A note about WUWT fonts, readability, etc

Click to enlarge

UPDATE: 3/11 see the experiment I’m trying above.

In the last couple of days, I’ve gotten several notes from people complaining they have trouble reading WUWT. See sample provided by a reader at left. It seems to make some posts go all caps and small washed out font.

I have no control over this as I’m hosted on the free wordpress.com web service and they constantly upgrade their platform with the latest updates. I suspect some recent upgrade has created a browser incompatibility with older browsers.

Again, I have no control over this, but I do have suggestions.

I’ve traced the problem I believe, so let me offer what I think is a solution. If you are one of those folks that refuses to upgrade from ancient browsers like IE6 and run on 512MB of memory on XP service pack 1, then there’s nothing I can do to help you.

The problem seems centric to IE8 and Windows XP systems, though does seem to show up slightly on IE8 with Windows 7.

I run Firefox, latest version, and never see any of the issues described. I also run Chrome, latest version with no trouble. May I suggest readers having problems try these?

The latest version of Java might also help, as would be upgrades to latest service packs and patches, etc. if you have not done so. Older machines running Windows XP would also benefit from browser upgrades, and would run better especially if you can increase RAM memory. What typically happens in large posts with a lot of comments is that the user can’t load it all due to memory limitations. I’ve found that 2GB RAM in Windows XP is the sweet spot. Memory is cheap these days, and is your best bank for buck performance upgrade.

While it would be nice if I had complete control over all the web elements and server side things, it would mean I’d have even less time for myself since I’d have to manage my own server, and then I’d be having posts on BOTS and HTAcess like Lucia has been doing lately. The trade off given the traffic volume that WUWT handles is more than worth a few upgrade glitches than can be solved by keeping up with the latest browsers and OS patches. This is why we moved Steve McIntyre’s Climate Audit off a private server to wordpress.com, because keeping CA up and running on high traffic was difficult.

Of course if somebody has solved the problem themselves by some other means I have not thought of, please advise.

Thanks for your consideration – Anthony


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Get a Mac….lol
REPLY: Or a Windows 7 machine at 1/3 of the price. To be fair, older versions of Safari had issues too. – Anthony

WordPress blogs are also working flawlessly on IE9, under Windows 7, with auto update turned on so that the latest OS patches are always installed as soon as they become available.


I don’t understand those that feel like they should complain when they are too lazy to keep their PC’s and related software up to date. You can’t expect everything to run on Windows 3.1 forever…

Keith W.

I am running fine with Windows XP SP3 using Mozilla Firefox, although my laptop does not even begin to come close to the 2 gb range for RAM. Read all the complaints, but never noticed the problem. So I assumed it was something with the user end rather than source provided. Since I am in computer technical support, I am very familiar with user id10T problems.

a jones

I run a rather ancient system on XP and Firefox both of which get automatic free updates as and when. I have not observed this problem. The only glitch I get is when Tips and Notes gets rather full and slows to a crawl. Altho’ I seldom use it Opera on test handles this very well with scarcely a stutter.
Kindest Regards

Ted Swart

Glad to hear that you use Firefox Anthony. Up freedom. I use Fedora plus Firefox and have never had any trouble. Everything is beautifully legible.


I own (and made a nice living with) Windows-based PCs. While deciding which direction to go in 1993, I chose Windows based on price and features of what I needed at the time. However, I recognized the elegance and “hip” factor of the Apple products…so I bought their STOCK instead.
I’m early-retired now, lol, and still own ZERO Apple products!

Craig Goodrich

On XP sp2 with latest Chrome, Firefox, and the last version of MSIE that will run — no problems. Check your default font settings.

Roy UK

I have not had any problems, I run with Firefox. I have done so for the last 8 years and in case you dont know, it really is free. Check it out at Mozilla.org.

James Reid from Arding

I run Windows 7 with IE9 and all the latest updates (I do use Chrome as well and several XP machines). Several days ago on Win7 IE9 I did experience the symptoms that others have noted. I suspect one of the WordPress admins might have been messing about with settings in the middle of the night US time – I almost made some comments but then it stopped so I didn’t bother. I don’t think font changes are going to happen spontaneously in old versions of web browsers… this is a fundamental function of a web rendering engine so it is likely to be caused by changes happening server side not at the client (just my thoughts for what they are worth).
BTW I was also viewing some WUWT stuff using my android phone around the same time and the fonts were fine – I imagine smartphone access uses different code off the WordPress site.
It didn’t have any effect on the message though :-). Please keep up the great work Anthony and helpers!


Running IE8 on XP Pro SP3, both completely updated, on a PC with 2G RAM, I´ve experienced this problem too. If I find a solution I will leave another reply here.

I tend to use either Opera or Chrome (or sometimes midori, xxxterm, lynx, links, elinks, dillo, or netsurf. Rarely firefox) on FreeBSD or Linux, & I’ve not had any readability problems on this site.
I hope this doesn’t make me sounds like too much of a 1970s dinosaur.

The Sage

I haven’t waded through all the page structure, but that image with the problem looks like what you’d get when a closing tag has been lost in the HTML, and the style it’s rendered in continues to run until something else overrides it.
Running the front page through the validator at http://validator.w3.org shows a number of broken tags, including “No p element in scope but a p end tag seen” and “Unclosed element strong.” which will cause different behaviours in different browsers.
>The latest version of Java might also help…
While keeping everything patched up to date is good from a security standpoint, it’s not likely to have any impact on how text is rendered, Java especially.


I often visit WUWT using Chrome Lite and Opera on my Android phone without any problems, although the latter has become more sluggish (upgraded to version 12)
The same applies to XP SP3 + Firefox 10 on my computer at home.
(Upgrade Windows? No, why? It works fine as it is and I’m not in need of a newer and more powerful computer, despite the tech geek I am …)

Ben U.

People can try clicking View, Page Style, No Style.

Aussie Luke Warm

Just made the switch away from IE8. All fine now. Thanks Anthony.

Just do a cntrl+ (i.e. press control and the + symbol) to increase the font scaling (in which ever browser you have)


I’m running xp with firefox 10 no problems.


I have Win7 and Firefox, and I haven’t encountered these issues with WUWT. For those who have problems reading some sites, I would recommend the plug-in offered by http://www.readability.com/
It will remove most of the formatting and many images, leaving plan unadorned text in a font and background that you can adjust somewhat for your reading comfort. I don’t use this with WUWT, but many sites suddenly become readable with my fading eyes. 🙂

Brian R

I’ve mostly used Firefox on my 64-bit version of Window 7 and have not experienced any problems. Recently I’ve started using a 64-bit port of Firefox called Pale Moon. Since there is now a 64-bit version of Flash and Java, I thought I give it a try. No problems with any site I’ve visited.


Opera 11.61, Windows XP. No problems.

>The latest version of Java might also help…
While keeping everything patched up to date is good from a security standpoint, it’s not likely to have any impact on how text is rendered, Java especially.

Disabling javascript (no relation), on the other hand, does wonders for how the web is rendered.
Poorly designed commenting systems hardest hit.

Papy Boomer, Chelsea, Québec, canada

I run Win XP with IE7. I had the problem mentionned. But a miracle happen. After reading your article and closing the second tab in IE, everything became normal (around 5:00 p.m.) Québec EST hour.
Just to talk about it at WUWT, the problem i s solved. You are very strong Anthony.
PapyBoomer, Chelsea, Canada

I’m actually running Firefox 3.6 (because Google spell check won’t run on versions past 5.0) and I have no problem.


I am using Windows 7, IE8 and 4 Gb of RAM and although the main article on this page looks normal, as soon as the comments appear they are all in very small, light grey block capitals. As is almost all the text in all subsequent articles. Almost unreadable.
My laptop is regularly and automatically updated with Windows updates, so I wonder whether a very recent update is to blame? This problem started very, very recently – like yesterday or today.

Brad R

Opera 11.60 on Debian Linux; no problems.


have had same problem on both work and home pc’s – one on W7 and one on XP – both on IE8, so I’m guessing it’s a IE8 issue? will have to check my laptops too.
It started a few days ago (a week I think), but seemed intermittent!

“ancient browsers like IE6” ???
What are they doing??
Logging into AOL???
21st century people


just pasting this as an experiment (comments box is in Times New Roman) but rest of comments are in small caps! (thats the symptom I’m having anyway)
I agree with this post (copy and pasted below) so will be interesting to see if anyone sees a different font between the two parts?…
matthu says:
March 10, 2012 at 2:16 pm
I am using Windows 7, IE8 and 4 Gb of RAM and although the main article on this page looks normal, as soon as the comments appear they are all in very small, light grey block capitals. As is almost all the text in all subsequent articles. Almost unreadable.
(note – as I’ve pasted – its reformatted to Times New Roman – so I guess not!)

Steptoe Fan

Windows XP service pak 2, with up grades, 2 Mb memory and latest Firefox.
no problems, font and load are fine and have been stable.
Why upgrade Windows ? Pay Msoft money to get newer and then have to help them debug their ‘latest and greatest’ ?? You must be joking, right ? !

Crispin in Johannesburg

W7, lots of RAM, IE 9.0.8112
Problems from today – tiny caps, almost unreadable.
What were there thinking??
The posts above in this thread are ‘normal’ but not so some of the threads below on the main page, the one on the Guardian for example.

Alan Bates

Vista*, IE9, 1Gb. No problems.
*I know, I know. Windows 7 was not available and XP came at extra cost. Never had any of the Vista problems.


No issues here with this Lenovo touch-tablet running 7, or the transformer, or any of my XP or other 7 machines with FF. I was having some issues the last few days with Ads auto popping on my Bionic however. Keep up the good work Anthony and let me know if you need any investors 🙂


Get a Mac….lol
REPLY: Or a Windows 7 machine at 1/3 of the price. To be fair, older versions of Safari had issues too. – Anthony

Or Ubuntu with Chromium or Firefox or Opera for free. Free is a good price.

6 year old machine running on XP and latest iteration of Firefox, no problems here.


Opera browser here and have not be problems to report.

I am normally using FireFox and have no issues reading WUWT under Windows XP or Linux Kubuntu 11.10 (posting this from Kubuntu). I also have the old IE6 on Windows XP and now I can see the WUWT fonts look weird in that old browser. The XP machine has 2GB RAM.
Get FireFox would be my advice. With FireFox and Xmarks, bookmark synchronisation it is fully automatic even for browsers running different OS’es. I dropped IE years ago and have no regrets.


strange – just been to Josh’s wind cartoon thread – all comments in small caps again – then came back to this thread and all is normal again! bloomin annoying!


IT’S FIXED. I was having a problem, but not any more. I have done nothing.


The problem was happening in Climate Audit as well – but only if you expanded the comments to the very top story, not any of the others. But (for me at least) that problem has been fixed as well.
Everything for me is back to normal.


And now it is broken again … as soon as I submitted that last comment! Funnily, it is broken on Climate Audit as well as here on WUWT.
Somebody is playing silly buggers in the background!


The only slight difference between my comment which appears to have broken it again is that my comment went into moderation. The preceding comments I made did not go into moderation. I am not saying that is relevant, but it may be.


And now it is fixed again, straight after that last comment was submitted. Very odd.

matthu says:
March 10, 2012 at 2:53 pm
IT’S FIXED. I was having a problem, but not any more. I have done nothing.

I just tried this post side by side in FireFox 10.0.2 and IE6.0 on the same XP SP3 machine. The blog comments was originally readable in IE6, but a reload of the page made the fonts in the comments small and unreadable. Cntrl+ does not work to fix the issue in IE6.
The problem comes and goes in IE. Drop IE and move to FireFox if you have the font issue.

Harriet Harridan

I used to have a 512MB laptop running XP. It got so slow I was about to try percussive therapy with a jack hammer. Then, in desperation, I tried a free Linux CD and have never, ever, looked back. Linux is Fast. Linux is Free (both as in price, and as in Liberty). Try downloading this http://blog.linuxmint.com/?p=1937 as a “live” CD – you can try first without installing. You. Will. Not. Regret. It.

Jack Thompson

I use XP and simply switching from IE8 to a newly downloaded Firefox browser has fixed it for me; thank God – and Mozilla.


Mostly it is not adhering to the general scheme of things set by the web “designer”. Rightly noted it is when not running the latest software (which current designs are tested against) or private styles and what.
For instance running an old system withouth proper fonts renders as funny as a updated system with proper fonts removed or an updated system with your own mismanaged compiled style sheet enabled.
So, it need not always, if ever, be a server side problem. :p

Bob Koss

XP with Opera browser. No Problems.

Mike McMillan

XP, Firefox, and Java turned off, no problems.

Danny V

IE8 Windows XP SP3 4GB ram with all up to date drivers. Problem started two days ago and now seems to be fixed. Posts are legible again.