As most mice know, Nature Climate has launched a new blog, Climate Feedback. Ethon having flown over for the liver and cheese lauch party, remarked that they blew it big time. If nothing else the first two posts, by Roger Pielke Jr. and von Storch and Zorita were much in the Michael Corleone mold, settling old scores and starting new fights. Pielke's was not even wrong although he is digging in as usual and has to be pryed out of his position point by point. The best comments are over at Deltoid.
Now clearly they rushed the launch, not being prepared to deal with comments on a timely basis, which has lead to some unhappiness but there is a major concept problem that, IEHO, must have started at conception. Steve Bloom is of the opinion that
I have a feeling that RP Jr. may have lobbied Nature to start this blog, which would tend to explain the presence of Kevin Vranes. Note that of the five contributors who aren't Nature editors, three are from Boulder! Does the third one (Paty Romero Lankao of NCAR) have an RP Jr. connection?Maxine Nature disagrees, seeing Roger as a distinguished professorial type. Eli has a slightly different point of view. The Rabett suspects that the boys in Basingstoke (thanks for the geography lesson Fergus) were sitting about chewing their carrots one day, when Olive spoke up brightly and said let's have a blog. We can use it as a gateway to our Nature Reports: Climate Change. Or maybe it came from the Big Bunnies in London as part of their NLife initiative.
And one bright bunny piped up. Oh good, whom do we know who knows something about blogs. And guess whose name came up. And guess who said, I could help out, every so helpfully and I know some other honest broker blogger types. Well, that was not too hard, was it.
Suffice it to say the whole thing threatens to sink before it swims, so whither Climate Feedback.
Eli's suggestion is ditch the outsiders, and put out a call for submissions, say 500-2000 words with links and maybe even references. Have the internal people function as an editorial board with very occasional posts. When something important (or maybe just interesting) is published in Nature ask the authors to provide a thumbnail about why their work is important. Do the same for climate related news items asking the reporters to write additional material for the blog. Hire a couple of experienced climate bloggers to run the comment sections (Kevin Vranes and Michael Tobis come to mind, maybe Andrew Dessler or Coby Beck) and insist that anyone who posts has to participate in the discussion but run even those comments through the VTDB editorial filter. Pay Eli a couple of tons of carrots for these useful suggestions. He has lost his paymaster and does not know where to find him.