2010-08-09 00:05:02How the multi-level information will be organised
John Cook


There was some great feedback at the Communicating climate science in plain English post. Here's my current thinking of how it will work:

Headings of the three levels

Definitely going with tabs rather than sliders. Originally I envisaged using three tabs like this:

Easy | Medium | Hard

But now I prefer something like:

Basic | Intermediate | Advanced
The Basics | Medium | In-depth
In brief | In full | In depth

I also like the idea of using the skiing graphics of green circle, blue square and black diamond and might include those to the left of each word just to hammer home that they're different "skill levels".

Describing the content

I think my original descriptions still apply but let me go into more detail on how they would work:

This explains the climate science in plain English, how you'd explain it to a layman friend. So it needs to be short, simple, understandable to the average person who has no science background. I would recommend you show it to a layman friend for feedback before posting it here. It's good to include graphics in your post if possible. Unlike peer-reviewed graphs which contain as much info as possible, your graphs need to contain as little info as possible - just enough to communicate a clear story to the reader that they can grasp in a glance.

Every skeptic argument will have the green box at the top "What the Science Says". For the Basic version, this will be the existing one-liners (which aren't set in stone if you have suggestions to improve the wording). So for Intermediate rebuttals, the "What the science says" green box will have the existing paragraph and beneath that will be the current rebuttals.

These are the current rebuttals. We don't need to work on these (why make more work for ourselves) but if anyone has suggestions on how to improve any or add extra content that is missing, I'm all ears - start a new thread

This is the brain busting stuff we read at Real Climate, Climate Charts & Graphs and Open Mind. This is not a high priority just yet. It would be great to populate all the advanced rebuttals and I'm hoping other bloggers will contribute to this. But the main priority is the plain English stuff. That's where the battleground is now - reaching the average person, the great undecided majority. The importance of providing a plain English version for this particular group of people is why I couldn't ignore the importance of having multi-levels.

So I welcome feedback on both the titles and how we organise the information. While we discuss this, feel free to start new threads with your proposed plain English versions. Include the skeptic argument in your summary so we can see in a single glance which skeptic arguments have already been tackled. When you're happy for the content to go live, you'll be able to add it straight into the rebuttal database. I'll be programming up that functionality this week.

2010-08-09 12:52:50Tab labeling
James Frank

I'm in favor of "Basics, Intermediate, Advanced." That seems to most clearly convey what we're talking about--the technical level of the explanation. "Easy, Medium, Hard" feels like we're talking more about the science itself, and "In brief, In full, In depth" feels like they're all at the same level but the articles are of different lengths. (I'm sure the articles will be of different lengths in the end, but it's more the semantics here.)

Thanks again for doing this. I'm looking forward to helping as much as I can.
2010-08-09 13:48:20Bookmarking
James Frank


Oh, also--I agree with the tabs over the sliders. I think that makes the most sense as a UI. Not sure quite how you're going to implement this, but one thing to make sure of is that it is bookmark-able.

Assuming everything loads together and JavaScript moves you in-between tabs, having it anchor everything as argument.html#basic would work. Just so long as people can email their friends with a particular level of argument.

(Also, unrelatedly, I like the ski-shape idea.)

2010-08-09 15:19:42
Graham Wayne
Hi All,


My name is Graham and I'm a warmaholic :)

(Hi Graham)

Seriously - I was wondering how we could organise this to avoid duplication, for example. Would it be helpful if it were possible to create a table with the top 100 arguments (is the top 100 our target?) and either somebody allocates an item to each contributor, we write it and post it for comments and revision, or if possible we claim an item, then do it. The purpose of the table is simply to indicate which items are being worked on, and who is doing what.


Any thoughts on this?


All the best, Graham


2010-08-09 15:20:15Basic argument email option?


I frequently use the common feature on newspaper sites allowing me to email an article to a friend or relative.

I think this would be a very useful feature for those visitors trying to get some information into the hands of recalcitrant friends or relatives.

As w/most newspapers this feature should be available only to folks logged into the site so as to avoid reputation problems.

In fact, I (ahem) think this is -such- a great idea that John should do it right away!


2010-08-09 20:20:46How different tabs would work
John Cook


My plan was not to use javascript (which I'm weak in) but have each level as a separate URL. Eg: the default page is currently:

So then the 3 URLs would be something like:

Re Graham's issue of duplication, I'll definitely set up a table showing the status of each argument - that was next on the to-do list after creating the forum so I'll hopefully get it done tomorrow. Thanks for the idea.

Love the idea of an "Email an Article" feature, definitely will be adding that.

2010-08-17 14:27:51Comment
Robert Way

Hey John,
I was wondering if there was perhaps any way to organize the posts in the forum a bit differently. Like have a heading with approved and have under it the threads which have received 5 thumbs up for example? Approved, up for debate and new perhaps?

Let me know what you think?