Quote of the week: personal energy and a poll

In comments on Dr. Roy’s Facebook page about him turning comments off on his blog because he’s simply tired of dealing with sockpuppeting troll Douglas J. Cotton, there was this quote that I thought was very, very succinct and appropriate. It also applies to the climate debate in general.

“The amount of energy necessary to refute bullshit is an order of magnitude bigger than to produce it.” :- Alberto Brandolini

Source: https://www.goodreads.com/author/quotes/11485742.Alberto_Brandolini

Spencer replied:

That quote is a great description of what has been happening. Person #1 can put together a meaningless string of technical jargon. Person #2 can say, “that makes no sense at all!” Person #1 then says, “sorry you don’t know enough to understand it.” It just goes downhill from there..

Indeed, and the amount of energy expended by me and others is great. We walk a very fine line here, trying to balance giving a legitimate forum to open and honest people, while ferreting out and limiting people who simply want to disrupt the conversation via sockpuppetry. It is a lot of work. If I didn’t have volunteer moderators for WUWT, I probably would have gone the way of Spencer long ago. Since we routinely process a thousand or more comments a day here, many of which are from sockpuppeters and posers (you know who you are with special attention to K-man) It would certainly give me more time to research and write articles. It’s certainly less effort.

So, I thought it was time to ask the question:

Doug, don’t even try to comment here again.

410 thoughts on “Quote of the week: personal energy and a poll

  1. How about requiring a subscription to comment or verify more about commenters than that they have valid emails? Maybe require use of real names, unless applicants can plausibly show professional harm from not toeing the Party line.

    • I agree with Gloateus. There ought to be some way to verify. Like with a nominal yearly fee or some such. That way the payment method is the proxy for the account verification. :)

      • Not a bad idea… Visa cards are hard to spoof and reuse of a card is easy to limit.

        I’d do it.

      • The fee could be used to compensate staff/watts and additional moderator(s). Are the current volunteer moderators full time? Would a full time moderator help? Bankrupting Doug Cotton would be a good thing.

      • Agree. A yearly subscription would be a great idea. AW gets my almost yearly contribution, anyway. What is that saying: Put up or shut up?

      • Have to disagree as a free site is more likely to be read by those seeking knowledge and/or an alternative view. having to pay even a minimal amount will likely keep many ‘newbies’ away from the best anti-CAGW site available.

      • @John in Oz: leave the site free to read, but only subscribers can post. That way, the idiots can bankrupt themselves if the subscriber is a buttnugget

      • The only reason most readers are here is to engage in the discussion to limit that in any way would be destructive to the site. I for one get as much from the discussion as the articles.

      • With a pay-as-you-go of $5 non-refundable for every comment removed and a locked yearly $1.00 contract requiring payment method stored through non-revertible middle men like pay-pal or amazon?

      • Great idea. It doesn’t have to be much. The conditions would include that if you are found to be a trollster or impersonating someone else your posting right is terminated no refund.

        The trolls would bankrupt themselves.

      • I think a better solution would be to leave all comments freely available to all, but you only get instant posting of the comments if you are a subscriber or verified or whatever other hurdle you would like.

        If you are a free poster your comment goes directly into a moderation queue and only gets posted if approved by a mod.

        The point is to break their spirit. If they know their comments are all going to get flushed, they will give up posting pretty quickly.

        There is something about the psychology of an Internet troll worth the thrill of seeing their posts published and to think how everyone else is going to react. If it’s invisible and never gets published, the thrill is gone.

    • Preposterous.

      How do you check real names?

      Why would people be expected to give real names?

      Why would anyone really believe that real names help with anything?

      • By using Paypal, authenticity is automatic. A small payment is all that is needed, less than a dollar, and it only needs to be used once. Paypal uses your bank account as part of the verification process, so generating multiple Paypal accounts is no easy task. Just ask Anthony.

    • Gloateus Maximus posted: “…Maybe require use of real names…”

      So, “Gloateus Maximus” is your real name?
      “Newt Love” is my real name. I’m named after my father, Newton Love, Sr. (deceased). “Anthony Watts” is his real name. Both of the Dr. Spencers use their real names. Et cetera.

      • I use my real name as I have nothing to lose career wise. As Climategate showed clearly, if you are a climate skeptic and potentially exposed to the “wrath” of the Consensus, you better use a synonym.

      • Conservative scientists learn pretty quickly to keep their heads down. Especially young scientists who could have their career derailed if it became known they were skeptical of the orthodoxy.

        Look at how some more senior people have been persecuted out of positions because they published the wrong paper.

        http://www.sgr.org.uk/resources/stormy-times-climate-research

        If someone prefers to be anonymous and is not trolling then why not allow them to do so?

      • Leonard Lane

        The advantage of not using real name obviously is that commenting to a blog in many ways is a verbal way of exchanging ideas, but unlike snap-chat, whatever you have written will follow you for the rest of your life. Personally I put a lot more effort into making my arguments complete, and put a lot of effort into avoiding ambiguities etc etc when I sign with my name, and I likewise put a lot of effort into thinking ways that what I write can be intentionally or un-intentionally construed to mean something different from what I actually try to express. Obviously, ideally this should be done with any kind of postings, but I doubt the realism in this.

        My basic rule is that whenever possible I do not post anything under my own name the same day as I write it, and I review it the day after before I post it.

        This is obviously very detrimental to participating in a real-time discussion.

    • Huff Post began requiring a SINGLE Facebook account for its commenters. I quit posting there because I prefer to remain anonymous. I would like to think my contributions, albeit few, are constructive and would not like to be censored for wanting to remain anonymous.

      • @Chic Bowdrie Setup a community page as a firewall to your actual name, post half a dozen things on your community page that people need to know so it isn’t blank. That is how I do it to protect myself on facebook to get the truth out.

    • The fee would be for the right to post, but everyone would have the right to view the site for free. After a provisional period, the fee could be reduced or waived for regular contributors- particularly those who regularly post and provide very useful information or ask very pertinent questions. Maybe those posters could be grandfathered in.

    • Even a small fee will greatly drop participation. You see it in video games all the time. The difference between free-to-play and even a $5 charge is something like a 90% drop in participation. One of the greatest things about WUWT is the community, and we would go from being open to extremely closed no matter how small you made it. Plus, if someone’s going through the trouble to set up proxy servers, no minor fee would deter them. Identity could be avoided by something so simple as a Visa gift card, available from Walmart en-masse.

      And as for real world names. Who would make the “plausible professional harm” determination? I have one of the most open usernames on the site, and I refuse to go any further. If I used my last name, I’d put myself at risk from the corporate public relations department (Big oil makes a lot on carbon trading, so they actually keep the environmental department very separate from that side of things). However, who can say that my concerns are better or worse than anyone else’s?

      I don’t know what the solution is, but those are definitely not the way to go.

    • Here’s how Wikipedia handles the problem.

      They allow edits by both registered and anonymous editors, but anonymous guys get their IP address as their name. Registering an account is free, and they don’t need your social security or bank account info. Registered guys can make up their own names (within the limits of good taste).

      If there is disruptive editing on a particular subject by an anonymous editor, the page can be ‘semi-protected,’ that is, edited only by registered editors. That might be the ticket here.

      A registered editor can be banned or blocked for bad behavior, as happened to William Connolley. (39 times, as of 1 minute ago)

      Wikipedia can spot proxy editing and sock puppets by the IP address, and block those cases.

    • I disagree with the requiring of a subscription fee for the privilege of posting commentary simply because I do not have a Credit Card of any size shape or form …… and I am too damn old now to be acquiring one just so I can be posing my learned knowledge, experiences and opinions for the benefit of those who have been miseducated in the physical sciences and/or the natural world they exist in.

    • I don’t think gatekeeping is necessary if people here just don’t engage with, “feed,” the trolls. There is more than enough science posted here on a daily basis for anyone legitimately seeking information to find, analyze, and parse for themselves. There should be no need to argue–the data stands on its own merit.

      • Took the words out of my mouth. A maggot in my home, found in the cornmeal, I toss the cornmeal not move out of the house.

    • +1 I will pay a fee to add my (sarcastic/ironic/obnoxious) comments. I Iove this site and I’m willing to pay to make it better (But then, I have also been drinking absinth this evening and hope that I don’t cut off ear!)

  2. In addition to the trolls there are the people peddling their own pseudo-scientific nonsense. And then there are the willfully ignorant and the learning-resistant fools. Many a good post eventually become hijacked by such people. It might be a good idea to close down comments once the density of such aberrations becomes high enough.

    • As someone who pops in the read and learn from experts, I was unaware of the pervasive troll. After some research, I found many other sites have banned said troll. I have also found many other sites who use his posts as examples of ‘climate denier pseudo science’. There are many examples of paid plants and fake posters to honeypot and skew rabid posts as proof for Political Agenda.
      I strongly suspect he is one.
      As mentioned by others, a thumbs up/down process would allow his comments to decline on their own accord to the end or sit nested inside. Problem is bots can be used to give yourself many fake up votes.
      A handful of selected posters that you favor could also act as moderators…not a keen fan of this since it is abused in leftist blogs and news media…but it works.

    • How long would Alfred Wegener’s “pseudo-scientific nonsense” have lasted if he had blogged here? It took 50 years for his theories to be accepted.

      Who decides what is nonsense or not?

      • One of the most difficult aspects of science is to remain open to new ideas without wasting too much time on ideas that are dead ends. There are honest dead ends and then there are con men who fabricate evidence for their own benefit (like say, some drug companies). The AGW debate has highlighted how those wanting most to limit debate may also be the con men. I don’t think there is an easy way through this as ideas which stray from the conventional wisdom of the day are usually met with hostility whether they are good ideas or bad. It often takes time to sort these things out. There are many other cases of good scientists hammered by the establishment- Semelweiss, Margulis, http://amasci.com/weird/vindac.html.
        There is no good way to limit debate and what Anthony is doing already is probably somewhere near the correct balance.

      • Great thought John in OZ. Once restrictions, fees, and one person deciding that anyone with a different opinion is not only wrong but a fool, then it is the end of open scientific discussion.

    • Leif

      The vast majority of readers and commentators her are layman, it is elitist to imply that their voices don’t count. If this forum turns in to a group of self serving elitist trying to make policy for the masses I for one will never return to read another article. Leif you are extremely knowledgable about the subjects discussed here but you are also very blind to the political underpinnings of the CAGW agenda. You also tend to be very dismissive of even reasonable disagreement with any statement that you make and are the first one to dismiss any view other than you own. This critism is from someone who always takes the time to read every word you write here.

      • you are also very blind to the political underpinnings of the CAGW agenda
        I try to discuss the science [and only the science that I actually know something about]. I’ll leave the politics to others.

      • Leif;

        However the science isn’t the only issue that matters. Since it is clear that there are multiple political agendas at work here. The fact is that while few people’s lives have thus far been effect by AGW many lives have been affected by the agendas that are using AGW as their underpinning. Your devotion to science is commendable but the issue is much larger than just science and those that are devoted to the science are often not experts on the greater issues involved and to limit commentary to a narrow group is to limit the diversity and value of the discussion.

      • I think one does not need to be an expert in politics to vote or to have a say or to be important. When it comes to that we are all equally qualified.

    • Have to agree with you Dr. S. Mr. C may have been an outlier but there were my posters that had their own theory of physics and criticized Dr. Spencer for not knowing physics. It was very tedious.

    • From what I’ve seen, the “learning-resistant fools” are often just those who disagree with you.

    • Only a fool needs to frequently proclaim in public that he knows more than others. And only a fool thinks that by bullying others he can prove anything to anybody.

      I’ve known quite a few prominent scientists: mathematicians, physicists, geneticists, biologists. They were very different people (sometimes very difficult people) but I’ve noticed one common thing about them: the more a real specialist knows his subject, the less dogmatic he becomes about things he knows best. Real knowledge spawns doubt, prompts to think beyond the college textbook.

      Also, most respected scientists tend to be polite and patient with those who need explanations. Impatience is a hallmark of a weak mind.

    • “…close down comments….” This is what Dr. Roy has done, except that he has banned commenting completely – an overreaction IMHO.

      Andy Revkin has closed commenting on a number of posts. I think he has used this tool appropriately. Sometimes he invites aggressive commenting by a “climate wars” post that seems designed to do this. If it gets out of hand he can close it. To his credit, he has never, to my knowledge anyway, attempted to censor discussion other than overly personal or absurdly repetitious comments, and he’s evenhanded and doesn’t seem to favor warmist commenters over skeptics. I’ve seen many comments coming from all parts of the spectrum that I personally would have been tempted to censor.

      And finally, I wish Pielke, Jr. would come back. He backed out of the climate space altogether because of some really crazy personal attacks. I hope he reconsiders.

      • Way back in say, 1999, many many sites had huge comment sections. Gigantic! The New York Times, for example, allowed us to start a topic and then run it for months on end and I ran a dozen such during that time and then boom.

        In 2000, it was ended. By 2003, most big publishing sites online ceased allowing comments except on very rare occasions. Censorship was everywhere. It amuses me to see that the Daily Mail in Britain still allows comments on every article, a real rarity these days.

      • ” emsnews It amuses me to see that the Daily Mail in Britain still allows comments on every article, a real rarity these days.”

        & after a few sensible comments, that’s where you find a lot of trolls screaming, snapping and feeding each other; we don’t get or want that here.

        . ••• DON’T FEED THE TROLLS •••

    • If you want to see how bad it can get, go to Al Jazeera and read one of their threads, they make Doug Cotton’s ravings appear quite reasonable.

      In my mining and geology career, the one thing I have learned is when an unqualified person deliberately tries to talk above my level of comprehension on a subject I know well, you can be 100% sure he is talking not only complete BS, but way way above his competence level. In other words, a little knowledge can be very dangerous in the wrong hands, especially if those hands are those of a serial BSer like our friend Doug.

  3. Much of my undertstanding of this field, especially early in my following, came from the comments expanding on the more technical articles. I think cutting off discussion is a bad thing, despite the obvious trolls and sock puppets.

    • Georges LeMaitre was marginalized for ~40 years after he came up with the Big Bang theory (“primeval atom” was his title of choice) The main offender was no other than Fred Hoyle who was relentless in his abuse of LeMaitre. The self-appointed elites ALWAYS want their critics silenced. Thought control is not science.

      • “but are elite because other scientists consider them so.”

        Other elite scientists, or just ordinary scientists?

      • Most [ordinary and extraordinary] scientists…
        Now, there may be a difference between ‘elite’ and ‘elitist’ [apart from the grammatical one].

      • Once a person considers himself an elite, he has taken a big, but not positive, step. Elitists seem to suppress others scientifically and politically.

      • Most all “Original Thinkers” are more often than not ….. marginalized, criticized and/or personally defamed by those persons who are incapable of any original thoughts and/or more importantly, those persons who feel severely threatened by any new ideas or claims that are contrary to their own beliefs and claims.

        The aforesaid “nay-sayers” just can’t imagine that some “nobody” could possibly think-up a better “mousetrap” than the one that they have been “betting” their fame and career on.

      • Dear Dr Svalgaard:
        Would you have considered the Aussies who discovered the role that heliobactor pylori play in the development of ulcers in humans as being elite scientists before or after twenty years of recalcitrent
        scientists’ resistance?

      • Elite status is determined by one’s peers. It is normal that some time elapses before a discovery is accepted [which is proper]. Just being a contrarian does not in itself confer elite status to you.

      • Most new ideas or claims are wrong to begin with
        Especially the ones by “Original Thinkers”.

        OH my my, …. a “closed mind” is one that has been nurtured (brainwashed) by its chosen mentor(s) to deny, reject and/or discredit any and all new ideas or claims that are presented by individuals that have not been “pre-approved” by aforesaid mentors.

        The rejection of new ideas PRIOR TO any attempt to comprehend, understand or determine the potential truth or factuality of said “idea” does not bode well for any further advancement of one’s knowledge or intelligence in/of their chosen science discipline.

        And ps, ….. if not for the ideas presented by the “Original Thinkers” ……. then all academic disciplines would have been declared “Settled Science” 2,000 years ago,

        And the “western” world would still be trying to survive the hardships of the Dark Ages.

      • The rejection comes AFTER they have shown to be wanting ….

        Those persons who “can’t see the forest for the trees”, …. also can’t be shown to be wrong …… about something they are mentally incapable of “viewing an optical image of”.

        Your conscious mind’s thoughts, thinking and choice-making is subservient to the inherited and/or “sensed” environmental data/info that is stored in the DNA of the brain’s neurons that only your subconscious mind has access to …. depending upon the complexity of the synaptic “links” that interconnect said data/info.

        You are what your environment nurtured you to be.

        Have a great day.

    • I agree with Tom. My background is not scientific but I have learned so much not only from the articles and essays but also from the comments that come from many of the learned people that have taken the time to share their knowledge here. I, like many others, come to this site daily… the lively debate is all part of the quality of the site.

      Keep up the great work Anthony, you are a large injection of sanity in a screwed up world.

      • I second Doug in Calgary.

        An occasional fund drive could be done for whatever a few dollars might help. One idea might be to provide moderators with state-of-the-art computing equipment and to cover the highest internet speed their personal service supports.

        I have someone carry out some computation stuff for me, occasionally, under contract. Out of my own pocket I will supply a new computer, new keyboard, etc. just to keep that person as comfortably productive as possible.

        Oh – if I have to use my true identity, I won’t comment – that would eventually be a professional liability.

        I try to behave civilly and respectfully, and I appreciate the opportunity to comment via persona.

      • I agree completely. In the early days of this “theory” I accepted that AGW was a correct scientific consensus. As time wore on, I began to doubt the amazing confidence of the reconstruction of past temperatures. Then I found this site, where I have learned so much. Without this site, where do the questioners go, learn and rally?

      • I have learned so much from the comments; I would miss them terribly.

        As for anonymity – we have some serious nasty vengeful eco-loons where I live. I would really prefer that they can’t identify me. Yes, I would pay a subscription.

        Illegitimi non carborundum link

      • I also agree with Doug in Calgary. I can use my real name because I am long retired from consulting. If I were still working as a consultant, using my real name and expressing my “beliefs” could make me unemployable in my old working place as many clients have different “beliefs”. I always worked to the “terms of reference”, the engineering “Code of Ethics” and the “Ritual of the Calling of an Engineer” (Iron Ring Ceremony that all Canadian Engineers will be aware of).

        I fully understand why many can not use their real names.

        As for comments, I often find that even if I don’t fully understand the article, the comments will clarify it. If I find issues with the article, others often explain why the article is “off”. The comments add clarity to the articles. The recent discussion on “V” is a good case in point where many ideas were shared. It showed that the “correctness” of an article or individual is not always the most important thing (to me) because the ideas and discussion can bring enlightenment.

        As for trolls, or thread hijackers, I have learned to scan past posts by certain names or issues and discussions that are hijacked with back and forth arguments that go nowhere. They aren’t worth the wear and tear on my computer display and my artificial eyes. Scrolling past them is easy.

        Engaging with trolls takes time away from reading and learning.

        The poll is interesting. One thing I have come to appreciate is how many older people like me read this site. I do wonder what the profile of the readers is. It might make an interesting study some day.

        This is a great site.

        So sorry that Dr. Spencer had to put up with abuse at his site.

        Thank you to Anthony, the moderators and all the people that post information here. I have learned a great deal here, often as much from the comments as the original posts; and often from the diverse discussions.

        Thank you again, all of you.

    • @Tom Halla : 11:02 am, Tom I totally agree, I have learned a lot from all the discussions on this site and I call what is happening with the sockpuppets in my own language ” the Galileo Effect”. There will always be obnoxious nay-sayers. To shut down discussions would be a dark day. I am with you Anthony all the way.If the consensus finds a better way for weeding out these people I will support that but shutting down the discussion would almost be like giving in to them which to me is exactly what they are trying to do. Hang in there, we are with you! Maybe adding the up/down vote button could be tried again.

    • I strongly agree, Tom. Some initially intuitively opposite-from-what-I-would-expect views cause me to dig deep and much learning comes from it. The gravito-thermal argument featured on this blog comes to mind.

      What I find tiresome isn’t the D.C. comments which I can ignore or explore, but the snide comments that add nothing to the scientific discourse. Write or ask something worthwhile if you have it, otherwise butt out.

    • I’m a new regular at the site, and I wouldn’t want to add to Anthony’s workload in any way, but I have found the discussion & especially the links helpful. There is no convenient path for a newcomer to grasp the technical details– like anomalies, so the discussion is the next best thing.

  4. Have a registration system for knowledgable commenters only. As with any normal scientific discussion group and many Facebook groups, not everyone is allowed to participate.

    • Bill, define ‘knowledgeable’. I think WUWT’s great strength is it’s cross-diciplinary, eclectic mix of commenters of all levels spreading their experience and wisdom on these threads. Just because the odd person of restricted thinking can’t get the message doesn’t mean even readers of the meanest intelligence can’t see them as nonsense peddlers and snake-oil salesmen.

      • Bill – you are correct. Not anywhere in the science realm, but I do understand words, how they are used, people good and bad – most of the good scientists disagree with CAGW and CO2 as the magic molecule. However, these good scientists have a very big failing and that is thinking and acting as though the ‘scientists’ on the dark side think and act like you. This couldn’t be further from the truth. It is a war and if you want to win it won’t be due to how nice you treat the opposition. You will not win with science alone – if you don’t understand that, all is lost.

        Most of the people that are skeptics are non-scientists. We are a very large contingent and you need us. Don’t shut us out.

      • Kokoda, like many others who read these threads, I’m not a ‘scientist’ or researcher, but I do read a lot of history, and can occasionally offer a very limited perspective, or even simply laugh at the blinkered and deluded.

        To shut others out of a discussion because they do not have a Ph.D in a specific discipline does not mean that their opinion has no worth. In my early working life, I was fortunate enough to learn in the company of some very competent professional working engineers who had never been to University, but to tell them that they did not know what they were talking about, or shut them out of a discussion, simply because they had no college degree would have been a gross professional insult.

        Yes, this is a war of words that should have stayed within the confines of academia until the science and models had been more rigorously tested and verified, but as a public forum, I would argue that WUWT provides a valuable public service, unravelling spaghetti reasoning and failures of logic, bringing the obscure into the light of reason for which Anthony and his team should always be very proud. Even if they do have to deal with the hard of thinking.

        Sorry to hear of Dr Spencer’s decision, but he’s just one man and the trolls and fools are legion.

  5. I agree- close comments on some articles. But the extra explanations and information often provided by comments is part of what makes WUWT great.
    Do at times wish that the petty arguments and “trash talk” of derogatory personal comments about others could be moderated out,

    How difficult to manage the requirement that posters be preregistered and approved to be able to comment?

    • How difficult to manage the requirement that posters be preregistered and approved to be able to comment?

      Difficult – you have no idea what it takes to run moderated comments here.

  6. Well, I would be sad if you removed the comment section. On longer articles or ones that I don’t have a real handle on I will go to comments almost immediately. The commenters generally have a way of digesting the information in small chunks and I find that very useful. OTOH I’ve watched Willis go far and above any reasonable attempt to engage in an actual debate to the inevitable futile end. And I’m wanting to yell at Willis like “City Slickers” he’s not getting it, he’s not going to get it, the cows can record by now” It’s a bit like Wikipedia on any controversial subject; there are 10 keyboard pounders to your one. See how long your edit on climate change survives.

    Looked it up; twas Twain. “Never argue with stupid people, they drag you down to their level and beat you with experience”

    Cheers and good luck

  7. Who decides when a debate is over?

    Do you like it when someone says the debate is over?

    Roy had a choice.

    1. Ignore Doug cotton and all those who repeat his nonsense
    2. Ban him
    3. Try to show he is wrong
    4. Mock him– use the “D” word

    Does this look familiar?

    • Roy, myself, and others have done all of those things, and more…yet Doug just keeps on coming, unfazed. He’s a Farce of Nature.

      • In extreme cases, borrow Skeptical Science’s routine: Just disappear the offending comment and all reactions to it. Not even “snip” should appear.

      • There will always be Doug Cottons.

        Get used to it.

        Maybe their comments should be tagged orange as in ‘amber troll warning’

      • What was the name of the guy who set a magnificent temple on fire just to have his name known? That’s the driving force. Deprive him of the satisfaction.

      • you should be able to ban ip addresses. you or the article author should be able to ban commenters if you see fit.

        most often here they quickly get a dose of reality if they are off the reservation. Like someone else said I too learn a lot from the comments. Willis is particularly good in his responses to commenters.

      • The thought that prof John Christy, and Dr. Roy Spencer’s work on climate studies might not continue after them, into the indefinite future to the benefit of all, after they brush the cobwebs off their golf clubs, indicates the risks we take when we let politics leach its way into science.

        To say that Christy and Spencer have been cool voices of sanity, in a very noisy environment, is to say that their rational approach to what is a contentious subject, is largely what has convinced me personally, that CAGWMMGWCCC, will eventually fade away, as a serious threat to the planetary future.

        It seems that their occasional appearances before this or that Congressional Committee, is not unlike tossing a bone out the window to a dog in the street, to stop the barking.

        That buffoons like Barbara Boxer even have the authority to participate in such hearings, to me is an insult to dedicated scientists everywhere in whatever field they choose to do their research.

        Personally, I’m far too busy trying to make photons go out and illuminate those parts of the world that need illuminating, to have time to get into independent research on all of the rogue photons that seem to be messing with our environmental stability.

        So I try to understand what has been learned by others; and I don’t have the time or the money to keep track of the peer reviewed literature.

        So sites like WUWT, and Dr. Roy’s blog are the places I go to learn, or sometimes to comment.

        G

      • Oh, how I love generals. Let’s ban Starbucks, Peet’s, and most public wifi places.

      • Steven Mosher that is a positively devilish idea!
        And attaching some random replies to his comments could keep him in the dark about what is going on.
        I agree with ignoring him. Let anyone who wants to chew on trollish ideas and let the chips fall.
        I completely disagree with the people who want to limits comments.
        This site is what it is because of the comments and the way they are allowed to run, but run only to a certain point.

      • Steven Mosher
        March 11, 2016 at 4:16 pm

        Lucia did something like this some years back. It worked, if I recall correctly…

      • Apparently you guys missed the part where DC uses a proxy server, which changes his IP address frequently. You’d be uselessly banning IP addresses till the cows came him and he’d still be posting.

    • I think the difference is whose turf you’re on. I sometimes post at “D” word user sites, but leave when my contribution is no longer welcome. Ultimately, one can host their own site where you have the right to censor/ban all you want.

  8. I greatly value and have followed perhaps from the beginning Anthony’s posts and many of the commenters. I have learned to skip over some comments and personalities. The overhead of policing the comments surely is immense and clearly distracts from work in progress. If comments were turned off, might periodic updates to important posts be an alternative?

    • Indeed, deep gratitude and much respect to Anthony, and (nearly) all who post here. Barely a day goes by that I don’t learn something new. It is a considerable gift.

  9. I wimped out with “I don’t know.”

    Yes (end comments): If you did that I’d have more time to write articles.

    No (keep comments): I feel as though wading through all the cruft (including some of mine!) is getting to be more of a waste of time than it used to be, especially back when all the new comments became visible just be reloading the page and continuing scanning the page.

    Only on some articles: Ha! Trolls will just make their comment on the next article. This was the only choice I discarded immediately.

    I don’t know: Like I said, I wimped out.

    • I agree that nesting replies (as opposed to just adding them at the bottom) has made keeping up with the comments harder, and also encourages more frivolous chatter and less substance (e.g. my “+1,000”) above. It does make for more conversation, which can be entertaining, but on balance going back to the old linear comments might encourage more thoughtfulness and less chit-chat—and shorter threads? I’d be curious to know what others think.

      /Mr Lynn

      • Different strokes for different folks. With so many comments on this blog, having linear comments would impede discussion IMO.

      • I personally dislike nested comments, although I can see the appeal. If nesting is to remain, though, and WordPress enabled it, using numbered comments like JoNova’s would make it easier to tease out the inter-comment relationships.

      • Re Joe Born’s suggestion: Does this WordPress theme support numbered (top level) comments? If so, that might be worth a try. With these mile-long threads it’s hard to remember what was interesting higher up to check for replies, but it would be easy to jot down a number as a mnemonic.

        /Mr Lynn

      • Hmmm. I have to admit to a preference for nested comments – but have a problem here with telling what is, and is not, nested (some WTF? moments when I find myself in a totally different thread).

        There is one forum that I frequent that has a (fairly decent) compromise, but I don’t know if WordPress will do it or not (although I am going to investigate it, setting up my own blog Real Soon Now…).

        The Baen forums run all of the comments linearly – but at the top of each comment is a line like “[message #1238907 is a reply to message #1238794]” – and the second one is a link to the message it is a reply for. Hit an interesting comment, and you can backtrack through the thread then.

        On the poll, I voted to retain comments – although reluctantly, as I am fully aware of the problems. But, like others, I glean a great deal of additional information from the knowledgeable people that comment here.

    • I voted for free speech.
      Even morons should be allowed their space. It’s always possible that I’m a moron and they are not.

      But I very much agree that nested comments has encouraged closed minded bigotry and unscientific circular arguments.

      Go back to organising comments by time and we can skim over those that we aren’t bothering to engage with. That way we can see if they add something new and re-engage.
      But if they are nested then we leave them in their bubble.

      • My personal preference is for ‘nested’ comments.

        I frequently find that someone poses an interesting question and it’s much quicker to find the answer (if there is one) if it’s directly below, rather than having to scroll down maybe dozens of comments later – AND hope that in the reply the commenter addresses whom he/she is replying to by name.

      • “But I very much agree that nested comments has encouraged closed minded bigotry and unscientific circular arguments.”

        Sorry, but I just don’t see how that works. Are you saying that people agreeing with each other in comments leads to bigotry and circular arguments? And this is made worse by nested comments? I don’t buy that.

      • I would also always vote for free speech.
        Why not simply ignore troll posts? It would mean far less work for WUWT. Many trolls probably crave attention, and taking notice of them simply feeds and encourages them.
        .
        I definitely prefer nested comments, as it indicates the structure of the discussion. How on Earth does nested comments encourage bigotry and circular arguments?
        Chris

      • If you go for that, where are all the extra moderators to come from?
        Perhaps a training program to police the system.

    • “…especially back when all the new comments became visible just be reloading the page… ”
      How difficult is it to create a feature that would allow notification and highlighting of new comments only?

      Some sites like Discus or Facebook have various forms of such a system in place.
      Would also be handy to be able to see if someone replies to comments I have made or comment substrings I have added to.

      • When you are interested in a particular issue, I turn on the “Notify me of New Comments by email” feature. It can fill your email with trash but they can be put together and quickly scanned and deleted.

        The nested versus linear argument is a long standing issue but if you see a comment you want to come back to, you can note who made it, come back a day or two later, put it in “Find” in the “Edit Box” and search the article to see all the related comments.

  10. Dr. Curry and Dr. Pielke Jr use social media sites as login managers. Don’t know if that could help but I don’t visit Dr. Curry’s site any more because I don’t use social media. Any decision or method to control the problem will have consequences. But the fact remains, most posts are crap anyway with loads of “me too” fanboy comments and rants from angry old white guys like me, a large dose of unschooled opinions based on bs that gets repeated often enough to have a life of its own, and endless bickerfests between uncompromising egos. The latter being endemic at Dr. Curry’s site.

    Something to consider is to disallow auto-published comments and pass through only those that avoid the above problems. At some point it becomes self-regulating because you’ve discouraged the drive-bys and shut down the sock-puppet loophole. That means the volume of posts will drop thus reducing your workload. It will of course be a lot of upfront work.

  11. Perhaps registration that would use a google style level of dual authentication would work? Logging in with a unique pin sent via text message, same thing I do with google. People will not get new phone numbers all the time just to troll ;^)

    It absolutely sucks that the good Doc had to do this type of thing. There has to be a better way to spray for trolls.

    Regards Ed

      • My point is that using google authentication, as an example, permits you to use google to log into some sites using your google account. You don’t provide anything to the site itself aside from verification of identity using the google account using a dual authenticating process as referenced. The number resides at google and has other benefits for security and recovery of devices as an example. Very few people actually alter their default google settings, but really should. No BS, many could learn much from the google settings options if they looked at them.

  12. The comment forum here at WUWT is a pretty important place for sceptics to discuss and socialize. While the quality of the comments is decidedly mixed, there are a lot of experienced, knowledgeable folks posting here, from whose comments one can learn much. People with sometimes surprising but very topical expertise, sailors, engineers, scientists … examples are Leif Svalgaard (posting up-thread), Ferdinand Engelbeen and the Courtney clan. There are many more. It would be a great pity to lose this.

    • I agree with Fred Harwood. I often glean as much from the comments as from the articles, and enjoy and appreciate civil debate & disagreement. I also have learned to ignore the occasional hijacking of a thread. IMHO, most of the folks commenting here are calm, reasonable people.

  13. For the children you must keep up the good work.

    One day, in the not too distant future, these asshats will have to explain to their children/grandchildren how they could have been so cretinous as to have ‘believed’ in the myth of Cagw, so blind as to support and repeat the lies and invention of those who should know better and so gullible as to think there would not be a day of reckoning.

    Their offspring will be as understanding of their fantasies as we are – if they are fortunate.

    CS from 2xCO2 ≤ 0.1C Mark my words.

      • He’s been a pain at Jo’s site too. I just ignore his comments but it is really annoying when he bombs a thread.

        I’m afraid I had to post a “don’t know” in the poll as I can see the point of both the “yes” and “no” options. I’ve learned so much from WUWT and Jo and would miss the comments. I’m so sorry that you and Anthony have had the likes of DC to cope with. Your work is so very valuable.

        Annie.

    • Maybe a fake website could be set up, with some Artificial Intelligence posting generated skeptical posts, and generating a host of colorful characters commenting. Ensnare Cotton. This seems to be the best use of AI we might have yet.

  14. Jo Nova has a good idea and it seems to be “self policing” in a way with the “thumbs up” or “thumbs down”. I doesn’t stop the trolls but those that contribute to the site soon recognise who they are and vote them down. Just a thought.

      • Let the users flag the crap. I believe this might relieve some of the mods work load.

        We’ll flag ’em and let the mods bag ’em.

      • All too true. Most apparently good ways of dealing with a problem create other,worse problems. Besides, I like to know what sort of plausible arguments sock puppets and trolls use.

      • “The trolls will flag good comments as crap…”

        Maybe not just the trolls, also the concerned scientists or concerned mothers or concerned whatever.

        The most interesting comments on Ars Technica are often “hidden because of low score”, sometimes at extremely negative scores.

      • That might work, for rational people. Doug, not so much.
        Set it so that if the rating gets low enough, the comment with it’s nested replies gets hidden behind the username with an option to expand. Then he gets no casual views and those that respond to him can be hidden from people who don’t care to go there.

    • Comment rating systems have shown themselves to be a good way to develop an echo chamber. Imo, it’s better to let the readership sort out and refute the trolls and propagandists.

    • I have warned Jo that Doug will be looking for somewhere else to spread his nonsense.

      He did have a real “thing” for Roy, though, so he may not be quite as much of an issue elsewhere.

  15. WUWT is one of the two blogs I read every day (the other is the political Powerline Blog). While the lead posts at WUWT are usually interesting and sometimes insightful (and sometimes over my head), the Comment threads are generally rewarding, and often entertaining. Many times I have copied a comment to either a climate or a general reference folder on my hard drive, because it contained information or an argument I might want to refer back to. Indeed, my only regret is that the Comments threads are now so frequent and so long that I must pick and choose what to read—there just isn’t enough time!

    I do think using moderators is the trick, and we are all indebted for their tireless work. I gather Dr. Spencer was attempting to maintain his blog by himself, and clearly in this contentious field of study that is a mistake.

    /Mr Lynn

    • I agree with Mr Lynn. Often the comments are as valuable as the article. I would hate to see the comments go away, but I understand the effort required from the mods to contain the “detritus.”

    • I too agree with Mr. Lynn and PaulH. Over the years I have archived around 2000 items on climate and environmental issues, mostly from WUWT. The first item was from December 1999.

      Kudos to this site, host, moderators and contributors.

  16. Tom Halla March 11, 2016 at 11:02 am

    I absolutely agree with TH, and any others who advocate leaving comments open.

    Anthony, your readers will assist you in battling the trolls.

    SR

  17. I’m not in favour of stopping comments. Perhaps for factual presentation articles (where facts are undisputed, though can’t see many of them in Climate Science!), comments could be disabled, but generally, comments are a necessary requirement for correct discussion and distribution of thoughts about certain subjects.
    As mentioned somewhere above, cross disciplinary interaction is one of the best things about discussion. Also many things get solved by a ‘fresh pair of eyes’ – not that this is the reason for WUWT, but it certainly is good to get different takes on certain scientific aspects.
    just my twopenneth

  18. I don’t recall anything Doug Cotton may have said. I just did a quick review and I get the impression that he is not a CAGW advocate. Rather the opposite. I think he has an idea that conflicts with Roy Spencer view. Is that the crux of it?

    • No. DC esposes a crackpot idea (my characterization) easily disproven that also:
      A. Allows warmunists to put all skeptics into Obama’s ‘flat earth society’ bag.
      B. Regularly highjacks discussion threads, cutting off information exchange and learning.

      Look, denying that CO2 is a ‘greenhouse gas’ is true denial of well established physics both theoretically and experimentally. Nobody rational should hold that position. Now feedbacks? Lots of room for rational disagreement. So sensitivity? Lots of room for rational disagreement. Consequences? Lots of room for rational disagreement.

      • Thank-you. Until today I have not read a word he has written so thanks for the heads-up.

      • Ristvan

        Good to know that you are the arbiter of what is or isn’t rational.
        Not that I disagree with your comments but in the words of a great philosopher “the only thing I know for sure is that you don’t know anything for SURE”

      • “Look, denying that CO2 is a ‘greenhouse gas’ is true denial of well established physics both theoretically and experimentally.”

        Oh my lord. The real plant greenhouse works by way of limiting air currents (convection) and not by any radiation restriction. How do you think the open atmosphere does that? Talk about un-scientific. Even Dr. Brown calls that view of the atmospheric effect rubbish, and he is the prototypical lukewarmer.

        There are plenty of highly educated men and women who are not in agreement with you and the IPCC over the effect of CO2. You would like to shut off debate one this major issue as much as the alarmist team looks like.

        How the atmosphere works its magic is still an open question and it is not going to be solved by a tube full of gas in an air-conditioned physics lab.

      • “Greenhouse gas” is word play that obfuscates the underlying Illogical premise driving climastrology.

        The claim that the surface temperature is 33C higher due to the radiative properties of CO2 and water vapor is tenuous at best. I come to these sites seeking convincing science one way or the other. With a computer science degree, I view the arguments logically (If, Then, Else). All arguments I have viewed seeking to validate that DWLIR “heats” the ocean fail basic logical analysis.

        If -> CO2 DWLIR is absorbed in the first few molecules of the ocean
        Then-> CO2 cannot increase ocean temperature 33C
        Then -> Trenberth’s and Hansen’s model for surface temperature is invalid
        Else -> “Greenhouse gases” are not raising surface temperature like a greenhouse

        SKS posted a Tangaroa study on “Can CO2 warm the ocean?” That study was absurd. Others argue that mixing allows for the DWLIR to work its magic. The first few molecules of the surface layer is roughly equivalent to a thimble full from an Olympic size pool. You can warm a thimble up to boiling, and pour it in without any noticeable change in the pool’s temperature and the source for DWLIR is not at a boiling temperature. Lastly, the argument is that CO2 “slows cooling” which again would only allow the ocean to reach and maintain the -18C from Trenberth’s model.

        If the “greenhouse gas” theory fails for 70% of the earth’s surface, the argument is invalid..

        Do rational people deny CO2 is a “greenhouse gas”? If by that you mean radiative gas, then “no”. Do rational people question the “greenhouse gas” theory? Absolutely.

        Until a scientist can demonstrate in a -18 freezer that the application of a constant force at 168w/m2 can heat a block of ice to 15C by changing the gas above it from pure Nitrogen to an atmospheric mix with .04% CO2, the “greenhouse gas” theory for surface temperature doesn’t hold, melt, or in any way “warm” water.

        After exhaustive reading on both sides, the logical conclusion is the daytime sun heats the surface but more importantly the ocean well above 15C in the tropics, the ocean distributes this heat via currents and evaporation, the atmosphere cools the land and the ocean by convection and some radiative absorption, and eventually radiates the incoming energy out to space.

        If our atmosphere had 0% CO2, based on the properties of the real magic molecule (H2O), our temperatures would not be noticeably different, but most likely warmer due to less radiative capability in the upper atmosphere.

        Dr. Roy Clark’s null hypothesis for CO2 is the most compelling argument I have read.

        Thus, your comment concerning “denying CO2 is a greenhouse gas is true denial” allows a passive acceptance of Trenberth/Hansen’s 33C argument, which is far from proven or absolute.

      • Bob Boder:
        in this case, I think Rud is correct.
        Look, Newtonian physics as an acceptable approximation of reality at the scale that we live…its simply true.
        some things are just true, and Rud’s comment is one of them.

    • No no no! The crux of the issue is NOT that he has an idea that disagrees with Dr Spencer’s!
      Dr Spencer is like most of us sceptics. Novel and disagreeing ideas interest and intrigue him and us.
      The problems with Mr Cotton are manifold.
      You cannot assess the detriment of his contribution on the basis of what comments are published, because you’re omitting the vast amount that aren’t.
      First, the unremitting flood of commentary that resembles an over-spammed inbox. No sign of any ability to be pertinent, concise, or able to stick to a point.
      Secondly, he has an inability to discuss an issue. He’ll ask multiple questions but not answer any, unless he can wilfully misinterpret them. He ignores everything you say, statement, opinion, evidence, question or link unless he can misinterpret it into an excuse to continue one of his rants.
      Thirdly, he turns any intellectual argument into an unintellectual quarrel. He does not abide by the standards of honest intellectual debate. Specifically he attacks personalities, and his perception of motives and character. His discussion style is antagonistic
      Fourthly, he is an arrant sophist. He uses multiple techniques of sophistry to derail discussion unproductively.
      Fifth, he is grammatically and logically ambiguous. Trying to discuss anything with him is a burden, because you have to conduct both sides of the conversation. If you meant a) then the answer is x, if instead you’re trying to say b) then the answer is y) and if c) then the answer is z). Just what did you mean, and could you be clearer in future? He sees no benefit in responding as to what he meant, nor to what your answer(s) were, nor to your questions; instead he’s off on a tangent to another illogical rant.
      Sixth, he’s too ignorant to know the vast areas in which he’s factually wrong.
      That’s not the problem; many of us laymen are. But when told he’s wrong, with reason and evidence, he’s too stubborn to learn. He cannot refute anything said, so he ignores it and repeat errors that have often been refuted before.
      Seventh, his own theories, regardless of whether they are right or wrong, are not supported by logic, reason and evidence. He seems to have no grasp of these concepts.
      Eight, his discussion style is discourteous. He seems to have no perception of the other person as a person. No grasp of courtesy, of give and take, of understanding where they’re coming from.
      So no, the problem is NOT that he has an idea that disagrees with Dr Spencer’s ideas.

      • Leo,
        It is hard for me to ask what is the root of the problem so that I can understand, and equally if not more difficult for you to explain the issue without resorting to attacks on Cotton’s humanity. I think you succeeded and now I get the problem. Thanks Leo.

        It is important that you laid the issues out in a list and not resort to ad homs. You did. I did not sense cruelty in your assessment. I have never visited Roy Spencer’s site nor read any of his posts or associated comments. I get the reader’s digest versions here at WUWT.

        Doug J Coffin may have a serious medical problem judging by his behavior. I am not trying to be funny. Nor am I a psychiatrist. He seems obsessed.

      • Anyone have a link to an example of this guy?
        I find myself fascinated like passing by an awful car wreck.

      • So, in other words, ignore Cotton. He adds nothing. Mods should just delete anything he posts and make an entry on his post position for all to see: Just state “Cotton was here.” We would then know he posted but his rantings would be deleted. This would be understood by everyone.

        This site is a very good educational source for novices like me. As was stated up post by someone, I understand some science, I’ve learned from the many articles posted over the last few years and many a time when an article is over my head, it’s nice to have some comments that may clarify some of the information in lay-mans terms, thus giving me a better gist on some of the sciency stuff.

        Don’t ban comments because of this idiot.

        And, thanks to Anthony, this site and all the mods. A person like me really does not understand what goes into running a top quality site.

        Thankyou!

      • I agree with PeterK and many others. I learn a lot from the comments. I also want to express my gratitude to Mr Watts and the moderators for their extraordinary work in creating/maintaining this website.

      • teapartygeezer,

        This guy sounds a lot like “CB,” another infamous climate troll. Some of these people are simply deranged … especially on the subject of climate.

        Would you mind specifying who you are calling deranged?

      • Chic Bowdrie March 12 @5:11am
        “Would you mind specifying who you are calling deranged?”

        Sorry! Thought that was obvious. I was referring to Doug Cotton, the subject of this post, and the reason for Dr Spencer closing his comments.

  19. Having been a mod myself for some years I know all too well the amount of work and sometimes extremely difficult decisions that goes into maintaining a good comment section. It has got to be one of the most under-appreciated jobs in the world.

    That said, I love the comments here just as much as the articles—sometimes even more. Aside from the highly enjoyable wit and dry humor, comments on this site have done more to educate me on climate than all other sources put together. And I don’t mean just taking their word, though comments do often clarify points I don’t quite understand in the main article; links to further sources, formulas I’d never figure out on my own, even learning certain terms so I can then perform my own research—it has been a wealth of knowledge, and I probably should have expressed my gratitude long ago. Thank you everyone who puts out both articles and quality comments! There are a lot of us quiet people out here who read them daily, learn, and pass on the knowledge.

  20. BTW: someone mentioned Visa (or whatever) subscriptions. I’d go for that! I make a habit of hitting the tip jar here a few times a year anyway.

  21. A blog’s owner has the right to turn off comments if desired, but I’m not sure if generalized irritation from a troll would cause me to turn them off.

    Andrew

    • If you read my post that started all of this, it wasn’t my view of his comments, per se, that caused all of this. I was willing to live with his posts. It’s the collateral damage he causes.

      • Objectively speaking, is it actual damage or is it virtual ‘internet’ damage? I’m not trying to slight your position, I’m just trying to keep all of this real – which must be done vigilantly when touching the imaginary abyss that is climate science.

        Andrew

      • I consider spreading misunderstanding in peoples’ minds as actual damage. I don’t know what virtual damage would look like.

      • “I consider spreading misunderstanding in peoples’ minds as actual damage”

        A lot of the internet spreads misunderstanding, official climate science sources in particular.

        I don’t want to accuse you of selective outrage, but…

        Andrew

      • Add his (and other trolls) names to the RICO investigation that is being attempted against those who spread false info regarding climate change/AGW/globale weirding/etc. This might dissuade them.

      • Everyone knows that Roy is always curtious and takes time to discuss issues with all comers layman or not with out exception. Doug C has been rud and disruptive to Roy on many occasions Roy is a gentleman and deserve to be treated with respect.

      • Is this the idiot troll ??
        His screen name “In_A_Nut_Shell” seems appropriate: multiple personalities, poor grasp of reality, difficulty in communication, meager understanding of subject, probably a Billy no mates, so wanders around the internet pretending to himself he’s important but is just a laughing stock.

        Don’t feed trolls; Never engage with them (including mods); Mods should snip them when doing general housework (but don’t bother to go looking for them); this one certainly seems to have had something sniped out of his life.

        Remember – Don’t feed trolls however sad they are.

      • Actually, I’m done tolerating “Abe” he’s violated his last WUWT policy with this comment and several others that followed it that went to the bit bucket – banned

  22. The comments quite often help me understand the articles here so by all means keep them.

    That swamp of sock puppets, loons and climate zealots is part of the price we pay for a free and open discussion. Cotton has forfeited the option to participate by going to the extremes he did to spread his manure.

  23. The comments often have a helpful mix of additional details and corrections. You might consider turning off comments a certain time after publication — but that also makes it more difficult to later point out that new information has appeared.

    Real names have assorted problems associated with their use.

  24. Can WUWT be like Bishop Hill and JoNova, without the motion picture ad? It always bogs down my computer and then I have to restart the computer because it won’t scroll after a while.

    • Respectfully, that is a good indicator it is time to get a new computer or at least a good cleanout of the existing one. That shouldn’t happen.

      Regards Ed

      • Yes, time for a new box. I have an old laptop I use just for web surfing and it has a real hard time with most “busy” or just newer websites. Certain development practices that would have been forbidden just a year or two ago due to performance issues are now okay: new libraries to render web “views” mix markup and scripting code, video rendering that just assumes a graphics co-processor (that my old laptop doesn’t have so it has to render video on its anemic dual-core processor) and other event handling and language processing that expects plenty of horsepower under the hood is the trend. Do yourself a favor and get even just a ‘newer’ box, doesn’t need to be the latest since it will have multiple cores, dedicated graphics processing and boat load of memory compared to the older computers. My new job will provide me with a spanky laptop that will allow me to replace my old Ubuntu powered Acer with a my MacBook Pro, so no more slide shows… nice.

      • iMac,
        Couldn’t those problems be solved by a browser that didn’t accept the superfluous code?
        I would gladly pay to have a browser that gave control over my web use to me, not to the suppliers of ads that I have no time for anyway.
        Your comments would be appreciated.

      • Dr. Doug – yes, there are plug-ins that can arrest some of the more annoying additions: flash and ad blockers to name two. The problem that people will start to see as they bravely forge on with their old-faithful computer comes from a trend toward isomorphic web pages – ones that can either be rendered on a server or on the client (web browser). This is for several reasons going from allowing web crawlers to “see” what the web page might contain, to providing “richer” transition experience for the user in the browser with the tsunami of features, options and behaviors to mimic mobile devices or native applications. The later requires the dynamic generation of html on the client which until recently wasn’t too great until script engines were sufficiently optimized as well as the other performance options provided by newer computers – available RAM and solid state drives (SSDs) being two of the biggies – since IO was typically the bottleneck once processors acquired multiple cores and graphics co-processors. If one has the time to experiment and search for a browser that offers the most configuration and customization via 3rd party cleverness, you could probably squeeze more useful service life from the hardware on hand. If your budget rather demands that, then yes getting more hands-on with your device can yield, if not performance gains, certainly extended utility.

  25. Just giving you all a heads up to this fro yesterday:

    Environmental Bullies: How Conservation Ideologues Attack Scientists Who Don’t Agree With Them.

    View story at Medium.com

    I’d like to think that it’s not personal. I like to think it’s because an environmental writer needs to make a living and sell his books, any way he/she can. And needs to rack up awards for saving the planet, or the fish, or the sea turtles…
    In science, there’s always disagreement among experts and well-respected, conscientious non-governmental organizations (NGOs) working on tough questions. We are used to that. And we work things out as a team using objective scientific methods and evidence. A good scientist should be ready to make mistakes, to be wrong sometimes, to be called out, or to miss something obvious that someone else runs with and gets credit for. Or to get lucky with research, to be in the right place at the right time – we experience it all. And woman scientists that make it all the way to professional positions most likely have already been hit on or harassed or received unfair treatment, because there are fewer of us. Women scientists know plenty of these stories. We receive training for that too, even though it rarely helps.
    But I was not trained how to respond to environmental bullies. Or scientific fraud. How do you react to false, deceitful accusations from non-experts, from unethical individuals, from persons or NGO’s with books to sell, or a point of view to peddle to an unsuspecting public or community, or politicians. Points of view, that when challenged by facts and data, get in the way of fund-raising campaigns, messages to the media, book sales, rich donors, and perhaps the most insidious – attempts to influence US fisheries and ocean policies.

    • I voted no. The reason being is that many comments do contain very good information that would otherwise be missed. Don’t let a few bad apples ruin the bushel.

  26. of the options given – i voted Yes for shutting down comments – altho i think other nuanced options are available – eg – allow comments for a day – allow only technical responses (there go my posts :-)

    put up a “Looney Hall of Fame” with Cotten as 1st member – list his latest pseudonyms when discovered – if there isn’t an article analyzing his “ideas” – add one – the strategy of ignoring him doesn’t appear to be working – but keeping comments on the article open might keep him busy

  27. Many sites have a “I am not a robot” to verify comments etc. Could you have an “I am not an idiot” button – that should confuse the buggers

  28. I enjoy reading the comments most of the time. I don’t get fussed by some of the nonsense. Just thinking on the fly, one option, particularly if the software supports it, is for you, Anthony, to create your own list of “proven” users. You could then continue to show all comments, but have comments from those on your proven-user list show up in pale blue background or something. By “proven-user”, I don’t mean everyone who you have confirmed the identity of, but a much shorter list of those you are certain of their identity AND bona-fides, such as Dr. Curry, Bob Tisdale, etc. Just a thought. It avoids eliminating the comments, which I would see as a greater evil.

    Regards,

    • I agree, PJ. I often learn more from comments than from the article itself. I prefer to retain commenting privileges myself, but I’d still follow this blog even if only a privileged few (Roy Spencer, RGB, Bob Tisdale, lsvalgaard, etc) were allowed to comment.

  29. Im happy to see the majority have voted no. We lose so much when we regulate the free exchange of ideas. Unfortunately sometimes that means you have to filter out the nonsense from what is meaningfull. I think most can see the difference for themselves. In the end I dont think they do themselves a service and staying above the fray distinguishes the valid points from the trash.

  30. Make it easier to ban the trolls. I’ve never understood why it’s better to cave to the pressure they apply and ruin a great site/community. The free exchange of ideas needs to be preserved. Due to the nature of the anonymity of the internet, people can be badly behaved and never have to pay a price.

    Register users or some other means to filter out the trolls. I’m not a web person so I don’t know all that’s available or what the problems are but surely it would be worth exploring to save the special conversation that goes on here despite the occasional or persistent idiot.

    • Jakee, we all bin here bifore. Google Eternal September and Usenet and *plonk*.

      What works, is rapid dissemination of a known trolls new identity, and a one click way to simply hide all his/her posts.

      Let people with axes to grind, grind them in a vacuum.

      If someone else is revealed responding, say ‘oh is that well known troll still here: I haven’t seen him since I clicked on ‘hide all this trolls posts, forever”

      Moderation doesn’t work. And neither does letting users report posts, because the trolls use that to suppress genuine comment.

  31. By their comments yea shall know them — and we NEED to know them. Ignorance, now easier to identify than ever, needs to be labeled as such, out of hand, No need for tedious refutation. A teacher or publisher might simply reject a submission with ‘Check your facts’ or ‘Lacking attribution’ or ‘Doesn’t meet minimum Syntax Standards, thank you’. But the comments are invaluable for ‘context’ and understanding the characteristics of the readership.

  32. I learn a lot from the comments, usually as much as I learn from the article itself.
    if comments were shut off I most likely would lose interest in the site.
    thats not a threat of ultimatum, please don’t take it as such, its just I find the comments usually very useful.

  33. Absolutely do not eliminate comments.

    The last thing the world needs is another SkepticalScience.

  34. I think deciding if something is a ‘good’ choice depends on what criteria are selected to judge ‘good’, and from whom’s perspective.

    I can’t speak to the headache that moderating comments must cause, except to say that I imagine it’s a big one. Perhaps from that perspective it’d be a good choice to shut down comments. Certainly it’d be easier.

    As a reader who contributes virtually nothing, I’ll say that I enjoy the comments and often find the discussions more interesting than the headline post. From that perspective I’d say shutting down comments would be a mistake.

    Just some thoughts. As always, thanks for running this blog! It’s much appreciated.

    • My original comment was a bit too wishy-washy. I’ve got a little more to say:

      Why run WUWT? How do you view it? Is it a site for disseminating a particular / specific point of view, teaching something specific? I’d never thought so, but maybe I’ve got it wrong.

      I realize now that I’ve always assumed WUWT was about discussion at the end of the day. Sometimes some moderately nutty stuff gets posted; I never thought that the point of these posts were to endorse their point of view, but rather to generate discussion about them. I think this is a substantial part of the value of this blog to readers.

      Just my opinion though, and the longer I live the more I realize that I’m wrong more often than I think. :)

      Thanks for the opportunity to comment on this.

      • In this instance – you are more right than you think and you HAVE contributed to the conversation. It IS, what this is all about, GK

    • Eric, Your posts are case in point. I generally like the broader tone of your content and Anthony is wise to allow you to post. Often your posts enable ” a step back ” and an opportunity to reflect on broader implications of the AGW soup. Some, albeit important, data processing posts are narrow and tedious.

      Since I see AGW as essentially a political/social issue that abuses science, Anthony seems to strike a good mix.

  35. I certainly feel Anthony’s pain. I’ve wasted many hours arguing with the heat transfer challenged. But, when I think of all the great comments over the years including some that were made into posts by Dr. Brown and others I can’t justify shutting off comments in my mind. I’ve certainly learned more because of the comments. And that’s what seperates WUWT from RC and their ilk, commenters are given a fair chance to make valid points and counter points and that difference has probably generated more skeptics than we’ll ever realize.

    I wish I new a better way to deal with them, but I don’t. Sorry.

    • The one option several people have mentioned over the years, and one that I would dearly love to see is the “Ignore” button. Ignore this person; sweet, I never need to read their ramblings again.

      Let the reader decide.

      I’ve discovered over the years that the comments section is usually of far more interest than the article itself. The article makes a claim and a case for “whatever”, and the comments section pick it pieces or provide evidence of its truth. The comments section must be kept.

  36. I’m no expert at anything, certainly not science. Sometimes I give accounts of personal observations related to a topic.Other times I make little quips in replies that serve no constructive purpose. I can see where those kinds of replies just adds work for the moderators. I will still visit daily, more like several times daily but I’ll try to refrain from attempts at humor.

  37. Seven years ago, (Wow time flies), I was doing the majority of moderation on this site and it was a LOT of work, probably more than 40 hours/week at all hours for no pay. It drained me in psychological ways as well as in time and energy.

    I can truly empathize with Anthony and Roy’s angst. I had the option of backing off after we recruited a bunch of volunteers from around the world and I have.

    Another option to assist in keeping options open would be another round of moderator recruitment, but this new round of moderators would have a very tightly defined role, specifically to keep an eye out for sock puppets, repeat offenders, and crack pots.

    These recruits may not even have moderator permissions in the beginning, but could be specifically tasked with emailing the existing moderator team and alerting them to the offending comments. I’m not sure how many active moderators are currently operating, but they would have the experience to step in and deal with the issue. The downside of this is the big brother aspect of tattle tales, but if we could tightly define what constitutes an issue worthy of alert, and then have these people notify the existing team, we may be able to reduce the strain on Anthony without being overly censorious.

    It may also be time to expand the existing standard moderation team as attrition has likely reduced the numbers to the point where Anthony is being required to take a more active role. This has happened slowly over time, so Anthony may not realize it is the shrinking moderation team causing the increase in stress, and emotional drain, and not just the sock puppets and crack pots.

    Just a few thoughts. I like open comments, but definitely see the downside.

    • Could I contribute just a few hours of my time a week, irregularly? No experience in moderation .. errr .. moderating.

    • Special thanks to Charles and all the other moderators and especially Anthony.

      I know that I could not read the articles without commenting on them if I thought I had something to add or even correct. I mostly stick to things I have already spent a lot of time researching but every now and again, it might be something I don’t know much about.

      I don’t know how to stop the Doug Cotton’s for example. Many commenters have a degree of compulsion that borders on an illness and only a qualified doctor or psychologist working one-on-one with the individual will be able to do that.

      I vote comments continue. The price for voting that way means ihave to accept that there will be off-the-wall comments from some. Being a moderator is a different price of course.

      Perhaps a comment limit of 3 or 4 comments per thread per poster would help. Doesn’t stop the sock-puppets but it makes them put in an extra effort that they might not want to do.

      • Bill: you have hit on something that really hasn’t been mentioned yet. There are a lot of unnecessary comments posted. Each commenter has a responsibility to assess what they have to say before posting. Some comments are predictable because some commenters bring their own personal turf wars and established animosities with others to the table. Person X says something and inevitably persons A, B, and C will throw ad homs and jabs that really add nothing to the discussion. Others carry on endlessly with personal conversations that are better put on email because they don’t relate to the topic. The mods have to go through all the posts. I don’t mind some humour, but some things really aren’t funny, or appropriate. A little judgement among the respondents could lessen the load on the mods. This is the best science site on the net- period!

      • There is a way to stop him since he gives himself away so quickly with his babbling. I helped expose him at one blog and myself banned the creep at Principia International when I was the administrator. I have since left that place as it is too loony for me to swallow.

        Having been Moderator in WordPress and Joomla, based blogs I know that bad people can be corralled.

        Every time he post, move it to moderation bin where it rots, no one sees them He starts another sockpuppet post the usual revealing comment, move it out of sight quickly. Rinse and repeat.

        Maybe just assign one Moderator for him and other obvious sockpuppets,move the comments into Moderation bin where it dies a deserved death?

        An anti sockpuppet Moderator?

    • I have never read a Doug Cotton post or comment to my knowledge. I don’t recall doing so. I also have no appreciation of the scope of Cotton’s impact. He must rotate his aliases I guess.

      It seems to me that he has no visible impact on this site so are we anticipating a non-problem?

      I feel for the moderators and maybe Cotton’s invisibility is a testament to their effectiveness.

    • Equally, I’d like to volunteer to be a trainee moderator, hopefully to become a full-fledged moderator.
      I appreciate the immense value this site has provided to the world. Even more so I appreciate the value it’s had for me. I’d like to repay some of the benefit I’ve gained, but I’m not in a financial situation to do so. Feel free to email me.

    • Charles TM,
      Your suggestion sounds similar to other sites where there is a box to check if the comment is offensive or advertising spam. The readership could be entrusted with flagging trolls or sock puppets. After all, it is the readership that suffers if someone hijacks the post. If there were more than two or three flags, then the moderators could review the comment(s) and decide whether it deserves to be removed. Fundamentally I don’t like the idea of censorship, but if one or more individuals disrupt the function and purpose of a blog such as WUWT, then they have to go!

  38. Please, Please, Please do Not do away with the comments. I have learned so much from the comments at WUWT. The knowledge of many of the people commenting here and the wide variety of disciplines they argue from has been very educational.
    My thanks to the regulars here who have greatly increased my understanding of the AGW debate.

  39. For the privilege of having a forum where our own opinions can be heard, all of us need to take responsibility for deconstructing and refuting BS arguments. I believe we do that to greater or lesser degrees though we should do better so Anthony does not have to sink time into dealing with ill-informed opinion and, in some cases, outright fabrications,.

    • I agree with andersm0. WUWT has always come across as reasonable and well-ordered, but as Charles the M points out, there is a huge cost.
      Following up on Leif’s point above: “The trolls will flag good comments as crap…” Yes they will. They do this on Jo Nova’s site. Sometimes it seems they are half asleep and manage to thumbs-down other trolls, but often only stay for a short while. Short attention span or maybe following some paymaster’s policy?
      I will often thumbs-up a comment that has been hit by trolls, and I can tell that others are doing the same.

      dbstealey: “Don’t mess with success!” Too right. 265,479,711 views !!! Those of us who have been viewing WUWT for years need to think carefully about what prompted us to do so in the first place, and why we stay.

      Registration for commenting might deter those new to skepticism. So-called “social” media logins may also deter. (I’m sort-of forced to have LinkedIn and Google – no way I’ll get involved in MyFace, InYaFace etc).

      Requirement for scientific qualifications to comment? Heaven forbid. My “scientific” qualifications are slim but my professional and technical experience with regard to climate, and promoting resilience to climatic effects, is extensive. ” … climate goes in a thousand directions … ” ” … there are over 100 technical and scientific disciplines that are relevant to the study of climate … ” I did my own check on the latter – stopped counting when I got to 84. Remember that you don’t have to be a scientist or technician to know when you are being lied to.

      O/T but the complaint about adverts comes up regularly, as above. Just use the uBlock Origin extension. It is easy to toggle, eg turn it off for WUWT and other sites you support, so they earn some money. Turn it on and refresh the page if something really distracting appears. God knows what weird function selects the adverts. They are not selected by the site owner. This session I got Brother printers (unsurprising as that is what I use) and some mob worrying about my sandbox? Oh I see, it’s threat-protection technology, not the place where next-door’s cat goes to …

  40. there is a method for analyzing a writer’s word sequences. is this publicly available? it would be nice if Word Press or whatever made it part of their service, to guess who the commenter is. Or any assessment of the comment, as to whether is coherent english, but I would not want to preclude those for whom English is a second/third language

  41. John West March 11, 2016 at 12:46 pm
    I certainly feel Anthony’s pain. I’ve wasted many hours arguing with the heat transfer challenged. But, when I think of all the great comments over the years including some that were made into posts by Dr. Brown and others I can’t justify shutting off comments in my mind. I’ve certainly learned more because of the comments. And that’s what seperates WUWT from RC and their ilk, commenters are given a fair chance to make valid points and counter points and that difference has probably generated more skeptics than we’ll ever realize. . . [my emphasis]

    This is an enormously important point. I’ve had arguments with warmists who reflexively dismiss WUWT because it’s “run by a TV meteorologist, not even a climate scientist,” and it’s just a bunch of amateur cranks well out of the mainstream. But I can respond that not only are professional scientists and engineers well represented (as well as professional meteorologists), but many points of view, and that the Comments threads are open to anyone willing to discuss the issues with civility, including global-warming proponents.

    Here’s a suggestion: Leave commenting open to all, but create a membership category of followers (we could call them Uppers, or something), for a modest fee, and give them an avatar badge or something. Then use the revenue to help pay site expenses, and also pay the moderators. If finding more is a problem, a little pay wouldn’t hurt.

    /Mr Lynn

  42. Sometimes some of the playful wit expressed in the comments is just what the Dr. ordered when reviewing the overall state of the dialogue around energy policy. While the “hard science” articles on the state of climate science are informative there is no question that the information is to inform national and international policies with respect to our economic approach to energy production and the future well being of citizens of first our respective nations and hence the planet. It is the interactive nature of Anthony’s blog and openness to ideas that makes it unique. Whenever anyone gets too strident about their point of view and continues to club the mule that won’t pay heed it is unsettling to witness. WUWT does a fantastic job of culling those events out of the thread and while I can appreciate how tiresome it may be for the moderators I think that is preferable to wholesale censorship or “super preferred” commenters. A “wiki fee” contribution to help compensate more moderators might make sense.

  43. I have written several posts that Anthony has generously published. I am not a climate scientist, but I am a (retired) biomedical engineer and can appreciate much of what I read here. I continue to learn every day and a lot of that comes from the comments and the links.

    My few postings were crafted, in no small part, to get comments. I wanted to inform in a few perhaps “underserved” but related areas and the real sense that some contribution was informative and revealing was provided in the comments. That’s what makes WUWT alive.

    I’m slowly drafting a couple of new pieces for WUWT because of the interaction. I find myself digging into an odd topic for the specific purpose = “geez, wait ‘till they read this”!

    Thanks for all the hard work. This place frequently makes my day and over time reminds me that I haven’t just gone batty.

  44. The articles are great, but the comments are everything. WUWT is a society. Cut off comments and you’d close that down.

    Added to that, a warning – if the trolls think you are on the brink of shutting comments, they’d see it as very close to shutting you down completely. Expect a ramp up of their efforts to push you that way.

    This site is an oasis to many and rich with information and communication. It hasn’t grown to the size it is and with the popularity it has without a reason.

    • Doug C. doesn’t want his soapbox to be taken away. He’s on our side in the big picture…it just is he uses dodgy science in the process (I’m being kind). Plus, that’s ALL he does…if you did a post on pizza toppings, his comments would not change.

      • Roy I don’t know this guy at all but for you to take a drastic step to cease all dialogue suggests that he has taken your enjoyment out of your blog. I read a few things that he has written and I can’t say that I agree with his line of reasoning but I did get the sense that he is no friend of AGW. Maybe he just likes you in an inappropriate kind of way.

      • I don’t think we want dodgy science or those supporting it on our side.
        Lets leave that for the CAGW crowd.

        Much respect for your work, please do not let a few irritants stop you.

      • I agree. I sometimes wonder if he is not one person but a team.

        That said, it was the banter between trolls and those who knew what they were talking about that first captured me so many years ago. Sometimes the trolls were plain foolish and sometimes they were looking for a fight, but the responses to them were so amazingly patient and clear – I learned more from those willing to respond to them than I ever did in school.

        That interaction has always been important to me. Amusing too. Some trolls think they are kicking over something but instead they allow others to shine and to teach. I’m addicted now, I’m in here every single day and have been for years.

        I’m so sorry you’ve had a hugely negative and on-going experience with that particular individual. I wish there was an easy solution and something that did not cost you hours of your time. You are clearly an important target to them and you have done so much – for all of us.

        Whatever you do, I for one wish you well. Always. You’ve been an inspiration.

      • @ Paul Westhaver March 11, 2016 at 1:41 pm
        Paul,
        Here is a link for you from Roy’s post of January of 2015:
        Doug C as Plan.Physics
        This link takes you to my comment. Doug’s is just above mine, that I made after reading many of his repeated attempts at informing. I give the subtitle of Dale Carnegie’s book “How to Win Friends & Influence People.”
        It did not help him.

        I’m sad about Roy’s decision because he does some interesting time-lapse and other stuff that I much enjoy and have responded to.

  45. Please keep up the great work Anthony, the trolls and sock puppets are only attracted here because this is the greatest blog on the net. Without your work they would be nothing and could do nothing. They are a nuisance like mosquitos and have as much brain-power as mosquitos.

  46. I must say that I find the comments section on WUWT a large part of the attraction of this invaluable blog, for me. And I am unaware of there being many intrusions by trolls; I imagine this is partly, or even mainly, because of first-class moderation.

    Comments sections such as the one below Christopher Booker’s articles on the Telegraph descend into farce so overwhelmed is it by warmist trolls. Thank all-that-is-good that that never happens here!

    Although I hardly ever ‘tweet’ (apart from accidentally!), I do use a Twitter account to log in to comment on here AND on many other sites because it is so ubiquitous and avoids having to register and then sign in on various multiple sites. That was my original and only reason for opening a Twitter account.

  47. I second (third?) Doug in Calgary who said: “I agree with Tom. My background is not scientific but I have learned so much not only from the articles and essays but also from the comments that come from many of the learned people that have taken the time to share their knowledge here. I, like many others, come to this site daily… the lively debate is all part of the quality of the site.

    Keep up the great work Anthony, you are a large injection of sanity in a screwed up world.”

    I have learned so much here, mostly from the excellent posters (Willis, Bob T, I’m looking at you) but also from the give-and-take of honest and often very knowledgeable commenters. Please don’t let the few idiots destroy that fabulous shared resource. Thanks.

  48. The BS artists and the Propagandists, always expose themselves. It’s just a matter of time, until they do. Better to give them all the rope they need…

  49. Shutting off comments ==> Generally, comments should be allowed to run more-or-less unimpeded. There are a lot of Junior Climate Warriors here — who make a lot of noise and do not add to the conversation. Nonetheless, they can usually be easily ignored.

    You might try a system of sign-ins…in which readers who have proved their mettle can be invited to become “a member” — I have no idea if WordPress allows this kind of thing. If nothing else, something like a “denizens” page on which other readers could check out a commenter.

    Even with members, everyone can comment, but members/denizens can be identified and read, while jabbering jambocks can be safely ignored or read.

    As an occassional author here, I try to respond to comments to my essay’s if they are asking or question or I feel the comment requires additional clarification or information from me. I have gotten pretty good at ignoring nonsense.

    It would not be a terrible feature to allow authors/moderators to cut off comments from a particular person on a particular piece — with a boilerplate notice to that effect, inviting them to come back and comment another time. This would help with the extremely-overly persistent, must-have-the-last-word wackos.

  50. No, try to hang in there. At least until the DOJ and the obama cultist shut down all dissent through the courts.

  51. “The amount of energy necessary to refute bullshit is an order of magnitude bigger than to produce it.”
    – Alberto Brandolini

    That is a great quote. Illogical arguments can be produced at a tremendous rate.

    When Roy Spencer stop blogging because of Douglas J. Cotton, it is a minor step back for Roy Spencer – but a giant step back for mankind.

  52. So which bridge is David Appell going to troll now that he can’t do so at Roy Spencer’s?

    • Appell , apparently physics PhD from Stony Brook , is my personal troll and apparently scans Disqus for any comment I make anywhere about anything and perseverates in posting multiply asked and answered question but seems incapable of understanding even the most fundamental physical notions like the interchangeability of space and time by division by the lightsecond . He is the only person I have banned from posting on http://CoSy.com .

      I consider the blog posting of comments the defining difference between “old” media and “new” .

      I think banning all comments because of a few bad actors when you can selectively ban those individual is a retreat into near irrelevance .

      While I’ve not been familiar with Cotten , a quick google browse seems to show his “theory” whatever it is , rather scatterbrained bringing in all sorts of stuff .

      But that does not vitiate the fact that I have yet to see any quantitative equation explaining how some cascade of optical filters between a surface and an energy source can “trap” a higher energy density at that surface than that between those filters and the energy source — or any experimental demonstration of the effect . That is , how some set of filters can trap , in the case of Venus , an energy density at its surface more than 25 times that which the Sun supplies in its orbit .

      If Roy can supply the essential equations , or better yet , an experimental demonstration of the phenomenon , I know certainly my , what has come to be total , disbelief in the GHG explanation of planetary surface temperatures being greater than that calculated for the spectra as seen from the outside will vanish instantly .

      However , that will still leave a conundrum as to what to do with HockeySchtick’s rather straightforward , and backed by classical references , computations based on gravity which apparently explain Venus’s surface temperature within 1% .

      As it currently stands , the GHG theory provides no computations to challenge the “gravity” hypothesis at all

  53. Maybe it is a custom to dig up spectacular names, but how is it that so few comments with their own name.
    You could think they are afraid of there own inner thaughts. It could be a thing of the internet.

    • Svend,

      Someday I may look toward retirement,, with 15 or 20 years of a government job first. I am pretty sure that I would be excluded from more that half of potential areas just forof being here (and not just because of my childish comments).

      I may be overly cautious, but I don’t think I’m paranoid.

  54. I have the same opinion as Lief on the matter of comment style, I enjoyed the clasic name/time based flow, I thought it was more respectful taking the time to construct a reply (even if it is refuted or disagreeable) rather than simply click a reply button, to me it seems to be laziness, maybe it’s just convenience, I still stand by my opinion from the time of the changes ‘If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it’

    I also think the commenters here are awesome and aren’t so thin skined, I know some commenters hate to receive compliments as well, the thing is, you don’t know and you won’t know what a person is like until you interact with them and begin to understand their mannerisms.

    :) there’s always a cold beer to cool down over lol

  55. I voted “no”…but it’s my blog. My personal preference would be to keep the comments. They are a large part of what has made WUWT what it is. But I don’t know what goes on behind the scenes to keep it going. What it cost Anthony and the mods?
    Anthony is asking for our opinions. But it’s his that matters.

    PS If comments stay, maybe Dr. Spencer would donate some time as a mod?

  56. Don’t use the same tactics so common on the CAGW side. Shutting down opposing voices is not the answer. Who decides what gets shut down? Who guards the guardians? Free speech should be protected – though of course no one has a right to take over a thread.

    The real issue is trolls who take over a thread with dozens of comments which add little value and deliberately annoy or suppress other readers so much that they give up and leave. The answer to this is quite simple, limit any poster to say three posts per thread. Anyone can comment but no-one can take over the thread. This would also encourage posters to collect their thoughts before posting – not a bad thing in itself.

    • Bernard, pay attention to the issues discussed. There is no way to enforce such a policy. The commenter just comes in with a new screen name/IP address. That’s what DJC does. There is no “quite simple” answer.

      • Roy, I am paying attention and was trying to help Anthony with a suggestion for WUWT. I would agree with you about enforcement not being perfect – but there is no perfect solution to fix 100% of this problem. Limiting the number of posts, followed say by a ban for known trolls, augmented by snipping or simply disappearing offending posts would get rid of most of the offenders who annoy WUWT readers. Of course, if someone is prepared to devote their entire life to annoy you, which seems to be your situation, then there’s not much you can do about it! I hope Andrew tries all the other options before he gets rid of comments entirely which to me is throwing out the baby with the bath water.

        I suppose I only have one more post after this … better make it a good one!

      • And Bernard, those out to shut up opposing views will do anything to do so.
        “The end justifies the means” is their mantra. Dr.Spencer and Anthony are honest and ethical.
        That is not their mantra. But that is what they are up against in the “blogoshere” and real life.
        They don’t make their living running a blog. I suspect it started as an interest and grew from there.
        I don’t know what happens on their end or what it takes to deal with the “assaulters”.
        Until human nature universally changes, the assaulters will, at times get through.
        The various hosts of the various blogs, at times, have to evaluate their personal priorities.
        If one chooses to no longer put words on a screen, I may miss them but I will not fault them.
        They’ve given us much that they did not owe.

    • How would you enforce the three posts per thread rule given that the free WordPress account has no mechanism for that? It would be a pain to catch them in the moderation stream, it would be a pain to write software to check recent posts for violations.

      Do you have time to count posts and flag the ones deserving rejection?

  57. I sort of hate to say this, and I hope it doesn’t sound obnoxious, but one might consider these kinds of burdens to be the price of success.

    Thank you for the service you provide us, Mr. Watts.

  58. I voted earlier and again Anthony, please do not shut down the comment section, besides the fact that many of us are learning from those insights from people better educated that me, the other part that to me is beneficial is the fact we are a community that is global, we learn each others political, environmental and the overall society we live in. The banter, the humor many times have left me feeling better about us as human beings besides the fact that I get pointed into directions that really interests me and others. The occasional bad apple is easily chucked out and ignored, maybe just leave them on to show their own total ignorance..

  59. Articles without the ability to comment are meant to persuade not inform.

    Many (most?) CAGW articles do not allow commentary because the narrative is often lost with a couple of common sense comments.

    Dropping the comments would be a terrible idea imo

    James

  60. FWIW, I voted “no”.
    As of this time there are only about 750 votes.
    Where is everybody ?, I’m starting to wonder about our reach, it is a totally anonymous poll.
    Why is nobody voting ?

  61. ..Adding a SPAM button would let other readers decide when some one is just trolling ! If enough readers hit the SPAM button, the comment and commenter are blocked for the day ( or a week ) !

  62. well..i don’t know this guy, but this should not be public..some people can put all their heart in some klind of a crusade and badly hurt…
    i do understand it is tiring..but this guy is a human being , that doesn’t have to be public…
    i know it is easy to say…

  63. Poll answers not a shock ……. I’ve got my own problems. Got a budget. X Millions for the next few years and projected costs of Y millions with a 25% variance in the two. Have to make some life changing decisions and not terribly happy about it. When push comes to shove one needs to protect the majority. It’s all we can do…. when considering the greater good. We sometimes we have to incur a personal cost. It’s the price that we pa sty for the position we take. So suck it up. Is the only advice I have. Going to have to do the same myself.. stand up for the greater good you really have no choice.

  64. “The real issue is trolls who take over a thread with dozens of comments which add little value and deliberately annoy or suppress other readers so much that they give up and leave.”

    I don’t think there is any question that this kind of thing is being orchestrated. You get it on other news sites, when any question of climate or renewable energy comes up. Chances are the posters have been briefed on how to run a trolling campaign. What makes this seem likely is the similarity of the tactics across sites. Though, it does seem to be declining. Maybe the funds to pay the trolls have dried up, or maybe they’ve just realised it won’t work anyway.

    It should not be a surprise that this goes on, when NGOs are funded by renewables manufacturers, and those NGOs in turn send out pickets to barricade shale gas sites.

  65. Anthony Watts , I voted No.

    I saw the off topic comment by “john March 11, 2016 at 12:07 pm”. It caused me to do some reading and learning. I would miss the loss of such experiences.

    even the O.T. stuff can be useful.

    Also Anthony most of us like one another and if nothing else just enjoy saying “Hi” .

    michael duhancik

  66. I think this is a great site for the other side of the debate. But I read article after article that more or less says the effect of CO2 on climate is nil or so insignificant as to not matter. However people still cling to the Greenhouse Theory. As far as I’m concerned Robert Wood disproved that theory over 100 years ago. If the Greenhouse effect is responsible for 33C of warmth then the increase in temperature due to increase CO2 should be pronounced and observable, which it is not. I think people like DC become frustrated when people will not admit the inconsistency of their position.

  67. I voted ‘no’. I wish there were an option to vote hell no.

    Some points:

    1) A moderately healthy culture is an extremely argumentative place. But, the most free and completely open segments of the healthiest cultures are 10 times more extremely argumentative. Some of the arguers will be like Douglas Cotton, and we can all help in dealing with them.

    2) Anonymity can be serially abused by some anonymous commenters to the detriment of our host and the WUWT community. I suggest the larger anonymous community at WUWT take more responsibility to stop the destructiveness of the worst of the anonymity abusers. They would be protecting the privilege of anonymous commenting.

    3) The moderation at WUWT is it life’s blood and it is vital to discuss it. Perhaps there should be a permanent moderation discussion thread where focus is on all aspects of moderation. I would find that beneficial to have a place to always go to discuss moderation; but the purpose should not be a complaint department for people wou feel they have been wronged by moderators.

    4) Regarding ‘trolls’, I am sick and tired of the troll name calling. Instead of troll name calling please stick to specifying the violation of site policy a commenter is allegedly abusing.

    5) Some enterprising individual could create a service establishing a shared moderation pool of available pre-vetted/pre-qualified moderators that blog owners can tap at need.

    6) the comments at WUWT are 99% of the value which is essentially educational value; even the abuses by some commenters is very educational to learn about the real world of intellectual discourse in the open marketplace of ideas.

    I love what Anthony has created.

    John

    • 2) Anonymity can be serially abused by some anonymous commenters to the detriment of our host and the WUWT community. I suggest the larger anonymous community at WUWT take more responsibility to stop the destructiveness of the worst of the anonymity abusers. They would be protecting the privilege of anonymous commenting.

      In case no one knew, “Gunga Din” is not my real name. I use it because I have a government job where it has “gone green”. While I don’t comment from work or on the clock, there are “Green Goons” out there might seek to cause problems for me.
      I don’t use anonymity to “hide” so much as to protect myself.
      True, some use it to “snipe” from cover but not all.

      • Gunga Din on March 11, 2016 at 3:59 pm

        – – – – – – –

        Gunga Din,

        Well said. I was thinking that long term and veteran anonymous commenters such as yourself take a more proactive role to stop anonymity abusing commenters to protect your right to be anonymous. At what point does site management consider increasing of anonymity focused guidelines? I don’t know, but Anthony sounds pretty exasperated to me.

        John

  68. I caught up at 191 comments.
    Keep the comments.
    WUWT is important. Thanks host & mods.

  69. This is a community and as in a community there are lots of different opinions – some which are valuable and informed and some that just stink. I like to read the informed opinions – I sometimes get more from them than the posts. Some of the others? Well, I take my mother’s advice “Consider the source” and skim over them. My advice? “It takes 2 to have an argument” and if these trolls are ignored then they can’t catch anything.

  70. Howza bout trying what the newspapers are doing? Set up a subscription to WUWT and only let subscribers comment. If anyone abuses the privilege, cancel their subscription w/o refund.

    Even a small subscription rate would still give you control.

    • As I said down thread, if a troll pays the fee then you must post their comments. Plus you now have a for profit business and that may cause you to set up a business, get a business license, account for all money and file taxes. Too many potential legal problems. Remember, if some files suit, then A.W. must defend. No need for those headaches.

  71. Anthony, WUWT is a great site. I’m only an oldish mechanical engineer who has forgotten most of the detail of thermodynamics, heat transfer, etc., but I learn a lot from the articles most of which I try to find time to read. And I also learn much via the comments. Reading all the ideas and arguments, including the alternative ones, is thought provoking but I can understand that it is time consuming and frustrating for you and the mods to wade through them all especially when some are from trolls. I can understand Roy’s position because it is important that he focusses on his important job of observing and maintaining the temperature databases

  72. Well, considering that I read every single comment on every single WUWT posting, you would think that I would make a great, cost free moderator ..BUT, unfortunately, I sometimes have a very twisted sense of humor !…….alas !

  73. Part of the attraction of WUWT is the differing articles and commentators.

    Having said that, on occasion even some of the regular and popular contributors can become tedious to many readers and carry on long bitter ‘slanging matches’ with someone of differing opinions.

    Some challenging scientific discourse can initially be interesting but when it continues unabated it inevitably ends up just insulting each other and instead of attracting readers turns them away.

    We are all guests of Anthony on his blog so my choice was shutting off comments only on some articles (at Anthony’s and moderators discretion) for known trolls and also if comments degenerate into long insults or even vacuous dead ends.

    As regard using real names, I work for the public sector in the UK and due to the problems it may cause me I would never comment here using my full real name (Anthony has my correct email address) and am sure there are many others. I have also noticed that some people who have commented on other sites using their facebook or similar accounts have been followed, trolled or outed as a ‘denier’. On occasion people who appear to be using their real name aren’t.

    I can certainly sympathise with the enormous workload for Anthony and the moderators especially with disruptive trolls but the popularity of WUWT must be in part due to the open format.

  74. I like the limits idea. Limit a commenter to 3 comments per thread, with excess comments going automatically to moderation. I hope it is technically feasible. There should be a limit on a comment size, let’s say 1000 words, and a picture is worth 600 words.

    • Curious George, you and others don’t seem to grasp there is no simple solution as you propose. Doug simply comes back with a new screen name, new email address, new IP address, several times in the same discussion thread! There is no way to stop the abuse when someone is that motivated. An army of moderators with the free time to invest is required.

      • ..If I had known you had a problem, I would have gladly donated 10 hours a day to help defend your site from Trolls !! If you change your mind and can use me, let me know !

      • Dr. S., seeing how this may be my last chance (evah!) to ask you a question, i thought i might ask you a thing or two regarding your “fundanomics” and the possibility of a trump presidency… My thinking is that even if trump were able to grow his pledged dynamic economy, the federal reserve would find it to be inflationary and would simply cancel it out by hiking interest rates. Let’s assume that the fed would succeed at holding the economy steady at 4% unemployment (a no growth economy such as that which occurred during the last few years of the bush presidency). Do you think trump’s efforts could result in your “fundanomics” sort of economy where standards of living would actually go higher even though wages would not increase? OR, for that matter, could trumps efforts end up being inflationary anyway even if the rate remained at 4% (meaning that jobs would be of higher quality, higher paying) and thus the fed would simply cancel out his efforts by causing a recession (similar to what volker did in response to the stagflation of the carter years)?

        I don’t “see too many faces” here from your blog, but i think i can speak for all of us when i say thank you so much for such a wonderful educational experience. One thing that you offer is a knack for wading in with the folks in your patented personal and professional way. I don’t know if that is quite replicable anywhere else. (the best that one ends up with here is ferdinand and his sophisticated brand of junk science…) That’s pretty much what attracted me to your site in the first place. Obviously the proponents of agw aren’t quite cutting it, but then again the skeptics so often don’t quite cut it either. I found your’s to be the voice of reason in an unreasonable world. So for this budding agw skeptic ( /climate change denier) you have been quite the godsend…

        Thanx, fonzie

  75. Excuse me if this was suggested above: a three-level system:

    1. Registered commenters sign up via a small annual credit card payment, plus maybe a $5 entrance fee. Pen names are OK. A $5 charge for deleted comments. Comments are posted immediately.

    2. As above, but on a “whitelist” of old-timers so their comments are flagged as such internally, so moderators can just skim them after posting.

    3. Unregistered. Their comments are held for moderation. This delay would eventually encourage them to register if they comment often. Borderline trollish comments would be allowed, but in a lighter or smaller typeface, or at least in an
    unusual typeface.

    This would bring in a little money for WUWT, cut moderators’ workload a bit, and cut down on dopey commenting a bit. (I don’t think it has a downside.) Then we can decide on the next step.

    • Whitelisters’ status would be revoked after one deletion or two knuckle-raps.
      The above would only make things 25% better, but maybe that’s all that can be accomplished.

      I like the following suggestions downthread:
      Report button
      Ignore button
      Comment numbering

  76. Institute a way to vote comments down, sort of like Reddit does. That way other commenters could point out that a commenter is not making sense. It might make your job easier.

  77. I vote no. You just never know when a comment that is “off the consensus path” might just lead to a better understanding of why exactly the hypothesized “greenhouse effect” does not seem to be observable at all.

    Surely if it can raise the temperature by 30 some degrees we would have noticed the hypothesized temperature rise by now.

    Sure you will get a lot of manure, but where there is piles of manure there is also a PONY, you just have to dig for it.

    Cheers, KevinK

    PS: not sure who the “K man” is that you consider a “poser”, but I can assure you my hands on experience with “radiation physics” is not a pose.

    [‘K-man’ was not referring to you. ~mod.]

  78. From a purely business point of view, it would be a mistake for WUWT to ban comments. That would certainly reduce readership not only of commenters but of lurkers.

    Instead, pop-sci bloggers should concentrate more on the scientific quality of content of their postings. All the more so on a site whose regular guests have produced such “gems” as explaining the greenhouse effect in terms photon-splitting, conflated heat transfer with radiative intensity, invoked scientifically aberrant notions of “feedback” to explain changes in system response, attributed ocean circulation to planetary vorticity, and claimed superiority for “slow” Fourier Transforms. While Doug Cotton’s posting tactics are indeed deplorable, they can be countered effectively. His contentions are best left to the mercies of a higher standard of scientific judgement, rather than to rank censorship.

  79. Would it help to rotate moderators to allow each regular breaks? Two months on, one month off sort of thing. Day in, day out can be a lot and wear a person down after a very short time. Regular, lengthy breaks might be enough to keep everyone fresh and eager. No one should be expected to be at it 24/7.

    Maybe give that some thought?

  80. Keep the comments –
    1 – As many have said, you often learn more from the comments than the original article.

    2 – Why should I / we bother reading an article that cant be tested by discussion ??( too much of that is going on in the world) the reason I suspect most of the 265 million hits are because of free, frank & informed discussion.

    3 – The zealots have been very successful at stopping informed discussion in most areas (the science is settled, discussion is over, we will not debate you……) they would love to shut us down.

    4 – Just think of the spin they’ put on it-
    ‘WUWT won’t allow comments because it’s scared of the truth’
    ‘WUWT only puts out propaganda so won’t allow comments’
    Etc etc.

    5 – A report/spam button, as first filtering is done by readers before alerting mods may help

    6 – Nested & numbered comments would make reading & keeping track of comments a lot easier.

    Thanks for all you do/have done.
    I’m in the middle of a project right now, but in a few mths time I would gladly donate 10hrs a week to help moderate, Email me.

  81. This blog belongs to Anthony Watts. He can and should determine who can comment and which comments will be published as a form of quality control and a service to his writers and serious readers. Neither the New York Times nor the Wall Street Journal publish each and every letter-to-the-editor received.

    If Anthony is fair, reasonable and rational in his editing of comments it will be a service to serious readers and commenters. If someone is unhappy with that policy, they can go comment on someone else’s blog or start their own. It’s a free internet. Growing an audience is hard and time consuming. Morons shouldn’t be permitted to steal Anthony’s.

    Good comments can be interesting and informative — sometimes more than the head post. But when half of them are food fights it’s too much work to find the nuggets so I go elsewhere.

  82. Anthony, I truly appreciate the value you have provided to our community by creating/maintaining this site. Just because those of us who comment may not have formal ‘credentials’ doesn’t mean they don’t seek to better understand the issues involved – at least that is the way I approach most comments.
    I’m sure you can tell which commenters add to the value and which are ‘not-so-much’. May I suggest that you contact those who, in your judgement, add good value and ask them if they have time and energy to help out. I believe many will.
    Thank you again for your time and effort.

  83. I too voted no.
    I do try to donate as regularly as possible.
    Anthony gets my subscription money that used to go to several now unreadable science magazines.
    If subscription would help reward the moderators, Go for it.

    While the rabid rants and obsessed souls can bog this blog down, the majority of the comments usually enhance my understanding of the posted topic.
    With some pseudonyms who post repetitive off topic rants or seem to be perpetually trolling,, eventually I recognize their style and move on.
    However some discussions certainly go sideways and degenerate into bickering.
    These I think you have no choice but to end comments on.

    However this is Anthony Watt’s Blog.
    You have done great so far, I trust you will find a way that works.

  84. I was scrolling down and reading the comments on the way to suggesting more moderators when I saw Charles recommend it.

    I have to believe WUWT has an abundance of potential moderators who would be level headed and reliable.
    With numerous moderators like Charles it would be like a police force creating the sufficient law enforcement presence to minimize the blogging crime.

  85. Some forums have an ignore option allowing you to block certain people from replying to you and their comments aren’t visible to you either. Also the admin can make all of their posts visible to only them. There’s a similar thing on YouTube. So basically they just end-up talking to themselves, wondering why everyone is ignoring them. There’s nothing a troll hates more than being ignored. They go nuts. I don’t think Doug is a malicious troll, he just can’t help himself from derailing threads. It’s like an addiction of sorts. The thing above would be a better option than trying to ban someone who is essentially unbannable or blocking comments altogether. Doug’s unwavering perseverance may eventually bring every skeptic-blog crumbling to its knees.

  86. Anthony, you are the biggest lightning rod (and enlightening rod) globally in the climate science field. I think this stuff is going to get worse as the CAGW movement continues to decline. I am, however, against closing comments. I’ve just watched what happened with a planned Trump rally in Chicago. Democrat goons succeeded in shutting down the rally. This is the reaction of the anti-democracy left who’s sense of entitlement is so huge and threatened that there can be little doubt this is highly organized. Hillary is particularly terrified of Trump’s popularity. These goons and the ones behind the scenes are cracking the champagne right now. Don’t give the trolls this power.

    What needs to be done is to get the positive contributors to stop engaging the trolls. Strongly encourage them to simply ignore them. I’m guilty of engaging these destructive idiots but I’m prepared to make a resolution to not do so in the future. Maybe put an orange star at the beginning of the most egregious trolls as a reminder and sign. I think there should be another post on this subject with this message.

  87. I voted no. I don’t have much to contribute (other than the occasional snark or sarcasm) here since many of the topics discussed are outside my areas of expertise. Shutting down or limiting comments would be a sad day. I have enjoyed this blog since the day I found it and visit regularly (almost daily). I find most of the articles to be informative and educational. The comments likewise. This blog, the articles and the comments have allowed me to filter the over hyped, over the top CAGW articles I see all over the internet. This blog has provided me with reasonably intelligent counter points (at the barely knowledgeable layperson level) whenever I have had to engage in conversation with a CAGW supporter (as I occasionally have to do in my profession).

    I also hope a subscription fee will not be required. I am of modest means and must closely watch the money I spend. Even a small fee would force me to evaluate the value of the knowledge I gain versus the cost.

    For what it’s worth, SMC are the initials of my name. Mr. Watts and the moderators know my name since they can see (I assume they can see) the email address I provide. I use my initials since they are an accurate reflection of my name while still providing a (admittedly false) sense of anonymity.

    Regards,

  88. Keep the comments section, Anthony. They are extremely valuable. This website wouldn’t be the same without them.

    Trolls are easy to spot for this reader. I have no trouble at all skipping over their conversations, and finding the real treasure that is on this site. So trolls are no problem for me. I can ignore them quite easily. They should not be a reason to shutdown the comments section.

  89. I visit Dr. Spencer’s site from time to time, and I have been surprised at how much column space DC has been allowed. He seems to meet Churchill’s definition of a fanatic: one who can’t change his mind and won’t change the subject.

    I would personally be happy to pay a registration fee for the privilege of posting. So long as comments were open for reading to everyone, I don’t think it would deter newcomers from visiting the site.

    I do wonder if there could be some way to distinguish between statements and questions. Some way that visitors with honest questions could do so without registration, but those of us who want to put our opinions forward would be expected to help support the operation.

  90. I read wattsupwiththat largely FOR the comments! Sometimes my science (or my attention span) is not sufficient for me to follow an article. But invariably someone else will ask a question in the comments, and someone else will answer, and the light dawns for me. I’d name helpful names but I’d certainly forget many I sincerely owe understanding to.

    Still, I have no idea how much work is involved in keeping this blog’s comments section as clean as it is. Do what you feel you need to do, Anthony, and remember what they say about oxygen masks when you fly: put your own on first.

  91. Feedback at WUWT is one of the few real forums of peer review there is, not just for skeptics to engage and learn from each other but for providing effective and widely seen review of those “consensus” research papers that only needed to undergo pal-review to get published. An initial critique is posted by Anthony or Willis or Bob or whoever else (every once in a long while me), and informed readers often complete the demolition. I suspect there are many consensus authors, from the most well known to the wallflowers, who live in fear of being exposed on this website. Without that check the level of integrity in consensus climatology would be even lower than its current dismal state.

  92. Anthony,
    @mod
    Please indicate that Ghostery may interfere with this webpage.

    Users of Ghostery and other plugins may have to disable them to view the poll.

  93. 1.WUWT without comments would just be a news feed.

    2. I detest nested comments because they become hard to both follow and participate in if discussions grow lengthy and/or involve more than two participants. One thing that would help immensely for both nested and regular formats would be to encourage commenters to follow Willis Eschenbach’s oft repeated request to quote the exact words you are replying to. This simple courtesy, instead of just simply hitting the “reply” button, makes any forum much more understandable in any format.

    3. DC and trolls – there have been several recommendations upthread for varying systems to control behaviour. My own observation is that as soon as you put a system in place, people start figuring out how to game the system, and the ones that are successful are the very ones you are trying to control. If that means that instead more moderators are required to do the heavy lifting, I expect that a shout out for same would yield results.

    4. For regular readers, DC is a real problem. I ran into him early in his “career” and soon realized that I was ensnared in a debate with a zealot for whom reason, facts, and logic were of little use. That he is in theory on the skeptic side is not the point. Our “side” is trying to get the science right and DC simply discredits us.

    And lastly, thank you Anth_ny for all that you have done. For the forum you have created which has entertained me, educated me, infuriated me and more for countless hours over the years. I’ve made friends, I’ve made enemies, I’ve helped inform others, made embarrassing mistakes, corresponded with elite scientists I would otherwise have no hope of ever meeting. I’ve made people laugh, been laughed at, and laughed at the humour of others. And all for free.

    I’m off to the tip jar, feeling kinda guilty about neglecting it of late.

  94. I’m totally fine having to be registered to post to the comments section. I’d even pay an annual subscription to be a member. You can always give free membership to contributors.

  95. The consensus is apparently to keep the comments, and a Very Good Thing too. There are some exceptionally well informed commenters here and it would be a tragedy to lose their inputs. And there are enough differences in knowledge, experience and ideas between the smart ones, that a lively debate often results. Which is not only informative, but often entertaining too, even when the physics goes over my head (i.e. most of the time).

    WUWT is a global asset, an oasis of sanity in the desert, a beacon of light in the darkness, ….. (I could go on, but you know what I mean). And it just wouldn’t be the same without those comments.

    Please don’t use facebook or other social medium as an entry mechanism though, Anthony. I’d rather pay money to be able to hang out here.

    • Agreed. I don’t belong to any social media unless WordPress is considered such. And how does being a member of, say, Facebook solve anything?

      I like Dr. Roy’s blog and hope he reconsiders.

  96. Andy: If you are going to continue to liberally allow skeptics to post at WUWT, it is imperative that you allow comments that might inform your readers when you post material that is scientific nonsense or badly flawed. If you want to spend more time serving as an editor and/or managing some sort of peer review or rebuttal process, then there is less need for commentary. At the moment, the only peer review comes from comments.

  97. Anthony,

    I suspect you have more views and comments because of your generous comment policy and practices . . This may be a small factor, but I sense in myself an added interest/attention when I could comment, whether or not I eventually do so. There is more of a sense of “being there”, in the audience sort of . . (front row seats no less ; )

    • (PS ~ I can live with either sort of thread structure, but wish (at times) there were visual clues in the form perhaps of pale colored lines that originate with the original breaks from the base thread. I imagine it might help with easily following the lines of conversation one was truly interested in . . )

  98. Trolls aside, the comments on articles and essays are part of what makes this experience what it is. It’s not everywhere that really talented and smart people weigh in with thought provoking material. It’s worth it to endure a few trolls to see some good thoughts.

  99. A few times I’ve been called a troll (I suffer from foot in mouth disease), but really I don’t have much to say on this blog. I enjoy reading the articles and others’ comments.

  100. The surest way to lose a war is to stop fighting. – Sun Tze, the Art of War.

    The public are the police, and the police are the public. Sir R.Peele’s Principles of Policing.

  101. This is my first post on WUWT. Please don’t stop the comment section. Often, the commenters on this forum support stories with further facts. Generally speaking, this comment section contains the most well spoken and intellectually challenging group of minds I have ever seen on the internet. I know that’s not saying much…but there it is.

    REPLY — Good first post. ~ Evan

  102. I voted “I don’t know.” Although it’s axiomatic that “nothing is impossible to the man who doesn’t have to do it himself, I appreciate that riding herd on nonsensical Warmist troll comments is an endless, unrewarding, impossible, and odious task, one I don’t have to do myself. Also, restricting comments would better suit my priorities. But only Anth0ny knows the full extent of the effort; only Anth0ny should make the decision. If more volunteers are needed, I think they will appear. This is almost the only site I log onto ~daily. It well deserves its plaudits.

  103. Some thanks from an old engineer from OZ, your blog has been a guiding light in a fog of obfuscation from the PC warmanista mob. The main stream news services have been brainwashing all those whom would listen. You have been a beacon of reason, polite and sensible, you sir are a gentleman, thank you Anthony your contribution to sense and science will be noted in the future. Wayne.

  104. I have read every comment made at this point in time. Many good comments and suggestions have been made, as well as a few that are garbage. (ain’t it always so)

    I think the comments section should be as open and free as possible. Just because someone believes a certain thing does not mean the host of the blog also believes that. Even if one of the lying members of the “team” (Gavin the liar) claims that WUWT is a bunch of [fill in the blank] don’t make it so.

    The crazy spammers and the obsessed will have to be dealt with as long as the blog is popular. I would think our host would prefer widely popular rather than have a few dozen readers. I would also think that our host would recognize that debate over the issues is healthy and encourages readership. In the education business we try to encourage informed debate. (hell, any debate sometimes with these modern kids)

    The person in question (I have never willingly mentioned his name — superstitious I guess) is a problem but he wins if you drop comments or go overly restrictive just because of him.

    One final word; most of climate “science” right now is wrong, as wrong as nutritional “science” is. The real skeptics can see that. It will be generations before we figure out the planet’s weather machine — we first have to drop the ideas that are wrong but that we think are right. (all adherents of eastern religion will recognize that from the sages of thousands of years ago)

    • Or, to give them a stock reply as to why they are wrong. Most of the trolls keep repeating the same stuff over and over, e.g. wind’s intermittency will be solved by energy storage, so it doesn’t take too much writing to build a bank of answers. When they get a well-reasoned answer that would call for a bit of thinking to frame a reply to it, they generally give up. My most oft-used one is the explanation of what ‘ad hominem’ means, and why it signals that the poster has run out of other options.

  105. I like immediately preceding comment. A lot of bloggers need to get a life. If you have a persistent troll you need to ignore him (her) and not glorify the comment by responding. This happens on all blogs – particularly in the climate wars space. Trolls and hit men have about ruined dotearth. I comment there and ignore the personal attacks, which are plentiful.

    This has nothing to do with “which side you’re on”. The climate base has become toxic and all sides are responsible. One can still make one’s point in a civil manner and you’ll often get civil responses – sometimes not. But you have a right to make your point in the way you see fit.

  106. One of the rewards of open comments is the exposure to seeing things from a different point of view. Too often we lock in on view from a personal experience and fail to realize others have different experiences that have shaped their position. Open comments also exposes us to other people from around the world. Sometimes that is nothing technical, just a different way of seeing things based on a different lifestyle and political system.

    My two cents is that nested comments make it easier for trolls to comment and harder for readers to follow the entire thread.

  107. I’ve gotten used to the nested comment layout and I still don’t like it because it makes simple thread reading into difficult thread reading. Simple is better in this case.

    John

  108. In what I’m sure is a bad paraphrase out of a book by Victor Davis Hanson;
    ” tractor vs stump always draws a crowd”.

  109. Has anyone ever considered using website Discussion Forum software for WUWT? This would solve the difficulty in following threads, and would keep threads alive much longer, if that were desirable. It wouldn’t solve the troll problem, though. Just ignore the trolls and they will go away.

  110. I spend quite a lot more time reading comments on this site than reading or thinking about the article, and the comments are usually very enlightening, if I have time to read right through them. I would really miss them if they were not here, and I see the majority agree. Nevertheless, I voted some pages need no comment (second V page for example).

    I disagree the discussion about filtering comment contributors as an overly terse commentary will result, which becomes stultifying fast, reading it a it too much like work.

    Plus this discussion of ‘elite’ verses non-elite is simply divisive, it promotes deliberate exclusivity, which is very damaging to the flow of open discussions and promotes rank. I hesitate to mention Bob Carter as he’s been mentioned a fair bit lately, but will do so for one reason, he was a well respected accomplished scientist, a great communicator, and displayed not one scintilla of a tendency towards elitism or exclusivity, or divisive snobbish attitude, or sharp language. It was one of his natural talents, you’ve got it or you haven’t. But it is highly prized, at least as much as the quality of the knowledge he conveyed with it. It’s on of the reason he will be remembered and others not. But if some people want a castle with motes around their ideas to fire arrows at passersby they don’t much like the look of, to guard “my precious”, or their imagined status, this approach belongs in a reference section, not at the core of public discussion.

    In the end many of the topics and pages in here deal not with formal data, but with ancillary issues, claims and conversational events. The balance of interest levels and mix of content at WUWT is already pretty good, both in articles and in the comments.

  111. It’s a tough call. If comments are so rude or overbearing, I leave. If I can’t comment, I often don’t read a blog. As for blocking commenters or charging them, people can and do create account after account. Looking at the IP address helps, but there are public computers. I think if comments were shut down, people would go elsewhere to read. I would also note that comment problems are in part because this site is so popular. Smaller sites don’t get deluged by commenters and spammers. Plus, there are a small number of people who spoil things for everyone with the constant self-promoting comments.

    • Once again, the problem of serial commenters is solved (mostly) by ignoring them and not responding. Persistent commenting on Dotearth drives some people crazy but I just skip over them. But I think Andy Revkin, who actually reads comments not submitted by pre-approved commenters, has recently shied away from the climate wars in an effort to drive serial commenters elsewhere. Just my opinion.

  112. I am not an apologist for DC. Doubters may go to Dr Spencer’s site where a few years ago DC and I had some real ding-dong exchanges. I suggested that Dr Spencer might even make money as a comedy script. Some of his perennial, unwarranted taunts thrown at Dr Spencer is cringe-worthy and hard to stomach. DC being off topic is legendary as can be his rude manner. Bear in mind that Galileo was not exactly a charmer. Neither was Newton with his hounding of Liebniz. No, I don’t compare DC with either in intellect.

    If this is the complaint then I agree. But I see other complaints about silencing him because of his hypothesis. This would be unwarranted and simply emulating sites like SkS. Is this any different to the cabal of so called scientists wanting to enlist RICO legislation to silence opposition? We would all be the poorer if this was a consideration.

    For those claiming his ideas are deficient I will make this observation as I did on Lucia’s board: No one has actually been able to disprove him despite many vowing that they could and would. That still holds.

    He has managed to put together a coherent mechanism to explain the lapse rate (>0.1bar) and go beyond that. It seems to have a more universal application judging by other planets and mediums. Is that not moving along the path that is a fundamental objective in science? Should we ban that discussion? Can we find a way to accommodate it and put it to the test? I would like to think it can be done.

  113. An up/down rating on comments like on Yahoo would work well. If a given comment exceeds X down votes a script bot automatically hides it and a message appears in its place – “Message hidden due to low rating – (click to) show comment”.

    • Yep . Some very good mechanisms are available .

      I miss having a thumbs up mechanism here . I would have used to upvote your comment rather than consuming this bandwidth .

      • I would like to know the percentage of bandwidth you just took up.
        Is it counted by keystrokes or what ?
        Sorry if I’ve gone past any limits with this comment.

    • If a given comment exceeds X down votes a script bot automatically hides it

      As soon as you do something like that, the trolls will organize to down vote the best comments forcing the mods to fish them back out manually. The moment you implement a “system”, the very people you are trying to control conspire to game the system.

      • It’s a good point; we’ll have to make it a smart bot. How about for any given poster to be able to give a down vote, he has to meet some criteria to become ‘approved’ to give one such as he has earned a minimum number of up votes or, has written a minimum number of comments or, has written prior comments older than a minimum age, etc.?

  114. Just another thought, if one had to buy a subscription to comment and a troll paid the fee how could you then snip any of his/her/its comments just because they contained crackpot ideas or were thread bombing? If a troll wants to troll, they are going to find a way to troll.

    By collecting a fee, would you then have to establish a for profit business, obtain a business license, perhaps file for a fictitious name and then account for income and pay taxes? You certainly don’t want the government to send in the IRS dogs because they disagree with your blog.

  115. Anthony, I’d suggest you might do as the Real Climate blog used to do. They dumped any comment they disagreed with into a thread they called the Borehole. In this case you possible automatically send sockpuppet comments into a similar blind thread. That way the moderators would only have to keep tabs on honest commenters and be on the lookout for new psuedonyms.

  116. Now the fuss on this thread has died down, I’d like to remind Anthony, the mods and everyone else here of what the commenters at WUWT can do:

    https://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/02/25/judith-i-love-ya-but-youre-way-wrong/

    Maybe the reaction here wasn’t the only reason Judith Curry decided to return to proper science. But I suspect it contributed. And I was part of that.

    So, for me, to stop or even to restrict comments on a blog like WUWT is to surrender truth to politics. I feel for Roy Spencer, and wonder whether he has done this against his will in response to pressure. Perhaps, pressure from his paymasters?

    An increase in the moderation team at WUWT seems the only sane option.

    I’d like to help, but – and I suspect I’m not alone here – I can’t usually tell until a day or so before whether or not I will have time on a particular day to go troll-hunting. Being 8 hours ahead of California time doesn’t help either.

  117. I would suggest keeping the comments as a net positive contribution. In a more narrow context, I’ve noticed some sub-optimal story submissions on renewable energy, particularly on solar. Comments are my way of clarifying and updating industry facts and rapid changes in an industry for now on WUWT in lieu of submitting my own stories on solar energy. I’m held back for now with the problem of how to explain my points without access to some key proprietary data.

  118. Bob,

    Do you have a reference for the Hockey Schtick computations here or elsewhere?

    Sad to hear Clive Best is getting assaulted.

  119. His main finding is a temperature gradient due to gravity alone. There seems to be some question about the theoretical value of 0.04 K/m. I calculated 0.0025 K/m and Graeff multiplies that by 18 degrees of freedom. Hmmm. Why?

    Extrapolating to the deep ocean probably violates assumptions used in deriving the theoretical gradient equation from the hydrostatic equation. Plus if the sign is negative, the deep ocean should have boiled away by now!

  120. The answer is not to suppress or censor comments, but to try and understand both what’s right and what’s wrong instead of focusing only on what’s wrong which intrinsically deprecates anything that might be correct, which only serves to infuriate the commenter.

    For example, the flaw in Cotton’s argument is that while gravity establishes the lapse rate, the temperature profile of the atmosphere is a function of both the temperature of the energy source heating it (the surface) and the lapse rate. The Sun heats the surface whose temperature is clearly affected by the GHG effect and the surface heats the atmosphere. Solar energy absorbed by clouds is thermally connected to the surface via the hydrological cycle and can be equivalently considered to heat the surface.

    Venus is different, where the 100% cloud coverage, not the surface, is in direct equilibrium with the Sun are these clouds are not thermodynamically coupled to the surface (bismuth/tin rain not withstanding). In this case, the temperature profile becomes a function of the equilibrium cloud temperature and the PVT profile of its dense CO2 atmosphere, in effect, a reverse lapse rate, which makes the temperature profile of the Venusian atmosphere far more dependent on gravity than it is on the GHG effect (except as GHG’s establish cloud temperatures). The surface temperature is what it is because the surface is heated by the atmosphere, rather than by the Sun which is also true of the Earth’s solid surface beneath its oceans whose temperature is similarly diurnally and seasonally constant and dependent on the gravitational separation of water by its temperature. The temperature profile of a gas giant is universally considered to be far more dependent on gravity than any other factor and the Venusian atmosphere is far closer to that of a gas giant than it is to that of the Earth.

    Few on either side understand control theory well enough to apply it to the climate system. Otherwise, it would be obvious that runaway GHG feedback is a physical impossibility as is the impossibly large positive feedback required to support the absurdly high sensitivity claimed by the IPCC. Blindly accepting that the Venusian surface temperature is the result of runaway GHG feedback and not runaway clouds is a large part of the problem as it masks the underlying flaws in the feedback modelling which literally must create energy out of thin air in violation of COE. A complete rejection of Cotton’s argument precludes runaway clouds heating the atmosphere from above and an atmosphere, rather than the Sun, heating the surface, which infers that the only reasonable explanation for Venus is otherwise impossible runaway GHG feedback whose presumed possibility is counter productive towards arriving at an accurate quantification of climate system feedback and how it affects the sensitivity.

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