Over the last decade, commenting has dramatically moved from specific web-sites to general social media platforms, radically changing how people interact with longer-form content (such as blogs, substacks, newspapers and journalism). No single site can compete with the breadth of audience and engagement that is found on Facebook, Twitter, Reddit etc. This has led to a very clear reduction in the quality of comments on more specialized sites (like RealClimate), as many of you have observed. This is not a problem that appears amenable to stricter moderation.
We are therefore leaning towards suspending comment and open threads on the blog. Feel free to comment on this decision below. If the discussion is good and substantive, it will weigh towards the continuation of the commenting facility. Contrariwise, if it is shallow and unnecessarily hostile, then it is likely to be the last comment thread on this blog. We would still post articles, but anticipate that commentary and criticism will be hosted elsewhere.
As a replacement, we are happy to explore ways to better link to relevant discussions on social media – suggestions for plugins/methods are welcome.