2011-02-14 06:10:50Too many SkS rebuttals?
John Hartz
John Hartz

The mini-brouhaha over the "Meet the dominator" post by Rob Honeycutt percipitated my decision to create this post. It's something that i have been mulling over for the past six months or so and most likely has been discussed prior to my becoming an SkS author.

As I see it, SkS's core mission is to provide qualtiy science-based rebuttals to myths generated by the Climate Denial spin Machine. Given that climate science is so dynamic, many of the rebuttals need to be refined and updated on a continuing and regualr basis as new and improved data and new findings are generated by scientists throughout the world.

Given the relatively small size of the SkS authors who are qualified to create new and update exisitng rebuttal arguments, does it make sense to generate so many new rebuttal articles? At some point, the author base will no longer be able to update and refine exisitng rebuttals in a timely manner.

Perhaps it is time to take a hard look at the list of exiting and pipeline articles to determine which can be combined? For example, is it really necessary to have more than one rebuttal series on the Medieval Warm Period? Another example  are the numerous articles with "CO2" in their title.  

From a SkS users' perscpective, the more rebuttal articles there are, the more difficult it becomes to navigate the labyrinth -- especially when authors do not take the time to create "Related Arguments" and "Further Reading" tabs. 

2011-02-14 09:35:22Maintenance and coverage
John Cook


This is an issue - I think many of the existing rebuttals could do with a bit of a birthday.

On the other hand, there are many arguments that vary around a central theme and yet have different emphasis that require a specific rebuttal. And it's handy having a link to a direct rebuttal rather than a general rebuttal that doesn't quite hit the mark.

Solution? Perhaps we need to develop some kind of organisational structure for maintaining existing rebuttals? I will note that I'm inviting people at a fairly regular clip at the moment.

2011-02-14 10:13:35John Cook
John Hartz
John Hartz

I understand why it may be best to tailor rebuttals to very specific denier myths -- sort of like chosing a rifle over a shotgun. 

My primary concern is that SkS not go down the path of Toyoto, i.e., expanding too rapidly without maintaining a high level of quality control.

I also believe that the sheer number of exisitng and potential rebuttals requires an orgainizing scheme. Personally, I would like to see each rebuttal article tagged by the climate system component it deals with, i.e., troposphere, cyrosphere, etc. Some articles will obviously have more than one tag.  

2011-02-14 10:37:12Tagging/categories
John Cook


That's a very good idea, actually. But again, more maintenance! :-)

Any suggestions on the best tagging system? I could either create a single text box to go with each skeptic argument, where authors can add a series of comma separated subjects.

Or to have it more controlled, I create a database of topics - eg - troposphere, cryosphere, etc. Then authors can assign any of the existing topics to a specific argument plus add extra topics.

Either are easy to set up then we can populate the database - depends on which is the best way to go.

2011-02-14 12:17:25Getting Started
John Hartz
John Hartz
Suggest that you create a dot matrix with the articles as rows and the climate system categories as columns plus an "other" column -- articles about climate models, for example, would have a dot in the "Other" column. Once this dot matrix is filled out, we can see how complex a "tagging system" might become. The dot matrix will also provide a good overview of how well each climate system component has been addrssed.      
2011-02-14 12:31:08Dot matrix
John Cook


I don't think I've used that phrase since I was a teenager printing stuff out on my dot matrix printer from my Commodore 64. Ah, simpler times :-)

Depends on how many categories there are. It wouldn't just be climate system components - there would be other categories. Eg - possible topics might be consensus, Climategate, IPCC, future impacts, solutions, etc.

Perhaps a good first step is if someone wants to draw up a proposed list of categories that could cover all our arguments and we peruse that here on the forum before I add it to the database.

2011-02-14 13:34:41Color Coded Dots
John Hartz
John Hartz
If you want to add another dimension, you could color code the dots to represent different degrees of emphasis, or stick with black dots divided into quarters. These techniques have been routinely used by Consmer Reports for years.    
2011-02-14 19:51:20
Rob Painting

Badger, I disagree with you about there being too many rebuttals, that's just a reflection of the large pool of skeptic BS. Like John says there's not really a one-size-fits-all rebuttal. 

What I do agree agree with is a way of indexing, or categorizing the arguments, to make them easier to access. That's a good idea. Easy enough for me to say, I don't have to do the work, or more importantly don't know how to.  


2011-02-14 20:34:37
Mark Richardson



'it's not happening'

'it's not humans'

'it won't be bad'


seems to be the 3 main stages of denial people go through with climate change. Is there a more sensible way of indexing them?

2011-02-14 20:51:32
Paul D


I think cross referencing would be useful, along with having groups of subjects (not physically, but virtually, maybe using tags or categories). How about a tag cloud??

Or similar.