|I’d like to thank the authors for considering my feedback and providing a revised manuscript. I accept the authors’ point that the article is an Education and Communication paper rather than a Research paper, however, many of my points remain valid. The authors should note that the HESS guidelines about these types of manuscripts state – “These articles will be reviewed as normal research articles, and critical attention will be given to aspects of communicating science”. Reviewers are still asked to feedback on the scientific significance and quality of the manuscript.|
I refute the authors accusations of not having read their manuscript carefully and seek to reassure them that I read their manuscript several times over a period of several weeks whilst carefully considering my review, like I would do for any review. I genuinely attempted to write my review in a helpful, supportive, way in order to help them create an improved manuscript and find the combative tone of the authors’ response unhelpful to this process.
That said, the clarifications made in the revised manuscript have improved it immensely and established the context of the work in a way that is more easily understandable. In particular, the clarification that the presentation of the mathematical model and its development is intended “to inspire and enable readers to redesign Wetropolis bespoke to their own local catchment characteristics” is particularly useful. It is much more apparent now why the mathematical model is presented alongside the description of the physical model, and its usefulness for the reader, and means the manuscript holds together as a single paper.
I asked the authors to discuss the inspirations for Wetropolis and in their response to me they state “OB and WZ are Dutch citizens and within the context of the Deltaworks, of which small-scale test versions were built in the Noord-Oost polder after the 1953 flood, conceptual modelling of river flood components like in Wetropolis is perhaps natural for Dutch engineers and designers? See also online literature of the “Waterloopkundig laboratorium” in the Noord-Oost polder” – this is really useful and interesting information for the reader to understand what has influenced the design of Wetropolis and should be included in the manuscript, alongside anything that might have inspired their design.
I also asked the authors to position Wetropolis in a theoretical framework. Even with “hands-on” problem solving, I would expect a certain element of theorising and appreciation of how others might have addressed the same or similar problems previously, which might be helpful for your solution. The inclusion of the wave tank produced for JBA Trust is a useful example. I do believe that Wetropolis is innovative, but there are other tabletop demonstrators around with potentially overlapping objectives and functions (e.g. the work by JBA Trust and EmRiver, the Augmented Reality Sand Box developed by University of California, or the Projected Augmented Reality Model of Nottingham University Business School, to name just a few).
My main concern from the initial submission was the lack of formal evaluation to support the claims made about the efficacy of Wetropolis in communicating its stated messages to the public. I think the authors do not appreciate what I mean by a formal evaluation – these methods ought to be conducted like any research project, with clearly defined aims, a presented methodology of how to assess those aims through data collection, and a presentation of those result before the discussion of what they mean. There should also be a consideration of the ethics around collecting such data. Was data collected from the “extensive discussions on Wetropolis in two workshops”? if so, how was it collected? Ideally, this data should be provided like any other research data. The feedback provided in the github folder is three messages solicited from event organisers, apparently referencing the reviews of the original manuscript – this is not data.
Consequently, I still consider this lacking – “The audience viewing Wetropolis and the organisers of events simply told us at the time and/or in retrospect” is not evidence, it is anecdote, and whilst this can be used to inform discussion it cannot be used to make firm conclusions. Claims like “Wetropolis aids in raising awareness of the probabilistic character and randomness of rainfall and flooding events” (Page 22, lines 23-24), and “Combining showcasing Wetropolis with a general public lecture on the science of flooding has proven to be particularly successful” (Page 22, Lines 24-25) cannot be made in lieu of the evidence of a formal evaluation, and need to be reworded so it is clear that this is view of the authors in response to their perceived response of the audience, and/or informal feedback received.
I will leave this to the Editor’s discretion as they will be more familiar with HESS’ requirements better than myself (I am being informed by my experiences with Geoscience Communication and the requirements may be different). A formal evaluation isn’t always required, yet the authors should make it clear that the information they use is anecdotal and based on informal feedback provided to them, and that the conclusions they make are based on this. If this is done, then this manuscript will be of interest and value to the HESS readership and would recommend it to be published – I have based my recommendation on this.