It is time to stop quivering in our boots in pointless fear of the future and just roll up our sleeves and build it.
- Ray Pierrehumbert

Friday, August 20, 2010

Seeking Inexpert Review

I realize that the Red and Blue dialogs here and here are not my usual fare. I have often said that this blog isn't intended for a general audience, though of late I've been trying to shift toward a broader appeal.

The dialogs are a proposed format for an extended series of outreach pieces for a very broad audience.

I'd like feedback, not so much from regular readers, as from their associates who might not be especially interested in science or who might be young novices.

So if you would be so kind as to pass these pieces on to such people of your acquaintance and ask them to contribute an opinion, I'd greatly appreciate it.

I seek feedback on whether this informal dialog format is seen as accessible, and effective in at least identifying and describing the issues. (I don't expect it to be entirely convincing as yet; that will take some more work.) In particular, I would like to know whether some people outside the climate tribes find it interesting enough to want more.


EliRabett said...

You need to talk to a magazine designer to make the things more readable. They are headache makers as they stand. Add a crawl and some flashing words and they would be perfect 1995 www.

Michael Tobis said...

OK, working on changing it a bit.

Anna Haynes said...

black & dark blue text look a lot alike; all caps hard to read.

How about changing the background color instead? (slightly)

I'll try to round up a test subject or two...

Michael Tobis said...

I think you're right, Anna. Removing most of the caps would further reduce the ransom note quality.

Maybe I should distinguish the speakers just with indentation, or maybe fonts. Pity, they're already called "Red" and "Blue" in my mind.

I am enjoying the mild schizophrenic quality, splitting my personality into separate pieces and letting them interact. I suddenly see how a person could turn into a fiction writer.

Hank Roberts said...

Don't assume fonts and colors will appear the same to everyone, substitutions happen.

I use the "zap" bookmarklet often to remove colors and backgrounds to be able to read overdone web pages.

Use simple layout. Printers had 500 years to learn about readability.

Just an example:
"Figure 8.8a — In the book version of this guide we chose to set the type with indented paragraphs, as the high-resolution medium of print is easier on the reader's eye, and doesn't require the exaggerated paragraph spacing that we use on the relatively low-resolution computer screen."

Michael Tobis said...

OK, OK, I messed up just this once. Sheesh.

I think my blog is better looking than most, usually. I'm aware of design issues.

So hold off on passing this on until I do one more change, but I can't get to it today, probably...

EliRabett said...

Hey, this is from your friends!

Michael Tobis said...

OK, that's all the fussing I'm willing to do through the blogger interface on the second article.

EliRabett said...

Eli has as ug-gestion

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Jay Alt said...

Inexpert review? can do.
Know your audience -

'I try to avoid those exact words' - so, ditch these

any observationally based conclusion in earth sciences.
the sensitivity is likely between 2.5 C and 3 C per CO2 doubling or equivalent.

Wordy, lengthy, vague -

Either way the upshot of what ALL the economists tell us is that if we work really hard, we can, if we try really hard, limit the damage at the point where we get just shy of a doubling of preindustrial CO2, if you count all the other greenhouse gases as if they were CO2.


Overall. This is a hard format to catch my eye and for me to get interested in. Try to give the earliest dialogue more of a hook.

Anna Haynes said...

Suggestion from a friend who followed my recommendation to read the dialogue - provide a link to your bona fides at the beginning, since otherwise she doesn't know you from Adam - and we need to strongly encourage public-folk to "consider the source" of climate communication, & make it 2nd-nature for them to expect it.

(also, there's some digressory stuff at Part 1's beginning that will make the dialogue dated (in a not-good way), if you leave it in.)

You might also include mention of the "Disaster at the Top of the World" NYTimes piece, which illustrates what your dialog's saying.
(if you haven't already done so)

And mybach62 has left you a spam comment here and on part 2.

Anna Haynes said...

IMO *right* after part 1's ending "Thanks ever so much", you should put a blatant "and click here for the sequel". (Instead of adding it chronologically, after an outburst of joy (ick) that Morano linked to you)