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Somebody read the comments…

Filed under: — gavin @ 28 July 2020

This post is just to highlight an interesting paper that’s just been published that analyzed the comment threads here and at WUWT.

In it, the authors analyze how the commenters interact, argue and attempt to persuade, mostly, to be fair, unsuccessfully. It may be that seeing how academics analyse the arguments, some commenters might want to modify their approach… who knows?

The comment threads they looked at (I think) are from five posts from Feb to April 2019, including The best case for worst case scenarios, Nenana Ice Classic 2019, First successful model simulation of the past 3 million years and a couple of open threads.


  1. C.W. van Eck, B.C. Mulder, and A. Dewulf, "Online Climate Change Polarization: Interactional Framing Analysis of Climate Change Blog Comments", Science Communication, vol. 42, pp. 454-480, 2020.

Unforced variations: Jan 2011

Filed under: — group @ 6 January 2011

After perusing the comments and suggestions made last week, we are going to try a new approach to dealing with comment thread disruptions. We are going to try and ensure that there is always an open thread for off-topic questions and discussions. They will be called (as this one) “Unforced Variation: [current month]” and we will try and move all off-topic comments on other threads to these threads. So if your comment seems to disappear from one thread, look for it here.

Additionally, we will institute a thread for all the troll-like comments to be called “The Bore Hole” (apologies to any actual borehole specialists) that won’t allow discussion, but will serve to show how silly and repetitive some of the nonsense that we have been moderating out is. (Note that truly offensive posts will still get deleted). If you think you’ve ended up there by mistake, please let us know.

With no further ado, please talk about anything climate science related you like.

Comment policy

Filed under: — group @ 9 December 2004
  1. Comments are moderated. Comments are periodically reviewed, but especially at weekends, evenings and holidays, there may be some delay in approving otherwise non-contentious posts. Please be patient.
  2. Questions, clarifications and serious rebuttals and discussions are welcomed.
  3. Only comments that are germane to the post will be approved. Comments that are “off-topic” should be made on an open thread (usually entitled “Unforced Variations”), and we may move OT comments to those threads.
  4. Comments that contain links to inappropriate, irrelevant or commercial sites may be deleted.
  5. Discussion of non-scientific subjects is discouraged.
  6. No flames, profanity, ad hominem comments are allowed. This includes comments that (explicitly or implicitly) impugn the motives of others, or which otherwise try to personalize matters under discussion.
  7. We reserve the right to make spelling corrections, correct text format problems, etc.
  8. We use moderation to improve the “signal to noise” in the discussion. For this reason, we may choose to screen out comments that simply repeat points made in previous comments, make claims that have already been dealt with or that “muddy the water” by introducing erroneous, specious, or otherwise misleading assertions. These comments may be sent to “The Bore Hole“.
  9. We reserve the right to either reject comments that do not meet the above criteria, or in certain cases to edit them in a manner that brings them into accordance with our comments policy (e.g. by simply deleting inflammatory or ad hominem language from an otherwise worthy comment). In cases where we do this, it will be noted by an [edit].
  10. Given that RealClimate represents a volunteer effort by about 10 different contributors, each of whom are free to participate in queue moderation, the items indicated above only constitute the basic ground rules. We cannot insure uniform application of the various considerations listed above from one individual comment to the next.
  11. Quick responses to questions that don’t merit a full post will be placed in-line (with credits).
  12. All comments are assumed to be released into the public domain.
  13. Comments generally close after a month.
  14. Repeat violators of our comments policy (in particular, individuals demonstrating a pattern of “trolling”) may be barred from future access to the blog.

revised 01/06/11