Phase 2 of WUWT upgrade implemented

Readers may recall that on April 10th, I announced that some big changes and improvements were coming to WUWT.

Phase 1 was improving the commenting system, and I think that has been fine tuned now. We did try the comment rating system once again for a few days, but as before, it became a visual annoyance and just isn’t useful. Better to simply rebut bad comments IMHO.

Here is what has changed today.

One of the things I wrote then was:

For example, “Tips and Notes” is going to disappear, to be replaced by a better system. This better system will include the ability for more of our readers to submit stories that make it to the front page. Again, this is to improve the speed and lessen the behind the scenes labor. WUWT has gotten so big, that it is a struggle to manage its upkeep now, so the solution is a smarter story management and comment submission system.

The new WUWT Submit a story system is online now, and is a link from the menu bar at the bottom or the header. It is a two step process now to help discourage auto spam submissions from commercial spammers WUWT had been getting. It consists of a guidelines page followed by a compose and submit page.

There’s a section in the composition page on using HTML tags too, so that you can make your submitted stories better.

I’ve also made it easier to submit manuscripts that don’t translate well into simple web form submissions.

The idea behind all this is to make WUWT more of a community based resource, because our readers are what make it go.

What we are looking for here are two things:

  1. For news items/other blog posts of interest, provide at least three paragraphs in the story submission so that the reader here can get a flavor of the issue/news, and allow them to click on the link to get more of the story. We get a lot of people submitting nothing more than a single link in WUWT Tips and Notes, and those aren’t useful. Help everyone else out by putting some descriptions of your own plus a couple of fair use excerpts into those story submissions.
  2. For technical manuscripts, WUWT now provides a submission email address where MS-Word documents can be sent as attachments. See the Submit a story page for guidelines on how to compose such manuscripts in MS-Word. In a nutshell, simple formatting with embedded images is what we need.

We’ll try out and tweak this new submission system over the next couple weeks to see how well it works and adjust as needed. Once fully tested, Tips and Notes will disappear.

Then phase 3 will be coming. More on that later.

As always, thanks for your continued readership – Anthony

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59 thoughts on “Phase 2 of WUWT upgrade implemented

  1. The immediate posting makes for a different type of reading, as I can see a lot more back and forth debate between postings. Easier to follow, I would say. Great work Anthony!
    PS – are the mods less busy now? I have to give a hat tip to their work… as there was so much reading and manual decision making in the recent past.

  2. Excellent and congratulations for the “need” for a change. Your success suggests that new institutions are forming from a rigorous application of the scientific method — and from a fine, intelligent, intuitive blog-master. Many thanks, Anthony.

  3. Many of us used Tips and Notes as a kind of aggregator for points and links to topics of interest. Quite useful as it would deliver news to our in box . Still the only constant is change and the continual upgrades to WUWT are most welcome as is the decision to drop the comment rating system as that didn’t add much really. Lets see how well the new story system does in replacing T&N.

  4. I thought the Likes style system was good. Some said the number of comments declines a bit, but the quality increases, as commenters are driven to give their best. Also, it provides good feedback, especially if your comment is Liked a lot :-). So, my 2 cents. I know, it’s been decided already.

  5. Mario Lento says:
    Great work Anthony!
    PS – are the mods less busy now? I have to give a hat tip to their work… as there was so much reading and manual decision making in the recent past.
    =====================
    May I echo Mario, please?
    Auto
    [reply – much less busy now – thank you ~mod]

  6. Thanks for taking out the likes, Anthony. They were a distracting interposition, and made the commentary page seem shallow. After all, like or dislike is just feeling. Where’s the thought?

  7. It all sounds great, Anthony. THANK YOU, SO MUCH FOR THE PRIVILEGE you give to non-scientists like I to hang out on this EXCEPTIONALLY CONSCIENTIOUSLY AND COMPETENTLY managed site with some of the finest minds in authentic science. What a golden opportunity to learn!
    Thanks to you, Anthony (and Charles R. et. al.), my (and THE) world is a better place.

  8. I’m in moderation (all things, hmm?). Is it because I left out the comma after “so much”? Still a fan!

  9. Great move toward perfection!
    You may not think you are perfect yet, but we think you are the best site on the web!

  10. Anthony, I have a suggestion.
    If a comment does not appear immediately for whatever reason, like “awaiting moderation” or got transferred into the spam folder, and then it is approved, it should appear after all the comments already published in the meantime. Because people do not usually go back to look for new late comments and they would miss it therefore.

  11. Thanks for getting rid of the comment rating system. I felt it encouraged approval seeking. It also kept reminding me of the green-consensus, as though agreement was best. On top of that, of course, it was was open to misuse (clearing your cache allowed one to give multiple votes) and therefore was a complete invitation for trolls to come in and have their fun.

  12. Thank you for losing the “likes” system.
    Comments were disliked for saying something that didn’t follow the majority party line. And they were disliked more if it hurt because it couldn’t be easily ignored.. Thus interesting new ideas were viewed with many negative scores… prejudicing new readers against challenging their own preconceptions.
    Which is hard to do in the first place.

  13. The improvements so far have been great. I think that you are moving toward a much more interactive, “crowd sourced” resource. Heck, you are close to putting it on auto-pilot! Good stuff.

  14. One change I would like to see is to have the most recent comments at the top of Tips and Notes section. I usually read WUWT on my iPad and it can take some time to scroll down to see the most recent posts

  15. Eric Simpson says:
    April 27, 2013 at 12:42 pm
    I thought the Likes style system was good….
    ——————————————————
    I liked what Eric said, but there was no button.
    cn

  16. I agree with S. Peake that it would be most helpful if the new “submit story/news” page was arranged with the most recent submissions at the top just as the blog posts themselves are arranged. Also, I want to echo those who are glad the comment rating system has been discontinued. I know having it in place would have discourage me from commenting.

  17. The “LIke” system was ok, but I have always thought that people should be able to articulate their thoughts. Clicking on the icons was too easy, and conveyed little information.

  18. Sean Peake says:
    April 27, 2013 at 2:19 pm
    One change I would like to see is to have the most recent comments at the top of Tips and Notes section. I usually read WUWT on my iPad and it can take some time to scroll down to see the most recent posts

    Huh? I can’t fathom the reason for this. A Comments thread in WUWT often forms a discussion, or several discussions, with argument quoting and playing off previous comments. There is no way to follow the discussion in reverse chronological order.
    If WordPress offers readers the option of viewing in chronological or reverse-chronological order, then fine, let readers choose; but please leave chronological as the default.
    What I’d really like to see is the ability to select text and apply formatting with buttons (bold, italic, quotation, etc.), and the ability to go back and edit a comment for a time. But I gather the free version of WordPress doesn’t offer these features, which are a part of many forums.
    /Mr Lynn

  19. Anthony, I am just starting a WP-based website (on a TOTALLY different subject) and, through a glass darkly, begin to get a small inkling of what you and your mods have been dealing with for several years!
    You , all, have my TOTAL admiration. It ain’t easy!!
    [Reply: No, it’s not. And very time consuming. But thank you. — mod.]

  20. Some sites make it easier to contribute while other sites silently delete inconvenient opinions. Interesting, eh?

  21. “Sean Peake says:
    April 27, 2013 at 2:19 pm
    One change I would like to see is to have the most recent comments at the top of Tips and Notes section. I usually read WUWT on my iPad and it can take some time to scroll down to see the most recent posts”
    There is a solution to this. Just search for today’s date and you will be taken to the end few posts.
    Cheers David

  22. The up/down dingy thingy was fun, but not very productive. It’s good that it died. RIP.

  23. “As always, thanks for your continued readership – Anthony”
    =========
    The search for knowledge has led us here, and keeps us here.
    So, thank you, Anthony.

  24. Sean Peake says:
    April 27, 2013 at 2:19 pm
    One change I would like to see is to have the most recent comments at the top of Tips and Notes section. I usually read WUWT on my iPad and it can take some time to scroll down to see the most recent posts

    On its Macs, Apple provides a way to avoid this problem. It upper left), then on system preferences, then on Appearance (upper left), to click a check box that says, “Clicking the vertical scrollbar “jumps to here” (instead of “to next page”). That means the user can jump to a location 75% (say) of the way thru the on-screen document.
    There’s probably a way to do this on the iPad–or there ought to be (and maybe will be soon).

  25. don’t know how u and the mods cope, anthony, but am grateful for your efforts.
    only wish some wealthy, enlightened individual/company would provide u with enough money to employ a team to deal with the technical side of the website and free u up for more important research, etc.

  26. Great to see the improvements and a thriving community of supporters to boot; a place where the rational and sane can find solace as well as good argument among (mostly) rational individuals. Off hand, I really can’t think of any place on the web where that is possible. It’s surely not found at any of the ‘warmista’ sites … Althouse maybe comes close on issues political, but there are a couple of raving nutters from the other side of the aisle that spoil it.
    Well done Anthony and mods, well done.
    .

  27. I don’t like the removal of comment ratings. I mean, do you really want everybody to post their likes and dislikes as additional comments instead? There are already unmanageably many.

  28. Excellent developments… faster comment approval means better discussions..
    One concern, I use Tips and Notes lot and follow the links and find it very useful in keeping up to date …. but if many of these will now land on the front page (is that the plan?) they will push important stories off the front page more quickly (which is an issue now in WUWT, good stories are gone too quickly for my liking, but it is a balance thing I guess; all the action makes it a very interesting, dynamic site – as opposed to the stultifying structure of SKS for instance …shhh don’t tell them!…) Also am happy to see the approval ratings gone, they seem to change the feeling and flow of the page.
    Agree with those in here that this cannot be easily read on an iPad, but as someone who will read and reread the whole discussion thread on any topic which interests me, I really, really don’t like first comment at the top structures.
    Congratulation to Anthony, and thanks for the huge efforts put in by yourself and the moderators over the years.
    And I note that this site, as it is now and as it is being structured and restructured is perhaps becoming a leading example of how public discourse may be carried out in an efficient, meaningful and useful manner.

  29. jdgalt says:
    April 27, 2013 at 6:53 pm
    I don’t like the removal of comment ratings. I mean, do you really want everybody to post their likes and dislikes as additional comments instead? There are already unmanageably many.
    ===========
    But you gotta admit, they are informative/fun to read, or are we just having too much fun ?

  30. heh heh … dang it! … awaiting moderation … for mentioning an unmentionable site I guess?
    [Reply: Sometimes it’s impossible to tell exactly what word or phrase triggered the spam bucket. — mod.]

  31. Re: …” If Tips and Notes …. will now land on the front page (is that the plan?) they will push important stories off the front page more quickly…”
    Perhaps partially resolved by moving “Top Posts”, “Recent Posts’ and “Recent Comments” (still in that order) to the top of the right had column?

  32. The idea of “Likes” raises an even scarier idea. Please do *NOT* make Facebook logins mandatory for commenting like many blogs have done. There are a lot of people, me included, who don’t trust Facebook/Zuckerberg at all. To get an idea of what he’s really like, see the article http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2010/09/20/100920fa_fact_vargas?currentPage=all and especially the leaked chat session they have an excerpt of. *WARNING* NSFW dialogue; and it would probably get me banned to repeat it here verbatim.

  33. It’s disheartening to see so many sycophantic posts at skeptical website. I love this site for the focus it has provided over the years, and I don’t believe that robots can provide the same quality of focus. I recognize that loads are big and people are expensive, but I’m afraid the quality of information at this site will suffer from these changes.

  34. Mark says: April 27, 2013 at 9:58 pm
    “….. sycophantic posts ….. …. I don’t believe that robots can provide the same quality of focus. I recognize that loads are big ….. I’m afraid the quality of information at this site will suffer from these changes….”
    Sounds like you have a volunteer, Anthony. But I’m not sure how he will pan out, he comes over as having a bit of a superior attitude.

  35. Well worth a visit to the tip jar. Have a beer on me.
    I agree with the like/dislike thing: I don’t think it works. I did request it though – but not in all seriousness!

  36. Likes/dislikes are not a good idea. It is great that WUWT used the scientific method and tried that.
    HTML-editor for comments could be OK here, because comments are quite long.

    Where are the instructions of blockquotes?

    Does copy-pasted html work?
    Reading long comment lists is difficult. Typically I go immediately to the end and start to read backwards until I remember comments that I have already read. I like comment-trees where each comment has a title in the leaf, because I can skip comments that I have already handled. Tree-structures have performance problems but I believe that HTML5 can solve that.

  37. May all proceed as smoothly as the commenting changes did, although with the Maestro Himself keeping a hand on the tiller, it’s unlikely WUWT will change its spots that much to us reading its pages. And I’ll add a voice to the general chorus of congratulations to you all for what you’ve achieved – although the triple Bloggies speak volumes there!
    Does ‘Tips and Notes’ have to disappear entirely? I’ve got into the habit of scanning through the latest few days’ entries regularly, and often find interesting links which don’t necessarily go on to make a full post. It would be very nice / useful to keep a page where people could just post pointers to interesting stuff from wherever, ask questions without OT’ing other posts, and so on. Not quite a forum, but an informal information exchange, maybe with a size limit to discourage stuff which could / should make a proper post. Please?

  38. I’m also glad the ‘Like’ system has gone. My first thought was always that if a party lacked the courage to put his/her thoughts out in the open, it was just to easy to discredit a comment without justification.

  39. Steve C says April 28, 2013 at 6:11 am
    … congratulations to you all for what you’ve achieved – although the triple Bloggies speak volumes there! [Hear hear! _Jim]
    Does ‘Tips and Notes’ have to disappear entirely?
    I’ve got into the habit of scanning through the latest few days’ entries regularly, and often find interesting links which don’t necessarily go on to make a full post. It would be very nice / useful to keep a page where people could just post pointers to interesting stuff from wherever, ask questions without OT’ing other posts, and so on. Not quite a forum, but an informal information exchange …

    Maybe re-purpose/relabel it to:
    . . . . “The Bulletin Board
    performing much the same purpose for many as it does now?
    Anthony/mods?
    .

  40. “A Comments thread in WUWT often forms a discussion, or several discussions, with argument quoting and playing off previous comments. There is no way to follow the discussion in reverse chronological order.”
    i agree with this so would not want to see comments in reverse order. I typically visit new threads twice a day, and don’t find it hard to get back to where I last read.
    I agree with some of the comments regarding ‘tips and notes’: it’s been a useful pointer to wider reading. The ‘Bulletin Board’ just for links to other articles seems a good idea to me, without people needing to posit whole blog posts. Or is that not what is needed?

  41. Great improvements!
    Thanks for keeping this site a safe haven and great anchor for the CAGW skeptic community!

  42. Okay, I’ve got a new computer today and it has a new keyboard that I need to get used to, now this?
    Dang, what a whiner I am. 🙂
    Anything to make WUWT better, I’m up for that!

  43. anthony couldn’t quite work out how to post this in “submit a story” link:
    29 April: Business Spectator: Reuters: E.ON urges action to save European carbon trade: paper
    Europe’s effort to protect the climate faces “a decade of stagnation” without quick action to save the EU carbon market, the chief executive of German utility E.ON said in a newspaper interview on Saturday.
    “European emissions trading is a patient on his deathbed; either we cure him quickly, or he dies,” Johannes Teyssen told Sueddeutsche Zeitung.
    “And that would have unpredictable negative consequences, not only for climate protection,” he added…
    In the interview Teyssen denied that his stance was in part aimed at making energy from brown coal, such as that produced by rival utility RWE, more expensive.
    “Nonsense. It’s not about hurting the competition. We are all having a hard enough time as it is,” he said.
    ***”Carbon dioxide must have a price and if emissions trading is irreparable, then we will need a tax that countries can introduce on their own,” he said, adding that the UK was already moving in this direction.
    http://www.businessspectator.com.au/news/2013/4/29/policy-politics/eon-urges-action-save-european-carbon-trade-paper
    ——————————————————————————–

  44. “””””…..jdgalt says:
    April 27, 2013 at 6:53 pm
    I don’t like the removal of comment ratings. I mean, do you really want everybody to post their likes and dislikes as additional comments instead? There are already unmanageably many…….”””””
    The like/dislike up/down thumbs, was worth every penny of the time it took to click one or tother.
    If readers can’t actually write in complete sentences, something that they got or didn’t get out of someone’s post; who on earth would have any interest in their inclination to click an up/down arrow, and moreover, do so in complete anonymity.
    In a few more years, many suffering from terminal texting, will be needing to sign up for remedial English language courses.
    PS, my hat’s off to the many posters here who are ESL commenters. Wish I had a small fraction of that competence, in some of your native languages.

  45. Attention Moderators. You may want to look at this carefully.
    As one who has been snipped more then once I half expected snipping on many occasions. I must point out I bear no ill will to the moderators who snipped me (Including Anthony). I have a personal tendancy to push the edge. That’s what snipping is for.
    My thought is, in view of the Gosnell trial in Philly, maybe it is time to change the word snipped. redacted comes to mind.
    I hope when I “push the envelope” I usually flag what I have commented. I even did that prior to the changes in WUWT.

  46. stan stendera says:
    April 28, 2013 at 8:13 pm
    “My thought is, in view of the Gosnell trial in Philly, maybe it is time to change the word snipped. redacted comes to mind.”
    How about “[murdered]”.

  47. I’m happy to see the thumbs up/down junked. Agree it was visually annoying, and not helpful in any meaningful way. Overall, love the changes. Well done.

  48. Janice Moore says:
    April 27, 2013 at 1:35 pm
    It all sounds great, Anthony. THANK YOU, SO MUCH FOR THE PRIVILEGE you give to non-scientists like I to hang out on this EXCEPTIONALLY CONSCIENTIOUSLY AND COMPETENTLY managed site with some of the finest minds in authentic science. What a golden opportunity to learn!
    Thanks to you, Anthony (and Charles R. et. al.), my (and THE) world is a better place.
    _______________________
    Bears repeating.

  49. personally I liked the like/dislike but thought it should be presented as an agree/disagree.
    but this same mod has also been known to cause actual site slowdowns/issues (even on wp hosted servers) so its probably just as well.
    you do good work, I learn a lot, keep it up 🙂
    on a side not I would like a disqus or livefrye type commenting system, easier to follow replies to specific posts.
    just a thought though.

  50. Regarding like and dislike, or agree and disagree, this site is not about consensus, it’s about listening to both or many sides of scientific claims, mostly with regard to climate so that we can seek the truth. Pardon the Hillary-ism but “what difference does it make” if comments are liked or not?

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