No more science posts!

. . . unless people start reading them. Today virtually all the serious posts were animal- or science-related. Traffic is way down (about 60% of normal) which means people aren’t reading them.  What do you want—clickbait?

OY!

222 Comments

  1. Todd J Morgan
    Posted January 9, 2017 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

    TO be fair, I didn’t read any of your posts today.

    /been busy.

    • Wunold
      Posted January 9, 2017 at 4:41 pm | Permalink

      Me too, since last week.

      • Wunold
        Posted January 9, 2017 at 4:56 pm | Permalink

        … but I defended GMOs against the typical myths and conspiracy theories at a games evening last Saturday. So I did a little something for science (I guess). 🙂

        • mordacious1
          Posted January 9, 2017 at 6:52 pm | Permalink

          Careful. I don’t get invited to my wife’s friends’ get-togethers anymore, due to similar activities on my part. I was led to understand that implying that people are stupid is a real downer at parties. Who knew?

          • Wunold
            Posted January 10, 2017 at 12:29 am | Permalink

            Thanks for the advice, (I think) I am careful in picking my fights and the words I’m using. In this case, I was among good friends who I can argue fiercely without changing our overall relationship. Most of my friends are like that, fortunately. With less familiar people or those I know to be touchy, I’m way more cautious.

            In all cases, I try to apply Peter Boghossian’s street epistemology when appropriate (a form of the socratic method) and conclude stalemate discussions with the offer of exchanging sources subsequently and/or the suggestion that we both review the opponent’s arguments until we meet again.

            Last Saturday, it surprised me though, how usually well informed people can have such polarized and sometimes blatantly false opinions without checking their “facts”. In the case of GMOs, it’s very easy to find sound information on the net.

        • somer
          Posted January 9, 2017 at 9:37 pm | Permalink

          its fascinating how both communists and fundamentalist evangelicals go on about the evil of all forms of GMOs and GM technology

          • somer
            Posted January 9, 2017 at 9:39 pm | Permalink

            And I always read JCs science posts and say thank you so much for so much work and care – easy for me to say, I admit as a consumer

          • Posted January 10, 2017 at 3:00 am | Permalink

            Communists are generally pro-tech, so I think their disapproval is “sour grapes”. If Cuba or North Korea was a leader in GMO production, I think communists would love them.

          • Posted January 11, 2017 at 4:21 pm | Permalink

            Please consult my web site and book Politics as if Evolution Mattered, re GMOs, where you will find why GMO critics are not anti science or crazy anti vaccine people. Meddling in the well adjusted adaptive process of natural selection in order to increase corporate control and profits from bioengineering is counterevolutionary and also politically anti progressive. The skeptic movement seems to be skeptical about everything BUT genetic engineering and never tires in its smearing of secular and atheist
            pro science advocates as paranoid and uninformed. In addition there are literally hundreds of credible expert scientists who have questioned the technology (not least transgenics) and shown how the industry has
            withheld skeptical studies and data and to date still lacks a consensus of qualified scientists about its safety. And the ecological impact of GMO crops is already known and the potential of GMO plants to
            outcompete with native plants. The list of unresolved questions and problems with this massive interference with and manipulation of natural selection is very long and it is high time people understood that there are legitimate science-based doubts about the technology.

            • GBJames
              Posted January 11, 2017 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

              If there are legitimate science-based doubts, you surely have not provided an example. That paragraph is a prime example of unsubstantiated assertions. Ideology, big time. Sn understanding of GMO technology, genetic selection, or the history of agriculture… not so much.

  2. Posted January 9, 2017 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

    I read them in my email. Does this affect your count?

    • Posted January 9, 2017 at 3:23 pm | Permalink

      Only those who click on the site are counted. And those clicks are WAY down today.

      • thompjs
        Posted January 9, 2017 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

        My RSS Reader feedly.com sometimes pulls the whole text over and I read it there.

        Better to look at Hilli on the site

      • Lenny Darnell
        Posted January 9, 2017 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

        The only reason I click on the site is to read comments. I definitely read the science posts in email.

        • Posted January 9, 2017 at 6:21 pm | Permalink

          All the text comes to my RSS reader, and like others I only click through to site for comments.

        • gravelinspector-Aidan
          Posted January 9, 2017 at 11:33 pm | Permalink

          I get informed of each new post with an email, containing just a couple of lines.
          Following previous comments by PCC(E) on this subject, I click through the email to the site to read both comments and the actual post.
          PCC(E)’s site, PCC(E)’s Roolz.
          For what it’s worth, I’m considering stopping reading the Grauniad’s site (as I’ve already stopped reading the Indescribablyboring’s site) because they’re making it harder to read the site without being bombarded with megabytes of advertising. I’ll just restrict myself to reading the ink on papr versions, and occasionally cutting out the adverts and posting them back to the Editor marked “unread ; please recycle paper”.
          Same problem, I suspect.

    • Charles
      Posted January 9, 2017 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

      Me too. I’m not qualified to comment on the science posts so I read them in the email.

      • Siggy in CR
        Posted January 9, 2017 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

        Same for me. I generally only go to the site if I have a particular interest in the comments. Maybe there is some possibility of the e-mails only giving a brief synopsis, so that people are forced to go to the site to read the entire post?

    • BobTerrace
      Posted January 9, 2017 at 3:38 pm | Permalink

      I read nearly all posts in email or in the RSS reader. I only go to the site to comment and I rarely comment on science posts. I read every daily wildlife post but hardly ever comment.

      • Mark Joseph
        Posted January 9, 2017 at 3:48 pm | Permalink

        Ditto.

    • Greg Geisler
      Posted January 9, 2017 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

      Same here. I read 99% of them in my email and only click if there’s content mentioned that doesn’t show in my mail message. I will begin clicking!

      • Geoff Toscano
        Posted January 9, 2017 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

        I’m in the email brigade also. I started coming here to learn about evolution, and it’s worked, but I’m no way qualified to comment on science posts.

        So I’ll remember in future always to go to the site.

    • Cate Plys
      Posted January 9, 2017 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

      That’s what I was going to ask. Quite often I do read a post in the email, and that certainly applies to science posts too. I have no problem looking at the site every day instead–but Jerry, you asked us to register (which I thought automatically meant getting the emails) in order to increase the number of followers! So it’s only fair if you give us a chance to start ignoring the emails and only read off the site, for a test period, before cutting us off from science posts. Please!

      • Posted January 9, 2017 at 4:17 pm | Permalink

        I was only half serious, though it is irksome as it takes several hours to write one of those posts, including read the paper–about four or more times longer than a regular site. But I’m not asking people who regularly read on email to go to the site. What I am saying is that people who do click on the site have gone way down when there’s a science post.

        • notesfromberingia
          Posted January 9, 2017 at 4:41 pm | Permalink

          Jerry, the bandwidth required for politics right now is pretty high. I know my own attention to science has suffered, and someone just mentioned to me that my Twitter stream has gone political. I am hoping we can affect some of our representatives’ votes on the big issues that are being decided at such a rapid pace in DC these days.

          • pdx1jtj
            Posted January 9, 2017 at 8:12 pm | Permalink

            On the other hand, the science posts are a great alternative to the shrieking noise.
            To be able read of something intriguing and enduring does wonders for my equanimity.
            These posts serve as a reminder that there’s a beautiful world that makes life worth living in spite of today’s crap.
            Thank you, PCC.

          • Michiel
            Posted January 10, 2017 at 2:25 am | Permalink

            I’m afraid this is a fact of life that our generous host will have to come to terms with. Posts about politics and religion will almost always bring in more traffic and discussion than science posts. Certainly part of it is that more people feel they can and should discuss politics than science. Perhaps one should look at it this way; without the politics and religion posts, which bring in a lot of traffic, there would possibly be even less people reading the science posts. I do hope our host continues to provide both!

            • infiniteimprobabilit
              Posted January 10, 2017 at 3:19 am | Permalink

              It’s also a fact that *anyone* can have a valid opinion on religion or politics without automatically making a fool of themselves. But I couldn’t express a valid opinion on matters of genetics or statistics or biology, for example, except at the most elementary level, and this applies to many other visitors to this site.

              cr

    • Ray Leonard
      Posted January 9, 2017 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

      Yep; I read them in email too – I only click onto the site if it’s something I want to share on social media or comment on. Please do keep them up – I sometimes struggle with the terms and concepts but that’s a good thing ‘cos i have to brain a bit more than usual.

      • Posted January 9, 2017 at 6:23 pm | Permalink

        Email usually for me. I go for comments like other people but also when there are video or certain other attachments that can’t be opened without going to the site. Maybe you need to embed more film in your science posts :). I read them so I hope you don’t get discouraged. I’ll click, promise 🙂

    • Posted January 9, 2017 at 5:08 pm | Permalink

      Another “I come here for the comments” (I read the, ‘updates’ in email.)

      It seems what you actually know is that one segment of your readership is down today. But how well does that translate to other segments? Extenuating circumstances such as first day of classes at many secondary institutions of higher learning?

      And… you don’t really know if people read it in any case. What you know at beset is how many people clicked.

    • michieux
      Posted January 9, 2017 at 6:54 pm | Permalink

      Me too. I seldom visit the site.

  3. geckzilla
    Posted January 9, 2017 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

    Sorry my one click doesn’t help make a dent in the traffic. I like the science posts, but I do confess my mind is swirling with many concerns lately… too many emotions

  4. Phil_Torres
    Posted January 9, 2017 at 3:23 pm | Permalink

    I almost always read them, although usually in Gmail — not by clicking on the link that leads to wordpress.

    Your science posts are incredibly interesting and informative.

  5. Posted January 9, 2017 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

    One suggestion that might give better metrics, if you use the “read more” line so that people have to click on the post to read it, you might get higher numbers. What I normally do is read everything from the home page, so I can just keep reading each post and scroll down without having to click, but for all intents and purposes, you’re only getting one hit on the homepage from me, even if I read every post. I imagine others do the same.

    • John Dentinger
      Posted January 9, 2017 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

      Exactly what I do.

      • Grania Devine
        Posted January 9, 2017 at 4:39 pm | Permalink

        Me, too. I read ALL your posts and most of the comments, though I rarely have anything to add.

        • Reggie Cormack
          Posted January 10, 2017 at 10:18 am | Permalink

          Ditto

    • Posted January 9, 2017 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

      Yes, I do this too. Although today, I only just now accessed the site. I’m not sure if the data would back me up, but my feeling is there would be better traffic on “harder” posts later in the week. On Mondays, for example, I’ve got too much going on and enough energy from the weekend recharge to get myself to work. Later in the week, that energy fades and I spend a lot more time on recreational items. Posting hard science writing on Thursdays or Fridays could maybe help with traffic?

    • Gregory Kusnick
      Posted January 9, 2017 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

      I second this suggestion. Apart from the page-view metrics, it would also make it easier to find recent posts on the main page.

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted January 9, 2017 at 6:32 pm | Permalink

        I agree with that. I sometimes go looking for a recent post via the main page, and I have to scroll down and down and down… only to find it’s been pushed off the end.

        A couple of paras from each post on the main page (click to read more) would be more functional, for me at least.

        cr

    • Cate Plys
      Posted January 9, 2017 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

      Great idea. And as per some others, I seldom comment, not because I’m not interested, but because I’m in no way qualified to say anything about the science posts especially.

      • michieux
        Posted January 9, 2017 at 7:01 pm | Permalink

        Same here. I learn a lot from reading your posts, and I very much appreciate your hard work. Please don’t think it’s all for nought because it isn’t.

        My very heartfelt thanks!

    • Bob Campbell
      Posted January 9, 2017 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

      I also access the website this way. I rarely read the comments, and almost never make comments (this is my second in several years). I do read the science posts and appreciate that they involve a lot of work on your part.

    • Posted January 9, 2017 at 7:11 pm | Permalink

      Naaah, readers don’t like the “read more” thing, and I don’t want to use that to give better metrics. I’m not trying to boost readership, really, I’m just trying to figure out if it’s worth the investment of time involved in science posts, which are far more onerous than others. Truth be told, I can’t imagine this site without them, and the laws of physics won’t let me stop writing them. Maybe I’m just frustrated today. . . .

      • Sherlock Sagan
        Posted January 9, 2017 at 10:18 pm | Permalink

        No, you’ve every right to be frustrated. I appreciate your work and plan to click and read more often. Thank you.

      • Posted January 9, 2017 at 10:41 pm | Permalink

        This will pass. Keep up the great science posts when you have the time.

        • Posted January 10, 2017 at 3:04 am | Permalink

          + 1. I still hope to read one day a post by prof. Coyne about his experiments with artificial selection that turned out ineffective.

      • chris moffatt
        Posted January 10, 2017 at 6:32 am | Permalink

        What would a science website be without science posts? And yes I do read them though I don’t comment because Biology was not my field (computer science/earth sciences/physics were) and I do find them instructive. Please don’t stop. Thankyou

  6. Posted January 9, 2017 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

    I really liked the post about tool use by ants. But I didn’t comment since I know little about ants (whereas, if it’s a free-will post I’ll end up clicking about 20 times to see and reply to more comments, thus boosting the stats).

    • Mark Joseph
      Posted January 9, 2017 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

      Same with me, on the religion posts, the only thing (unfortunately) that I know enough about to comment on.

    • Posted January 9, 2017 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

      I don’t judge readership by comments; I just it by how many people click on the site itself, or on the posts. Those data are calculated automatically.

      • Posted January 9, 2017 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

        Hi Jerry,
        But doesn’t refreshing the web page, in order to see additional comments, add another click to the counter?

    • Posted January 9, 2017 at 4:38 pm | Permalink

      Ditto.

  7. Posted January 9, 2017 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

    Keep those science posts coming – I love reading them.

    • jardino
      Posted January 10, 2017 at 2:45 am | Permalink

      Seconded – although my background is in the physical sciences rather than the life sciences, I tend to browse through most of the science post here.

      Alan.

  8. Deniz Erezyilmaz
    Posted January 9, 2017 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

    I read the one about tool use in ants- I didn’t have anything to say about it though.

  9. Posted January 9, 2017 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

    As above,, “read” posts on mail, rarely go to wordpress. Am on very slow satellite and takes an inordinate amount of time to download.

    actually forwarded a number of posts from the mail account to other old folk.

  10. Ken Kukec
    Posted January 9, 2017 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

    C’mon, boss, don’t punish those of us who eat all the vegetables on our plate, too!

  11. Garry VanGelderen
    Posted January 9, 2017 at 3:29 pm | Permalink

    I always read your science posts at your website. But have not put up any comments. I am an interested amateur, so don’t feel qualified for comments. But your posts do keep me abreast of latest papers that really mean something. Please don’t quit. tell your readers on e-mail to go to the site. Better graphics for one !!

  12. Erik
    Posted January 9, 2017 at 3:29 pm | Permalink

    I get them via e-mail updates, and save all of them to a folder that I created (intelligently designed?) for all of the WEIT science posts. I really appreciate the time and effort you devote to them. It would take me at least a day to put together the kind of items that you post several times a day!

  13. Paulo A Franke
    Posted January 9, 2017 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

    We are all here.

    Still a bit early in the year, no worries!

    • Diane G.
      Posted January 9, 2017 at 7:36 pm | Permalink

      Not to mention early in the day! (When Jerry posted this plea…)

      Some of us are night people, or busy working in the daytime, or antipodeans, Asians…

  14. toni j.
    Posted January 9, 2017 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

    Pls don’t stop the science posts! They are interesting and infomrative.

  15. Robert Ryder
    Posted January 9, 2017 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

    I read the ant tool use post but I didn’t click the title, so it didn’t register as read. Sorry! I’ll make sure I click to open the posts when I read in the future.

  16. Brian
    Posted January 9, 2017 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

    I read all of your science posts and love them. The one about the ants today was wonderful. I often forward them to fellow instructors in Psychology and Biology so there is more reach than meets your eye.

  17. Frank Wagner
    Posted January 9, 2017 at 3:36 pm | Permalink

    The science posts are my favorite, but I usually read them only in the e-mail and usually don’t feel qualified to make any intelligent comment on them. It would be a shame to stop them, since there is so little good science reporting available.

    • Dave B
      Posted January 11, 2017 at 11:25 am | Permalink

      Ditto (no intelligent comment to make), and I do read the posts *without* clicking through.

  18. Tony R
    Posted January 9, 2017 at 3:39 pm | Permalink

    Hi Jerry, I always read your science posts and appreciate them quite a lot. I often read them in my email, where I see them first. Later in the day,or the next, I do go to your website to read your posts and the comments.

    I often get to the posts late in the day or the next day, so very rarely make comments — so many good ones have been made by the time I read them …

    I loved the post on the katydids and found the photos very remarkable.I may not always understand all of a post — sometimes only some — but I do love them.

    I do appreciate that you put a great deal of effort into these posts, as do your other contributors. Please do keep them up.

    Your website is the one I visit most frequently and though I have read the posts in my email, I do go online later and click on all the posts, whether or not I read the comments, to provide a count.

    Many thanks.

  19. Posted January 9, 2017 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

    Who cares if traffic is down? Continue the science posts!

  20. Ian Clark
    Posted January 9, 2017 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

    I like the science content, but often read only the e-mail.
    I will come to the Blog if I decide to share your post with others on Facebook.
    I would be disappointed if you stopped the science content.
    Thanks for all your hard work.

  21. Roger Maxson
    Posted January 9, 2017 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

    Can’t read my screen but keep the science coming. Yesterday giant saw polemic chunk awesome, hilarious! Shows just how far advanced the British are. And your two books listed so will go to Amazon soon. And order them. I must say you are prolific … Wow. Roger Maxson

  22. busterggi
    Posted January 9, 2017 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

    I readed them.

    maybe one on well English too?

  23. vtvita
    Posted January 9, 2017 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

    I’ve mostly read your posts in email, but I’ve just learned that it only counts when they’re read on your website.

    • Dawn Oz
      Posted January 10, 2017 at 10:42 pm | Permalink

      me too!

  24. Debbie Coplan
    Posted January 9, 2017 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

    Pleeeze keep science posts!

  25. Jim Tomlin
    Posted January 9, 2017 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

    I comment here ONLY when you threaten to quit posting science stuff. PLEASE DO NOT STOP! Science is why many of us come here.

    That you happen to have Correct Opinions and to Love Kitties, well, that’s fine, too.

    Go Science! Go Team!

  26. floydpinkerton
    Posted January 9, 2017 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

    Have to add my voice to the above, I read every post in my Gmail account, and only come here to comment (not often, since I’m not exactly qualified to comment on most of your posts).

    Your science posts are why I subscribe, so please, please don’t be disheartened, I’m sure that I’m not the only one who hangs on every word. The ant-tool article is a great example!

  27. rationalmind
    Posted January 9, 2017 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

    I too love the science posts. Unless I wish to comment or need to see pictures etc. I read the copy that is emailed to me,

    PLEASE PLEASE do not stop them.

    I agree with your politics and I love cats too, but the reason I am subscribed is because of your science stuff which is really good.

  28. Mark Joseph
    Posted January 9, 2017 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

    Dear Professor Ceiling Cat (emeritus):

    I’m afraid it’s just the way of the world.

    If I recall correctly, you’ve mentioned this before. There were then frequent comments of the “I read them, and I learn, but I have nothing to add” variety. I know I certainly occupy a space in that boat. I have a dilettante’s knowledge of a fair amount of science, but rarely if ever the expertise to add anything substantive to the discussion other than possibly a request for clarification or additional detail on some point.

    Unfortunately, in our (American) culture, science is more a less a field of specialized study. Teaching of science in the schools is very poor, mostly geared to being able to respond to questions on standardized tests, and managing to knock any sense of wonder at the natural world, and how we find out about it, out of children. Furthermore, science is actively opposed by two large segments of society, the fundamentalist right and the authoritarian left (a term I prefer to the one you’ve been using, the regressive left; while both are regressive, I prefer to shine the spotlight on what I consider to be the more dangerous of their common traits, their authoritarianism). On the other hand, just as there is no prerequisite for holding political office (see: Trump, Donald), so there is no qualification needing to be met to hold forth on any political (or religious) topic, and pretty much everyone has an opinion.

    If it makes you feel any better, my wife and I had a day together yesterday (40th anniversary!) and we went to the Long Beach Aquarium, where I spent a very happy day learning part of just how much I don’t know about fish and other sea creatures. I will probably buy a book now and add another piece to my education.

    Keep posting. I (and others) will keep reading, and learning, and probably not commenting much. One thing I can tell you for sure that I have learned from the animal posts–I suck worse than anyone in the world at the “Spot the…” puzzles.

  29. Posted January 9, 2017 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

    “Traffic is way down (about 60% of normal)” It doesn’t mean that people are not reading them. It means ~50% of your readers are probably into real scientific posts. Is it bad? I guess you have about 50K subscribers. I think you should feel happy if you have ~100 lab scientists reading your blog. Most scientific papers (including yours) probably don’t get that much readers.

    Also, today is Monday. Most people are just starting their work schedules so they are busy in their labs/workplaces.

  30. dabertini
    Posted January 9, 2017 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

    No way man!! The science posts (and anti-religion posts) rule!

  31. Posted January 9, 2017 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

    Haven’t we gone through this before? The reasons for fewer reads have been well documented in comments on earlier posts. That said, even if reads were down, you should write about what interests YOU, it’s your site. (It’s not like you get money for clicks.) If science bores you now… don’t write about it. (But those will be the posts that people return to over the years, not current affairs. Well, science and kitties…)

  32. sshort
    Posted January 9, 2017 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

    I’ll go in the not especially qualified but always interested reader column.

    Opinions are so easy to yammer on about and all this facty stuff takes some concentration.

    Older I get, the more I like facts and dislike opinion.

    keep ’em comin.

    p.s. always wanted a clean first aedition of E.O. Wilson’s “The Ants”. wow…what a book.

  33. Claudia Baker
    Posted January 9, 2017 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

    Like some others below, I read almost all of the science posts, but do not feel I can comment because my science background is so limited. Please don’t stop posting them, because they are so interesting and I learn new things everyday! I can even throw around some science terms during conversations now. I’m no longer just a History/English major pretty face.

  34. Randy Bessinger
    Posted January 9, 2017 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

    I read them in gmail, but will niw go to the website to boost the count.

  35. Gregory Kusnick
    Posted January 9, 2017 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

    Bear in mind that some of your readers are in different time zones. It’s just lunchtime here for me, and I often save the meatier posts for later in the day after I’ve finished my chores and have time to concentrate on them properly.

  36. Mark Perew
    Posted January 9, 2017 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

    Like others, I read them in email.

    May I ask I why those website click-through metrics matter to you?

  37. Pliny the in Between
    Posted January 9, 2017 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

    I eagerly read everyone of the science posts – sometimes more than once to make sure I get it.

    I must confess that I don’t read all the cat ones 😉

  38. Zwirko
    Posted January 9, 2017 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

    Perhaps you could start putting the meat of the content after a “Read more…” link?

    As things are at present you can’t tell if a visitor reads all of your posts or none. You can only see those who read the comments. Maybe the difference would be negligible, but it would certainly be more informative.

  39. Posted January 9, 2017 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

    Are you only using wordpress stats though? They are often erroneous. I always take them with a grain of salt on my blog, and I usually rely more on google analytics.

  40. Posted January 9, 2017 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

    I read your blog for both the scientific and secularism/political articles. Fascinating discoveries about things like ant tool use or parasites that control host behavior are the reasons many of us are so motivated to defend science in general and evolutionary biology in particular.

  41. Paul S
    Posted January 9, 2017 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

    As others have said, I also read your science posts but am unqualified to post anything meaningful.
    There are times when I have to research basic information before I understand what you’ve posted, e.g. epigenetics. Even then I’ve learned something new and I appreciate it.
    There’s also guilt that I’m receiving this education for free.
    I find WEIT educational, entertaining and humbling. I read it every day.

  42. Posted January 9, 2017 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

    40% of your “regular” readers don’t read science posts, so you threaten to take away science posts from the 60% who do.

    Perhaps consider letting go of the 40% instead.

  43. MARIO PRECIADO
    Posted January 9, 2017 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

    Many times I reaqd the post in the email and ther is no need to go to the blog itself

  44. MARIO PRECIADO
    Posted January 9, 2017 at 4:02 pm | Permalink

    Many times I can read the post in the email without having to go to the blog itself

  45. mikeyc
    Posted January 9, 2017 at 4:05 pm | Permalink

    I’ll add my voice; whenever I visit WEIT I always read the biology posts (I am a biologist). It’s one of the reasons I come to this site. I rarely comment because it just isn’t my style (usually). I see from other comments that simply viewing the front page of WEIT (on my viewer I can read entire posts on the front page without clicking on them) means what I’ve read doesn’t get counted. In future I will select them so they get counted.

  46. peepuk
    Posted January 9, 2017 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

    I can add zero to nothing, so I don’t.

    However, I read most of them and I very much enjoy them.

  47. Hempenstein
    Posted January 9, 2017 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

    It’s the weather, Jake, and the impending doom of Jan 20.

  48. A. DiLuca
    Posted January 9, 2017 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

    Please do not stop.

  49. Posted January 9, 2017 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

    I read them — had a hellaceous day on the rock pile today …

  50. Janet
    Posted January 9, 2017 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

    I’m another reader who usually only reads your posts in my email. I love the science posts! I saved the one on species formation for a time when I could have a coffee and a nice break, and I enjoyed it. I only click to go to your webpage to enlarge photos or to read comments, which skews website viewing to the non-science articles. Perhaps there is a way to get a reader count directly from the email?

  51. Brian Salkas
    Posted January 9, 2017 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

    We appreciate the posts, this is a science blog after all… I think you will accrue more science readers if you continue to post more. I learned what müllerian mimicry is, so i did my part.

  52. Terryl Stacy
    Posted January 9, 2017 at 4:17 pm | Permalink

    How do I indicate that I have read the post, read the comments?

  53. BJ
    Posted January 9, 2017 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

    I’m very sorry to hear that. I read nearly every post you make (though I only click on the post if I wish to post a comment, so that may cause some confusion for you). Can you pinpoint when, exactly, traffic started falling?

    • BJ
      Posted January 9, 2017 at 4:20 pm | Permalink

      As I see someone else has suggested, try putting at least half of the post “after the jump” so people have to click on the post to read the whole thing. You may not be getting accurate numbers here.

  54. Tennisaaa
    Posted January 9, 2017 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

    Please don’t stop the science posts. It’s literally the only science I read other than the nytimes. (Sad but true…)

  55. Posted January 9, 2017 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

    This has occurred to me before, but I suspect the major problem is, or how it works with me is as follows. I read all your posts, BUT unless I’m going to comment, or want to sub to responding comments, I just read them within my email, and don’t actually go to your site. Given that science posts tend to be informational rather than controversial, or discussion driven I don’t tend to go to your site to read them, or “sub” them.

  56. darrelle
    Posted January 9, 2017 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

    Please don’t stop Jerry. Though I disappear for days at a time and most weekends, I read the majority of your science posts and consider them among the best of their kind that I’ve found on this here internet thingy.

  57. Derek Freyberg
    Posted January 9, 2017 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

    Question:
    I get your e-mails as posts go up, but I don’t necessarily click through from each e-mail to the corresponding post: what I frequently do is click from one e-mail to its post, then move forward (and sometimes back to catch late comments on an earlier post) from one post to another, reading several posts in one session rather than reading them as the e-mails come in. Does this count as clicking on each post (and I read virtually all of them), or am I skewing the numbers unfavorably by moving between them? Thanks.

  58. tubby
    Posted January 9, 2017 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

    Sorry. Was fiddling with a new paint program. I read the ant article earlier, and just saw the katydid one.

  59. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted January 9, 2017 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

    Sub

  60. William Stewart
    Posted January 9, 2017 at 4:30 pm | Permalink

    To Professor Coyne,
    Please don’t discontinue the science posts. I often present the information to my psychology classes.

  61. Posted January 9, 2017 at 4:37 pm | Permalink

    What do you want, popularity or say something of value?

  62. nancy952howard
    Posted January 9, 2017 at 4:40 pm | Permalink

    Though anecdotally, as a retired person it doesn’t matter much to me; however that this is the return to a full work week, at least in Ontario, Canada, it may have in part have an answer to the lack of response. Holidays over, rush, rush , rush. By the by, I click the science posts, then save reading them to when I wake in the early morning. I do enjoy them very much, thank you.

    • jardino
      Posted January 10, 2017 at 2:54 am | Permalink

      Here in Scotland, also, we are just recovering from New Year …

      Alan.

      • HaggisForBrains
        Posted January 10, 2017 at 5:59 am | Permalink

        +1. And Old New Year, of course!

  63. Loic
    Posted January 9, 2017 at 4:45 pm | Permalink

    Well maybe we should vary the science post, it is almost always about biology.

    I was looking after AI articles and one youtube video said AI would never reach human level. Because of “non algorithmic creativity”. I struggled to find out what he meant… I believe this nonsense was covering for a concept of soul. A bit like ID does for creationism. The hunch was confirmed by an advert for the discovery institute at the end.

    Evolution has been on the frontline against superstition like no other science so far. But it seems a new front is opening with AI. (With similar tactics on the other side)

    I would be happy to see you talk about that for exemple, even if this mis not your core area of expertise.

    • Posted January 9, 2017 at 7:05 pm | Permalink

      Sorry, I know very little about artificial intelligence and thus keep my mouths shut about it. If you need articles on that, I suspect there are PLENTY of sites that deal with it.

  64. Joseph Stans
    Posted January 9, 2017 at 4:48 pm | Permalink

    There are only a few sites I visit and read religiously (Sorry) Yours is one of them.

    It is hard enough to find sites with serious science. Between the science, the felids, the animals it is a nicely rounded addition to my surfing.

    Besides, my daughter loves it.

  65. GBJames
    Posted January 9, 2017 at 4:48 pm | Permalink

    I make a point to come to the site because I know how important it is to you. But most people just come here if they want to comment. I didn’t comment on todays science posts because I had nothing to contribute. I’ll wager that you have far more science post readers than you recognize simply because it takes special effort to visit solely for the purpose of saying “count me”.

  66. Posted January 9, 2017 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

    Out and about right now. Keep those science posts coming. Looking forward to them when I get home.

  67. Posted January 9, 2017 at 4:58 pm | Permalink

    Please don’t cut out the science posts! 2016 was s**t and I was hoping that 2017 would be better, but losing the science posts would be too much to bear. I visit the site everyday, via my email notifications, and I read almost every post, but especially the science ones. I don’t always comment, as some are above my pay grade, but this is how I learn. Please post the science! I do read the rest of the posts too, but I LOVE the science posts. I know that they take a lot of effort to write, but they ARE appreciated.

  68. Angela
    Posted January 9, 2017 at 5:00 pm | Permalink

    I had to wait until I got home from work to have time to read the science posts. Getting ready to read them now.

  69. somer
    Posted January 9, 2017 at 5:03 pm | Permalink

    Perhaps we aren’t grateful enough for all the work that goes into producing them in that its not expressed in the form of comments. I always read them and bookmark them much more often than the political comment but I don’t comment on the science articles – I look direct via web rather than click through email so it wouldn’t show.

  70. John Conoboy
    Posted January 9, 2017 at 5:05 pm | Permalink

    I am also one who reads all the science posts, but rarely comments as I rarely have the expertise. And, I usually look at the posts later in the day, so even if I had a comment, by the time I see a post, someone else has said what I would have said. But I often use information gleaned from this site to explain science to others.

  71. mfdempsey1946
    Posted January 9, 2017 at 5:12 pm | Permalink

    Please keep the science posts coming, labor intensive though they clearly are.

    I don’t have anything close to what it takes to be even a mediocre scientist, struggle to grasp many of the posts even at the Science 101 level, and feel this inadequacy of mine keenly.

    But the struggle is worthwhile and valuable to me.

    Thus, I hope that science posts will not vanish from the mix of different writings that regularly appear here, where I visit daily, often more than once.

  72. Torbjörn Larsson
    Posted January 9, 2017 at 5:13 pm | Permalink

    If I don’t have time – and the likelihood increases for long and thought worthy science posts – I click and then bookmark. Today I have bookmarked 2 science posts @ WEIT…

  73. Diana MacPherson
    Posted January 9, 2017 at 5:15 pm | Permalink

    I had a bad migraine today and had to go to work then go to a stupid appointment at the hospital to test nerve and muscle conductivity in my legs because I’m having a hard time climbing stairs (the tests were normal, which I thought – hence me calling the appointment “stupid”). Then I had to rush back to work and I barely had time to eat at all today. So, this is the first time I’ve had to do anything other than work or be annoyed or be in pain.

    • Posted January 10, 2017 at 3:13 am | Permalink

      I think it’s great that the tests came back normal. And while they may be of no use now (particularly if you are having complaints for which another cause must be sought), it is informative to have such periodic “reference points”, just in case such a problem emerges in the future.

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted January 10, 2017 at 6:09 pm | Permalink

        Thanks – I know you’re right. I just suspected my doctor was barking up the wrong tree but I didn’t feel like arguing because he gets stubborn when you do and you get nowhere to him.

  74. nwalsh
    Posted January 9, 2017 at 5:26 pm | Permalink

    I’m in the enjoy the science posts, but rarely comment class. Not sure how the clicks are counted. When I first go to your site I then scroll down through the various topics without clicking on individual topics. Does that only count as one click even though I have ready many more of your interesting topics?

    • Michael
      Posted January 9, 2017 at 5:48 pm | Permalink

      ^^ This describes me perfectly. Rarely post, and usually only go to the site once or twice a day and scroll down without ever clicking a single individual post…which I think might look misleading. Because the science/religion/politics posts are the ones I’m MOST interested in. A lot of times I’ll scroll past the wild life photos for example, and try to get to the substantive entries. But as I understand it, Jerry has no way of telling which posts were actually read or skipped.

  75. Rob Munguia
    Posted January 9, 2017 at 5:46 pm | Permalink

    PCC, I really enjoy and learn from your science posts. When assessing the effects of the proportion of science-related posts have you considered to pool the visits to your site controlling the day of the week?

  76. Marc Aresteanu
    Posted January 9, 2017 at 5:47 pm | Permalink

    I think science posts are interesting, but many can go above our heads. I come here for both.

    But I think the disparity between science and political posts might be an illusion, because people have opinions about politics, but not so much about science. And so people comment more, which leads to people coming back to see whether someone has replied, and that leads to a domino effect.

    I personally love your posts. I’m a cat guy over a dog guy, but I’ll be honest, I don’t really care about cat pictures. Maybe it’s because my cat is already on my lap and he’s gorgeous.

    Cheers.

  77. Mark Sturtevant
    Posted January 9, 2017 at 5:48 pm | Permalink

    Oy, indeed. But there were two posts today! TWO!!

  78. Ron Goren
    Posted January 9, 2017 at 5:53 pm | Permalink

    Don’t have time to read all you write. You are too prolific ( a compliment) but I do enjoy the science an read as much as I can

  79. John Taylor
    Posted January 9, 2017 at 6:07 pm | Permalink

    You should compare the traffic to the first Monday back from Christmas holidays from previous years.

  80. Nancy
    Posted January 9, 2017 at 6:09 pm | Permalink

    Just wondering. Has the decrease in clicks occurred SINCE THE ELECTION? My guess would be that it has. Personally, (and I’m not kidding), I am traumatized by what’s ahead of us as a nation. I’m self-soothing and watching a lot of netflix. Currently binge watching first season of The Crown. Reading a lot of poetry. I do see your tweets and will follow the link sometimes. Please don’t ever stop writing the science posts.

  81. Posted January 9, 2017 at 6:10 pm | Permalink

    I like the science posts. I’ll miss Hili. Bye.

  82. Posted January 9, 2017 at 6:16 pm | Permalink

    I also read whatever you write on your website on email. I read every day. Since my education primarily is in liberal arts and social sciences, I don’t feel that I’m qualified to comment on hard science. Like others here, I save almost all your website writings to a file folder to refer to again later.

  83. Posted January 9, 2017 at 6:16 pm | Permalink

    Maybe a lot of people get here because they search for certain topics more in Google. There are a lot more people searching for Carrie Fisher than the latest finding in Evolutionary Biology. So you get more views on those posts from casual visiters.

  84. Randall Schenck
    Posted January 9, 2017 at 6:25 pm | Permalink

    Not sure I understand the count. If I read the articles and I did, but do not comment is that considered a no. Like many I often do not comment on some of the science but I do like it. I do notice that when a post goes up on philosophy, it is off to the races.

    At the moment I am very busy moving, with lots of closings and much more. So, that will pass in a couple of weeks and I will be back. Please carry on and don’t stop doing anything.

  85. David Fuqua
    Posted January 9, 2017 at 6:55 pm | Permalink

    I hav e traveling and not reading email. Don’t stop science posts!

  86. Posted January 9, 2017 at 7:08 pm | Permalink

    It makes intuitive sense why science posts have lower engagement. By their nature, they are on subjects that present someones expertise which invite less opinion and spontaneous reaction. After all, someone has spent a lot of time and certainly has specialist knowledge to produce such material. Double this, as you, Jerry, also present and explain the findings which sets the bar even higher.

    Because few readers can throw in meaningful two cents, there is less incentive to follow the comments, and you lose out on the extra click to see them.

    All of this translates to fewer interactions, post subscriptions, and repeated visits. Such subjects also do not stir the familiar “someone is wrong on the internet, this shall not remain unchallenged” urges as some other subjects. In addition, science subjects also are also less shareable in the sense that they don’t have as much “finally, someone wrote down an opinion I want to express” value.

    There is also a different take-away from certain subjects. Politics affects everyone immediately, and we’re a social species where even miniscule shifts and changes are interesting. Some science subjects will have less appeal to the general reader.

    However, don’t despair.

    (1) Different subjects cater to different audiences. I guess most readers want the science, and see it as integral, even if community attention is on politics, atheism and such subjects.

    (2) I guess few (potential) readers are strongly invested in science, and could do without the commentary on other subjects.

    (3) A larger set of (potential) readers than the former group might do without the science, but I think that both these sets are significantly smaller than those who like the mixture.

    😀

  87. Ann German
    Posted January 9, 2017 at 7:09 pm | Permalink

    I not only read them, I cut and pasted the content to email to friends but I agree that I only click on the email when I want to comment or read the comments. The OTHER thing is that I am spending so much time either reading about, responding to or otherwise being preoccupied with pussygrabber, that I don’t have as much time for fun stuff like science AND maintain a full time law practice . . . argh.

  88. Diana MacPherson
    Posted January 9, 2017 at 7:13 pm | Permalink

    Is the disinvitation really a bad thing though? 😉

  89. MAZMAINIAC
    Posted January 9, 2017 at 7:16 pm | Permalink

    Jerry, I’m a daily reader and do enjoy science posts but your professorial side has you going far too deep (and long)into some stuff that I find difficult to understand despite my BsC in biology (45 years ago, unfortunately) So, keep it user friendly and take the ad vice of the Bard–“Brevity is the soul of wit” Keep up the good work and thanks for your efforts.

  90. Marilee Lovit
    Posted January 9, 2017 at 7:31 pm | Permalink

    I love the science posts most of all on this site. That is what brings me here.

    • Marilee Lovit
      Posted January 9, 2017 at 7:51 pm | Permalink

      p.s. I am not a subscriber. For me it is easiest to visit this website on my own. I usually visit every day. I always read the science posts and also look at the comments on the science posts.

  91. chewy
    Posted January 9, 2017 at 7:34 pm | Permalink

    I read. Don’t comment much.

  92. Christopher
    Posted January 9, 2017 at 7:45 pm | Permalink

    Don’t feel bad. I post on tw*tter all the time and nobody gives a crap. Same went for when I was on f*acebook. and quite literally nobody gives a damn about what I have to say in person.

    Write for yourself. But I’ll read it, too.

  93. Posted January 9, 2017 at 7:49 pm | Permalink

    I don’t always, but sometimes read them just don’t comment. And I have friends who *always* read them. but really, you should write for you!

  94. Posted January 9, 2017 at 7:49 pm | Permalink

    I would like to add my encouragement for your science posts too. I read through the RSS feed of your site that I have on Netvibes every day, but I’m sure that doesn’t show on your traffic count. I only click through to your site to comment, and that’s maybe one or two articles per week.

    • Posted January 9, 2017 at 8:04 pm | Permalink

      And I forgot to add that I always read the science posts. I was a biologist, but my field was muscle structure, function and disease. I’ve always been fascinated with almost all areas of science, however, and I read you science posts (and your book, WEIT). I think if I had it to do over, I’d go into genetics — new stuff daily, it seems, and one of the things that fascinates me is how genetics now contributes so much to what we understand about evolution.

  95. Andrea Kenner
    Posted January 9, 2017 at 8:13 pm | Permalink

    I read them and liked them. It generally takes me several hours to get through all of my mail, including your blog posts.

  96. Frank Bath
    Posted January 9, 2017 at 8:23 pm | Permalink

    Many of the science post are too technical for me, because they are technical as they should be. Other than being a keen proselytiser for evolution and a lover of nature I’m simply not up to it. 😦

  97. Merilee
    Posted January 9, 2017 at 8:26 pm | Permalink

    Sub

  98. Jesus Figueroa
    Posted January 9, 2017 at 8:45 pm | Permalink

    I read all your science post especially the ones about evolution. in my email. Do not care much for cat things or jihad, or if Islam is terrorism or identity politics.

  99. Steve
    Posted January 9, 2017 at 8:50 pm | Permalink

    I ONLY read the science posts, most often in the email. Rarely comment and, as you have suggested, skip what doesn’t interest me (cats, food and footwear) without complaint. If your site only counts the traffic when someone goes there rather than read the email, your numbers may not reflect the real impact. If it’s any consolation
    THANK YOU
    Steve.

  100. Lisa Rivers
    Posted January 9, 2017 at 8:57 pm | Permalink

    You do realize that a person can read your posts in the email without clicking through to your website, right?

    ________________________________

    • Posted January 9, 2017 at 9:16 pm | Permalink

      I read almost all of your emails, I don’t come here to comment often because I don’t really have anything to add that hasn’t been said already

  101. rickflick
    Posted January 9, 2017 at 9:14 pm | Permalink

    I vote for science posts. They are very informative and entertaining. Perhaps the a selection could be assembled into a book.

    Some days I don’t have the energy to read as much as other times. But, it’s good for us readers to appreciate the energy that goes into producing the posts.

  102. Posted January 9, 2017 at 9:16 pm | Permalink

    I mostly read the science posts. Don’t let traffic dictate your content. I’m not a hard scientist, and I really love reading serious science moderated by a real scientist instead of a “science journalist.”

  103. Barbara Radcliffe
    Posted January 9, 2017 at 9:20 pm | Permalink

    Like so many others, I do read and enjoy your science posts. However, also like others I hadn’t realised that reading from the email did not ‘count’ me as a reader. So I will try to do better in the future.
    Please keep up the good work!

  104. Posted January 9, 2017 at 9:35 pm | Permalink

    FWIW, I don’t read posts that do not interest me, but I assure you that I read EVERY science post.

  105. Jeff Chamberlain
    Posted January 9, 2017 at 10:13 pm | Permalink

    My primary reason for visiting this website is the science content. The other stuff is either a bonus or a distraction for me.

    I am not a scientist. I’m an interested civilian. I seek out and treasure places where I can get good science explanations, and this is one of the few I’ve found that I consistently read. It will be a loss to me if you quit that part. Please don’t.

  106. Posted January 9, 2017 at 10:27 pm | Permalink

    I visit this site once a day on an average, primarily for the science posts and almost never click on individual posts since I prefer to scroll through. So, that might not show up as clicks on the individual science posts.

    However, two of the previous posts complaining about the lack of interest in science posts attracted only ~200 comments. So, I guess the reality is that there are no more than 200 readers of this site for science posts or who at least care about them enough to comment.

  107. Pliny hayes
    Posted January 9, 2017 at 10:28 pm | Permalink

    Sorry, but I’m not a cat person so I simply delete all the Hili Dialogue stuff. Hey, it’s your website so go ahead (I’m not into boots either, but willing to admit that it might be my problem). I’m a retired fly geneticist who tends more towards EvoDevo than you, but I always read your science with critical respect. Cheers!

  108. Posted January 9, 2017 at 10:56 pm | Permalink

    I generally read and enjoy your science posts! Lately I’ve been really busy, but I hope you keep posting them.

  109. Don Mackay
    Posted January 9, 2017 at 11:01 pm | Permalink

    I read all your science posts,filing many, but read only some of the sociological and political ones as I live in New Zealand.If I was to make a comment on your position it would be that there are not enough science posts!!
    Also, in future, I will click on the sites!

    The posts I file I read again, often months later. Maybe that doesn’t count.
    I am retired teacher of science, and have gained much pleasure from your books and posts. We have had battles re evolution/nature of science(NOS)teaching in our schools, too. That will never go away till humans become extinct and with that their religions.Come to think of it, science teaching would go too. O well……

    Do not be discouraged. Visit New Zealand: there are some great restaurants here. You can send pics to those back home. I loved your foodie pics from Hong Kong!

  110. Posted January 9, 2017 at 11:17 pm | Permalink

    Dr. Coyne, someone just sent me this video ‘Debate: Is Darwinian Evolution a Fact? Aron Ra vs Subboor Ahmad’. You might like to critique the opening speaker’s arguments (this guy gets up my nose!). See: https://youtu.be/MwX4Z7PWQGA

  111. dd
    Posted January 9, 2017 at 11:32 pm | Permalink

    Dr. Coyne, I read as many of your science posts as I can.

    It’s why I recommend this blog to

  112. dd
    Posted January 9, 2017 at 11:32 pm | Permalink

    Dr. Coyne, I read as many of your science posts as I can.

    It’s why I recommend this blog to others.

  113. Wayne Y. Hoskisson
    Posted January 9, 2017 at 11:38 pm | Permalink

    WEIT is the only website I visit daily other than a main newspaper site for my state. I live in a small town in SE Utah so reading WEIT is therapeutic for me. Only rarely do I skip a post. I rarely have anything to contribute. I read WEIT because of the mix of science, wildlife, philosophy/skepticism, politics, cats, honorary cats, travel, and humor. I only sometimes click a post to read the comments. On the other hand this is the only place on the web where I find reading the comments is worthwhile. Comment sections deteriorate to trolldom within half a dozen comments almost universally. Please do not drop the science posts. Please do not change WEIT unless you find some new area that catches your attention and you want to include in the great mix of writing.

  114. Lukas
    Posted January 9, 2017 at 11:41 pm | Permalink

    I read you all posts and I love the science one. The problem is that I read them a day back mostly because I am from Europe – Slovakia and the time is different here. I get the e-mails a day back for example here in Slovakia its 10.1.2017 now and the e-mail is from 9.1.2017. I hope this will not end also the science posts.

  115. Posted January 9, 2017 at 11:42 pm | Permalink

    I know the science posts are a lot of work, and unpaid work at that. I think you should get some much deserved compensation by allowing ads to be posted (judiciously) on this site. With 45K followers and more readers, it could be worth your while. Speaking for myself, I see nothing mercenary or wrong with that.

  116. Dale Franzwa
    Posted January 9, 2017 at 11:47 pm | Permalink

    I read both science posts (as well as all the others) but felt I had nothing significant to add. In that regard, I was also watching the big football game. Clemson just beat Alabama 35 – 31, thank Ceiling Cat! However, I promise not to post any more football scores in the future. Please keep up the science posts.

    • Dominic
      Posted January 10, 2017 at 4:47 am | Permalink

      Aw! If you had not then, the chances are I would have sailed through life & never heard of Clemson! 🙂

      • Dale Franzwa
        Posted January 10, 2017 at 10:37 pm | Permalink

        Thanks Dom.

  117. JoanL
    Posted January 10, 2017 at 1:15 am | Permalink

    I’m no scientist but appreciate your science posts and hope you continue them. I read them via email so you don’t get clicks from me unless there’s a video (they don’t load in my email) or unless I want to read comments (unusual for your science posts, since they are so thorough).

    Though your science posts get fewer clicks, I hope even this smaller estimated number of readers makes your time and effort worthwhile – would you be happy with a live audience this size?

    But of course, it’s your website and you should do as you want. There’s plenty of interesting material here; I’m sure I’ll stick around.

  118. squidmaster
    Posted January 10, 2017 at 1:22 am | Permalink

    So. You’ve mentioned this before. It’s quite possible that science posts get fewer clicks than politics or religion related articles. I read your site about 50/50 for the science and the social comments, but the science is unique. I rarely comment on the science, often because it’s outside my area of expertise. I more often comment on the political/social/religious (related) articles, but not often, because it’s actually hard to have a discussion in comments to (not)blog posts.

    Does it help if I just say, ‘Oh, cool” (not being snarky, but I can almost without reservation say that each science article you post is interesting or thought provoking.

    today, I had grant deadlines looming and am not looking at the site until this evening. That happens a lot.

    For that it’s worth, your science posts are what keep me checking in. I hope you keep it up.

  119. Melanie
    Posted January 10, 2017 at 1:49 am | Permalink

    Another RSS/email reader checking in:

    Please don’t stop! I like the science posts most of all. I’m not educated in the slightest and a lot of the time it goes right over my head at first, but I really enjoy the challenge of getting to understand it.

    Thanks for this site and for all you do.

  120. Posted January 10, 2017 at 2:11 am | Permalink

    Keep the science! I read ’em, and it’s a dimension to your blog that purely political/debate blogs don’t have. Sure, some people apparently don’t read science, but that’s their loss.

  121. Graham Martin-Royle
    Posted January 10, 2017 at 2:39 am | Permalink

    I click on the site but don’t often click on each individual article. Does that still count?

    • serendipitydawg
      Posted January 10, 2017 at 4:22 am | Permalink

      I was wondering about this… I don’t click through unless there is a fold, though I generally read the science based posts right through.

  122. Posted January 10, 2017 at 4:25 am | Permalink

    I think I can prove that it’s your moral duty to continue with the science posts from a deontological point of view. Consequentialism is giving me fits, though.

  123. Posted January 10, 2017 at 4:39 am | Permalink

    Please keep the science posts! I read a lot of posts on here (generally not until the day after they’re posted, because of our time zone difference and the fact I get an entire day’s posts in one email to cut down on inbox-clogging), and though I don’t read all the science ones, I do read most of them. I generally don’t contribute to the comments section, but I learn a lot and I very much appreciate the time and effort you put in.

  124. Dominic
    Posted January 10, 2017 at 4:45 am | Permalink

    Ah! 😦
    I read the ones I can before 5.30 UK time but have no interweb at home…
    Also – I often read them in my email – do the statistics take account of that? No!

    Love & Respect to PCC[E]

  125. Gareth
    Posted January 10, 2017 at 5:40 am | Permalink

    I usually just visit the main site, the full article is there to read (one of the things I like about your site).
    I only click on the article link itself if its one of those too-good-to-be-true headlines, or if I suspect the comments might be interesting. So clickbait does work I guess.

  126. Johan Richter
    Posted January 10, 2017 at 6:03 am | Permalink

    Don’t quit the science posts entirely, they are big attraction of the blog. I don’t read all of them but the blog would not be the same without them.

  127. Jeremy
    Posted January 10, 2017 at 6:25 am | Permalink

    I read the science posts. This is the first time I’ve posted a comment to ask you to keep them for all of us lurkers

  128. Joan Stephens
    Posted January 10, 2017 at 6:32 am | Permalink

    I read all that you write…but I don’t comment. Please keep writing!

  129. Posted January 10, 2017 at 6:48 am | Permalink

    I’m an ancient poet and retired English professor, who tries to grasp the science as fully as I can. I sympathize w Melanie above. Your point of view on so many things I
    relieves the worrisomeness of all that’s going on, everywhere. Don’t drop the science, please. And don’t be a ratings hog like DJT.

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted January 11, 2017 at 8:09 am | Permalink

      I got excited for a moment when you said “ancient poet” thinking maybe you were Homer or Catullus! 😉

  130. Dr. Bob
    Posted January 10, 2017 at 7:15 am | Permalink

    Cats. What we want is more cats.

  131. Posted January 10, 2017 at 7:33 am | Permalink

    I’d call this “lower posting phenomenon” a tribute to our attitudes toward science. If we are “doing science” we want to be accurate, we want to exhibit sound and up-to-date knowledge we want to be able to provide good evidence. and we feel we should present our cases rationally and without bias. Our comments MUST stand up to some sort of peer review. Now on other subjects – politics, religion, philosophy, social trends and especially free will… well, its open season for opinion to prevail. But we are here BECAUSE it is a Science blog. We have a real interest in the subject… if we can’t contribute on the subject at hand we can LEARN.

  132. jeremy pereira
    Posted January 10, 2017 at 7:34 am | Permalink

    The last time this came up, I started making a point of clicking on all the science posts to register the fact that I did read them (or admittedly sometimes only to give the appearance of having read them).

    Unfortunately, when I read the ant post and the katydid post, this post was already up so my click wouldn’t have been counted in your total.

  133. Posted January 10, 2017 at 7:40 am | Permalink

    Please Jerry, don’t stop the science posts. I’m not a regular commentator on your site, but I am an avid reader of your science posts. They are the ones I read the most.

    Let me give you an example of the value of your science posts and that they get read;

    My daughter, a pre-teen, insists that I have to give her a fun fact every night at bedtime after I’ve done the mandatory story (we’re currently reading Mike Massimino’s Spaceman). The fun fact is often a science fact and your site is regularly my source. Yesterday’s fun fact was the tool use in ant’s and prompted an awesome discussion.

    Your stats might not be impressive for the science posts but in my household they have the biggest impact, by a long way.

  134. Dave Larson
    Posted January 10, 2017 at 7:43 am | Permalink

    I, too, read and love the science posts. I see the main body and the comments (which I also usually peruse) via an RSS reader, so I may not be included in your tallies.
    Thanks, and please keep ‘em coming.
    Dave

  135. Bob
    Posted January 10, 2017 at 7:45 am | Permalink

    I suspect that many who subscribe here are in the same position as I am. I am not qualified to comment on many science posts. Many times, depending on the time available that morning, yes I read in the morning, I don’t click on the science posting until the following day or even a couple of days later. None of my education was science related. I am trying to make up for it by being here. But I must say that sometimes a great deal does go over my head. Then again, that’s why I am here. Please continue to challenge me.

  136. Sastra
    Posted January 10, 2017 at 8:53 am | Permalink

    I just saw this and haven’t read through comments at all, but I’m confused. How would or could you know what I do or don’t read?

    Unlike most websites and blogs, the entire post is on the top page. You don’t hide the bulk of the essay with a (read more) link. The only time I need to click the page is if I want to read the comments, or make a comment myself. Otherwise, wouldn’t my statistics look the same whether I read every word of every post or read nothing at all?

    On average, I check Why Evolution Is True about 2 or 3 times a day — more if I’m interested in a discussion or see that little orange dot in the corner which means I’m involved in one. Unless there’s some way you can tell how much time I’ve spent — or can tell the difference between my spending an inordinate amount of time ruminating over the deeper implications and my leaving the page open while I do other stuff and forget about the computer — then I don’t see how you can know what I or anyone else is reading. Commenting on, sure. But reading? They’re not necessarily associated.

  137. kateydandelion
    Posted January 10, 2017 at 10:48 am | Permalink

    I get the daily digest emails, so most times I read the posts within my email, and don’t click to actually go to the site (unless pics or a video link aren’t showing up, or if I want to read the comments). Or sometimes if I’m busy, they’ll sit in my inbox until I have the time to read them more carefully, which, if I have to say I have a New Year resolution, it is to more carefully read and consider information that’s in science posts/articles.

  138. Posted January 10, 2017 at 11:44 am | Permalink

    I do try to read the science posts and have something to ask or comment on, in part because I know others might have difficulty. (I’m no expert, of course.)

  139. Posted January 10, 2017 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

    I don’t doubt that this is indicative that people read science posts less than other posts, but I usually only read the posts in my email if I don’t make a comment. Obviously, reading the email won’t drive web traffic. Perhaps many readers do what I do and only click the site when they have something to say or want to read the comments. On many of the science posts, I don’t feel qualified to comment, and given time constraints, often don’t have time to formulate intelligent questions on the matter either. I still enjoy reading them though.

  140. nicky
    Posted January 10, 2017 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

    Science posts ask more effort and time to make. But they also ask more effort and time to read and understand.
    I do read all your science posts, but not always immediately. Read them when I’m not tired and have some time. Still have to read the tooluse in ants post, but I have to go to work now.
    They’re your best, keep it up!

  141. Mark R.
    Posted January 10, 2017 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

    I actually read them this morning without commenting. Like others…busy. From responses here, I’d deduce the science posts are well regarded.

  142. Gnu Atheist
    Posted January 10, 2017 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

    Wow. To me, your science posts are the best thing about your blog. I rarely post because, well, I rarely post on anything. It’s not that I don’t enjoy the reading. I’m sorry that you feel they are unappreciated. I haven’t read all the comments, but I’ll wager that the 200+ before mine say largely the same thing. Thank you for your time and efforts. I hope the science posts will keep coming.

  143. Rob
    Posted January 10, 2017 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

    I ran out of time yesterday. That is why I am scrolling back through today to pick up what I missed.

  144. Cole
    Posted January 10, 2017 at 6:31 pm | Permalink

    Your science posts will always take a backseat to posts that appeal both to science-lovers and a general audience. Many people follow you just because of your other views; the science isn’t for everyone. Whereas those who love the more rigorous articles may also enjoy your views on whatever else. Just write about what you enjoy. You are the reason people (like me) follow this blog. Maybe don’t feel such an attachment to view/comment count! You’re not the Huffpost.

  145. Posted January 10, 2017 at 7:25 pm | Permalink

    I am new to your blog. SO far I have read most of your recent posts. I like your science posts and your take on current events. I will say your education level is much higher than mine and so sometimes your posts take a lot of effort to understand fully. I enjoy them, but sometimes I am not sure I get them. I have tried my best to even comment on them. I would hope you don’t give up on them in exchange for popularity as that would deny people like me who enjoy learning new things a reputable place to do so. Hugs

  146. Joe Lykins
    Posted January 10, 2017 at 10:28 pm | Permalink

    1. I filter your Hili email to trash because how many pics of a tabby cat do I need to look at?
    2. I trash your “Find the [animal]” email because I have never found any of the animals yet and I’m tired of “losing”.
    3. I look at the photos of birds when I have the time. I really like fellow Idahoan Stephen Bernard’s!
    4. As a college senior (my last semester! Woo-hoo!) I have to budget my time. A lot of your science posts are TLDNR for me at this time. Maybe come June….

  147. Posted January 11, 2017 at 7:48 am | Permalink

    I read all of your posts with delight but sometimes feel the site is missing something?

    Perhaps the odd post about the Kardashian’s and Free will? Or Kanye West and the Mathematics of Divorce?

    Anvil.

  148. Posted January 11, 2017 at 11:06 am | Permalink

    I read most of the science posts but rarely, if ever, comment. I am particularly interested in better understanding what is going on with gene editing and CRISPR goings on and welcome any elucidation on that topic as well as others and will continue to read.

  149. Posted January 11, 2017 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

    Dr. Coyne, I was just wondering what you think of the following study:

    Robinson, M. R. et al. Genetic evidence of assortative mating in humans. Nat. Hum. Behav. 1, 0016 (2017) | http://www.nature.com/articles/s41562-016-0016

    Please don’t stop your science posting.

  150. carpevita
    Posted January 11, 2017 at 4:45 pm | Permalink

    I’m sorry that your science blog entries don’t generate as many page clicks as your other posts. I beg of you to reconsider your decision to stop posting them. Certainly posts about hot-button events like the Yale Halloween costume fiasco will generate quite a few page-clicks. But it would be heartbreaking not to see the science posts. I know not your motivation. For the love of science? To keep your enlightened readership abreast of issues that threaten enlightenment ideals? Or perhaps it feels good to reach a large audience. Whatever it is, I do enjoy your blog and will continue reading even if you follow through with your choice.

    I prefer science writing tailored to a wider audience. I once got a bargain on the Nature journal and I excitedly subscribed. Upon receiving my first issue my excitement was soon snuffed. I found the articles quite difficult to understand, even after years of reading science bloggers like yourself. It’s clear to me that I depend on bloggers like you to put those articles in perspective. To let me understand the deeper implications behind the science. And especially to understand the process of science and not merely the results.

    ~ Doug

  151. J Cook
    Posted January 11, 2017 at 6:43 pm | Permalink

    I read’em. I may not understand but I try. Keep ’em coming.

  152. Posted February 11, 2017 at 1:16 am | Permalink

    Don’t give up on the science posts! Persistence wins in the end – and the world needs more rational thinking – not less!

  153. Posted February 14, 2017 at 11:39 pm | Permalink

    Happens with my posts too. 60-70% less traffic on science articles. I then wrote an article on love and boom, got back the normal traffic.


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