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Numberwatch blog

I wrote this to John Brignell, but I haven't received a reply yet.


Dear John,

Can i persuade you to consider this?

It has the benefits of:

* Being easy to maintain.
* Posts are automatically able to be linked to
* Comments can be made directly to the posts concerned
* Easy for other blogs to link to and for you to link to them
* Has a single, consistent look and feel and a consistent link to the latest post
* Allows use of RSS feed readers so that people can watch for the latest from your keyboard
* Posts are sorted into categories, and those categories can be viewed individually by interested parties (if you click on a category you'll see how this works)
* The look of the site can be changed at the click of a button without having to alter any post (for example, there are themes which are the width of the screen)
* Blogs and other links, guest papers and longer articles have links right on the front page
* Contains no unnecessary additives, preservatives


I copied only half of January and the whole of this month.

Although I don't agree with some of the things you say, I respect your right to say them. I don't believe Steve McIntyre would have achieved what he has achieved if he had stuck with

If you want to investigate further to look at the backend, then let me know and I'll send you the username and password. I'd suggest that some of your regulars would become more regular if they could comment directly to posts rather than a separate (and not very good) message board.

John A

Re: Numberwatch blog

Sorry I have not replied. There is rather a large backlog of e-mails. People seem increasingly to be raising questions that need a lot of thought, and I have to limit my computing time for health reasons.
I was immediately aware when your version went live, as one of the attractions of my present hosting service is a real-time statistics facility. The back up support given by HostingUK is excellent, and I feel that they have earned my loyalty. I can see the attractions of the blog format, and I appreciate the effort you have put into it, but I have never thought of Number Watch as a blog. In fact it predates blogging.
I really have no ambitions to be a blogger. I have provided links to what I feel are some of the more relevant ones, but the commentary that is Number of the Month is just one part of the web site. I now have a system in which a number of packages, such as MathCad, are integrated into FrontPage in a way that does not cause me too much trouble. There are now about two thousand files in about fifty folders. I am minded to leave well alone. There are between one and two thousand separate visits by users on any day, including many academic institutions referring to the FAQ section.
I must say that I find that the standard of debate in the blogs, even the best ones, is rather disappointing, to put it mildly. I accept that our forum has its limitations. I started running my own with FrontPage, but the maintenance proved too time-consuming. I don’t like the adverts, but the Bravenet system seems to work without any need for attention, apart from removing the occasional spam. I enjoy the forum, regarding it as a small and rather private discussion group, but with no bar to membership. Most of the contributions are well written and any disputes are gentlemanly.
I accept that Number Watch is under-designed, and no match for your prettier version. That is the way I like it. I like to think that content is more important than form; possibly a delusion, but it is my own delusion. No doubt you think I am an old fogey, and you would be right.
Please do not feel that I do not appreciate your efforts. Your presentation is very attractive. I would be quite happy for you to continue in parallel, translating my old fashioned product into a modern format, but I doubt whether that would give you much gratification.
I do, however, find a problem with so many blogs that look similar. I keep forgetting which particular one I am reading, and I also find that I am often reading without really taking it in. Number Watch might be ugly and cumbersome, but you can’t mistake it for anything else.

Re: Re: Numberwatch blog

For what it's worth ...

Whilst I think John A's blog format is very worthy of suggestion and the effort expended to create the sample is worthy I think the existing format for the main pages suits the purpose of the site rather well. I can see possible benefits and possible de-benefits from the blog style with comments available but I rather think that comments here would lead to less benefit rather than more.

On the other hand the forum format is indeed a bit of a stinker and especially annoying using dial-up when some of the larger ads seem to take forever to load. My main gripe would be the apparent limit of 250 posts at any one time. I assume the older posts are simply discarded?

I also assume that to remove the 250 limit and the advertising costs money. If so best leave it as it is in case someone accuses John B of taking funding from unholy sources. They would have to be unholy now that the Church of England has decided that God is keen on mankind saving the planet.

If the other gods agree we might have religious consensus for the first time ever, though the facts of the consensus would seem to be far from factual. Perfect for a belief system of course.

Re: Re: Re: Numberwatch blog

Anyone bothered by the Bravenet popups etc should try the Firefox browser.

Re: Re: Numberwatch blog

To John Brignell:

I'm puzzled that you think you are not a "blogger". What is Numberwatch but a weblog using html? You are a blogger, John, so get over it! I know you hate neologisms like that, so would journalist or diarist be better?

My main problems with Numberwatch are:

1. You can't link directly to a post under discussion
2. You can't easily check that Numberwatch has been updated.
3. You work out what is the latest and greatest without navigating down a bifurcating ladder of things to click
4. You can't search the posts nor look for posts on a particular subject.
5. When you've navigated to the correct month, you have to wear out your mouse to get to the latest post.

There is no reason why you would have to covert all those files into the blog format. You could simply leave them alone and continue where I've left off.

Thee is also no reason to leave HostingUK. If HostingUK has a MySQL database facility and php scripting installed (and I'd be astonished if they didn't), then it would take minutes (literally) to install Wordpress and get you going. If you wanted a bulletin board, I could install one without any advertising in another few minutes. The weblog would come with anti-spam facilities, the ability to backup the weblog with a mouseclick and a whole host of other features that are extremely easy to use.

If you look at ClimateAudit for February 2005 you'll find that Steve didn't know how to format his posts, or paragraph and had to shamefacedly admit he didn't know how to moderate the comments coming in.

You'll have the benefit of my experience so it should be easier. I'd also get a much simpler (and wider) theme than the one currently on I could even make it look like it came out of a typewriter, if you want it to look retro.

As a comparison ClimaateAudit now has 250,000 hits per month. I'd have to say that one of the major reasons your blog is so much less popular, is the software you are using. It simply make it too difficult for people to find you. One of the things you don't know is that when a post goes on Climate Audit, three or four aggregation sites on the Internet (which anyone can monitor) gets updated with the title and author.

Tim Worstall can manage it. Steve McIntyre can manage it.

Now John Brignell, time to step up to the wicket. You have nothing to lose except Microsoft Frontpage.

And Google blogspot is even easier.

Converting all of John Brignell's articles to a blog would be trivial. Then a blog is so easy to maintain he could update it via email over a Blackberry. Although I think it's too many blogs maintained that way that makes John hate blogs. But to read how this site is "so easy" for John since he is able to use Frontpage. Sigh.

Actually JohnA I think John Brignell likes neologisms. I am thinking of putting statistaster on my business cards.