Climate Progress 5.0: A New Comments System

As Climate Progress approaches its 5th anniversary, we are (slightly) upgrading the website one more time.  We are restoring Word Press commenting — and all of CP’s original comments.

The site redesign and merger with Think Progress on May 31 brought a great number of improvements to CP.  Our content could be more easily shared and promoted by TP, which gets 10 times our traffic.  We got the benefits of some terrific design improvements from CAPAF’s outstanding IT team — including the ability to feature stories at the top of the page as well as the retweet and “like” buttons, which have been a big success.

In the weeks and months since the merger/redesign, however, readers kept raising a number of issues.  Most of those concerned the commenting system, which many suggested was non-optimal for sustaining the unique community dialogue — almost a salon — that had grown organically over the past few years.

After much discussion here at CAPAF, we are restoring Word Press commenting for CP — with some new features such as nested comments.  You can use HTML.  You won’t need an ID to comment.  I still prefer non-anonymous commenters, but nom de plumes will be allowed.  First-time commenters will have to go through moderation (once).  Others won’t, as long as they meet the terms of use (and don’t get tripped up by the spam filter, by, say, trying to post too many links).  I still urge people not to come here and try to spread disinformation — there are plenty of sites on the bunkosphere for that.

UPDATE:  “Preview” has been enabled!

Readers also wanted an easier way to sign up for my RSS feed.  Now that is much simpler.  Clicking on the icon in the upper right hand corner. You can also join the 6,600 people who get my e-mail every day at 1 PM EST by signing up on the right.

Finally, people tell me they’d like easier access to my archive of posts on climate science and the like.  I promise to set up posts that are mini-archives of core issues like “ocean acidification” and “food insecurity” — as well as one grand archive when I have completed the mini-archives.  This will take a while, but I hope to finish by year’s end.

Bearing in mind that further changes to website design are exceedingly unlikely in the foreseeable future, comment away!

NOTE:  It may take some hours to iron out all the kinks, so please be patient.  Also, in the posts from May 31 until today, we have saved the comments for the posts that received the most comments in the body of the text.

87 Responses to Climate Progress 5.0: A New Comments System

  1. dp says:

    leaving a reply!

  2. Sou says:

    Thanks, Joe. Great to have the comments back again.

  3. Joe Romm says:

    Thanks for the inaugural comment. Loading may be slow as we do the switch-over

  4. David Fox says:

    Thanks for doing this! So many sites require you to be part of the Borg, I was just resigned to being silent. Thanks for giving me a voice on your sight.

  5. Yay, WordPress!
    Boo, FarceBook.

  6. Sasparilla says:

    Thanks for doing this Joe – great to have the comments back.

    I’d still rather have you as an independent site – but its your site and I love what you write.

    [JR: I was CAPAF before. And my editorial content is completely independent, as it always has been.]

  7. Leif says:

    We’re back! I thought everyone did admirably adapting to the old/new system after the initial shock. Hard to teach some of us old dogs new tricks. Will we be getting a “preview” option?

    [JR: I believe so. An embedded comment!]

  8. Michael Tucker says:

    I sure hope this means you will be restoring your outstanding library of previous posts. Thanks for all your work on the new format.

    [JR: All previous comments from the past 5 years are restored. The old posts themselves are there but admittedly they can be hard to find. I am committed to creating accessible archives, even if it takes me several months.]

  9. Peter S. Mizla says:

    This is a better system then Facebook!

  10. PeterM says:

    ok all set now-

  11. David B. Benson says:

    Much better again. Thanks to all the busy ITers.

  12. David B. Benson says:

    Font size big enough that I can read what I write.

  13. Andy Hultgren says:

    Thanks so much Joe for committing to restoring your old posts in an accessible archive. There is some truly excellent information back there.

    Sincerely appreciative!!

  14. catman306 says:

    Thanks, I was having to write in the text editor and copy and paste it into that Facebook text box and I only figured that out two days ago. What a monster!

    Love the bigger font size. I can see again!

  15. Joe, Thank you so much.

    You have a rich and important legacy here.

    Long ago, yours was the first blog where I was proud to to use my own name. And now, I want to be recorded as joining and amplifying your voice. Thanks so much for doing this. And thanks for all that you do.

  16. adelady says:


    And the font size is good, too. Thanks to all for seeing the light.

  17. todd tanner says:

    Thanks, Joe. This is a definite improvement.

  18. Ominous Clouds Overhead says:

    Wow, can now read the comments again and post. Great!

  19. AJ says:

    Me, too. It was impossible to read the comments, let alone be able to comment, in FF on osx. It was a bug that IT never seemed willing to work out. I had to use Chrome instead.

    Any way, test comment.

  20. Lollipop says:

    Thanks so much!

  21. The Wonderer says:

    Thank you. I am happy to be back.

  22. Michael T says:

    Thanks for bringing back the old commenting system. This is much better than the Facebook setup.

  23. Mike#22 says:


    Observation: Several of the CP posts went quickly to 3k + likes in FaceBook land. It was sort of like watching an engine trying to start. I see this as more important (perhaps) than whether commenters found the system workable, in that something that goes to 3k could very easily go to 30k.

    So is there any merit to running the FaceBook commenting in parallel and continue offering to FaceBook members?

    Anyway, thank you Dr. Romm and colleagues, there is no one better than you at this most important work.


    [JR: Thank you. I don’t believe that FB commenting drove FB likes, since we typically had 50x to 100x as many likes as comments. I could be wrong. We’ll see. FB commenting is not compatible with WB, though theoretically FB connect is. That said, I think it is safe to say we are done with major changes for the foreseeable future.]

  24. Rob Jones says:

    Thank you. I have not posted here since the new comments system. I look forward to adding my 20c worth again when appropriate.

  25. Joe Romm says:

    Welcome back! I’m glad you stuck around.

  26. Edith Wiethorn says:

    Dr. Romm, your accessible climate science archives will be the ongoing reason I can send thoughtful, logical citizen-voters & elected officials to your website to get reliably informed & up-to-speed on climate science. Historically a core group of responsible citizens have acted upon facts, logic & values. This type of citizen is not particularly well-served by current trends in social media methods, which are essentially – still experimental.

  27. Kota says:

    I’ve not posted since the FB change either but read here every day – my favorite climate blog. Great to have the comments back for those of us not on FB.

  28. Robert Nagle says:

    First, I am totally happy you did this. I hated the facebook commenting system. Thanks for including a preview feature…

    Alas, I noted that whenever I commented under the WP comment system, all my comments were lost — perhaps they were overlooked or marked incorrectly as spam. What a bummer. Enough of administrative matters — back to blogging!

  29. Joe Romm says:

    Well, that old system had issues with the spam filter. I can’t make any promises with the new one yet, but so far it seems to be working.

  30. Vic says:

    I hate to complain Joe, but I am one who typically uses an iPhone to read your posts and have been disappointed that the ThinkProgress mobile version doesn’t allow comments – nor does it even show the many great comments posted by other readers.

    Most websites that automatically display a scaled down mobile version like this will at least provide somewhere on the page a link to the full scale version. Such a link is not provided on ThinkProgress’ mobile site, which apart from making the site less effective, forces people like me to use a 30 Watt notebook to access the comments instead of a 3 Watt iPhone.
    I hope you can talk the ThinkProgress people into including a link to the full version, not just on your pages, but theirs as well.

  31. Sou says:

    Worth mentioning, Joe, that whatever you’ve done the site is loading properly again. No longer do I have to wait a minute or so before I can scroll down the page. Maybe it was the comments system or maybe something else – but I’m delighted.

    So a big thank you once again. And I’m looking forward to reading each article more easily now as well as reading the comments from all the CP ‘oldies’ once again :D

  32. David B. Benson says:

    Testing the preview feature by posting what was a prior comment (from yesterday) which seems to have gone to the great bit-bucket in the sky.

    Environmental Effects of Wind Energy Projects
    National Research Council
    May 3, 2007

  33. Leland Palmer says:

    Thank you God…uh…Joe.

    The Facebook comments were maddening. :)

  34. Joe Romm says:

    Great! I’d love to hear if others find that to be true too.

  35. Mossy says:

    Somebody notify Mulga Mumblebrain! I want Mulga back!

  36. Mossy says:

    Somebody notify Mulga Mumblebrain. We want Mulga back!

  37. Edith Wiethorn says:

    As a designer, I am sorry to see TPCP stuck with pages set in this TrebuchetMT 15-point font with excess, spacey leading, which feels like “Dick & Jane” type of page format – over-large for adults. A little thought-problem would be – “Would you buy a book that looked & read like this?” The pages do not read with ergonomic ease. Your former, classic page-fonts could always be enlarged with “zoom in” & retained their relative good proportions. I thought that CP made the perfect compliment for a really dynamic use of Facebook per se … I am glad that you have acted to conserve your world-wide community of interested readers/writers around the subject of climate science & climate politics.

  38. Thanks for removing the ID requirement.

    (Before, I was “me” or “brademey”).

  39. Yvette says:

    Yeah! Now if I pop in when at work, (on break of course) I can comment.

  40. Douglas says:

    Thank you Joe and the CAPAF IT staff! (And I apologize for my too-angry comment re the old system a few days ago).

    This is much appreciated!


  41. riverat says:

    Thank you Joe. I didn’t want to sign up for some web account I didn’t need otherwise so I haven’t added a comment since the change. But I kept reading. Between CP and RealClimate I feel like I’m well informed on the major issues of climate change.

    Dave Werth

  42. riverat says:

    One other comment, it was a little disconcerting to see my message numbered 34 when the number of comments was 43. Of course 43 includes all of the replies which don’t get numbered. This is not a complaint, just pointing it out.

  43. Gingerbaker says:

    No more clicking on “See 6 more” a thousand times just to read all the comments in a thread! Well done! and thanks. :)

  44. John Mason says:

    Joe, it’s certainly loading quickly and smoothly again. This is a tremendous improvement – thanks for getting it arranged.

    Cheers – John

  45. lewis cleverdon says:

    Joe – it’s very good to see these changes opening up access again. And as for the restoration of access to the archive – well that is just gold dust – as a unique global resource its closure was a significant loss.

    Re TP, are there any data available as to reader numbers opening the CP front page and articles ? How has CP done overall ?

    My only regrets at present are the absence of the excellent old colour formats and the old typeface (Times?) whose serifs provide exceptionally high legibility, and whose fine proportions and spacing help to raise the quality of language used.

    Maybe some day . . .

    With best wishes,


  46. Leland Palmer says:

    Not to beat a dead horse too much, but I think this needs to be recorded, what the Facebook system was doing. I don’t know if you could sue Facebook, Joe, probably not, but I think they hurt your traffic ratings and the income generated by your ads.

    I would post, and it would appear that my post was accepted, so long as the site cookie was in place. Then I would log in anonymously, using the Google Chrome anonymous window function, after deleting cookies, to see what everybody else visiting the site saw. And I would find that the post was gone, and had not been accepted.

    I was excluded from making posts that anyone else could see, it appeared. But it appeared that the site was lying to me, and appearing to accept the post without actually doing so.

    I tested this several times, over several weeks, and was never able to post. It would always look like the post went through, but nobody else could see it. Sure enough, when I logged back in anonymously after deleting cookies, the post would be gone. Not hidden, not reshuffled, but totally gone.

    Perhaps other users had different experiences, but the Facebook system was just bizarre, Joe. You did the right thing by getting rid of it, I think.

    Thank you for everything you do, Joe. :)

  47. _Flin_ says:

    Thank you very much! It is a pleasure!

    At last I can comment again on topics I am interested in, have further information, a question or just want to state an opinion.

    Something I just didn’t want to do with my real name, as an individual working in the energy sector.

    Thanks again!

  48. Rabid Doomsayer says:

    The face-book system was getting awfully frustrating for a number of reasons:
    *It would not let me post as Doomsayer
    *Spellchecker would not work
    *It clogged up my old computer even when I was not trying to comment
    *always only let me comment via face-book

    It was almost as though it was creating a loop with face-book that it would not come out of. Certainly slowed the page loading down.

    Thank you very much for this latest change.

  49. Adam R. says:

    Much better!

    Thanks, Joe.

  50. Prokaryotes says:

    A few colors and font size settings, headline styles etc, could enhance the experience :)

    Comment Design: Considerations, Best Practices And Examples

  51. Prokaryotes says:

    + a box with LATEST COMMENTS

  52. MarkfromLexington says:

    Thank you Joe! It is great to see all the folks I’ve missed these last few months coming back!

    Joe, Any chance the “Leave a Reply” box could be positioned at the top of the comments section?

    You’ll get more comments that way.

    Very, very positive news!!!

  53. Joan Savage says:

    I’m thrilled to be free of FB, and thrilled to see experienced commenters back on deck!!

    Now we can acknowledge several previous comments at once. This is a much more integrative conversational format.

    As my daughter says, WOO HOO!

  54. Joan Savage says:

    Faster now, for sure.
    FB kept re-prioritizing the posts; shuffling them around by number of reply comments and likes. That was part of the slow loading.

  55. Joe Romm says:

    It is not numbering replies, but is counting them.

  56. Dr.A.Jagadeesh says:

    It has become more elegant. I liked it. Congratulations Joe Romm for the changes which are most welcome.

    Dr.A.Jagadeesh Nellore(AP),India

  57. Raul M. says:

    Yes, Thank You

  58. John McCormick says:

    Joe, we all owe you more than a thank you. Based upon the actual minutes your replies were posted, I gather you work an 18 hour day. You’re special!

  59. Richard Brenne says:

    Leaving a reply to your reply. . .

    Joe, we all thank you so much. If you ever want to care how much blood, sweat and tears went into both your major changes to save our comments and improve our commenting, I’d love to hear.

    It’s also great to hear comments from so many of the epic commenters again. Now if we can just get Mulga Mumblebrain back, all our prayers except Rick Perry’s will be answered.

  60. Gordon says:

    Yes, I had given up on commenting. I don’t want to use Facebook – not only privacy concerns, but you know there’s some commercial bent to the whole thing.

  61. Gordon says:

    And Joe, you might want to tell Yglesias that they should change their comment policy – I thought this change was site-wide, but no – at Yglesias I have to use Facebook, which I refuse to do.

  62. Brigid says:

    Really glad to have the old commenting system back — though I admit I rarely commented on the old independent CP site, I was further deterred from commenting by the outside-party integrated comment system once you moved here.

    And as others have said, thanks so much for all your hard work in the upkeep, as well as the content, of this blog. Your dedication to serving your readers is really valuable.

  63. dick smith says:

    Thank you. I never mastered the new system and stopped trying.

  64. Spike says:

    Great news – one of the worst features of the new site was the loss of the previously abundant intelligent and informed contributions. Hope they all come home.

  65. Kermit says:

    It’s a joy to read the comments again, and while I rarely post here, it’s good that it is not a pain anymore.

    On your old site I would occasionally look up an old blog to find cites, arguments, numbers, in response to some idiocy by a denialist, or a genuine question by somebody who was finally realizing how serious this subject is. Your posts do not merely inform those of us who have been reading them, but also everyone we communicate with on global warming.

    I realize how much work is involved in getting your old posts easily accessible again, but there is a difficult-to-track propagation of knowledge outward from this site, and restoring the ease of finding old subjects will facilitate this.

    Thank you Joe. One way or another it may turn out that there is no more important work than what you are doing here.

  66. Thanks for new comments format. Much better. I can now actually read the type. Bravo.

  67. Jeff Huggins says:

    Bravo! Thanks Joe! And while I’m at it, THANKS to all those in DC, and thanks to the environmental groups for the letter yesterday! Cheers for now. Be Well!


  68. Rob Honeycutt says:

    Yay! Thank you! This is MUCH better!

  69. lizardo says:

    Yay! Now I can comment! And the comments aren’t too tiny to read. Thanks1

  70. Great, great, great. Thanks Joe.

    The most frustrating part of the FB comment system for me was the random order it listed comments…with no option to view in simple chronological order. I found that it destroyed the dialog flow among comments that was a real strength of the old Climate Progress site. Looking forward to the return of the comment energy and quality now that we are back to the WP system

  71. I agree — the sans serif font is not so easy on the eyes (my old eyes anyway).

    Nice to see the old commenting system return. It couldn’t have been easy to arrange.

    The archives of your posts are very important and so I hope they will be accessible, including with a good search engine on your homepage.

  72. otter17 says:


    The indispensable blog is now even more awesome.

  73. BlueRock says:

    The Facebook boil has been lanced! Hurrah!

    No Facebook = good decision for progressive websites and anyone concerned about rampant corporatism and greed and (lack of) freedom of information. I couldn’t even read comments let alone contribute as I refuse to allow any Facebook code to run on my machine.

    P.S. Joe, a small suggestion: move the ‘Preview’ button next to the ‘Post Comment’ button – it’ll more likely be used then.

  74. Celia Schorr says:

    Thank you!

  75. Ric Merritt says:

    I usually drop in from work at lunchtime. Because of usage policies at work, I can’t even see the Facebook comments, much less contribute.

  76. I understand complaints about Facebook links being corporate. That said, it made it easier for me to post to the broad number of sites I tend to frequent. Probably better for CP and TP, though. Best and good luck!

  77. Chris Winter says:

    I welcome the return of a truly usable comment system, and it’s a joy to be able to properly mark off comments through blockquote and italics, and to use HTML entities.

    This new setup does take a little getting used to, with having to switch back and forth between the preview and the raw text of a comment. But that’s no big deal compared to the benefits.

  78. Stefan says:

    Thanks a lot for implementing the old comments system again! I’ve never been an avid commentator myself but I’ve always enjoyed reading the many informed comments of others, which are an important part of this blog. I could never warm to the new comments system, which proved difficult to me to read and participate in since I don’t have a F***book account.

  79. momochan says:

    Thank you for bringing back the WP commenting! Not only were the FB comments annoying, but also the main page was loading very slowly for me.
    Keep up the good work.

  80. Doug Bostrom says:

    Thank you! Having a voice without being attached to a corporate patron (Yahoo? oooh…) is terrific.

  81. SecularAnimist says:


  82. Robert In New Orleans says:

    The muzzle has been lifted,
    The gag has been removed,
    The Exiled one has returned,
    The diaspora has ended,
    If I could only remember what I wanted to say.

  83. Merrelyn Emery says:

    You beauty! It was so sad to see so much of the world disappear with the FB system but now it’s all back. We can have a truly global perspective once again, ME

  84. riverat says:

    One other thing, I’m happy the comments are in chronological order now. The FB system put them in “social order”.