This platform was designed specifically for our journalistic and educational project and attendant nonprofit. It is a search engine optimized, crowd-publishing platform for scientists and experts. Each columnist will be provided his or her own blog page and posting and commenting privileges in any of the science or policy categories of the website. The site’s comment thread will only be open to the columnists, though there will be a separate Facebook comment thread for the general public at the very bottom of each post.
The user-friendly WordPress content management system can accommodate up to 250 columnists without issues. The platform becomes really powerful if a CCNFR blogger links the ClimateChangeNationalForum.org domain with his or her Google+ profile, which will result in the blogger’s posts appearing in Google search results with the author’s icon and getting preferential treatment by Google. See Google+ Authorship (this is powerful stuff and our site administrator will offer to set this up for the columnists).
Our nonprofit status gives ClimateChangeNationalForum.org some considerable advantages over for-profit news websites and individual blogs. For instance, the CCNFR journalism staff will be able to post up a wide range of outside articles, book excerpts, and videos for the expert blogging community to fact check and comment under without infringing on copyright (see criteria for the “fair use” of copyrighted material in 17 U.S.C. §107). This fact checker section — currently named “Climate Change in the Media” and displayed at the top of the homepage — is sorely needed in the online space. It will also serve as a great catalyst for illuminating discussion and debate, which will further increase our site’s activity and result in the site getting higher rankings on Google search results for climate change-related keyword searches. Additionally, our columnists will be able to run Flickr Creative Commons photos with their posts, including the panoply of amazing NASA photos. These photos will make the site visually rich and even more educational, which will, again, further increase our search engine optimization. Add a large blogging community of nationally renowned scientists and one continuously publishing journalist, and we could very well become the most viewed website on climate change science and policy.
In summary, we at CCNFR believe this expert crowd-sourcing/Socratic forum holds the most promise for a true national dialogue that bypasses the rhetoric and ends at a deeper, national understanding of the science on this issue (and how science works in general) as well as its policy implications. Given that this will be an open and objective forum, I really don’t know where the discussion and debate will lead, but I know that it will be beyond the current, partisan morass.
See inspirations for this project.