2011-06-29 00:04:53Amplifying the reach of SkS -- Climate Lab Networks
John Hartz
John Hartz
john.hartz@hotmail...
98.122.98.161

Has anyone investigated the benefits of SkS partnering with Climate Lab via the Climate Lab Networks?

My gut reaction is that doing so would be a "win-win" for both SKS and Climate Lab.

2011-06-29 00:10:40
Paul D

chillcast@googlemail...
82.18.130.183

Just how many 'partnerships' do you want Badger?
I'm losing count of all the proposals.

2011-06-29 00:38:53Paul D
John Hartz
John Hartz
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98.122.98.161

As many as possible -- the more venues SkS has to communicate, the bigger the audience will become.

2011-06-29 05:33:53
nealjking

nealjking@gmail...
84.151.39.223

Depending on what you mean by the term partnership, there could be a substantial effort involved in maintaining each interface.

I recommend we get the Management structure defined first, and designate someone to handle the partnerships - including maintenance.

2011-06-29 10:57:49nealjking
John Hartz
John Hartz
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98.122.98.161

A partnership could be as simple as an agreement to do cross-posts on periodic basis.

2011-06-29 18:06:28
Paul D

chillcast@googlemail...
82.18.130.183

That implies that SkS needs more content or rather a greater rate of producing more content.
I don't think it does.

There are a lot of issues to be considered, including the cost of becoming more popular (more hits = greater server costs), I don't know whether John has considered that?

I think cross-posting has limited appeal and if over-done could damage the originality of SKS.
Google (and other search engines) is quite efficient at finding information, but all cross posting does is swamp google results with the same article. Far more useful is to get praise from those that can actually bother to write something original about SkS.

2011-06-29 22:12:20
nealjking

nealjking@gmail...
84.151.35.42

I think we can swamp ourselves with overlapping and uncoordinated activities. Like Paul, I think that cross-posting (especially unmanaged) could cause problems. Let's focus on what we're trying to accomplish, and then organize our efforts to support that.

2011-06-29 22:23:06Traffic/server load
John Cook

john@skepticalscience...
121.222.9.229
I'm not sure server load is an issue in the immediate future. Although traffic steadily rose throughout 2010, it plateaued at around the 500,000 visits per month early this year. So traffic isn't really increasing much now (as Phil Jones would say, the trend isn't statistically significant) so unless something huge happens, some unthinkable scandal (eg - turns out Dana isn't a dude), that issue is not on my radar.

Work load is of more concern than server load. As Neal says, we need to be focused on goals. What is it we're trying to achieve? We have considerable ability, knowlege and passion in the SkS community - we don't want to fritter that potential away in an endless sea of blog posts. So every step we make needs to take us incrementally towards some goal.

Still not 100% clear what that goal is though :-)

2011-06-29 22:57:35
grypo

gryposaurus@gmail...
173.69.56.151

To me, the goal should be to, not only to get people to agree on certain aspects of the science, but to agree on risk and what to do about it (mitigation, NOT ON SPECIFICS, but basically, how to decarbonate intelligently and policially feasible.  We don't want to look like some shill outfit).  The Lukewarmers have open arms to anyone who wants to be reasonable about physics and some trends but unreasonable about risks and what to do about them.  In a sense, it is about risk aversion.  How do you get people who want to belive what the lukerwarmers are selling, to agree that the complexity of the problem is here and on timescales people aren't built to understand?  I think a good example is the Skeptoid conversion.  How do we move people like him to the next step?

2011-06-29 23:12:34
Riccardo

riccardoreitano@tiscali...
93.147.82.133

I think we are in the position of being very selective. SkS already has a good reputation as a high quality scientific site. Those kind of networks are more appropiate for news sites and I don't think we should "dilute" our message in the crowd of other sites.
We might want to have more re- or cross- posting from other high level sites. It should be our choice, though.

2011-06-29 23:41:27
Paul D

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82.18.130.183

I think Riccardo you wrote what I was thinking. You just wrote it more eloquently.

2011-06-29 23:42:00Different approaches: Separate solutions from the AGW problem; Update Rebuttals instead of new Blog articles
nealjking

nealjking@gmail...
84.151.35.42

grypo:

I think we want to separate the issues of the problem from the solutions. We are very strong on the problems, and the science is pretty clear on it; but as soon as we start proposing solutions, we become the target.

The convert, I believe, admitted that he accepted the problem even though he hated the potential solutions that he had heard. THIS may be the best that we can get to, in the near term, with the conservative/libertarian demographic: Get them to admit the problem. Then they can propose whatever solutions they find politically acceptable that still address the problem, which is CO2.

To do this, we should probably have a completely separate forum for SOLUTIONS, aimed at the full range of people who admit the problem. We could have a subsection dedicated to libertarian-acceptable solutions to CO2: maybe we could get Craig to host a discussion: See if we can thrash something out. We might not find anything; but it might be an interesting discussion, that does not seem to be happening anywhere else.

 

Riccardo:

I agree that we can and should be choosey about cross-postings. In fact, I will go further: There is a level of science that we DON'T have to reach. We are not primarily in the business of teaching climate science, we are in the business of clarifying the reasons why climate scientists are convinced the AGW/CC is happening. There are a whole lot of esoteric/breaking news stuff that is beside the point, in my opinion. I would frankly rather we spent our time improving our existing rebuttals/posts, for easier readability, than pursuing the latest research news, if it only adds a comma to the AGW bottom line.

In fact, a response to the "latest scandal" could easily be just a refinement of an existing rebuttal with an announcing pointer: It would give us a continuing incentive to improve our existing "arsenal" and possibly require less. After all, even with all these "breaking news" articles, how many new themes have emerged? I think they are mostly incremental to the intellectual content.

But I think the "History of AGW Skepticism" idea is a good one: provides a good range of narratives, and shows up the arguments and their variants in the perspective of scientific history.

2011-06-30 00:54:03SkS Action Plan needed
John Hartz
John Hartz
john.hartz@hotmail...
98.122.98.161

The plateauing of the number of monthly hits on SkS teels me that its market penetration is stagnant. Form where I sit, that is not acceptable.

As long as SkS is only a collecion of volunteers and has virtually no financial resources, it has to maximize no-cost, networking mechanisms in order to expand its market penetratation.

Continuously gumming this stuff to death gets us nowhere.

Let's develop an SkS Action Plan for the second-half of this year and get on with it. 

2011-06-30 06:20:42
dana1981
Dana Nuccitelli
dana1981@yahoo...
64.129.227.4

Well, you all know that I strongly favor talking about solutions from a scientific standpoint.  For example, examining research on renewable baseload energy, dispelling economic myths like 'CO2 limits will harm the economy', and so on.  We don't have to propose or endorse specific solutions, but we should use our scientific strengths to evaluate general solutions and dispel associated myths.  I've been trying to do more of that - lots of energy posts lately.  Ultimately 'skepticism' is rooted in the belief (myth) that climate solutions will cripple the economy, so if we can convince people otherwise, they'll be more open to climate science as well.  But of course our main focus should still be climate science.  And I think we should move more into climate communications, which is something John's been learning a lot about.

"unless something huge happens, some unthinkable scandal (eg - turns out Dana isn't a dude)"

I guess this is a bad time to tell you....

As for an action plan, we have lots of plans.  It's just a matter of finding time to implement them.

2011-06-30 08:00:20Dana
John Hartz
John Hartz
john.hartz@hotmail...
98.122.98.161

With all due repect, we have lots of ideas, suggestions, and recommendations floating around. None of which, in my opinion, constitute a work plan designed to accompliish specific goals. I was in a senior management position during most of my professional career and I know the value of creating and implementing a structured work plan.

2011-06-30 10:14:11The 'Plan'
John Cook

john@skepticalscience...
121.222.9.229

I suppose I should have a clearer idea on the exact goal and plan of SkS but well, to be honest, I've just been making this up as I go along. SkS started out with me just creating a personal database of myths & rebuttals to arm myself when I got into climate debates. I noticed other 'warmists' were citing Real Climate or Coby Beck's rebuttals which had no impact on deniers so I wanted to be able to quote peer reviewed references to them - the SkS database was a way of collecting the peer reviewed answers in a handy place.

The site has grown since but essentially, that initial need is still the essential concept of SkS. What people want from SkS is answers. People email me all the time - "hey, just heard this argument, what's the answer?" One of the main reasons why people come to SkS is when they hear an argument and see if there's an answer on SkS. So the rebuttal database is the heart.

But I have this growing idea that it's our various separate databases, all interwoven together, that could be an even more powerful resource. We have databases of:

  • Deniers and which articles they've published
  • Skeptic articles and which climate myths they use
  • In fact, not just skeptic articles - any climate article - mainstream media, peer review, blog, etc
  • Climate myths
  • Pairs of climate myths that contradict each other
  • Quotes linked to climate myths

All this data is interlinked and can be combined in lots of different, interesting ways. The peer-review visualisation is one creative outlet. Someone emailed me today saying why not compare skeptic peer review output to fossil funding over the years. It's those kind of creative ideas that make me want to make our database available as an API feed for people to freely access - then all sorts of creative ideas might manifest themselves.

So my thinking about our goal - that we're always thinking of incrementally growing the database. Adding clumps of quotes from specific deniers, doing a blog post about it and in the process, build up the quotes database. Or mining the database for contradictions on a single denier website (eg - here's examples of where WUWT contradicts itself). The data is raw, you'd need to hand pick egregious examples. But if we do it, and make the data available to others, it might encourage others to mine the data and find interesting results.

We should also educate and report on latest findings but with always the thought of seeing if content from the posts can be integrated into our database somewhere (eg - update the rebuttal).

Anyway, they've vague, unformed thoughts at the moment, welcome any other alternative ideas or refinements on this idea.

2011-06-30 13:55:37John Cook
John Hartz
John Hartz
john.hartz@hotmail...
98.122.98.161

A couple of thoughts...

First and foremost, your "general plan" needs to be distilled into a SkS mission statement that concisely articiulates what SkS's core purpose is.  In other words, why does it exist. As the "foudning father" I sugest that you generate an initial draft (one paragaph) for us to react to. It will take a few rounds of review and comment to finalize.

Scond, the easist way for us to develop an action plan for the next six-months is to first define where we want to be on Dec 31. For example (for illustrative purposes only):

1. ___ of the ___ SkS Rebuttals will be updated.

2. A new system of categorizing articles will be in place.

3. SkS Rebuttals will be translated into ___ more languages.

4. A new SkS series, "Swiss Cheese Chronicles" will be up and running.

5. SkS articles will be culled by __ % by archiving articles more than ___ months old.

6. All SkS Rebuttals will have a Basic version.

Again, the above are for illustrative purposes only. One way to develop a "long list" of potential acheivements would be to begin with a brainstorming session.

The next step would be to cull the long list into a short list of acheivements that could be resaonably be accomplished with the resources available. Everything appearing on the short-list would obviously have to be consistent with the SkS mission statement.

Once the short-list of acheivements has been defined, the process for meeting the goals would be drafted. The process would address key questions such as: Who will take this on. How will it be done? When will it be done? 

The final step is to prioritze the work elements. Come Dec 31, we want to be able to say, "We accomplished our priority tasks!"

2011-06-30 17:17:20Damn, Badger, it all sounds so efficient and organised when you say it like that! :-)
John Cook

john@skepticalscience...
121.222.9.229

Okay, I'll have a first crack at a mission statement. Obligatory disclaimers and qualifications - this is just rough idea, I'm still thinking through this myself. But saying it out loud (or typing out loud) does help crystallise things:

SkS Mission Statement (draft 1)

Skeptical Science provides the full picture, putting climate disinformation into proper context. There are three aspects - incrementally developing a high quality, encyclopedic reference on climate disinformation, packaging the information so that its easily navigable & accessible and proactively & creatively disseminating the information to the public. SkS interacts directly with the general public but also provides resources for climate communicators to use in their own outreach.

Another element to possibly include is a rapid response system where we have a web based system that monitors current skeptic activity and SkSers record any responses to a new skeptic article. Eg - send letter to editor, post comment, email journalist/editor, submit opinion piece, etc. This could be part of the proactive dissemination. The idea is to build up a grassroots army of volunteers who step quick and hard on new disinformation. We could also integrate our quotes database into this system - when a politician does a dodgy interview (eg - Pawlenty this week), we add his dodgy quotes then disseminate all his myths and our one-liner rebuttals to local press in his region. If SkSers are enthusiastic about this idea, we can integrate it into the master plan. Or should we be concentrating on the more passive building up of the encyclopedic content.

2011-06-30 22:54:37
nealjking

nealjking@gmail...
84.151.53.195

JC,

Just to add consideration of another aspect: We also have to consider the issue of Human Resources. As a volunteer organization, the scope and range of our activities are also determined by the interests and available time of our participants. We can draw up a grand scheme (and we probably need to), but we should have in the back of our minds that real people (many of them who are already present) have to be interested in fulfilling the roles defined in such a plan, and have to have the time available.

2011-07-01 00:23:41John Cook
John Hartz
John Hartz
john.hartz@hotmail...
98.122.98.161

Good job! In order to get maximum particpation by SkS authors in refining the SkS Mission Statement, you should post it as a new blog item.   

2011-07-01 12:11:55Started new thread on mission statement
John Cook

john@skepticalscience...
121.222.9.229

We should move all mission statement comments to this new thread:

http://www.skepticalscience.com/thread.php?t=2083

2011-07-01 17:41:21
Paul D

chillcast@googlemail...
82.18.130.183

I agree neal.

That is the problem with volunteer work.
It can be very difficult to get people to commit to a plan.
Sometimes volunteers achieve a goal sometimes they don't.

2011-07-01 17:43:25Goals and volunteers
John Cook

john@skepticalscience...
121.222.9.229
I've found if you have specific goals, that tends to galvanize people to action better. So the mission statement dovetailing into a more focussed action plan works for me. The mission statement thread is humming along now.