A multi question poll on Real Climate

Jeff over at the Air Vent has made up a multi question reader poll that I think pretty well probes the effectiveness of Real Climate and the people who run it. Once the leader in the Climate Blogosphere, they have now diminished behind skeptic blogs, including this one. Even Rant-a-minute-Romm (ClimateProgress) does better than RC.

Graph by Willis Eschenbach

The graph above done by Willis Eschenbach shows the Alexa ranking of many popular climate blogs, including RC.

Marc Morano’s Climate Depot is on par with RealClimate, which must really bite, given his “Mad Magazine approach” to Climate News. I expect he’ll surpass RC soon.

Jeff’s poll examines several questions about the effectiveness of RC and the way they treat readers. I thought the question about attitude towards readers was particularly insightful.

To participate in the poll, visit The Air Vent

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63 thoughts on “A multi question poll on Real Climate

  1. I’ve never tried posting a comment at RC… But I do like reading some of the comment streams. There’s one post in particular, about stratospheric cooling, in which some guy named “Gavin” kept trying to explain it and some other guy named “Dr. Roy Spencer” kept correcting him. RC’s expalnation of the ice core lag times is a hoot too!
    I did try to post a comment on Romm’s POS once. No matter how much I toned down my rhetoric, it never made it through moderation.

  2. Of course rant a minute Romm does better. You are leaving out a key factor. RealCimate doesn’t update as frequently, so there is no reason for visitors to go daily. You can go weekly, and you’re not likely to miss anything there.

  3. Another hockey stick graph – but you need to lay it on its side to better visualize it. This is a decline they’d surely like to hide.
    Congrats on your success, too.

  4. I took the poll, and I’m happy that a very high percentage agreed with my answers!
    So, it’s not me. They really are obnoxious, condescending jerks as I’ve come to realize….
    Thank you Anthony for all you do. Keep up the Great Work!!
    pRadio

  5. Overall, the sceptics and moderate site traffic far outstrips the AGW alarmist traffic. The alarmists view anyone showing even the slightest trace of skepticism as evil, stupid and contemptible. This instinctively rubs anyone outside their echo chamber the wrong way. Continued exposure to their views not infrequently leads to alienation. They themselves are, in a way, the strongest proponents for skepticism.

  6. The biggest problem with RealClimate is that it’s preachy, sanctimonious, and boring as hell all at the same time. WUWT knows how to cover a large number of breaking stories while making the posts interesting and informative at the same time. I’d rather have my teeth drilled than have to wade another banal RC post or the host of sycophants that all jump up and cheer at the end.
    Now if I want real science news I’ll come to WUWT, but Morano over at Climate Depot does know how to be entertaining! What cracks me up the most about his is they way he headlines anyone who critizes him, and the more venal the criticism, the more he likes it! That makes me smile every time.
    By the way, Mike N. wrote: “You can go weekly, and you’re not likely to miss anything there.”
    Or monthly – or never at all. And you’re still not likely to miss anything that was worthwhile.

  7. Well, another way to look at this is that the True Believers in the public are quite content to lie back, watch National Geographic specials on TV/read the NY Times etc., and bask in their knowledge that “there is a consensus,” “the science is settled” blah blah blah.
    In other words, we skeptics (heretics in my case) have much more to say about this, defending sound science and criticizing erroneous, misleading, or even fraudulent science pushed by the other side.
    Also, since the majority of the public now doubts AGW, maybe the interest in pro-AGW sites is waning? The public also weighs in on general interest blogs such as Huffington Report, Treehugger etc.
    Well done, Anthony and mods, this is a valuable site and well worth continuing!

  8. Benjamin P. says:
    May 3, 2010 at 11:24 am
    do you like me?
    [ ] yes
    [ ] no
    [x] maybe
    As about as worthwhile.

  9. i tried to post a poll at both the gaurdian and RC and it was moderated out, except i think someone at RC allowed it when i did a seperate poll for warmists. the gaurdian never allowed it. interestingly, i noticed the RC site had some icon declaring it a part of the ‘gaurdian environment network’. i wondered if gaurdians moderators moderate RC comments. but when i posed the question, alas, it didnt get posted. my poll simply asked ‘what is the ideal level of atmosperic CO2?’ the gaurdian really didn’t want that question to be posed. which if you wanted to make people believe it was a pollutant and the ideal level is therefore zero, i suppose you wouldn’t. [consensi were ~300ppm when linked from RC and ~800ppm when linked from here.]

  10. The only reason Climate Progress is number two is because we go over there to laugh.

  11. Well, I come here for entertainment and go to RC for science, I’m here most often.

  12. wws says:
    May 3, 2010 at 11:22 am
    “The biggest problem with RealClimate is that it’s preachy, sanctimonious, and boring as hell all at the same time. WUWT knows how to cover a large number of breaking stories while making the posts interesting and informative at the same time.”
    So scepticism is more about entertainment and emotional rewards
    after all? I agree that rigorous Climate science is boring, but I seems
    important to keep a cool head and be responsible.

  13. Occasionally I visit RC, and sometimes the discussions are hilarious. The irony is that the hilarity comes from the earnestness of someone called Gavin. He reminds me of the madman by the harbourwho thinks that all the boats are his

  14. Anthony, it’s great to see you up the top. You’re there because you’re open, genuine, truthful and a great science communicator. Yesterday someone mentioned your blog was a national treasure. I think that is an understatement – should be international treasure. I’m in New Zealand and I visit you everyday. Cheers, Robin.

  15. Under communism there is no free speech. Both realclimate and climate progress delete posts that make claims that do not fit the warmist dogma. Real climate actually allowed hundreds of non warmist posts after climategate broke out. Joe romm will ban most posters after they post something that doesn’t feed his ego. Climate has such narrowminded inbreeding that if you tally up names, most topics have lss than 10 posts and most posts are probably the same dozen popular posters.
    Most of Climateprogress guest posts are liberal politicians from Podesta/Soros funded Centerfor American Progress.
    Climate depot is just a news aggrigator. No discussion just links to articles.

  16. One serious problem with RealClimate is that lately it has been lucky to get a new posting in a week. No matter what the content being provided, that is an excellent recipe for Blogging oblivion.

  17. Black text on a black background image? Is that really necessary?
    REPLY: No, that isn’t what is being published. Could be a browser issue, can you send a screen shot? Thanks Anthony

  18. RC is little more then an propaganda machine for the new religion of AGW. I doubt that anyone there even knows what a hypothesis is and wouldn’t recognize one that has been falsified if it bit them in the ass. While some, perhaps all, have degrees in some scientific discipline or another, I suspect they have traded deductive reasoning and the scientific method for faith.
    My newest essay: “The Science Is Settled” and “Weapons of Mass Destruction” at
    http://retreadresources.com/blog
    partly address this general question.

  19. WUWT does pretty good, considering it is a “breathtakingly ignorant” “anti-science” blog.
    If only we understood that taxes are the only way to keep Antarctica from collapsing -leading to heat, drought, flooding, avalanches, sea monsters, tens of metres of sea level rise, and millions of drowning Polar Bears washing up in our children’s playgrounds.

  20. Controversial issues and breakthroughs in science increase traffic, consensus is always boring….

  21. In fairness to the AGW blogs: the main stream media outlets are sufficient enough for the laymen who believe in AGW. They get all they need there. Conversely as a sceptic, I rely mostly on good blogs like WUWT for the other side of the story that is never published in the press.

  22. “mikael pihlström says: So scepticism is more about entertainment and emotional rewards after all?”
    Mikael, we are talking about what makes blogs worthwhile places that can attract large numbers of viewers and generate rewarding discussions. Blogs are *not* scientific journals, although they are good place for disseminating information about them.
    Nobody is going to waste good time on any blog unless it not only gives them information but also does it in a way that is entertaining, visually appealing, and emotionally rewarding to the viewer on some level. That’s how good PR works, and Anthony here is very good at it. The guys at Real Climate are lousy at it, and that’s why the Alexa ratings are where they are.
    Btw – that’s also why Joe Romm is where he is. Although I disagree with him on everything, he knows how to make people want to look at his page, and that’s the name of the game. So does Morano, even though he doesn’t do a single bit of original work – everything is copied and pasted from other blogs. Doesn’t matter, he knows how to do it in a way that’s appealing to his target audience.
    Bottom line – Why do presentation, and eye appeal, and all the other hooks matter? Because if people don’t ever look, if they don’t have some reason supplied by the blogger to make them *want* to keep coming back, then the blog just sinks into obscurity and is of no more use than the average teen’s facebook page.
    Good bloggers make use of this and develop popular sites – indifferent to clueless bloggers waste a lot of time writing things that will have no impact on anyone except a handful of sycophants and end up on the bottom of the Alexa rankings.
    That’s why it’s important.

  23. Enneagram says:
    May 3, 2010 at 12:45 pm
    Controversial issues and breakthroughs in science increase traffic, consensus is always boring….
    Breakthroughs in science should preferably be published, not blogged around …
    Advantage: RC

  24. Icecap has to get out of yesterday’s news today mode of collecting stuff from other places if it wants to get ahead. I go there just to make sure I didn’t miss something, but that is about all. There is little original content. Its hard to run a blog with a lot of original content and having a recap of a number of other sites is not a bad thing. On occasion he does do some original stuff and I am grateful to him for it.

  25. David Corcoran says:
    May 3, 2010 at 11:19 am
    “They themselves are, in a way, the strongest proponents for skepticism.”
    —————-
    Agreed!

  26. Woo-hoo!! We’re Number 15,539! 😉
    It really makes you wonder what topics the other 15,538 blogs cover. Pamela Anderson’s latest bust size? Whether whats-her-name should dump Jesse James (a guy I thought was shot dead 150 years ago)? What should I wear to my prom? Toe-jam? I guess real issues will always be down the list. :-/
    REPLY: that’s not a ranking of blogs only, but of ALL websites on the net. -Anthony

  27. I’m sorry. I can’t find this – “Real Climate” you speak of.
    Where in the bloody hell is it again? On Mars did you say?
    Oh never mind. I didn’t want to go there anyway.
    No time. Way tooooo busy keeping up with the REAL experts here and the far more important things in life – like the pending disaster for Santa Claus….

  28. wws says:
    May 3, 2010 at 1:21 pm
    “Mikael, we are talking about what makes blogs worthwhile places that can attract large numbers of viewers and generate rewarding discussions. Blogs are *not* scientific journals, although they are good place for disseminating information about them.”
    No, not scientific journals, but they do claim to have important messages
    on the ‘AGW or not’ issue. Attractivity is not unimportant, but if it means
    to lower the standards to this degree…

  29. Mojo
    I had that problem on ” The SPPI Blog’ I just clicked somewhere off the page and it reverted to normal.

  30. The strange this is not just how posts are held up for them to be pre-judged, but that are sometimes subtly, or unsubtly, altered before posting.
    Here people can post idea or analysis, and although it is open season the tone tends not to sink into abuse or appeals to authority.

  31. Actually, once the moderator added something (that I entirely approve of) to one of my posts here before letting it out into the wild. I commented on the new bird up there that must have had a special flippy-floppy ice detector, and he added a nose to smell rotten ice. Well done, and something I approve of. I have found the moderators on this site most generous and intellegent in the way they donate their time and effort. My thanks to them again.

  32. mikael pihlström says:
    May 3, 2010 at 1:25 pm
    […]
    Breakthroughs in science should preferably be published, not blogged around …
    Advantage: RC

    Mikael, breaktroughs in science are published. It doesnt work otherwise. There’s positively no other way to do it. Blogs work a little like a “journal club” or commentary. No blog ever makes science. Some blogs are about science stuff, that’s all.
    mikael pihlström says:
    May 3, 2010 at 1:46 pm
    wws says:
    May 3, 2010 at 1:21 pm

    “Mikael, we are talking about what makes blogs worthwhile places that can attract large numbers of viewers and generate rewarding discussions. Blogs are *not* scientific journals, although they are good place for disseminating information about them.”

    No, not scientific journals, but they do claim to have important messages
    on the ‘AGW or not’ issue. Attractivity is not unimportant, but if it means
    to lower the standards to this degree…

    Hm, I would recommend Bart’s “The Nature of Blogging” if you can spare the time. And while having a beer you don’t have to look “sciencey”, but you still can (and must, and will) discuss your points honestly. And without quarters, of course. You don’t get less critical when you relax.
    Blogs serve to vent ideas about science and try concepts. Like, important messages about science. Like “about AGW or not” (of course I hope you don’t think it to be THAT simple!)
    If you really are very demanding about standards, you should also set aside all science magazines (I won’t mention names) and aim for the journals only. Obviously, you must set aside all blogs. That’s fine, and you’ll miss a lot.
    (I’ll remind you that peer-reviewed literature is not guaranteed as unfalsifiable, on the contrary, and obviously that is a major point; if someone told you that “peer-reviewed” means it’s “unsinkable”, then I can only tell you you’ve been lied to.)
    Just be critical (I’m sure you are), think about things (I’m sure you do), and then you can read anything and make your mind by yourself (and review your decisions anytime), which is what is desirable. Well, nullius in verba, what.

  33. As the traffic to sites such as this and Steve McIntyre’s at climateaudit increases, it would benefit the cause of science, skepticism and good decorum to keep vitriol to a minimum. The calm, open and polite view will be better accepted and is per se, more credible. Anthony and Steve of course set the standard for this and it behooves the rest of us to follow their example. There is enough weakness in the science that there is no need to focus on the person, except as a reference.
    Just my opinion of course. I could be wrong. Often am.
    Cheers
    JE

  34. JE you have not met Barrie Harrop. He has his own urban dictionary entry under Barrie Harrop and harrop. He is an infamous wsj comments section poster. But yes, I have found the debate here to be quite civilized and within the generalized rules of valid scientific debate. I again thank the moderators.

  35. mikael pihlström says:
    May 3, 2010 at 1:25 pm
    Breakthroughs in science should preferably be published, not blogged around …
    Advantage: RC
    Since RC and WUWT are both blogs, I cannot follow your logic….

  36. There are a few other good sites not on your list;
    TomNelson – Alexa rank about 145,000
    Climatechangefraud 215,000
    Climate skeptic 243,000
    And then there are others as part of major newsprint – Andrew Bolt, James Delingpole, etc

  37. And the other thing of note is the Alexa ranking of 73 509 for real climate is their 3 month ranking. Their 1 month ranking is 99,912 and their current 7 day ranking is 132,950 so they are dropping like a lead balloon

  38. Skeptical Science likewise is plummeting:
    3 month 85,546
    1 month 169,573
    1 week 236,699
    1 day 951,235
    Guess more evidence interest in ‘global warming’ is falling to bits – even when you have Apple pushing your site on an I phone!

  39. My guess is that if Scepical Science had a more honest name it would have a lower ranking.

  40. @ralphieGM says:
    May 3, 2010 at 10:54 am
    I confess that I may have upped RC’s hit count since I go there now and then – kinda like watching a train derailment.
    —————————————————————————————-
    Bwahahahahaa! – ditto and ditto Al Gore’s blog

  41. It’s pretty obvious the science has been politicised, so for me, to gain a deeper understanding of a particular issue I have to read both sides of the debate. RC presents such a skewed perspective it is beyond unproductive, questions don’t even get through moderation, so it becomes a pointless, futile endeavour, where intelligence is insulted.
    WUWT does indeed present both sides of the argument, often highlighting the flaws. Even when a particular issue remains undetermined, at least I can see crux of it. Questions are always answered, indeed my question has often been asked and answered by others in the comments before I even get a chance to ask it (which is why I don’t post much).
    I only ever visit RC these days when someone uses it as a reference, often it turns into a research mission via google, and other sites, to find stuff RC has swept under the carpet, before I can get a good understanding of the crux point.
    RC presents politicised science, I find them irrelevant, though I’m sure they think they’re legends, if only in their own minds.

  42. My comments were censored several times on RC, altough I tried to be very polite with them.
    I’ve successfully posted a lengthy opinion piece right after the Climategate event in late November. Surprisingly, it was made public on the site and remained unchanged.

  43. Here’s a couple of books that explain the psychology of the type of personalities that run Real Climate, etc. — presented in layman’s terms anybody can understand:
    “The Liberal Mind: The Psychological Causes of Political Madness,” by Dr. Lyle Rossiter available for about $10 as a *.pdf download at: www. libertymind.com
    I strongly encourage any & everyone with even the slightest inclination to ponder what makes that sort tick to read his book (one can skip right to Chapters 42-45 to get the essence of how they got the way they are).
    “Know Your Enemy” the saying goes & you won’t find more or better insight than what’s availabe in “The Liberal Mind”!!!

  44. Thanks for the link Anthony, the poll was actually one which surprised me. I didn’t expect such strong reactions to some of the questions. RC has a motive to sell climate science to the public, it needs a bit of a change in strategy if they want to be effective at it.

  45. I made a comment on tAV that a visit to RC is like watching the movie Borat: I can only stomach 10 minutes at a time.

  46. How about recommending one of the AGW blogs? RealClimate isn’t worth reading, but one of them has to be at least the best, and maybe even good.

  47. mikael pihlström says:
    May 3, 2010 at 1:25 pm
    Enneagram says:
    May 3, 2010 at 12:45 pm
    Controversial issues and breakthroughs in science increase traffic, consensus is always boring….
    __________________________________________________________________
    mikael pihlström response:
    Breakthroughs in science should preferably be published, not blogged around …
    Advantage: RC
    ____________________________________________________________________
    Breakthroughs in science should be discussed. That is why WUWT is a good place to come. We get to see the discussions often between very knowledgeable PhD’s, ask questions, make comments and most important LEARN.

  48. Gail Combs says:
    May 4, 2010 at 12:10 pm
    mikael pihlström says:
    May 3, 2010 at 1:25 pm
    Enneagram says:
    May 3, 2010 at 12:45 pm
    Controversial issues and breakthroughs in science increase traffic, consensus is always boring….
    _______________________________________________________
    mikael pihlström response:
    Breakthroughs in science should preferably be published, not blogged around …
    Advantage: RC
    ___________________________________________________
    “Breakthroughs in science should be discussed. That is why WUWT is a good place to come. We get to see the discussions often between very knowledgeable PhD’s, ask questions, make comments and most important LEARN.”
    —–
    I conceded that RC might be more boring than WUWT, but I think
    the reason is that the posts (not the comments)are more information
    oriented, written to a greater extent by practising scientists.
    Scientific breakthroughs again, will only imperfectly reach WUWT,
    because, let’s face it, you are isolated from mainstream science.
    I see some interesting things here, but, mostly, I am sorry to
    say so, you are confusing the issues and disinforming,

  49. Those results just reflect the readership of The Air Vent.
    “Standing alone with nuanced opinion is far more convincing than working as a consensus”
    In that case scientists who agree that evolution happens are part of a blind consensus, even if they have a unique oinion on the theory of evolution.

  50. Realclimate’s selective and misleading quoting of Knutson et al was the final straw for me. (http://www.nature.com/ngeo/journal/v3/n3/abs/ngeo779.html)
    They omitted the section “it remains uncertain whether past changes in tropical cyclone activity have exceeded the variability expected from natural causes” and just quoted this part: “…future projections based on theory and high-resolution dynamical models consistently indicate that greenhouse warming will cause the globally averaged intensity of tropical cyclones to shift towards stronger storms…”
    Rather than admit there is no evidence of CO2 levels affecting cyclone activity, they went on to argue exactly the opposite! This confirmed that they are contemptuous of science, and are a simply political ideologues. Perhaps others are realizing this too.

  51. Eric Rasmusen says:
    May 4, 2010 at 11:17 am
    How about recommending one of the AGW blogs? RealClimate isn’t worth reading, but one of them has to be at least the best, and maybe even good.
    I have been visiting Science of Doom lately (after a heads up from Climate Audit). It is certainly no catastrophic AGW site, but presents the scientific evidence (in fair detail but for anyone to understand) in a straight forward way. It offers some criticism/correction of sceptical statements/queries/points of view, but in the nicest possible way. It is everything that RC pretends to be but is not.

  52. *******
    mojo says:
    May 3, 2010 at 12:39 pm
    Black text on a black background image? Is that really necessary?
    *******
    Mojo, I had the same problem. On Firefox 2, going to Tools/Options/Content/Colors and unchecking “allow pages to choose own colors” fixed it.

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