How Can We Be Better?

Mon, 2007-04-02 22:35Darren Barefoot
Darren Barefoot's picture

How Can We Be Better?

We're pausing on this sunny (at least in Vancouver) Monday to ask you an important question: how could we improve DeSmogBlog? Whether you're a veteran reader with tons of comments, or a new visitor, take a moment and help us make the site better.

Your feedback can be about the site's content:

  • More politics or less politics?
  • More international news or more of a Canadian focus?
  • More science or less science?
  • More solutions and positive stories, or more debunking of climate change skeptics?
  • Or anything else you can think of?

Or you can tell us about the site's design and structure:

  • Do you want more rich media, like audio and video?
  • Is the home page too busy?
  • Should we, I don't know, make the site pink and blue?

Anything goes. Of course, we're not making any promises to make the site purple and all about salamanders, but we'll take every suggestion under consideration.

(Thanks to Oberazzi for the photo).

Previous Comments

First off I’d just like to say I really appreciate your website. Its good to have a Canadian voice for Climate change awareness.

The site is fantastic but there are a few visual things I would change - mostly the layout of your articles. I think having the current article summary and images larger than older stories would be a good idea. It would also be nice to move the permanent pages either to the sides or slightly below the main ‘topic’ of discussion.

Just my 2c (But I appreciate you asking) -Trevor

Politics: I think you cover them well. International news: the more the better, this is a global issue after all, and I know Canadians can learn a lot from what some European coutnries are doing. Science: the more the better Solutions: yes, I think it is time we start focussing on that a whole lot more, I certanly plan to do that on my own site. As for design, I think your theme doesn’t leave enough space for the articles. Also, you should try and make the permanent articles/pages easier to find. Keep up the great work!!!
I come here all the time. But it’s usually a short visit. That’s because I like the site and the links, but there is usually a link plus a short exerpt and maybe a couple of lines from the blogger. The blogger’s own thoughts are a pretty insignificant component to the overall content unless he/she feels obliged to respond to someone in the comments. You have your pictures up there. If those are worth a thousand words perhaps a few more words introducing the links could be appropriate.
Since you ask… I think Desmogblog is great, and I hope it continues to be one of the main voices for clearing the air, and collecting news on this topic. I suggest the following (may or may not be practical) minor additions:

- an expanded search utility, so that previous blog entries or even comments could be located reliably

- recognition that Desmogblog is not obligated to publish every submitted comment - those who whinge about freedom to write anything they want can start their own blogs

- an archives section that would list former titles in a title table

- less fighting with scoffers who haven’t done the homework, and just make political attacks on Desmogblog’s character

- zero tolerance for bad language and offensive comments; these only drive away more thoughtful discussion and questions

- a series of short, plain-language explanations for non-scientists, in an archive perhaps

- highlighting more actions by responsible industry

- invited essays or comments by others in the Desmogblog community

- a bit more about what is happening in Canada, including details of events, government actions

- a recognition that global climate change (and the local and regional impacts) are not just the purview of climatologists and physicists. They are generally not trained or experienced in making conclusions regarding ecological, economic or health impacts.
Please keep it coming. I'll roll it back to the web team, and see what we can implement.

Maybe you need to focus on specific areas that no one else is doing; for science, there is RealClimate and some blogs.

It’s useful when you focus on what the media says, like the National Post denier series.

If you get more into politics, does that mean you would take a specific political position? There are tons of partisan political blogs and forums on the internet; and I think you could get swamped.

I would like to see informed analysis of the environmental policies of the federal and provincial governments; political blogs discuss them from time to time; though the blogs tend to be partisan, they still come up with useful information and interesting insights.

The real usefulness of the internet is in making connections. There are several instances of the hive mind at work on the internet, in forums like babble or in groups of bloggers which are often members of aggregators like Progressive Bloggers; so they read each other and comment on each other’s blogs.

A couple of examples - in the US:
Talking Points Memo was able to relatively quickly go through a government dump of 3000 documents about the firing of lawyers by appealing to its readers But then it is a large blog, with some 100,000 daily readers.

In Canada: before the mainstream media picked it up, the blogosphere was making posts and writing to MPs about the Yourdkhani family which was detained in Texas. verbena19 appealed to various blogs to take action and got an excellent response.

DeSmogBlog already gets information from bloggers, who also link to it when discussing global warming topics. There should be ways to help this kind of web-making to grow. But a blog needs to keep attracting readers to take advantage of it.

Desmogblog should stick to what it is best at – or stick whith what you know, as they say. This web site is a front for a PR company after all – let’s see some PR!

- more ad-hominem attacks

- more avoidance of fact

- more spin

- more absurd smear campaigns

True, none of this has worked for you so far, and Lord knows you’ve put in a mighty effort – but try harder!
One way that DeSmogBlog could be better would be to get out of denial mode on the subject of geoengineering. This is a charming quality that you share with the contrarians, and it is the reason you are failing to defeat them. See: here
By every measure of success we've got, the world–governments, the media, individual citizens–is opening its eyes and taking preventative steps on climate change. We can only claim responsibility for a tiny, tiny fraction of that, but we're trying to do our part. Plus, more people keep coming to the site every month, so we must be doing something right.
With your hard work, perhaps the governemt will be convinced to enact legislation which will make Climate Change completely illegal. If we make enough people aware, I hope we can leave our children a planet with a comfortable room-temperature environment all year round. Once we have accomplished that, perhaps we can eliminate Illumination Change. This day/night thing is getting scary.
1. More accessible/browsable archives - both the posting and the linked article - organized by subject with cross-referencing. It would be great to look at a page of subjects, linked to lists of articles possibly in chronological order. 2. More compact page design - more content per sq. cm. Other than that, continue what you are doing; it is a great contribution.
Eco-Hitler evidently doesn’t agree with you, Maria. Is this important? Does he have anything to say, for that matter, about my input, or is the elephant in the dining room going to continue to be ignored by both you and him?
That reminds us of something… Oh, yeah.

…I am not the only one trying to make people open up their eyes and see the truth. But few listen, despite the fact that I was the first Canadian Ph.D. in Climatology and I have an extensive etc. Few listen, even though I have a Ph.D, (Doctor of Science) from the University of London, England and that for 32 years I was a Professor of Climatology at the University of Winnipeg. For some reason (actually for many), the World is not listening.
  • Déjà vu is parodying Dr. Tim Ball, who has it out for climate change activists and is giving you some problems.
Here is a dialogue I had with Dr. Tim Ball.
  • Why does Dr. Tim Ball chicken out of my invitation to tell Paul Crutzen to his face that he should have his Nobel Prize taken away?
  • How is it that I can get Tim Ball onto the defensive, so that he pleads with me never to contact him again…And you guys can’t get him out of intrusive/aggressive mode?
  • How much does your self-censorship on the subject of geo-engineering have to do with the fact that we are ALL losing out to creeps like Dr. Tim Ball?
  • Do you really deserve to be the leadership of the climate change movement?
And Gore will ignore the latest challenge from Monckton, too. Ignore, ignore, ignore, ignore. One day everyone will say: “Boo!!”