A MUST READ – WUWT Housekeeping: ongoing issues, updates, fixes, and polls

NOTE: This will be a top post until Monday, new stories follow below. A couple of Saturdays ago, I posted an “Open Thread” with a question about “What could we do better”? You responded, and I’ve listened. In the meantime, WordPress.com has thrown us all a curve-ball with a new software update that I really don’t like because it has now made running WUWT harder.  So, I have a few caveats that I need you to be aware of, and I want to ask a question of my readers that will help me determine the future of this blog.

1. Personal:

I have some personal issues (including my hearing and health) going on in my life during the past year that have prevented me from spending as much time researching, writing posts, and keeping up with comments on WUWT as I used to. Regulars may have noticed this. This is all slowly getting resolved, but it takes time. For those that read about my new hearing aids and the great boost they gave me over a year ago, that benefit has faded, and I’m fighting a pattern recognition problem that I didn’t have as badly before. I’ll expound on the whys of this in a future post.

2. Image fetching for reference pages got broken by an update I had no control over:

Some readers may or may not know that I am hosted at wordpress.com using their highly resilient and automatically backed up cloud based infrastructure. Steve McIntyre’s Climate Audit and Judith Curry’s website also take advantage of this platform and it has worked very well. WUWT has been on it since October of 2007. During this time there have been dozens of updates to the software automatically deployed by WordPress that have been mostly positive, until now.  A few weeks ago, they deployed a new update that forced https: on all sites hosted at wordpress.com . In theory, this is a good thing, in practice, it broke just about every reference page (especially the sea ice page) at WUWT because the update causes all images fetched with http rather than https protocol to become cached. This made the images in the reference appear as if they didn’t update. The only solution is to click directly on them. Some might ask, why don’t I simply change all the http image fetch requests to https? That seems like an easy and obvious fix, except when you discover that a number of the government websites used in our reference pages don’t support https, and the images won’t display when called by that fetching protocol. Here is an example: https://polar.ncep.noaa.gov/seaice/analysis/global.gif

I placed a trouble ticket into wordpress.com support for this issue and here is what they say:

Hi Anthony,

I’ve received a reply from our software department and here’s the conclusion:

We won’t disable the https on your site because it’s a bad practice and may introduce security holes. However, we can stop caching the images on your site, but then your visitors will get the warning about mixed content because as I explained earlier, some of your images are from http (unsecured) sites and your site is https (secured). Let me know if you are okay with this.

Cheers,

Rasto L. – Happiness Engineer

WordPress.com | http://support.wordpress.com

I have told them to turn off caching images, and that I’d fix the pages that had mixed http/https and I’m waiting for confirmation. It’s been three days, and I’ve received no notice, but they may have made the switch already. I’d greatly appreciate it if readers would check out our multitude of reference pages shown below and report back in comments.

3. Sea ice images got broken by a satellite failure:

At about the same time wordpress initiated their https switchover that caused our images in reference pages to stop updating in your browser, the DMSP F17 satellite had a sensor failure that caused the loss of sea-ice data for several organizations, including NSIDC, Cryosphere Today, and others. WUWT has had several posts on the issue, yet some people still write to me wondering why images aren’t correct. The most comical aberration presented by this satellite instrument failure comes from Cryosphere Today:

cryospehere-today-seaice.anomaly.arctic

A more perfect example of a climate “hockey stick” could not possibly be generated, and it is just as bogus a presentation as the original:

Hockey_stick_chart_ipcc_large[1]

NSIDC reports that they are updating their images based on DMSP F18 data, and that it is provisional pending calibration. Other sea-ice agencies have not been so quick to respond.

Patience while the problem gets resolved will be appreciated.

4. Our comment system got broken by the same wordpress update I had no control over:

As mentioned in point 2, in April wordpress.com threw out a major update on https, and this same update also changed the way comments get moderated.

It used to be that comments that were flagged by our banned word list (expletives, hot button words, etc.) would simply be held for moderation. The person who wrote the comment could still see the comment, and that it hadn’t been approved yet, but now with this new update, those flagged comments that need the attention of a moderator to determine if it violates WUWT site policy simply get sent to the trashbin, and disappear from the view of the commenter. This might give the impression to some whose comments disappear that we are engaging in wholesale censorship, we aren’t. But again, this change was out of my control when it was implemented by wordpress.com. I sent in a trouble ticket and this was the response from the Akismet service that handles spam filtering and the moderation system for wordpress.com:

Hi Anthony,

Unfortunately, there’s no way to change what happens to comments that match the blacklist. However, have you considered using the Comment Moderation list instead? It’s on the same settings screen as the blacklist, and comments that match the Moderation list will be left in Pending Approval status instead of being approved or moved to the spam or trash. Then, you wouldn’t need to monitor the spam or trash, and you could just focus on the moderation queue.

Chris F.

Akismet

I’m in the process of working on this today and tomorrow, so hopefully the issue will be resolved. That said, there’s another much bigger problem, see point #5 below.

5. Some commenters have simply gotten out of control.

WUWT is the most viewed and most commented on website in the world related to climate. As of this writing, there are 273,124,092 views and 1,782,475 comments. Obviously, there’s no way I could read all of those comments, there simply isn’t enough time in my life. Early on in WUWT history I did read each and every comment, now it’s an impossibility. WUWT used to be entirely moderated, and every comment required approval, but the task was tedious and mostly thankless, and we lost some very good people who volunteered to help me manage this crushing load by attrition and by death.

Due to WUWT being a high traffic blog and in the top 10 of wordpress.com blogs worldwide on a daily basis, it is a prime target for spammers. This adds to the load, but the recent change by wordpress.com mentioned in item 4 may actually help solve this issue while creating a new one.

In August 2014, I announced a change to WUWT that I thought would improve it on several fronts. Format was a big change, the way comments were dealt with was another. I wrote then:

Also, some comments may be held for moderation, as we’ve recently added some words to that filter. Some people who have been known to post wildly off-topic, long rants, hateful, or otherwise inappropriate comments will get the inspection of a moderator. Also, first time commenters will be held in moderation, and after the first comment is approved, you are whitelisted.

The vast majority of regular commenters are also whitelisted, but occasionally somebody may trigger moderation. One of the surest ways for your comment to be held is to put a whole bunch of links in it, which mimic commercial spam. Right now we have it set to 4 links as the maximum. If you have a comment that requires more than that, try to break it up into two comments, or just accept that your comment will be held for moderation.

In retrospect, the whitelisting thing was a bad idea, because it allowed some unscrupulous types, as well as people with no sense of decorum or decency, to post a single innocuous comment, which gets approved by a moderator and putting them on the whitelist, to then post comments where they aren’t flagged for moderation at all. As a result, the quality of commentary has eroded, and I’ve had to ban several people who only come here to spew invective, hate, and rants.

Because WUWT often gets linked on Drudge, Instapundit, and other political traffic drivers (because after all climate has become mostly political now) we’ve had an influx of people (from both sides) that don’t understand anything about the issues, but simply regurgitate talking points. This gets tedious, fast.

Some are here for nefarious purposes. We’ve had a couple of people who have taken sockpuppeting beyond what even Doug Cotton does  which caused Dr. Roy Spencer to stop accepting comments on his website. No this is even worse; we have two people assuming the persona of another poster. We have clearly identified who these people are (because in your zeal to denigrate, you made mistakes), and we’ve been documenting your behavior for months. if you are reading this (and you know who you are), let this be notice that you’ll be seeing some legal paperwork appear soon, because frankly I’m tired of both of you and your illegal actions, and the people you have impersonated using their full names are furious. I don’t blame them. You deserve some payback and you are going to get it.

It just goes to show how pathetic some people are when it comes to a disagreement of opinion. The AGW proponents use illegal and nefarious tactics like this rather than open and honest debate. Then, they wonder why they are viewed with contempt.

After Dr. Spencer stopped accepting comments, I considered the idea as well. If I didn’t have to deal with comments, I could accomplish a lot more. OTOH, many of the comments are quite useful. I wanted to see what readers thought, so I ran a poll with his commentary:

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.

Here are the results:

suspend-comments-poll

 

There are a few ways that I’m going to deal with this on the short-term. First, you are going to start seeing notices like this image below appear on threads. It is going to be a fair warning to those that aren’t following site policy.

housekeeping-place-clean-sign

We have serial offenders on both sides, they’ll get equal treatment. If the thread gets unruly after that, I’ll simply close it. I have better things to do than moderate idiotic food fights.

Second, for the long-term, in the not too distant future, I’m going to implement changes to the way comments are moderated. To that end, I ask readers the following questions:

  • In the first option, requiring registration will mean that your real name and email will have to be verified. It is a lot of work up-front, but it weeds out sockpuppets and posers for good. Successful blogs like “Little Green Footballs” use this technique. The downside is that it limits open debate on the spur of the moment and tends toward a closed community.
  • The second option, requiring that all comments be held for moderation is what WUWT used to do from 2006 to 2014, but it is a huge amount of work. I’ll need more volunteer moderators to pull this off.
  • The third option, running a detailed filter, would send known disruptors, sockpuppets, and comments with expletives, banned words (like chemtrails, bigfoot, etc) directly to the trash were they won’t be recovered. Steve McIntyre does a version of this on Climate Audit, though he gets a small fraction of the comments we get. He never bothers to recover those comments, but instead concentrates his limited time on content.
  • The fourth option, turning off comments altogether solves the time and effort problem completely, prevents disruption, and allows focus on content exclusively. The downside is that the free exchange of ideas, some of which are very useful, dies with it.

6. What do you think? I can make articles on WUWT “peer-reviewed” before publication.

For technical articles, I have a way where I can invite peer review from both sides of the debate before an article gets published. Links to the unpublished article would be sent to people who have offered to be reviewers (possibly due to a solicitation announcement first) and the article can be checked for accuracy, depth, and citations prior to publication. As we all know, Internet peer review is some of the harshest form of review, but often the best, because it doesn’t invite “pal review” like we’ve seen in climate science circles.

This would be a first, not just for WUWT, but for any climate or science blog as far as I know.

7. WUWT’s ten-year anniversary is coming up

 

I have been doing this non-stop since November 2006, I’d like to take a real vacation to recharge. Even when I have traveled, I keep up the blog. I need a break, but I’m not prepared to go on a one year sabbatical to fix “burn out” like Dave Roberts did.

I’ll need help in the form of guest posters, moderators, etc, and maybe even a little financial help to get me on my way. Willis and I have been talking about a trip to Russia to investigate the cause of the great Red Spot in the surface temperature record.He could blog while we are on the trip like he does when he travels . Thoughts welcome.

8. Hosting – wordpress.com is quickly becoming restrictive

I have danced around this question for years, but the recent changes at wordpress.com that have caused problems cause me to take a good hard look again. I may want to go to a subscription/donor model to make this happen, since getting the features I want for the kind of traffic this blog produces would be several hundred dollars a month. That would mean I’d have the freedom from code restrictions that wordpress.com imposes (they only allow certain features), and could offer features readers have been asking for years, such as comment editing, better threading/numbered threading. Interactive graphs, made with JavaScript etc and much more. It will allow growth, but it will also require more of my time to manage it.

To that end, I thought I’d ask this question:

 

9. Thank you

I realize many of you have become as frustrated as I have with the state of things in the climate debate, and I hope that WUWT can continue to contribute to it in a meaningful way. I owe a debt of gratitude to readers, moderators, and guest essayists. You have my sincerest thanks. Comments about all of these changes and proposed changes are welcome. – Anthony

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beng135

Yeah, I was wondering about the browser warning (only partially encrypted). Now I know.

stan stendera

Sorry to interrupt with Off Topic stuff, but Ivanpah solar site has caught fire. It is now shut down.

bit chilly

a common problem in the “green” industries such as recycling plants. i know insurance costs were supposed to increase in the cagw world , i now know why 😉

Janice Moore

Take a REAL vacation, Anthony, at least 3 months. One month will FLY by.
WUWT is a going concern. Just delegate and all will be well.
We will be here when you get back.
#(:))
*************************************
Re: Blogging by subscription —
I voted “Yes.” HOWEVER, suggestion: if you can get enough of the WUWT regulars to subscribe, do not make it mandatory. Reason: WUWT’s main goal needs to be to get the truth out to those who want to learn. Truth = freedom. A forced subscription will greatly discourage the average guest.
Suggested approach:
1. Figure out how many subscriptions you need @ $10/month.
2. Give people one week to sign up.
3.IF
you get enough subscribers for an adequate base $$ amount,
THEN
voluntary subscriptions.

THANK YOU, SO MUCH, FOR ALL YOU DO!

Praying for you.
Janice

Gabro

We’re all free to make voluntary contributions now.
Would be great if student and elderly fixed income discounts could be provided, but how to verify?

Janice Moore

Yes, Gabro, I am aware of that fact. Apparently, I need to clarify what I meant. To keep WUWT the great public education tool that it is, voluntary subscriptions are essential.
Before going to mandatory subscriptions, Anthony can determine whether he would have enough $$ with voluntary subscriptions (not merely ad hoc donations), he can have people sign up to commit to doing that for a year at a time. If enough people sign up, then Anthony would know he could do voluntary subscriptions.
Reason for not requiring a subscription: get the truth out.
I hope that I made myself more clear this time.

Willis Eschenbach

Janice Moore May 21, 2016 at 1:06 pm

Yes, Gabro, I am aware of that fact. Apparently, I need to clarify what I meant. To keep WUWT the great public education tool that it is, voluntary subscriptions are essential.
Before going to mandatory subscriptions, Anthony can determine whether he would have enough $$ with voluntary subscriptions (not merely ad hoc donations), he can have people sign up to commit to doing that for a year at a time. If enough people sign up, then Anthony would know he could do voluntary subscriptions.

I’d support voluntary subscriptions, but not just for better hosting. if it is to keep the site open, some $ should go to Anthony.

While I’m at it, lol, “at,” not “a least 3 months.”

Fixed.
w.

I set it up years ago on paypal to monthly donate a small sum to WUWT. My subscription cost $36 a year as I recall. Comments and participation are a big, big part of WUWT success and its quality. I wish people would be more circumspect and courteous as they comment.

Gabro

Willis,
How about ads for that purpose?
Or would that open the site up to charges of subornation by Big Oil? Or some other evil corporate influence.

Gabro

willybamboo
May 21, 2016 at 1:29 pm
IMO people would behave better if they had to use their real names.

Owen in GA

Gabro,
I work at an institution dominated by those that believe in CAGW but have never taken the time to look at it. If forced to use my full name (I use a part of my real name now), certain unscrupulous “believers” could make my life difficult. I am not in a tenured position so have to go carefully on controversial subjects if I want to continue in my employment. I am looking for another position, but mid-level physics lab positions are short on supply, and I would not want to get blacklisted by those dominated by believers. Excommunication from science by pretend scientists is not something I relish.

Gabro

Owen,
I know the pressures and problems of that nature faced by so many of us.
I didn’t make myself clear. I endorse Anthony’s suggestion of recording the real names and email addresses of all commenters, not necessarily requiring public use of real names, although maybe given names would be OK, or variants thereof if too distinctive.

I’m in favour of voluntary subscriptions, too. A mandatory subscription would just turn people away, and WUWT’s great achievement is its reach. I am involved in running local community events, and for most events paying for entry is voluntary. We just recommend an amount and leave it up to the individual how much they actually pay. IMHO it works very well – at least as many people pay more as pay less. If WUWT were to take that approach, as suggested by Janice, Willis et al, then I would like to see recommended monthly, annual and lifetime amounts. I’m sure that monthly and annual payments would drop off over time, though, without a reminder system.

bobl

Better idea, get an app done (freelancer.com) then load it on the Apple and Android app stores that allows you to do in-app purchases. Make the purchases just $0.99, then occasionally shout out for us to tap the in-app purchase button,
The reason I say this is because Paypal and bank drafts are awkward ways to pay. On android it just comes out of the prepaid card (if you don’t like card linking like me) or as a micro card transaction that transcends borders. Yes Google/Apple get their cut but does that matter?
Even better, make the app do something interesting like dodging cooks… or calculating kitten farts of energy or even show the latest solar pics as a background or sea ice data

“IMO people would behave better if they had to use their real names.” I could not agree more, I am now retired but when I was working as a dentist, I could not let my professional reputation suffer by making inappropriate comments. Now, I would not want my personal reputation to suffer either.

Excellent idea, Janice. That would keep it open for all. I agree with you this would be a good way to do it.

bobl

I think that this could work with a community model (Like facebook) the WUWT wordpress site is Free but entry to the community site where we can all interact with each other could be paid. I set this up on a hosting site once with Elgg and it worked surprisingly well (although I had to use a capcha to keep the spam out).
The big thing I have always wanted from WUWT is a side channel.

Barclay E MacDonald

A straight-forward, regular, voluntary subscription works for me. I have a lot of catching up to do!
I don’t know how Anthony ever gets appropriately rewarded for the great job he has done with this blog and all the c*ap he puts up with daily, including that his gets paid for this! Like Willis, I would like to see some left over to compensate Anthony and to use as he deems appropriate. But Anthony is such a dope he would probably just re-invest it all in this blog:))

rw

Agree.

JohnWho

I wonder how much money Anthony would need each year to reach this “foundation” amount?
Perhaps a certain number of “founders” could provide that, leaving the “tip jar” available for others.

Sell T shirts .. I’m serious. I had a t-shirt printed up a few years back saying:
burn the coal, save the trees
* ask a botanist about C3 photosynthesis
(I’ll get another printed with “0.04% ain’t enough!” later)
Firstly It generates questions, secondly for a lot of people, seeing things in print somehow confers validity to the statement. I’m not a fan of propaganda but when it’s all coming from one side there needs to be SOME opposing force. It’d not take a lot of effort to set up and may just take off.
Additional to income from a dropshipping shirt printer, plonking whattsupwiththat.com on walking billboards could drive even more traffic through the site.
..and Thanks Anthony for all the work you’ve put into this over the years – it’ll make a nice repository for the future. The eugenicists may have been able to slip into obscurity after the dust settled all those years back, denying their involvement or obfuscating their tacit support of the agenda, but sites such as this will document for future generations how mass hysteria can overtake the world even when clear evidence of wrongdoing and false propaganda exists.
My thoughts on the other points:
registration fees no matter how small will eliminate a lot of people from other parts of the world where even a few dollars is a big ask. Full names could potentially endanger people should a totalitarian push for power ever succeed. Requests for donations obviously aren’t generating the money needed to maintain the site, are there any here who would be prepared to make voluntary large donations in support of Anthony’s work? (I wish I could, honestly I do) Could self moderation of this list be managed with a voting system? (negative votes trigger a request for review). Casual commenters need to be encouraged for anyone could have a searing insight that the rest of us miss, and we don’t want to eliminate those for the sake of convenience! (sorry Anthony!)
Finally in addition to thanking Anthony, I’d like to thank the contributors and commenters – this is a valuable resource and one we should value greatly.

afonzarelli

Karl, great comment…

Janice Moore

Better than subscriptions —

Patrons

(or “founders”)
per JohnWho (just above)
and davidmhoffer, here: https://wattsupwiththat.com/2016/05/21/wuwt-housekeeping-ongoing-issues-updates-fixes-and-polls/comment-page-1/#comment-2220524

afonzarelli

Yes, Janice, a foundation… if it can be done for a relatively obscure catholic church right here in new orleans, then it can be done for the most highly visible climate change blog in the world.

Jeff Mitchell

What about using indygogo or kickstart to do annual funding drives?

Karl, good points. – additional to promoting the web address this site can also use a QR code
https://www.the-qrcode-generator.com/

Jan Christoffersen

Johnwho,
I would also like to know what that base $ amount is. Is it $10,000, $20,000 or $40,000 or …? I have no problem with a $5.00 monthly fee and, say, a discounted $50,00 if paid annually. All annual subscriptions could be renewable on January 01 (or pick a date) to eliminate renewal notices being required throughout the year.
This site is too valuable to fade away. Anthony is the most precious of gems.

ColinD

I too voted yes to subscription but with a qualification in mind, that the site be free to read but only subscribers could comment.

rd50

OK with me. Good suggestion.

Harry Goff

Great suggestion

Mike Jowsey

Then comments could become an echo chamber, with ‘outsiders’ excluded from commenting.

ColinD

Mike Jowsey
May 21, 2016 at 6:48 pm
This is not a novel suggestion by me, many places do this. It sorts out the impulsive from the serious.

Huub Bakker

Perhaps casual commenters could be limited to one comment a day or week or 3 comments before registration is needed.

Mike Jowsey

Huub, yes, I like it. An elegant solution. To recap, only ‘members’ get to comment freely except if you are a newbie commenter whereby you get a free pass for a limited time or occurrence. This is a workable solution. My fear is that echo chambers on the internet abound and WUWT must maintain its high ground in this regard, yet also maintaining ‘sustainability’ within the logistics,

stan stendera

+ 9,000,000,000,000

StuartL

I am 70yrs old live in Philippines (with pesos) I would not be able to subscribe even though I would like to.

Ged

A mandatory subscription to read articles would definitely kill this site (and betray its purpose entirely). Making commenting a mandatory subscription would be practically the same as disabling comments (something that would eliminate the community); as then money = ability to have your voice heard. An immediately oppressive situation.
WUWT is definitely functional as is, so this is not a do or die conundrum. Certainly WUWT isn’t perfect, but nothing is, and the attempt to force perfection is most damaging. I would certainly vote for WUWT that functions at a slower, lower key pace to give Anthony his vital rest and keep things manageable, than some of these more radical ideas. WUWT doesn’t have to publish as fast as it does now.
Peer review is an interesting idea, but it is often extremely slow, and could easily get mired in deliberations (a case of reality ensues). For the analytical pieces it makes sense, but for the news pieces it could delay matters till they aren’t topical anymore. Perhaps delineating the types of articles between those classes could be a way to handle that easily.
I’ve been around this place for a very long time, so I’m not worried about what ever Anthony decides, as I trust in his level head and sense of purpose.

bobl

How about a variant, lets assume certain accounts could be marked as “reviewers” people who are tolerant of dissent and can handle the argy-bargy. Give them an access level, Level 1 can push posts into moderation, Level 2 can replace posts (replacing them with deleted by XXX and a reason or a snipped version).
This way bad posts will get dealt with by the trusted readers.

mikebartnz

Well said Janice.
I often send links to people I think may be interested and while I voted for a subscription model it would certainly put some people off which would be counter productive.
Another way might be to have someone pay for the hosting for a month and give them the recognition for doing so but I am not sure what amount you could be talking about and it could cause problems if someone suddenly let you down.
When talking about moving from WordPress have a look at this site as it seems to work fairly well.
http://pressf1.pcworld.co.nz/forumdisplay.php?4-PressF1
I have emailed a guy that used to have a connection with them to see what software is used.
I don’t know if there is a character limit on the first post (never struck it) which could be limiting.
PS Haven’t heard back from him yet but I see it is
https://www.vbulletin.com/
Thank you for all the time you have put into this site.

sadbutmadlad

The most popular form of voluntary donation is via patreon.com. Lots of YouTube content creators use it and do very well out of it. For instance a channel with 500K subscribers can receive something like $1K/m through donations. Patreons commit to paying a small monthly amount, but because many people do so, the amounts add up. More than enough for the few hundred dollars Anthony needs for a top notch WordPress site.
https://www.patreon.com/

Ken Gray

A twist on the idea. Subscription required only for commenters. Read-only people see it all for free but commenters have to register and pay something. $10 a month seems like a lot to me; $5 better. I’m very thrifty! And thanks for all you do and have done. This is a GREAT site!

Douglas McLaughlin

I would like to suggest that perhaps a Patreon account might work for you.

ripshin

Janice,
Hah! I came back here today to leave exactly the same comment. After reading and taking the survey I realized that I’d be willing to pay to keep this site open and available for public use.
And, to the point made already, yes we can all donate today, but it would be useful to put a metric in place so I know how much is needed. Right now I don’t even know what scale of donation is meaningful. I can imagine it’d be a pain in the neck, but maybe run a donation campaign. Put some swag and stuff in there. Maybe do it on Kickstarter. Could be a lot of fun.
rip

David Ball

I love WUWT. Bring your “A” game or stay home. Anthony has paid a heavy price for our ability to have our voice heard. I get unruly at times, but always defer to Anthony and the mods judgement, as I appreciate the forum. Thank you for listening to your readerships opinion’s. WUWT is a brilliant light in the dark.

stan stendera

+ 9,000,000,000

Gabro

What about your Big Oil backers? You could sell your blog to fossil fuel interests. Oh, wait. That was Al “Jazeera” Gore’s TV channel. Never mind.
I hope (sarc) not needed. I voted for registration, peer review and a subscription model in order to finance moderation, etc.
Best wishes for improved health.

Gabro

Anthony,
Excuse me if wrong, but IMO Steve McIntyre is also not in the best of health. Have you and he ever considered joining forces?
I realize his blog and commenters are more strictly scientific, while your format is more popular, permitting political comment and publishing articles from more far afield than just climate issues. But together you could produce in effect both a Web-based professional journal and a popular periodical. Professional and competent commenters could be screened and approved, while still leaving open the possibility for comments from the public laity.

Harry Passfield

Gabro: We all get ‘less young’ and I support your idea of merger. Something like “What’s Up With the Bishop’s Audit” – or similar.
AW: I’ve been here from the start, near enough. What an education! I thank you for that.
BTW: How are your ‘competitors’ fairing – or do they have other means of support? 😊

Gabro

Harry,
Laughing, if not quite out loud!
Merge of the best few climate skeptic blogs might be in order, along with splitting off an associated peer reviewed blog, with credentialed or at least minimally qualified, screened and vetted commenters.

Gabro

PS:
IMO the educational and work experience requirements to comment on peer-reviewed papers need not be strict and strenuous. Maybe just a bachelor’s degree from a respectable institution in a hard scientific discipline (to include life sciences), math or engineering, or equivalent in on the job training.

I have wrestled with moving to a self-hosted site on and off, but the advantages of WP.com outweigh those of self-hosted. The Trolls will never go away which says much about humans.

A year ago I set up a family website on WordPress. It didn’t get used much, and I had an email from them to say they were going to take money from my credit card to renew it, which I’ve no wish to do. I can’t contact them! You have to remember your username and password – everything links back to it, and WordPress doesn’t have an email address, and you can only do LiveChat if you are a business subscriber. There’s no way I can stop them taking money from my card (and cancelling my webpage) other than cancelling my credit card, which is what I’ve had to do! I’ll never, ever use WordPress again, it’s a joke. I found a website that said you can contact them using support@wordpress.com, but I didn’t get a reply, so I assume that’s a dud. Absolutely infuriating!
Great site, Anthony, and I wish you good health…and a new hosting company!

I don’t think the WP offer to stop caching is a good idea. It will disable virtually all old images on the site on past threads. Their caching does solve that problem, and is OK for static (unchanging) images.
For the reference pages and the updating problem, a quick fix could be to take those outside WordPress. You don’t really need the WP infrastructure there, and you could put it in any location addressable with a http: URL. I use a Amazon bucket. You could still link in the same way from WUWT on WP, but with http.
Purely for demonstration, I did that with the existing Sea Ice page here. I just copied the HTML (Ctrl-U), did a global edit to convert the cache prefixes of form https;//i0.wp.com/ etc to http;// (but ://, not ;//). Sometimes it is i1 or i2, so I used in notepad++ the regexp https;//i..wp.com/. If you have the original HTML unaltered by WP, this step isn’t needed.
Anyway, when then placed on the web with a http: URL, the sea ice page all comes good again. The images keep up to date (though some are bad for other reasons). The result can be seen (temporarily) here.

Peter Sable

Interesting idea. Definitely worth an experiment.

Great effort Nick – really appreciate the time taken. Seems like sound advice. Show WordPress the limits of their control.

Timo Soren

I am shocked, I agree with every thing Nick said. What is the temp in hell?

SMC

I think the snow balls are still melting but, it’s taking a little longer. 🙂

Paul Courtney

Nick Stokes graciously gives helpful suggestions to use this site. There are many reasons to lend support, but this one is enough to overflow the cup. I hope you can avoid subscription, but do what you gotta do, Mr. W, and thanks for this site. It’s more of an education than Las Vegas!

See - owe to Rich

Re Nick Stokes, yes I don’t always agree with his take on things, and I’ve seen him cornered into pretty indefensible positions, especially on Climate Audit, but I do admire him as a very smart guy and clearly tech savvy. His suggestion of moving reference pages outside the WordPress ambit seems eminently sensible and practicable.
Rich.

bobl

You could also access the images via an ssl proxy, egcomment image.
A proxy like this could be set up on a hosting site in a few minutes.

Anthony,
I can help you as a volunteer moderator,having been one elsewhere for the last 3 plus years on a large WordPress blog. if you are interested e-mail me and I can give a reference you can trust who can vouch for me.
I no longer work,thus have a lot more time on my hands.

Anthony, I too can volunteer. I too no longer work,thus have a lot more time on my hands. Replace CoRev with blackd to contact.

wws

I greatly appreciate all the work you have put into this labor of love, and you have become a daily must-read for me for the last 8 years now. The subscription idea is a hard one; I know you need income from the blog to be able to make it better, but I fear it would cut back the accessibility that makes your blog such a well known voice.
One pet peeve; I doubt you know the story, but you should *never* refer to “little g. f.” as a “successful blog”. It’s interesting, as it is the site of one of the most spectacular blog meltdowns in internet history, but that’s about it. No need to bore you with what is now an old story, but it’s a good rule of thumb to treat anything that has ever been done by that particular blog host as a thing that should never, under any circumstances, be emulated.

I agree about “little g. f.”. I hadn’t looked at it in years and after your comment, just had to see. Just as bad or even worse than in the past. What a disgustingly bad mannered set of commenters.

Anthony – do have a break, it’s essential and this site is too good to lose. If you don’t take time out to rejuvenate, it’s too easy to lose heart. Also anything that makes the job easier for you is a good thing.
Regarding WordPress, as I understand it they offer the best security against hackers, etc., so that would be a concern if you decided to move elsewhere, although the increasing downsides WP seems to be throwing your way would make the move worthwhile.
A great many of us rely on WUWT to get a clear picture of what is going on out there in all fields, plus a good dose of commonsense. I do enjoy the to and fro in the comments and often find the insights shown there often to be more valuable than the article itself.
Although many of us fail to give thanks verbally or financially, please know that you ARE appreciated and valued for your strength and honesty, which is much needed and which is why so many gather at here.
We need you. We need this forum. A lot of us draw strength here, even “little people” like me.
Whatever you decide to do and wherever you decide to go, I will come too.
Thank you.

Rick K

What you said, A.D. Totally concur.

meltemian

Me too!

Argh – I apologize for the poor formatting and extraneous words in my comment (I am usually more careful). My sentiments however are sincere.

afonzarelli

Anthony, as a “newbie” that came drifting over here when dr spencer closed up shop (BTW, his comments are open again; not exactly “100% cotton free”, but still nice to see…), i think that you have way too many postings which makes the comment page less valued for folks than it ought to be. If you had fewer posts, then more people would spend more time on each one (thereby enriching the comment page experience). As it is, a posting goes up in the morning and is buried by a dozen that follow during the day. Maybe if you focus more on quality posts than on quantity, then you might not only lighten your own load (in a number of ways), but also enrich the blog experience of your viewership…

Janice Moore

@ A. D. Everard (re: above affirmation, thank you! 🙂 )
@ Arthur Fonzarelli (heh) — I heartily second that idea. I LOVE (trying hard to not bug people like… well, like several people, lol, so commenting more infrequently, now) THE COMMENTING CAMARADERIE! CAN — YOU — TELL??? 🙂
@ Willis E. — thanks for the “a” fix!

afonzarelli

AAAAAAAAAY !!!

There are commentators here from all over the world and every time zone.. This often means that a post new to us on our first visit of the day might already be some way down the list by the time we see it and active comment has moved on. Personally I would like to see fewer good quality posts which can be debated thoroughly for a day or two than the constant stream we currently see of variable quality.
Tonyb

Ray Boorman

I agree that there are times when the number &/or quality of posts is excessive. The same goes for the comments too – mine included.

I second Tonyb’s (and others) notion that there are now too many posts per day. Frequently I cannot keep up and have to skip some and, again, by the time I’ve read all the comments on posts I am reading and am thinking of making an innocuous comment myself, everyone has already moved on to a later post. And very often a commenter will have asked an interesting question to which they, and I, would like to know the answer but it remains unanswered for evermore.

FrankKarrvv

I agree with Afonzarelli. There are a lot of postings that are not worth reading, and I dont. Most people with a bit of scientific knowledge can spot them. The ones that stray into fantasy and nonsense – they would not be too difficult to weed out. Stick with the main issues. This would cut down on the work load.
Best regards.

A black list, eh. Well I know I’m on Huff Po’s, have been for 2 years, Facebook’s until 6/11, certainly on Disqus’, maybe on WordPress. They don’t always say, sometimes there are pop-ups, sometimes commenting just stops working.
[snip – waay off topic. We aren’t talking about CO2 and TOA and forcings on this thread. It is wrong of you to bring it up, Anthony]

Sorry. I’ll locate a more appropriate thread.

commieBob

I owe a debt of gratitude …

God bless you Anthony. I am very grateful to you for the very important work you are doing.

I’m willing to throw in a few bucks, if you want help with that Russian Venture.
The red spot smeared over Russia and Canada’s Arctic seems very convenient to the meme.
Take a real rest and let Willis do all the narrating.
That will be fun, I too love his travelogues.
A break from the climate wars is probably desirable all round.
I have to confess a heavy cynicism and increasing nastiness .
My faith in those we entrusted to administer our public institutions is at a life time low.
If it gets much lower, civilization ,as i know it, will no longer have my support.
Not sure about the methods of moderating comments, your judgement has been excellent so far, however the reader has to to decide for themselves , there are no same places and some 7-9 billion different points of view.
Sometimes the Trolls inspire.
As for subscribing , yes.
Your site has replaced several magazines, so I would subscribe.
However, the utility of being able to send non subscription traffic here and for people to learn at their own speed, I would be against a closed site.
Peer review?
No ,post whatever you choose, good bad indifferent, sometimes I learn more from a post that is heavily panned.
Peer review has not served open science well.
I do not trust, that what is good for the publisher, is good for the interested citizen.
Now that I think about it, I will send you some beer money, as I do not believe I have donated to WUWT this year.
Health is precious, take a reran holiday.

Yes abandon wordpress, a real holiday…Take a real holiday..

“I will send you some beer money,”
I’ll second that, just done it, cup of tea, bear, glass of Napa valley red or whatever …..

Gabro

Save the Polar Beers!
Soon because of Climate Change, we’ll have to drink warm beer like the British!

Your poll questions separately offer some options in tandem.
Make WUWT free for browsing without the ability to comment.
To comment, require subscription via “Require all commenters to register first, those that break rules get warnings, then removed if behavior doesn’t change.”
Thus, you continue to be a highly viewed site without setting up barriers, you enhance the commenters adherence to policy, and you gain a source of revenue, which would open up possibilities to move to a platform with less overall maintenance labor.

+1
I could afford $5/month, but $10 maybe not. I’m on a very fixed income. There was one site I subscribed to for $4.95 but when it went to $9.95/mo. I baled out.
I check your site daily. The suggestions about the number of articles per day is a valid one. When it gets more than 3, I can’t keep up, and tend to skip down to the comment thread without reading the entire article(s).
How ever you work it out – I will be a faithful follower. Good luck and do take some time off…we all need some of that.
Regards,
JPP

MCourtney

That’s a very good idea.
However, three free comments per article would allow anyone make a comment, clarify it and state their disagreement without thread-jacking.
It would still be open to passers by.

Gabro

That’s a welcome suggestion and workable idea, IMO.

Ray Boorman

Great idea MC.

4 Eyes

MCourtney, yours is very good suggestion. The thread jacking and sometimes puerile back and forth comments is getting worse and is a real turnoff somedays

However, three free comments per article would allow anyone make a comment

But if this is implemented, the author of a post should have the right for an unlimited number of comments. However what I do not like is what happens if I made my three comments on another person’s article and someone asks me question? Do I have to pay to answer that question?

I agree with Werner. Limiting comments is not a good idea IMO. Registration is a good idea as there is less likely to be bad behavior and/or thread-jacking when there is no sock-puppetry. Some threads warrant good and deep discussion – I don’t want to see anyone blocked out because they’ve had their three chances.

MCourtney

Werner Brozek, I would say “Yes. You have to pay or ignore the question”.
If you wish to have more than a passing interest in the subject then you ought to be a paid up member.
(I’m guessing it’s one payment to be cleared not one payment per article).
If you aren’t interested enough to get paid up then you probably aren’t interested enough to get into a debate on a thread.
☺One comment.
☻One clarification.
•One response.
To me that seems like the limit of ‘disinterested’ engagement.

Werner Brozek, I would say “Yes. You have to pay or ignore the question”.

I find this very odd and backwards. I am a retired physics teacher. While teaching, I got paid good money to teach. But now you are saying I must pay to teach? I write one article a month for WUWT and often respond to questions and have never been paid for it nor am I asking for any payment. If anything, the people asking the question should pay for an answer. But this opens a huge can of worms that is best avoided. For example, is the answer even correct or just an opinion that may be wrong? Who decides?
If it isn’t broke, don’t fix it.

The only problem with the “comment, if subscribed” proposal is that WordPress’s API has to support it. I don’t know that it does and wouldn’t be surprised if it does not.

Jeff Alberts

On their free hosting, probably not. But you can install WP (or any other CMS, personally I prefer Drupal) on your own servers and add any modules you like.

Jenny

Totally agree with you Stephen. I visit this site every day-I read the articles and comments,and have done for the past 5 years. I try and educate my pro AGW children by sending links to this site. I have a low fixed income,and would not be able to pay, however much I would love to be able to do so. This is only the second comment I have ever made, and am only doing so as I am horrified at the idea of not being able to access this site in the future. It educates, and gives pleasure, to me.
Take the holiday Anthony, but please do not deprive those of us at the lower end of the income scale from continuing our education, and the pleasure this gives us.
Thank goodness there are people like you around, that work to stem the flow of nonsense as regards the climate and workings of our beautiful planet. I wish I could help you more.

steve in seattle

I like the idea of free to read, small payment to comment. Maintain a blacklist. And, I would donate / donate more IF I knew that the community was serious about nationwide 30 second spots on main media that counter the AGW fraud with current , concise climate science.

simple-touriste

“But now you are saying I must pay to teach?”
Yes indeed!
What if someone asks a question, I know the answer, I am willing to explain the answer, I happen to have enough time, but I have to pay?
No way, José!

Leon0112

Anthony – Thank you for creating an important institution. The intellectual community you have created has provided the best place in the world to actually debate the various parts of the climate issue. Your blog is a beacon for free speech on an issue where debate is very necessary.
I will be contributing to help you continue to provide a forum for open moderated debate. I must warn you though that my life has been enhanced by fossil fuel technology and the money I have made probably would not have been possible without the use of fossil fuels. Indeed, without the availability of cheap fossil fuel energy, I would likely to be dead right now.
Thank you again.

Gunga Din

So far I’ve only voted on (and for) the online peer review.
Open review may be a pain for the paper’s authors to sift the wheat from the chaff, but, how much less of a pain would it have been for all of us if “M&M” had been able to review “The Hockey Stick” before it became CAGW Gospel?
In other words, it means more work for them but would produce a better paper.

Gunga Din

To add, perhaps a “WUWT2” for the online peer-review that would require registration to comment? That should weed out a lot of the “chaff”?

Gunga Din

Or, if WordPress allows it, registration to comment on those post intended for only for online review?

Saul from Montreal

wws May 21, 2016 at 1:28 pm
One pet peeve; I doubt you know the story, but you should *never* refer to “little g. f.” as a “successful blog”. It’s interesting, as it is the site of one of the most spectacular blog meltdowns in internet history

Charles Johnson’s blog was close to being a hate blog at it’s heyday before he decided to throw out the racist and islamophobic commenters. I admire Charles for having the intestinal fortitude to admit the mistake he made by hosting those individuals and to take the painful steps that were needed to clean up the mess. I blogged there during the dark times and really enjoy the new version better.
Perhaps you are upset with CJ’s pro CAGW position.
Anthony: It may be a good idea to post a list of the words that are being filtered.

simple-touriste

“Anthony: It may be a good idea to post a list of the words that are being filtered.”
I think we can infer which words are filtered from the words with c@m0ufl@g.d that regulars use.

Gabro

Do you d@ny that N@azi allusions or claims of fr@ud and crimin@lity will cause Anth@ny to toss you off his bl@g?

ldd

Just for the record there is no such thing as ‘islamophobe’ it’s a made up word that is misused by media.

Gabro

IMO it’s someone who believes that women should have legal equality with men, that female genital mutilation is abhorrent and opposes the enslavement and beheading or otherwise murdering of non-Muslims.

Greg Woods

Thank you, Anthony….

There is no way I could know the full extent of the problems this site has encountered, so my comments will be less than totally informed.
1) There have been several posts that were very short and just pointed out the lunacy of the alarmists. The comment thread after the short post was where the real information was at. The comment threads are often the reason I visit this site.
2) Peer review? Give me a break. The articles are good now and the ultra high traffic shows that they are good — as well as the comments section. Perhaps a few peer-reviewed articles — but recall Einstein was no fan of peer review.
3) Rather than go nuts trying to prevent spammers on the front end (do what you can of course), I think having a way of flagging spam content or “over the top” content should be used. Say I mention a particular astrophysicist that is not welcome here and 2 or 3 trusted regulars flag me — you could get rid of that content pretty fast. Then you issue a warning. Then you banish the account and the IP in it was done a second time. Would that be perfect? Heck no, nothing is foolproof because fools are so ingenious. But it would work.
4) Consider having a regular “open topic thread” once a week and allow that thread to be a little looser for those of us who are hot heads to blow of some steam. (within reason of course)
5) Sop being paranoid that a few bad comments will bring the place down. Bad actors are all over the internet and everyone past 8th grade realizes that just because a comment makes it past your defenses does not mean you approve of the commentator’s words.
6) I had a 6 but being old, I forgot. 🙂
~ Mark

simple-touriste

“The articles are good now”
No! Most articles are. Not “the articles”.
Recently, some posts with major errors or absurd arguments have been posted. One post about energy production didn’t even used the correct physical units.
Blatant errors:
– are used by critics (but it only shows how hypocrite and shallow they are, as they won’t discuss the blatant errors from their sides, and those are never fixed)
– generate tons of negative comments
– simply waste everybody’s time

Opinion SImple-Toutiste There are a few commenters that ride the same horse into battle every time with no real effort to engage. Their names are known an d it is easy to scroll to the bottom of their comments and carry on reading valuable insights. The bickering that goes on even between the “knowledgeable” at times causes a quick scroll past. As soon as invectives or insults start flying, it is time to take 1 10 second time out and get past the useless arguments. Heck I might even be one of those at time but I do donate regularly and would miss the information this site provides. If one reads here long enough, you will learn to judge, and once in a while you will get an insight into something important that can change your insights into science, technology and even world politics.
Best site on the Intenet (for me). Thank you Ath@ny.

Moderators
Now my suggestion comment went into space (trash bin?). I kinda thought it was a good comment. Oh well.
[Sorry, nothing in the trash bin. Please re-submit. -mod]

Sorry, did not save it. I am too tired to try again. Besides plenty of great suggestions being made on thread now.

simple-touriste

“Sorry, did not save it.”
If you still have the browser opened, you could try “reopen last closed tab/window” and BACK (previous page) and the “Reply” button and the text of your comment may appear.

1saveenergy

I compose & save in ‘WORD’ then copy & paste onto blog site

Peter Sable

How about a combination of verified accounts and moderation?
(1) verified accounts generally don’t get moderation (unless the account is flagged)
(2) unverified accounts always get moderation, and if the load is too high, the posts simply don’t get published. Incentive to change to a verified account, but still allowing some spontaneity.
(3) Paid verified accounts get marked as such, don’t get moderation unless serious abuse happens, and get some other privileges we could brainstorm here. (a t-shirt?, pay up for moderation privileges?)
Petere

Johna Till Johnson

Hi Anthony,
Thanks for the explanation, it’s helpful. My 2c: I’d happily pay a subscription, I think the blog more than merits it. I voted in the poll, too. I don’t have the bandwidth to moderate, or at least I don’t think I do–perhaps someone might be willing to set up a schedule or something where we could sign up in 2-hour blocks?
Please throw the book at identity impostors, glad to hear you’re doing that.
As others are saying, I think you should definitely take a sabbatical. I bet you can get things set up to run well during your time off. Not sure how I can help, but wish you the best. This blog is a valuable resource, and many thanks for creating it!

simple-touriste

Too often paying online destroys anonymity.
I don’t want that.
Also, I do NOT believe that “real names” (which is joke, they CANNOT be checked) make people civil or anything. I think it’s a joke.

I agree with this: “I do NOT believe that “real names” (which is joke, they CANNOT be checked) make people civil or anything. I think it’s a joke.”

Johna Till Johnson

Um, okay, but why are you replying to *me* with that comment?

JTJ,
He’s not. You can tell by the indentation.

Lewis P Buckingham

Thanks for going after the guy that took my name and published invective against you in my name.
Paradoxically this site reminds me of one run by a caring profession.
Usually one would think of ambulance drivers,doctors and nurses.
Those running it are interested in finding out what is really behind climate change, and publishing the process through articles and debate.
The problem for the carer is always ‘Who looks after the carer?’
For if the carer does not look after himself, then he is unable to look after those whom he cares for.
As I tell my faithful wife, even Christ took forty days off and went into the desert.
There has to be independent financing for this blog, otherwise some corporate will eventually take it over.
You could remain as a non profit and simply ask for voluntary donations with a suggested amount per annum, giving membership.The tip jar would remain.
This would be calculated to put a floor matching the outgoings.
The organisation could then offer free webinars on the science of climate to members while charging a fee to others.
The recent lecture on chaos theory as applicable to climate science by Oxford University Physics was a prototype example of this.
Your webinars would be faster paced, more tightly written and illustrated, with feedback from an audience by email on the hosting site, such as Redback.
Eventually they would be put on YouTube, now morphing to a film release media.
Next small group classes with modules could be run, on a fee per service basis.
Some elements of the business model in this organisation http://www.cve.edu.au/#
could be of use.
As always your site has opened my eyes to the complexity of the once assumed ‘settled science’.
For this I am grateful.
‘May your tribe increase’.

SMC

Mr. Watts, concerning the commenting policy…Would it be possible to implement both option 1 and option 2? Registered subscribers would have the ability to comment freely (as long as the rules are followed). Unregistered subscribers would have their comments placed in moderation. I don’t know if that’s feasible, just a thought.

peter

I can’t intelligently comment on the function of the blog and how you might solve your problems, but on the topic of donating, I’d be much more in favor of a yearly renewing subscription over a monthly payment.
Maybe you could go commercial. Selling WUWT merchandise. Many Webcomics keep themselves afloat selling merchandise. It’s not the same thing, but maybe their would be a market for WUWT coffee mugs.^_^

Mark Broderick !!

…I’ll buy a T shirt AND a mug !!

Jan Fluitsma

+1

Gabro

Good suggestion, IMO, as also would be a spun-off Youtube channel, with subscribers, gaining revenue through eyeball views.

Gunga Din

I haven’t cast my vote in the first poll because my preference falls between 1 and 2.
All comments reviewed would be my choice, but I’m not doing the reviewing. That would put a lot on Anthony and “The ModSquad”. I don’t think that’s my call to make.
Option 3. I don’t know enough about how that would work to “vote” for it. If it makes it easier for the Mods, that’d be a plus. If it means a comment using the wrong is blasted with no consideration of its context because no mods ever see it; that’d be minus.
Option 4. No comments at all? That’d be a Mega-minus.

Gunga Din

“using the wrong is”
Should be:
“using the wrong wordis”
*sigh*
I think I just gave a “+” to “No Comments”.

Jeff L

As it relates to subscription, I agree it might improve content bit i also think it would substantially decrease viewership and being the most important skeptic blog on the web, I feel widespread viewership is critical to spreading the message. Would hate to see readership go down. Perhaps there are other ways to fund better hosting – such as advertising – to keep the site free but have better content?

I think with a subscription only policy, your site would essentially be “Preaching to the Choir” so to speak, and viewership would go down…

J.P. Peterson,
Very good point. Commenters on the alarmist side of the debate would never put their money into a skeptic’s pockets.

SMC

Concerning the reference pages… For me, they don’t appear to have been fixed.

Mark - Helsinki

Anthony at this point and considering your service to scientific debate and myth dispelling and encouragement of open debate, it is time to put your health first, and take that trip to Russia, then a jaunt about with Willis, who knows where you’ll end up.
The internet Peer review is an excellent idea.
$$ should certainly go to you as well as for WUWT
A willing subscriber here, absolutely. I see it as a duty to all those out there who may be misled by the junk science cacophony.
Seeing as I am only more or less a reader with nothing of value to add in general given my lack of scientific experience and knowledge in EVERY area other than OA, whatever is decided is fine as far as my unimportant big mouthed self is concerned, I value the service you have provided to internet denizens by the million such as myself.
Россия здесь приходите
In Russia, Russia comes to you 😀

This is answering the last questions first:
At a five dollar per month level, I am in.
At a ten dollar per month level, I will be out.
Yes, the five dollars make that much of a difference. Based on the nos, a five dollar a month subscription would cause thousands to stop visiting.
Consider; at $60/year ($5X12months), that equals a quite expensive subscription service; easily over topping my most expensive magazines.
Yeah, the WSJ and IBD are more per year, but there is a difference in their detailed global in-depth coverage. Even then I had to drop the IBD.
Yes, we need to help ensure that Anthony certainly suffers no financial harm and ideally sees that Anthony is reimbursed for his valuable time. But those are relatively small numbers averaged over thousands of users.
Anthony, using WUWT subscription funds should be able to secure the monthly services he needs along with any hardware and software packages he finds necessary.
So what makes an affordable subscription level?
Charging a premium price eliminates as members almost anybody who isn’t a professional with access to official subscription support..
Charging too low a price, say $1 a month, still allows the trolls open access for small change.
How about charging an initiation fee followed up by a small monthly fee? Say $5 or $10, even up to $25 initiation fee with perhaps $2 or $3 monthly subscription.
This puts the annual cost at the price of a decent magazine while forcing trolls to cough up cash to join. Not that the service paid trolls would not have their employer just pick up the costs.


I don’t mind using my full name in closed groups, but I hesitate when the internet spiders scrape every bit for their cross reference value.
WUWT thrives on internet scrapings! Perhaps the full name registration process will allow the use of a pseudonym after registering with our full name?
My pseudonym is ATheoK which does represent my full name. Within my family and circle of close friends and co-workers would recognize that pseudonym as likely mine without hesitation.
Only people who do not know me don’t get the connection and I really don’t care that they don’t.
Which brings us to that crux, in a world of extroverts and introverts I and many others are introverts.
What many extroverts fail to understand is that introverts do not become extroverts when they’re forced into the public eye. Calling everybody’s attention to an introvert is a good way to traumatize the introvert.
I am not sure what Steve McIntyre is using for his moderation/discard process; but I have been unable to comment at Climate Audit for years. Every email I’ve tried to send was either lost in a black hole or rejected.
Still, Steven’s blog is of immense value and I check it frequently for updates.

Merovign

I just wanted to say I appreciate everything Anthony and his cohort have done, it’s a Hell of a big horse to ride.

That’s a great idea for a statue! Only with all four legs on the ground.

simple-touriste

“Mixed content” (unsafe images on a secure page) is OK. It means a third party could see which images you request and replace those. Reasonable browsers with a reasonable config allow that.
Only active mixed content, where active content like scripts (or potential active content like CSS) is loaded from ostensibly “secure” pages (actually unsafe pages because of the unsafe active content) is verboten. (Yes, we have been seeing that stupid unsafe Web design on many serious websites, including official websites, banking etc.)
The generalization of HTTPS to fight global surveillance and increase Web security is a noble goal, but let’s not break the Web with malfunctioning “caching”.
So go with mixed content. With you click on the icon next to “https://wattsupwiththat.com/…” Google Chrome correctly indicates:

Your connexion to this site is private, but someone on the network might be able to change the look of the page.

Timo Soren

Florida Links on Extreme Weather are “file not found 40x”

A side comment:
All of my attempts to reach WUWT using Internet Explorer 11.0 failed.
Dumping me to an URL: https://r-login.wordpress.com/remote-login.php?action=auth&host=wattsupwiththat.com&id=1799261&back=https%3A%2F%2Fwattsupwiththat.com%2F&h=
Reaching a page with the following message; Invalid key [1]. Back
Oddly, the WordPress.com application login/window does bring up WUWT and allows reading some of each post; but clicking on the linked titles just goes to the dead end URL and message above.
Clicking on a comment link also hits the same message page.
So, I switched over to chrome to get to WUWT.

emsnews

Yes, Chrome is still reliable. Safari is now getting worse, too. I have been on the internet ever since it was born many years ago via my father’s computer systems and watched it grow and grow and then SHRINK. It is actually getting ‘smaller’ when we are talking about useful sites that give good information and have real debates. Now it is all silly stuff or the people who own media talking one-way conversations with the rest of us who have no voice.
This site allows conversations! A rarity these days.

Re subscriptions: Maybe make comments available to subscribers (‘members’) only, but keep the site itself open to all. That is essential.
Re WordPress: Are yoiu still using the free WordPress? As I understand it, there is also WordPress.org, which requires programming expertise, but I would assume gives you much more flexibility. I may be wrong, but if not, I am sure there are software development experts among your fans who would be delighted to help develop the site.
/Mr Lynn

Owen in GA

The problem with WordPress.org is they don’t host, but provide you the software to set up your own hosting and servers. This makes you responsible for the security, including defending against the paid activists’ distributed denial of service type attacks. The activists don’t care about free speech or other people’s interpretations of data, they just want to win and go with a “ends justify the means” approach to everything. Whatever hosting Mr. Watts uses is going to have to have a first rate internet security team as a result of the nature of his opposition.

Again, the expertise among WUWT readership might be able to create first-rate security. The question is, what would hosting/servers cost? I’ve no idea, but maybe that’s where a membership model might work.
/Mr Lynn

EternalOptimist

IT can cause major headaches and problems where none existed before. Who Knew ?
Good job there are no major scientific theories or projects that rely almost 100% on IT….

Every site I visit has a login or uses Disqus. They have been doing so for years. It is time that this site did the same as I cannot see any problem with it. However, I believe that an onsite server may be the answer as I have had three different sites set up on WordPress and every one of those sites I have killed due to the hapless and nonsensical intrusion of WordPress updates and demands. They made the entire exercise almost impossible. I do not know how they go about deciding on how to sabotage one’s site but they manage continuously, the structures they set in place is purely for their own needs and revenue. An own server and suitable program would by-pass that all and allow you to finance this site and yourself a lot better via advertising that you decide to expose. Worth consideration.

simple-touriste

“An own server and suitable program would by-pass that all”
In order to run your own server, you will select a server capable of handling usual load plus a margin for spikes, plus a safety margin just in case, but you are still vulnerable to DOS attacks. When running on a big shared infrastructure, you get good DOS resistance for free.

Hocus Locus

… Disqus

Good suggestions but please let me advise against DIsqus. Yes, it’s a set and forget it kind of solution, but complete reliance embedded on javascript to load comments, and the resulting “Who’da thunk it?” tactic of making the comment section a ‘fake’ rolling window… Disqus is great if quick anonymous snipes are the whole point of your website, but it is an affront to discourse.
Disqus represents the worst effects of the ‘cloud’. Not only do they host your subscriber base’s actual content, they impose their own regime on everything. The broad Disqus user base is also rife with sockpuppet stalkers and throwaway accounts, because — not surprisingly — many activist and news sites go for this drop-in solution.
Yeah I have a Disqus account. But I’d never put the effort into editing, citation and linking I do here. What’s the use? It’s like typing into a black hole. And if you take an interest in the topic and imagine you can capture/save/print all threads as your own, wake up. Something will prevent you from doing so. Or you’ll save a page to disk that you load in two years, which says, “Sorry! Disqus has forgotten everything that this great website once was. Sorry for the inconvenience.”
Disqus is the Internet’s answer to writing on toilet paper.
WUWT is presently a pure threaded text page to the client, or in the least it is served as one. This becomes incredibly voluminous at times — like THIS thread of threads. But it is real and actual It is self-contained, complete. It can be saved to disk and reviewed in its entirety. Indeed, there are countless WUWT articles on my disk where the essayist lays out the general topic and the commenters collectively fill it out beyond thesis level…!
Due to its almost-static text nature WUWT is loved by Google and other search engines, and the material added by comments becomes a rich compost of relevant keywords that bring people to the page. By contrast, a Disqus comment section looks like it is there, but (to the search engines) it’s not really. It’s an empty hole.
Comments-as-static-text is becoming a rare and precious thing nowadays. I never dreamed years ago I’d be saying this, back then doing it that way was a simple matter of search engine survival. But now, style and drop-in-outsourcing is overtaking hosted content at an alarming rate.
If this sheer volume of real text written by REAL PEOPLE chokes some small Internet device, it is not time to revamp the Web to accommodate the poor device. It should be put out of its misery, ’round the back of the shed, with a shotgun. If people start complaining that this site is not mobile-friendly, invite them inside out of the rain and show them a real computer. They’ll be amazed! They’ll murmur to themselves, “This must be the next new thing…”

Ian

Anthony you’re a blessing to all rational folk.
If you make this blog a paid subscription you’ll lose folk and others won’t be able to browse. Donations or more advertising might be a better method. How much do you need per year?
As far as burn-out I’m a sufferer and to regain normalcy I needed a complete change of life-style. A year off isn’t very long especially if you don’t travel, leaving the “job” well behind you.
What ever you chose to do I wish you well.

Question: Where is the tip jar? Is it the donate to surfacestations.org? That is the only one I can see.
In common with others, I support a subscription for commenting, but free viewing. Also, $5 a month US would be ok, but $10 would need careful adjustments, eg I’d have to find something I could dump.

Gabro

How about $50 per year in a lump sum or $5 per month?
Agree about free viewing, naturally. Subscription just to comment. Also free article submission. Or even get paid for professional peer-reviewed journal papers.
The Journal of Watts Up With That. Or the Journal of Climate and Other Interesting Things.

I’m a little suspicious of the “technical issues” that both WordPress and the data custodians like NOAA seem to be having. E.g. WordPress demand https, NOAA stay with http. There is some discomfort at mere commoners accessing and discussing climate data. I wonder when they will start communicating in Latin?

Akatsukami

Sunt qui scire Latine >-)

SMC

Si hoc legere scis nimium eruditionis habes. 😛

Hocus Locus

Sic transit Gloria.
She threw up on the subway.

Anthony, I can vet and manage an new gaggle of moderators. I also believe almost every single article should have minor vetting. I can also help manage the group of peer reviewers/vetters.

I would suggest peer review only be a labeling scheme that rates the credibility of the article, not to reject articles except really bad crap, but you do that already.

Timo Soren

Absolutely enjoy the concepts around naming groups. I coached soccer and always like the term ‘gaggle’ for a group of young girls. Now a group of moderators…hmm…. Emily Post (EP) wrote about the correct behavior, can’t think of any good ones yet. Modsters is just too juvenile.
The mods are hopelessly out-of-date:
A group of young girls was a giggle,
a group of pre-teenage girls used to be a gabble, and
a group of teenage girls was the gaggle.
But with the clothes they aren’t wearing lately, it’s just oodles of google-addled oggles. .mod]

simple-touriste

Corinne Lepage is a French environnement lawyers, known for the defense of the interests of cities victim of the oil spill caused by Erika in December, 1999. (Some city council said she failed to defend the cities.)
She is also a politician (party name: “cap21”).

Corinne Lepage veut ficher les climatosceptiques
« Moi, je suis un grand défenseur de la liberté d’expression. Dès lors, s’il y a des gens qui ont envie d’être climatosceptiques, c’est leur affaire. Je pense quand même qu’à un moment donné du temps, il va falloir tenir un registre très précis de tous ceux qui se seront prononcés et qui auront agi dans un contexte climatosceptique, pour que, dans quelques années, ils portent la responsabilité au moins morale de ce qu’ils auront fait. »

Source: http://www.wikistrike.com/2015/11/corinne-lepage-veut-ficher-les-climatosceptiques.html

Me, I am all for freedom of speech. So, if people want to be climate skeptics, it’s their problem. I still think that at some point in time, we need to keep a precise register of those who said anything or acted in the context of climate skepticism, so that, in a few years, they bear the burden of they did, at least morally.

She says she doesn’t seek a judicial condamnation of “climate skeptics”. But then she says:

« Cette responsabilité engage la problématique du crime environnemental, ou pas ?, continue le commentateur, qui décidément semble en vouloir.
Et Corinne Lepage de lui répondre : « Je pense qu’un jour on y viendra.

She says: I believe one day we will create a responsibility of environnement crime.

jakee308

If the subscription was less per month or on a per visit scheme then I might go for it. But as usual, people don’t price their subscription models with the idea in mind of what exactly they’re providing and how much that is worth.
Most take the amount of money they need to operate the blog and divide by some number of subscribers and that’s the number OR they under rate the viewer ship when dividing the number.
Think about it. How many new articles are on the front page every day? 5 maybe. that’s 150 articles a month or about 3 cents an article. Sounds reasonable right? The problem is that some of those articles won’t be of interest to some and then you have to consider how much of a budget a person has for casual acquisition of information.
If you were supplying information for people that could not get this elsewhere or it wouldn’t be as convenient or whatever then the amount would be reasonable. Maybe.
But a lot of us are casual hobbyists and have limited budgets with zero value for those articles other than satisfying our curiosity and being an informed citizen.
Mean while you’re competing for the viewers budget with other more pressing or every day news that also requires a subscription.
In other words your price starts out too high at 5.00 in my view.
I wish that someone would invent a way to provide micro payments securely over the net. Then when I see and article I want to read, then I’ll pay for it. Otherwise I’m not going to invest $5 on the hopes that some of the articles will be worth my while.
Not denigrating the value of what you do and what is written here. Just about how much we have to spend on acquiring that information and how important or necessary for our finances that we know the things you write about.
good luck figuring that out. I myself will pass if you go to a subscription model as the information provided although important and timely just doesn’t have that value for me at my budget level.
YMMV

rd50

Interesting. Micro payments. Yes, why not. You want to reply, pay something per response.

simple-touriste

“pay something per response”
I was expecting this one. If you pay per comment, you are encouraged to post less comment, and group comments! Do you believe this is a good thing?
So instead of many comments posted using the reply to message button (well threaded comments that maintain ordering and readability), you post one long comment which doesn’t fit anywhere in the threaded ordering, destroying the hierarchical ordering.
Some people believe that posting many non-repetitive, short, focused, logical and relevant comments in a correctly threaded way is “flooding” but posting a few very long unreadable comments is not. I usually can’t communicate with these people.

Leon Brozyna

Fine with registration .. and let the hissy-fit throwing kiddies play in someone else’s sandbox

les

Much of this was already said…. Free browsing, register to comment (with a two strike rule for flagged rule-breakers) and paid subscription (keep it to below $50 a year) allows a range of other forms of discussion and contact – including self-organizing groups to crowd-fund and produce material that the real Lewis P Buckingham mentions above.
As someone who did fund-raising, only about 10-15% of the funds promised verbally show up in actuality. Forewarned is fore-armed.
Please don’t cut the comments…
Please take an extended vacation…
Please know you are profoundly appreciated for the work that is done here.

Wow did I do a spit take when you put “successfully” and LGF together!!!! It works for chuckle because he only allows sycophants.

Jeff L

As it relates to peer review, I think this is the best idea going & perhaps a model for science in general going ahead. Yes, it would be a small step, but that how everything on the internet begins – small …. but a necessary first step.
Think if it ultimately led to that being the predominant form of scientific publication & got us away from all the money , politics & “pal review” that dominates science today? It would ultimately do in the CAGW meme faster than anything and be a fundamental shift in the way science is done (actually bring science publication into the modern era). It could bring credibility back to science.

Anthony, I’m glad that you pointed out the amount of effort it takes to run a site like this. I run a fishery website, and although I don’t generate the views you get here, the work required to keep fresh content, maintenance of the site, and all the other chores to keep it running smoothly are un ending.
You’ve got to love it to keep your nose to the grindstone.
Your regulars appreciate your efforts, but, that don’t pay the freight.
You mentioned the new software update which I assume was a theme update.
When my site was updated, it was broken, and I was not alone.
I had to hire a guy from Athens to get into the backside, and my hosting account to debug things. Money well spent. the key words, money spent comes out of my pocket, which there isn’t a large cash reservoir. It was painful, but necessary.
All’s well now, but WP has made changes that are annoying.
My goal has always been free access.
The people I serve are small boat fishermen that are family owned operations being run out of business by NOAA, and bad science.
These people don’t have a lot of money, but they need information, and industry entertainment, and a place to contribute their views and opinions.
We sell ads to keep it open access. You should consider that.
Also, every page should have a ggle ad, and everyone coming here should click them if they see something they are looking for.That will add up, and they actually might see something their interested in and make a purchase!
As far as comments and commenting systems, DISQUS is great, and you can get the plugin for the back end. They also have a new revenue generating program.
The time to do what you do is hidden from most, but I know how much you give. Its a commitment most could never do. Carry on, and God Bless you. BH

angech

Suggest a WUWT open support day, like Google or Wiki sometimes does every 4 months, no pressure.
Might get to me.
I am not a good supporter, too uncommitted, too tight with my money, someone else will do it and not really happy using my credit card on the internet.
Despite all my lame excuses your blog really reaches out to people and keeps the fight alive, keep going as long as you can.
Some bloggers seem to pose as supporters but put very strong messages out of invective and hate. While I realise some people actually think that way a silent blog group system could perhaps help a moderator alert to and remove offensive comments.
By that I mean only those of invective and hate.
Opposing views must be tolerated.
So you could have a two stage process incorporating AtheOK’s suggestion.
One a little group of tick circles for alerting and second a group of names [email addresses that the moderator knows are regulars with good sense] and if they are the ones upset with the comment the moderator is alerted after say 5 such genuine hits.

I like angech’s suggestion for a two stage process.
Only; after some overnight thought, consider these possibilities.
Leave WUWT as an open portal to all visitors for excellent information.
WUWT Posting privileges require full ‘The OAS’ registration as citizens.
Use a membership initiation fee coupled with a paltry monthly subscription; membership status is for The OAS, (‘The Open Atmospheric Society’)!
Use the different membership levels within OAS.
• All memberships require full address, name & financial information:
e.g. 1) The OAS Founding membership: Includes Anthony’s trusted comrades and WUWT anchors
•° — New members desiring Founder status level, pay a substantial sum; which Anthony can forgive.
e.g. 2) The OAS Supporting Full membership: The full initiation fee:
• Members can comment on WUWT,
• Moderated until proven civil,
• Trusted Members can fill in as moderators during needful times. (even I can help out some days)
e.g. 3) The OAS Associate/Student membership level.
• Members can comment on WUWT:
• Moderated until proven civil
e.g. 4) The OAS Citizen level of membership: Free or small annual donation
• Kept in the loop for OAS announcements,
• Receives all WUWT news,
• Allowed XX WUWT moderated posts per month
• At Anthony’s discretion to remove from moderation.
Any transgressors of common courtesy and civility:
• Lose posting privileges until/if Anthony/moderator decides otherwise.
• Lose all fees paid; no refunds.
Serial offenders and banned persons are removed.

Philip Peake

My 2c on your primary points:
WordPress: I run several websites/blogs for various people/groups using WordPress (the stand-alone version, not the hosted version). I don’t really know how much commonality there is between the two, but I would guess quite a lot. Honestly, its a pile of . Unfortunately, its the go-to software for people starting out, and its non-trivial to extricate yourself from it later. The attitude of “we know whats good for you” on the hosted site is an invitation to move elsewhere. Maybe understandable for a customer getting “free” service with a few dozen hits a week, but for one of their primary attractions (and probably primary revenue generators) that attitude is unacceptable. There is a push by various large corporations (such as Google) to force every website to use HTTPS. If the website carries any sensitive information, it does make sense, but otherwise it is an added complication, added overhead and added cost (I suspect that a lot of the cheap/free certificate sources will disappear shortly).
Fees: No problem with voluntary fees, or even a small fee to “buy” posting privileges — that helps in the identity of posters too. Feed to view, no, I don’t think so. Viewership would plummet. Drudge (and others could no longer link, people that come here doing their own research would never find the wealth of resources and alternative points of view.
Peer review: For the more technical posts, definitely. As an aside, if/when you move, I would suggest separating posts into a (very few) topic areas, such as “Technical”, “Commentary”, “Politics” etc. Oh, and a “Willis” category too !!! 🙂
Moderators: By all means expand the group to allow 100% moderation. You may want to consider a small number of highly trusted “super moderators” to moderate the moderators, basically to avoid the wikipedia type problems.
Trip to Russia: Go for it! I think that would be of huge interest, even if you never ended up finding the source of the “red spot”. I don’t think you will find any problem getting the financing.
Philip

Steamboat McGoo

Anthony – First: I hit the “Require all commenters to register first,…” button – but will go along with whatever is easiest for you.
Second: Take a vacation. My PayPal finger is itchy, red-hot, ready to donate!

[ My PayPal finger is itchy, red-hot, ready to donate! ]
relatively new to WUWT, but have become a daily reader and occasional poster. As some have said, I often learn more from the comments stream than the article. I do make small monthly contributions to several web sites and organizations, and adding one to help out this blog would not be an issue, so off to paypal and figure out how to set it up for WUWT.
BTW, I do have a personal wordpress site–just don’t add to it very often. Guess as I age, I have less and less to say about more and more