I am happy to say that traffic to this site has been steadily increasing. Visits are up 138% from last year, and October was our best month ever. Increasingly, a sibilant intake of breath is well ranked by search engines.
One problematic element that accompanies popularity is that I attract ever-more climate change deniers and delayers (those who accept that it is real, but think we should take no action). Ordinarily, I am happy to debate with people and try to provide quality information. That being said, it can take up a lot of time to try to refute those who repeat faulty arguments over and over. These people call themselves ‘skeptics,’ but I think they are mis-applying the term. I have yet to encounter one that is willing to back away from even thoroughly discredited positions. Instead, they just move on to another misleading argument.
The question, then, is how to deal with these commentors without losing all scope for socializing and personal projects. Some of the options:
- Briefly assert that their position is incorrect and point to a resource that says why. Ignore further attempts at rebuttal.
- Point all such commentors towards pre-existing posts and conversations, without offering specific responses.
- Adopt the Zero Carbon Canada approach: “ATTN climate change denier trolls: you are cooking our kids and will be deleted.”
- Continue to provide detailed, personalized responses as much as possible.
(1) and (2) are appealing because they reduce the extent to which one person seeking to spread disinformation can waste my time. That said, leaving comments unaddressed could lead readers to believe that the points made therein are valid. (3) is appealing because it would prevent bad information from appearing online, though it is obviously a form of censorship. (4) is the ideal world solution, though I do need to wonder whether refuting deniers and delayers in blog comments is really the best use of my time, even if all I am taking into consideration is whether I am acting effectively on climate change.
Which option do readers think is most suitable? Are there other options I ought to consider?