Hits charade: WattsUpWithThat hypes itself with dubious webstats, while lowballing other blogs

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"Hits charade: WattsUpWithThat hypes itself with dubious webstats, while lowballing other blogs"

[JR:  Thanks to so many Climate Progress "lurkers" for providing comments below!]

Alexa pageviews

One thing is very safe to say about any quantitative analysis you see from Anthony Watts:  It is probably BS.  See, for instance, Wattergate: Tamino debunks “just plain wrong” Anthony Watts.

In his latest piece of misinformation, Watts braggs about his WattsUpWithThat webstats and disses his web competition (including Climate Progress) using dubious comparison metrics.  One of the two most revealing things about the post,  “WUWT Status report – 40 million,” is that Watts is bragging about “another milestone” — 40 million total hits.  Yes, hits.

Memo to Watts:  “Hits” are what people use when they want to hype or inflate their webstats.

I don’t know anybody who touts hits anymore, other than Watts.  They don’t really mean much.

A typical explanation of just what Hits are, “Hits, Page Views, Visitors and Visits Demystified,” concludes “It is evident it does not make a lot of sense to count Hits.”  So, of course, it is the perfect metric for the top anti-science website in the country.  It’s interesting that not one of his commenters have bothered to tell him this!

As long as Watts keeps a Hits counter on his sidebar, it’ll be a constant reminder that he embraces his senseless statistics.

Equally interesting, Watts, seems to have a very low hit count for a high-traffic website.

I’ve been told by some web folks that most web stats programs are not quantitatively precise enough to rely on, except perhaps to show change over time, which is why I have stopped reporting absolute webstats here.  But since Hits are so senseless, and Watts seems to love them, I will report that, according to both CAP’s webstats tracking program and Google Analytics, I’ve had 20 million hits just this year so far!  I had well over 40 million hits in 2009 alone.

Watts has a broader agenda in his hyping post.   He wants to show that he gets a lot more traffic than me and RealClimate and other climate websites, so he can claim –  “thank you all for making WUWT the most visited climate science blog in the world.”

Let’s set aside his laughable claim that he is a “climate science blog.”  He is the exact opposite of a climate science blog — see Diagnosing a victim of anti-science syndrome (ASS) or, frankly, any of the real climate science blogs who routinely debunk him, like, say, Tamino.

What is truly revealing about his entire “analysis” is that he has cited Alexa for webstats comparison.  How unreliable is Alexa?  Plug the exact phrase “Alexa is unreliable” [in quotes] into Google.  You get 5,000 hits!   Frankly, most webstats comparison sites  are considered unreliable, but Alexa probably most of all, so it is perfect for Watts.  Our IT folks recommend CAP bloggers not even cite Alexa for our internal reports.

Technorati, which is viewed with more credibility, ranks blogs on “Authority,” which “measures a site’s standing & influence in the blogosphere” on “a scale of 0-1000. 1000 is the highest possible authority.”  I am currently #1 among Green blogs (again), with a 998.  Watts is third with 917.  But even Technorati’s system is problemmatic, as they include websites that aren’t environmental in nature — the Foundry, which is Heritage’s general blog, and WattsUp, for that matter — and their science websites authority ranking has different Authority numbers for the same websites.  The comparison formula appears to be something like the secret recipe for Coke.

Anyway, Watts plots Alexa’s “Daily Reach” ranking, which is supposedly the percent of global Internet users who visit your website.  But who cares if somebody visits and immediately leaves?  [If I'm reading Watts' sitemeter right, his "Average Visit Length" is 19 seconds.]

I write to be read, and so for me — and most bloggers I know — page views are what matters.  About.com notes, “Page views are the standard measurement of blog popularity and traffic in the blogosphere because that’s the statistic online advertisers look at.”  Ad revenues are typically based on pageviews.  The huge website Gawker pays incentives to its writers on the basis of page views.

Since Watts loves Alexa, I plotted the comparison above, which suggests our pageviews tracked online aren’t as disparate as Alexa suggests our traffic is.  Why?  Well, if you believe Alexa (and I don’t) here’s why:

Alexa2

My readers read more pages.  Indeed, Watts’ sitemeter actually says he gets 1.4 pageviews per visit.

But this isn’t the whole story.  Indeed, the main reason I’m doing this post is because it’s tiresome to listen to Watts make these apples and oranges comparisons between our two websites.

We have chosen two different readership strategies and that renders any webstats comparison meaningless.

Watts has chosen what I would call a traffic-driven strategy.  He has high direct traffic, probably higher than mine.  He has been very successful at his strategy.  He also lets his commenters repeat and expand upon the disinformation he posts, which runs up the number of comments he gets, and his visits and page views — though  lots of those page views are no doubt views of people reading the anti-scientific comments.  Indeed, his comments are stuff like  “I reckon that if you summed the total hits of Real Climate, Joe Romm, Tamino etc., etc”¦, all together you still wouldn’t get close to the kind of numbers you are achieving here. And that says a heck of a lot to me.” and “I will bet that WUWT has more unique hits a week then Time magazine.”  Not!  And not even close!

I have chosen a subscriber-driven strategy.  I devote a lot of prime real estate at the top of CP to getting subscriptions.  I want people to read the content and I don’t care if they come here to do so (or go to other websites where I repost some content, such as Grist).  I have 28,000 subscribers, which is a large number for a website that focuses on a fairly narrow set of issues.  My subscribers have been rising steadily week in and week out.  It was closer to 2,800 at the start of 2009.

I don’t know how many of my subscribers actually read my posts each day, or how many posts they read.  The email subscribers and many if not most of the RSS feed subscribers can read any of the posts they want without ever coming here and registering in my webstats.  I will note that if, say, only 1/3 of my subscribers read half of my posts a day without coming to CP, that would mean my actual pageviews were roughly double what the webstats programs show.  There is, however, no good way of finding out.

Watts doesn’t seem to try for subscribers, which is understandable, because he wants traffic to drive ad revenues.  I work for a nonprofit and any revenues from the one ad I run are really just icing on the cake.

Watts claims:

Traffic has slowed from about half of what it was during the heady days of Climategate and Copenhagen in December, but I note that this is not unique to WUWT, as other climate blogs have also experienced similar drops since then.

Not.  My traffic is much higher now than in December.  I have had a 20% to 25% increase in both subscribers to my feed and direct traffic (including) pageviews, comparing this month to December.

So he can claim he is “the most visited climate science blog in the world” but it’s just a claim,  no different than any of his other dubious ones (see “Watts not to love: New study finds the poor weather stations tend to have a slight COOL bias, not a warm one” and FoxNews, WattsUpWithThat push falsehood-filled Daily Mail article on global cooling that utterly misquotes, misrepresents work of Mojib Latif and NSIDC).

Watts certainly can’t truthfully claim that his original content is the most widely read content in the climate blogosphere, which is what really matters.  I won’t make that claim for Climate Progress, though I suspect it’s true, simply because there is no reliable way of knowing for sure.

And, of course, I have the best commenters.  But then you knew that, already, didn’t you!  This blog is only as successful as it is because of you, and the many other people who come to Climate Progress or subscribe to the content.  Thanks!

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83 Responses to Hits charade: WattsUpWithThat hypes itself with dubious webstats, while lowballing other blogs

  1. Jeff Clemente says:

    I notice most of the comments are done by 5-10 readers on this site.. There must be a lot of posts deleted on this website or people don’t bother to comment. I would think this web site is very narrow minded and restrictive.

    [JR: What a surprise, you notice something this isn't true, although I am lucky that so many highly informed people do take the time to post comments here. It's hard to believe you are actually a regular reader of the comments, given your final comment. I don't moderate more than most climate blogs, but yes, like most blogs, the vast majority of people don't bother to comment. It is probably true that those you want to spread long-debunked disinformation are more motivated to post on blogs -- look at DotEarth or, frankly, any major newspaper or magazine. Since I don't let people post long-debunked disinformation, I probably lose a lot of page views that, say, Watts gets -- at least page views of the comments, rather than the content. On the other hand, I do get a lot of page views of from those who do want to read science-based comments. Indeed, many people have said to me that the comments section of this blog is the only comments section they routinely read.]

  2. In the wake of the CRU vapour I was about to post a reply at WUWT to the effect that his stats on hits meant nothing as many were probably from people like me visiting to find out exactly what was written over there when pointed over there by deniers links in forum posts elsewhere and there were many of them at the time and since. In other words people visiting WUWT to see what new mess he, Watts, had made.

    Sure enough I disabused one such poster very quickly as Watts had cherry picked statements from a journal article and the poor dupe who linked there had not bothered reading same. When the full article was read it became obvious that Watts was tempting people to draw the wrong conclusion. What a surprise! I duly pointed out to the sad dupe the error of his ways to which he made no response.

    I have just had another look over there and sighed inwardly at the nonsense in the Tropical England bumph.

    Then I thought that it ain’t even worth trying to clear up Watts’ mess over there and so in the end I bailed out.

  3. Chris Winter says:

    Actually, Jeff, there is a third possibility that you haven’t considered…

  4. Climate Progress is one of my first stops every day to find out what’s new and to put things read elsewhere into perspective. I read most of the posts as well as the comments and have learned a lot by doing so. I haven’t subscribed to it via email as I prefer to read it directly on the web, and I’m one of the currently 4154 followers on Twitter.

    To counter poster #1′s assertion that the readership “is very narrow minded and restrictive”, could perhaps all the “lurkers” who just read and rarely post, briefly come out of “lurkdom” and post a quick comment, stating why they read Climate Progress and where they post from?

    Keep up the great work, Joe!

    Cheers from Germany
    Baerbel

  5. LucAstro says:

    I read the content of Climate Progress because of its content, which is another way of saying that I have come to trust this site over time. It is not the only source of information. Science Daily is also another good site if you want to get closer to peer reviewed articles. CP is also quite lively and act as a rallying point to muster resistance against fundamentalis and fascism. Counting hits of terrorist supporting sites is probably what the CIA is most interested in at the moment. Let us go back to intelligence and reliable data sources.

  6. Mark S says:

    Joe, I would tell you that I read and learn a alot from the comments on this website. Watts comments are garbage, mostly deniers spewing incoherent invectives. Realclimate also has extremely informative comments and I would encourage readers to look through comments on articles they are interested in both on this site and realclimate.

    [JR: Thanks. I fully agree RC has "extremely informative" comments]

  7. Olof Stroh says:

    I am also one of those outside the englishspeaking world that read and learn daily but never comment but still have tremendous use of the site.

    Jõudu tööle / (I wish you) strength to your work
    as we say in Estonia

    Olof

  8. LucAstro says:

    On a more personal note, thanks for taking the time to keep this blog alive and exciting. You are very generous of your time.

  9. I second LucAstro at #8

    I also visit here regularly. The pace of reliable posts on the latest is staggering and well done Joe for keeping up.

    I also value RealClimate and visit
    Deltoid
    DesMogBlog
    Open MindTamino
    Deep Climate
    The Rabett Run
    ClimateScienceWatch
    SkepticalScience
    The Heat is Online
    Grist

    in no particular order of preference.

    If those that still do not get it spent more time at all of these, and followed the myriad pointers to the truth behind the dumbed-down media headlines mankind may make some progress in getting its butt out of the fire.

    Remember deniers, you cannot argue with nature’s revenge – something that will become increasingly obvious thanks to the delay caused by the anti-science lobby, including those ‘scientists’ who should know better.

    See this report:

    http://www.greenpeace.org/international/press/reports/dealing-in-doubt

    where some are named and shamed. Thanks to DesmogBlog for bringing that one to the front. I hope you don’t mind that remark Joe.

    [JR: Not at all. I have reposted DeSmogBlog's stuff and was in fact thinking of reposting that piece.]

  10. Walter Meier says:

    I’m also one of those who visits daily but has never commented. I generally find that others have already said what I would want to say, probably more eloquently as well.

    As for Mr. Watts, he’ll soon find out that all the “hits” in the world won’t keep glaciers from melting, sea levels from rising, and species from migrating to the poles. I feel a bit guilty about occasionally visiting his site to see for myself the nonsense he’s peddling. If only I’d known he would use this to boast about some meaningless stat…

  11. Phil M says:

    Web site hits are a bit like hollywood studio sets. When you look at it, your eye tricks you into believing its real. But your brain (hopefully for most people) knows its just a studio set. Similarly with web sites, web site hit generators can be employed by anyone wanting to artificially generate large numbers of traffic to their site.

    http://www.tukanas.com/hitsgenerator.php

    Ignorance is bliss eh?

  12. GFW says:

    I’ve commented before, but not frequently.

    Lurkers, come on out this once – let’s make this post have the highest comment count just from a roll call.

  13. Jeffrey Davis says:

    Well, I’m a rare commenter. No credentials. Never had a comment deleted or not printed.

  14. Charles says:

    I am yet another who rarely posts but I read this blog daily. I don’t know how you do it, Joe, but I am certainly appreciative. This site has lots of great information, and it sure doesn’t hurt that Joe is a physicist who understands the science and how science works.

    As for Mr. Watts … well, I’m not much impressed.

  15. JRL says:

    I just try to lurk and learn here; it took me one visit and 19 seconds to figure that Watts is FOS.

  16. Wim Prange says:

    RSS Reader here. I seldom visit the site because the posts aren’t truncated in the reader (thanks for that).

    Another point that’s worth mentioning. I use this site to gather information and use the content when debating deniers on other sites. It’s not a social gathering where we have to say hi to each other and make snide remarks to show how funny we are on a daily basis.

    WUWT has a feel that it’s like the village pump used for social gathering and shake your fists at the sky. I even get the feeling most of the people there visit it exclusively for that and only read the few paragraphs of any post to get yourself familiar with the topic of the day.

    [JR: Thanks for this. Yes, I had some doubts early on about the full feed vs. partial feed -- it was a big debate on the blogosphere. But since people seem to want the full feed and I don't need the traffic, we went ahead and did it. I'm glad people appreciate it.

    I think you are dead on with your final sentence. The very fact that I have so many subscribers and such high traffic, but far fewer comments than WUWT would seem to be prima facie evidence people are here for the content. BTW, I think it worth noting that while I don't get as many comments as, say, WUWT, my posts typically get a lot more comments than the typical post on comparable high-traffic websites like Wonk Room or Grist.]

  17. Bill W says:

    I visit this site at least once a day. Joe’s got the best climate site going. I’ve been a rare commenter because I usually recognize when I have nothing to add to the discussion, which I think is true of most commenters here (unlike those at, say, WUWT). Even though I’m an engineer and have been following climate science for a year, I still know far less than many of the excellent commenters here.

  18. george ennis says:

    I rarely comment on here but I do read the blog regularly and frequently direct family and friends to it when we want to know the facts.

  19. Fredo says:

    Since we’re commenting about comments here I just wanted to relate how happy I have been to see more and more reality-based commenting going on when I visit assorted climate-related news stories and blog posts.

    I believe repetition of reality-based comments is extremely important, especially given the recent level of repetition of lies and irrelevancies by the delayers/deniers.

    Thus I have taken to setting my homepage to include “global warming” search results. Now whenever I log on, if I have a minute or two, I click on whatever inane, badly-reported, denier-fueled news story tops the search results… and add a quick reality-based comment at the bottom. (I have even started keeping a file of cut and pastable arguments for this purpose).

    I encourage all of you to do the same thing, using a variety of search engines and terms to cover as much ground as possible. Repelling the recent Internet-based attack on scientific epistemology is probably one of the most important things you can do every day.

    For a beautiful example of a recent denier story getting swarmed by reality-based comments— and even appearing to turn one of its usual misinformed readers— check here.

  20. Peter Bellin says:

    The value and quality of a web site is not measured by the number of visitors or web hits. WUWT may or may not be ‘most visited’ but that does not make it accurate in its comments.

    At the risk of becoming repetitive, I comment occasionally, and refrain if my comment would not add something to the discussion.

    I visit regularly, however – but never visit WUWT. I rely on this blog to let me know what comment is coming from that site.

  21. lizardo says:

    I come to Climate Progress virtually every day, but does it count if you just reload the home page? yes it does as I click on the entire post if I am interested, not necessarily every one, depending on topic and my time. I do not have time to surf around the web for hours. So CP is invaluable to me.

    My other regular visits are to Grist.

    Isn’t that hits boasting thing sort of a Drudge Report sort of navel-gazing?

    And back before Fox etc. became Drudge (so to speak) weren’t a lot of people keeping an eye on Drudge in the spirit of what’s-he-done-now? Not all attention is positive attention.

    Thanks for the link to Hits etc. demystified as I am going to read that.

    Also, I don’t have wireless or DSL all over the house so I peel off interesting stuff into a text edit window and read it over breakfast, my own tailor made newspaper, and add my comments at the bottom and rarely find them so earth-shattering as to bother to return and post them.

    I can’t say this is the post that I’d want us to break the record on.

    p.s. I do also subscribe to a daily newspaper sort of for the heck of it, but I think it is a race to see which of us pegs out first!

    DLTTGYD

  22. John Hollenberg says:

    I have been reading Climate Progress daily for about a year. What a great education! Thanks Joe. Occasionally I will comment, but not on a regular basis.

  23. Daniel J. Andrews says:

    Diss Watts all you want, but you have to admit he’s mastered the copy and paste functions.

    I don’t subscribe to any site…I like keeping my new inbox messages manageable. But I’m a regular reader, rare commenter.

  24. RunawayRose says:

    Frequent reader, infrequent commenter; I figure I have more to learn here than to contribute.

  25. I read daily, but try to keep my comments limited to those subject areas where I actually have enough background to say something at least passably intelligent. Intention does not equal success, of course …

  26. Leif says:

    Earth hour, lights out. Turning off you lights will not make a big difference in the big picture in and of itself just as using a seat belt any one time might save your life. People say that they want 100 % certainty before they make life style changes for mitigating climatic disruption. The chances of you needing your seat belt on any one auto outing are almost vanishing slim. Yet science tells us that the chances of humanity suffering extreme discomfort, (think your children), in the near future are greater than 95+%. Tell me, if science told you with 95% certainty that you would get in a car accident on your next drive would you venture out? With or without a seat belt? Think about that when your lights are out and just perhaps you and all the rest of us can live happily ever after when the lights come on.

  27. Berbalang says:

    Joe, I also read your website daily and find it a very good source of information. I have a high opinion of what you do and a very low opinion of what the deniers do.

  28. sturat says:

    First time poster, …

    Thanks for the effort and please keep it up.

    I’m getting more and more discouraged by the low level of scientific understanding, the lack of basic math skills, and a general deficit in personal compassion that the deniers of all types are increasingly showing in their posts and actions. What type of world will our grandchildren inherit?

    The scariest prediction I know that seems to already becoming true is told in the SciFi short story of C. M. Kornbluth, “The Marching Morons”.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=The_Marching_Morons&oldid=350539619

    I challenge all true science and knowledge lovers to strike back at ignorance when it tries to take over. Write your newspaper, your elected representative, …. Continue to support sites such as this one.

  29. TomG says:

    I check out Climate Progress every day if possible and I agree with John @22 that there’s an education to be found here.
    On the other hand, I very seldom go to WUWT; but sometimes a person just has to go and view the stupid and the dishonest first hand.

  30. Rick C says:

    The two sites I visit at least 4x a week are Climate Progress and http://www.climatechangenews.org

    Skeptics and Big Oil and Big Coal are determined to keep the status quo in place as long as they possibly can. Their behavior is criminal, but market capitalism, our economic religion, allows them to put their profits above all else, even the future of humanity. How sick is that?

  31. Joe says:

    Thanks so much to all for these comments.

  32. Michael T says:

    I usually only comment on the posts related to the science. I often post links to climate data for sites like GISS and NCDC/NOAA.

  33. KariV says:

    Climate Progress is my daily must-visit climate site because it has the latest climate science news, and because it’s so well written. Some posts are truly scary; major global changes are happening NOW and so much faster than predicted.

    And other posts are hilarious – the priceless Bastardi video. Loved the warning:

    ‘Please put your head in a vise before viewing this:’

    That should be a basic precaution for anyone who actually tries to read some of the unbelievable stuff Watts posts. Our office climate skeptic is a big Watts fan, and one day I just lost it. Much to the amusement of co-workers, I got into a loud argument with him. It’s so infuriating that intelligent educated people can believe – and quote – such garbage.
    I’m really grateful for the truth and sanity at Climate Progress.

  34. Paul K2 says:

    I check this site everyday… and comment as much as I can spare the time. Most of the time, the info is on the mark and the site goes to the critical issue quickly, like the post on
    Skeptical Science explains how we know global warming is happening: Its the Oceans Stupid
    …which is information you will never see reported correctly on WUWT.

    AW has brain caught in a Stevenson Screen. Reading WUWT comments is quite a bit like watching paint dry…

    Oh my gosh! I just searched his site for “Stevenson” and “paint dry” and guess what? Yep, you guessed it… He posted the classic post: “A typical day in the Stevenson Screen Paint Test”. I was wrong!

    Reading WUWT is exactly like watching paint dry.

  35. Sable says:

    Ping! Regular visitor, rare commenter. This is a great blog, probably the best overall in its field, for its clarity and breadth of coverage. Thanks for doing this every day, Joe.

  36. Marion Delgado says:

    Actually, this is kind of bad news for Alexa – it might lead one to the conclusion that users of the Alexa toolbar .. are tools.

    Also, Jeff the Concern Troll needs to learn to quantify. I suppose he’s saying at least 50% of comments are from 7 or 8 readers, but he *could* be off by 2 either way. I’d certainly love to see that documented. How about it, JTCT?

    If there are only 7 or 8 – or 10 at the outside – JTCT should be able to list their nicknames.

    In other words, Jeff the Concern Troll, you’re lying. And lying concern trolls are exactly what make most comment threads break down. Unless it’s at a place where lies are called out when they’re made, I mean.

  37. Marion Delgado says:

    I will say one word in defense of Watts.

    I have seen Bjorn Lomborg do stats as badly as this, but his real academic claim to fame is precisely stats, so he should be pilloried every day by as many people as possible.

    Watts, at the end of the day, is a TV weatherman with a treehouse ranting club. To expect too much from him would be silly. Yes, he’s a little pretentious, but it’s fairly desperate and transparent pretension.

  38. Billy T says:

    I think the other reason you don’t get such screeds of comments here is that you generally don’t have the excessive “comment-wars” that infect sites such as WUWT with people firing comments back and forth to each other. The comments here are generally worth reading and generally add insight to the topic of the post.

  39. caveat emptor says:

    I read yourblog regularly and find it super interesting and informative. Don’t comment much as (a) I’m a slow typer, (b) work doesn’t exactly encourage it. This site and RC are my regular climate change reading. I visit a range of other sites less frequently – Skeptical Science, Deltoid, Grist, etc.etc. I visit Climate Audit or WUWT occasionally just to soak up some of the disinformation..

  40. MarkB says:

    For the sake of argument, if we do consider Alexa.com reliable, it’s notable the large drop-off in web traffic at the Watts site. Since Watts likes to selectively highlight short-term trends in climate data, we find that his site is only half as popular as it was 3 months ago.

    The reach vs page views is interesting. I think Watts gets a lot of folks who spend a half a minute checking out his site to see if there’s any “dirt”, the way someone might casually browse the tabloid headlines while waiting in line for groceries. Perhaps if a headline is compelling, such as “National Academies Admit Global Warming Hoax”, or “NASA Caught Manipulating Data”, they read further. Some readers are just your standard DrudgeBots types looking for dirt.

    I agree with Mark S. in #6. Quality of blog comments is important. Sites like RC have a lot of informative comments, and the worst of the trolls are filtered out. SkepticalScience is also pretty good for blog comments. Contrarian views are very welcome, but some posts politically-charged or asserting nefarious motives from scientists are filtered out. ClimateProgress usually has quality comments as well.

  41. mike roddy says:

    If Wattsup has half the readership of this excellent blog, that’s scary. They already have the money and the ruthlesness required. The way our system works- including purchasing the media and Congress- a majority will not be required for them to delay for another decade or two. I fear that by then the burning behemoth will be hard to stop.

  42. sailrick says:

    I also post here occasionally but mostly read what those better versed in science have to say. I also read all the blogs posted in Lionel’s comment 9. I often post links to Joes articles in other places on the internet. Because Joe has not only a science background, but experience in govt and energy policy, the blog is far reaching.

  43. Jeff M. says:

    As a physics undergraduate hoping to enter the field of energy engineering, I visit this site daily to make sure I’m updated on not only the most relevant science, but also the latest mayhem being perpetrated by the intellectually challenged global warming deniers. I’ve been able to effectively use much of what I’ve learned here to talk to my friends about climate change. Thanks for all you do Joe, and keep it up – when the smoke clears, you’ll be one of the people we have to thank.

  44. Jim Eaton says:

    I have been following climate issues since reading Harry Harrison’s “Make Room, Make Room” in college in the 1960s and watching “Soylent Green” that came from that book. Although I spent my career working for the protection of wilderness areas, global warming has been a major concern of mine (which will of course, affect the ecosystems I was working to protect). When helping to organize “The Wildlands Project” in the early 1990s, I discovered that prominent conservation biologists (Michael Soule, Reed Noss, John Terborgh) were extremely concerned about climate change.

    For the past several years, I have checked on Real Climate and Climate Progress several times a day. I have learned a tremendous amount from both sites. I comment from time-to-time, but only when I think I actually have something to add to the discussion.

    However, I do greatly appreciate the concern and dedication of Joe and the folks at Real Climate for the unbelievable hours they spend updating their information. Joe, do you ever take a weekend off when you don’t post?

  45. MapleLeaf says:

    Well, reading the comments here really gives one reason for hope. I a very happy that a “warmist” site pointed me here, and I’ll (as a scientist) continue to provide input when and where I think it will be helpful.

    Joe, you are providing an immensely valuable community and pedagogical service. Thank you!

    Dr. Lewis has recently taken on the media for their blatant and dishonest reporting on the acts behind AGW as they pertain to the Amazon forest, please support him.

  46. Gareth says:

    I read this blog almost every day but don’t comment. It’s got the most information about what’s happening to our climate right now and the best insights into what it all means. The comments are also always worth reading (apart from the odd troll).

  47. Sou says:

    This site is on my ‘must visit daily’ list. It is highly informative, well-researched and well-written. And I enjoy the mix of information with an added touch of humour from time to time. The other ‘must visit daily’ site is realclimate.org. (Most of the other sites mentioned by others I also pop into visit daily or every couple of days.)

    As well as the excellent posts I really value reading comments from the experts, who I am getting to recognise. I also use the information from sites like this one to inform others and to debunk myths that circulate from time to time. (This site and some others have also been invaluable in my day job, which from time to time includes working with agencies involved in areas related to climate research and climate-related policy matters.)

    Thank you for the tireless effort and excellent work.

    PS I think the fall-off in Watts site is interesting and is a reflection of the very poor quality of the posts and comments. From what I’ve seen lately the post quality is declining even more if that’s possible – but then I don’t have a long history of looking at it so I could be wrong. Does any rational person really want to fill their head with such garbage (and hate comments) on a regular basis? It’s not healthy!

  48. Sou says:

    The PS should read: I think the fall-off in visitors to the Watts site…

  49. Richard Brenne says:

    CP is the cat’s pajamas, WUWT the cat’s year-long uncleaned litterbox.

  50. Katri says:

    I also read CP every day to learn from the excellent posts and comments. Best climate blog around!

    During the worst negative press around the different “gates”, CP and other quality climate blogs mentioned in these comments were a great resource to finding out the truth behind the propaganda.

    Is it just me or is the worst denier hysteria over? One can only hope that it is and real scientists can focus on advancing the science instead of defending themselves and their work against people who don’t accept reality.

  51. Stevie W says:

    I started reading Climate Progress a couple of months ago. I found a link to this blog on Real Climate and I’ve been checking this site almost daily ever since. I also like the combination of sound background information and humour, although I think that sometimes CP errs on the side of “alarmism”, and I’m by no means a GW sceptic. Case in point was the story about the Siberian Arctic Shelf leaking methane. This was the only time I posted a comment, but it wasn’t published.

    On the whole, this site is very good if you want to stay tuned to the latest news in global warming. By the way, I have a chemistry background and I’m posting from Austria.

  52. Joe,

    We stumble onto Climate Progress once, if not thrice daily, & glean your best to stay primed to do battle with denial at other science websites, particularly the Houston Chron SciGuy blog, deep in the heart of EXXOM Country.

    We also regularly avail ourselves to the astute content & commentary at:

    RealClimate
    DeSmogBlog
    Deltoid
    Deep Climate
    Open Mind
    Pharyngula (How’d that get in there?)
    Rabbet Run
    Skeptical Science
    The Island of Doubt
    & others

    As well as the straight skinny at NASA GISS, NOAA Climate Services, Dr. James Hansen @ Columbia, Peter Sinclair’s Climate Denial Crock of the Week, et al.

    And revealing, insightful (inciteful?) books like Hell & High Water, Field Notes From a Catastrophe, Republican War on Science, Doubt is Their Product, Censoring Science, Climate Cover up, Storms of My Grandchildren, & others should be required reading for all climate citizens, if not public high school core curriculum.

    Joe, keep slashing away at the throats of the venomous denial hydra with your sword of science & reason, for our kids & yours.

    -IANVS

  53. PSU Grad says:

    This site is quite simply full of people who know more about climate change than I’ll ever know. Occasionally I have something to add, most times not.

    For Katri (#47)….I’m afraid you’re wrong. Congress hasn’t really tackled any of the climate issues due to other pressing issues of the day. Once they do, the deniers will be out in full throat.

    The question is how many “regular” believe will buy what they’re selling.

  54. Well, for all of us (almost at least) the reality is that we know that the problem we are dealing with is global. What we need is knowledge that we can trust and there Climateprogress is a site, as many already told, one of those I visit almost daily.

    For me as an active in the Climate Network in Swedish Society for Nature Conservation (the biggest environmental NGO in Sweden with 180.000 members) it is good to have a reliable source of information as http://www.realclimate.org or climateprogress.org.
    I think that I some few times made the mistake to go to WUWT, but never read it. Why should I? – there is enough disinformation already…

    Sitting here in Sweden, in a small village Juoksengi on the Arctic Circle, it is thanks to sites like Climateprogress that it is possible to get involved and be a part in the work to stop climate change.

    I also use Facebook to spread the information from Climateprogress and recommend others to do so.
    As the number one recruiter in the World (!) in the cause “Stop Global Warming” http://skitch.com/urpotaskinen/n57tc/causes-pa-facebook-hall-of-fame-stop-global-warming
    it is easy also to put out links there, with theoretically 3,5 million people in the cause.
    (… and yes, know the basics about internet statistics, there is propably not so many reading there…)

    Thank´s Joe and others for your great work!
    We have to solve this together!

  55. Likewise, I visit here most days, but don’t often comment unless it’s something I feel comfortable adding to the debate – the commenters here are often very experienced and knowledgable (or trolls) and so a lot of the time I don’t feel like I’ll add much to what is already posted – usually because the posts are so comprehensive and well-reasoned!

    Even if Watts’ phony counting measures were true, it doesn’t mean anything. He’s part of the anti-climate change noise machine. If he wasn’t making lots of noise he’d not be doing his shill work very well. It’s the same as all the commenters at places like the Guardian who suddenly appear whenever there is a climate change post. They may be the most visible, but doesn’t make them credible.

  56. climateprogressive says:

    LOL @ Watts – he can’t even tell the difference between hits and page views!

    Like others, this site tends to be my first daily port of call for climate-related news. It’s the most regularly updated site of the type that I know, although I also visit RC, Skeptical Science, Rabbett Run, Deltoid, Open Mind, Deepclimate, Desmogblog and others regularly.

    Thanks Joe – and keep up the good work!

  57. I agree with many others that here we post only when we think we can make a valuable contribution to the dialogue. We don’t need to indulge in navel gazing (although where WUWT is concerned navel is probably not the anatomical feature in question) on a daily basis.

    Thus I hope this contribution is taken in the spirit intended; when visiting WUWT one cannot but help notice the self-congratulatory notice of ‘the 2008 weblog awards winner – best science blog’.

    Please excuse my ignorance here but what ‘body’ makes such an award and in which position did WUWT come in the year 2009?

    [JR: The "body" was an online poll! 2009 awards were canceled.]

    Note to AWatts – I have just incremented your counter again, there is no gain by crowing about that.

    Thanks to ‘The Devil’s Chaplain’ at #50 I am reminded of David Archer’s excellent book and lecture series:

    ‘Global Warming: Understanding the Forecast’

    http://geoflop.uchicago.edu/forecast/docs/index.html

    Another volume worth a look is:

    Climate Change: A Multidisciplinary Approach by William James Burroughs

    http://www.amazon.com/Climate-Change-William-James-Burroughs/dp/0521567718

    Having borrowed a copy of that from a library I had to buy my own. I hope to see a newer edition published soon.

    I know many consider James Lovelock something of a crank but his books are worth reading providing you don’t make Richard Dawkins’ error of taking the idea of a fully living, hence sentient, entity to literally. It is surprising that Dawkins made such an allusion given that he endured similar trouble with Selfish Genes.

    Fortunately for me I have two chemistry graduates in the family (one a PhD) and thus have access to some useful chemistry volumes and my Penrose/Hawking/Feynman et. al. library helps with deeper stuff in this battle to aid us in Climbing the Mount Improbable of climate change denial.

  58. mark says:

    LucAstro says:

    “On a more personal note, thanks for taking the time to keep this blog alive and exciting. You are very generous of your time.”

    I agree.

    I check this site daily, and read more than half of the posts, and most comments for any post that I read. (I skip most of the delusion based drivel like comment #1 at this post)

  59. Gary says:

    I repeat (from my previous climate progress comment) “best blog
    on the planet.”

  60. Bruce says:

    Another lurker coming out of the woodwork to comment.

    I find this to be one of the most useful sites about both the science and the public policy issues of AGW. And just to emphasize that I ain’t a brainwashed fanboy – Joe, I think your writing comes across as a bit too strident.

    The other thing I note is the irony that Mr. Clemente, the first commenter, writes suppositions about comments. Is there a legion of lurkers sitting around waiting to be the first to comment on various blog posts, so that they can influence the direction of commentary? I’d research this, but I’m out of Cheetohs.

    Possibly irrelevant social digression:
    It seems to me that a lot of the writing, both blogging and commenting, on the Internet is what I call “me-tooism” – everyone echoing everyone else, so what others call the Internet Echo Chamber. I feel a lot of it is people having the need to attract attention – “I write, therefore I matter.” (Facebook is dependent upon that.) However, good writing takes time and attention to detail. It takes work to write an original well-reasoned comment (such as is often seen on RealClimate), and very little work to parrot something you read elsewhere on the Internet. So people who feel the need to “matter” without feeling the urge to do the heavy brain lifting required to “matter”, just repeat or retweet what was written elsewhere. Quantity over quality. WUWT seems to be advertising quantity over quality.

  61. David K says:

    I check CP just about everyday, and am constantly impressed with the great wealth of new content.

    I also check out other sites like: realclimate, skeptical science, desmog blog, deltoid, only in it for the gold, stoat, island of doubt, and greenman3610′s videos.

    I’ve never commented just ’cause others usually can say things better than I can.

    I rarely visit denier sites and when I do I can’t stomach the comments which tend to focus on diatribes against Al Gore, or the fact that it is snowing in winter.

  62. Russell Swan says:

    I very infrequently visit WUWT, usually only to read first hand the information from that site being debunked elsewhere.

    What I find particularly impressive about Climate Progress is Joe’s ability to communicate scientific and political concepts in common language. Most of the comprehensive, science based blogs out there can be a bit of a tough read for the many unaccustomed to reading through somewhat technical articles. One need not be a scientist to read and understand the great wealth of information provided here. Plus, it is written in a rather fun, entertaining style that makes it a joy to keep coming back to see what is new.

    If the denialist machine is to be effectively countered, it is sites like this which reach out to the general public with sensible, easily understood commentary concerning the science and the attempts to distort it. Spread the word. If your next door neighbor is confused over what to think of AGW, send them here!

  63. Christopher S. Johnson says:

    Present.

  64. Marc Anderson says:

    I’m a daily reader via email but often visit the site and scan the comments. What I’ve learned has helped immensely as I take up the debate online and in the local paper. As a writer, I love the posts on rhetoric. You’re doing great work, Joe!

  65. Brad says:

    Another lurker who reads daily. Please keep up the good work.

  66. Brewster says:

    Another daily reader…

    I comment occasionally, but on most subjects, the original posters and commenters are more knowlegeable than I, so my comments are limited.

    Keep up the good work, Joe.

  67. Russell@62,

    You may also appreciate how Ben over at Wott’s Up With That is taking apart the denial beast piece by piece.

    –IANVS

  68. J. Hartman says:

    Another daily reader lurker here. This and RealClimate are my go-to sites for climate change information. I literally learn something new here every day.

  69. Barry says:

    Watt’s says his traffic is off 50% since the “heady days of Climategate and Copenhagen in December.” Hmmm, what has happened since then?

    Jan: Watt’s major claim of warm bias in US weather stations gets soundly debunked. His own massive multi-year project proves the opposite of what he claimed. Strike one.

    Feb: Watt’s favourite global temp data — UAH satellite data — records unprecedented global warming. Another of the supports for his “global cooling” myth crumbles. Strike two.

    March: Another of Watt’s sensational claims — that “station dropout” is causing warm bias in records — is soundly debunked. Strike three.

    Maybe his 50% drop in readership has something to do with his being shown to be clearly wrong on a series of his high-profile sensational claims recently.

  70. richard pauli says:

    Regarding the statistics of hits and visits: this is the difference between broadcasters – where you see wide audiences, and narrowcasters – where you want specifically defined small audience.

    RC is great and smart. I suspect that readers are – or will be very influential to the world future. Even reaching just one person at CP may find the most powerful individual to effect change. No matter what the numbers with Watts – I suspect the readership is not the kind to do big things.

    Joe, you are doing great work – one reader at a time.

  71. David B. Benson says:

    I was going to comment about WUWT but I fear my words are unprintable.

  72. Mike#22 says:

    Present.

  73. Alex A. says:

    I check CP pretty much every day, but comment only occasionally.

    First exposure to JR was “Cool Companies” in class several years back. Also read “Hype about H” before I visited the site frequently. Read “Hell and High Water” after following the site for a while.

    I don’t always agree w/ Joe 100%, but it’s always worth stopping by. Thanks Joe.

    CP was the inspiration for my “100 senators: 100 letters” project. Looks like I need to do that again.

    [JR: Thanks. I can't imagine agreeing with me -- or anyone else -- 100% of the time. That's why I appreciate the feedback and comments, to learn things I didn't know before.]

  74. Leif says:

    Two Palm up Joe and most commentators. Leif

  75. DrD says:

    I came to CP when Thomas Friedman first recommended it in the NYT more than a year ago. And I come back at least five days a week, often several times a day to read the latest post. I’ve only commented on three occasions in all that time because, as other commenters above have expressed regarding their reluctance to comment, my comments would usually add little to the accumulation of climate-science knowledge (my Ph.D. is in history) and would more often be of the pointless “I agree” variety (not unlike this current comment, I guess).
    But I do read most of Joe’s posts and appreciate the extentions to his posts added by knowledgable, science-based commenters.
    In a world that seems increasingly filled by shrill, thoughtless, anti-science, anti-intellectual rants, CP and its family of commenters are a beacon of light in a darkening world. Thanks to Joe and thanks to all of you who seek and promote the truth. Keep up the good work, all.

  76. mike roddy says:

    Irpo, #54:

    Your post was heartening. I’ve been inspired by Climate Progress, and am part Swedish myself. For all of our despair, there is passion and hope in us, too. Let’s keep it going.

  77. Dan B says:

    I’m a nearly daily visitor and comment, particularly when the all too common question of How Do We Get Through To Skeptics?… comes through.

    It’s the combination of great writing, comments that are frequently as good as the post, and attention to critically important intersection between scientific knowledge and communication of that knowledge.

    My family is full of scientists. Thanksgiving dinners regularly focused on the latest gee-whiz discovery. What struck me as a child was how exciting and fun it was. My Uncles and my Dad knew how to talk to ordinary people and kids. Joe has that knack as well. Once people feel as though they can figure out what you’re talking about they feel empowered and become engaged. AW is an entertainer and knows how to make people feel empowered. Most scientists and many science journalists are clueless of this aspect of communication.

    Joe, thanks so much for making this blog engaging!

  78. Mike D says:

    Lurker here! Regular reader (visit most days)no scientific background whatsoever so seeking clear and concise information and commentary. I get it and its very much appreciated, so thank you Joe and all, keep up the vital work.

  79. apeescape says:

    I only comment when I think I have something to offer, usually something pertaining to Japan (i.e. once!). It’s really one of the few remaining popular blogs out there that have a readable and informative comments section. I’m trying to do my part by providing translations and this blog was probably the biggest reason of prompting me to do so.

    Joe, thanks for all the work!

  80. t_p_hamilton says:

    Wim Prange said:”WUWT has a feel that it’s like the village pump used for social gathering and shake your fists at the sky.”

    The analogous pump would be the one in London that spread cholera.

    [JR: A science zinger! I like it.]

  81. Barry says:

    I think you’re confusing “hits” with page views, and I think Mr. Watts is sloppily using “hits” for page views (a common practice). Of course hits are meaningless, since they include image loads and JavaScript file loads. That’s why no analytics package even reports them anymore. Mr. Watts would have to have commissioned a programmer to write a special analytics program to even extract that number (which is unlikely).

    The two measures today are visitors vs. page views. Visitors is people, page views is pages. Both are important. The metric that ties them together is average page views per visitor. Is it better to have more visitors (raw popularity), or fewer visitors who read more pages per visit on your site (deeper, more committed fans). It’s not really clear, and it depends on your goals as a site operator.

    For advertisers the best metric is visitors, because ads are clicked on only once per visit, on the way out of the site.

  82. chek says:

    Joe, just a regular non-scientist reader who is glad to see some pushback against the apparently widespread disinformation, misinformation and just plain stupid that “informs” a lot of ordinary people’s opinions.

    I find that this site, Deep Climate, Real Climate, Deltoid’s, Tamino’s and Rabett’s sites are indispensable in keeping the flame alive and the barbarians at bay.

    Dumbing down was always a vital part of the program of corporate control.

  83. Matt R says:

    Another lurker; I like this site for its wide scope, and the links to various interesting pieces elsewhere. I don’t comment, but I often read the comments as they are usually informative rather than a morass of denier rubbish which is sadly the case on many MSM news sites.

    I’m a UK citizen, and use this site as my main source of news on US domestic environmental politics – whenever I can bear it. :(

    Thanks, Joe, for all the time and effort you put in.