the Air Vent

Because the world needs another opinion

An Unusual Invitation – The Best of Blogs

Posted by Jeff Id on September 17, 2009

Blogs are an experiment in society.  Blogging is a relatively new form of communication which is in its infancy.  IMO the best feature of blogs is that they are a controlled argument where issues can occasionally be pounded out to the limits of understanding.  There have been several discussions of that quality I’ve read and a few I’ve been a part of.  These are very special and rare and typically both sides learn even when nothing is settled.

Every blog I’ve been to has its regulars and they tend to agree with the host.  Those who regularly post comments often enjoy a good argument or discussion rather than those who tend to avoid conflict.  Over time blogs develop into a culture of regulars and people who generally agree on the main points and it becomes an echo chamber of agreement.   One of the strengths of tAV, CA and the blackboard is that they are basically unmoderated and we get all types yet by nature those who disagree go in other directions.  Part of that is due to the vitriol in the comments.

I’d like to try another tack, I’ve invited several of the more technical people to blog here by email and some of my favorite posts were written by others, Ryan, JeffC, Doc. Weinstein and TonyB’s on the arctic history!  The reason is that most here appreciate a good techie post and there are plenty of ungodly smart people who come by.  What I haven’t seen much of but would greatly enjoy are guest posts from those with different views.  Certainly there will be some wrath from the typical crowd.  John Pittman and Curious who both read here disagree with some of my views and don’t mind telling me.  I’m no smarter than them so perhaps it might be interesting to hear a different perspective.  Also, Dr. Steig has posted that he disagrees as well as Docs. Grumbine, Mann, Schmidt and many others including regular fare from RC threads.

I have a proposal, as an experiment it would be fun to have an outsider with a different point of view on a topic to create a post here.  Of course there needs to be rules to keep the comments reasonable and reasonably protect the blogger, currently everyone can post damn near anything here in the comments.  By proposing any dissenting posts, I’m required to accept all good posts as nobody knows what I think.

Proposed rules to create a head post:

For anything to post, it must be well written.  At least to my lousy standard.  It must be about technical issues such as climate, energy or science.  The post must be well researched.  You will find that people here can tear a post up very quickly so you better bring your game, because after I agree I wont defend you myself.  It must be from your mind and I recommend your heart.  I have been forced to not accept guest posts in the past for poor writing or being too um….unusual.

On the back end, posts which are from guests who disagree generally with the crowd will be comment moderated to a higher standard than my own or posts of similar viewpoints in a friendly crowd.  This means that there will be snipping for cussing, derogatory or generally impolite responses.  Anything accepted for a headpost which is strongly pro-agw , pro-regulation or the like will be moderated and respected as they will be the rarest of the group here and should be given room to make a point in a pile of skeptics.  Deference must be given to the comments wherever possible  of course, in a manner that reasonable discussions are unimpeded and openly visible.

I’m interested in suggestions for rules and procedures for posts on both sides of the issues.  The purpose is to make those who disagree reasonably comfortable in posting a different yet well considered view.

After all 2000 people per day come by to read tAV and you are apparently one of the opinionated few who care enough to read blogs for information.  Depending on the response, I think I’ll make this a link in the head bar so that we can continue this for the future.

So what I’m saying is, any PhD’s, scientists or serious readers who have something to say either for or preferably against my own opinions, send me an emial with a proposal at JeffId1 at  I’ll make sure you don’t spend effort on something which won’t be treated fairly and will be published to a competent and sometimes frighteningly smart audience.

If you have suggestions for rules in this format I’m also interested.

No guts …..No glory. hehe

17 Responses to “An Unusual Invitation – The Best of Blogs”

  1. Layman Lurker said

    I had a hunch you might go after Dr. Kaufman to come here after the spat with Steve. Why not?

  2. hswiseman said

    Bob Tisdale,, deserves a wider audience. Tireless data crunching and chart building.

  3. Jeff Id said

    Doc. Kaufman would be welcome, however I’m interested in anyone who has a particular issue to discuss. I need to add Bob’s blog to the blogroll but I’m already terrible about it. Every time it takes 10 minutes to figure out where to put the stupid link. I ususally go to Bob’s blog through WUWT cause I’m lazy. hehe. ICECAP needs to go there too.

  4. rephelan said

    Jeff, I think that is a courageous and generous offer. Any one who takes it up should be treated by the commenters with courtesy: no suggestions that suicide is a viable option. Those who take up the offer should keep the post fairly limited and keep it empirical and accessible to limited minds like mine. I’m sure I’ve got a lot to learn from anyone who doesn’t mind answering naive questions at least once.

  5. Layman Lurker said

    More candidates:
    1. Joey Comiso to discuss cloud masking in Steig et al.
    2. Mojib Latif – decadal scale internal climate variability comments caused a stir recently in the AGW community
    3. Judith Lean – solar forcing

  6. Jeff Id said

    #4 Thanks much. I think you’ve captured the seriousness with which it’s offered.

    Lurk, as always really nice. Wouldn’t those be great posts.

  7. Jeff’s offer is one that I’ve made at CA to several people (including Kaufman).

    I’ve been criticized for not spending time and energy analyzing “skeptic” articles; my reply is that I have a limited amount of time and energy and am already overstretched on topics and that my personal priority is studies relied upon by IPCC. Like Jeff, I like crossfire. I’ve made similar offers as the one above (- actually even more unconditional, going so far as providing CA passwords) to several people with opposing views who’ve criticized me, but they haven’t taken up the offer. They either are afraid of catching kudies or prefer to preach to the choir.

    My original correspondence with Kaufman politely notified him of discussions at CA and offered him no-strings posting at CA. I also asked him to provide some data that was supposedly “publicly available”, but wasn’t. In response to my courteous offer, Kaufman accused Climate Audit of engaging in “vicious commentary” and said that he had no wish to associate with it in any way. I advised him that blog policies at CA required politeness and asked him to identify any comments or posts that breached blog policies and, if, on reflection, he was unable to do so, I asked him to withdraw the comment. Kaufman then had a temper tantrum. But it originated in an invitation of precisely the type that Jeff is discussing here.

    They seem to prefer preaching to the choir

  8. It’s an excellent idea, although I doubt you will get any takers.

    If you do though, I suggest that commenters should be advised to keep their comments respectful at all times. A rather formal business-like tone is best. If the tone slips into something that implies “you are talking nonsense” everything is set for the barriers coming down.

    Another thing – you need to restrict the flow of comments so the writer is not overwhelmed by sheer volume.

  9. For candidates, I am interested in hearing what Joanna Haigh has to say on solar, Sandrine Bony on clouds.

  10. Layman Lurker said

    Just going by the tone of his initial responses to you Steve, my speculation is that Dr. Kaufman would not have posted on CA under any circumstances. Why? Who Knows. Maybe it has become too much of a personal grudge for them in Teamland. It’s seems almost irrational when you think about it. CA has a lot to do with the skeptical shift of public opinion. What a PR coup it would be for anyone from the Team to go into the CA lion’s den and martyr themselves while exposing the facade of denialism.

    On the other hand, we know that the Team is just lining up to guest post here at tAV. I think Jeff is taking bookings as we speak. 🙂 (all kidding aside Jeff good luck and what a great thing this would be if you can pull this off).

  11. Halcyon said

    I’m a regular reader of this blog, but as a humble farmer with no formal scientific training, have nothing to add to it on the technical side.
    I found your comments on blogs in general very interesting Jeff and I would concur with what you are saying. Another example of a technical blog that works is that of Prof. Steve Keen (economics) It is not moderated (I think) and has a large and willing list of regular and not so regular contributors and I find it refreshing for it’s diversity of views and the civilised manner in which the discussion is held.
    Thank you for the time and effort you put into this worthy undertaking of yours.

  12. Jeff Id said

    #10, I do have one person who requested a post. I’m looking into getting it done. I think I’ll make guest posts a separate item in the header bar.

    #8 Good suggestions. I’ll need to have more defined limits, especially for those who are strongly supportive of AGW in this crowd. There are plenty of people who read here and every one of them has their own opinions.

    Actually, I was kind of hoping one of Tamino’s or RC’s regular commentors might take a crack at it too. After all, they are always hanging out in the crowds there. So it’s an open invitation to explain some pro-agw detail they understand well.

  13. curious said

    Timely idea Jeff. Did you see the current lead post at RC is:

    “Communicating Science: Not Just Talking the Talk”?

    I’d like a post explaining the details of “polar amplification” preferably with numbers included. Maybe this is out there in a paper already – a while ago I did look through the IPCC material and didn’t hit it. If anyone has a reference please point it up.

    I’d also welcome the authors of Steig et al to expand on what work went into their view that, wrt the Antarctic warming they reported;

    “This warming trend is difficult to explain without the radiative forcing associated with increasing greenhouse-gas concentrations.”

    including what they consider to be the unforced case for the Antarctic.

    As far as moderation goes IMO it is just fine the way it is – tough questions and forceful points on occasion but generally civil in tone. And a few chuckles too…:)

    Re: the invite on contrary views to your own – I think something on economics might be good. Another one relevant on Climate related issues would be the behaviours of organisations and individuals when they are shown to be in the wrong but I think it likely we have similar views on that.

    Layman – “What a PR coup it would be for anyone from the Team to go into the CA lion’s den and martyr themselves while exposing the facade of denialism.” Agreed – and presumably a piece of cake given the complete lack of scientific understanding shown by anyone who questions the consensus?!

  14. curious said

    Sorry to post again but just followed 11-Halcyon’s tip – good stuff!

  15. Jeff Id said


    The point is to get others with opinions to write a post. You have an interest in economics, I would be willing to post it.

    No guts and the like…..

  16. Jeff Id said


  17. curious said

    15 – will think on that. Thanks (I think…) 🙂

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