Monday, May 21, 2012

A comment by Alex Harvey: CLIMATE CHANGE ARBITRATION BIAS AT WIKIPEDIA

CLIMATE CHANGE ARBITRATION BIAS AT WIKIPEDIA


by Alex HARVEY h/t GoRight
Recent events in the labyrinthine world of the Wikipedia community have prompted me to speak out about what is happening there.

Many readers will have heard of William Connolley and his Wikipedia activities. If not, I recommend three articles by Lawrence Solomon, namely The Opinionator, Wikipropaganda - spinning green, and Who am I?. Then read on here.



In Solomon's opinion, William Connolley, by virtue of his admired status in the Wikipedia community, is second only to Al Gore in terms of ability to influence the climate change debate. I think this is about right. After Facebook, Google and YouTube, Wikipedia is the most visited internet website in the world (ref). (This is partly because search engines bump up Wikipedia pages in their search results.) I imagine that climate change newcomers start at Wikipedia; I certainly did.



I believe that Solomon made a few (minor) errors, and these have been discussed elsewhere, and nowhere more so than inside Wikipedia.* In my view, though, the biggest problem is the focus on the person of William Connolley himself. This has at once made William a scapegoat and a martyr, depending on your perspective. In reality, William is just one editor, and not that different from many others. And he is not the only professional climate scientist in there either; he is simply the one using his real name.

But I referred to recent events in Wikipedia, the subject of this post. These events are the selective banning and unbanning of Wikipedia editors in line with their alignment on the climate change issue, and this is taking place right now.**

My purpose here is to re-examine the Arbitration hearing of October 2010, where 16 editors were banned, including William Connolley - and Cla68. In the case of William Connolley, the Committee is shown to be extremely lenient, compared to treatment of skeptical editors. William's ban was recently repealed despite obvious signs that nothing much had changed.*** In the case of Cla68, however, who was perceived to be a climate change skeptic, it is shown that he was banned on the basis of entirely fraudulent claims, and has just now had his ban extended by another six months on the basis of a single frank, out of context remark made in an internet forum.

This double standard - even in Wikipedia - has rarely been so stark. In my view, it challenges the image of Wikipedia as a neutral, dispassionate broker of facts. We see that Wikipedia is, in fact, run by activists who drive away the neutral, objective people who would otherwise contribute.

ARBITRATION HEARING OF 2010: WHAT REALLY HAPPENED

Back in October 2010, it was reported at WUWT and by Lawrence Solomon that William Connolley had been 'climate topic banned' in Wikipedia, which meant prohibited from editing pages related to climate change. Anthony Watts wrote, "it is finally a factual realization by Wikipedia that the sort of gatekeeping and revisioning wars ... are being ... dealt with".

It was not, however, emphasised that 15 other editors were banned as well, and about half of them were either neutral or skeptical on climate change. This meant that while an insignificant number of activist pro-AGW regulars were temporarily banned, nearly all neutral and skeptical editors were banned. It was also not emphasised that William's ban was likely to be temporary whereas the skeptic bans would probably be permanent. It was easy to predict this, because William has many friends, and his inevitable appeal would always be widely supported. And with all the skeptics banned, these banned editors would not be allowed to support the ban appeals.

As one of a tiny handful of neutrals on climate change, I was disturbed to learn of this outcome. In reality, nothing was dealt with; the ruling was like justice under the senile Tiberius, with people thrown in jail or executed at the whim of jealous informers. Wikipedia has a detailed procedure for handling difficult editors, but it was just ignored.****

As it turns out, William Connolley himself may have put it best during his ban appeal:
...at the time of [the 2010 Arbitration hearing], there were multiple wars/fights/messes all over various climate pages. No-one could be bothered to work out exactly who was to blame; the solution was to ban lots of people.


This is about right; the ruling was arbitrary and lazy.

BUT IT WORKED RIGHT?

Some will claim that the ends justified the means.

I spent some time trying to decide if anything had actually changed after this ruling. My test case was the article on Climategate, where I tried to establish some balance.

The Climategate article is one of the most important hosted by Wikipedia on the topic of climate change, after the pivotal events of November 2009. The Climategate saga afforded all of us a chance to learn. And to that end, some things were learnt, and some things did change. A host of new climate change blogs appeared, for instance: Die Klimazwiebel appeared a few weeks after Climategate, followed by Judith Curry's Climate Etc., then later Isaac Held's blog appeared, and now Tamsin Edwards and Michel Crucifix have blogs too. Mike Hulme from CRU spoke out in a new direction, and Phil Jones stepped aside as CRU's director and apologised. Steve McIntyre's efforts led to general recognition for a need for openness and better data archiving. Richard Muller and his team at Berkeley reanalysed the surface temperature record and restored confidence in the surface temperature datasets.

But the Wikipedia article does not tell this story. At Wikipedia, there is a revisionist history of heroic scientists attacked by hackers and skeptic villains. The article is sheer propaganda. (Which is not to question the sincerity of the editors maintaining it; they doubtlessly believe that a neutral point of view means agreeing with this version of history.) And this is unfortunate, because without Wikipedia's support for this myth, I suspect that 'Climategate' would have led to more changes than it actually has. As a sometime participant in this debate, it dismays me how much has not changed.

So I tried to restore some balance to this article, and I found was that the situation in Wikipedia's climate change community had not only not improved, but in fact it had become worse. For instance, after the 2010 ruling, it became almost impossible to find uninvolved editors willing to comment on anything related to climate change. Administrators were likewise unwilling to act on anything relating to climate change. The personal attacks would fly as thick and fast as before if anyone dared suggest that an article was biased. Anyone interested can have a look at my efforts.

Another one of William's supporters, Stephan Schulz, a German computer scientist, also observed that nothing had changed. He wrote:
I think the relative calm at the climate change articles is only very partially the result of the last ArbCom intervention - we have seen such cycles of increased and decreased activity before, usually driven by external events (a new IPCC report, US elections, Hacked emails...).


WILLIAM CONNOLLEY'S BAN APPEAL

William Connolley had been banned for, among other things, 'battlefield conduct'. That is defined, I suppose, as focusing on fighting other editors rather than actually writing articles. I am not going to look at this in detail, but the evidence speaks for itself. In September 2011, though, he successfully appealed his ban and had most of his editing rights restored.

It was obvious, however, that little had changed. His characteristic battlefield conduct was in full display during the ban appeal itself. When the editor named Collect - not a climate change editor - argued against lifting the ban, William immediately accused him of lying and 'mud-flinging'. I argued that William should at least accept responsibility for what happened, as did ZuluPapa5. William responded: "by their enemies ye shall know them: I adduce [Alex Harvey's] and [ZuluPapa5]'s statements in my favour." These violations of the civility code occurred during the ban appeal itself where none of the Arbitrators could pretend to be not aware. But if one wanted evidence from outside of the Wiki, one only needs to glance at William's blog to see that his ongoing attacks against people he doesn't like or disagrees with.

The point about these blog attacks turns out to be relevant, because, as we'll see, in the case of the perceived skeptic editor Cla68, a single out of context remark made at a blog was the entire reason to reject his ban appeal.

CLA68 BANNED

I now turn to the parallel case of the banning of Cla68. The arbitrariness of the Committee's 2010 ruling was immediately apparent in the banning of Cla68. He had been one of the best editors in the toxic area of the climate change pages - one of only a few who managed to keep his cool at all times and stick to Wikipedia's policies. I never once saw him resort to personal attacks; I never saw him engaged in 'edit wars' to maintain a version of a page against the wishes of other editors; and I never saw him promoting a biased point of view. Indeed, he was so consistently neutral that the Wikipedia Review comment (see below) was the first time I had ever read a frank remark by Cla68. In Wikipedia, this would make him a model editor.

CLA68: THE EVIDENCE

I would now like to take a detailed look at the so-called evidence that was dug up to ban Cla68. I do this because it is important to show that the claims made against him were simply invented.

Cla68's battlefield conduct
18) Cla68 (talk · contribs) has engaged in disruptive behavior, including edit warring,[154][155][156][157][158][159][160] inappropriate use of sources,[161][162][163] and comments that were incivil and reinforced a battleground mentality,[164][165][166][167]

Edit warring: 7 diffs

A "diff" is a URL that compares two versions of a Wikipedia page side by side. Diffs are the standard of evidence used in Arbitration Committee hearings.

In order to show that an editor is 'edit warring', it is necessary to show repeated reversions of another editor's changes. That is, one editor adds a change, and another removes it again. Then the first editor adds it again, then the second editor removes it again. This is known in Wikipedia as an 'edit war'.

These seven diffs given as evidence that Cla68 was 'edit warring', however, are just seven unrelated reverts. All editors are allowed to revert, so the diffs prove nothing. It appears that whoever found these diffs guessed correctly that the Arbitrators would not actually look at them. I asked Cla68 privately about this, and he reported that it was indeed the first time he had ever heard of anyone in Wikipedia claiming that a single revert is 'edit warring'.

Inappropriate use of sources: 3 diffs

If the edit warring accusation was fake, the second claim is strange. Three diffs were given to suggest a pattern of behaviour, but two of them were just talk page comments. So we see immediately that this evidence is also bogus. But there is one relevant diff provided; it may show an innocent mistake, or it may show an addition that deserved to remain - this is a matter of opinion. What is certain, though, is that it doesn't show an editor intentionally misusing sources. I say it's 'strange', because Cla68 had pointed out that the term 'alarmist' had also been used to describe scientists who believed in global cooling in the 1970s. This is correct. As evidence, he added a link to William Connolley's peer reviewed paper on the myth of global cooling. Inappropriate use of sources indeed? Certainly William's paper was relevant, but it is arguable that it did not establish Cla68's wording. In any case, whatever the problem, it is clear that Cla68 did nothing wrong by adding the link.

Comments that were incivil and reinforced a battleground mentality: 4 diffs

Although four diffs are given as evidence, once again only one of them is relevant. Three were comments made during the hearing itself, when the usual rules of etiquette are relaxed somewhat, and the diffs show at best borderline lapses of politeness that barely warranted a rebuke - not to mention a topic ban.

And what did he say? Cla68 wrote,
Trying to introduce [certain contrary viewpoints] into an AGW article in Wikipedia is often extremely difficult because of [point of view]-warring by a group of editors who mainly edits those articles.


I might add that never were truer words spoken, although you are not allowed to say so in Wikipedia. To be sure, it is a minor infringement of civility. Some will ask why? Well, while practically no one strictly adheres to Wikipedia's civility code, comments like this one are discouraged because, although no one is named, other editors in the discussion might wonder if they are the point-of-view-warring editors referred to.

But let us be clear: if this is the best evidence that those vying to remove Cla68 could come up with, it shows that Cla68 was a model editor, as many of us observed. If they had wanted to ban me, for instance, they could have found diffs showing far more significant lapses of civility at one time or another than what is shown for Cla68.

So, there was absolutely no evidence given to show an editor conduct problem. Yet ArbCom banned him anyway.

CLA68'S BAN APPEAL

Given that there was no case for Cla68 to be banned in the first place, and given the parallel case of William Connolley's ban that was removed despite continued evidence of bad behaviour, Cla68's ban appeal should have been straightforward. However, William Connolley and his supporters appeared with more evidence and arguments in favour of rejecting the ban appeal. (Recall, freed of his own ban now, William himself was allowed to give evidence - and he did.)

Connolley supporter MastCell appeared with the following:
On 9 October 2011, Cla68 (talk · contribs) posted on Wikipedia Review:
Fortunately for [William Connolley], Wikipedia doesn't have a "Child of Privilege-big-ego, artificially affected misanthropic, jaded, high-falooting" activist rule, or he would have been sent on his way long ago.
Here's the thing, I truly don't believe that [William Connolley], [and others redacted] are really scientists, because I can't belive that true scientists would act as deceitfully, dishonestly, or as insecurely and cowardly as they act. If they are really scientists, I would like to know which universities they teach at to ensure that I don't send my kids to those bush league institutions. To be clear, I respect scientists who truly believe in man-made global warming but recognize that they might be wrong. The ones who don't are the ones who try to use Wikipedia to artificially socialize their positions. [17]


Statements like this one, arguably, are inappropriate - even off-wiki. But this comment was made nearly six months ago, and was a single off-hand remark. Meanwhile, William attacks people at his blog almost daily. This is no secret.

But according to William,
I oppose Cla68's request for a blanket lifting of his ban. I would have been prepared to argue for a partial lifting, but I think that the quote MastCell provides is powerful evidence of the disruptive nature of Cla68, and that that his problematic attitudes continue. It is also evidence of his two-faced-ness: on-wiki, he strives for smoothness, but off-wiki the truth emerges. Cla68 attempts to dismiss this as a mere ad hominem argument and fails in any way to address the obvious problems that it demonstrates; I suggest that means any relaxation is inappropriate.


Now for the responses by the Arbitrators, the same ones who removed William Connolley's ban, and who are presently happily removing the bans of all the other activists requesting their bans be overturned.

I then presented the same evidence as I did above that showed that Cla68 had been banned on the basis of faked evidence. The Arbitrators showed no interested at all in my inconvenient submission. But after six weeks, the case was silently closed without the Arbitrators even voting.

IS WIKIPEDIA NEUTRAL?

I have shown that Cla68, a neutral editor on climate change, was banned from Wikipedia's climate change pages on the basis of faked evidence; that William Connolley, who was also banned, was allowed back despite significant question marks hanging over his commitment to change his ways; and that Cla68, on the basis of a single frank remark made outside of Wikipedia, had his ban extended for at least another six months.

Can the above be reconciled with Wikipedia's advertised neutrality? Note that Cla68 is not a climate change skeptic. In private conversations with Cla68 he has always maintained belief that the world is warming and that humans are probably causing it. There is not a single remark on record anywhere to support the contention that he is a skeptic. Cla68 was banned because he is neutral; not because he is a skeptic.

I am not sure how this can be fixed, but I certainly think that the public needs to be more aware of and more involved in what is going on in there. Wikipedia gets away with it because journalists don't care, and the public don't understand how it works and are generally not interested. This needs to change if Wikipedia is to live up to its noble promises.

Others will argue that Wikipedia's neutrality somehow exists despite actions from Wikipedia's highest panel of appeal that appear so flagrantly to contradict the notion of neutrality. If a real court was found to disregard all evidence, laws and precedents, it would be an unbelievable scandal and all judges would be forced to resign. It is my opinion that this is what needs to happen for Wikipedia to retain any credibility. The Arbitrators need to resign immediately, and if they refuse to do, then Jimmy Wales or the Wikipedia Foundation needs to remove them forcibly. This will not happen, because Jimmy Wales already knows about this and either doesn't care, or feels powerless to act.

In fairness, I am sure he cares. He doesn't have the power to stand up to these activists.

SUMMARY AND CONCLUSION

To summarise, the October 2010 banning of 16 editors from Wikipedia's climate change pages was arbitrary, and had the effect of significantly tilting the balance to the climate change activist editors who mostly control the pages, although William Connolley himself was made to take a break. It was not a decision forced on the Arbitrators by evidence, but an arbitrary decision made for convenience that violated Wikipedia's principle of treating others with dignity and respect, and its own processes for dispute resolution. The decision to repeal the ban of William Connolley despite his continued display of battlefield conduct showed that the ban appeals were also arbitrary, and the decision to then apply a double standard in the case of the neutral Cla68 shows that Wikipedia's own claim to neutrality is fiction.

* It should be noted that it takes at least a year for outsiders to make sense of what is really going on in a controversial discussion inside Wikipedia.

** Since I wrote this the case of another AGW activist appealing his ban is now underway. We see the same pattern. Being an AGW editor, the same Arbitrators are shrugging off compelling evidence that this frequently banned editor hasn't changed or even, in this case, complied with the ban. Cla68 has attempted to make a huge submission of evidence, but it has been deleted because Cla68 remains a topic banned editor. I recommend visiting GoRight's blog and reading the whole article.

*** This is not to say that William's behaviour on-wiki hasn't changed; it might have; I am not spending time there at present. The point is, at the time of the hearing, there was no reason to believe that it had.

**** I contacted Jimmy Wales and offered him the chance to dispute any factual errors, and he disputed this particular point. I then pointed out that the DR procedure states that Arbitration is a last resort, to be applied only after all avenues to resolve the problematic behaviour have failed. In the case of Cla68, though, nothing else was tried (and of course nothing was tried because there never a problem in the first place). I did not hear back from Jimmy Wales after this. Perhaps his view is that the provisions I referred to are designed to best deploy ArbCom's time, and not limit their power. If so, it hardly changes the arbitrary nature of the outcome.



Update per 25. May 2012 by Alex Harvey

Since writing this article a while ago I discovered that I made a mistake in one part.  I claimed that the seven diffs given as evidence that Cla68 was edit warring were 'seven unrelated reverts'.  However, only three of the diffs are completely unrelated as I first thought.  Of the remaining four, two were reversions of the same content but on separate days and the other two were reversions of the same content on a single day.  Still, none of these violate the "three revert rule" which is documented http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:3RR#The_three-revert_rule here. The take home point is the same: there is still no evidence of a violation of Wikipedia's rules, and I still maintain that it is impossible to explain this presentation of invalid evidence as human error.  Everyone in Wikipedia knows what the 3-revert-rule is and everyone can count to three. - AH


142 comments:

Hans von Storch said...

I put tis account on Klimazwiebel because I consider what happens at Wikipedia worth for transparency; certainly I do not understand what happens behind the curtains, even if we had heard some battle noise here on Klimazwiebel before.

Obviously I can not verify Alex' assertions, but since it is known that the people confronted with these allegations read Klimazwiebel and will have a chance to respond (if they stick to the etiquette needed on this blog) - actually the comment underwent some revisions, taking out a number of impolite assertions.

Hans von Storch said...

What Connolly writes in his blog is really not very nice, e.g., catgorizing Eduardo Zorita's comment under "generic stupidity", see http://scienceblogs.com/stoat/2010/02/zorita_scents_gravy.php. But the little photo attached is nice.

Günter Heß said...

Dear Prof. von Storch,
Connolly’s words show the earmark of zealots. I do not take him seriously.
Klimazwiebel reader know better.
Best regards
Günter

Ben said...

A very insightful article. I have gone through a similar, although less dramatic experience (editing war, heinous remarks) with another Wikipedia article about a highly controversial subject.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
sHx said...

Two months ago the entire content of John Cook's Skeptical Science website's secret forum fell in public domain. The details of SkS's secret deliberations to manufacture a climate consensus was discussed extensively in two hilarious threads on Bishop Hill. See here and here.


What is of interest and relevance to this post is the 'organic' link between SkS climate warriors and Wikipedia.

David, a commenter at Bishop Hill, reported what he discovered towards the end of the second link above, on Mar 30, 2012 at 6:21 AM (Full comment in italics below. I've inserted SkS quotes in quote marks for clarity):

How to get your affiliated site into Wikipedia, a guide from SkS's Dawei:

(original bold not transferred)


"Guys,

After two days of fumbling with Wikipedia code, I have finished a draft of what will be Skeptical Science's entry into the world of Wiki. I've now gotten to a point where I'm ready to let people make suggestions for improvements. The site is not yet in Wikipedia's mainspace, but rather held as a sub-page of my user page, meaning for now only those who have the link are likely going to find it.

I have included as many outside resources as I could find, but a veteran at Wikipedia has already urged me to find more and "better" ones before letting it go live. I haven't been able to find too much else worthwhile on Google but suspect that some of the people who have been here longer will know of things that I couldn't find. Consider finding additional outside sources to be priority #1 for this article.

Since it is a Wikipedia article, feel free to make small changes direclty in the article as you see fit (careful not to use your name if you contribute to SkS regularly), but it may be a good idea to discuss big changes here beforehand. And please remember the article needs read like an unbiased contribution to Wikipedia, and not a plug for the site. Neutrality is extra important when creating an article from scratch, as articles that read like mere advertisements are quickly deleted.

For this reason, it includes some information that is less than flattering. I believe this will help the article's chances of being accepted as a new entry. After it has been firmly established as a valid article, negative passages can be toned down or removed completely without putting the entire article in as much danger of being removed. So for the moment, I encourage the loyal contributors to SkS to put on their denier hats and not be hesitant to include sources that are critical of SkS, even if you believe the criticism is factually inaccurate.

So, at this point I'll stop my pompous lecturing and see what you guys think. I'll be interested to hear all suggestions for changes/additions/deletions."

John Cook:


"To be precise, I *read* Inhofe's speech, not heard it but that's just nitpicking to the nth degree! :-)"

Dawei:


"Hah, alright, I'll make that correction later. I'd do it now but doing so might be seen as evidence that I am collaborating with you, which could be bad."

Noooo, you wouldn't collaborate with the site creator! That could be bad.

If you go to SkS's Wiki entry and look at the edit history you'll see Dawei's name all over it.


Stay tuned, the next one is a doosy!


(to be continued)

sHx said...

(The next doosy one on the Bishop Hill thread that David mentions is a collaboration between climate warriors of SkS and a 'Clima-pscyhologist' Prof from University of Western Australia for "a psychological experiment with UWA cognitive scientists testing for the effects of blog comments on readers' comprehension." So that particular mendacity is not relevant to the Wikipedia issue currently at hand.)

I happen to have the full content of the SkS secret deliberations downloaded through a link in Bishop Hill (not sure if the link is still active). When I searched for "Wikipedia" I also came across this in a thread entitled "Wikipedia Wars". John Cook reports a mail he received from a climate scientist:

Got this from a climate scientist on a group I'm on:

folks--just a heads up. for those of you looking for ways to help out in the online climate disinformation war, one thing to consider is getting involved in wikipedia. right now deniers seem to outnumber reasonable people in the wikipedia editing wars of climate change-themed wikipedia pages. many disputes are handled by a vote of active wikipedia participants, and the deniers have been winning many of these.
this is most evident in anything related to 'climategate', the "hockey stick', and the personal webpages of prominent players (both legitimate scientists and deniers/disinformers).
you might want to take a look yourself and see what I'm talking about. the discussions are *way* out of balance. Wikipedia is perhaps the most widely used resource on the web for getting basic, background information on a topic, and the deniers understand that. that is why they have put quite a bit of effort into distorting climate-change related content on the site, and to maintaining that distorted content in the face of efforts by reasonable people to restore some accuracy and balance.
the good news here is that it doesn't take a whole lot of people to make a difference. if you look at the "talk" pages, you'll see some familiar names, e.g. John Mashey (thanks to John for all of his efforts here!). But John alone can't do very much here. There needs to be a small army of do-gooders helping out.
so to any of you who think you might be willing to help out, I (and I think I speak for many of my climate scientist colleagues) would be very much obliged


There is more than enough evidence here to prove that an organised campaign is afoot by catastrophist climate scientists and their acolytes to control and distort the information on Wikipedia pages towards an alarmist direction.

Anonymous said...

It's just more of the same. In 2005, Connelly's restriction was also lifted without explanation, refusing to follow the rule to explain the reason for a vote, and votes being made without discussion.

Alex Harvey said...

Anon #6,

The earlier case of Connolley vs SEWilco was before my time, but I followed your link and see an extraordinary statement made by the Arbitrators:

SEWilco is reminded that Wikipedia does not operate by strict application of policies or guidelines or decisions of the Arbitration Committee but by consensus. He is advised to be more responsive to the reactions of other users.

In other words you can get away with even disregarding the ArbCom rulings if you have enough friends who'll support you. Despite the trappings of a modern and democratic community, it is essentially a system of mob rule. I fail completely to see how Jimmy Wales could question my assertion that they ignored the dispute resolution procedure in the case of Cla68.

Anonymous said...

Great essay, but I have one correction. William Connolley's topic ban was not completely lifted. He is still banned from editing biographical articles related to climate change (CC). This is likely one of the reasons that the Arbitration Committee was willing to partially lift his topic ban, because some of his worst abuses in the past were attempts to ridicule or defame CC sceptics in their Wikipedia bio articles. One other CC editor was able to escape a topic ban during the arbitration case by promising to never again edit CC-related biographical articles.

Alex Harvey said...

Anon #8, yes I alluded to this vaguely when I said he had "most of his editing rights restored". Notice, though, that it hasn't stopped him contributing at pages like List of scientists opposing the mainstream scientific assessment of global warming, which appears to be Wikipedia's blacklist project for those who question the consensus. But yes, Jimmy Wales and the Wikipedia Foundation take the possibility of libel claims very seriously.

sHx said...

I left a long comment here in two parts and with several links but it's either in spam folder or it never went through. I re-posted it on Bishop Hill's "Wicked Wikipedia" thread: http://www.bishop-hill.net/blog/2012/5/21/wicked-wikipedia.html

Reiner Grundmann said...

SHx - they have been restored

sHx said...

Reiner, danke.

William Connolley said...

Hans Darrrhhling! You're doing a Curry. Welcome to the "I haven't got a clue what this is about but I'll post it anyway club".

> What Connolly writes in his blog is really not very nice, e.g., catgorizing Eduardo Zorita's

But Zorita isn't very nice himself: remember when he explained "Why I think that Michael Mann, Phil Jones and Stefan Rahmstorf should be barred from the IPCC process"?

http://scienceblogs.com/stoat/2009/11/zorita_goes_for_the_jugular.php

That was charming of him wasn't it. Do you agree with him>

Hans von Storch said...

William / Bellette - #15.
I would presume that you share my conclusion that the three gentlemen, Eduardo spoke about, can nowadays only persuade the convinced. Their value in addressing the doubting, the reluctant - all those which would have to be be swayed to your line of contextualizing for implementing something like a Gore-like climate policy - is strongly diminished. These critical, unconvinced have read (or heard what was supposedly written) what these guys think about others, opponents, of making sure that their view prevails.

Thus, these activists are smart, and I have no doubts that they are, they would withdraw from the IPCC process voluntarily. If not, I would have asked them to do. In short, I agree with Eduardo, even if you would list me now under the tag of "generic stupid".
In principle, you should ask yourself about your value for the public trust in Wikipedia.

sHx said...

William Connolley, are you the 'Wikipedia veteran' that helped Skeptical Science's "Dawei" to write the SkS wiki entry? See #6 above.

Also, do you still have that silly photo of yours on your wikipedia page; the one that showed the full face of teddy bear in your packpack at the expense of your own?

William Connolley said...

> Also, do you still have that silly photo of yours on your wikipedia page

Good grief, I've seen some truely stupid comments in my time but that one really is cretinous. If you want to know the answer, go and look, don't ask me.

> I would presume...

No. I think they can persuade anyone prepared to listen to what they say. That is an issue for the listener, not the speaker. But thank you for answering my question. I give you the same answer wrt wikipedia.

William Connolley said...

Its probably a good idea to give some more substantive replies.

First of all, Solomon didn't and doesn't understand how wiki works, so pretty well everything he posted was wrong. I say "so", but that is being generous: Solomon is also malicious. By contrast AH does know how wiki works; he is deliberately lying to you. See for example http://scienceblogs.com/stoat/2010/01/a_childs_garden_of_wikipedia_p.php.

Second, anyone trying to understand what is going on from what AH is saying here will not succeed. Just about everything written by AH is either lies or deliberate misrepresentation. Please don't expect me to correct it all. My own view of the original case is http://scienceblogs.com/stoat/2010/10/the_wikipedia_disaster_area.php, if you're interested.

Third: its interesting to read the actual ban appeals. AH doesn't provide you with convenient links to those, preferring to provide his own inaccurate gloss. Mine is here: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Wikipedia:Arbitration/Requests/Amendment&oldid=457410987#Motion. The basic point is, I know what I'm talking about wrt GW and have something to contribute. Cla68's is here: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Wikipedia:Arbitration/Requests/Amendment&oldid=489324426. The basic point is that he doesn't know what he is talking about and has nothing to contribute except disruption (that's my gloss, BTW). Don't miss the "statement by MastCell" on that page. Its not a one-off; that is typical Cla.

Hans von Storch said...

Normally, I would delete a comment with a statement as "XXXX is also malicious. By contrast YYYY does know how wiki works; he is deliberately lying to you.". In this case, I am not doing this now, because this wording is saying something about the speaker and less so about the person, who is describe in this sense.

We have seen comments by this writer several times, and I have learned to not expect that he knows how to behave. Connolley is welcome to participate in the discussion and to voice his opinions as long as he is able to resist his temptation for insulting others.

hvw said...

About Wikipedia

WP is a collaborative project, for the common good, maintained by amateurs, working voluntarily, who only get status and credits as rewards. As such it is not fundamentally different from any alternative housing project or from the BBS based networks of the 90ies (e.g. FIDO), only that scale and impact are global now.

There is a continuum from people who put lots of work and skill into it to shape it towards their sense of "good", to people who strive to elevate their status and by proxy their ego by exploiting the regulatory framework.

This results in the oh so familiar endless political clusterfuck, totally opaque (and irrelevant) to the outsider. Sometimes it fails sometimes it succeeds but never ever can this be judged by looking at the internal process (who appealed whom, why, with whose support, violating whatever policy or not ...)

The questions is, will people increasingly turn to WP for authoritative information or not, and in which subject areas. As all sources about anything, WP is not and cannot be "neutral" on anything. Harvey's statement "As one of a tiny handful of neutrals on climate change .." and frequent mentions of the "neutrality ideal" give away that he doesn't understand this. How can you be "neutral" about Climate Change, except having no clue, being totally disinterested and consequently having nothing to contribute?

There is a take-home message for those who are in the education business, university teachers in particular, because teaching culture has not yet adapted to internet based sources of information: Teach religious skepticism with regard to those sources, in particular if anybody can write there anything (in principle), as in the case of WP. If you look at scientific topics that are less maintained than Climate Change, you will be quickly convinced that WP is not an acceptable source for any scientific work, including students' homework.

hvw said...

corr:
"less maintained than Climate Change"

->

"less well maintained than Climate Change"

Alex Harvey said...

William, aside from your signature attacks and your point about a missing hyperlink, do you actually contradict me anywhere here? I see we have a different view about Cla68. It is hard for me to prove a negative, but if Cla caused disruption in the CC area, there should be evidence. Do you have diffs? It would be strange to say I am a 'liar' if it turns out there is no material disagreement.

Anonymous said...

@ Alex Harvey

Give me one guess: are you Cla68?

Andreas

Alex Harvey said...

hvw:

As all sources about anything, WP is not and cannot be "neutral" on anything. Harvey's statement "As one of a tiny handful of neutrals on climate change .." and frequent mentions of the "neutrality ideal" give away that he doesn't understand this.

I do, actually, understand this, and I agree with you. If Wikipedia could grow up and understand this too, it might be liberating. When I declare myself as a "neutral" I allude to the factions within the climate change pages inside WIkipedia. There is an activist AGW faction, and a skeptic faction. (Well, the skeptic faction is not there any more because it was almost entirely banned in October 2010.) In content disputes, these factions almost always voted in a bloc. I think it is true that Cla68 and I were a tiny minority not aligned to either of the factions. I tended to support the skeptic faction because, honestly, they tended to be more honest. But there are plenty of instances where I used my voice to support the AGW faction. There were occasions when William actually asked for my help, because he knows very well that I am honest. Have a look at my talk page.

Alex Harvey said...

Andreas, I think if you research the matter a little you will see I am not the same person as Cla68. Wikipedia has tools for identifying 'sock puppets' and if we were the same person it would have been discovered long ago. Cla68 lives in Japan whereas I am Australian.

sHx said...

"Good grief, I've seen some truely stupid comments in my time but that one really is cretinous. If you want to know the answer, go and look, don't ask me."

Sure, I can check that out with three mouse clicks but I just don't know how to do click them in the right order.

The point of the question, since you evade answering it, was to highlight how an illustrious Wikipedia figure like yourself could so obviously flaunt Wikipedia rules on POV photos on his own bloody page!

When I first heard your name as a wikipedia miscreant two years ago, I did go check your wikipage, I saw your silly photo there and then I went to your blog for the first time just to ask why you were still breaking Wikipedia rules. You responded with some joke, I think, which showed to me that you didn't care an iota that the photo you chose for your own page was inappropriate by wikipedia rules.

Anyway, you still haven't answered my first question.

Have you advised, or have you been asked for advice by, the Skeptical Science's 'Dawei' as mentioned above at #6? Are you the "veteran at Wikipedia" that Dawei mentions?

And while you are at it, can you help us identify the climate scientist John Cook mentions in "Wikipedia Wars", the one that issued the call for arms in the edit wars? That 'climate scientist' couldn't possibly be you, could it?

William Connolley said...

> Wikipedia rules on POV photos on his own bloody page!

Tut tut. You've said "bloody". Storch will be offended.

But apart from being rude, what was your point? There is nothing wrong with that photo at all. What exactly is POV about a weasel?

As for the rest... sorry, you've used up your quota is silly questions for the day. Come across to my blog and ask there tomorrow, if you're still interested.

William Connolley said...

Storch: my reply is http://scienceblogs.com/stoat/2012/05/von_s_jumps_the_shark.php

sHx said...

"Come across to my blog and ask there tomorrow, if you're still interested."

I lost trust in Wikipedia because of people like you, what makes you think I'd visit a website where you are accountable to no one?

Hans von Storch said...

Ich finde, nachdem sich WC hier frei geäußert hat, wird deutlich, dass WP hier wirklich ein Problem hat, nämlich der Mangel an Respekt vor anderen Sichtweisen. Das ist durch den Thread selbst und die Kommentare gut demonstriert worden. Wobei mir unklar bleibt, wieso WC eigentlich so ein tribal English verwendet in der Kommunikation mit Menschen mit verschiedenen Sprachen.

Reiner Grundmann said...

SHx: reminds me of "Come and meet me in the dark alley"

The guy has watched too many Western movies. Didn't do him any good.

Anonymous said...

At least William Connolley did not remove two lines from an e-mail that were inconvenient to his claim, and then ran away when he was challenged.

Bam

Hans von Storch said...

Bam, wasn't it a classical roman senator, you took every opportunity to repeat what he want to say, namely that Carthago needs to be destroyed.

I declare now officially that the contributor, who used the name of bam, thinks that Reiner Grundmann "remove[d] two lines from an e-mail that were inconvenient to his claim, and then ran away."

Please repeat this now another three times, and then give up to bore us others with your repetitions. Please note also, that among the rules of this blog, you find "1. We do not want to see insults, ad hominem comments, lengthy tirades, ongoing repetitions, forms of disrepect to opponents. "

Anonymous said...

@ sHX (Re #7)

Where is your quoted email from? You write:

I happen to have the full content of the SkS secret deliberations downloaded through a link in Bishop Hill (not sure if the link is still active).

There was a hack on the SkS server some time ago. I suspect your quoted email stems from the stolen databases. If true, I recommend the removal of your post.

Andreas

Alex Harvey said...

sHx, William Connolley is unlikely to be the 'Wikipedia veteran' referred to because he is too well known and well connected - both inside and outside of Wikipedia - for Dawei20 not to assume that the recipients of his email would already know him. If the veteran was William, this email would have said so.

Anonymous said...

As almost all Klimazwiebel regulars I have no clue how Wikipedia works. Taking into account there are a lot more controversial issues than only climate debate, how does Wikipedia ensures there's an objective assessement of such topics?

I admit I'm disappointed, because I've learnt nothing about those problems. Harvey's post doesn't contain one single example of a "pro AGW bias" in Wikipedia contents. The only take home messages are:
1. Skeptic editors are treated differently than pro AGW editors (in my opinion not shown convincingly)
2. William Connolley is a bad guy

Most disappointing the discussion in the comments examine Connolley's character. Is this really what Klimazwiebel stands for?

In my opinion giving Alex Harvey a platform for charactar assassination was a bad idea, far away from any honest broker ideals.

Andreas

OBothe said...

Thanks to Andreas

MikeR said...

I've mentioned it before, but my own very limited experience with Wikipedia climate articles was very similar to the post here. Very clearly misleading stuff, and when I corrected it, someone changed it back, and that was all. Discouraging.

(In my case, it was examining surveys on what climate scientists think, and my noting that the wikipedia article was using only the results that pointed in a certain direction.)

Anonymous said...

Let's see, we have Alex Harvey repeating his allegations about William Connolley from more than a month ago.

"Repetition"

We have sHx making a lame comment about a picture on William Connolley's Wikipage.

"Ad hominem"

We have Gunther Hess calling William Connolley a zealot.

"Insult"

And who gets scolded? I and William Connolley. How surprising!

Your blog, your rules, but telling enforcement.

Bam

Günter Heß said...

@Bam

I criticized how his words come across to me. They come across zealously. Therefore I reject his arguments.
So you interpreted and twisted the meaning.

Regards
Günter

Peter D. Tillman said...

A few comments from an active Wikipedia editor:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Tillman

1. I can generally confirm Alex Harvey's comments regarding editors WM Connolley and Cla68, and regarding the bias in most CC wiki-articles.

2. For those who have asked for confirmation of such bias, please read
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Climatic_Research_Unit_email_controversy
-- and contrast with, for example, some of the discussions here.

3. I contribute occasionally in the CC area, but it can be extraordinarily time-consuming and frustrating to correct even minor errors or glaring bias. I can confirm another poster's comment on the infamous "97% agree!" climate-scientist survey graphic -- which came to Wikipedia from the Skeptical Science blog.

4. Alex Harvey definitely isn't Cla68!

Reiner Grundmann said...

Andreas

"character assassination" - you must be joking. What W Connolley has shown through his interventions on Klimazwiebel is an utter disrespect for anyone who disagrees with him. He does not show any sign of interest in an exchange of arguments.

Anonymous said...

@ Prof. von Storch

My suspicion that sHx cited a stolen email from the skepticalscience server becomes stronger.In the comments at bishop hill sHx tried hard to get the zip.file of the stolen contents.
http://www.bishop-hill.net/blog/2012/3/24/behind-the-scenes-at-skeptical-science.html

I suggest removal of post #7 unless sHx can provide a source for his quoted email.

Andreas

Reiner Grundmann said...

Andreas

if you are suggesting the post has to be removed because it violates the law, have a look here:

http://bishophill.squarespace.com/blog/2012/3/24/behind-the-scenes-at-skeptical-science.html?currentPage=4#comments

Apparently the material has been all over the web for more than a month.

Gator said...

Here's how wikipedia works:
1) Anyone can be an editor.

That's basically it. You don't have to know anything about what you edit, you just have to have some references. As one can find almost anything on the internet one can edit in almost anything. There is nothing more frustrating than actually knowing what you are writing about and having some idiot revert your edit because of some wrong webpage somewhere.

The idea that Wikipedia is biased towards science, scientists or anything factual is ridiculous. The idea that Arbcom cares about any of the issues being written about is ridiculous. I am amazed that any scientist takes the time to edit Wikipedia given the amount of BS that must be swallowed to do anything there.

Anonymous said...

Reiner

"if you are suggesting the post has to be removed because it violates the law, have a look here"

Wrong. Don't know much about law, but I know something about the current main topic, good behaviour.
BTW, even Anthony Watts rejected exploiting the stolen databases.

"Apparently the material has been all over the web for more than a month."
Ouch. What's next? That it wasn't a criminal hack but a whisleblower??

PS:
Do you really think that WC's behaviour is worth a Klimazwiebel discussion? I'm looking forward in character studies of Joe Romm and ex-Heartland expert Pielke jr.

Andreas

Anonymous said...

Since William Connolley has been allowed back into editing the CC articles in Wikipedia, he has shown up to disparage attempts by other editors he disagrees with to also reenter, this one (http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Wikipedia:Arbitration/Requests/Amendment&diff=prev&oldid=492874868 ) being the most recent example. Also, since returning, almost all of WMC's edits are simply to revert edits to the CC articles he disagrees with (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special:Contributions/William_M._Connolley ). William, why are you trying to use Wikipedia for activism?

sHx said...

"My suspicion that sHx cited a stolen email from the skepticalscience server becomes stronger."

You are needlessly suspicious. If you check #6 above, you'll see that I've already linked to two BH threads where the SkS files were discussed extensively and with a lot of mirth. The objections of the SkS mob were heard, considered and rejected at the time. Go check it out. We tend to rely on our own objective judgements in these matters, not on the judgement of those who have just been caught manipulating the debate so as to create the "perception of strengthening consenus" [John Cook's own words].

I was also pleased to see that WUWT stayed out of the debate on SkS public relations deceptions because the WUWT community would have examined it with more vitriol than wit.

But if you think Anthony Watts refrained from hammering the SkS out of love and care for what the SkS is doing or because "the documents were stolen" is a huge mistake. The SkS files show that that John Cook and his mates are terrified of Anthony Watts and Watts now have them by the balls. One false move and they are done.

Apologies for going off-topic. There really is no difference between Wikipedia and the SkS. They are both wrong in trying to manufacture a climate consensus but the former conducts its business openly, while the latter those it in secret.

sHx said...

"those it in secret".

Meh! Never made that mistake before.

sHx said...

And apologies to von Storch. I shall strive to eliminate the choice of words that run contrary to his blog rules. The wrong-doers may rejoice.

Alex Harvey said...

Andreas,

I chose to post here because Die Klimazwiebel led the charge in saying 'enough is enough' after Climategate.

I have shown you fraud here - not William's fraud but he shares the blame when he condones it. You then trivialise it when you talk of 'character assassination'.

Cla68 was a very inconvenient editor to the AGW faction. He is an excellent writer and researcher, and he knows Wikipedia inside and out. He also has unusual self-control, he was able to avoid taking their bait or being distracted away from the issues. It is no wonder that they want him removed.

Have a look at his user page.

I ask you, Andreas, do you condone the use of willful deception to remove an inconvenient editor from Wikipedia? If not, please show me the error in my analysis of his ban and ban appeal.

Neven said...

WOW, THIS IS SO EXCITING!!! I DON'T KNOW WHETHER IT'S TRUE, BUT CAPSLOCK ALWAYS CONVINCES ME!!! THANK YOU, ALEX HARVEY!!!

---

Herr Von Storch, do not worry. Connolley is just as rude to fellow alarmists, which is why we love him, of course.

William Connolley said...

Andreas: thanks. I agree with you (other than me being a bad guy, of course :-). If you're interested in another example of how wikipedia works, you could try http://scienceblogs.com/stoat/2012/03/25/how-not-to-edit-wikipedia/ That is a hard case, and not a typical one.

> I ask you, Andreas, do you condone the use of willful deception to remove an inconvenient editor from Wikipedia?

Um. AH is being deceptive again (willfully, indeed. I wonder if Hans will complain about AH's use of "willful deception, or it is OK for some people to say that kind of stuff?). Cla68 was banned by arbcomm. Not by me, not by anyone "pro GW" whatever that means. He was banned by exactly the same people who banned "pro GW" people. There was no deception involved in Cla's ban at all - just diffs presented.

MikeR: you give no details, so its hard to guess what you mean. Do you mean http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientific_opinion_on_climate_change? If so, which was your change, when did you make it? Claiming "Very clearly misleading stuff" is easy and cheap - but you need to reference claims like that if you want to be taken seriously.

#48: "he has shown up to disparage" - did you read the link you provided. Here is what I actually said "As currently formulated, I oppose this request. AQFK attempts to minimise his errors by asserting that he was a newbie then. But he wasn't. Furthermore, I can see none of what has been required of previous requests - viz, specific acknowledgement of errors and a promise not to repeat them (edit warring, incivility, promoting battleground, etc)". That's disparagement? You appear to be taking any disagreement with a "skeptic" as disparagement.

Alex Harvey said...

William, you are disputing something I didn't say. Let's try again.

* Do you agree that the evidence adduced to ban Cla68 in October 2010 - and I don't know who did this and I didn't say or suggest it was you - is entirely fake? That is, not an innocent mistake; but systematic deception. To me, that is undeniable, but I look forward for someone willing to put on a straight face and deny this.

* Do you agree that Cla68 supported lifting your ban until he saw you resume attacking people?

* Do you agree that you turned up with MastCell at Cla68's ban appeal and argued on the basis of a single remark six months prior that he is not fit to be an editor because he personally attacked you at Wikipedia Review?

* Do you agree that you personally attack people - including fellow Wikipedians such as myself - frequently at your own blog?

* Do you see that there is a double-standard here?

Alex Harvey said...

William, actually let me tighten these questions because I would hate for you to misunderstand me.

An unknown editor or editors presented a total of 14 diffs as evidence against Cla68. These diffs purported to show 'edit warring', 'misuse of sources', and 'incivility'. 12 of them are completely invalid. Of these 12, 7 show isolated reverts and these 7 can only be explained as intentional deception (i.e., you can't accidentally mistake an isolated revert for a violation of 3RR or even 1RR seven times in a row); the claims of incivility during the ArbCom hearing are absurd; the claims of misusing sources linked to talk page comments are equally absurd; the claim of misusing your paper was absurd; that leaves a single, vague, arguable lapse of civility.

You can disregard the questions in my previous comment. I would like to know which part of this you are willing to dispute.

William Connolley said...

AH, you're trolling (and please see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:William_M._Connolley/For_me/The_naming_of_cats).

Cla was banned by arbcomm for being disruptive (so the answer to your question - was the evidence presented to arbcomm entirely fake is No). The reason that you're unable to see that is because you're both "skeptics" - you see yourself as on the same "side" as him, i.e., you're both opposed to the std view as exemplified by the IPCC, or as exemplified by our host here.

You seem to be arguing that arbcomm is incompetent to review the evidence presented to it. I agree, of course, and have said so quite forcefully, both on an off wiki.

> Do you agree that you turned up with MastCell...

No. That is deliberately misleading on your part. Both MastCell and I contributed to that page, but there was no coordination. You need to stop seeing conspiracies.

> on the basis of a single remark six months prior...

You already know what I think about that, because I said it on the arbcomm page. Its here, as a diff:

http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Wikipedia:Arbitration/Requests/Amendment&oldid=482377520&diff=prev

So the question becomes: why do you want to make misleading insinuations, rather than using the answers that I've already provided and which you're well aware of? That question, of course, answers itself.

Alex Harvey said...

William,

You write,

Cla was banned by arbcomm for being disruptive (so the answer to your question - was the evidence presented to arbcomm entirely fake is No)

You must see that this is a non sequitur.

Okay. Imagine I run off to the police tomorrow and assert that my neighbour is a thief and has committed computer crime, and present 12 apparently anomalous bank transactions as evidence.

Let's imagine that the police at this station are negligent and are known to sometimes arrest people without checking evidence.

If it is found later that I simply made up the story, I would be guilty of 'fraud' (or somesuch crime). It would be no defence to blame the police for being lazy. Do we agree?

Please explain why you refuse to condemn the person or persons who presented this faked evidence against Cla68.

Anonymous said...

Alex Harvey

"I ask you, Andreas, do you condone the use of willful deception to remove an inconvenient editor from Wikipedia? If not, please show me the error in my analysis of his ban and ban appeal."

As I said before I'm not an expert for Wikipedia issues and so I'm not able to give valuable judgements. Nevertheless I think your analysis is flawed.

Your main error is transferring the situation of "climate wars" well known from blogosphere to Wikipedia. "We" against "them", "Pro-AGW" against "Skeptics", sHx linked in #6 to some wonderful examples at bishophill. It's the same way you seem to classify wikipedia editors (thanks to all!!) and attribute decisions.

I would prefer a different perspective: All editors have preconceptions, but doing good work at wikipedia means to distance himself from these preconceptions. It means, sticking to facts and to the rules of wikipedia's quality control.

A good editor is an editor, whose work is not biased und whose contributions only seldom have to be corrected by others. In a perfect system either Cla68 or WC should come to similar results, if they stick to facts and reliable sources.

So if Cla68 was banned, you would have a point if you could show us that Cla68 did a good job at wikipedia. This point is missing in your analysis.

Andreas

Alex Harvey said...

Andreas,

It seems to me that you are just contradicting me without offering argument and otherwise simply refusing to believe this.

My essay at 3,500 words was already long but it's true that I didn't provide background on Cla68.

I did, however, suggest you go to Cla68's user page. There you will find that he has elevated 29 Wikipedia articles to 'Featured Article' status.

Featured content represents the best that Wikipedia has to offer. These are the articles ... that showcase the polished result of the collaborative efforts that drive Wikipedia.

He has received 24 awards from other editors for his contributions, particularly in the area of military history. One of those awards is the 'Civility Award' - For consistently upholding standards of civility on AGW pages, and helping to bring this essential quality out in others.

MikeR said...

@54 William Connolley: As I mentioned, I've made this claim here before. I don't see any point in re-litigating it, or trying to prove it. Though maybe someone can find my edits and comments from long ago. I'm sure there are better examples on both sides than mine; I didn't try for very long.
Take it as a survey poll vote for what it's worth: I did not feel that the process there was working well at all. It didn't feel like an attempt to write a good page; instead, it was an adversarial situation with people pulling in two directions, and the winner was the one with the most pullers, or with the ones who could use the Wikipedia rules best.

sHx said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Peter D. Tillman said...

Re: Wikipedia editors Cla68, WMC

I also worked with Cla68 on some climate-science related articles prior to his ban. Alex Harvey's summary of his work and knowledge is accurate. He should never have been banned.

As to WMC: he's an interesting fellow, but just about all of his bad characteristics are on display here (sigh).

Neven said...

I don't know anything about that Cla68, but I find it intriguing to the books he owns on Environment and global warming. Books by Christopher Bookerand Nigel Lawson, and Ian Plimer's Heaven and Earth? In my humble opinion a person who bases his view on AGW on books such as these, is quite simply not qualified to alter any texts on this subject on Wikipedia. But of course, I could be wrong.

GoRight said...

William, my good friend:

Your propensity to distract from inconvenient truths by derailing the conversation through ad hominem attacks is well known. This tactic of yours has lost its effectiveness I am afraid.

> AH is lying and being deliberately misleading ... (my paraphrase)

Sadly, you are projecting with this statement.

> AH, you're trolling ...

One of your favorite tactics for disrupting the flow of a conversation that you do not like. It has become boring. It is a variant of an appeal to authority (a logical fallacy) and a self-serving one at that. Citing yourself as the authority is rather pathetic, and totally ineffective when your opponent doesn't recognize you as any sort of authority.

> Cla was banned by arbcomm for being disruptive ...

A true statement. Quite clever. The part that you are distracting from, of course, is what exactly he was being disruptive of. In this case it was the systemic bias on the CC pages which is being bolstered by Arbcom putting up a facade of being balanced and supporting fair dispute resolution processes. But it is just a facade. That is the point of AH's article.

> Both MastCell and I contributed to that page ...

You are attacking a strawman here, another logical fallacy, by suggesting that AH was implying some coordination in the first place. His statement implies no such thing, of course, but your strawman does try to distract from the actual point. That the AGW alarmists are showing up to keep even the more neutral voices out, not to mention the actual skeptics. Cla68 is hardly a skeptic, but he his inconvenient to be power structure on-wiki. So you choose to distract since you can't refute.

> why do you want to make misleading insinuations ...

Another strawman of the same the same type. But as we see, you are in fact projecting when you claim AH is lying and misleading.

The fact remains, the AGW alarmist editors are being rubber stamped back into the Wikipedia folder whereas anyone who is not part of that fold is being systematically excluded all under the guise of a dispute resolution process.

> The difference between Cla68's case and mine is that I know what I am talking about and have something to contribute and have in fact contributed it ... (my paraphrase of a point made on your blog entry about this dicussion) ...

Whether you truly know anything worth saying is still arguable in my mind, but it is clearly true that you have contributed a lot of content. That part is undeniable. But of course that says nothing about whether the content that you and your enablers have contributed is, in fact, unbiased as the Wikipedia facade claims.

Neven said...

Cla68 is hardly a skeptic, but he his inconvenient to be power structure on-wiki.

There's a very high chance that someone who has books by Plimer, Michaels, Booker and Lawson in his 'Environment and global warming' library (link in my previous comment), is at least a self-professed skeptic.

I don't know what his modus operandi was when editing wikipedia pages (it's too boring to go and find out, to be honest), but I wouldn't rule out the possibility that he was disruptive to the process. Again, I'm basing myself on the books. I could be wrong.

Anonymous said...

I think, everything boils down to the question, what do we expect from Wikipedia? Alex Harvey expects Wikipedia to be "neutral". Sounds quite well, but if we think about it, it becomes complicated.

Within the field of climate science "neutral" makes no sense. I would expect that wikipedia is not neutral but objective. Sorry, Alex, I expect Wikipedia to act "pro science", not neutral between science and pseudoscience and climate science is AGW as a fact. "Objective" means, that climate science related articles should be based on science and should inform about uncertainties.

Alex Harvey makes the issue more complicated by choosing "climategate" (BTW: "climategate" it's redirected to "Climatic Research Unit email controversy") as an example. "climategate" is not a matter of science, but a highly politicized issue, best illustrated by the talk page:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk:Climatic_Research_Unit_email_controversy

This page hints that wikipedia has a big problem with "climategate", only the experts can tell what happened there. Because of the politicisation, here I can understand what Alex Harvey could mean with "neutral", politics is more a matter of interpretation than a matter of facts, I agree.

It's true, in politics we have to opposing partys, "pro AGW" agains "skeptics". Maybe it's a problem, that the topic "climategate" is related to climate science in wikipedia, where pro-AGW is dominating naturally, It could have been an interesting discussion, but AH decided to go into details about Cla68 and WC, which is not helpful.

Andreas

Anonymous said...

Interesting article, and thanks to William Connolley for dropping by and showing that talk of his bad behavior isn't fiction created to disparage him.

Antoon DV said...

Removed klimazwiebel from my rss-feed. This entire post and comments section proves this blog is ran by an dishonest broker

Alex Harvey said...

Andreas,

You silently shift positions each time the previous position becomes untenable. My article could have been better; thanks, I'll take all your feedback into consideration if I decide to write a book.

But I asked you if you condone the use of deception to remove inconvenient editors from Wikipedia. Many of those party to this deception are tenured academics and some professional climate scientists (I mean professional climate scientists editing behind pseudonyms; and unlike William these anonymous scientists avoid all scrutiny).

Please tell me if you think this is okay or not.

As far as your points here are concerned, I have never disputed William's understanding of the science or been in a technical argument with him about the science. It becomes problematic when people like William claim that because they are scientists, they are the only ones who can know, for example, whether Lawrence Solomon is an environmentalist or not.

That said, I am well aware that the science in Wikipedia is inaccurate too, due to the same exclusion of inconvenient views.

Here's an example. Have a look at Wikipedia's explanation of the causes of glacial-interglacial transitions. According to the Wikipedia,

The consensus is that several factors are important: atmospheric composition, such as the concentrations of carbon dioxide and methane (the specific levels of the previously mentioned gases are now able to be seen with the new ice core samples from EPICA Dome C in Antarctica over the past 800,000 years[38]); changes in the Earth's orbit around the Sun known as Milankovitch cycles (and possibly the Sun's orbit around the galaxy); the motion of tectonic plates resulting in changes in the relative location and amount of continental and oceanic crust on the Earth's surface, which affect wind and ocean currents; variations in solar output; the orbital dynamics of the Earth-Moon system; and the impact of relatively large meteorites, and volcanism including eruptions of supervolcanoes.[citation needed]

This is not wrong, I don't think, but it is biased. It is strange that the change in atmospheric CO2 is mentioned first. The primary driver is, in fact, an orbitally-induced change in summertime high latitude insolation (Roe, 2006). The change in CO2 is not as well understood and is a secondary factor.

I have almost never, however, argued with William or others about the science, however. I don't believe Cla68 has either.

Alex Harvey said...

Neven, you are a contributor at SkS. Do you have any knowledge or comments on what sHx has revealed?

Regarding Cla68's book list - I wasn't aware of this list. I can think of two equally likely explanations -

1) For many uninvolved editors inside Wikipedia witnessing the abuse of project by climate activists it is disturbing and startling and causes people to question whether the skeptics are actually right. Many non climate editors have said this. I know that ATren (another editor banned in 2010) initally assumed AGW was entirely correct and became skeptical after he became involved in the disputes inside Wikipedia. It is possible that after all this, Cla68 now does have doubts about AGW. What I'm sure of is that before he became involved, he was firmly in the AGW camp.

2) Anyone trying to achieve balance in the CC pages is going to look at books like these because these are the views that the majority try to exclude. It is possible that this is Cla68's only interest in them.

It would be interesting to hear from Cla68 although he may be aware that any comment made here will be used as an excuse to further extend his ban in six months.

Anonymous said...

Alex Harvey, the link you provide, notwithstanding the description you give it, discusses the causes of ice ages. Those include glacial-interglacial cycles, but are not exclusively glacial-interglacial cycles.

I find your description at the very least deceptive. I am willing to give you the benefit of doubt about it being willfully deceptive. It does, however, tell us something about your understanding of climate and climate change.

You also state "people like William claim that because they are scientists, they are the only ones who can know, for example, whether Lawrence Solomon is an environmentalist or not."

Upon which I say: show me the evidence where William, or people like him, invoke the "scientist" label in the dispute on whether Solomon is an environmentalist. I have not seen anyone do that, and certainly not William.

Bam

Neven said...

Neven, you are a contributor at SkS. Do you have any knowledge or comments on what sHx has revealed?

I became a contributor just before SkS was hacked and all the content got stolen. I didn't delve into it like some have because I have a pretty good idea what to expect: people genuinely worried about AGW thinking about what strategies to follow to convince a substantial part of society that AGW is potentially costly in terms of money and human lives.

In the stuff sHx so unabashedly reproduced, rather than seeing some cabal conspiring to break the rules and make some serious money or impose a one world government, I see people discussing with each other how to put things out in a way that is truthful and convincing.

How would you go about it if you were genuinely concerned about something and wanted to convince other people? Before you answer, try to imagine that what you come up probably has been tried - and still is tried - in the case of AGW awareness.

And how do you think things look when for instance the mail servers of several US think tanks are hacked and mails from the last 10 years or so are stolen? Or if Anthony Watts' telephone line gets tapped?

For many uninvolved editors inside Wikipedia witnessing the abuse of project by climate activists it is disturbing and startling and causes people to question whether the skeptics are actually right.

I think anyone who has a feel for the basics of logic and looks at this subject without preconceptions based on things like free market libertarian ideologies or a tendency towards conspiracy thinking, should be able to understand that even if your claimed abuse were true (I can't judge that, the truth is probably somewhere in the middle), it doesn't automatically follow that (pseudo-)skeptics are right.In fact, reading those books in Cla68's library and then fact-checking them should pretty soon convince one of that.

I guess that would take the sharp edge off the controversy and Wikipedia entries that accurately portray climate science and what is known at this point in time, would be quickly agreed upon.

However, if one doesn't fact-check books by Booker, Lawson, Michaels and Plimer, and has some of the aforementioned preconceived notions, one easily becomes deluded and a party in an edit war.

Anyone trying to achieve balance in the CC pages is going to look at books like these because these are the views that the majority try to exclude.

That's because the views in these books by and large have no scientific value. It's not a conspiracy, they exclude themselves. Anyone who doesn't see that, and doesn't want to see that, is wont to try and create a false balance. Perhaps to delay any action that may lead to mitigation of or adaptation to the potential risk AGW poses.

I'll take über-rational, confrontational and rude William Connolley over such a person any day of the week.

Karl Kuhn said...

Neven,

to me, your argument boil down to this:

CLA68 owns forbidden books, so he must be a hidden skeptic, so it's right to ban him from editing.

To me, this is just inquisitory, totalitarian thinking. And it is representative for the behaviour of many alarmist scientists and activitsts in the public debate on AGW.

Anonymous said...

The Wikipedia Arbitrators are elected. It would be interesting to know more about the election process.

Neven said...

To me, this is just inquisitory, totalitarian thinking. And it is representative for the behaviour of many alarmist scientists and activitsts in the public debate on AGW.

Karl Kuhn, your filter is playing tricks on you. I believe I have said twice that I didn't know and that I was surmising things.

CLA68 owns forbidden books, so he must be a hidden skeptic, so it's right to ban him from editing.

The books aren't forbidden. I think they are selling pretty well, or else they wouldn't have been written. But the books are full of m/disinformation as well, which is easily debunked by some research.

All I meant to say, was that when someone owns that kind of books written by people who are known to bend the truth (to Herr von Storch: this is not an ad hominem, please don't delete my comment, I can substantiate the claim that Ian Plimer, Christopher Booker, Nigel Lawson and Patrick Michaels have been caught repeatedly telling porkies), there's a high chance this person holds the well-known 'skeptic' mentality.

And we all know how tenacious and never-to-be-convinced-by any-amount-of-evidence these 'skeptics' (usually retirees with a lot of time on their hands) can be. So I can easily imagine how Cla68's editing behaviour was deemed disruptive.

But again, I don't know the facts. Maybe it is after all a big conspiracy to keep neutral balance out.

William Connolley said...

> GoRight said... William, my good friend

Troll. You're being deliberately incivil.

And somehow, you've omitted to mention a rather salient fact: that your own behaviour was so disruptive that you were banned without even arbcomm needing to step in.

Speaking of which: PT, it isn't really honest to turn up and pretend by omission that you're "neutral". Your biases are towards AH and Cla. I think its because yuo're an old-school geologist; ref Bob Carter, Ian Plimer and so on (hope thats the right ref; you get the idea).

Other comments are more interesting. I'll try to reply to those in another comment.

William Connolley said...

#75: arbcomm and elections.

The top-level arbcomm page is http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Arbitration

That will point you at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:ACE2011 for the 2011 elections.

See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Arbitration_Committee_Elections_December_2011/Candidates for the candidates statements.

There is also a fairly intense period of scrutiny in which the candidates are asked questions (see for example http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Arbitration_Committee_Elections_December_2011/Candidates/SilkTork/Questions for someone who passed; and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Arbitration_Committee_Elections_December_2011/Candidates/NWA.Rep/Questions for someone who clearly failed).

That sort-of works: any candidate unable to produce good (or at least, not bad) answers is stuffed. The problem is the volume of Stuff generated. Few people wade through it all.

That tends to lead to people producing "voter guides". Mine (one of the less influential, alas) is http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:William_M._Connolley/ACE2011. If you click the "show" in the banner at the top, you get a list of all the other guides. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:NuclearWarfare/ACE2011 is one of the more thoughtful.

William Connolley said...

Ah provides another nice example of why he shouldn't be let near any science page without a guide.

> Wikipedia's explanation of the causes of glacial-interglacial transitions... it is biased. It is strange that the change in atmospheric CO2 is mentioned first. The primary driver is, in fact, an orbitally-induced change in summertime high latitude insolation (Roe, 2006). The change in CO2 is not as well understood and is a secondary factor.

Look! He can quote references. Isn't that sweet? What he can't do is actually read the page (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ice_age#Causes_of_ice_ages). The text there is talking about ice ages in general, not just the most recent 800 kyr. It simply isn't true that orbital variations are the primary driver in general.

This is the problem with the likes of AH: they see conspiracy and bias, when the actual problem is their own failure of understanding. Anyone of good faith might pause, think "oh that's odd", and maybe re-read more carefully. Or perhaps ask a polite question on the talk page (there is still time to do this, if anyone cares). But the AH's of the world drop immeadiately into conspiracy mode, and there is no helping them.

ghost said...

William:

This is the problem with the likes of AH: they see conspiracy and bias, when the actual problem is their own failure of understanding. Anyone of good faith might pause, think "oh that's odd", and maybe re-read more carefully. Or perhaps ask a polite question on the talk page (there is still time to do this, if anyone cares). But the AH's of the world drop immeadiately into conspiracy mode, and there is no helping them.

I think this is a perfect summary of most climate related discussions in the Internet and elsewhere. Once in this mode, there is a discussion almost impossible.

Alex Harvey said...

William,

You write,

The text there is talking about ice ages in general, not just the most recent 800 kyr. It simply isn't true that orbital variations are the primary driver in general.

Perhaps I should have said that the section unhelpfully blurs the distinction between ice ages proper and Pleistocene deglaciations in order to exaggerate the role of CO2?

Anyhow as you know neither Cla68 nor myself ever touched science articles. So it is quite beside the point. In fact, in the whole time I was there I remember only a single occasion where there was a technical content dispute over the science.

Alex Harvey said...

William, I am still waiting for an answer as to why you do not condemn the use of fake accusations to ban Cla68. Is it because you think the end justify the means?

Alex Harvey said...

William writes about GoRight,

And somehow, you've omitted to mention a rather salient fact: that your own behaviour was so disruptive that you were banned without even arbcomm needing to step in.

Yes - and do we agree that no process was followed here?

If I remember, GoRight got a bit carried away around January 2010 when a 24 year old Wikipedia Administrator motioned to establish a kind of kangaroo court for the purpose of trying and banning skeptics. This court was run almost exclusively by the AGW faction themselves.

GoRight lost his cool and was banned by the AGW faction. I think GoRight agrees he wasn't a model editor - but no worse than many of the others.

Alex Harvey said...

Neven, #73:

I'd like to thank you for this thoughtful comment. It is too late here in Sydney and because I want to give you an equally thoughtful response I'll do this tomorrow.

Anonymous said...

@ Alex Harvey

You silently shift positions each time the previous position becomes untenable.

No. You indulge in boring details about Cla68 and WC and you fail to discuss the really important question:

What do you expect from Wikipedia? Is Wikipedia biased in CC?

If Cla68 tried to establish wisdoms of the books on his page, if Cla68 (or you) thinks, a balanced coverage means regarding the Carters, Lawsons, Plimers etc. he is (you are) simply wrong. It's excluded not because it's skeptic, but because it's not scientific.

And what should I think of your competences, when you bring the ice ages-article as an example of wikipedia being biased and all you have shown is that you are simply not able to understand the wikipedia article and/or climate science? What should I think about your other allegations?

I'm too late, WC, Neven, ghost have already said everything. I stick to my opinion that it was wrong to give you a guest post here at Klimazwiebel.

Andreas

Translator physics biology and chemistry said...

This is serious and scary stuff.
We should be able to agree on what is actually taking place. Can it be confirmed that this isn't a natural variation?

Peter D. Tillman said...

@Antoon DV,
"This entire post and comments section proves this blog is ran by an dishonest broker."

That's a curious comment. I lurk here pretty regularly because I respect Prof. von Storch's scientific chops, and because both he and Zorita have demonstrated open minds in such areas as the Climategate affair.

Would you care to expand on your comment?

Thanks,
Peter D. Tillman
Consulting Geologist, Arizona and New Mexico (USA)

GoRight said...

William, #77:

> Troll. You're being deliberately incivil.

Referring to you as a good friend is being incivil? I knew you Brits spoke a different variant of the English language than we Yanks do but I was truly unaware that they had diverged to that large an extent.

> And somehow, you've omitted to mention a rather salient fact ...

I've not intentionally omitted anything, as you wish to imply, but rather it never even occurred to me to bring the matter up because it has no bearing on the topic at hand.

For the record, my current ban, subsequent misdeeds, and associated apologies are all self-documented at http://pediawatch.wordpress.com/ for anyone who wishes to review the matters.

There, all out in the open now. Has it actually altered anything? I think not. Is this merely an attempt on your part to distract from the inconvenient truths being discussed? I think so.

You might wish to stop proving my points now. Doing so does not help your cause.

GoRight said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
GoRight said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Werner Krauss said...

In my opinion, climate change is the problem, not wikipedia.

"...and to clearly outline the uncertainties", as someone above suggested (and to which everybody agrees, I suppose); this means that there is a difficulty in saying exactly what we are talking about. Climate change is a beast which cannot be fully tamed yet by natural sciences. The same with social sciences for climategate - there are too many things to be considered in order to make a clear statement which satisfies everyone (and encyclopedias demand clear statements, that's their nature and causes automatically a dilemma).

It's not wikipedia's fault, which is, by the way , a "free encyclopedia". Which means, Andreas, that we cannot boil everything down to the question what we expect from wikipedia. You shouldn't expect something from a free party; you should go there and make it a great party.

Instead,it boils down to the fact that a) we have to live with the fact that there are entries concerning climate on wikipedia (which are necessarily incomplete) and b) that organized individuals can spoil a free party, anytime. There is no protection against this. Here, we are even uncertain whether this is the case or not. Blame it on the topic, climate, at least partially.

I recommend to my students in my courses to look things up on wikipedia. It serves well as a basis to discuss things climatological. Students learn not to use it as a reference in their papers; they have no problem to live with this ambivalence. Same with everybody else, I guess. I suggest in this case: time will tell who has fell and who's been left behind. No doubt, the warhorses and warlords will do what they always do, but they won't beat time. Quite the contrary.

Anonymous said...

Neven,
Cla68 wrote most of the Wikipedia article on DeSmogBlog (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DeSmogBlog ; http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=DeSmogBlog&dir=prev&limit=100&action=history). DeSmogBlog, as you know, is a site that campaigns against climate change scepticism. Cla68 gave the site a fair, neutral, even sympathetic treatment in the text he wrote. That article is listed on Cla68's userpage, but you didn't mention it.

Alex Harvey said...

Andreas,

You make the following ad hominem argument:

Is Wikipedia biased in CC? ... what should I think of your competences, when you bring the ice ages-article as an example of wikipedia being biased and all you have shown is that you are simply not able to understand the wikipedia article and/or climate science? What should I think about your other allegations?

This is nonsense.

I was talking about glacial-interglacials as the section I linked to does, but I probably should have added something like "and/or ice ages". You may regard it as a typo. In fact, if you must know, it makes no sense at all for Wikipedia to discuss 'ice ages generally'. It is like having a section on 'causes of things to do with ice'. Milankovitch cycles have nothing to do with the Pliocene cooling; the tectonic plate movements have nothing to do with the Pleistocene glaciations. Outside of the present ice age, which is several million years old, hardly anything is known. It wasn't my intention to criticise the muddled structure of the article; only to show the bias.

Andreas, CO2 is not the primary cause of anything to do with ice ages. Perhaps it would be nice for Hans or Eduardo to confirm this.

Alex Harvey said...

Werner, with due respect Wikipedia is not 'free'; it is paid for by charitable donations. It is not cheap to run the fourth largest website in the world. Every time someone contributes to Wikipedia, their change is paid for by a charitable donor. Do not be fooled into believing that because it is 'free' there is no need of accountability.

EliRabett said...

Truth is that except for the odd occasions Eli does not edit Wikipedia for fear of entrapment by the weird patois and rules of the natives. To have let this out of the box is a crime of the highest order. Bad Klima Zweibel.

Alex Harvey said...

Neven, #73:

You write,

How would you go about it if you were genuinely concerned about something and wanted to convince other people? Before you answer, try to imagine that what you come up [with] probably has been tried - and still is tried - in the case of AGW awareness.

In fairness it is a very difficult question to answer honestly. I suppose I would look to psychology to learn how to persuade others. Or I might pick up a copy of 'How to win friends and influence people'.

What I am sure of, and I am sorry to say it, is that Skeptical Science will not convince anyone of anything. I am motivated by curiosity - ideologically, I am not conservative at all. And I recognise the huge significance of the dilemma - what should we do if anything about climate change?

At SkS there are personal attacks in the top-left corner of every page - 'Christy Crocks', 'Spencer Slip ups', 'Lindzen Illusions'. These are not the usual personal attacks - they are also childish. I mean, I imagine the person who was sitting there designing these little pictures. I see his tongue hanging out of his mouth saying, 'Aw, man! This'll really show em' those skeptic slimebags!' And at the bottom of each page is an admonition 'ad hominem comments will be deleted'.

I think that most people understand that a personal attack is not a rational response to a situation. An ad hominem argument is a concession that you are struggling to make a valid argument. Straw-man attacks and other fallacies suggests possible deception.

I think the worst enemy of most climate activists is the fear itself.

I saw my mother die of cancer and it was awful. If I think of cancer, I feel truly afraid. Climate change doesn't do that to me - but I assume that it must be able to do so to others. If I felt that way about climate change, then perhaps I'd be online doing crazy things too.

My feeling is that this explains the personal attacks, the ad hominems, the straw-men, and in some cases, the deception and dishonesty. Desperation causes people to do stupid things and what is obvious to me is that it always ends in the same way - it creates more and more skepticism.

You can't convince someone by telling them they are stupid. You can't persuade someone with personal attacks, or by telling lies.

My tentative conclusion is that climate alarm is not conducive to problem solving. If you feel alarmed about the climate problem then it may be that the best thing you can do is to not do anything.

I think anyone who has a feel for the basics of logic and looks at this subject without preconceptions ... should be able to understand that even if your claimed abuse were true ... it doesn't automatically follow that ...skeptics are right.

No it doesn't follow. But you assume humans are rational when they are not. In fact, even very intelligent people are not rational. This is a psychological fact. In fact, highly intelligent people are, for instance, more likely to suffer some kinds of mental illness.

I'll take über-rational, confrontational and rude William Connolley over such a person any day of the week.

If everyone behaved the way Cla68 there would be no problem in the climate change pages in Wikipedia. The encyclopaedia would be of higher quality and it would be more useful to people understanding the climate change problem.

One of William's criticisms of Cla68 during the latter's ban appeal was 'two-faced-ness: on-wiki, he strives for smoothness, but off-wiki the truth emerges'. That is not two-faced-ness - it is rational. On-wiki, William concedes that he gets on with the job. Off-wiki, he feels freer to speak his mind.

Anonymous said...

Werner Krauss

"It's not wikipedia's fault, which is, by the way , a "free encyclopedia". Which means, Andreas, that we cannot boil everything down to the question what we expect from wikipedia. You shouldn't expect something from a free party;"

Völlige Übereinstimmung. Ich mag's auch überhaupt nicht, wenn jemand sich ehrenamtlich engagiert (z.B. bei Wikipedia) und sich dafür dann auch noch beschimpfen lassen muss.
Wenn jemand ein kostenloses Produkt nach seinen Regeln anbietet, dann kann der Nutzer dieses annehmen oder links liegen lassen, rummeckern finde ich merkwürdig.

Ich meinte aber etwas anderes: Ich meinte, dass ein Teil der Kritik von AH möglicherweise auf das altbekannte Problem unterschiedlicher Erwartungshaltung reduziert werden kann: Die einen erwarten eine "balanced" Berichterstattung, die ausgewogen Meinung und Gegenmeinung darstellt. Bei interpretationsbedürftigen Themen (z.B. politisch, geschichtlich (hier "climategate")) hängt das Ergebnis sicherlich von der Quellenwahl ab, "balanced" macht hier durchaus Sinn.

Bei naturwissenschaftlichen Themen (z.B. "ice ages") ist aber kein Platz für "balanced", entweder eine These wird wissenschaftlich gestützt oder nicht, im letzteren Fall hat sie aber auch keinen Platz bei Wikipedia. Ich denke, diesen letzten Punkt begreifen Cla68 oder AH nicht ganz.

PS:
Lehrreich an diesem Gastbeitrag war lediglich die Metaebene: Die großen Diskussionen und Streitigkeiten der Blogosphäre finden 1:1 auch im kleineren Umfeld "Wikipedia" abgebildet.
Wikipedia als Brennpunkt bzw. Spiegelbild gesellschaftlich/politischer Konflikte. Wäre das nicht ein nettes Thema für junge Soziologen?

(PS: absichtlich auf deutsch. Die Streitparteien sollen alleine ohne mich hier ihre privaten Fehden weiter ausleben dürfen ;-)

Herzliche Grüße
Andreas

GoRight said...

Andreas, #97:

I disagree. I think that both sides would argue that unscientific nonsense has no place in the discussion on or off wiki. The trouble is agreeing on whether a given claim is scientifically supported, or not.

Here we see an example of one side of the discussion simply asserting that they are the scientific ones and refusing to acknowledge any deficiencies in their own world view.

Sticking one's head in the sand and retreating into one's own private sphere, such as in German in this case or to private forums in a wider sense, for the sole purpose of avoiding having to confront the inconvenient truths being presented is decidedly not scientific IMHO. It demonstrates an inability to be objective which is a cornerstone of being scientific, also IMHO.

GoRight said...

I see above that I am being too direct and forthright for this forum so I shall take my leave unless directly addressed. I wish you all well.

Peter D. Tillman said...

The most extraordinary thing about the CAGW alarmist scientists is that their case for climate catastrophe is so weak:

1. Temperatures are going up!
(-- and have been since the LIA. And the sea temps stubbornly refuse to cooperate with our models! It's a travesty!!)

2. Temperatures today are the highest ever!
(-- and how do we know that? A bunch of dubious paleoclimate proxies, and even more dubious statistical manipulations:
Torture that data until it cooperates, dammit! Hide the decline!)

3. CO2 is the planetary thermostat, and it keeps going up. Eevil industry is to blame!
(-- because our fancy computer models say so, and because we can't think of anything else? Pay no attention to that huge thermonuclear reactor in the sky!}

Did I miss anything? Yes, it's a bit of a burlesque, but pretty accurate, I think.

It's really quite remarkable how successfully the "IPCC Team" has peddled this weak tea....

--
I want to live in Theory. Everything works in Theory....

Anonymous said...

Alex Harvey, I have looked at the posts you refer to on Skepticalscience, and conclude that the labels fit with the content. Thus, they are not ad hominems.

Andreas, I think you make a good evaluation. For example, cla68 once complained about a reversal by Tony Sidaway, who replaced "disputed" with "false" in an article about Christopher Booker. Apparently, being balanced means that if someone claims talcum is chemically identical to white asbestos, this is a fully acceptable opinion to hold, regardless of the fact that chemical analysis shows the two to be significantly different. Thus, it should be "disputed" in the eye of those that believe the truth is always in the middle.

Bam

EliRabett said...

It's Honest Broker disease. You can't say anything is nuts

Anonymous said...

@ Peter Tillman

In your post #100 you mentioned "CAGW-alarmists", a term often used if not coined at WUWT. Do you think, you are neutral in contributing to the wikipedia WUWT page?

Andreas

eduardo said...

@ 101

Bam, from your perspective, which climate change statements are as established as 'talcum is not white asbestos'?

Peter D. Tillman said...

@ Andreas, #103

Andreas asked,
"Do you think, you are neutral in contributing to the wikipedia WUWT page?"

Andreas, there's a difference between having personal opinions -- which I'm sure you have too -- and complying with Wikipedia's policy of Neutral point of view.

The "CC disease" at Wikipedia is largely the suppression (verging on censorship) of work & opinions that conflict with the IPCC version of climate science.

I certainly try to comply with NPOV and their other policies when I write for Wikipedia.

Kim Dabelstein Petersen said...

@104 eduardo,

I'd say that "water vapor is 98% of the greenhouse effect" is pretty established as being wrong.

Yet one of the honest sceptics discussed here, seems to think that this is a valid view, based on reading "Heaven and Earth"... Considering the following a scientifically neutral description:

It sounds to me that we need to clarify that there are differences in opinion on the number, "Schmidt says that water vapor accounts for 78% of greenhouse gasses while Plimer states it is 98%." I would be ok with doing that and including the RealClimate source in that context.

[complete discussion thread here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk:Global_warming/Archive_61#RS]

I'd say that examples such as this one is one of the reasons that Cla's appeal wasn't granted.

Hans von Storch said...

Bam refers to a case, when someone replaced "disputed" by "false", and a conflict about this. Some scientists like accurate language, so - are "disputed" and "false" mutually exclusive? No, because it was not said "disputed among scientific experts" and "considered false by scientific experts". So, a consistent language could have been "considered accurate among scientific experts, but it is disputed among some interested lay-people". Indeed, some readers may not be interested in the physical issue but in the social discourse about the issue.

Werner Krauss said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Eduardo, the issue isn't so much about how well-established something is. The issue is that some people can handle uncertainty, and understand where the balance is, whereas others do not.

If they read that the earth is a sphere, but that this view is disputed by others that claim it is flat, they are incapable of seeing that the balance of all evidence lies very, very far towards the former viewpoint.

In Booker's example I would not even be surprised if he knows it is wrong, but that he is firmly aware that it is a nice short statement that creates enthusiasm among those who want asbestos to be safe (for whatever twisted reason, but not uncommonly because they do not like the concomitant government regulations), and bewilderment among those who do think it is dangerous because they do believe the experts, but do not know the facts.

I think you yourself can make a list of climate-related issues and put a confidence level on each of those. You do not need me for that.

Bam

Kim Dabelstein Petersen said...

@107 Hans,

Wikipedia requires, per its rules, that language and content reflect the prevalent view(s) represented in the [i]relevant[/i] literature on a topic. So writing "disputed" is incorrect.

In text about science this means that you should write about what the mainstream view is about something, with adequate coverage of significant alternative interpretations (excluding fringe or small minority views - unless you preface it as being such). This is what in WP context is called the "neutral view" (NPOV) - which is often confused with the (typically american (and political)) "neutral view" of presenting everything as if on equal footing.

This entails that WP, if it had existed, in the 1920's might not have mentioned plate-tectonics, and only slowly up to the 1950's would have mentioned it as an alternative view.

Rules and guidelines on content are rather important. While outside opinion typically is that WP is a "anything goes" project, this is quite far from reality.

Hans von Storch said...

No, Kim Dabelstein Petersen, the point is that an issue is disputed, but not among scientific experts but in other societal quarters. That is, the "topic" must be defined, and the topic could be either the scientific construction or any other social construction. Or the social construction of the scientific construction.

If WP claims to provide an accurate assessment of mainstream opinions within scientific experts, then it should monitor the quality of these experts, and that is impossible. Which is good, otherwise science would be dead.

In the 1920 WPs should have reported that a theory exists which is considered unlikely by most involved scientists, according to which plates would move.

But bam makes it explicit: "some people can handle uncertainty, and understand where the balance is, whereas others do not." The old debate between the munk and the cardinal in Brecht's Galilei, which illustrates that we are back in normative value territory. I was siding with the munk, but bam with the cardinal.

Alex Harvey said...

Kim D. Petersen, #106:

I am rather disappointed in the way you have quoted Cla68 out of context there.

Let me restore the missing context.

Cla68: Do you support keeping the Schmidt reference in the article, even though it's self-published?

Kim D. Petersen: Yes, Cla, i do. Because Gavin Schmidt is a published expert on this particular topic (radiative forcing)[35](Shindell et al(2009), Schmidt et al(2003) etc etc) Thus it matches all our exceptions for WP:SPS.

Cla68: Is Schmidt the only other source for this information on water vapor besides Plimer? If so, then I would say the text in question needs to be seriously reviewed for why it shouldn't be removed. Basing text in a featured article solely on a self-published paper is unsound. It sounds to me that we need to clarify that there are differences in opinion on the number, "Schmidt says that water vapor accounts for 78% of greenhouse gasses while Plimer states it is 98%." I would be ok with doing that and including the RealClimate source in that context.


Shortly afterwards one of Wikipedia's actual climate scientists told Cla68 that he was wrong to cite Plimer. Cla then dropped the matter.

In general the discussion shows Cla68 was helping to bring the article into line with Wikipedia's rules about sourcing.

That is not disruptive, Kim. That's what you are supposed to do. And let me remind you that you are not a climate scientist either and neither is ChrisO.

Alex Harvey said...

Bam, #101:

I am very interested to see if anyone is going to bring legitimate evidence that Cla68 has did anything contrary to Wikipedia's rules in the CC pages ever. What you say Cla68 did, if it's even true (you don't give a reference), is not a violation of any Wikipedia rule and not disruptive.

From Wikipedia's Fifth Pillar:

Be bold (but not reckless) in updating articles and do not worry about making mistakes. Prior versions of pages are saved, so any mistakes can be corrected.

Kim Dabelstein Petersen said...

@112, Alex.

Sorry, but Cla didn't just "drop it", and you are acting under the (false) premise that Cla hadn't discussed the Plimer book before, or was aware that the book's material was outside of the mainstream.

In fact Cla had been trying to plug the book on several articles - and been told several times that it was considered a non-reliable source.

See for instance the 6 month earlier discussion on the WP administrators noticeboard:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Administrators%27_noticeboard/IncidentArchive564#Ian_Plimer.2C_again_.28again.29

GoRight said...

I know that I said that I would refrain from contributing unless directly addressed, but for the benefit of those not familiar with the internal realities on Wikipedia I wish to convey some personal perspectives in the hopes that it will provide some additional understanding of the prevailing culture there.

I shall refrain from commenting on other contributors here.

RE: #114

KDP states: "... was aware that the book's material was outside of the mainstream."

My comment below is in regards to the general culture on Wikipedia not to KDP specifically.

This appeal to the ill defined "mainstream view" is used to exclude all manner of inconvenient information. And in my opinion it is frequently done in a dishonest and deceptive manner. On Wikipedia on the CC pages "mainstream view" is basically equated with "IPCC view". Any information or critique of the IPCC view is condemned, prima facie, as being outside of the "mainstream view" and excluded. There are very few examples of where this will not be the case. And any examples that do exist are under constant pressure to be removed.

But of course we are all aware that there are sound objections to many aspects the the "IPCC view" which are held by respectable and educated people, including some climate scientists. The readers of Wikipedia will generally not be made aware of such information even though the project's policies and ideals would lead them to believe that they are getting the full story.

Neutral editors such as Cla68 and anyone considered to be a skeptic (or a "septic" as they have been referred to both on and off wiki by certain other editors there) are thus prevented from bringing what they see as balance and NPOV to the project on the CC pages. It is a disservice to the readers of Wikipedia and a deception to claim otherwise.

Alex Harvey said...

Kim, your link shows that Cla68 just dropped it. Perhaps you remember it differently?

His final words on the matter were:

I don't know right now. I notice that the text on cloud composition and its effect on radiation is still unsourced. I'm trying to find more sources for that and anything else where it would be helpful. Cla68 (talk) 04:40, 20 July 2010 (UTC)

After that he dropped it.

Next you claim that Cla68 had been trying to "plug" Plimer's book for six months? I think you mean he was trying to stop trolls from filling the WP article on this book with insulting smears.

I followed your link and it shows nothing even vaguely like what you claim it shows. Did you even read it?

In this discussion Cla68 is a mere bystander - along with a large consensus of others that included me and the Administrator Arnold Rheinhold - in an AN/I to uphold the principle that you are not allowed to link "climate change denial" to Ian Plimer's biography because it is insulting and inappropriate in a biography of a living person.

Peter D. Tillman said...

Readers here my be interested to know that WMC is referencing this thread, in an unfriendly fashion, at Wikipedia:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk:Hockey_stick_controversy#Yamal.2C_Briffa_and_the_Hockey_Stick

WMC, once again I invite you to refute my little precis of the weakness of the alarmist case for CAGW.

But it's an ill wind that blows nobody good: this thread caught Kim Peterson's attention: Hi, Kim. He's a long-standing WP contributor who also got caught up in the Wiki Climate Wars:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:KimDabelsteinPetersen

Another Wiki incident may be of interest here. Back in 2010, I wrote a short bio of Eduardo,
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eduardo_Zorita
-- to which he graciously contributed a photo, and some helpful comments. WMC then complained about the article, and (ims) threatened to challenge EZ's "notability". He was topic-banned shortly after this incident, so the conflict never became public.

William Connolley said...

> WMC then complained about the article, and (ims) threatened to challenge EZ's "notability"

Not that I recall. Presumably you're deliberately not providing any reference, in an effort to be annoying.

But if I did I was right: I don't think EZ is notable, by wiki's standards. A glance at the biog supports that view still.

> I invite you to refute my little precis of the weakness of the alarmist case for CAGW

Your made-up nonsense is of no interest to me. Though that you believe it is of some relevance is interesting.

Peter D. Tillman said...

@WMC, #118

>Presumably you're deliberately not providing any reference, in an effort to be annoying.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User_talk:Tillman/Eduardo_Zorita

>Your made-up nonsense is of no interest to me.

Heh. Stings, doesn't it? It truly is *very* weak tea. In my opinion, of course -- but also that of many other scientists outside Climate Science.

Since I'm not a regular here:
I'm a consulting geologist, based in northern New Mexico, USA. I earned a B.S. in geology and chemistry at Rice University, and a M.S. in geochemistry at the University of North Carolina (Chapel Hill). I've been interested in paleoclimates since student days, am well-read on the topic, and have considerable experience applying statistical analyses to geological data.

Anonymous said...

Alex Harvey, I refer to one of the pieces of "evidence" provided by cla68 to get Tony Sideaway sanctioned. The story is in Wikipedia talk:Arbitration/Requests/Case/Climate change/Proposed decision/New proposals2

Bam

Anonymous said...

Hans, your summary of my views versus your views are not correct. I do not mind pointing out uncertainties or doubt, but do mind if these are not put in the proper context.

A funnier discussion would be how certain contributors to Wikipedia would have treated Galileo's way of getting his message of the heliocentric system across. Probably the poor man would have been elected for sanctioning by the likes of Alex Harvey and cla68 for being "rude" about another person (the pope)!

Bam

William Connolley said...

PT: Pity you didn't simply quote me, rather than constructing an invalid paraphrase. What I actually said was "Needs some evidence for notability" which was, and still is, correct.

[And, for anyone interested in the wiki-ese: were you really expecting anyone at all to have been able to find that userspace talk page, without telling them? You created the EZ page by cut-n-paste from your userspace draft, instead of moving it as you should have, which would at least have provided a hint I could have followed back.]

GoRight said...

#121: "Probably the poor man would have been elected for sanctioning by the likes of Alex Harvey and cla68 for being "rude" about another person (the pope)!"

It is interesting and telling that AH and Cla68 are being cast in the role of supporters of the Pope.

When one considers the entrenched power structures at play, both then and now, I should think that they are more properly cast in the role of Galileo.

At least this should be true if the climate science is as settled as the IPCC disciples continue to claim.

GoRight said...

#122: WMC, "Pity you didn't simply quote me, rather than constructing an invalid paraphrase."

Pity you didn't fully quote yourself: "Needs some evidence for notability (an odd assortment of 'notable' pubs isn't it)"

On wiki how can that be reasonably interpreted as as anything other than a threat "to challenge EZ's 'notability'"? You obviously considered his publications to be lacking notability in a Wikipedia sense. The mere statement is a challenge of notability in and of itself.

Or is there some alternative interpretation of the scare quotes you used that eludes me?

Peter D. Tillman said...

RE: WMC @ 122, GoRight @ 123

WMC: I didn't recall where you'd put your note. And I'm pretty sure there was some followup correspondence, probably on your talk page. I distinctly recall mentioning your objection to Zorita, who was gracious about it. A trait it would be to your advantage to adopt.

The Klimazwiebel regulars are getting a good taste of the Wiki Climate Wars in miniature here. Sigh.

Alex Harvey said...

Bam, would you be so kind as to confirm that you are Tony Sidaway himself? A bit of googling shows that Tony Sidaway and his alternate account Tasty Monster has made a [point about talcum powder and white asbestos a number of times using a similar wording. It also seems that only Tony Sidaway himself would remember a minor incident of being challenged for changing 'disputed' to 'false'. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Alex Harvey, I cannot confirm something that is not true. I am not Tony Sidaway.

I did have a good look at the history of this supposedly oh so neutral and nice cla68, and found this the most obvious example of cla68 making disruptive complaints about others, since anyone with even the slightest mathematical or chemical competencies can check the chemical formulas of talcum and white asbestos (on Wikipedia, if need be) and note that the two are not the same.

And since when is a request for sanctions a "minor incident"?

Bam

Hans von Storch said...

I have added an update by Alex Harvey at the end of the post.

On the other hand, I got the impression that we have learned a lot about what is going on behind the curtains of Wikipedia. Likely different people have learned different things - but I guess further exchanges of comments will not prove anything, convince nobody to change positions - I suggest, let's come to an end. A final comment by the various contributors, a last declaration for the time being, and then let's move on to something else.

Anonymous said...

My final remarks:

I agree with HvS, we've learnt a lot about wikipedia battles, it seems to be not much different from the discussions in climate blogs.

I stick to my conclusions in #67, all further comments gratefully confirm my post. Furthermore it was interesting to see that all contributors from both parties see themselves as being the middle ground.

It was surprising to see how little some wikipedia contributors know about CC (AH and ice ages, PT in #100) and almost more surprising, that the wikipedia pages relating to climate change I've checked in the past days are quite well. Some tends to the skeptic POV, some to the AGW-side.


@ all wikipedia contributors

Thanks for your work at wikipedia. And calm down a little bit, the results show that wikipedia rules work rather well instead of all attempts to put in some kind of agenda.

BTW: I've never visited CC-pages in WP before. When I was interested in an assessment of climate science, there's an excellent and free source made by real climate experts, it's called IPCC-AR4 WG1. That's the gold standard ;-)

Best regards and thanks for dropping by

Andreas

GoRight said...

#128: "... but I guess further exchanges of comments will not prove anything, convince nobody to change positions ..."

You are an astute observer and an honest broker. My own experience on Wikipedia suggests that you have already gained sufficient insight into the behind the scenes machinations of Wikipedia to draw your own conclusions about the neutrality of the CC information found there.

I wish to thank you for providing a forum in which some small aspect of those machinations can be brought into the light of day.

Anonymous said...

Kim Dabelstein Petersen,
You say that Cla68 was "plugging" Plimer's book, but here (http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Ian_Plimer&diff=prev&oldid=358123874 ) Cla68 adds pejorative information to Plimer's article. It looks like the point Cla68 was trying to make is that if you want to source something to blog, which is again'st WP's rules on reliable sourceing, then why not add information from Plimer's book, which is a reliable sources according to WP's rules. He showed that you were using a double standard.

Kim Dabelstein Petersen said...

@131,

Cla didn't like a particular blog, which [i]does[/i] pass Wikipedia's rules for reliable sources. (the particular rule is [[WP:SPS]] - [i]Self-published expert sources may be considered reliable when produced by an established expert on the topic of the article whose work [b]in the relevant field[/b] has previously been published by reliable third-party publications[/i]).

He exchanged it with a book that is [i]not[/i] a reliable source under all Wikipedia rules.

Now you interpret it as Cla expressing an opinion by [i]demonstrating[/i] that it is ridiculous, if i understand you correctly - and this might be a valid interpretation .....
... there is just the problem that this is disruptive editing under WP rules - the specific rule here is WP:POINT (do not disrupt editing by trying to make a point).

Alex Harvey said...

(part 1)

@All, I'll make various responses to points raised.

1) Aside from an error that I discovered myself, after about 1 week and 132 comments, nobody has challenged any of the detail in the post, except in general terms to question whether Cla68 was really 'neutral' or as good an editor as I said he was. WMC asserted that Just about everything written by AH is either lies or deliberate misrepresentation. His subsequent lack of point by point rebuttal and refusal to answer questions speaks volumes.

2) A good deal has been made of the discovery of Cla68's forbidden-books collection. In particular, references to Ian Plimer and Christopher Booker have made a lot of noise.

It is important to understand the historical context of why these two skeptics figured in so much discussion.

Plimer - In 2009 Ian Plimer wrote a book called 'Heaven and Earth'. Even before it was published, climate activists had launched pre-emptive attacks from Ian Plimer's Wikipedia biography page and from another page created to discredit his book. My own background is in history and philosophy of science and I worked primarily on biographies and historical articles. So I was also personally involved in defending Plimer from attacks along with Cla68 and Peter Tillman and others. This is not because I agree with Plimer; I don't. It is because Wikipedia is above all (supposed to be) neutral. Neutrality is Wikipedia's mission statement. It is the reason it is not privately owned, or even publicly owned.

After all the skeptics were banned, the activists had their way at this page of course. Ian Plimer's biography now records that,

In 2009, Plimer released Heaven and Earth, a book in which he says that climate models focus too strongly on the effects of carbon dioxide, and do not give the weight he thinks is appropriate to other factors such as solar variation.[33] Scientists from many disciplines have reviewed the book, and have accused Plimer of misrepresenting sources,[34][35] misusing data,[34][36][37] and engaging in conspiracy theories.[38][39] They describe the book as unscientific,[40] and containing numerous errors from which Plimer draws false conclusions.[41][42][43][44][45][46][47][48]

Of course there were positive reviews of Ian Plimer's book and followup statements by Plimer himself but mention of these is forbidden in Wikipedia. Having banned the skeptics, the activists got their way in the end.

Plimer's biography contains other attacks and I no longer know how accurate the article is. I regret that I have no energy left to defend the likes of Ian Plimer from attacks that I think he at least partially deserves.

Booker -

As with Ian Plimer, Christopher Booker also wrote a climate skeptic-type book in 2009. This (presumably) explains why Cla68 was defending Christopher Booker to the observed extent in Wikipedia pages, although I was not involved there.

For those of you who love Wikipedia, keep in mind that sooner or later the activists in Wikipedia will attack a living person who will fight back and fight back hard in court. If this person wins in court, quite a conceivable outcome, Wikipedia will be hurt. If it ends up bankrupt, it will be sold (or taken offline).

Alex Harvey said...

(part 2)

3) As was pointed out WMC and others remain banned from contributing to biographies of living people. Of course, there is nothing to stop other climate activists from inserting the desired attacks into biography pages. Arbitrarily banning those who appear to be the worst offenders is hardly a sustainable solution to the problem.

4) Andreas can't get over this error I made in the wording of my post at #70. It is true; I was writing quickly and didn't notice what I'd written was not quite right. As it happens, though, what Andreas writes is correct nonetheless - It was surprising to see how little some wikipedia contributors know about CC. In fact I said this in my article. I only know of two regular CC editors with relevant qualifications to write about science in WP CC.

But the point in #70 is important. I was misled by similar information found elsewhere on the internet about the causes of the 'ice ages' for years (and I mean 'ice age' in the sense that the late Stephen H. Schneider meant it when he warned in the 70s of a coming 'ice age' - i.e. a period of glaciation in the 100,000 year cycle of glacial-interglacial periods).

In 2009 I discovered an essay by Richard Lindzen that referred to a paper by his former student, Gerard Roe. I found Roe's paper extraordinary; it turned my understanding of ice ages on its head. I read most of the papers citing it and compared these explanations with those found at places like Wikipedia and Skeptical Science. Eventually I contacted Prof. Roe and asked if I had understood all this. I reproduced this correspondence with permission at Lubos Motl's blog, where I was at the time disputing Motl over his own one-sided presentation. Nonetheless, Prof. Roe agreed that Skeptical Science's explanation of the ice ages is not quite right. To me, 'not quite right' means 'wrong'. And by extension, I infer that Wikipedia is not wrong, but biased. I stand by this point.

I also have seen little interest by scientists at the more activist blogs of communicating to the public the insight of Gerard Roe's paper. It's not that scientists are unaware of it; even James Hansen acknowledges it in the peer reviewed literature. It appears to me that many activist-scientists are happy for their readers to go on believing that CO2 is indeed the primary cause of 'ice ages' when they know full well that it isn't. I say this because I see them make incorrect statements at scientist blogs and these never get corrected.

So I ask Andreas if it is right that the public is misled about the science for the sake of action on climate change? If I am a high school student with a keen interest in the ice ages is it fair that I am misinformed in this way?

5) Andreas also marvels that the science appears to be mostly right in Wikipedia. To be sure, I also assume that it is mostly right. But so what? The purpose of seizing control of Wikipedia is to control information consumed by newcomers to the climate change debate. Newcomers are school children, university students, hobbyists, and politicians – not people who are going to evaluate the scientific content. Of course, Andreas – the IPCC documents are where most go for the science. I have not read most of Wikipedia's science articles. This whole point you've raised, although perhaps not intentionally, is a red herring.

--

I will have more to say about the goings on in Wikipedia in the future. I thank commenters for their feedback and it will certainly be considered if I write another piece. I also thank Prof. von Storch kindly for his open-minded willingness to discuss these issues and in general for this excellent blog.

William Connolley said...

Andreas> BTW: I've never visited CC-pages in WP before. When I was interested in an assessment of climate science, there's an excellent and free source made by real climate experts, it's called IPCC-AR4 WG1. That's the gold standard ;-)

Agreed. And wiki does somewhat struggle, nowadays, to try to say anything useful that isn't simply copying out of that, which is boring.

I don't think you'll find anything on wiki (within the science articles) that disagrees with IPCC (for example, I just recently took out some overenthusiastic extremes stuff from the GW article, http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Global_warming&diff=494365601&oldid=494341515; if they were thinking, that would cause von S, AH and PT to wonder if their characterisation of me was correct). So, agreed, IPCC is the gold standard and it is what wiki uses, and this is correct.

What saves wiki is that IPCC is largely indigestible to the general populace, and of course the linking to a great variety of supporting articles. But, you also won't find useful stuff like http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Description_of_the_Medieval_Warm_Period_and_Little_Ice_Age_in_IPCC_reports in the IPCC report itself.

Neven said...

A good deal has been made of the discovery of Cla68's forbidden-books collection. In particular, references to Ian Plimer and Christopher Booker have made a lot of noise.

PLEASE, DO NOT EXAGERATE!

I was the one mentioning it ("In my humble opinion a person who bases his view on AGW on books such as these, is quite simply not qualified to alter any texts on this subject on Wikipedia. But of course, I could be wrong.") and I don't believe such a big deal was made out of it subsequently. Why you choose to make such a statement is beyond me. A strawman to again show how those crazy alarmists are suppressing neutrality?

Anyone interested in Ian Plimer, can have a look at this wonderful debate with George Monbiot.

The most neutral and balanced thing that can be said about Ian Plimer is that he distorts and d/misinforms on such a scale that it it's very difficult to being reduced to just a 'mistake', or a 'misjudgement' (not an ad hominem, please don't delete my comment, I can substantiate my statement), and that he should be he completely ignored, as should anyone who d/misinforms and never retracts the d/misinformation.

Of course, that d/misinformation serves a purpose (making sure the greenie commies don't change anything about the wonderful way societies and economies are currently functioning), and so there has to be a call for 'neutrality' on Wikipedia, so that it may never be ignored. First the d/misinformation is let loose to delay, then we get some more delay from endlessly talking about the suppression of said d/misinformation. A wonderfully successful tactic, I would say.

I guess this was my closing statement, although I wasn't a real contributor to this discussion, except for making a remark about Cla68's choice of books on global warming, which was gratefully blown out of proportion by champion of neutrality Alex Harvey. Looking forward to your next neutral guest post on Klimazwiebel, Alex.

Anonymous said...

At Kim Dabelstein Petersen's suggestion above, I read the discussion here (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk:Global_warming/Archive_61#RS). Basically, from what I can see, what happened is that a portion of the text in the article was sourced to a self-published paper from a blog. So, Cla68 suggested adding Plimer as a source since his book, which is a secondary source and apparently more in accordance with WP's policies, confirms the information as accurate. Cla68 dropped it after other participants were able to find other, published sources. What strikes me from that discussion is the partisanship on display by most of those involved. Even if it turned-out that Plimer's book was accurate on that point, they were refusing to use it as a source. In other words, they appear to have a list of scientists who are acceptable to use as sources and those that aren't, no matter if they agree that the "forbidden" scientists have gotten at least some of it right. Isn't that a violation of WP's arcane "Point" policy, if not NPOV?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous @137:
the issue clearly is one of using a reputable source. Cla68 included a non-reputable source to replace a reputable source. That is not in accordance with WP's policies. As user ChrisO mentions, Erich von Däniken may well have said some things right about Egypt, but you still would not ever use it as a source for statements about Egypt.

Cla68 even manages in that discussion to claim Plimer is an expert. He isn't. He has zero peer reviewed publications on climate.

Bam

Anonymous said...

Alex Harvey, what is the problem with the section you quote? It accurately shows that multiple scientists have pointed out that Plimer is wrong. Objective analysis of Plimer's book shows he is wrong.

A defense attorney of WP would have a field day if Plimer tried to sue WP for defamation or libel.

Bam

Anonymous said...

Bam,
I thought WP's rule was "Verifiability, not truth"? In other words, Wikipedia contributors are not allowed to decide which independently published secondary sources are true, just whether they are verifiable. This means that if Plimer is used as a source for information that no one contradicts, such as the information that Cla68 tried to use it for, then there isn't a problem, according to Wikipedia's rules, if I understand them right. So, the editors in that discussion appear to be trying to change Wikipedia's rules to fit their own agenda, which is that only scientists that they like or agree with can be uses as sources. They obviously don't like Plimer, judging by the comments in that discussion. Do Wikipedia contributors also reject the use of other books or newspapers as sources for CC articles if they don't agree with what the source says or if they don't like the sources' authors?

Hans von Storch said...

Bam / I know you like to be "right", and you have little respect and fantasy for your opponent's view's. On the other hand, you possibly have noticed that this debate is gaining no more momentum in terms of exchange and breadth.
Thus, a repetition especially for you and some anonymouses: Write down your opinion on what you think about this debate and what you have learned - and then let this ebb out. Even though this would represent a kind of respect for the position of your opponents.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous:
Verification is not the only issue, as you can read here:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Verifiability

See in particular the section on reliable sources. This makes it clear why it is a problem to use Plimer's book. Just like WP Editors would reject a citation to Erich von Däniken's book on Egypt (even if correct) or to Gavin Menzies' books when describing Chinese ships in the 15th century.

Bam