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Some draft commenting guidelines

Okay, in the light of the recent flurry of commenting, I’ve decided to draw up a few guidelines. They’ll live here as a permanent link, but I’m posting them on the blog too to get things started. They’re a little tongue in cheek and I’m not going to take them overly seriously.

These aren’t for me to police the forums so much as to save you frustration and make sure we hear each other out, wherever we may fall on the grid of disputation.

I started Make Wealth History to learn what is going on in the world and what I could do about it. Commenting is often great at pointing me in new directions and refining my understanding. At other times comments are angry knee jerk reactions to things people don’t like hearing. These guidelines are to encourage more of the former, and help weed out the latter.

I may tweak these and add or remove stuff. Feel free to comment politely here, as the permanent link won’t be up for discussion.

  1. Respect please. Let’s recognise that I will be wrong sometimes. You will be wrong sometimes. More often than not, both of us will have a part of the truth.
  2. Try and keep on the topic. Each post is up for discussion on its own merits.
  3. Keep it short. One or two well argued points beats a dozen half-baked objections any day. If you want to number your points or put them in separate comments, that makes it easier for everyone to follow.
  4. Please avoid copied and pasted material. Drop a link. Regular commenters should hopefully be spared the indignity of being blocked as spam (If it does happen, I apologise. It’s Akismet and it’s nothing personal)
  5. Back up your comments. I’m a trained journalist and I’m committed to communicating the truth. I want this site to have integrity, and I invite you to hold me accountable to that. If you think  I’ve made an unsubstantiated remark, ask. In return, I will ask you to provide evidence for your own assertions.
  6. Choose your links well. It will not come as news to me that there are blog posts disagreeing with me. Linking to one will not constitute evidence that I’m wrong. If you think there’s material out there that refutes my argument, try and link to actual reports or papers. The more credible your source, the more seriously I will take you.
  7. Bring your own opinions. Debate on the internet can often go like this: a) read something you fundamentally disagree with or cannot accept. b) Open new tab. c) Google the opposite of what is being said. d) Paste link to the best sounding article on page one of the results. e) Add sarcastic remark, and click ‘submit’. I know this because I’ve caught myself doing it. We can all do better than that.
  8. The last resort. Finally, I don’t believe in censorship, but I do reserve the right to end discussion on posts and to bar specific commenters. (I haven’t barred any readers yet) I promise not to do so without advance warning and a clear reason.

47 comments

  1. Jeremy:

    Excellent! Not only do I not have any objection to these, I very much welcome them. They would have been very useful over the past few days.

    Well done, you.

  2. Indeed. Let’s see if they help.

    Incidentally, I’ve changed the settings that block comments with links in. You should now be able to post four links in a comment, which should hopefully save you resorting to footnote-style linking.

    1. BTW it’s a pity that the long and interesting (if over complicated and occasionally abrasive) “Climate Change Deniers” thread is now hard to find. Surely it should appear under “Popular posts”? After all, it was very recent – and was certainly popular!

      1. Busy, but in terms of overall readership not that popular. That ‘popular posts’ list is automatically generated, and is dominated by a select few archive posts that get hundreds of views a day.

  3. Hi All! One thing that is difficult to control is the thread direction. Yes it’s annoying, but, is it not a direct measure of the diversity, openess and quasi acceptance of divergent view? But I digress (already).

    When I write I quote the biased fact I want to illustrate (and keep it brief) and invite the reader to investigate for themselves. I don’t misrepresent and I provide the source. In the case of pH, simply do the math.

    As for respect, well I’ll be honest Jeremy, having been tarred for so many years, it’s hard to keep taking it… remember we were a 3% minority. On the other hand, I admire a great flub as much as anyone! Look how fast I corrected and made light of, the now, in my mind classic Mobutu/Mugabe (you say potatoo I say potatee… sounds like a song!) flub. It jeapordizes my credibility (as does my spelling) but I am human and I do make mistakes. In keeping with my smug arrogance, a good and well placed one liner is a well deserved lesson! Snarcasm. Like I said earlier less accusatory more informitory.

    4-6 Provide the direct quote and cite your source. If from a blog cite the blog’s original source.

    As for opinions, those that cut and paste opposition are boring and easily noticed. I read the comments for original thought and skip the hit and runs.

    Censorship. I’m only here because Gator mentioned your site exists. He also said that you allow free and open discussion. That is a rarity. I am routinely moderated out at alarmist sites for speaking no different as I do here. For here I don’t see the need. I live in a rural area, no high speed internet… my computer is already slowing from the info-volume and I will soon be no longer to comment on that thread. I will leave the discussion. The question then becomes not black and white but which shade of gray. At what point do you get up and walk away from the table (discussion)? When technologically forced or like spending, voluntarily. Sooner or later someone gets the last laugh in an empty room… it’s up to you if you want to be that person or not.

    All the best… Jeff

    1. Very well said, Jeff. Thanks.

      I think we should try to be aware that it may be quite hard for Jeremy to understand how it feels to be regularly treated, on warmist sites throughout the blogosphere, to contempt, abuse and censorship. And especially to have views met with a mixture of appeals to authority, ad hominem attack, strawman argument etc. Very rarely with evidence-backed logic. I’ve been pained by it many times over the years. For example, despite adopting what I think is a reasoned and moderate tone, I’ve been personally abused for example on the Guardian’s CIF and banned for example on Climate Progress (Joe Romm’s site) and PlanetSave (Zachary Shahan’s). It’s wearing and unpleasant.

      So, Jeremy, I suggest you might try to be a little more tolerant of the tone of sceptics’ comments. They may be finding it hard to come to terms with a warmist site that treats them with courtesy. I however find it refreshing; and am grateful to you

      1. Hey Guys! Ditto. I have been banned from Real(not)climate, Climateprogressive and others not worth mentioning. Not because I was rude, but because I was inconvenient.

        In fact, another alarmist and I had a bet going that Real(not)climate would indeed post a reasoned skepical comment. So I provided him with the most relevant and reasoned argument for one of the day’s hot stories (no pun intended). The gentleman then made a few tweaks to my comment so as to make it as humble as possible and then submitted under his ID.

        It was immediately pulled from the thread and he was told it was removed because it was ‘off topic’. Nothing could have been further from the truth.

        So, yeah, I’ a little sick and tired of being treated like a second class citizen whose thougths are verboten. Skeptics have become the whipping boys of liberal society, compared to birthers, 911 truthers, holocaust deniers and on and on…

        It would be really swell to see civility return to science.

      2. Are you kidding me?

        Half the comments on my own blog treat me with utter contempt. As someone who believes the status quo I am regularly accused of all manner of disgusting absurdities – a particular favourite being the comparisons to Pol Pot.

        I know that insults fly on both sides, but in no way are you a persecuted minority.

        The whole point of suggesting guidelines is to preserve this blog as a place where such extreme views aren’t necessary, where we can treat each other like human beings. And that is precisely why I will ban those that don’t respect this as a moderate forum.

        1. Hey Jeremy! Who compared you to Pol Pot?

          Do you remember a certain book report we discussed? Cook? Washington?

          Have you read that book?

          Let me help you…

          “Haydn Washington: Yes, as far as we know maybe chimpanzees deny things too because they carry around dead babies…”

          Didn’t you defend this work?

          Here is a great quote about the number of skeptical scientists:

          “John Cook: I could probably count them on both my hands I guess, maybe a half dozen or so scientists that actually published papers that are sceptical that global warming will be bad in the future…”

          Mr Cook is obviously lying. He knows there are more than 10 skeptical scientists who have published papers refuting CAGW.

          Are you in the habit of defending liars who smear skeptics?

          What else does Jeremy’s hero have to say?

          “John Cook: The actual statement that they signed their name to is generally that human activity can’t cause climate disruption and in fact CO2 is a good thing, something to that effect. But when you look at all the names on the lists, about 99.9% of them are not climate scientists. So it’s this raising of fake experts, and that tactic has been used way back to the ’70s where the tobacco industry… ”

          Yep. Cancer deniers! Fake experts! Smear, smear, smear. Never mind that Engineering and general sciences accounts for 10,103 of those names.

          Great book. Glad you liked it Jeremy.

          Odd that you would support what you alegedly abhor. But then you claim to be a skeptic too, while claiming that we must enact falling sky mitigations.

          1. YELLOW CARD

            For that accusatory, disrespectful, off topic and repetitive comment, Gator gets a two day time out. If you can’t treat me like a decent human being, you don’t get to play. You’re welcome back on sunday night.

            No apologies either to Gator or those who admire his commenting – I’ve issued half a dozen warnings already. And as promised, this is a ban for behaviour. If it was for opinion, I’d just have deleted the comment.

          2. Hmm – but Jeremy surely you agree that it’s deplorable to compare sceptics to chimpanzees carrying dead babies, to claim that – contrary to the facts – only “half dozen or so scientists” have published papers critical of CAGW, to assert, untruthfully, that 99.9% of the names on that list are not climate scientists and, above all, to make the appalling claim that sceptical scientists are fakes, comparing them to the wholly irresponsible tobacco industry in the 1970s – an industry that knew but hid evidence that cigarettes caused cancer? Don’t you?

            OK, Gator put his position, shall we say, robustly. But he was making legitimate points about a book you endorsed. Is that really cause for him to be banned? It’s your privilege of course – it’s your blog. But it doesn’t look too good.

            PS: when were you compared to Pol Pot? By whom?

          3. But I didn’t say it, did I? I’ve already told Gator repeatedly that I will not be judged for other people’s comments.

            Do I require you to defend Viscount Monckton’s description of his opponents as Nazi youth? Or his claims that he has discovered a cure for HIV? Do I require you to concur with Christopher Booker’s insistence that asbestos is not a health risk? No – I respect your right to be a skeptic without signing up to anything and everything ever said by other climate contrarians. I’d appreciate it if I was granted the same courtesy.

            I’ve been compared to Pol Pot a couple of time, here and on climate blogs in the past – not by anyone who’s here right now.

            By the way, Cook is almost literally correct when he says 99.9% of the scientists on the petition project are not climate scientists. Of the 31,487 signatories, just 39 are climatologists.That’s straight from the Petition Project’s own site: http://www.petitionproject.org/qualifications_of_signers.php

          4. Ah but there’s a distinction. Neither Gator nor I are endorsing books by Monckton or Booker, whereas you are endorsing a book by Washington and Cook.

            The tobacco industry comparison is particularly unpleasant. The industry knew cigarettes caused cancer but, to protect its commercial interests, hid the evidence. The comparison therefore implies that sceptics are in the same category as “cancer deniers”. That comparison is disgraceful – indeed, if any evidence is being hidden, it’s by the warmists. Yet it’s commonly used in attacking sceptics. I’ve experienced it – as I’m sure has Gator. And it’s a comparison made in the Washington/Cook book.

            PS: how would you define a “climate scientist”?

          5. And you are welcome to read the book and judge their opinions for yourself, rather than picking out one or two out-of-context quotes and demanding that I justify them.

            On the tobacco thing, I invite you to investigate the PR company APCO, hired in 1992 by tobacco company Philip Morris to cast doubt on an EPA report about passive smoking. APCO set up the fake grassroots campaign The Advancement for Sound Science Coalition as a front which in turn founded the site junkscience.com, which may be familiar. Fred Singer is a well known climate skeptic who was funded through this network, and he also wrote papers that denied the existence of passive smoking. You can look this all up, it’s well documented, as are the Exxon and Koch industry contributions and all the rest of it.

            The comparison is not that these people are cancer deniers, but that they have taken money to deliberately cast doubt on science, in order to protect corporations against legislation.

            Now, let me say right now that I do not think this applies to all skeptics, and I have little time for conspiracy theories of any kind, which is why you won’t find any posts about these things up on this blog. But since you ask, I’m mentioning it. I urge you to look it up. There have been some scandalous projects to discredit scientists. That doesn’t prove my take on the science, neither does it discredit yours. But please don’t accuse climate scientists of deception when there has been a provable record of deliberate and systematic denial too. There are skeletons in the closet on both sides of this argument.

            Did you look at the petition site? In this case I’m referring to ‘climatologists’. I’m aware that others can and will have useful contributions to the debate. I’m just saying Cook is absolutely right on this one.

          6. Yes, I look forward to reading the book and judging for myself.

            Re your second paragraph, we’re not discussing here the antics of the tobacco industry – I agree about its disgraceful behaviour in the 1970s. No, we’re discussing climate science. Can you refer me to any hard evidence that any scientist has “taken money to deliberately cast doubt on science, in order to protect corporations against legislation”? If not, I suggest you do not pursue this. But the point here is that sceptics are commonly compared to the tobacco industry, the implication being that they are no better than those who denied the cigarette/link. That is a disgrace – and explains Gator’s understandable anger.

            I agree that the petition site refers to only 35 “climatologists”. But there’s an important difference between “climatology” and climate science. Were there not, many prominent warmist scientists – not least James Hansen – would be unqualified to comment. There are many disciplines of research relevant to the science of climate change, including for example meteorology, climatology, environmental and Earth science, atmospheric, solar and cosmic chemistry and physics, particle physics, geology, biology, palaeoceanography, quaternary science, mathematics, statistics and computer modelling. Moreover, engineering is critical to the understanding of environmental programmes. All these, and other disciplines, are comprised within climate science – each contributing their specialty to different parts of the climate jigsaw. The petition includes many scientists within these categories. Cook was wrong.

          7. I’m surprised that you haven’t come across this stuff. For someone who claims to have looked into climate change with an open mind, that’s a big oversight. Look up Fred Singer on Sourcewatch and you’ll see the connection between tobacco and climate skepticism writ large: http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=S._Fred_Singer

            See also the leaked memo by Frank Luntz, giving advice to the Republican party: “The scientific debate is closing [against us] but not yet closed. There is still a window of opportunity to challenge the science… Voters believe that there is no consensus about global warming within the scientific community. Should the public come to believe that the scientific issues are settled, their views about global warming will change accordingly. Therefore, you need to continue to make the lack of scientific certainty a primary issue in the debate.”
            http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2003/mar/04/usnews.climatechange

            See also George Monbiot’s book Heat, or the episode of Panorama that he made a few years ago. Say what you like about his politics, he is second to none as an investigative journalist:
            http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2006/sep/19/ethicalliving.g2

            I will be interested to see if you give these allegations the attention they deserve. I can admit there are problems within climate orthodoxy. Can you admit there are things to answer for within the denial movement too?

            You won’t find me arguing that only climatologists can contribute to the debate, but honestly, have you been to the petition project site yet and browsed the list? A third of the list is engineers. There are 2,000 medical doctors. There are more zoologists on the list than climatologists. Cook is literally correct when he says 99.9% of them are not climate scientists.

          8. Yes, I’ve read all that stuff. It doesn’t provide me with hard evidence that any scientist has “taken money to deliberately cast doubt on science, in order to protect corporations against legislation”. Please give me specific examples. And, in doing so, remember we’re talking about the science of climate change not about the tobacco/cancer link.

            Incidentally, while you’re at it, please give me a clear, concise definition of what you mean by “the denial movement”. Thanks.

            I’ve already agreed there are only 35 people on that list who are described as “climatologists”. But, again as I’ve already explained, climate science is more than climatology. So Cook is wrong. Unless, that is, you agree that James Hansen is not a climate scientist. Do you?

          9. Come on Robin, you’re talking semantics. What Cook said is absolutely true. If he had said ‘only 39 of the signatories were working on climate change’, he’d have been false.

            The denial movement is the fraction of the climate change debate that has set out to deliberately confuse the public, and to commission and promote the work of scientists who do not agree with the mainstream view. This has been organised principally by lobbyists and PR companies, on behalf of industries that are afraid that climate legislation will impact their future profits.

            A specific example might be Bob Carter, a geologist who came up with the much repeated claim that warming stopped in 1998.
            http://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/personal-view/3624242/There-IS-a-problem-with-global-warming…-it-stopped-in-1998.html

            As a responsible scientist he would know that you need to account for anomalies in your data, and that beginning a trend on a record year is far from objective. But he did it anyway, and it was endlessly repeated, as you will no doubt be aware. Bob Carter is a founding member of the now-renamed think tank and news service Tech Central Station. Over half of TCS’s funding came from ExxonMobil at the time, and other donors included AT&T and General Motors.
            http://www.exxonsecrets.org/wiki/index.php/Deniers:Organisations:Tech_Central_Science_Foundation_or_Tech_Central_Station

            If you deny there’s a problem here Robin, your claims to be a seeker of truth pretty much evaporate.

          10. Before we go any further in discussing what you say are “semantics”, please answer my question: do you agree that James Hansen is not a climate scientist? You do see the relevance of this I assume.

            Then, as I keep requesting, please provide me with hard evidence that any scientist has “taken money to deliberately cast doubt on science in order to protect corporations against legislation”. Please give me specific examples, examples that justify that most serious and damaging claim. To do this, I suggest you don’t go to sites such as Exxonsecrets and Sourcewatch (or Desmogblog) that are dedicated, not to the science, but to exposing any connection their victim might have with the fossil fuel industry – no matter how old or tenuous. And, in case you don’t understand what I mean by hard evidence, I’ll give you an example. Have a look at this (from the Climatic Research Unit’s own website) and scroll down to the list of funders at the end. You see, in particular, that it includes BP and Shell – also of possible interest are the Nuclear Installations Inspectorate, UK Nirex Ltd (the nuclear waste business), Greenpeace and WWF. This is interesting information – but would I claim that any of these backers have influenced the CRU’s scientific work? Would I assert that “there’s a problem here” or use this information to denigrate its reputation?

            No, I would not.

            Now to Bob Carter and his interesting article. You seem to dislike his observation that “for the years 1998-2005 the global average temperature did not increase” – an accurate enough statement, see this. Even the CRU’s Phil Jones has agreed that any increase from 1995 to 2010 was not significant. In any case, Carter does not say that global warming had stopped or even that it marks the “beginning of a trend”, just that it did not increase over that period. Why get worked up about that? Read the article: it’s quite good.

  4. Agreed, and at this point I should draw a distinction between censorship and moderation. The former screens out unwelcome material. The second screens out unwelcome behaviour.

    If I ban anyone, it will be for behaviour, not for their opinions or beliefs. That’s my promise.

    1. Totally understood Jeremy. Moderation is not censorship and you do allow much latitude. At other alarmist sites, there is a distinct lack of your vision and moderation soon degenerates to censorship. I don’t think thats a worry here. 🙂

      On the other hand, what do you think of my “30% acidification rise” explanation. I thought it was rather sussinct.

      All the best…. Jeff

  5. BTW my last comment on the CWCID thread seems to have silenced everyone. Sorry about that – or perhaps it’s no bad thing.

    This is completely off topic but have you seen this? Entitled “Is it time for a crime of ecocide?” it’s a serious proposal (from a firm of reputable solicitors) that a crime of ecocide be brought under the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court, alongside war crimes, aggression, crimes against humanity and genocide. It would be based on the concept that humans should have a duty of care for the planet. Seems to me it might make an interesting and appropriate topic for MWH.

    1. Hey Robin! Yes I have seen that before. It ranks right up there with the Cass Sunstein view of the world. Lawyers for pets, minnows before people, etc…

  6. I’m confused. I see many examples of broken rules in your comment threads. By all parties. But the only person I have seen censored is Gator. I must agree with Robin, this looks really bad. What happened?

    Gator was on the same topic as Robin, Red Jeff and you. His comment was accusatory, but that was because he was pointing out your hypocrisy. I read the comments regarding that book and you did defend the work. I have not read the book, but if the quotes Gator gave are accurate, you owe him an apology. Let’s play fair guys.

    I don’t mean any disrespect and maybe it was a bad day for you. But it is clear you made an emotional decision and not a rational one. I say this with all due respect, and fully understanding this could now be my last visit.

    I also think your rule on blogs is shaky. Opinions are one thing.But there is nothing wrong with material found on blogs, as long as the facts can be referenced elsewhere. I was home schooled and have used blogger compiled information for my studies from time to time when source material cannot be found elsewhere. But even university and government sites can have erroneous information, so everything needs to be verified these days anyway.

    I do plan on checking out the material you suggested, and what Poptech provided. In fact I was going back to check my comment and noticed that I could not repost. I came here to see if I had done something wrong, but I guess you closed the page behind us.

    Your best pages are those that have the most robust debate. I am an American, and maybe it’s a cultural difference, but we value free speech above all else. It is what made us great, no gatekeepers deciding what we should and should not hear.

    Otherwise this looks like a great site. But please do not be offended and please apply your rules in a meaningful and equitable fashion. Maybe I can make some contributions after a little more research. Thanks!

    1. Well said.

      Yes – apart from the Gator lapse – this is a great site. And Jeremy is to be commended for his tolerant attitude to those with whom he disagrees.

    1. “Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.”
      Matthew 7:5

      God Bless.

  7. If you like Gator’s commenting, you can find him on Climate Change Dispatch, where apparently you are welcome to be as rude as you like.

    1. Thanys for the tip! But Gator was not the point of my post. It was you.

      I would recommend Climate Change Dispatch to anyone who values truth and integrity. I perused a few of the heavier comment threads and both sides have robust discussions and noone is harrassed by the site administrator as far as I can tell.

      Climate Change Dispatch also does not try and mix religion or pseudopsychology with science. What a breath of fresh air.

      It truly is a great recommendation andf I cannot thankyou enough!

      http://www.climatechangedispatch.com/

  8. Hi All! In defense of Jeremy, I think it can be very frustrating when takeing the time, making the effort and putting in all the work to provide this forum, to be constantly criticized. I as guilty as anyone in my habit to ‘personify’ an idea. In this case we personify alarmism with Jeremy. All alarmism. That’s not fair. Jeremy to my view, is a concerned individual just like the rest of us. Thats why we are ALL here… concern. Our methods are different but we all want the same… betterment.

    With that in mind, rules are needed because although all of us are obviously more mature, responsible and generally better folk… there is always the risk of some lunatic leaving a message. Snicker, snort.

    When we comment, and must use rhetoric and hyperbole, lets do so in a humourous manner. For one pointed finger three always point back. So let’s cut Jeremy a little slack, it’s tough being wrong all the time. 😉 For us deniers he’s treated us a lot better than we are used to at any other alarmist site I’ve been on. I believe “fairness” is all a commie plot and think Attilla the Hun was a bleeding heart liberal, but I’m always open to new views.

    We have the opportunity to represent a microcosm of solution rather than that of division. If we can’t achieve that in our little forum what chance has the world?

    All the best…. Jeff

    PS… All except you Byron, to paraphrase ‘No slack for you!” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soup_Nazi

  9. I had to have a look at this blog because Gator mentioned it, however, it reminds me of working with the Public Sector in the UK, political correctness gone mad, this is not about politeness or respect, this is about Jeremy being a control freak. As I am sure Jeremy will not allow this comment to be published, that’s ok, because Jeremy you have read it and that’s what is important.

    1. That’s unmerited, anne. I have serious disagreements with Jeremy (see for example above – and on the “Credit Where Credit is Due” thread) and can express them quite forcibly. But he has never complained about this: I assure you he is not “a control freak”. Yes, he too has strong views (largely misguided IMO) but he’s commendably tolerant of those who disagree with him. The Gator incident was I believe a lapse – that’s all.

      1. Thanks for your defense Robin.

        Obviously I disagree about Gator being a lapse. He has made discussion impossible on every thread he turned up on. You agree with him, so you obviously don’t mind, but I won’t tolerate it. As promised, it was a temporary ban for behaviour, not opinion. It came with repeated warnings, and it’s only a two day ban.

        I have been far more fair and lenient than most website moderators.

        That comment particularly goes to those who have turned up here in the last two days to carp at me for being a hypocrite and a control freak. I’ve run this blog for four years and Gator is the first person I’ve had to restrain in any way.

        By the way, so we’re clear – I’m allowing Gator to comment again tonight, but I will suspend him again if he continues to treat anyone who disagrees with him as an idiot.

        1. I truly cannot understand your position on this. Let’s take by way of example his post on this thread that triggered your displeasure and “yellow card”.

          Here’s a summary of his comments – with my observations.

          (1) He didn’t like the suggestion that his attitude could be compared to that of someone who compared you to Pol Pot. I agree that was an unpleasant thing to suggest about someone who had made no remotely equivalent suggestion. Can’t you see that?

          (2) He reminded you that you had defended a book that (apparently) compares sceptics to chimpanzees carrying around dead babies. Maybe it’s unfair to single that out. But surely it’s a legitimate comment and not remotely a sacking offence? Isn’t it?

          (3) He accused Cook (note: not you) of lying when he claimed (apparently) that there are only a half dozen or so scientists that are sceptical of global warming. Now, assuming – as is inevitable from the context – that he meant dangerous man-made global warming, that’s patently false and Cook must have known it. Let me repeat: he doesn’t say you asserted the falsehood but that you defended a book that did. Again, surely that’s a legitimate comment and not remotely a sacking offence? OK, it may have been unfair to you – that’s a matter for legitimate discussion. But it’s not “accusatory, disrespectful [or] off topic”. Surely you can see that?

          (4) He draws attention to Cook’s (apparent) assertion that 99.9% of the names on that list are not climate scientists. That’s only true if you accept that James Hansen (and other prominent warmist scientists) are not climate scientists either. So it’s a silly thing to say. And again it was said in a book you defended (referring to “fake experts”). What’s so wrong about that – and a sacking offence? Come on.

          (5) As I’ve pointed out above, it’s common for alarmist sites to compare sceptical scientists to the tobacco industry, which disgracefully hid evidence about the smoking/cancer link. It’s a disgusting smear – again (it seems) perpetuated by Cook. Can’t you see that Gator might have a point and be angry about this?

          (6) Finally, he summarises all this with the words “Yep. Cancer deniers! Fake experts! Smear, smear, smear” and criticises you for supporting a book that he says made these accusations – “Great book. Glad you liked it Jeremy.” And remember: this is a book you described as “wise and timely” and, in particular, “well researched”. So maybe he’s got a legitimate point. Hasn’t he? Where does he treat you as an idiot? Or is it his robust phrasing you dislike? If so, I suggest you’re being over sensitive.

          And that summarises his post. I’m not asking you to agree with it. But I cannot see why you consider it so very bad. What’s so “impossible” or intolerable about it?

          An accusation commonly made of warmist blogs is that they cannot face up to unpalatable truth and, when someone tries to raise it, they get banned. (And I’m afraid it’s true – I’ve experienced it on several occasions.) Yours seemed to be an honourable exception. Apart from this lapse, it still is – and all credit to you for that.

          1. That particular comment of Gator’s is not the point. The point is that he has left a good fifty comments or so in the last ten days. Out of those, no more than a handful have been respectful to me or to others who take a similar line to me. He is consistently rude, sneering, and patronising, often downright insulting. I do not need to suffer a constant barrage of contempt, and why you think I should is beyond me. Commenting here is not a right.

            Let me just point something else out too: You consistently refer to people who hold my views as ‘warmists’, which is a derogatory term, but you strongly object to me calling you a ‘denier’. So let’s not get started about being sensitive.

          2. OK – it’s your blog and your privilege to do what you choose with it. I’ve made my point and will leave it at that.

            As for “warmist”, I see it as a useful short name for those who believe that the world is warming (hence “warmist”), that mankind is responsible and that, unless action is taken, the outcome will be dangerous both for mankind and the planet itself. It has no unpleasant overtones or implied meaning. I see nothing remotely derogatory about it. I see its counterpart as “sceptic” – a useful short name for those who, for one reason or another dissent from that position. Again, it has no unpleasant overtones or implied meaning. I see nothing remotely derogatory about it either. In total contrast to these expressions, the word “denier” has unpleasant overtones (evoking parallels with Holocaust deniers) and its implied meaning is that the person described is unable or unwilling to face up to an obvious truth, thereby begging the very question being discussed. It’s truly unpleasant.

            I’m sorry if you think “warmist” is equally unpleasant. Perhaps you would suggest a succinct alternative? “Believer” is a possibility I suppose – but would seem to me to imply faith rather than logic. I wouldn’t like it if I were you.

          3. The reason I object to words like ‘warmist’, or ‘alarmist’ (which is worse) is not because they are unpleasant, but because they are caricatures. They place everyone who holds certain views in the same box, and then they can all be dismissed together. In cultural theory it’s known as ‘othering’ – creating a mythical ‘other’ by highlighting perceived faults, and thus justifying your own supposedly superior position. In this case, we get ‘typical warmist behaviour’, and ‘warmists’ become these feeble-minded, liberal, over-sensitive, human-haters who deserve nothing but ridicule.

            I resist the alternative, which is the ‘other’ that the mainstream slips into, accusing all skeptics of being ignorant, anti-science, creationist neo-conservatives, equally worthy of nothing but scorn. I know that isn’t true, and a real discussion requires us to treat each other as individuals, rather than assuming the worst of each other. Our language matters.

          4. Yes, those are all valid points. However I suggest it can be useful to employ a short word to describe a complex point of view – provided always that the word is reasonably neutral. “Warmist” and “sceptic” seem to meet that criterion.

            However, this is your blog and your call. So, if you insist, I suppose that in future we’ll all have to try to find more precise words to fit specific circumstances. I suppose that, in many cases where I would previously have used “warmist”, I’ll now have to use something like “someone who accepts the validity of the hypothesis that recent warming was caused by human CO2 emissions and that, unless such emissions are curtailed, the outcome will be dangerous, and possibly disastrous, for humans and for the Earth’s ecology “. Hmm – a bit clumsy that.

            An alternative might be to have a “definitions” clause in your Guidelines where the meaning (for the purposes of the blog) of short words is spelled out in detail (as above for example). But that seems overly legalistic. What’s your solution?

            (PS: I had thought of suggesting “hyperthermalist” – but somehow I thought you wouldn’t like that.)

    2. Hi Anne! Long time no see! Once again, in Jeremy’s defense, he’s a very fair man. We disagree on a great many things but I have never felt, except on my initial visits (and that was only from previous experience on other sites) that I would be censored, banned or marginalized. You know my vehement feelings on global warming… Jeremy allows me to express them without interference, and, usually responds in kind. All he asks is that we disagree with each other politely.

      As you read more, you’ll find he is anything but a control freak. Others have commented that upon reading the articles then the comments, that they have learned a great deal of information, and source references. They’ve felt the discussion lively and entertaining also… Jeremy doesn’t ‘Gatekeep’.

      The commetaries between Robin and Jeremy most illustrate what I mean, and, they can be viewed on any article…. (as an aside, Robin wup’s em every time… I think he’s the next one ‘voted off the island if ya know what I mean). http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=voted%20off%20the%20island Please note it may be advantageous to reference your humour for some readers.

      All the best… Jeff

  10. Well Jeff, each to his own I say, one persons pleasure is another’s pain, and so on and so on!!

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