12 April 2009

On commenting

I really prefer to simply hit publish when a comment comes in to my box for moderation. Some recent comments have been making this difficult. At best, this means delays before your comment appears. At worst, it means, as happened to Gary and Greyshark, that the comment doesn't appear at all. So I'll remind about some of the notions which might be peculiar to this blog.

One thing to remember is, I'm aiming at science education. There are zillions of blogs for political wrangling. If that's your aim, visit one of them. Some of the blogs on my roll are more aimed to that end of the spectrum. A minus caused by that goal of mine is that your bare comment is often not furthering my goal of science education.

The corresponding plus is, I permit and indeed encourage links to scientific sources to support your points. So, Greyshark, when you say that there's not enough fossil fuel available to drive atmospheric CO2 levels to 560 ppm, it's time to provide a citation to a scientific source that supports your claim. This even more so since the science I've read says we could easily reach 4x preindustrial CO2 levels based on known reserves of coal and oil.

A second side of things to remember is that comments should be on topic. If your comment is about a cooling trend you perceive (Greyshark) the place for it is to a post where I talk about climate trends. For example, why you need 20-30 years to decide a climate trend. I don't close comments on the posts, so they're always available. I also provide a link for people to get a feed of the comments, not just my original posts, and I encourage its use. My commentators often make substantial contributions, so I hope readers do check the comments too. Sometimes the substantial contribution is to explain how I made a mistake. That's very welcome.

I'll encourage newcomers to take a look at Debate vs. Discussion. I'm looking for discussion here. If you want debate, again, many other places to go. Discussion, I grant, is more work. Among other things, it means you need to support your opinion, not just hold it. (Again, cites are welcome, so you can provide that support for us all to learn from.) On the other hand, and the great plus, is, it means you and I and other commentators and readers can learn something new and come away with different ideas than we started.

A related feature of this blog is the periodic 'question place' post, which is open for questions. While I will see it wherever you post, I do realize a recent post is easier to work with. I think this time, I'll start a semi-open thread. Semi because it won't be open to absolutely everything. You do need to be somewhere near a topic I do discuss in the blog, or would. And it does need to be more aimed at education (maybe of me, which is always welcome) than mere argument (not welcome) and follow the usual comment guidelines.

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