"Comment here on comments and the new design"
Let me start by profusely apologizing that you won’t have access to the old comments for a while. I didn’t know that was going to be an outcome of this changeover and so I didn’t let you all know and I didn’t plan for it. The good news is that all the old comments still exist. More on that below.
I also ask for your patience with the new website. It is going to take a while to get the kinks ironed out.
The number one question is: Why did I make this major makeover when just last year Time magazine named this one of the top 25 “Best Blogs of 2010″? There are several reasons, though as you can already see the fundamental essence of the blog has not changed.
First, as I wrote on Friday, I really believe a blog should get a shakeup every two or three years. The web and social media are simply changing too rapidly. My last redesign was about two years ago. At the time of that redesign, subscribers to my RSS feed totaled around 3000 and were growing very slowly. That redesign led to a remarkable 10-fold increase in subscribers in the course of a year, and subscribers continue to grow at a steady clip. The number now stands at 48,000, which I believe is the most in this space by far. So you can understand why I trust the web design team at the Center for American Progress Action Fund. Their terrific work has been crucial to making this blog successful.
Second, relatedly, a key point of the redesign is to let the web people focus on the web design while I focus on content. Things have been changing on the web over the last couple of years — particularly with regard to social media and most especially with regard to Twitter and Facebook. When the web team here said they could deliver state-of-the-art integration with social media, I naturally jumped at the chance. The timing was particularly fortuitous with the hiring of clean energy reporter Stephen Lacey, who is in charge of managing the Facebook page and doing more direct tweeting.
Third, I was offered the chance to integrate with Think Progress, my CAPAF (big) sister site that gets 8 to 10 times my traffic. Most current readers will probably still access the site from ClimateProgress.org. But as you can see if you play around with the bars at the top of the page — which I strongly encourage — there is now a link for this site on every single Think Progress page! So that is a real chance to expand the audience here. Also, one of the other points of this integration is that CP content will sometimes appear on the front page of TP, which again will result in more people reading the content, which of course is one of my primary goals.
So the decision was relatively easy. The only downside I was aware of at the time was that I was giving up the sidebars that I liked on CP. But then again I’m no web designer, so that really seemed like a small loss — especially since with the new more powerful platform, the design team will be able to deliver the latest functionality to Climate Progress on an ongoing basis.
Why does the bar at the top of the page read “Joe Romm” and not “Climate Progress”? That was all in the hands of the designers (same for using the image of me). Though putting one’s name in the title of one’s website is not obviously uncommon — think Drudge Report and HuffingtonPost — it’s just not what I wanted to do here. But the designers wanted to distinguish Climate Progress from the new TP “Green” page edited by my friend and colleague Brad Johnson, whose terrific work I have reposted a few times a week for a very long time. As long-time readers know, though this blog has always been ClimateProgress.org, edited by Joe Romm. That will now be clearer to new readers. You will still see great guest posters like Bill McKibben and William Becker. Indeed, I hope the potential access to a much larger audience will draw the interest of even more guest posters.
By the way, I urge you to check out the Green page, as it will be expanding on Brad’s great work at the old Wonk Room, combining in-depth analysis of green issues with rapid response on the news of the day.
Obviously, a major reason for the success of this blog has been the terrific commenters here, many of whom are actively involved in climate and clean energy action around the nation and around the world. They provide unique insight as well as the fastest posting of news and links anywhere in the climate blogosphere.
A key reason that the comments section works is my long-standing policy of not allowing the anti-science disinformers to overwhelm it as they do with many if not most of the comments sections around the web.
Readers know that the disinformers work overtime to squelch real discussion. That was most clearly shown in March when the widely debunked former TV weatherman Anthony Watts urged WattsUpWithThat readers to disrupt Forbes blog: “shout them down in the comments section”:
Yes, the disinformers can’t stomach even a couple of scientists posting reasonable comments about an error-riddled piece from Heartland on a blog already over-run by the pro-pollution crowd. They must marshall their readership to “shout them down in the comments section.”
Watts, the leading anti-science blogger, has worked tirelessly to smear scientists — and to get his followers to game online voting and pile onto other people’s comments sections (see Scientific American “horrified” by “the co-opting of the poll” by users of “the well-known climate denier site, Watts Up With That”).
Earlier this year I reposted the ThinkProgress exposé on the head-exploding tactics of Chamber of Commerce hacks (henchmen?), like Aaron Barr who heads the private security firm HB Gary Federal (see “Chamber lobbyists solicited firm to investigate opponents’ families, children“). Daily Kos had a stunning post on HB Gary’s tactics that is a must-read for progressives, since it involves:
creating an army of sockpuppets, with sophisticated “persona management” software that allows a small team of only a few people to appear to be many, while keeping the personas from accidentally cross-contaminating each other.
The extreme anti-government, pro-pollution crowd has a highly targeted effort to control the debate, even online (see “Digg this: Conservative efforts to manipulate the public discussion extend to social media“). It is, of course, possible all those comments are from separate individuals, none of whom are paid by corporate polluters or conservative billionaires. It is also possible we never landed on the moon….
In any case, disinformation is wildly overrepresented on the blogosphere (and elsewhere). As I’ve said many times, if I simply allow disinformation that has been long-debunked in the scientific literature and elsewhere to be posted, then it forces me to either waste time debunking it for umpteenth time — or allow the disinformation to go unanswered and thus mislead anyone who comes here and isn’t a regular reader of the science blogosphere.
The web design team told me they would be putting in a new comments platform “to provide better controls to filter trolls, promote interesting comments, and allow commenters to share and interact with one another.” You can comment now through Facebook and Yahoo and AOL and Hotmail.
Here is TP editor on the new design:
New Commenting System: ThinkProgress now features the Facebook commenting system. To comment on a blog post, you can log in through your Facebook account. If you don’t have a Facebook account or are not logged into Facebook, you may use Yahoo, AOL, or Hotmail email accounts to log in. You can enable this and other login providers via the “Settings” link on the Comments Box. The new system will allow you to easily share your comments with your friends on Facebook, if you choose to do so.
Improved Search Function: The new site provides an enhanced search function, allowing you to easily find our posts through a targeted query system.
Better Social Media Experience: At the top of the page, you’ll see Facebook and Twitter icons so you can follow our presence on those social media sites. Moreover, on the left hand side of every blog post, you’ll see buttons that allow you to easily share a post on Twitter and Facebook. And lastly, on the right-hand sidebar, you’ll notice a box that lets you know which ThinkProgress posts are attracting the most attention on Facebook and Twitter.
And yes, through Yahoo, one can still do anonymous posting. Though I would prefer people to identify themselves — much as all of the bloggers here do — I understand that some people work for government agencies and the like.
I did not realize the new system would be incompatible with my existing comment system. So I did not know you would not have access to the old comments for a while.
Again, I profusely apologize for this and am pursuing a number of possibilities to remedy the problem, although it might take some time to implement.
One thing this changeover is inspiring me to do is update some of my old posts, as you will see.
It will take me a few days to see how this new system works, so I will probably do a post on the comments policy in a few days after I see exactly how that is working out.
Feel free to complain about (or praise) what the web designers have done. I don’t think it is likely there would be any major changes for the foreseeable future so I wouldn’t spend a lot of time offering detailed critiques of fundamental features.
Bugs and glitches can be fixed and I suspect that if enough people complain about something here and on other TP pages it might be ultimately be modifiable.
Below are the earlier comments from our Facebook commenting system:
Joe, a couple of points.
Any chance the tweet/email etc buttons that float down the LHS could be placed somewhere on the RHS? I find them a little distracting when reading down a post.
I’d certainly like to read comments below each post, new or old, so I hope you are successful in sorting that out.
Cheers – John.
Gosh Joe, I love this site, but to be honest (that’s what you want, right?) I find the new format pretty dull… black and white, tiny print, looks like an old fashioned newspaper, not a spot of color on it.
firstname.lastname@example.org May 31 at 9:24am
I like the website as well — and it will take me a little time to explore it. I also like the integration with other services.
But like Sue Houston, I might a little more color and larger print. I can read the print, but some individuals will have a lot of difficulty.
The ability to sign in using WordPress or Google ID might also be nice.
Joseph Romm May 31 at 9:30am
I assume everybody knows that you can increase the size of the print using, say, “Command key” and “+ sign” on a Mac, similarly for a PC. With my eyes, I blow up everything.
Timothy Chase May 31 at 10:34pm
Not working quite the way you might think in Windows 7. Instead I have some sort of bar at the top of my computer screen that acts like a “magnifier” for the browser/application below.
Ideally what you might have is some sort of menu item in the webpage itself where you get to change the size of the font by applying a different cascading style sheet. This would involve AJAX. You would have to worry about the capabilities of the browser. At work where they are still using IE6 I might visit the website at lunch but I can’t see the comments.
If you will remember, FF is trying to play catch-up with Chrome and broken a bunch of their add-ons in the process. But one thing they were good at was magnifying the text itself. Chrome has the ability to zoom in on the page but with this set-up the text still appears the same size no matt…er how much I zoom in.
One other thing to consider… A lot of people are going mobile. They look at websites with their Ipads, tablets and cell phones. Earlier today I was visiting the Seattle Metro and Puget Sound Regional websites (I take the bus) using my Kindle. Black and white, small screen… and I’m surfing just outside a Starbucks! I can even use Gmail. People are doing more of that nowadays. Social is important but so is mobile.
Anyway, despite all the criticisms I like a lot of what I see.
Bugs and glitches…….
Links aren’t hot.
Record high temperatures settle over Interior Alaska.
Adam Gallon June 1 at 8:12am
And just a bit more for the “Weather isn’t Climate” record. Record low temperatures in Darwin. http://pindanpost.com/2011/06/01/record-cold-continues-abc-propaganda-heating-up/ Still, I’m sure that GISS can smear a bit of Alaska’s warmth across the globe to Australia!
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Joe, I am past 50 and I find the font size challenging particularly in the comments section and that is while wearing reading glasses. I can of course use the Zoom in view function on Safari.
I also note that the links in the comments section do not appear to be working (unless that was the intention).
I also note that the graphic in your comment about Watts’ comments did not open for me (I am a MAC user).
Also the blog is definitely calling out for colour.
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Anyway, I really like being tied into so many services. The bookmarking and the like. I don’t use them, but I know many do and they are important. I like being able to sign in with different services. I like being able to have my own avatar, instant comments, threaded comments, and I am looking forward to discovering more.
Oh, not sure whether it is Facebook (the only service currently that seems to show my avatar (I like Gravatar) but it is showing my last college (minus a tech from in between) from over a decade ago. A little out of date.
I’m a daily reader of both Climate Progress and Think Progress. With this change that integrates the sites, I think it will be important to maintain an even political tone with Climate Progress. I point a lot of my conservative friends to particular articles here to help educate them about science. It helped that CP was a separate “brand” because they wouldn’t automatically dismiss the articles as catering to a liberal audience.
While TP will always fight for progressive policies and against conservatives, I would hope that CP will embrace any Republicans willing to accept what science says about global warming, regardless of their other political opinions. It’s important to me, at least, that climate science education be more about the science and less about politics.
Joseph Romm May 31 at 10:32am
The tone will not change as I will retain complete editorial control as I have from day one. In five years, no one has ever told me what to post or what not to post or to change my political take on things.
I will continue to praise Republicans and conservatives who take a science-based stand and criticize Democrats and progressives who don’t.
It should be noted that this blog was always a project of the Center for American progress action fund, just like TP.
Todd Tanner May 31 at 12:42pm
Joe – At a minimum, I’d move your name so it doesn’t look like you’re focused on LGBT issues.
nikfromnyc May 31 at 1:16pm
This site is a far left political think tank owned by The Center for American Progress that functions as a talking points factory. It’s good to see you guys where you belong, on a lefty POLITICAL site, funded by a billionaire currency speculator plus the likes of a tobacco farmer and six fireplace palace owner named Al. You’re in the money!
Me, I’m in my pajamas, about to start the work day in my home business near Columbia where I received the top Ph.D. student (Hammett) award in chemistry prior to three years at Harvard. Oh, I’m not a climate scientist, no, I only studied carbon chemistry!
It’s too bad though that looking at this week’s articles on this site that allow comments, well, there *are* no comments, no readers to be found!
[I tried live links but they simply wont work, even if I paste the source code from a couple of examples below into a test comment. Copy and paste away, dear readers to have a look in the mirror.]
-=OBEY CLIMATE COPS=-
-=OBEY CLIMATE CRIMINALS=-
I present The Quick Glance Guide to Global Warming:
Zachary Shahan May 31 at 7:13pm
agreed :D (Unless you’re thinking of changing focus, Joe)
Zachary Shahan May 31 at 7:14pm
hmm, that was in reply to Todd’s comment, NOT the comment from “nikfromnyc”
Otto Lehikoinen June 1 at 1:50am
Just trying to get a comment to show high up in the list. Won’t happen again, but thinking this could be a way to get better coverage if I think there are some irrelevantly long comments to wade trhough before getting to a point. I’ve grown to prefer some commenters style and have regularly read only these. Additionally I’d like if the font under the comment icon on the right would be black instead of grey to more easily see if there are some new comments to an article I’ve grown fond enough to follow up for a month or two, just to check if someone has posted a long cut and paste comment that throws the earlier comments down the fold, because at FB there are some inexplicapble disappearances of early comments on some discussions made a year ago or earlier. And this is a very small font anyway as many have previously noted (see down).
I agree with Sue, a touch of color would be great. That said, I will give it time, all things new take a little getting used to.
The new site does not seem to be optimized for smart phones. I am having to scroll left and right to read each line. The old site was easy to read on my phone. Bottom of Form 4
ken_g6151 May 31 at 10:15am
So I look at the top of the new site. What’s the first thing I see? Well, based on position, Alyssa seems to be associated with Security. Likewise, Yglesias with Justice. And Joe Romm? Well, he seems to be associated with LGBT!
They should have put your name next to Green.
Timothy Chase June 1 at 3:49am
When I think Romm I think climatology, and I tend to view climatology as a branch of physics. Ecology and the environment? Not so much.
Atmospheric and ocean chemistry, the carbon cycle, trees, permafrost, bacteria? Sure — they are part of it. However, I consider those aspects to be largely peripheral. Radiation transfer theory? Thermodynamics? Fluid dynamics? Quantum mechanics? These are what lie at the center.
But perhaps I am just being fooled by Romm’s “Trojan horse” approach to radical environmentalism and human sacrifices at the altar of Gaea where she sits with her pet green dragon at her side.
I do not feel that climate science can be separated from politics and any attempt to do so short changes both. CP has always welcomed Republicans but GOBP politics are a curse on humanity. IMHO
First thought was — Oooh, “cult of personality.” :) but, no, you’re doing a move under the unbrella of think progress, like Sharon moving to Science Blogs. It looks good to me but do consider old eyes in the comment zone. And I LIKE black and white…
I’d like to second Daniel Zappala’s comment. I frequently send folks here, many of whom aren’t “progressives.” I’m concerned that Climate Progress, which used to appear as a climate site, now seems to have an agenda beyond climate science and energy. I don’t think you’re well served by making the site appear to be overtly partisan.
Joe — Congratulations on the spirit in which you’ve evolved Climate Progress. Of course, this will significantly expand your audience. That said, and bearing in mind your note that fundamental features won’t change, I still have some gripes that head that way.
* I’d much rather see CP “elevated” to have a link of “Climate” (as distinguished from Green), reflecting the importance of the subject.
* Whether or not that happens, it seems strange that we have first-named “Matt” and “Alyssa,” but then we get “Joe Romm” — I’d rather it be “Romm.” And M&A both have more compelling and friendly drawings: yours looks a bit, if I may say it, cranky.
* I’m not crazy about commenting from Facebook, which I primarily use for personal postings. If you’ve been reading what Eli Pariser has been saying, in his book, at TED, and online all over, most recently http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/23/opinion/23pariser.html, the integration of these tools can have negative consequences.
* The Watts comments breaks on iPad as well.
Good luck with this ambitious change!
Two more points: To see what’s happening more broadly, I suggest Climate Progress loyalists look at the overall Think Progress explanation of the change. http://thinkprogress.org/politics/2011/05/31/230925/new-thinkprogress-launch/. And now that I check back to my Facebook page, of course, my lengthy comments are truncated there to only the first few lines…..
I am not a fan of your comment tool. I don’t feel comfortable linking the comments to my facebook account, and apparently there is no option to avoid doing this. I understand why FB is important and don’t oppose it philosophically and in fact I post a lot of things about climate change on FB all the time, but I don’t want them associated with FB. I’m a blogger, and I’d like people to be able to find my website — I don’t post about climate change all the time, but I do it somewhat often.
That said, I have been really bummed out by CP’s comment moderation for the last year. I am not a spammer or a denialist, but I don’t think any of my comments have been approved on CP for the last year. (I still read this site closely and link to it often on FB though). I think I submitted about 10 comments, none of which were approved. T…hat is your loss, not mine; I don’t take it personally; I attribute it more to wordpress’s incompetent spam-catching. But it is irritating.
I have a disqus acccount and use it for making comments, but I see that the new design doesn’t allow that.
One other option is to manually include a URL to my blog at the bottom of each of my comments. That sounds like spam, but if your CMS doesn’t let bloggers have a way to advertise themselves when making a comment, what other choice do they have?
Joseph Romm May 31 at 12:09pm
But it isn’t obvious how to do that for someone who is logged into Facebook, so again I apologize that the instructions weren’t made available to you in a timely fashion.
If you do not want to comment using FB, and I fully understand that and insisted that there be other options, you will need to sign through Yahoo. You’ll have to click “(Not you?”) when asked by Facebook.
robertdotnagle May 31 at 12:29pm
Ok, I’m trying what you suggested by viewing this on a different browser. It seems to work — although again, it doesn’t let me make a URL easily available. I guess the OpenID infrastructure seems to preclude that. On a positive side, at least this comment didn’t get axed by the WP moderation system.
This is me posting using Facebook.
Richard Whiteford May 31 at 12:33pm
Hi Joseph Romm. I’m glad to see you on Face Book. Thanks for coming over to talk to us at the Marriott in DC.
Otto Lehikoinen June 1 at 12:32am
Commenting on facebook apparently will get transfered to a blog somehwere?
Lots to get used to here! Once I’ve linked to my “work” facebook page, I then can’t change my mind and link to my personal facebook page. This is a problem! Also — I do not want to have to link to my any page at all — just want to be able to comment without the interface. Being able to just use my google gmail account would solve the immediate problem but not the overall problem of requiring sign-in through another service. Though, this likely does cut down on the need to screen comments. Also — does anyone but me have an albeit quirky but compelling urge to draw a mustache on the sketch of Dr. Romm?
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mylesanonymous May 31 at 11:03am
Yahoo anonymous commenting only seems to work on your blog, not Yglesias’s.
climateblogger May 31 at 11:07am
this is a test by Joe Romm logging in through Yahoo.
Scott Waugh May 31 at 11:11am
I’m a daily reader of Climate Progress and other than a few bugs (Watts Comments in article above is empty, Flash on or off doesn’t seem to affect it) the site seems okay. Frankly I liked the old design better, but this will probably grow on me with time.
I have to mirror what Daniel Zappala wrote below – I used Climate Progress as a linking site I could point folks to when helping them understand climate change (often Fox news watchers) and as a stand alone climate focused (for the most part) site – that worked very well, linking it directly with a liberal political site will diminish its usefulness in this ongoing quixotic quest (only firming the misguided notion we have in the US that climate change is a one party political issue like abortion etc.). I’m sad about that and I’ll have to use other sites (none of which were as good) when trying to explain things to folks with conservative leanings.
The comment section seem okay, we’ll have to relearn alot of names. ;-)
Daniel Zappala May 31 at 11:19pm
I often point people to http://www.skepticalscience.com/ as well as this site. It’s especially good for refuting various myths, and is strong on presenting science in an easy way for people to understand.
Scott Waugh June 1 at 9:56am
Thanks Dan, I’ve looked at the site many times and now will start referring to it.
After a little scrolling around, the floating buttons on the LHS are now about 2″ to the right of where they should be, which leaves them on top of text. (Running FF 4.0.1 on Win7 x64.)
I also vote for a larger font, especially in the comments section.
The color scheme more or less works for me. It has a serious, crisp look, which matches the content. A tiny bit more color wouldn’t be bad.
I’ve got to agree that you’ve been given short shrift in the header design. On the main TP page (which is where clicking on my CP RSS feed took me, BTW), it looks like Joe Romm writes about LGBT, and “Climate Progress” is nowhere to be seen. They’ve killed your brand. And how many conservatives are going to see “LGBT” at the top of the page and read no further?
The FB comments are a mixed bag. The ability to reply to specific comments, and to be notified about replies to my comments, is a big win. Dunno about the wider exposure of personal info, though, especially for the reading pleasure of the anti-science crowd who will now know whose accounts to try to hack.
Signed, the commenter previously known as Bill W.
Joseph Romm May 31 at 12:12pm
Actually, I’ve been put front and center in the header design.
Prior to this, I was not linked to on any other think progress page. So this is exposure to a factor of 10 larger audience.
Climate Progress is still Climate Progress. So I don’t understand your brand comment.
You don’t have to sign in through Facebook.
Bill Walker May 31 at 12:18pm
My point is that nobody reading anywhere else on TP is going to see “Climate Progress” anywhere. They’re just going to see “Joe Romm” to the right of “LGBT”. Nobody who doesn’t already know what you’re about is likely to click on “Joe Romm” looking for climate change information. You’re well known to many, Joe, but your “brand” is “Climate Progress”, not “Joe Romm”.
Daniel Zappala May 31 at 2:12pm
I think the important thing to fix is the visual representation of topics (economy, green, etc) being right next to the list of authors. Like Bill and other readers have pointed out, it puts your name directly to the right of LGBT.
You really should talk to the web designers and have them visually separate the topics from the authors. It’s highly misleading right now, which does mess with your brand. It’s not hard to do and would improve the site greatly.
Timothy Chase May 31 at 11:15pm
Just imagine how the Log Cabin Republicans are going to feel!
China’s “land of fish and rice” has seen its lowest levels of rainfall since 1910, according to the official. Further, as of Monday, 13 of Hunan’s 14 major cities have been affected by the drought, the official said.
Shanghai is also experiencing its longest period of no precipitation in 138 years, having received only 132.9 mm of rainfall since the beginning of this year, the lowest level since 1873, according to a report released on Monday by the Shanghai Municipal Meteorological Bureau.
Adam Gallon June 4 at 11:23am
So why was there even less rain in 1910 and 1873?
Design issue : the main font on my Debian GNU/Linux desktop is very big and ugly (“Trebuchet MS” 15px), whereas the comments font is tiny (“Verdana” 11px). Zomming in/out doesn’t change the size discrepancy.
I’ll have to adapt to this new design, if I can’t mitigate as much as I would like (using a proxy, adblock rules or so).
Sorry for the negative remarks. Consider everything I didn’t say to be positive feedback.
Highest greenhouse gas emissions in history push global warming towards ‘dangerous’ levels.
Adam Gallon June 4 at 11:20am
Meanwhile, the skiing in Aspen continues!
I don’t actually have anything to say, but I am curious to see if HTML tags like <i>italics</i> or <b>bold</b> work.
zinfan94 May 31 at 4:03pm
Ugh! We can’t use html tags, and can’t insert hyperlinks? This is “Progress”? Try again.
abel.zabel May 31 at 1:09pm
1. anyone with any concern for their privacy avoids Facebook like the plague. It’s arguably the worst network on the net. Awful. The tight integration with Facebook will make TP/CP unattractive to many people. I won’t be commenting other than for this comment (for which I had to make a Yahoo account) and won’t be adding TP/CP to my RSS reader because of the Facebook association.
2. the change of URL dilutes the CP brand – now it’s just “Joe Romm is one of the bloggers at TP” – and, as others have pointed out, it appears from the masthead that Joe Romm is in charge of the LGBT section!
3. “…I really believe a blog should get a shakeup every two or three years.” Change for the sake of change is almost always counter-productive. It’s not a design competition – it’s about the *content*. And the new design of TP is average – at best.
4. the design feels squashed and messy with ever-present Tweet, print, email, etc. icons. I want to read the content – not be continually distracted by ‘social media’ icons and ‘Top Posts on Facebook’ boxes.
5. the font is a poor choice for readability – larger serif (as before) is much better.
6. making the comments an even smaller font makes always seems arrogant to me – makes it seem as though comments are not important. It discourages commenting. Also, not auto-linking URLs is another regressive way to put off commenters – it’s just a nuisance having to copy / paste URLs instead of clicking on them.
7. it makes CP now appear to be a domestic blog for the USA – because TP clearly has that narrow, inward focus.
In summary: I see no up-sides for me as a reader, only down-sides – and the Facebook partnership is a deal breaker. Goodbye Climate Progress.
P.S. It’s slightly ironic that Think Progress would integrate and support an organization that is so regressive on issues of privacy and an open, free internet. Here’s a starter for those who are unaware of how bad Facebook is (sorry, you’ll need to copy / paste the URLs!):
Finally, heed the words of Facebook’s CEO: “privacy is no longer a social norm” – he has no respect for your privacy… especially when it gets in the way of him making more money.
Of course everything new takes a little getting used to. I’m sure everything will be great when we get used to it.
So this isn’t personal to CP, it’s just that one of the fundamental problems of humanity is that the solution to all the problems of complexity always appears to be adding more complexity. Again, no reflection on CP, I’m just trying to see things get simpler in my life. It’s like civilization is represented by a skyscraper made of unreinforced bricks, with a new story being added every day…
John Mason May 31 at 2:23pm
Richard, I certainly agree with your “keep it simple” suggestion. Very much into designing systems with built-in resilience in general. Been getting the hang of the commenting though – I like the ability to reply to individual posts without having to quote them, or in the old CP, quoting the post-number only to find that changing as post held in moderation filtered on in.
Also good to see the new moderation works.
Cheers – John
While I appreciate your comments about upgrading the blog design, I agree with others that this format is at least going to take some time to get used to. The small print in the responses section is also an issue for me. I can read it okay, but don’t like such tiny print. I also agree with others: get your name removed from beside the LGBT link–it’s confusing. I’m also not much of a fan of the drawing of you; I don’t think it does you justice, and I don’t think you need it.
I really hope you can restore all the old comments and postings and links: a lot of valuable stuff there.
Keep up the great work, Joe, and thanks for all you do!
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zinfan94 May 31 at 1:30pm
Joe, in all honesty, this new format is terrible. On my screen, I now have white margins to each side of the page downloaded. As a result, the text of your post is strung out much longer since the column is narrower than before. This makes your posts much harder to read and comprehend. You had one of the most readable blogs on the net, now the posts are difficult to read.
I also have to zoom in to read the comments, and then the tweet, printer, and other icons float right on top of the comments, making reading the comments difficult.
The comments aren’t numbered, or time and date stamped like before. I am making this comment from my yahoo account, which gives people access to personal information. Before I used my real name when I could, and used an alias to avoid heckling and hate mail that I sometimes get from people like Ant…hony Watts. For business reasons, I can’t always use my real name.
I was hoping that at least it would be easier to access old posts in the new format, but I haven’t learned how to do this yet (this was a big problem with the old format).
I urge you to focus on readers needs; they are the “customers” of your work. Get a few in a room, and have them read a few posts in the old format, and then a few different posts in the new format. Question them carefully and in-depth, and ask them questions about content from the posts to see if they really understood the content. I think that even a few customers, will give you a lot of unfavorable feedback comparing the new format with the prior format.
Joseph Romm May 31 at 1:55pm
I can’t duplicate any of those problems in Firefox or Safari but I hope they can ultimately be resolved
zinfan94 May 31 at 2:13pm
I am using both Firefox and Safari on a MacBook Pro. If use the Firefox menu to zoom in, the tweet et. al. icons don’t move, but the comments expand below the icons. My comment is not the first here to note this comment.
If I use the zoom reset, then the icons return to their correct position.
zinfan94 May 31 at 2:15pm
I see the same problem on my Safari browser.
Samuel Silvers June 1 at 8:50pm
I have the same problems. The screen does not automatically adjust to a widescreen format, leaving big white margins on both sides. I also suggest that the default type size should be one size larger, and that headings be darker. It’s not surprising that there are a few design features that need adjusting in this redesign.
Samuel Silvers June 1 at 8:52pm
Oh, also, there should be a way to post anonymously from Facebook without a link showing to your Facebook account.
I think it’s great that CP will be integrated with TP in a way that might bring more traffic. However, I do think it’s a problem that the link to the blog in the header is “Joe Romm,” not “Climate Progress.” I agree with Bill W that Climate Progress is your brand, and it’s important to keep that.
I also think it’s a little weird that you, Yglesias, and Alyssa each appear to line up with the subject headings, and that your names are each in a different format (full name vs. surname vs. first name).
Finally, I HATE that comments have to be through third parties. I might be ok with it if it were an option to sign in with Google — my preference. But the site will never be able to cater to everyone’s preference, and it feels constraining and awkward to have to go through another platform at all, especially when one (FB) is the default.
Joseph Romm May 31 at 1:54pm
Climate Progress it still is.
Google will hopefully becoming as an option — til then, use Yahoo.Bottom of Form 7
I’m not too keen on the heavy facebook integration. Apparently just to write this comment, I allowed Yahoo to “share my information” with facebook. I wonder what information that might be? Maybe you could allow google login not facebook integrated?
Also, agreed with other commenters about the lack of color and the author sketch (I know, not your idea Joe, but…) Those really look old-school newsprint.
Finally, as others have also pointed out, the alignment of the contributor names with the subject areas gives a spurious linkage. Maybe the contributor names should be further to the right, giving some separation from the subject areas.
Joseph Romm May 31 at 1:50pm
Set up a Yahoo account with any info you want and use that if you don’t like FB.
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hm. Best wishes on the new format, but given Facebook’s express policy of making money by selling their users’ information, I have mixed feelings about integration with facebook.
Separately, I have found that facebook is buggy, unreliable, and subject to frequent unannounced changes. This will make climate progress more difficult to use at times.
I can see that this may better enable use of facebook to spread the climate progress message, but it does come at cost.
Joseph Romm May 31 at 1:53pm
Use Yahoo to comment
Gisser Martin June 3 at 6:08pm
I have to second Llewelly. FB is junk…
(I’m actually testing if the darn thing lets me comment now that I allow for 3rd-party cookies. The error message always was completely contentless “Oops. Blah blah”. They can’t even check and tell about the cookie thing. This is 3rd rate web programming…)
Gisser Martin June 3 at 6:18pm
(Wohoo, indeed! I had almost given up on commenting here again.)
So, in short, this is not a case of assimilation by Borg. It is assimilation by JUNK BORG.
Whilst trying in vain to post here I have encountered 2 crazy bugs (e.g. the amazing popup window loop) and this completely unprofessional error message (which actually is an insult of the customer). And I had already known FB is dubious after short perusal. The bad programming quality of FB should suffice to disregard it for any bigger system integration. If Joe’s fabulous web design team doesn’t get this, then forget them. They’re perhaps designers, but as system engineers they are dangerous amateurs.
– Mars Johann P. Florifulgurator
And now that I logged in to comment, I can only see one comment, not all the comments. Firefox 3.6.17 on Windows XP.
me May 31 at 4:48pm
Never mind – this problem has vanished.
Ftealjr May 31 at 2:02pm
A little more color would help. Also links are dead.
Joseph Romm May 31 at 2:14pm
A couple of links are bad. Sorry.
Change! Argh! I will try and get used to it, right now I miss the old format. I would like to a see a Climate Progress link on the Think Progress page. Comments are through facebook? what gives with that, I never look at those types of sites… Bottom of Form 23
Joe, I have to confess, I am a Climate Progress addict… I’m on your site nearly every day and usually several times a day. (I teach a course on Climate Science and your site is the best I know to keep up to date on the breaking science.)
At first I was a bit dismayed by the looks of the new format this morning. I think initial impressions either grab people or they don’t and I want folks to be grabbed by this important site. I send people here all the time, including my students. And now, I come back a few hours later and already see you responding to some of the comments. I LOVE the new photos livening things up! It gives me a lot of confidence that this site will continue to grow under your intelligent and responsive care. I’m going to trust that the other things you have started, like linking to the social media, is the way to go as well, as I’m sure you have thought about these aspects at length.
Thank you, Sue.
Rummaging around for multiple head-vises right now. But, OKAY, I’ll get used to it. Now, I do miss the categories on the old right-hand sidebar, because often I would be looking for some graph or another and knew where they were- like “must-have powerpoints.” That feature will be definitely be missed.
openid May 31 at 4:28pm
My last post did not make it. Now I am just testing.
Preston Cooper May 31 at 5:18pm
Agree with Daniel Zappala, Scott Waugh and Todd Tanner.
Its good to see that it allows different fb account profiles to be used.
I have a climate crisis fb account and so can select this instead of my personal account from a drop down menu. nice.
It would also be useful to have the add comment button available to click anywhere you are in the comment stream. Currently u have to scroll back up to the top to click it.
…I like the new layout more than the old. The main body could be a bit wider.
I agree with many here that you should try to maintain a separate ‘brand’ as well.
You should maintain the old URL and people visiting the blog via climateprogress.org should see that in the URL if possible. It should.
Joseph Romm May 31 at 6:04pm
Unfortunately, one can’t really keep the URL — other than for login purposes. But the URL isn’t the brand.
The brand “climate progress” was only separate in the sense that people didn’t notice at the top of every page it said “a project of the Center for American progress action fund.”
Will some people be confused? I suppose. But I’m not certain who those people would be. Not regular readers. And the whole point of this is to help create new readers. That will be the acid test for me. Bottom of Form 7
To be honest, I really hate having to sign into accounts to make comments (I’m busy, a minute here and there adds up over a week), and don’t like to comment on the internet under my real name. I was a frequent commenter here. This will be the only comment I make on this site.
Edit – it turns out there’s a captcha phrase element. More work, just to make a comment.
Joseph Romm May 31 at 6:43pm
Using Facebook, you should never have to sign on more than once, unless you like to keep signing off of Facebook.
If you used Yahoo, you could simply stay logged on through Yahoo.
I have not seen any “captcha” other than during the 30 seconds it took me to set up my Yahoo account.
We’ll miss you!
ftealjr May 31 at 6:27pm
I will be loggin in through yahoo. How do I get a picture in the avatar/picture box?
Ftealjr May 31 at 6:28pm
Is there any provision for spell check or a test post as in the previous version?
Joseph Romm May 31 at 6:46pm
Not that I’m aware of.
But Facebook just introduced this in March and sure they will be upgrading functionality
Prokaryotes May 31 at 6:50pm
Problems I have with the new design:
1.) FB comments can not be ordered and appear unsorted, hard to spot new comments. I miss the latest comment module at the sidebar. FB comments I post with my FB account are not visible, beside I have set my comment privacy settings to public. You are not able to dislike a post or bury a troll post for example. The comments fetched from the FB server need longer to load.
2.) Layout social buttons should be plaed on the bottom of the article not mess up space and layout with cluttering icons on the left. Very strange layout choice, basically you loose article space with this kind of layout setup.
3.) The header should contain a big Logo with both words same size ( for example see what I mean http://climateprogress.net/ ) Also I would change the header graphic with green/blue color theme. The linkage from TP should be placed on the bottom of the page, because you do not need to click these links very often. At least place them on the right sidebar.
4.) CP should keep it’s first class domainname, which is crucial for search engine rankings. The first search engine requirement under which a website is ranked, is the domainname.
5.) The old comments should remain, see 1.) you can easily install your OWN comment component with nested comments and upvote/bury features.
6.) Colors should be a bit more green, but not red or any other color, because Green/blue been so far the Corporate Identity of CP and green symbols hope.
7.) Typography, the article font should be more like on the old page, rightnow with firefox 4 the article font appears to bold’ish, makes it harder to read.
Prokaryotes May 31 at 7:09pm
What i miss the most is the option to register with CP – become a member, to have my own user profile and are able to browse my comments later on.
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Love the page, a lot of great new features! :D
(And, while it has its drawbacks, I’m fan of Facebook comments).
Zachary Shahan June 1 at 3:11am
btw, forgot to mention, i like the drawing of Joe! nice touch :D (imho)
After reading through most of the comments (and noting that I am the director of 2.5 sites and have gone through major changes like this as well, and observed the reactions to changes on many other sites I’m not connected to), I think a lot of people’s problems are really just a matter of getting used to something new.
On Facebook: the company may be quite evil, but it is the biggest site on the internet. if you want your message spread, it is critical to have a strong presence on this site.
Clearly, separating Joe Romm from LGBT is needed!
While being connected to TP may turn of some conservatives, I think it will bring in many more people open to understanding climate science and the climate disinformation propaganda campaign and the net benefit will be greater, but that’s just my opinion.
Change seems hard for a lot of people to go through, but hopefully after a few weeks most of you wouldn’t go back to the previous design if someone paid you.
My one nitpicky comment, however, is that this font is sort of hard to read. The letters look like they are twirling to me — I think a font change could help a lot.
Thanks for the sharing buttons! & new design :D
Joseph Romm May 31 at 7:58pm
Thank you for taking the time to make this comment. Conservatives were never a plausible target audience for this site — low probability of access and low probability of influence combine to get a very low probability of impact on them.
This site is primarily to inform progressives and persuade the persuadable.1
& sorry, to clarify, i mean the font in the articles (not comments).
*off (4th paragraph) May 31 at 8:50pm
Just testing this out. Some things I’ll that just amplify earlier comments:
(1) Loss of the ability to use html tags and to insert hyperlinks is NOT progress (see there, I had to shout because I couldn’t use italics). Some the best stuff on your blog came in the form of hyperlinks from knowledgeable commenters – now we have to cut and paste them – that’s a step backward.
(2) The font size on the blog text can be enlarged, but the comments stay small. That’s pretty annoying for an over-50 reader.
(3) As many have said, the topic tags should be separated from the author (editor) tags in the heading – it’s confusing.
(4) A question: aside from the obvious opportunity to expand your readership, what other advantages does the redesign offer?
Joseph Romm May 31 at 9:40pm
Thank you so much for your comments.
Besides the opportunity to expand readership is the opportunity to better integrate with the largest and fastest-growing forms of social media.
I am not a web designer, but we did have the best in the business do this so if they tell me this is the future, then I trust them.
I agree with many comments about the new comments — and this approach would certainly not have been my choice — but I am hoping that Facebook, which only launched this feature in March, will be adding functionality.
1) The inability to embed HTML is not good design. Again, I assume Facebook will fix that. I’m not certain that we can do so in their absence, but I am inquiring.
2) The web designer sent around a picture showing that the font size is in fact pretty much the same as what everyone else uses on the web. I’m at a loss here since I just blow everything up on my computer with the “Command +” option. The web team is aware that in some browsers that screws up the formatting and they are working on it.
3) Topic tags are at the end of a post, so I don’t quite understand this issue. I haven’t been using tags very much before so it will take me a while to consistently use them.
4) More readers, more linking to social media, those would be the primary reason for most website redesigns these days, I think.
Jakob Wranne June 1 at 2:32am
There is a risk that readers might be lost.
There does not appear to be any order in which the comments are displayed. Even the top comments to any line of replies vary in terms of when they are shown. (10 hours ago comes after 8 hours ago but before 9 hours ago, etc.) That seems less than ideal.
Joseph Romm May 31 at 10:00pm
you can choose to look at the comments chronologically.
Just click on the “# comments” line across from “Add a comment”
Joseph Romm May 31 at 10:04pm
I will see if it is possible to change the default
Gary Herstein May 31 at 10:30pm
Oh, duh — right there. Too many new buttons. (But, I must admit, the “Social Ranking” concept gives me a chuckle … Bottom of Form 5
hapamoku May 31 at 10:09pm
about the design, I think it needs more contrast. the concept of keying article headline color to masthead color — gold for economy, rust for security, etc — kinda doesn’t work if the masthead color is black, both pieces of text disappear.
i really do think for easy scanning and easy reading, this new thinkprogress.org design should be compared to the new high-contrast, openly-spaced layout at <a href=”http://allthingsd.com”>http://allthingsd.com</a>.
also for <em>blocks</em> of italicized text, trebuchet (the fallback font) has too little difference between roman and italic/oblique. the design already has a problem getting the eye to the headline and then to the lead. (georgia italic has good contrast.)
ps. does a beltway political forum switching to facebook for comments make anyone else think of ‘in the loop’?
hapamoku May 31 at 10:10pm
no html either! waaah.
‘Unchronological mess is this.’ -Yoda, when commenting on here. funny how a retraction of an argument may appear be4 6 actual claim, but that’s FB 4 U.
Missing the “Climate Progress” as main logo. Don’t like new logo. Ugly.
Missing “Climate Progress” in its own right.
Missing domain “climateprogress.org”.
Don’t like “Climate Progress” being forced to the back yard.
Don’t like backward way of commenting.
Don’t like heavy reliance on facebook. Facebook has mayor deep flaws when it comes to integrity and security.
Have blocked a lot. Because off integrity. Facebook among that. Sad to have to turn that blocking off to be able to comment.
I do not find the archive. That wonderful treasure. Is it still possible to use it?
Joseph Romm June 1 at 6:23amEventually, I’m told.
What plug-ins or apps or small programs needs to be unblocked to make the site work properly?
When on “ThinkProgress” site, there is no link clearly labeled “Climate Progress”.
Don’t lose that brand!
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Testing. Why doesn’t this comment post reveal my name as I’ve set it up in my Yahoo account profile to display, which is Michael Heath rather than “me”?
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Why does this page perceive me to have the name “me” rather than my Yahoo display name, which is Michael Heath? I created this account through my Google account.
People have expressed their desire for the banner to do a somewhat better job of communicating what a given author primarily writes about and have suggested a redesign of sorts. (I say “primarily” since Romm does get into issues of economics, health, justice and security — when the primary topic warrants dealing with them.)
One possibility would be to keep things vertically where they are with the stacked column of topics on one side and the stacked column of authors on the other, but then separate the two with a narrow continuous column that rises only as high as the current topic. The color of the column could then match the color-coding of the topic.
In addition, the parallelograms for the authors begin with black. Why not replace black with the color associated with the topic? Just a couple of thoughts…
metzomagic June 1 at 7:08pm
It will obviously take a few weeks/months to work the glitches out. At the moment, the most annoying one is that when you magnify the page, the drop-down list on the left obscures the text. That problem should have been weeded out before going live.
Not impressed that you are expected to comment through Facebook, because some of us don’t really go there. So I had to obtain a Yahoo account just for the purpose of posting here.
But, as they say, content is king and that’s what we come here for. So willing to go with the flow for a while until things get sorted out…
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metzomagic June 1 at 7:14pm
Oh, and I’ve seen some attempts to use HTML elements that didn’t work, so let’s try some BB Code [b]test bold[/b]. But I’m guessing that won’t work either :-\ And if it doesn’t, that’s another ‘nice to have’, Joe: a Preview button.
Joseph Romm June 1 at 7:26pm
I will this fixed.
i dunno June 2 at 11:48am
Just testing if I can still comment…
I found my way over here after Google Reader dropped this [http://motls.blogspot.com/2011/05/climate-progress-becomes-directory-on.html] in my newsfeed. Is there no cognitive dissonance when someone claims to be a “conservative physicist” yet claims that moving Climate Progress to a “far left political site” is all part of some sinister plan by unseen paymasters? When one considers that true science is done in the open, at universities and research institutes, and published in journals while the counter-arguments are made in think tanks that are paid for by industry and don’t do peer review, which side should I put my trust in?
The science I understand doesn’t have a political bias, in any direction. So referring to one’s self as “conservative physicist” means what? They look for market pressures in the movement of subatomic particles? They are suspicious of even distributions, as possibly being quotas? Do they check the political affiliations of the discoverers of various scientific laws before applying them?
Joseph Romm June 5 at 12:55pm
I have no idea what a conservative physicist is — except that I would hope he or she wants to conserve a livable climate and conserve as many renewable and nonrenewable resources for future generations. Anyone who thinks we should not take action to restrict greenhouse gas emissions is someone who either doesn’t understand science or wants radical change for billions of people.
Paul Beard June 5 at 11:22pm
I think the definition of conservatism has gotten a tad muddled if the idea of conservation is anathema to conservatives or if preserving wildlife habitat or safeguarding the health of children is somehow antithetical to their beliefs.
krissync2001 June 9 at 7:24am
Joe, here is a copy of my letter to Joshua Dorner after I had read his comments on the the new TP. I didn’t address the FB issue because for a serious blogger that sort of is a non starter. If I wanted to post on a social site I’d go to a social site. I do not want my comments posted all over the web. Anyway here is the letter I wrote yesterday.
I just read with great interest your article on the establishment of your new blog format at Think Progress. As one of the regulars at the old Think Progress I am wondering if you’ve noticed that comments and web traffic are down considerably. In point of fact most, if not all of the regulars, at the old site have now moved on to other blogs. What you guys did to the site was simply destroy any cohesiveness or intelligent attempts at blogging on your site. The new format is slow, lacks character, and above all isn’t conducive to discussion.
I have talked with just about every regular that was on the site and as of May 31st and while a few like myself attempted to use the site as it is now, most have decided it is a total waste of time. I can’t say I disagree with their analysis and have no way to defend the actions taken by Think Progress in this regard.
The really sad part about what has occurred is the it didn’t need to be that way. I spent hours of my own time corresponding with Faiz Shakir on ways to improve the site within the existing parameters. All that was needed to clean the site up was some full time moderation. I offered to do that for free, submitted credentials to Faiz, offered to help him arrange moderation schedules with other regulars, and we all offered the openness to discuss the issue with any of your staff. None of that was taken seriously and in fact we never even received a response until I specifically asked for a response. Bottom line is that for myself, the format that you’ve put up doesn’t meet my needs. I am just guessing based on the numbers I’ve seen the site that it’s probably true of a number of people. I would suggest only one thing. You might want to talk to the people at the San Francisco Examiner, who did exactly what you guys did, and now they’ve switched back to Disqus after losing most of their clients.
If you ever go back to Disqus I’ll be more then happy to come back to Think Progress. Until then I wish you all the best.”
comments901 June 14 at 6:45pm
This is a test of the emergency comments system. Seeing how to keep posting with some kind of Anon handle. Sort of annoying but also hypocritical since I prefer commenters identify themselves.