mentioned that auto formatting including preview of comments is available through GreaseMonkey on Firefox. I have installed GM, but don’t know what to do next to install the auto-formatting. Can anyone help? Thanks in advance.

    Oh, and Anthony I strongly agree with those who urge you to keep the font and white background. There are quite a few sites that I can only bear to read in short bursts because of the poor readability for those with less than perfect eyesight.

    Please, no nesting – it’s a nightmare in long threads. You have to go through hundreds of comments each time you revisit to follow the discussion. But numbering of posts is an excellent feature, which makes a lot of reposting unnecessary for commenters, and helps readers to find what they are referring to quickly.

    Appreciate the opportunity to provide input, and agree with those who say, if it ain’t broke etc.

  130. PS: Better than a dividing line would be for the software to take the returning visitor to the comment after the last one in the thread during his prior visit.

  131. I agree with Johanna: no nesting! And keep the black on white text. And numbering comments would be very useful.

    Ditto too to rogerknights: The comments threads are so long that it’s hard to find your place when you return. Is an auto-return possible?

    /Mr Lynn

  132. It’s currently too cluttered, losing about 25% or so of viewing space with ALOT of items on the right margin. I don’t find the tabs at top useful, ever; but I’m not a scientist, just a dude. Drop-down tabs for “links”, “references/resources”, “awards/accolades”, “maps/charts/graphs”, “solar” “lunar” “ocean”, etc. would clear up alot.

    As much as I like the 1-3 paragraph preview for each article, it isn’t necessary, and should be condensed to a 1 sentence description or nothing. That would allow spacing for a most likely double-column design for your normal blog-roll and the preference-roll. I’m not sure if this site would still need to be scroll-for-more or if you are able to change it to pages, whereby “older posts” or “previous day(s)” may be clicked to load those.

    Just basic organization really. I think it should be cleaner and condensed. I personally would like an “events” drop-down, whereby you have “future” and “past”. Those would not be near-term only, such as eclipses, alignments, or maybe meteor showers, mentioning when/where so people may make arrangements if travel is required or simply to know. It can include conferences/seminars for all “sides” and from whatever organization(s) or person(s). It may also inform us about the past with whatever events are worthy/relevent to mention. I think you get the drift – things that will happen or has happened. I don’t expect full-blown knowledge repository, just what people pass along or you deem is important enough. Probably a page that Just The Facts could fill out with some (I SAY AGAIN, SOME) of his/her links.

    good luck

  133. Mel Byrd says:
    September 3, 2012 at 9:42 pm

    The only improvement would be the retrievable archive – not only to relieve Ric a bit but because it has become such an incredible chronology.

    The only thing I’ve had to do in the last year or two is deal with weird characters in titles. And that’s because I haven’t figured out how to get unicode text into my database.

    Beyond that, crontab (Unix thing) runs the script every day at 0500 ET.

    ———–

    Smokey says:
    September 3, 2012 at 8:05 pm

    > Just want to say, you do a really excellent job on the Guide. It helps immensely.

    eyesonu says:
    September 3, 2012 at 8:40 pm

    > Your “Ric Werme’s Guide to WUWT” is a feature I use often. Don’t change anything.

    Thanks. FWIW, it turns out that my file system development career doesn’t translate into creating complex web pages well. Doing anything but “KISS” (Keep It Simple, Stupid) will take more learning time than I have. :-)

    ———-

    While I’m at it, given we’re in September and it’s time for the Red Sox to swoon (okay, they got an early start this year), people might enjoy my baseball “Runnings” graphical look at baseball standings at http://wermenh.com/runnings_2012.html . How about that impressive Yankees lead in July? Wouldn’t it be neat if the Washington Nationals beat the Yankees in the World Series?

  134. Ric Werme says:
    September 4, 2012 at 10:00 am

    The only thing I’ve had to do in the last year or two is deal with weird characters in titles. And that’s because I haven’t figured out how to get unicode text into my database.

    If you need more than ASCII & ed(1), it probably doesn’t need doing. ;)

  135. Keep It Simple For Success

    Beware of so-called “professional” web site people, some of them are two-year-olds with hammers.

    Beware of WordPress “themes” – some of them do things like turn the background black in certain browsers or viewed offline.

    Beware of WordPress’ lack of quality, another reason to KISS.

  136. I like it the way it is; you did a great job.

    Content suggestion, if you allow me: Please don’t make it more popular/populist. Please put a little more science and a lot less politics, gossips as well as bickering about the usual activists (Gore, Mann, alarmist bloggers, etc.). Most of the time, I feel they’re not worth the publicity you give them.

  137. Maya Angeliu says:
    September 3, 2012 at 2:28 pm
    I would like typographical or grammatical errors to result in instant banning of the commenter, rather than have to point out the errors and shame the user into leaving.

    =================================================================
    Well, that’d be one way to shut down the site ……

    REPLY: Another way would be to ban falsely used names, like Maya Angeliu. – Anthony

  138. Add the following line under “Leave a Reply”:
    “Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.”

  139. 1) At the top of the page, this “headline” section needs a little bit better prompt:


    ← Quote of the week – I guess we’re just beyond evil now
    Sea Ice Page Upgrades, Observations and Questions →”

    The arrows are useful, but the “direction” of the arrows (earlier or later posts with respect to time) is unclear.

    Please, below each arrow, add a prompt “Earlier Posts” under the left arrow, and “Later Posts” under the right arrow.

    2) For each reply, add a permanent “sequence number” so later readers can tell where the question or response is in the looooong litany of responses and comments above the “Reply” text entry screen.. If a comment is deleted, or moved to the spam folder, or edited by the mods, no sequence numbers need to be changed. Just leave them as-written.

    Best? Allow an automatic link (in the “Reply” box, or below it, or within the “header” (which now has a user_id and time date stamp) for the reader to create a reply linked to the comment immediately. (See http://www.freerepublic.com, where I’ve used this feature more than 130,000 times the past 12 years) for format and uses of this feature.)

  140. Stark Dickflüssig says:
    September 4, 2012 at 10:33 am

    > If you need more than ASCII & ed(1), it probably doesn’t need doing. ;)

    My fingers still know TECO, the direct predecessor to Emacs. http://almy.us/teco.html And when I press ESCape my brain still thinks altmode.

    – Ric$$ (Backup one letter and insert “c”)

  141. It would be nice if you used a plugin that makes use of the fantastic MobileESP project. This project has cataloged all mobile devices, including tablets, and identifies them so your site can load the best theme for any given device. I haven’t looked at WP plugins that might use this, but I know that your current mobile version is not very friendly to older devices. On my BlackBerry 9000, it takes eons to load the page, and the (I’m assuming) ajax portion that continually loads older posts while the user scrolls down is not present on my older device, so I just get to the bottom and I’m done. Also, on newer devices, I agree with the above poster who stated that the bar along the bottom seems unnecessary and takes up scarce screen space.

    I remember way back from nearly the very beginning, your blog has always been one of the most mobile-friendly, and I think an addition of something like MobileESP would keep it on top.

    Thanks for all your hard work!

  142. How about a small tickbox at the end of a comment which indicates whether it’s sarc or not?

    The ” /sarc ” tag kills the punchlines to most humorous pieces!

  143. As an alternative to a preview feature, allow each commenter ten minutes (say) in which he can edit his post.

  144. kadaka (KD Knoebel) says: September 2, 2012 at 5:03 pm

    I have one notable problem with the general site layout.

    At the top toolbar, when I mouse over “Reference Pages”, the resulting vertical bar of pages occupies all the space in the browser window on this laptop (1024×768). I have to precisely place “Reference Pages” right at the top of the window to get it all in, the menu does not have scroll option.

    Before you add any other reference pages, can you shorten that somehow, maybe add sub-menus to that bar?

    Done, thank you for the suggestion. JTF

  145. I’d like the option to choose between UTC (GMT) and say, EDT time.

    Being a long-time airlne employee, it was frustrating reading comments (after the fact) at JoNova’s with regards to the release time of Watts et al and PST/PDT.

    It was easy for me to figure out the problem as I’m (physically) 3 hours ahead of Anthony.

    All my devices use the 24 hour clock except the alarm clock. It’s stuck on 3:50 AM.

  146. Indicate commenters’ post-counts (and maybe date joined). These are normal. I think they have some value.

    Double or triple the number of items allowed in each “page” of the archives. I find it frustrating to have to keep “turning pages” when reviewing the archived threads for a month.

Comments are closed.