Running this blog is a lot of work. The comment moderation is the biggest portion of it and it is becoming oppressive. A lot of our volunteer moderators simply don’t have the time to keep up with it all. I find I keep running into the same things over and over again, answering the same questions over and over again. So….I’ve decided to make a post in hopes that I can reach enough people with some do’s and don’ts to make a difference in the moderation workload.
Here’s a few things I hope you’ll read and heed:
1. No, for the ten gazillionth time, I cannot install wordpress plugins on this blog to get feature “X” that somebody wants.
Here’s why I use wordpress.com instead of running my own private server:
“We run hundreds of servers in three datacenters (Chicago, Dallas, San Antonio) with instant copies of all your data and uploads in each. This allows us to serve your blog very quickly, and also if something catastrophic were to happen, like Chicago falling into Lake Michigan or Dallas being hit by a meteor, your blog would be okay.”
Longtime readers may recall that when Climategate broke in late November 2009, so did Climate Audit, who was on a single server box that simply could not handle the load. WUWT stayed running, thanks to wordpress.com “hundreds of servers” and distributed processing. After ClimateGate, Mr. Pete, JohnA, and I got CA migrated to wordpress.com so this won’t ever happen again. I’ll take uptime and reliability over features any day.
2. Lucia has a great self hosted wordpress blog install -and has all sorts of nifty plugins, but:
Blog out last night. ’nuff said
3. When writing a comment, you do NOT need to use HTML tags, just put in the URL and WordPress will auto-link it for you – like this http://www.wattsupwiththat.com
4. If you are writing sarcasm, end it with /sarc so that everybody KNOWS it is sarcasm. Don’t make extra work for moderators by making a flame up.
5. Please, don’t think that declaring “Off topic but…see this” will make your comment OK. I’m going to start wholesale deleting these because they end up steering threads all over the place.
6. Pursuant to #5 we have a Tips and Notes page for things you want to bring to attention…yes we see them all.
7. Pursuant to #6 Please don’t leave blind links, tell us WHY we should click on it. Otherwise each moderator has to look at it to decide if it takes you someplace we don’t want to promote or is a link that goes someplace bad. Please add a short description as to why you think this link is worth visiting.
8. If you are leaving a tip, be sure to check the front page of WUWT first and use the SCROLL BAR to look at previous stories. About a third of our Tips and Notes are things we’ve already covered.
9. Please don’t ask WUWT to research things for you. Do it yourself, add to the conversation. If you can’t use Google you don’t belong here.
10. Why free hosting? Simply put, I like my freedom. Freedom works best for this venue. Unlike Joe Romm at Climate Progress (Sponsor – Center for American Progress $28 million income declaration here) and Marc Morano Climate Depot (Sponsor – CFACT $3 million income declaration here) this blog isn’t paid for by any organization, nor sponsored, nor under anyone’s external control. There’s no data quotas to watch, no demands to carry diktats, no steering committee, no server maintenance. It’s all done by wordpress.com free hosting, volunteers who moderate and contribute essays, and bit of occasional help from the Google ad clicks and some kind folks that find the donation button. Compared to the organizations above, it isn’t even chump change. “Big Oil” doesn’t shop here.
And yet we still beat the pants off the whole sponsored climate blog pack:
So please, read and heed, help our moderation team, and be thankful I’m not burned out yet like poor Jeff Id who recently closed The Air Vent.
Thanks for your consideration – Anthony
[ADDENDUM] I trust that Anthony will allow me to add a few more items, as some one who endures this stuff daily.
11. Quote the exact words of the person with whom you are disagreeing. I write as clearly as I know how, and yet I am often misunderstood. That’s life, we have to live with that. But if you quote what I said, then I know where the misunderstanding may lie. And if there is no misunderstanding, I know exactly what you are referring to.
12. Speculations and personal attacks as to someone’s motives, honesty, credibility, education, publishing record, and ancestry all have negative weight in a scientific discussion. In other words, doing any of those will detract from your argument, and make it less likely to be believed, despite the fact that it may be valid. Those kinds of attacks are simultaneously bad tactics, bad strategy, and give the attacker a bad odor of desperation. Please avoid them. Me, I bite back at that kind of stuff, so definitely avoid them on my threads. I’m human, and like anyone else, I make mistakes, but I’m doing my honest best.
13. Be as specific as you can. Numbers are preferable to words. Code is preferable to a description of the method. Observations are infinitely preferable to model results. If you are using data, link to either your data or where the data was obtained. Details are often vital. Citations should indicate page numbers and paragraphs; waving the IPCC Report like a demented fundamentalist preacher and saying “the answer’s in there” doesn’t help anyone.
14. Civility roolz. Like the song says, “I’m just a fool whose intentions are good”, and I assume the same about others. The less aggro the tone is, the more people will participate.
PS – way cool photo, Anthony, and many thanks for the blog.