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Talk to the Hand

By Keith Kloor
Jan 15, 2011 8:05 PMNov 20, 2019 3:10 AM


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Dear readers, you have spoken. And what I'm hearing based on the silence greeting my (admittedly vaguely sketched out) idea for a Bipartisan Climate Project is this. Now I'm willing to eat my humble pie, but I'm also prompted to place this stinker of a comment generator in some larger perspective. This also gives me an excuse to shamelessly partake in that fine blogger tradition: the annual "most popular posts of the year" list. (I'm a few weeks late. Many have already tallied their 2010 lists.) For the purposes of this exercise, I'm going to define my list by the posts that drew the most comments. Topping the charts, of course, are the Judith Curry interviews. Nobody in the two year history of collide-a-scape has done more to elevate its profile than Judith. She is the reigning queen draw with this post, (763 comments), the first of our three Q & A's in the course of a week in April. (These three threads are notable for Judith's nearly the round the clock parrying with people from all sides of the climate debate.) Judith earns third place too, with this one from August (560 comments). Also, there are at least a half dozen other Curry related posts that triggered 200-plus comments, including this recent one that generated 338 comments. Indeed, in 2010, Curry was, as another science writer noted in his profile of her, "a phenomenon." There is also an indisputable king (I think you know who he is) at Collide-a-Scape and he came with the intention of knocking the queen off her pedestal (a different sort). Gavin Schmidt may have fallen short but he earned kudos and grudging respect from his opponents at this post and thread (569 comments), which was also good enough for a second place finish. All kidding aside, I'm grateful to Judith and Gavin for being so generous with their time at Collide-a-Scape in 2010. (Judith, of course, has since gone on to even bigger and more impressive blog heights at her site) The top ten 2010 list also includes this post (540 comments) attempting to distinguish between a climate "skeptic" and "denier"; this post (428 comments) on the origins of the climate wars; and this one (409 comments) on a controversial PNAS study. Honorable mentions go to this post (292 comments) on how two climate bloggers from opposite ends of the spectrum agree that climate journalism sucks, and to this post from earlier in the week (225 comments and counting), on what led AGW believers to become climate skeptics. That's a good segue into my three takeaway lessons for generating reader interest: 1) Focus on conflict (especially grudges), personalities, and contentious studies. 2) Insert the names Judith Curry and/or Gavin Schmidt into a post. (Even better: they stop by and insert themselves into a thread.) 3) Do not write about issues that A) discuss (74 comments) improving the climate dialogue and B) do not propose ideas (1750 comments) that might lead people to stop yelling at each other from insular cocoons. Did I miss anything?

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