Blog moderation etc.

by Judith Curry

I am trying to take a harder line at moderating the blog.

Obviously not a simple task.  My main concern is people impersonating other commenters.

I have implemented a requirement for registration (I clicked a box on wordpress).  I have no idea how/if this will work.  If there are problems with this and you can’t comment, pls email me.

Note, I am one person here.  I have no funds to hire moderators or admin people.  I am also very illiterate when it comes to the internet (which is why I have been able to manage with point-and-click wordpress).  I appreciate your advice on what to do, however I do not have the capability to implement any of these.

Lets see what we can do to improve the situation.  Thanks for your patience and cooperation

197 responses to “Blog moderation etc.

  1. Looks like Springer wasn’t content to run amok here, but decided to mess with ATTP also.

    Stay classy, Springer, stay classy – as always.

  2. I was able to create an account and comment. It’s no worse than any other web site registration and easier than a lot of them.

  3. I had to change my user ID since jim2 was apparently taken by someone else.

    • David Springer

      Maybe Jim2020 for the perfectly clear vision in your comments? Under any name you’ve got my respect. Even JimTutu. ;-)

  4. I can still comment under this name.

  5. Well, I had to change my name, and it won’t let me put my blog link in my name, but we’ll see…

  6. David L. Hagen

    Can we help by replying “FLAG” to posts we suggest deleting?

  7. Seems to be OK

  8. I just heard from someone who is having difficulty commenting, suggestions?

  9. Bernd Palmer

    I already have a WordPress account, works flawlessly.

  10. Try commenting more than once. The first time I tried I got told to log in even though I thought I had. It worked the second time around.

  11. It looks like people are not limited to their WordPress ID but can change their displayed name on their profile page. Click the white circle in the upper right. Judith can also access each person’s profile page.

  12. I had trouble using my existing username. Couldn’t even get WordPress to recognize my email address that should have already been part of the system.

    So I gave up and re-registered (hence the new nic). Still, for some reason I had to log out and then back in again, and click on the box next to my new nic before it would allow my comment to go through the first time. From that point on, there’s no problem.

  13. If yer don’t succeed at first try try agin.

  14. Looks like a PITA to me. Lost my 0.8 +/- 0.2 I did.

  15. Works good for me. I already had a WordPress account, so maybe why no issues?
    Anyway, I think this is a step in the right direction. This is an excellent blog and if this will make it easier to manage, go for it. Does tend to get a little ….. crazy here sometimes. But, I’ve seen worse, so I wasn’t going to quit coming here.
    The comments (and subject matter) are at times beyond my understanding, but nowhere else have I seen all sides so well covered (which is an issue I’ll save for another post : )


  16. cap’s, “We will remember it.”

    • Beth – check your “likes” by clicking on the “bubble” in the upper right, on the “tool bar.”

  17. Now we can see who replied to us by clicking the little bubble in the upper right.

  18. Test

  19. testing. I had to create a WP blog account, which I have no need for. Anyway some tips were useful, so I could go back to my normal name.

  20. Although I am retired and have the time and interest to provide volunteer help, I do not have the internet skills. Perhaps someone else does. Climate Etc. is the best blog of its kind and I appreciate Dr. Curry’s efforts and expertise. I would also be willing to provide financial support if that would be of help.

  21. stevefitzpatrick

    Hi Judith,

    The problem with any popular blog is that it attracts trolls and fools. The solution is to get volunteers to moderate your blog. ( I am sure Anthony can give you some advice on setting moderation policy.)

    There is no reason every comment thread at Climate Etc should become a food fight between the same commenters. There is no reason every comment thread should become a forum for fools to advance their wild eyed ideas… think Doug Cotton or WHT. There is no reason for the same people, with chronic verbal diarrhea, to foul each and every comment thread with their endless odious discharges.

    Ask for volunteers and set strict rules. I am sure you will get many takers. One simple rule: not more than 10 comments on a thread except for those you know make substantive comments.

    Final suggestion: no comments from people hiding their identity. Nothing invites bad behavior like anonymity. If they are at work, then they probably shouldn’t be commenting at all, and their employer should know who they are.

    Steve Fitzpatrick

    • davideisenstadt

      I agree totally with you. Hiding behind some bogus nom de blog is the lowest form of cowardice.
      Put your name behind your posts…its one way to eliminate a whole lot of the effluvia.

      • ==> “if one is arguing that particular phenomena are possible, an anecdote is all one needs.”

        Perhaps your “anecdote” is a lie, or just a mistaken impression.

        ==> “but it is evidence. ”

        Interesting, your notion of evidence.

        Just take the time and energy to reread my prior post above, and respond to why your notion of “scientific evidence” is so flawed..

      • davideisenstadt

        Joshua: your response is exactly the type of BS and excreta that is so maddening here. reread my post. that you would attempt to argue about its’ veracity says much about you, and your grasp of logic and reasoning.
        Its sad, really.
        Perhaps the example I cited wasnt good enough for you…maybe the Wright brothers didn’t fly?
        Perhaps alamogordo was a false flag, a ruse… maybe the atomic bomb was a conspiracy…
        That you can’t or won’t comprehend my point is troubling. you need help.

      • David –

        Try reading and responding to the comment I made on the other thread. Now perhaps you read it and ignored the point, or perhaps you read it and have no response, but from what we’ve seen so far you have no way of distinguishing between what you call “anecdotal evidence” and a lie or a mistaken observation or an outlier that is mistaken for a general pattern. If you consider citing anecdotes as scientific evidence (which was mosher’s point) then you’re willing to conflate opinion with scientific analysis.

      • Now if I were citing anecdotes as evidence, I would point out as scientific evidence that Judith has left in the insults embedded in your comment while deleting my comment in response that contained no insults but responded on point.

      • One of the key challenges to moderation is to decide who gets the last word in a non productive discussion. I have two choices:
        1) delete the whole discussion (Joshua, this means a lot of your posts would be deleted)
        2) allow a quasi sensible response to stay, as the last word, which will hopefully end the discussion

      • davideisenstadt

        this is probably the last time I respond to your posts.
        If one assumes that evidence presented is false, and a lie, then it makes no difference what the evidence is: controlled double blind studies, or whatever..if one assumes that the the facts presented aren’t facts, then the what that evidence is…anecdotal or other, means nothing.
        That you have the time and energy to fight this is really sad. Why dont you go and make the world a better place?
        Now, deal with the examples I presented please…the Wright brothers flying…the explosion at alamogordo…do these examples…anecdotes…prove something, or do they not?

      • ==> “If one assumes that evidence presented is false, and a lie, then it makes no difference what the evidence is:

        How fascinating.

        Citing anecdotes makes no attempt to control the evidence for bias. Scientific evidence is evidence that has been subjected to controls (even if the process is far from foolproof). Hence, the difference, and why your notion of “anecdotal evidence” is what separates a “skeptic” from a skeptic..

        Hence mosher’s comment.

      • davideisenstadt

        You refuse to engage on point, because you know that in some cases, anecdotal evidence is persuasive. I understand…you feel that you can’t concede the point..However, in this case, conceding the point will only make you appear to be a rational person. continuing this debacle in public only makes you appear to be a fool.
        You must know this….

      • And David –

        I’ve repeated it already, but I suppose once more can’t hurt. How do you distinguish your “anecdotal evidence” from a lie or a mistaken observation? What are your inclusion/exclusion criteria? What is your test for your notion of what is or isn’t “evidence” if you think that citing anecdotes is presenting evidence?

        According to the “anecdotal evidence” we see in these threads, “skeptics” as a group think differently that “realists,” “progressives” are immoral and incapable of critical thinking, blah, blah.

        There’s a reason why our much beloved “skeptics” never bring actual scientific evidence to the table to back such claims. The reason is that the scientific doesn’t support their claims, although their citations of “anecdotal evidence” does. In fact, the scientific evidence contradicts their conjecture about the ways that they distinguish themselves from others who disagree with them about politics or the evidence related to climate change.

      • Here, allow mosomoso to make my point for me, with a beautiful example of conflating anecdotes with evidence:

      • > If one assumes that evidence presented is false, and a lie,

        To present a moralistic sideswipe as factual evidence may not be the best way to argue in favor of real names.

      • Joshua’s behavior reminds me of when my 5 year old son chose to be obstinate. After talking back to me repeatedly, I would tell him “Not one more word” To that he would reply “Ok”. To which I would say “I said not one more word.” “Ok” came back.. “I said not….. one ……more….word.” “Ok” “I said……..”

        Luckily he grew out of it. I hope his son starts doing the same thing to him.

      • Here’s your chance, kid.

        The debate is over. AGW is happening. Solutions are within reach.

        No more words.

    • David Springer


    • Hi Steve. Be careful what you wish for when it comes to more regulations. Remember bad behavior can be very ingenious. Sometimes peer pressure is all that is needed. I am guessing the worst offenders are the ones who feel most like they own the joint, just like everywhere else. The few pipsqueaks that breeze by with a pot-shot shouldn’t bother anyone. We can simply reply “Flag”.

    • stevenreincarnated

      I haven’t noticed a correlation between bad behavior and anonymity. Perhaps Judith could give us a rough estimate of the percentage of people she has had to put in moderation that were anonymous.

    • jhprince2014

      Thanks Steve. I’d agree. The “verbal diahrea” on every post from the same responders is a big turnoff reading this blog. Some info is so esoteric and trite that the discussion does not help. Best of luck, Judith.

    • Good suggestions Steve. Judith needs to do something about reducing the time it is taking her to run this blog so as to let her do other things which would have to be more important.

  22. Now we can see who replied to us by clicking the little bubble in the upper right.

    But since replies still only go in two levels it notifies the post at the top of the sub-thread rather than the post you’re actually replying to.

  23. I agree with SteveF. Find some retired volunteers who you trust and they will do a good job free. The current lack of effective moderation here does really detract from the comment threads and keeps a lot of people from reading and commenting.

  24. This is a comment.

  25. Danny Thomas

    Testing……..1, 2, 4………dang it got that part wrong.
    Hmmm. My name was used in several versions. Hope whomever is doing that is helping children somewhere.
    Dr. Curry, That you have been able to go so long w/o stiffer measures says much. Having to do so now also says much.

    • Danny Thomas

      When I first tried to comment after changing the “post as” name I logged in via WordPress but kept getting a “you must be logged in to comment” message. Once I closed this post and reopened in a new window the comments went through. Sorry folks, still here.

  26. Seems to work fine. Just logged back on to wordpress.

  27. Pingback: Blog moderation etc. | Enjeux énergies et environnement

  28. Test.

  29. Testing testing, not that I comment that often, though I always read.

  30. Hope this flies without problem. One of RI’s Senators (Whitehouse) has doubled down on his witch hunt, with a letter in the Providence Journal, in response to a Journal article about his, Sen, Markley (D, MA) and Sen. Boxer (D, CA) bullying letters. Sigh,,,,

  31. I have a WordPress acct and adding a comment required no changes.

  32. am I jim2, now?

  33. From a couple days ago Doc.

    I am certain there are many out here that would be willing to help you with this valuable, and essential, forum.

    Thank you for doing what you do!

    Regards Ed

  34. Daddy? Are we there yet?

  35. Judith Curry wrote:
    I am trying to take a harder line at moderating the blog.

    This is a test post just to see. I thought you already did an excellent job.
    Thank you for doing this.

  36. Cogito ergo sum….I think…

  37. Testing 1, 2, 3…Can you hear me now?
    Not a problem for me. Hope the new scheme reduces your workload.

  38. Sad to say, it has gotten to the point where I don’t bother even reading the posts of some here. They may occasionally have a valid point, but it isn’t worth my time to search for a nugget amid the dreck. Let’s hope moderation helps where self restraint has failed.

    • My view too. I’ve become a skimmer rather than a read-all-er. Don’t know whether this will change entrenched behaviour of certain posters.


    • There are some commenters here whose goal seems to be to write as much as possible without saying anything meaningful. Occassionaly they slip up, may once or twice a year.

  39. It’s Global Warming For Sure, I Think.

  40. Oh noes, RC moderation!!

  41. Test

    • Dr. Curry, did any of this have to do with the content of posts or replies?

      • It had to do with someone finding a way around being blocked, plus also using other posters’ names. Not sure this will help because it is easy to register too, but maybe it limits multiple accounts.

  42. testing, testing, testing

  43. Now, how do I get my 3 caps back?

  44. Every time I see the blog name I have this urge to add a comma. Could we crowdsource the cost of a comma and make it Climate, Etc.?

  45. Whew! A lot of steps…

  46. I once (years ago) had to set up a WordPress page in order to log on here. It gave me the address , which is why I’ve barely used it; I meant to pay for a new name, but never got round to it. However, having tried and failed to access my WP account to see about appearing here as Faustino, I went to “notablog – might be one someday” to see if I could access the profile there. No, but I posted a tale: “Death in the Himalayas (almost)”, which some might enjoy.

    • Well,

      I much prefer to know you as Michael Cunningham. And I inherently tend to trust people more who use their real name when possible (clearly people like Planning Engineer can’t for reasons clearly explained on his first posts). Using real names gives an a first impression of honesty and that the person is more likely to be prepared to stand behind their comments, and admit mistakes when wrong.

      One of Judith’s best posts, IMO, was “10 signs of intellectual honesty” (and the included bit about 10 signs of intellectual dishonesty) I am really addressing this to others, not you, Michael Cunningham. You have always demonstrated the greatest integrity – an example we could all learn from (including me).

      • Thanks, Peter. An old friend who has died recently often called me “Mikhail.” Given that she was imprisoned by the Russians after the war, I wasn’t quite sure what to make of that! Here’s my Facebook post:

        “The passing of a great generation: I’ve been privileged to work with four Vipassana teachers, S N Goenka, John Coleman, Ruth Denison and Ven Dr Rewatadhamma, as well as the leading Thai forest monk Achaan Cha. I’ve learned that the last of them, Mrs Denison, died recently. A common thread was that all devoted their time and energy to helping others at the highest level, by helping them with a practice which leads to wisdom, peace and happiness.

        “I always called Ruth “Mrs Denison” (or sometimes “Mrs D”). At a dinner in Hollywood in 1978, several people said, “Why don’t you call her ‘Ruth’?” Mrs Denison replied, “Because he is a fine English gentleman.”

        “Well, here’s to you, Mrs Denison, you were a very fine German lady.”

        My daughter Lauren responded: “In fact, having heard mention of her my whole life, I don’t think I ever knew her first name.”

      • Thanks Michael.

  47. Geoff Sherrington

    Testing from Melbourne Australia.
    With thanks to Prof Curry for examples of how science should be done.
    Have used my real name, since the beginning of climate blogs.
    Because proper, successful scientists have nothing to hide

  48. One more acolyte making the attempt

  49. stevenreincarnated

    You can’t keep me out that easy.

  50. Dear Dr Curry,Sorry to hear about the difficulties with personation and trolling. I’m not volunteering (too busy myself) but I would have thought that among your wide readership there might be some potential volunteer moderators.  Have you asked? I tried to register with WordPress but didn’t get very far.  I have nothing to do with Twitter or Facebook.  I am registered with Disqus, which I use to comment at Luboš Motl’s site.  Seems to work OK.Like thousands of others I’m grateful that you operate this excellent blog.  Regards,Hugh Roper (trading as Coldish)


    From: Climate Etc. To: Sent: Monday, 16 March 2015, 0:58 Subject: [New post] Blog moderation etc. #yiv2335216522 a:hover {color:red;}#yiv2335216522 a {text-decoration:none;color:#0088cc;}#yiv2335216522 a.yiv2335216522primaryactionlink:link, #yiv2335216522 a.yiv2335216522primaryactionlink:visited {background-color:#2585B2;color:#fff;}#yiv2335216522 a.yiv2335216522primaryactionlink:hover, #yiv2335216522 a.yiv2335216522primaryactionlink:active {background-color:#11729E;color:#fff;}#yiv2335216522 | curryja posted: “by Judith CurryI am trying to take a harder line at moderating the blog.Obviously not a simple task.  My main concern is people impersonating other commenters.I have implemented a requirement for registration (I clicked a box on wordpress)” | |

  51. 1.6180339887….

  52. Log ins will be the death of me.

  53. I quadruple dare Judith Curry to require people to use their real names. Lol.

    What this place is proof of is people who use their real names are among the worst. The worst, though, being people who are known to most but who constantly make up new names: Springer and Chef Hydro, perhaps the devil himself.

    • JCH,

      I think you’re using the same poor logic you utilized on your overachieving inner city school educated son. Which as it happens is the same poor logic you apply to the climate debate. At least you’re consistent.

  54. log in required with WordPress?

  55. Testing with today’s words of wisdom:
    “Choose carefully whom you believe; and be prepared to change your mind.”

  56. testing 1,2,3…

  57. just hope not too much moderation. One of the reasons skeptical science has no credibility. Nanny moderating.
    Dont expect that here tho.

  58. krdraper2015

    Test, someone has my old name also???? Didn’t know there were two of us

  59. Attempting new user display name…..

  60. Professor Curry,
    Out of curiosity – can you comment as to why you are commencing moderation?
    Despite the presence of a number of professional trolls, the commentary is mostly worthwhile.

    • The main trigger was an individual ‘impersonating’ other commenters. Secondary issues are off topic bickering among commenters, and some individuals relentless promoting their own (off topic) hobby horses.

      • Professor Curry,
        Thank you for the explanation. It is indeed reasonable – though sad that some would stoop to that childish level. Crapification goes on.

  61. only a little bit of a hassle.

  62. maybe less topics and more specific.

  63. Craig Loehle


  64. Good luck with the moderation efforts.

  65. Beta Blocker

    test ….

  66. Good luck.

  67. was KenW, but I was already taken

    • you can change the displayed name to whatever you want. Read up stairs to see how..

      • Thanks, Joshua, but I was thinkin of a change anyway, I’ll sleep over it now. i don’t have anything constructive to say about MoD anyway. Enjoy the evening.

  68. John Carpenter


  69. It is sad that some individuals have nothing better to do than try to disrupt bloggers’ posts and commenters.

  70. Hi. I already have a WordPress account so I’m assuming everything is kosher. Rarely post anyway but am a lurkaholic.

  71. So we are going keep all the dross out.
    Well that’s all my posts deleted then

  72. David Springer

    We may have lost anonymous chronic misinformationists “R.Gates” and “Fan of More Discourse” the accountability cleansing. What a shame that would be. /sarc

  73. Testing for a second time

  74. Testing. And thank you Judith for your professional, restrained, careful and open-minded approach.

  75. Is there a way to link my Gravatar profile to my name?

  76. Testing -by another lurkaholic.
    Is there something about a blog that makes people stupid? I’ve been a regular commenter at Dotearth, but I’ve about given up. So watch out! I might start commenting here.

  77. WordPress is a big pain in the a$$! I can’t get the link button in the editor to work.

  78. So much effort, so little gain; the handle may change, but the man is the same.

    John S.

  79. harrytwinotter

    Seems to work. I already had a account by the looks.

  80. Test

  81. mikeflynn003


  82. Hi is the denizens chapter closed? I wanted to add an entry.

  83. London calling …Come in pokerguy … )