Every now and then Anthony Watts, blogger at WUWT, takes a whack to his self esteem. Today he was feeling down in the dumps so he took some time to reassure himself and his readers that he really is popular and has lots of visitors. Or his blog is popular. Quantity is what raises the hit count more than quality.
Thing is Anthony was comparing his blog to climate science websites, when his blog is a mix of fantasy, nonsense, pseudoscience and conspiracy theories. (His article is archived here.)
People don't have to go to blogs to read science. They can read it about it in popular science magazines, scientific journals and, in the case of climate science, in the IPCC reports. Science denial, on the other hand, is mostly restricted to blogs and the occasional anti-science opinion piece in mainstream media like the Daily Mail and The Australian. There's probably not a huge demand for specialist denialist magazines. I'm not aware of any popular anti-science magazine that has the readership of, say Scientific American or National Geographic. Maybe that will be Anthony's next endeavour :)
Having said that people don't need to go to blogs to read science, there are a lot of very interesting science blogs on the internet. Way more than Anthony Watts and his band of deniers would come across. I'd guess that science blogs and their combined readership would far outweigh the number of anti-science blogs like WUWT and so would their combined readership.
Not valid comparisons
Anthony compares his blog to realclimate.org and skepticalscience.com among others. They aren't the right comparisons. He should be comparing his site to prisonplanet or infowars or other nonsense blogs that also engage in fantasies and disinformation.
Realclimate.org is about science and run by scientists and is aimed at and read by more educated people, including people with advanced scientific education. SkepticalScience.com is about science and is aimed at a broad cross-section of people, including but not restricted to people who have some higher education but not necessarily a science degree. WUWT is anti-science and run by an ex-TV announcer. It is aimed at a broad cross section of people who don't want to "believe" science.
Realclimate.org only publishes a few articles a month. If one were to calculate Alexa ranking divided by the number of articles posted per month, realclimate.org would be orders of magnitude ahead of WUWT, even though realclimate.org is arguably aimed at a much smaller demographic (more highly educated readers). For example, last month there were four articles at realclimate.org including an open thread (Alexa/posts = 35,603). At WUWT there were approximately 160 articles in September (Alexa/posts = 61). That's not to say that if realclimate.org posted more articles the visits would go up proportionately. Maybe so, but it's more likely a law of diminishing returns would apply.
SkepticalScience.com is a dual purpose website. It's set up as a reference resource where people go to get rebuttals to the sort of nonsense put out by denier blogs like WUWT, to get scientific information on particular topics, and to find links to scientific papers. It also publishes articles on climate topics several times a week.
WUWT is a plain vanilla blog. It is a mix of denialist rant, protest at science, disinformation and the occasional straight republishing of a press release about a scientific paper.
Going by reported demographics, each site is probably hitting their target market. The charts below are from Alexa.
Where are the women?
From the WUWT comments
Is #AnthonyWatts really the best front man the #KochBrothers can buy? http://t.co/mPmi0nBkrh #KochMachine #DenierForHire #CourtJester
— Michael E. Mann (@MichaelEMann) October 12, 2013
October 14, 2013 at 4:58 pm
This is a genuine reply I got for posting a WUWT link:
“]What utter rubbish you continuously post. Anything from watssupwiththst is basically automatically completely flawed.”
You must be doing something right Mr Watts.
October 14, 2013 at 5:08 pm
If there’s a lawsuit coming I’ll be absolutely delighted to funnel some government funding (via my salary) into your cause. I can’t believe that the oil-funding trope has survived this long, except that I can believe it – the MSM upholds any lie that helps the causes they believe to be justified. Thanks for all the great work you do, Anthony!
October 14, 2013 at 5:37 pm
“but for the record I’ve never gotten a dime from the Koch brothers”
Maybe Mann is basing his statement on your receiving funding from Heartland, and the Koch brothers funding Heartland for the explicit purpose of undermining climate research. I guess I could see how he might come to incorrect conclusions.
REPLY: Maybe, but being a scientist he’s supposed to be exacting. RE: Heartland It was a one-time project, for which I only got half funded, and then the criminal formerly known as Gleick got in the middle of it. I approached them about the idea, not the other way around, and they located an independent donor for the project. For the record (and for the umpteenth time) I don’t get any regular funding from Heartland, I never have. All that has been answered on my FAQs page for quite some time: http://wattsupwiththat.com/about-wuwt/faqs/
October 14, 2013 at 6:04 pm
Anthony, thanks for your mad dedication that makes all of this possible. I have long held that everyone of importance in the world of climate science reads WUWT, if only to see what’s the latest thing that the skeptics and heretics are up to … very well done, my friend, and at an immense cost in time and tending.
With my highest regards,
October 14, 2013 at 6:55 pm
Better traffic than Grist! That is an amazing accomplishment.
One of many reasons I visit WUWT so often is the 3 – 10 new articles every day. I don’t know how Anthony does it. ‘Stamina’ seems like too mild a word. Maybe ‘mission’ is a more accurate explanation.
Someone had to do it — and Anthony stepped up to the plate.
WUWT has what alarmist blogs lack: the courage to allow comments from all sides to be published. Alarmist blogs lack that courage. They heavily censor skeptics’ comments, even altering the wording of posts [SkS has actually done that]. They routinely delete’ comments that refute their narrative. Who wants that?
Alarmist blogs have become thinly-trafficked echo chambers, populated by like-minded head-nodders. That is no fun. Spirited debate is where the action is! If a comment cannot stand the WUWT peer review process, everyone can see it. Eventually, only the truth is left.
OK, I’m so wound up, another donation is on the way! ☺
October 14, 2013 at 7:08 pm
Ugh.. ANY site/.org/.gov entity and or employee and/ or person using emotive-led comments in ATTEMPTING to besmirch or feebly attempt in silencing one’s given right to reason have lost the discussion.
If hockey stick putz & his mostly emotive functioning lemmings (i.e. useful idiots) are using vitriol, as we sadly are familiar with when using their cherry picked, ‘smoothed’ data to fit their conclusion ( ‘Interesting’ how these AGW supporting ahem ‘scientists’ already formed a conclusion (?) initially and are then picking and choosing partisan data to support their ahem ‘findings’) and resorting to name calling and juvenile,devolving-like antics the modicum of discussion is over.
Mann’s a deliberately dishonest choad.
October 14, 2013 at 7:19 pm
I’m sure you will be able to find Mann in 2035 on a where are they now show highlighting the superstar of the AGW hoax as he mumbles on about the thermageddon.
October 14, 2013 at 7:24 pm
I’m sure that in Year 39 of the Pause, Mikey, if still employed, will have all new lame excuses at the ready, although with Trenberth gone, he’ll have to invent them himself.