2010-08-22 04:33:12Infographics idea


Hi Everyone

I'm the guy who produced the infographic which John recently featured here entitled Visually depicting the disconnect between climate scientists, the media and public.

I created the graphic along with a colleague, Canbanjo, very much as a pilot to see whether there would be interest and it was picked up by several websites and created good debate.  So, I'd appreciate your thoughts about what to do next.

I feel that infographics are a great way to communicate complicated messages more effectively than text alone.  I noticed that these graphics often go viral on social media sites such as Digg and Stumbleupon.

My challenge is that I do not fully understand the science or the arguments having only recently shown an interest in global warming, yet I desperately want to play my part in the best way I can.  So, I have registered a domain name whatglobalwarming.org (What Global Warming?) for featuring the infographics produced.  I am happy to fund the website, the design of the infographics and put as much of my spare time into the cause.

I had the idea that it would be nice to have some sort of peer review system to ensure that the graphics are as accurate and effective as possible.  When I contacted John about this he recommended I visited this Authors Forum to see how this experimental social media experiment is working.  He has also suggested that he could easily create a new forum dedicated to infographics where you guys can provide ideas, and approve the graphics via peer review.

I couldn't have created the first infographic without the knowledge of canbanjo.  And I can't really create multiple infographics without the help of people who understand the science far better than me.  Canbanjo has suggested we categorise the graphics something like this:


O Theory and Evidence

O Impacts and Predictions

O Scientific Communications


O Special Interest Groups

O Media

O Government Policy 

I'm happy to listen to all ideas.  Maybe I don't need to create a new website, maybe John is happy to use Skeptical Science as the vehicle for getting these graphics picked up by the general public.

In the long run, the graphics can be used to create presentations for use in schools maybe? 

Any thoughts or advice welcomed....


2010-08-22 06:51:38


It does seem as though we're quite the collection of cheerful, constructive critics and I know for my part I'd be delighted to help.

I think a separate forum master topic here w/a thread per infographic for critiquing would work very well, seems to be a model shown to work. 

May I suggest that in order not to require having a whole duplicate permissions system stood up on your site for previews, you host infographics under construction here or make sure such copies exist here, synchronized w/your latest revisions?  Hopefully John could set this up without too much hassle. If the graphics are simply static and do not depend on site-specific resources a protected directory here containing the graphics ought to work

As to a new website or not, your infographics seem well suited to addressing Skeptical Science's requirements, a natural fit. Building and maintaining another website is arguably a bit of a distraction, maybe duplication of effort when we think of how many sites on the Internet cover this topic. That being said, there is the matter of pride of ownership! Really useful "on the one hand but then on the other" advice, eh? :-)


2010-08-22 07:35:48


Doug - many thanks for your comments.

Yes, I agree that the infographics I have in mind are potentially a 'natural fit' with Skeptical Science, other than I am hoping to create graphics which are not only about debunking skeptic arguments.  It would be nice to compare US Govt spending on defense with renewable energy, for example.

Regarding ownership. It is clear to me that the vast majority of my friends, family and work colleagues are not in the slightest bit concerned about global warming.  Or if they are, they're not doing anything about it.

Like John I don't want to be facing my children or grandchildren in 50 years and admitting I did nothing even though I was pretty confident there was a problem.  I'd be happy to be part of a successful team helping to change perceptions, rather than being a lone voice.  But that would be John's decision, and I'm easy going either way.

2010-08-22 07:41:37Animation
John Russell



Being a producer of Film and TV my first thought is to ask whether you have thought of making them animated, Matthew? That's the way everything is going now, particularly on the web. Of course, if you make them animated you can also add an accompanying sound track.

Best wishes,


2010-08-22 08:05:44


JR - Not really, as I have no expertise in this field, and I'm not the best talker.

I have been in contact with Potholer54 and Greenman3610 who both excel in this field with their YouTube videos.  Potholer54 has already suggested to me that he'd be keen to include the graphics within his videos if they're suitable and link to the website.

An example of an infographic which has been 'dugg' 3900 times is this one about solar power:


This one showing how long the world's resources are likely to last has been 'dugg' 3016 times:


So, I think people do like the format. It's just a case of getting across a powerful message in a way that is easy to understand.