A new format for WUWT

WUWT_magnglassI’ve been wrestling with how to make improvements to WUWT for a few months, considering different options such as trying out the WordPress Enterprise that I was invited into last year (which didn’t really pay for itself as many of the options didn’t work as advertised), and looking at different themes. With a website that is working well, it is always a risk making improvements because sometimes “improvements” have unintended consequences.

But, learning from our users, I’ve decided to make a small change, which is entirely reversible; here it is. 

What I’ve learned from readers, both in watching the comment flow and in reading emails is that due to the volume of topics covered at WUWT, with typically 6-8 stories a day, is that some popular stories that are still active with debate, often disappear from the front page quickly.

This has to do with screen real estate. As you know, we like to make big graphs and images here in essays, such as some of the splendid graphs Willis Eschenbach produces. I’ve always felt that these large format graphics help people understand the concepts better., But they often hog the front page if they are part of the story introduction.

So I’ve come up with what I think is a good compromise that will keep interesting stories on the front page longer (where people can find them) before they scroll off the page. It will also help WUWT load faster overall.

I’m going to a capsule format on the front page. This means small sample graphics coupled with a short introduction paragraph. It gives the reader a quick overview, and if they are interested, they click through, if not, they scroll past to see other stories.

Here is a before and after view of the front page of WUWT. The numbers represent stories:


As you can see, with the new encapsulated format, I’ve been able to effectively double the number of stories in the same column space, going from about 2.5 stories visible before (story 3 is cutoff) to 5 stories afterwards.

Because of that, I’ve also been able to increase the number of stories loaded on the front page from about 15 to 25 or more before the “load more” button appears.

This change should also improve the experience for people reading WUWT on phones and tablets where a lot of scrolling was previously required to navigate the front page.

For guest authors, please note this new format. Try to make a short introductory paragraph followed by the body of your post. I’ll handle adding appropriate thumbnails where I can, drawing either from the article or our stock of clip art and previously used but relevant images.

[Added: And, there’s a new header and a slight font tweak too. If you need the font to be bigger, press CTRL+ Mouse Control Wheel forward/backwards to change size. Ctrl-Zero resets.]

While I know change isn’t always welcome, I hope this one will be an improvement for everyone.

And for those of you that don’t have a Twitter account yet, get one.

It is the easiest and most effective way to speak directly to many of the people we cover in stories and ask them questions. WUWT has reached over ten thousand followers now, and I welcome you to take part in this.   https://twitter.com/wattsupwiththat

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May 18, 2014 8:04 am

Great idea. Are you changing the background color to a tiled image or different color? Glad I found this site, always nice to see new stories here! Well done sir!

Robert in Calgary
May 18, 2014 8:05 am

If possible, I would love it if “Recent Comments” could be moved up higher on the sidebar.
REPLY: It only shows ten, and I don’t see it as being all that useful, since they go by quickly. But why is it useful to you? Anthony

Henry Clark
May 18, 2014 8:08 am

The change is probably good, as the incomplete part of a story’s text on the front page was always best used merely to tell what it was about.

Vince Causey
May 18, 2014 8:09 am

Sounds like a good idea. I’ve noticed before that when topics fall off the page, the discussion stops, which is a shame.

Jimmy Haigh.
May 18, 2014 8:09 am

WUWT? good.
Twitter? Still not convinced…

May 18, 2014 8:10 am

Your new advertising is poisonous
And is unlike the others I visit
Now, instantly, a sound ad deploys on us
That does not seem necessary.
Is it?
===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle
REPLY: I have no control over the ads, wordpress.com handles them. But they are browse history/context sensitive. I suggest clearing your browser cache and cookies so that the contextual advertising engine takes you out of the pigeonhole that you are in now. – Anthony

May 18, 2014 8:10 am

The new format works for me. A pretty good use of space.
Is there anyway to search/list by rating?
I would still like to see a “Watts Best” menu item or Category to list the 5-10% of the exceptional pages.

May 18, 2014 8:11 am

Definitely an improvement. As part of the change, it would be nice to update the RRS feed to include much of the capsule. Currently, I get about two lines which is often insufficient to understand the content of the article.
REPLY: “RRS” feed?

May 18, 2014 8:11 am

Excellent change. Thanks.

May 18, 2014 8:15 am

I came back to WUWT after a 24 hour break and didn’t even notice until it was brought up. The introduction will be very important from now on.

May 18, 2014 8:15 am

“If possible, I would love it if “Recent Comments” could be moved up higher on the sidebar.
REPLY: It only shows ten, and I don’t see it as being all that useful, since they go by quickly. But why is it useful to you? Anthony”
Perhaps it could show the last comment from the ten most recent posts.

May 18, 2014 8:16 am

As long as RSS is still supported, I am happy. 🙂

Man Bearpig
May 18, 2014 8:18 am

I have been getting messages …
“You are posting comments too quickly, slow down.”
O did a search and came across this … don’t know if this is what is happening but symptoms are the same.

The other way it can happen is if somehow you make a comment to the future. You cannot then comment until that time is gone. This usually happens when changing things in admin.

I know that I was making a comment to another post when I got this message just before this particular post appeared … Has anyone else had this ?

May 18, 2014 8:18 am

I like it. The format’s easy to scan and I have all the information I need to decide what I’m interested in. Good choice for an active blog.

May 18, 2014 8:19 am

WUWT says, “What I’ve learned from readers, both in watching the comment flow and in reading emails is that due to the volume of topics covered at WUWT, with typically 6-8 stories a day…”
I really wish I could keep up and read them all. It will be an improvement to have more on the page. Ty.

Theo Goodwin
May 18, 2014 8:20 am

This change seems harmless. Good work, Anthony. Please do remember that you are the best blogger of all time. What a gift you have. Also, what energy you have. Thanks so very much.
REPLY: Thanks for the praise, but it is unwarranted – Anthony
[No, it’s not. ~mod]

May 18, 2014 8:22 am

If authors make the first part of the post an “executive summary” it would be helpful – especially for users of small devices.

May 18, 2014 8:22 am

Maybe use bullet points in the intro summary.

May 18, 2014 8:23 am

Would I then be a twit?

David Riser
May 18, 2014 8:31 am

I like it, minimal impact to me since I end up reading every story. This makes it more likely that I can continue to comment after the article goes to “older posts”.
David Riser

Pamela Gray
May 18, 2014 8:34 am

Love the new format as I am often engaged in conversations of posts long gone off the front page. I can’t stand twitter. The far less than standard English formatting and clipped meaning (I know- necessary to shorten the statement) irritates the heck out of me.

Theo Goodwin
May 18, 2014 8:40 am

Theo Goodwin says:
May 18, 2014 at 8:20 am
REPLY: Thanks for the praise, but it is unwarranted – Anthony
Honestly, I do not believe that there is a shred of evidence to support your claim. Please do not bother offering some.

May 18, 2014 8:42 am

Twitter is irrelevant when the blog itself has value – which certainly does, the changes are an improvement in delivery – vote me in.

Anything is possible
May 18, 2014 8:44 am

The new format looks good to me.
Change you can actually believe in.

May 18, 2014 8:45 am

The new format looks like a winner to me!
I’ll pass on the twitter invite though. There’s already more technology around me than I can keep up with 🙂
Keep up the great work!

May 18, 2014 8:47 am

I like it! More content, same space.
Now if you could only find us a mobile browser with a verticle scroll bar to get to the bottom of the comments faster. I can’t seem to find a setting to display newest comments first…….
Regards Ed

May 18, 2014 8:48 am

Love the change, I think it will really help readers.
For those complaining about ads; please use either the Firefox or Chrome browser with the essential ‘Adblockplus’ add-on. Huge improvement for all your browsing.

Richard Day
May 18, 2014 8:52 am

Just as long as this isn’t a google maps-like improvement. Dear god, has there ever been a worse move than that?

Michael Larkin
May 18, 2014 9:03 am

Gets my vote, Anthony. I need just enough info to decide whether or not to read a particular story (though I end up reading most).
As to Twitter, well, it’s not for me. When I see Twitter exchanges reproduced in posts, I find them largely incomprehensible.

May 18, 2014 9:04 am

Thanks, Anthony. This is an improvement.

May 18, 2014 9:07 am

REPLY: Thanks for the praise, but it is unwarranted – Anthony
O — I dunno! Some of us do disagree with you from time to time. 🙂

Alan Robertson
May 18, 2014 9:08 am

Have no fear about us antique “hobbyists” being unable to adapt to any changes. We can keep up as long as the print doesn’t get too small.

May 18, 2014 9:12 am

Not bad, not bad at all . . . .

May 18, 2014 9:14 am

I would love it if responses to comments could be nested. This would enable one to follow a debate more easily and I think it would liven up the already lively give and take on here.

Paul Westhaver
May 18, 2014 9:19 am

New Format…
Agreed… Though I don’t use wordpress, your layout is much like I use. ie more head-line..I like it.
re twitter… I don’t use it and won’t.
Twitter is important to people who WANT to be followed. It is invasive for those of us who don’t. Furthermore, twitter is in the habit of acting as speech control censor, nearly uniformly to the detriment of people like me. I understand that twitter follower count has the apparent effect to increase a media source’s level of celebrity, but it is a brutal, divisive, and senseless medium. I do hope for Anthony’s continued success but not by embracing web-based media controlled by other people who may have nefarious intent and power, like twitter. WordPress, for example, seems to not take a position of their subscribers’ content. Good for Anthony that they don’t.
Freedom of speech trumps all other freedoms, hands down. Therefor, twitter is in the rubbish.

May 18, 2014 9:20 am

It’s obviously a trade-off between the front page having more stories and less content for each story. I imagine I’m like many who read most/all the stories anyway, and regulars will have no problem finding what they’re looking for, but for the casual browser the new format is a definite improvement.

May 18, 2014 9:22 am

You have my permission for the change … 8>)
But that Twitter stuff? Nope, not for me.

May 18, 2014 9:25 am

100% approve the new method.
On the other hand re: twitter, will never twitter with the twitter progressive who owns twitter.
If that is the new America and the new commuications, not for me.

May 18, 2014 9:26 am

No matter if this is the best thing since buttered milky way bars or not, the thought and effort you put into the production of this site is appreciated beyond measure.

Paul Westhaver
May 18, 2014 9:26 am

One other thought…
One of the most viewed web sites ever is also one of the simplest. Drudgereport.com Matt Drudge seems to be able to encapsulate an entire story in a 40 character headline. His site has proven itself through 20 years of use. He keeps stories up to date and keeps it simple.

May 18, 2014 9:31 am

None of this makes any difference to the way i view WUWT. The biggest problem here is the archaic commentary threading. Allow replies to comments to appear under the comments. That would fix everything.
REPLY: We’ve tried it twice, and the complaints about it exceeded the people who like it each time. It also has disadvantages that allow trolling to take over threads more easily. Just look at what happens at Judith Curry’s place every day. – A

Paul Westhaver
May 18, 2014 9:34 am
May 18, 2014 9:41 am

“REPLY: “RRS” feed?”
I believe he intended RSS feed. Some of us dinosaurs like our news in digest form and fed to us by the ancient and honorable Really Simple Syndication (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RSS) and very seldom even see the front page as our news aggregators just pick up the new articles as they are posted on the site. When one grabs our interest we click on the link to the whole story and read it there. The introductory paragraph will be an advantage for us as well.
Twitter, not for this curmudgeon, social media is not my dram of Scotch Whisky.

May 18, 2014 9:45 am

BTW, have you noticed with Chrome browser the “more” link always goes one line below where it is supposed to go?

May 18, 2014 9:46 am

Heh, @ Judy’s they come into the muck on high horses, which stumble. Then it’s just slip it through the chink.

Mike Smith
May 18, 2014 9:51 am

As you say, such changes can have unintended consequences. Well intentioned environmentalists face a similar challenge 🙂
Nevertheless, it looks like a good call from here!

May 18, 2014 9:55 am

Good and necessary move, IMO. I have often found it frustrating hitting the ‘Older Posts’ button two or more times to find a thread I was reading a couple of days ago. This will make it much easier.
As for nested comments, please no—unless it’s strictly a user option.
/Mr Lynn

Leon Brozyna
May 18, 2014 9:56 am

My first reaction this morning when I saw the change was … Wow, what a fantastic change!
It’s clean and succinct. If I’m busy, I can see at a glance what’s awaiting me … an executive summary for a blog … read what I want now and save the rest for later. The contrast between the old style and the new is stunning. Well done.

May 18, 2014 10:00 am

Looks good.

David Ball
May 18, 2014 10:02 am

Love it.

Paul Westhaver
May 18, 2014 10:04 am

Another very popular web site that is clearly managed by one person is wimp.com. It is ranked 420 by Alexa in the USA and 1100th worldwide.
It posts 6 links a day. That is all. Yet it gets enormous traffic.
The key, IMO, to WUWT’s success, has been the content. The content is reliably informative. Whatever means to tap into high quality content and reduce the daily workload for AW will ultimately keep WUWT a persistent presence on the web.
You don’t need twitter. Twitter needs you to drive their traffic. Your blog is so utterly different and serves such a broad range of the public, they need you to increase their reach.
Content is the key. If you have great content, which you do, people will come, like drudge and like wimp. Do that without the staff of the NYT and you win.

May 18, 2014 10:04 am

WUWT says, “Actually, Twitter has value in that you can use it to expose people to stories here that they might not otherwise look at. The effect can grow exponentially via re-tweets. Being on Twitter and sharing stories with others is in fact valuable.”
Tweeting is a gift. In so few characters, lots of us could come off as…rude (: I like people who are gifted at tweeting.
Did you know you can go to a twitter page and read up without joining? You may join the fun later.
***Caveat: Moore does good work in Agriculture but sees Nuclear as a murder weapon for coal – and promotes Common Core. With people, you give some and you take some.

May 18, 2014 10:08 am

Never have been fond of the “capsule format.” It may work out for blogs with a dozens of stories a day though.
As for page load, that was important before high speed internet, but most connections will see little difference between loading a page with and without images.
However this is still the best climate blog and I will continue to read it regardless of format.

george e. smith
May 18, 2014 10:13 am

Well if there was a change, I haven’t noticed it, so it must be good.
As for twitter, I take it that is the comparative form of “twit”. But if anybody can rip off the gullible public, for the best part of a billion dollars, with such juvenile claptrap, on just the first day of trading, then they are probably doing a public service.
I don’t pad / ped / pid / pod / pud / whatever, and I have better things to do than waste time social “networking ” with a host of people, who probably wouldn’t like me, if they ever met me.
On my T&V ATT Uverse, I must have at least 900 channels, in the 1-999 range. With a 26 inch tv, I don’t need more numbers than that. I can step my remote control through all of those channels, and it will tell me what the currently showing program is for the half hour, hour or whatever. When I do that, the current program is almost never showing on my screen. Something else quite unrelated is on the screen; probably an ad for something or somebody. Well it gets two seconds maximum to prove it really is the currently scheduled program, and then I’m gone to the next channel. If it clearly is an ad, then it gets noted as one more place to not shop for anything. My favorite talk radio program, is almost never on, because they sponsor some of the stupidest inane ads I have ever heard, so I turn the sound off. I certainly would never seek out any of their advertisers to do business with.
And so far, I have not spent a dime on any of the popups on WUWT, so you must be doing it correctly Anthony. I can buy anything I want, in a store, and I can choose whether to go in there or not. I am never going to buy anything that is not on a shelf in a store near me. So “not available in any store” is a great way to sell me nothing.

May 18, 2014 10:23 am

The best blog in the world……. but there is still potential to get better:>))
I’d like to see a posting and the corresponding answers to be expanded by an addional click.

May 18, 2014 10:24 am

Unwarranted ??
Here are the Merriam-Webster definitions.
1) not needed by the circumstances or to accomplish an end
2) having no basis in reason or fact
Someone is selling themselves short.
Onward !!

May 18, 2014 10:25 am

Twitter- no thanks.

Steve Oregon
May 18, 2014 10:26 am

Excellent improvement.
You’ve made it much easier to share (post elsewhere) multiple stories.
I have in the past reduced your lead in and now you will have them all ready to go.

Jack Hydrazine
May 18, 2014 10:38 am

Small changes here and there are better than large changes.

Gunga Din
May 18, 2014 11:03 am

I like it. From what you said it adds to the site without making the it seem unfamiliar to regulars.
The thing I’d like to see, if it’s possible with WordPress, would be the date and time of the last comment appear next to the number of comments that is displayed at the bottom of each post.

May 18, 2014 11:13 am

A way to punch people over the internet. I dunno if it should use TCP or UDP, but it should be done.

mark harvey -- aka 'imarcus'
May 18, 2014 11:15 am

Like the new format – especially if concise executive summary exists.
But twitter I not — I have twitterphobia!

Pamela Gray
May 18, 2014 11:28 am

I agree with Anthony on the advantage of twittering about what goes on here at the blog. But just because lots of people like hubbard squash and hubbard squash is good for you, does not mean I will be eating it. Twitter away.

John F. Hultquist
May 18, 2014 11:30 am

Change is good!
Keith DeHavelle says:
May 18, 2014 at 8:10 am
Now, instantly, a sound ad deploys on us

My inexpensive keyboard has a mute key. Mute is my default.
I have a calculator open. If an ad is visually distracting I move the calculator over it.
I only have a standard computer to work from; no smart phone or mobile device so issues with those I do not have.

May 18, 2014 11:34 am

Most reasonable improvement – I like it.
Robert in Calgary says:
May 18, 2014 at 8:05 am
If possible, I would love it if “Recent Comments” could be moved up higher on the sidebar.
REPLY: It only shows ten, and I don’t see it as being all that useful, since they go by quickly. But why is it useful to you? Anthony

I often check the “Recent Comments” section and agree it would be handier if it were higher on the sidebar.
I feel it shows which of the topics are still getting new comments although it would be more useful if it showed more than just the last 10.

May 18, 2014 11:35 am

Like the new format.
Incremental change is a good way to to test anything…
Try nested (threaded) comments next, please?

May 18, 2014 11:37 am

@Stark Dickflüssig says:
May 18, 2014 at 11:13 am
A way to punch people over the internet.
Massive amounts of targeted ads are a good start 🙂

May 18, 2014 11:41 am

Perhaps the new format will help in keeping stories fresh for longer as the sheer volume of new stories means older articles rapidly progress down the board. Personally I would be happy with fewer stories each day but appreciate that there are a huge number of topics to cover and by ringing the changes readers will always find something of interest to them.

May 18, 2014 11:57 am

I like the new format. Still very readable.

Matthew R Marler
May 18, 2014 12:14 pm

I don’t know about others, but I find this font harder to read. The vertical rises on “I”, “l”, “k”, “n” and some other letters are thicker than on “t” and “f” and some other letters. Is this a setting on my computer, perhaps?

May 18, 2014 12:23 pm

I’m surprised you didn’t do this long ago.

John McClure
May 18, 2014 12:28 pm

The biggest problem with WordPress are the widgets. 3rd party hacks which expose site problems.
Your site draws amazing traffic, consider co-branding the site with a service provider. Your site can then dump the ads and you’ll benefit from traffic to their services. Its a clean idea that has nothing to do with Big Oil ; )
It will also get you extremely high rates of access, nearly unlimited storage, dedicated services, and support for coding. Coding a website isn’t tough if you have the time but you don’t at 6 articles etc. a day. Coding the site can also deliver a far more engaging UI as well as other fun options other users can then buy into.
Leverage what you’ve got to deliver and let them “keep the light on for you” ; )
REPLY: Thanks, but…no and hell no. I don’t have enough time to be a server jockey, as Lucia does, tweaking scripts and figuring out who’s running the latest attack bot. Lots of people would try to take down WUWT if they knew it was privately hosted. WordPress.com does all that for me and keeps the site secure with all the bandwidth I’d ever want. This is why we moved Climate Audit to wordpress.com after Climategate. – Anthony

May 18, 2014 12:30 pm

This site needs a new comment system.

May 18, 2014 12:38 pm

I like the change for the topics. Not sure if I’d change the comment system as others have suggested. The nesting or thread model can be cool. But with the amount of traffic here, it would quickly get to the highest nesting level and stay there making the nesting pointless.

Dick of Utah
May 18, 2014 12:45 pm

Good changes. What portion of the earth are we looking at in the new picture at the top?

John McClure
May 18, 2014 12:46 pm

You’re to quick on the draw here. You initially art direct and they do the code. Once the site performs to you liking, simply point the url to it for a test. If problems, point the url back to word press for site corrections and continue until its done to your liking.
They code, maintain their code which they in turn sell to other customers. It takes you off the hook for coding, gives you better dedicated rates, and better storage and gives them a way to showcase site services.
Its a win win. ?
REPLY: Still no. Who is “they”? -A

David, UK
May 18, 2014 12:48 pm

I like it; we’re not talking a radical change here, just briefer intros to fit more stories on a page. I don’t see anything wrong with that, in fact I only see benefits.

John McClure
May 18, 2014 12:52 pm

REPLY: Still no. Who is “they”? -A
I can do some research and make some contacts for you if you like. I’d likely start with a major provider who owns a piece of the trunk lines and isn’t afraid of climate debates.
REPLY: Appreciate the offer, but with wordpress.com they don’t choose sides. A new CEO get installed at someplace else and I might be out on the street…and then there’s lobbying by outfits like Soros funded “Forecast the Facts” and 350.org. WordPress.com tells content lobbiers that free speech is their prime directive and so “bug off”. I’m pretty safe here. Not worth the risk – A

May 18, 2014 1:14 pm

just one point.
i find the new font too thin, and difficult to read. The previous font was better.

John McClure
May 18, 2014 1:14 pm

It was just a thought Anthony — marketing/branding leverage to help and support.
I’m more than surprised CalTech isn’t beating down your door for an opportunity to support you but I guess Science is an unusual game these days.
Best Regards,

May 18, 2014 1:19 pm

Well done Mr Watts. The site definitely loads faster. I like the new format. If you check the Alexa (I think that’s the site) numbers I bet your load time has went down by 97%. 😉

John Francis
May 18, 2014 1:30 pm

Change looks good. I have always thought it would be better if clicking on an article caused a new tab, leaving the main site on the original tab. That way you don’t waste time reloading the main page, and in addition it remains on the summary of the most recently-read summary. I read WUWT on my iPad.

May 18, 2014 1:30 pm

The font is poor, difficult to read. Effect is blurred and indistinct.

Stephen Richards
May 18, 2014 1:39 pm

I like your adverts, Anthony especially when I’m looking for a new car. Thanks Anthony. I like the changes. They are OK .

James Ard
May 18, 2014 1:46 pm

Everything looks fine to me. I only tweet to one timeline, cspan’s Washington Journal, but most of the links I provide to the dunderheads over there come from this website.

May 18, 2014 2:03 pm

Just an idea: You can also make a “trending” widget that lists post by the last time someone commented on them. That way the post that with active debate will show up in the sidebar allow users to find them easily.

May 18, 2014 2:19 pm

I like the new look better than the old one as it is more simple, clean, and appealing. But I think one can find the older posts easy using the “recent posts” widget on the right hand side no matter which version is used. That is what the widget is for after all.

May 18, 2014 2:22 pm

Hi Anthony
I just thought i would add my two penny’s worth, I like the new font.

May 18, 2014 2:22 pm

For some reason I am getting a “Sorry, your comment can not be posted” (or something like that — going from a failing memory here) from wordpress when I try to post with my WordPress account like I normally use. What is up with that? Notice that the message I was trying to post made it just fine using my Twitter account.
By the way, I don’t understand the disdain of Twitter shown on this thread. I have met many fine people on that site.

Paul Deacon
May 18, 2014 2:27 pm

Capsule format and faster loading are big improvements for me. Well done Anthony.

May 18, 2014 2:31 pm

Dear Anthony
Your new improvements look very good, but can we have the old font back?
Maybe it’s on me here, but with Firefox the font looks very skewed and is a pain to read.
I’ll add a screenshot here for you.
Thanks, and thumbs up for your great efforts with WUWT!

May 18, 2014 2:38 pm

I like the change, I can get more info, quicker.

May 18, 2014 2:38 pm

Robert in Calgary says:
May 18, 2014 at 8:05 am
If possible, I would love it if “Recent Comments” could be moved up higher on the sidebar.
REPLY: It only shows ten, and I don’t see it as being all that useful, since they go by quickly. But why is it useful to you? Anthony

Far better would be moving Recent Posts to the top of the sidebar. That way I’d only need to hit Home to be able to switch to a new thread, instead of having to do two or three more page-refreshes by hitting Page Down two or three times.

Rhoda R
May 18, 2014 2:39 pm

I have to joint the majority on the new format. I also don’t and won’t twit.

May 18, 2014 2:47 pm

Theo Goodwin says:
May 18, 2014 at 8:20 am

This change seems harmless. Good work, Anthony. Please do remember that you are the best blogger of all time. What a gift you have. Also, what energy you have. Thanks so very much.
REPLY: Thanks for the praise, but it is unwarranted – Anthony

Once in a while Anthony is wrong. Like this time. 🙂 You don’t feel like you have all that energy because you put it here.
BTW, this change may or may not mess up the data collection I do for my Guide to WUWT. I’ll try to take a look at things tonight. Whatever has changed, I should be able to handle it without much trouble.

Mike McMillan
May 18, 2014 2:59 pm

New Coke.

M Courtney
May 18, 2014 3:06 pm

I hate change.
But this seems sensible.
It’s the vast number of comments that take the time to read anyway.

M Courtney
May 18, 2014 3:09 pm

I lurked so long for this.

Paul Westhaver
May 18, 2014 3:17 pm

Mark Stoval (@MarkStoval) says:
May 18, 2014 at 2:22 pm
…By the way, I don’t understand the disdain of Twitter shown on this thread….
Mark, I can only speak for myself but I have some very well defined reasons not to engage twitter.
1) Free Speech
Twitter has frequently deleted tweets and prevented posters from advancing a story that does not suit their arbitrary (usually left center) inclinations. I am speaking first person. They blocked me. I was using an alias and contributed to advancing a post from some other person and Twitter decided the world need not know about it.
So if they prevent free speech they are sh1te to me.
2) Mob Mentality
Twitter creates mobs. If you post to someone’s account which they identity as left or right etc, you get endless referrals and lumped in with people whom you may never want to associate. It is a weakness of their categorization algorithm. So they create mobs mechanically. Also, twitter is a mob construct philosophically. One can blurt out a brief phrase devoid of any nuance or propel a nuance-less blurt with out caveats. Like “yes we can”.
3) Cult of Personality
Popularity breeds more popularity. Gobull Warming became a problem because of the cult of mindless celebrities and fake scientists barking out thoughtless slogans. The whole AGW cult is one of personality not facts. Mann et al never want to engage in fact based dialogue, they prefer to tweet, sloganize and repeat soundbites.
4) Twitter serves the few.
Twitter is good for media wonks who need to be popular, or seen to be popular. It is good that Anthony desires and IS popular. Anthony has something important to contribute but for people like me who keep 99% of their lives off the grid so to speak, it is useless. I do not see the point of creating an online avatar as a proxy for real life. It is a hollow existence. Notwithstanding that reality, Twitter only works in a inward looking self-promoting/network expanding framework and it is pervasive and NEEDS followers!
So I am going back outside, without my smart phone, and raking some leaves, not that anyone really cares or should care except for me.

Luke Warmist
May 18, 2014 3:21 pm

Being 3 days older than dirt I’m automatically opposed to change. That said, by the time I got to the bottom of this I was ok with the new font.
Twitter…. Not for me. Much more suited to Mosher and his ‘Drive-By’ style.
Well done Mr. W.

May 18, 2014 3:42 pm

Looks good, and I had voted “not sure” about the comment reply question – now I’m happy with your decision to exclude it.

James formerly from Arding
May 18, 2014 3:45 pm

ossqss says:
May 18, 2014 at 8:47 am
Ctrl+Shift+End will get you to the end then use the PgUp key to move a screen at a time?

James formerly from Arding
May 18, 2014 3:47 pm

oops…. just saw the world mobile – sorry 🙂

May 18, 2014 4:04 pm

@Keith DeHavelle: Use Mozilla with the NoScript add-on, and ads with sound are one of several kinds of junk that go away.
@Bill: I’m with you on the RSS feed. Most blogs feed whole articles, it would be helpful if WUWT did too. Maybe there should be two feeds so that people using pocket sized toys can continue to see only short teasers.

May 18, 2014 4:07 pm

Yup, a thumbs-up for the new format from me!

May 18, 2014 4:07 pm

Anthony, I agree, much better. This will improve the number of people that click on to view an essay from the home page. Unfortunately, it takes additional editor time unless you will be requiring guest authors to submit with a pre-selected, pre-sized sample graphic (which I strongly suggest, as guest authors have the most time and you can always reject their choices — but it is simple if it is a sample graph which they are already submitting. You only need make the rules available).
If you give the outline for number of words above the fold, guest authors can write a sexy lede that fits properly.

May 18, 2014 4:07 pm

@ Paul Westhaver
I understand your points. I have had a different Twitter experience. I have met many other anarchists, voluntaryists, libertarians, and other believers in the non-aggression principle. I have really enjoyed the back and forth among our crowd. I am sure we are all on the NSA radar, but that is unavoidable.
Or course, I had to start blogging to answer some things as you just can’t say complicated things in the 140 ch limit. And that has been rewarding in other ways.
To each his own, eh?

Robert in Calgary
May 18, 2014 4:53 pm

I like “recent comments” because it tells me at a glance which topics are getting the current action. It might be an older topic.
I’m also one of those folks who often starts at the end of a thread and works my way back to where I previously ended. 🙂

May 18, 2014 4:56 pm

That’s a good idea Anthony. Easy to see overview on page one.
By the way are the blog stats 186.500,000 views since the beginning of 2014?
I really enjoy your site and read it every day, sometimes twice a day here in Tropical North Queensland. Australia.
Well done and thank you sir.

May 18, 2014 5:08 pm

Although I don’t comment all that much, I check your site just about every day. I love your new format and I find it much more efficient. In my view this is definitively progress 😉

Rick K
May 18, 2014 5:23 pm

I think the proposed change is a good one, Anthony. WUWT just keeps getting better!

May 18, 2014 5:28 pm

Mark Stoval (@MarkStoval) says:
May 18, 2014 at 4:07 pm
“…. I have really enjoyed the back and forth among our crowd. I am sure we are all on the NSA radar, but that is unavoidable.”
As long as you are already on the radar, give us the juicy details.

Paul Westhaver
May 18, 2014 5:32 pm

Stoval 😉
Yes. To each his own. EH? 🙂
BTW, your concise and thoughtful response was 489 characters.
I think the beauty to human dialogue is dealing with strong differences in opinion in a cerebral manner. cliche-ing back and forth dilutes that beauty and the English language that boasts 400,000 words. Words represent ideas. Also, Twitter-esque groupings creates artificial parting lines between people. It is a camp builder that internalizes dialogue between like minded people. To me that is like an sterile echo chamber. In my view, variety is the spice of life.

May 18, 2014 5:50 pm


Larry Hamlin
May 18, 2014 5:51 pm

Looks great to me Mr. Watts. I don’t blame you for approaching changes on your website with considerable care. Thanks to your incredible hard work and excellent judgment you have achieved tremendous success with your website that makes an extraordinary contribution to the field of climate science. Keep up the outstanding work and success!!

May 18, 2014 5:53 pm

The problem seen by will have the same root cause as what I see. The renderer is trying to fit a font which does not fit, in ’s case jaggies in my case mush. Either way it is a good idea to avoid italics.
I am familiar with the blog problem you are trying to fix but a public chat is hardly a good idea. Wish I knew of a solid solution short of big time where few pull that off successfully.

May 18, 2014 5:59 pm

WUWT new format = YES.
Dim Twits = NO.

May 18, 2014 6:03 pm

New format looks fine and importantly indicates that WUWT is growing and thriving.
So decide what the best strategy is for WUWT and call it Strategy A.
Then design a strategy which is the exact opposite and call that strategy B.
You can then offer Strategy B to the likes of RC and SkS so that they can downsize gracefully….

May 18, 2014 6:05 pm

Threaded comments!
Threaded comments!
Threaded comments!

Keith Minto
May 18, 2014 6:14 pm

I have a twiiter handle and have never used it except to read and access sites of interest, most days I forget it even exists.
I imagine that it is a method to attract readership to a website, but I have seen it used as an abuse mechanism on Andrew Bolt’s twitter account by marginally employed left journalists. The language can be filthy, the comments personal, derogatory and mundane.
Twitter to me is abuse in 140 characters, the censorship mentioned above is not acceptable.
The new format on this site is fine. I guess it seems that every display is going mobile format, I may need to turn my 16:9 screen on its edge 🙂

May 18, 2014 6:16 pm

Anthony Watts says:
May 18, 2014 at 2:54 pm
thanks for the screencap. Strange that you see that, it renders perfectly and clearly for me.
Can you tell what what browser version and what sort of machine setup you have? Can’t imagine this happening but I would like to understand better.
In the meantime, I’ll switch the original font back.

Thanks Anthony for rollback to the old font.
WUWT looks very convenient now, as always.
I’m using the latest Mozilla FireFox 29.0.1 version here on my Vista 64 PC.
I was aware of some other websites having that crippled fonts, almost all newer ones,
but I’m no expert in developing websites.
Maybe it is a kind of font especially designed for Win7/8 and Vista tries to emulate it (unsuccessfully)?
I also tried to smooth the types in the Windows ambience settings, but with no effect.

Dudley Horscroft
May 18, 2014 7:17 pm

Notice absolutely no change. The font is exactly the same as always. If I want to go to the most recent comment, just run the scroll bar down. If I want to go to a recent thread, just pick it up in the inbox. As for nested comments – presumably so that I can disagree with someone and my comment exactly follow theirs, instead of going to the bottom – no thanks, it makes it so much more difficult to follow.
Re Tweeting and Twitter, the only reason I would want this is so that I can send a “Tweet” to my favourite TV program (Paul Murray Live) when someone says something which I know to be wrong. They manage this now and again! But —-
kim says: May 18, 2014 at 8:23 am “Would I then be a twit?”
No!. Both you and I would be ‘twats’.

Claude Harvey
May 18, 2014 7:45 pm

Anthony, you know we’re suspicious of “change”. That’s why we’re here!

Keith Minto
May 18, 2014 7:46 pm

I use the latest Firefox with Ghostery. This excellent add -on works with most browsers and is smoother than earlier versions. This should make visiting sites easier and less cluttered.
I always allow wordpress

May 18, 2014 8:23 pm

You are to be commended for avoiding complacency – you just keep getting better!

May 18, 2014 8:29 pm

I like it. Less appearance of alleged stridency.

May 18, 2014 8:30 pm

New WUWT format is good.
Twitter is bad.
Jo Nova comment layout is best.

May 18, 2014 8:32 pm

I use Feedly. I like it. Please don’t mess it up. I know you don’t intend to, but… stuff happens.

May 18, 2014 8:47 pm

Make it so!

May 18, 2014 9:01 pm

Best improvement would be threaded comments. But not using that groteque Disque platform!

Paul Westhaver
May 18, 2014 10:09 pm

Matt Drudge deleted ALL but one of his twitter tweets except one:
Seemed coincidental.

Steve in Seattle
May 18, 2014 10:49 pm

My wish would be to have URL’s included in comments open in a NEW window. Oh, that would be so much nicer ! Perhaps you have no control, sigh …

Steve C
May 18, 2014 11:42 pm

Looks fine from here. The new format is basically a tidied-up version of the old, and just formalises the “scan first paragraph – click through or not” approach many of us used anyhow. However, I shall not be Twittering anytine soon (like, this lifetime).

Bob Shapiro
May 19, 2014 8:37 am

I was afraid I’d dislike the new format, but I’m happy I was wrong. The new, shorter intro blurbs are a definite plus in my book.

May 19, 2014 8:58 am

The danger here would seem to be that, with shorter intros to posts, people who were getting pulled in and reading posts before will skip over now. Seems that this should be easy to monitor: “continue reading” clicks in the old format vs. the new.

Ted Clayton
May 19, 2014 10:33 am

There is a natural impulse to want to ‘put/see everything’ on one page. That’s why newspapers are so big they can be used for DIY wallpaper.
Both the website provider and the visitor are subject to this phenomenon … even when it is grossly contrary to both their interests. (Early newspapers also sought to print everything on just one side of the sheet, to spare readers the trauma of turning it over.) We resort to/accept pagination and assorted navigational strategies, only when ‘absolutely necessary’. (This is one of the secrets to the success of WordPress … its navigational structure (and data tables) are kept extremely rudimentary.)
The essential core concept of HTML and the Web, is “the link” – for structure, and navigation. We should be, are supposed to be, navigating a lot – to exploit the theoretically infinite link-space. Translating this concept into systems that humans find agreeable has proven tougher than expected. (Many real such system-examples come with some degree of ‘learning curve’, etc.) (Indeed, “database programming” (ie, linkage-strategies on serious drugs) remains and always has been the bread-and-butter of career programmers, because the necessary knowledge & learning curve of the system that manages the data (‘content’, in the case of CMS like WP, Drupal, etc) rapidly becomes a sheer vertical edifice, requirement technical climbing aids and deep commitment.)
A couple-few years ago, I was arriving at the point where social opprobrium would soon ‘require’ that I ‘break down’ and accept a basic inventory of ‘social media’ (Facebook, Twitter). From my point of view, “fortunately”, the nefarious inner soul of these enterprises then began to ooze out publicly … and today when I report having never subscribed, folks’ reaction is often wistful envy.
Worse, in terms of providers reaching for/selecting social media solutions; they are breeding like rabbits and each new round of users entering Middle School, High School and College demands their own unique set of products, and views former standard products as old-hat & gauche.
Deployment of JavaScript has become outlandish beyond the pale. It is normal now for the script-files to outweigh the graphics-files, even on lavishly-visual sites (a megabyte of script-rubbish is nothing). There is a crisis bearing down on us here. “NoScript” (what it sounds like) is now the browser utility plugin second in popularity only behind “Adblock”. Visitors have long since choked on the JavaScript-driven 3-ring-circus that is many a website … providers for their part often have no inkling of the code-horror that is entrained in the solutions & tools they’ve chosen.
When I load this page, the body of the Post is 4 screens long. The comments are then 63 screen-pages long (@ 138 comments). It is not uncommon here at WUWT, for single posts to exceed 100 screen-pages, simply due to the comments. We become inured to it, but it’s not good; to newcomers, it’s daunting … ‘meaningless’, actually.
Judith Curry has it even worse. She’ll get twice as many comments, and the average length of each may be several times what we see on WUWT. A single high-interest Post-page on her site could be the better part of 1,000 screen-pages long. Oh my. Again, really-and-truly, we are facing a crisis here.
But … the Internet is the greatest adventure and the most fabulous treasure of modern times. It’s just that like with Freedom, there is indeed a price … and at times it can seem awfully steep.
Congratulations, Anthony Watts, on a hugely successful & fundamentally important Internet presence … and on the willingness to spend months poring over its problems & issues, and studying the potential solutions. An impressive & inspirational project.
Ted Clayton

May 19, 2014 12:10 pm

Yes, do it. Lets you quickly decide what to look at, keeps more good stuff on the front page.

May 19, 2014 2:20 pm

I’m not sure about the new format.
Every time I click to go to the full post then read it and return I’m sent back to the VERY first post. This requires much scrolling to get to the next post in the que.

Reply to  tenndon
May 19, 2014 2:29 pm

I do understand your end goal
When clicking, try holding CONTROL
This leaves the old page
Opens up a new stage
When you close that, you’re back on your roll
===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle

Chip Javert
May 19, 2014 4:27 pm

(1) Strong like for the new format & glad to see you’re planning for the future. This site will become even busier as the CAGW fraud publicly unwinds.
(2) Strong dislike for Twitter.

Arno Arrak
May 19, 2014 5:33 pm

Very interesting. Let’s see if you got rid of that annoying “enter your comment here” when writing a blog. Oops, no, sorry, it is still there. Tell these idiots you don’t want anything to interfere with your clients writing to you. Arno

May 19, 2014 9:13 pm

What Joanne Nova did but it did affect me regarding how much I go to her site, was she didn’t email to everyone anymore. Subsequently if you want to read the latest, you just Goggle Jo Nova. Personally I rarely do now. But Tory Aardvark in UK, he has a list of titles on the side of his site, once you click on the particular comment to ‘read more’. Some have been going since 2011.

May 19, 2014 11:16 pm

Now that I’ve test-driven this for a few days, seems clearer and much better arranged, ie. page view.
– like it.

May 20, 2014 12:06 am

Like the top 4 story section at the top. Good concept that.

Eric Gisin
May 20, 2014 7:17 pm

Any chance the RSS feed matching the home page? First paragraph and thumbnail.
Right now the text is truncated and there are three images.

May 20, 2014 7:38 pm

I couldn’t locate my comments, maybe I didn’t comment on those four threads?

Paul Westhaver
May 20, 2014 10:50 pm

As a suggestion…
The opening page is dominated by the WUWT banner.
It wasn’t as imposing in the past but it takes up quite a bit of real estate on your main page.
IMO… WUWT is in itself, a recognizable brand and though beautiful and awe inspiring, the earth-shot, especially the size of it, is out of proportion with the new format.
IMO and no offense intended, as you know, I love your site.

May 21, 2014 7:18 am

New layout is good. I like the new banner but I miss the old one which I really liked!

May 21, 2014 7:19 am

I forgot to say that I still do not wish to twit…

May 21, 2014 7:12 pm

have waited some days before commenting in order to try out the new format.
definitely an improvement. what a lot of work must go into keeping this site working in such a professional manner, anthony & co. you are all to be congratulated.

Gunga Din
May 24, 2014 6:42 pm

If WordPress would allow it, it would be nice to be able to expand the “recent comments”, a button to click on along the lines of the see older post button.

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