Blog commenting etiquette

by Judith Curry

There is a sad lack of etiquette guides for new media. Granted, Miss Manners and her brethren have started weighing in on the correct way of handling everything from Facebook snubs to Twitter meltdowns, but there is still no set of guidelines for the proper way to handle oneself while blogging. So, an unwritten etiquette has been created for blogging, but without the benefit of a rulebook that new bloggers can consult.Emily

I really appreciate the community that we have developed at Climate Etc., especially those that actively comment. However, many of the comment exchanges have gotten out of hand lately, and I am getting tired of my blog turning into a garbage dump for trash talking and insults.

Splashmedia sums up the problem in this way:

We all know picking your nose in public is considered bad manners (at least, we hope we all know.) But did you know that there are also rules for behaving well in the blogging world?

So I googled around to try to find some good text re commenting on blogs.  Read on for sage advice such as Do not feed the trolls, they will just follow you home and poop on your doorstep.

From the Lost Art of Blogging:

Commenting on the web is one of the most important factors that lead to the Internet social revolution, from the last few years. In the not so distant past, commenting and public social interactions on the web was more or less exclusive on forums and was limited by a series of complications. When blogs first became popular in the early 2000s, they were hailed and highly praised, not for their particular concept, but rather for their social innovation; a never before seen connectivity between the readers and the article authors. Readers could now freely and easily interact with the authors, publicly share and discuss the post’s ideas and form a bond with the blogger. In short comments from behalf of the readers made blogs what they are today.

Since then, a lot of things have changed on the web and in the blogoshere particularly. Commenting has also more or less changed, thanks to the ever expanding issue of spam, that’s lead to steadily decline of quality in blog comments.

From Daria Black:

Write a comment, not spam.

Spam is the bane of all webernet existence and has caused many a blogger to resort to counterproductive measures such as closing their comment section. Even worse than spam, however, are comments that do little more than consume bandwidth. 

Take the time to read the blog entry and put some effort into writing a response that adds to the conversation and/or helps the blog writer. Your comment is your calling card. The webernet is an open rolodex and as such, how you present yourself through your words will tell people whether or not they want to look you up.

Stay on topic.

As a general rule if you find that you fall into a discussion with other visitors about something unrelated to the post, offer to email them privately.

Respect the rules.

Some bloggers will have an official comment policy in place. Usually because of issues they’ve run into with their feedback. Read it and respect it. Visiting someone’s blog is just like being a guest in their house. The last thing they want is you pooping all over their couch and doing so will usually result in them pushing you out the front door.

Comments should be comprehensible.

People cannot respond effectively to your concerns if they cannot understand what they are in the first place. Don’t forget that people cannot see your expression or hear your voice. Flame wars are often the result of a misinterpretation of the meaning of your words. This is why smilies and snark tags, such as “sarcasm”, were invented. Use them.

Avoid setting the whole blog ablaze when flaming a topic.

Let’s face it there are some subjects in life that, no matter how hard we try, cause us to flip out at the mere mention of them. But while you have the right to act like a jerk when the topic is raised, unless you want to be banned from the internet I suggest you refrain from doing so.

Link to your sources.

When citing material to make your case, provide a link so that the participants can read it at their leisure. Be careful of linking to your own website, this can be seen as spam if you are a first time visitor.

Do not feed the trolls.

They’ll just follow you home and poop on your doorstep.

Advice from FreelanceWritingGigs:

Don’t Make it All About You

Try not to turn every single conversation into a testimony of your awesomeness.  Try saying something new each time you comment and add something of value. Saying the same self-serving comments over and over gets a little stale. 

Keep the Name Calling and Finger Pointing in Check

Please avoid calling names when visiting blogs. It makes the community uncomfortable and it makes the blogger uncomfortable. Name calling isn’t a comment, it’s a cop out. If you can’t add something of value, don’t bother commenting.

Brevity is a Talent

Comments are just that, comments. When you get into the 500 to 1000 word category, we’re talking blog posts. Do that on your own blogs. The occasional long comment to illustrate a point, is one thing. Don’t use someone else’s blog as a platform to pontificate, or to sell your services or promote your stuff. Use it to be a useful, contributing commentator.

Keep it On Topic

Nothing disrupts the flow of a comment stream than to have someone write something having absolutely nothing to do with the topic. Some folks do this to add in an attack on a person or idea, others just add in the topic in hopes of getting answers to a question, and still others just want to start up a conversation on a completely different topic.  Stay focused on the matter at hand, nothing ruins a good, productive, discussion like commentators who throw the topic off track.

Say Something Useful

A snipe at a commenter isn’t value, it’s being insulting. Bringing up something someone said five years ago isn’t value, it’s being a dork. Again, think about how you can add value to the discussion and keep the flow going. Stay on topic and add points that will stimulate thought and add another facet to the chat. Be intriguing.

Don’t Feed the Trolls

The moderator will handle trolls so you don’t have to. Trolls feed on negativity so don’t give them the satisfaction. Ignore them and they’ll go away.

You’re a Guest in Someone Else’s Home

When you’re commenting on another blog, you’re essentially a guest in their home. Act as if you would act with a group of friends sitting on a couch chatting. Treat the host with respect and treat the guests with respect.

Name Calling is Not Disagreement

To respond to a comment with “You’re a jerk!” isn’t disagreeing in a conversation, it’s showing a lack of class. Disagreement is fine, but do be respectful. Get your point across with being insulting or using profanity. Creative, intelligent people know how to rebut without being disrespectful.

JC comment.  You get the idea, but it seems that people need periodic reminders.  If you must insult, please do it with panache (see Shakespeare insult kit, e.g. Thou spleeny tickled-bill popinjay!).

We’ve discussed moderation numerous times before, the challenge is the large number of comments and my reluctance to have anyone else moderate.  Here is what I have come up with:

• Anyone that makes more than 5% of the most recent 1000 comments will be put in moderation (unless this is a guest poster engaging with the commenters).  Occasionally, a single individual has exceeded 10% of the most recent 1000 comments.  Such frequent commenting is almost always associated with one-liners, which are typically content-free zingers. I will release any substantive, constructive comments and release you from moderation once your comment frequency drops below 5%.  E.g., think twice before blasting off all those one line zingers.

• Anyone that persists in insulting other commenters will be put in moderation, and I am most likely to notice you if you make a large number of short comments.  If your insult is hidden in a long post, I probably won’t spot it and unless it is severe, I’ll probably let it go.  I also tend to be more tolerant of people that have a long track record of productive comments, who have an occasional lapse of judgment.  Note: unless I am on travel, I check the comments about 6 times per day, looking at the most recent 40-60 comments.  So I do not catch all the comments.

Let me know if you have any suggestions.  Thanks for your continued constructive participation here.

452 responses to “Blog commenting etiquette

  1. Great post and long over due here.

  2. The silence of stunned lam-pooners…
    ooops …facetious one liner, sorry Judith,
    yer right!

  3. Why is this post all about me?
    =============

  4. “… I am getting tired of my blog turning into a garbage dump for trash talking and insults.”

    Can’t say I’ve noticed any difference of late.

    For quite some time, CE has been to ‘cutting edge e-salon’s’ what the British tabloids are to quality journalism.

    There is one very well known strategy for minimising the trolls and flaming – reducing the frequency of posts. There’s nothing like a hiatus to get the trolls running off elsewhere for their regular fix of internet rash-talking

  5. I rarely comment these days, as I have little interest in the sociological aspects of AGW and the applied science/engineering elements of alternate energy supplies are almost never threaded. I do scan the threads for some notable contributors, however

    I agree whole-heartedly with the adage “Do not feed the trolls”. Doing so simply destroys the thread, which is their intention

  6. Eliminate anonymous commenting. You will see civility pick up very quickly.

    • Some of the worst offenders here use their real names.

      • How do you know those are their real names?

      • I don’t, but some of them have claimed they are using their real names.

      • David, then your point is moot.

      • Brandon Shollenberger

        The identities of some can be confirmed thanks to the fact they’re in-person activities match what they say online. As for the rest, it’s possible some people falsely claim to use a real name, but that would happen even if one turned off anonymous commenting.

      • David Springer

        JCH | January 18, 2013 at 8:43 pm | Reply

        “Some of the worst offenders here use their real names.”

        I resemble that remark, dickweed!

      • What exactly is a “real name”? Our host uses a handle derived from her real name, as do I.

        Some commenters of the “slayer” variety appear to use real names, but clearly change them on a regular basis, I suspect to avoid the 5% traps that are proposed here. I’ve even seen them reply to themselves using different names but identical styles.

    • I agree with this point. People who use their real names will be more circumspect. I do get annoyed by some of the anonymous posters here because its impossible to verify if they have any credentials that merit paying attention to their musings. Generally, I read comments from people such as Mosher, Ellison, Lowie, and Appell seriously. Fred Moulton was also worth taking seriously as is Andy Lakis. Where is Andy? He hasn’t commented recently. Even Schmidt is at least is worth reading.

      There are also the sky dragons who sometimes hijack threads. They should comment on the threads Judith sets up for them.

      I too have noticed in the last couple of months a decrease in information content and an increase in sarcasm and name calling. I applaud a more strict moderation policy.

      • Actually I had about 6 skydragon threads for just that purpose, then when some comments started to insult John O’Sullivan he threatened to sue me so I took them down.

      • David Young | January 19, 2013 at 12:07 am |
        “There are also the sky dragons who sometimes hijack threads. They should comment on the threads Judith sets up for them.”

        curryja | January 19, 2013 at 8:39 am |

        “Actually I had about 6 skydragon threads for just that purpose, then when some comments started to insult John O’Sullivan he threatened to sue me so I took them down.”

        It seems open threads are suitable location. Yes?

        Like like the word skydragon or skydragon slayers. Fun words.
        And I suppose these words are associated with John O’Sullivan- can’t say I read the book.
        But I define issue as the greenhouse theory as idea that only through radiant processes which involve greenhouse gases can heat be trapped.
        Whereas it seems the Ocean traps the most heat and ocean trapping heat has nothing to do with trapping of radiant energy from greenhouse gases.
        I would say most of Earth’s heat is stored in oceans and in the kinetic energy of the atmosphere. I suppose this make me a skydragon or skydragon slayer?
        It seems quite obvious to me.

      • Yes, open threads are fine for this (and whatever)

      • “I do get annoyed by some of the anonymous posters here because its impossible to verify if they have any credentials ”

        You can’t tell from their comments if their ideas are worth consideration? Seriously? :)

        I don’t know anyone on this blog. I don’t know their credentials. I don’t know their relationships with one another. I don’t know their status in the climate community. And I don’t care. But I can tell who is worth listening to and who’s not in a few hundred words or less, and most people here write substantially more than that.

        If you’re interested only in credentials, why not just consult the literature? That’s where you’ll find all the wisdom that credentials have to offer.

  7. Is it possible that the trash-talkers have any perspective as to how juvenile they sound? Or that snarky invective is never persuasive?

  8. Willis Eschenbach

    David Appell | January 18, 2013 at 8:32 pm

    Eliminate anonymous commenting. You will see civility pick up very quickly.

    Couldn’t agree more. Early into the internet era I posted anonymously, and I really didn’t like who I became. These days I won’t post unless I can sign my own name. I like that because anyone can go back and see if I’m saying the same thing, that I haven’t changed my tune, or if I have changed, why I changed.

    w.

    • Brandon Shollenberger

      I find this comment disturbing given how uncivil you are Willis. You’re a shining example of why a lack of anonymity isn’t going to solve anything.

      All it will do is chase off some people (including civil ones).

      • Brandon, although I rarely agree with Willis, I don’t think he is uncivil.

      • Scott Basinger

        I’m with Max on this one. Willis is passionate, but he’s not uncivil.

      • Brandon,

        I’d call Willis cranky at times, but not uncivil.

        But look at the bright side. You got Max to say something worthwhile. That in itself is quite the accomplishment.

      • Brandon Shollenberger

        Sheesh. I never thought other people would defend Eschenbach’s “civility.” I think one of the first times I called him out on his behavior was in response to this comment where he practically spouted off bigotry. Since then, we’ve had plenty of exchanges where he demonstrated that same behavior (like calling people delusional because he can’t admit what a word means). And it’s not limited to just me. Even Joshua and I agree on this point (that should tell you something):

        Same style, same level of vitriol, same propensity for distortions and inaccurate generalizations, same conclusions drawn without sufficient evidence that you’ll see in the majority of his posts and comments.

        I hope people who disagree about how civil Eschenbach is do so because they haven’t read the things I’ve seen him write. If people consider the behavior he engages in regularly “civil,” I don’t think I want to talk to them.

      • Perhaps Willis would try to argue that being not so nice is still being civil:

        > Steve asked him nicely first. I asked him nicely second. Third time, not so nice. World works that way. Get used to it.

        http://climateaudit.org/2010/06/04/losing-glacier-data/#comment-232381

      • Willis Eschenbach

        Brandon Shollenberger | January 22, 2013 at 12:01 am |

        Sheesh. I never thought other people would defend Eschenbach’s “civility.”

        Brandon, not everybody agrees with you. It seems this may be news on your planet, but brace yourself, it’s true.

        Is that an uncivil answer to your implication that every decent human being would find my actions reprehensible?

        Well, perhaps. I don’t know of an easy way to tell you that you may be the outlier or not, but either way there’s always folks who disagree with you.

        I think one of the first times I called him out on his behavior was in response to this comment where he practically spouted off bigotry.

        I’m sorry you didn’t like my description of Christians. I’m not opposed to Christianity. If you want to believe that you have an invisible companion accompanying you everywhere, who always is attentively listening for your every whisper and interested in your every desire, an immortal, omnipotent (but immaterial) entity who, if supplicated properly, might temporarily suspend the normal laws of physics just for you and you alone, no job too big … well, if you want to believe that, that’s your business. Me, I view it as a curious kind of arrested development, I mean my daughter gave up her belief in an invisible protective companion who would do her bidding when she was a young girl.

        You call that point of view “bigotry”. I prefer to call it “honesty” … which is why there are horse races. However, if you think I’m a bigot on Christianity, read Mark Twain, I’m a piker compared to him. In any case, I will return to your example after discussing your other points.

        Since then, we’ve had plenty of exchanges where he demonstrated that same behavior (like calling people delusional because he can’t admit what a word means). And it’s not limited to just me. Even Joshua and I agree on this point (that should tell you something):

        Yep, it tells me something. It tells me that you and Joshua agree, which is scary … the surprising part is that you obviously seem to think that finding yourself on the same side as Joshua is a good thing.

        Me, if I found myself suddenly agreeing with Joshua, I would immediately take a cold shower and re-examine my fundamental assumptions. I mean, he might be right, but the odds … but heck, Brandon, up to you.

        I tell the truth as I see it. Am I civil? Sure, to those who are civil to me. Are you one of them? Hardly, you’re spending loads of time here doing nothing but attacking my character … why are you so obsessed with whether I meet your peculiar moral strictures? Why do you spend even one second bothering yourself with what you imagine are my morals and beliefs? If you spent as much time attacking my science as you have spent attacking my morals, I might have learned something. Heck, you might have even falsified some of my scientific claims … but no, you’d rather spend your time being shocked that not everyone thinks I’m a bad and horrible person.

        So yes, I’m civil, it’s my natural state. Unlike some, however, I value honesty over civility. I’d rather have a fistful of honesty than a half tonne of civility … strange, I know, but that’s how I am.

        For example, I am willing to name and shame people who transgress the ethical boundaries. People accuse me of being too outraged about what is happening in climate science … whereas from my perspective, climate scientists and people in the field are nowhere near outraged enough about what is going on in climate science. Leading lights of the AGW movement have been found with their hands into the cookie jar up to the armpit, and people like you advise “civility” and say nothing about their actions … sorry, Brandon, but I’m not going to be civil to Peter Gleick, I’m going to call him on his crimes and malfeasance. I’m not going to be civil to Phil Jones, the sneaky bastard lied right to my face, and confessed to it in the Climategate emails.

        I do realize that my willingness to be honest about people like Phil Jones makes me an outlier in the discussion. Many folks seem to prefer the civil lie to the ugly truth. However, I do find that when I am honest, often lots of people say that they agree with me, or that I am speaking for them.

        I’m willing to have a scientific discussion with anyone, Brandon. But I’m not going to put up with people who attack me personally. I won’t stand for being called a liar, for example. It’s a quirk of mine. I was brought up under the moral code of my great-grandfather, called “The Captain” even by his children, who said “If there is a man who can call you a liar, kill him. If you are one, kill yourself. There is no room for either of you.”

        Now, I’m not that harsh about it, this is the 21st century after all and the Captain was born before the Civil War, but I do my absolute best to tell the truth and I won’t brook a man calling me a liar. It is absolutely unacceptable behavior in my world.

        So yes, Brandon, in some ways you are right. I fear I am the wild card in the deck, the jerk who can be depended on to point out the Emperor is butt naked rather than being “civil” to His Excellency, and will likely point it out in graphical terms … and I have no plans to change that.

        Again and again I say it, and you guys don’t seem to get it. I’m not at the mercy of my emotions. I’m not some wild-eyed firebreather, particularly and most especially when I’m wild-eyed and breathing fire. I don’t let my feelings rule me, I parcel them and package them and use them for my own purposes. You mistake me for a knee-jerk automaton in the thrall of my emotions at your own peril.

        For example, depending on the situation I will often stake out a position at the far edge of the positions taken by others in the discussion. This has a curious effect—my own position becomes illegitimate and condemned, but by extension, all the folks who are less out there than I am are tacitly deemed acceptable. I like that effect, and I’m willing to take the abuse that goes with it because the gains are so large. I serve as the lightning rod, everyone agrees that I’m an uncontrolled jerkwagon … and meanwhile, everyone else with a position between my declared position and the mainstream gets a free pass. Think about the effect that that has on a discussion.

        That’s the kind of consideration and thought that I give to my posting, Brandon. For example, as you noted above, I took a way outlier position regarding Christianity. What you didn’t notice is that I took that position deliberately, and I pushed my position to the far edge. As a result, as you noticed, I became the focus, I was the pariah, everyone agreed I was out of bounds, that I was wrong again, bigoted, what a maroon …

        What few of you noticed, as far as I know, is that by my staking out that far edge and drawing all of that heat, people were freed to say how they actually felt about Christianity, knowing that whatever they said, they wouldn’t be as far out on the edge as I am, so they wouldn’t be subject to the abuse. In that manner, I was able to shelter and encourage a wide range of people whose views are like mine to speak out and speak up … consider how that enriches the discussion by including a range of unheard voices. Not only that, but the voices unleashed are on my side of the issue … not bad for “bigot”, huh?

        So like I have said many times before, Brandon, don’t assume that I’m just off the wall, that I’ve lost the plot, that I’m angry, or a bigot, or upset. Forget all of that, put that out of your mind entirely, I am none of those things. I am a very thoughtful man playing an extremely deep, subtle, and long game on this lovely planet. I make my moves deliberately and with consideration. In short, I can guarantee you that I am not the man you mistake me for …

        My very best to you,

        w.

      • Willis @ 3.19. Rock on, Willis.

        “People accuse me of being too outraged about what is happening in climate science … whereas from my perspective, climate scientists and people in the field are nowhere near outraged enough about what is going on in climate science.” Quite.

        ” Unlike some, however, I value honesty over civility. I’d rather have a fistful of honesty than a half tonne of civility.” I try to be civil, but never at the expense of honesty and integrity. Safe travels.

      • Brandon Shollenberger

        Willis Eschenbach, you have to be crazy to come up with this interpretation:

        Yep, it tells me something. It tells me that you and Joshua agree, which is scary … the surprising part is that you obviously seem to think that finding yourself on the same side as Joshua is a good thing.

        I’ve never said anything to suggest agreeing with Joshua is a good thing. I don’t know how you came up with this ridiculous notion, but I suppose it fits given you also say:

        Hardly, you’re spending loads of time here doing nothing but attacking my character … why are you so obsessed with whether I meet your peculiar moral strictures?

        First, civility isn’t a moral stricture so this comment makes no sense. Second, what “loads of time” have I spent on you? It took me maybe two minutes to type my first comment here and five for the next. You’re the one who just typed 1,000+ words I didn’t even take the time to read. Seriously, after this paragraph I quit reading.

        If you didn’t constantly make things up in order to attack me every time you respond to me, I might actually pay attention to your “science.” But if you can’t read or comprehend simple things, I don’t expect you to do better with more complicated ones.

      • Willis Eschenbach

        Brandon Shollenberger | January 22, 2013 at 9:26 pm |

        Willis Eschenbach, you have to be crazy to come up with this interpretation:

        Always possible, I suppose.

        I’ve never said anything to suggest agreeing with Joshua is a good thing. I don’t know how you came up with this ridiculous notion, …

        My bad. I though that was what you said. It appears I was wrong, my apologies.

        … but I suppose it fits given you also say:

        Hardly, you’re spending loads of time here doing nothing but attacking my character … why are you so obsessed with whether I meet your peculiar moral strictures?

        First, civility isn’t a moral stricture so this comment makes no sense.

        My meaning is perfectly clear—why are you so intent on attacking me?

        Don’t play word games to try to avoid that question.

        Second, what “loads of time” have I spent on you? It took me maybe two minutes to type my first comment here and five for the next.

        I don’t spend any time going out of my way to attack you. None You, on the other hand, spend time speculating about my motives and the like … you are correct, it’s not “loads” of time, that was an exaggeration, but all the same, it’s kinda creepy.

        You’re the one who just typed 1,000+ words I didn’t even take the time to read. Seriously, after this paragraph I quit reading.

        Always your option. I am defending myself against your unwarranted attacks, which seems to me to be a useful thing to do and worth taking time on. I am also explaining my position to those other readers who might be more interested than you. You’re free to read what you want.

        You, on the other hand, question my motives or my ethics or my actions, anything to avoid discussing my science.

        If you didn’t constantly make things up in order to attack me every time you respond to me, I might actually pay attention to your “science.” But if you can’t read or comprehend simple things, I don’t expect you to do better with more complicated ones.

        Like I said, you’ll use any excuse to avoid the science. So you think I make things up? Boo too. Doesn’t matter. Man up and address the science, give up this constant attempt to impugn my character. All I see is someone unwilling to look at the science, and all too willing to criticize my lack of civility … as if that had anything to do with the science.

        All the best,

        w.

      • Brandon Shollenberger

        Willis Eschenbach, you are remarkable in your consistency:

        My meaning is perfectly clear—why are you so intent on attacking me?

        Intent on attacking you? I have no desire to attack you. I was responding to something you said. I couldn’t do that and ignore the nonsensical nature of it. As for your meaning being perfectly clear, you had just written a paragraph mockingly saying I could have whatever beliefs I wanted, insultingly implying my (supposed) beliefs were inferior to yours. You then said I am obsessed with whether or not you meet my moral stricture.

        You haughtily said your source of morality was better than my (supposed) source of morality then said I was obsessed with the idea of you following my source of morality. I don’t think it was “perfectly clear” I should have assumed your use of “moral” meant anything other than “moral.”

        You, on the other hand, question my motives or my ethics or my actions, anything to avoid discussing my science.

        This is complete rubbish. I’ve never questioned your motives or ethics. And I’ve never done so “to avoid discussing [your] science.” Not paying attention to you because I find you to be an obnoxiously arrogant and rude individual who constantly misrepresents what people say hardly means I’m doing anything to avoid discussing your science.

        What am I supposedly avoiding? I don’t even know what your “science” is.

        Man up and address the science, give up this constant attempt to impugn my character. All I see is someone unwilling to look at the science,

        This is the sort of thing I’m talking about. What is my “constant attempt to impugn [your] character”? I made two comments on a single post. Prior to that, I hadn’t said a word about you in months. How in the world could that be a constant anything?

        And “unwilling to look at the science”? As if. Anyone who knows me at all knows I spend plenty of time looking at science. Heck, for all your criticism of BEST, I’ve found technical problems in BEST’s temperature record that you never even looked at. Maybe I look at the science more closely than you do.

        I know this is probably a pointless request, but would you please stop making things up about me? Failing that, could you at least point to what “science” I’m supposedly attacking you to avoid talking about?

    • Kudos. I like to too, because it makes me think what I’m really trying to say, and if I’m willing to stand behind it.

  9. Brandon Shollenberger

    The biggest suggestion I have is to be vocal when you find problematic behavior. If a person’s comment disappears, people won’t see the poster did anything wrong. That’s why deleting comments has nowhere near as much effect as calling people out for what they did. Even if you don’t name people specifically, saying something will help.

    • Brandon Shollenberger,

      I disagree. I think it is better to just delete comments. If the Moderator writes a comment to explain why, the trolls will find some way to say it was inconsistent with something the Moderator said previously. The arguments are never ending and vicious. In many cases the Blog owner uses their position to write pejorative comments and lie about why the comment was deleted. the commenter has no power to demand a retraction or correction.

      It is much better to just delete comments, IMO.

      • Brandon and Peter

        I’m sure you’ll both agree that whether or not a comment should be deleted depends on the content of the comment, itself.

        If it is simply a line of insulting remarks with no real substance, it only distracts from the debate, and should logically be removed.

        The problem arises when a blogger alleges that the deletion of his irrelevant insulting remark is evidence of censorship of valid comments
        (hard to dispute after the fact, because the “evidence” is gone).

        As a result, it is probably wise to err in the direction of leaving a silly insulting remark on. It only makes the poster look silly anyway.

        Max

    • Calling people out for ‘what they did’ is exactly what ‘attention whores’ want.

  10. JC,

    This is brilliant. I really hope it works. It would be great if commenting on Climate Etc. could return to the high standard it was at a couple of years ago. I notice the Bishop Hill has been attracting comments from senior scientists, including AR5 authors and reviewers. This used to happen on Climate etc. but has stopped. I hope it can return to what it used to be.

    I’ll try to do my bit (no guarantee of perfection, of course).

  11. Matthew R Marler

    The rules sound good to me. I hope that you enforce them.

    I have no personal objection to anonymity. If I had a faculty job I would post under a pseudonym to avoid recriminations at work.

    • Yes … or in my case, spiteful trolls intent on harassing my clients

      Has happened to a colleague of mine, destroying about 50% of his business

      • Perhaps then your businessman colleague should have considered what is and what is not socially acceptable to his peer group and customers, no less than if it occurred offline.

        The Internet shouldn’t be an excuse to say anything you want, regardless of consequences.

      • Brandon Shollenberger

        Wow David Appell. You just suggested a person’s clients deserved to be harassed, hurting his business, because he wants to be able to freely discuss things separate from his business.

        I believe that’s called blaming the victim.

      • You called it harrassment — I haven’t. Clients have every right to react to a business owner’s comments. Of course they do — it’s the very essence of freedom.

      • Brandon Shollenberger

        David Appell:

        You called it harrassment — I haven’t.

        Uh, no. ianl8888 said it:

        Yes … or in my case, spiteful trolls intent on harassing my clients

        You responded to a discussion of harassment. That means you were talking about harassment. The fact you didn’t use the word yourself doesn’t change the fact you were talking about it.

        Clients have every right to react to a business owner’s comments. Of course they do — it’s the very essence of freedom.

        You didn’t defend the rights of the clients. You defended the “spiteful trolls intent on harassing [his] clients.” That means you defended harassment.

      • You called it harassment, not me. People have the right to respond as they see fit to other’s statements, within the law. Period. Deal with it.

      • Steve Milesworthy

        David Appell, you have misread.

        People are entitled to withdraw business from people they don’t like. However, in this case the clients are being harassed for being the clients of the business owner.

    • What recriminations? If you are getting in trouble for things you are posting, it’s because they are not acceptable to your peer group — no different than if you were saying them in a symposium or faculty meeting or the classroom.

      Either you aren’t ashamed and embarrassed about your comments, or you are.

      • I think that the conclusion that anonymity causes incivility lack substantiating evidence. As noted above, we can all think of commenters here that comment under their name, as well as very public figures, who make a career out of incivility, or who at least don’t suffer from any fear that incivility will tarnish them in some way. On the other hand, there are many anonymous commenters here who are among the most serious, on point, and polite of the whole posse.

        I think that anonymity may offer some people an opportunity to explore ideas or expressing their thoughts in ways they might not otherwise. For some of those, that might take the form of insulting and juvenile comments, for others, not. But in the end, it seems to me that the point of blog comments is to give people a forum that is different than the classroom, faculty meeting, or symposium. As such, it would be illogical to expect that the resulting behavior and tone of comments wouldn’t be likewise different.

      • Brandon Shollenberger

        David Appell, you’re promoting effective censorship in people’s personal lives. That seems… crazy.

      • @Appell

        What I was describing was NOT some socially unacceptable blogspeak crudity, but simply posting considered evidence that was at odds with the AGW hypothesis

        Spiteful trolls then searched out most of his clients and harassed them in an organised manner about doing business with a “denier”. About 50% of these clients eventually (and reluctantly) moved their business elsewhere rather than constantly dealing with harassing pickets, online campaigns aimed at *their* customers etc

        BTW, being a “businessman” is not socially unacceptable. Your sly inclusion of that description (ie. the implication he got what he “deserved”) is precisely what I am wary of … good example, thank you

        End of discussion

      • I’m promoting the right of anyone to react to the words of someone else. That’s the very essence of freedom.

        Nothing — nothing — guarantees anyone the right to say whatever they want without consequence. Nothing. If you have something to say, say it and have the courage to take the consequences.

      • @ianl: If you don’t have the courage to take the consequences of free people acting freely on your statements, then stay out of the public arena. No one’s rights usurp anyone else’s.

      • Brandon Shollenberger

        David Appell:

        If you have something to say, say it and have the courage to take the consequences.

        Yeah, sure. We should all accept harassment like men, right?

      • Who says they are harassment? People have a right to respond — however they see fit — to someone’s statements, whether they are made on the Internet, in the town paper, or in the public square. If that person is, say, spouting inane climate denialism, it’s my right to choose to rebut him and to choose not to do business with him, and to urge others to do the same.

        Welcome to freedom.

      • David,

        I don’t know if you exist. I don’t know if you are really ze “David Appell”. I don’t really care.

        Your own attitude toward ianl8888 suffices to show that your argument has no merit. Real names do not prevent bad blog attitudes. On the contrary.

        See what you’re doing right now. Don’t you feel embarrassed? I bet not.

        You’ve made two comments after ianl8888 said the discussion was over. Simply to repeat the same argument. An appeal to pride, for Cicero’s sake.

        Think about what you’re proposing. You have no idea how many times this discussion was rehearsed. Perhaps you’ve never seen them, so here’s where you could start:

        https://www.eff.org/issues/anonymity

        My name, as always in climate bloglands, is willard. On all my work as a commenter, my name affirms my Honor. Real or not, dishonorable names are easily recognized.

        Nothing else should matter. But since second life is what it is, we need blog owners to own what happens on their blogs. Having names won’t compensate for their irresponsibility.

      • So what David Appell essentially wants, is that business people should not express any doubts regarding CAGW; he wants conformance with official dogma, a sort of modern-day Inquisition.
        This is precisely why the right to anonymity is so important.

      • Well said willard.

  12. Judith, I think your rules are worth a try. If Climate Etc, however, starts looking like another WUWT, you may want to reconsider.

  13. “If you must insult, please do it with panache.”

    I try to, Judith, but you haven’t merited it yet. :)

    Seriously, though, I think you do very well, under the circumstances.
    (Hmmm, that doesn’t sound a lot better, does it?)

    I think the nested-reply structure distinguishes your blog in a similar fashion to Climate Audit. This is good for a site that regularly has multiple-hundreds of comments. I’m not sure if the 5% rule will work well against the repeat offenders though. They are not as stupid as they think we are.

  14. The word ‘blog’ is ugly and should be banished from the lexicon. It does not even have respectable Latin roots to give it legitimacy. In fact it does not even appear in my Australian-English dictionary. It is an illegitimate child of the internet age. Maybe it is the reason why social sites like Facebook and Twitter are regarded with such suspicion. At any rate I don’t use it, prefering words like ‘comment’ and ‘post’ which don’t have the ugly sounding connotations of ‘blog’. It pains me, judith, that you have to descend to such depths to keep your very useful ‘Climat etc’ afloat. IMO it is a word scientists should avoid, although many will say ‘whatever it takes’.

    Even in your illustrious pages I have seen many examples of ‘playing the man, not the ball’ which not only wastes bandwidth as well as writer’s and reader’s time. By the way I heard recently that some US states have abolished the.apostrophe. How do we cope with that, if true?

    • By the way I heard recently that some US states have abolished the.apostrophe.

      Doesn’t seem possible – after all, the crux of the biscuit is the apostrophe!

      • Josh, I support your comment @5.18 above. The Times crossword uses apostrophes, but unfortunately The Australian ignores them when it reproduces the clues. “Save the apostrophe!”

    • well, blog has roots sturdier than latin. It’s a shortened form of web-log which of course has proto germanic and old norse roots.

    • Are you French, Mr. Biggs?

      • No. I,m Australian as they come I don’t support cedillas or aids to pronunciation like acutes and graves (except whem quoting French words). Australian spelling differs a little from American in words like defence and defense, colour and color but both are accepted.

    • David Springer

      Before blogs and tweets it was called a “plan” and you’d get it by fingering the person of interest.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Finger_protocol

      So if I wanted to know what Curry was up to I’d start by fingering her.

      Talk about a target rich environment for lascivious double entendre… no wonder it fell out of fashion.

  15. I think that plan is certainly worth trying to see if it has the effect you want, but there are two problems with your rules for moderation, as I see it: (1) With such rules, it seems inevitable that they will not be applied uniformly (because of judgement calls and because it will be hard for you to find the time to apply the rules uniformly). (2) more work for you (and your time would be better spent writing posts on interesting topics)…

    If the incivility here is bothering you, I agree with the suggestion that you comment directly in response to comments that violate your vision for the blog. I have found at times that I really can’t figure out what your criteria are, and the net effect for whatever reason (because you are not applying the criteria evenly or because you don’t have enough time to be uniform), is that (for me at least) it is hard to tell what your criteria are.

    Most people here are at least capable of acting like adults even if they are easily tempted to act like a juvenile. Make your criteria clear to commenters, in context and specifically with direct reference to what you felt was in violation of what you want in the blog, and I think most people will fall in line. Seems to me that would be more effective than silent deletion, as it assume good faith on the part of the commenter and makes bad faith reactions obvious to all the readers.

  16. YOU’RE A GUEST IN SOMEONE ELSE’S HOME

    Reminding people to behave; i.e., keep your feet off the couch or the seat in front of you on the bus, say “please” and “thank” you when asking for something, means that you have been taught by your parents; i.e., what to do and what not to do. This assumes that someone took the time and effort to teach you, and if taught, that you care enough (you care enough about other people) to keep yourself in check.

    The assumptions may not be really correct unless you watched Fred Rogers (PBS Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood) instead of your parents. If you want to see how to treat someone badly, watch your parents fight. The whole social revolution deconstructing of rules, a legacy of the Feminism Wars, Ban the Bomb, Civil Rights Wars, Viet Nam War protests, and now the Climate Wars etc., contributed to an unbridled social movement to: “…let it all hang out…”, “get real”, and so it is unbounded.

    In the blogosphere, the protesters grew older (and not necessarily grew up) currently dispense with most conventional wisdom unless when they are treated badly; and then they whine they aren’t being shown “r..e..s..p..e..c..t.”

    Given the social media expansion, more people with dysfunctional behavior typically emote online. Believing that by stripping them of anonymity will enhance blogosphere civility presupposes that they have shreds of decency still left.

    What may change behaviors is calling out someone’s bad behavior, just like mom: “I’ll wash your mouth out with soap…” then role model what is good behavior. Restate the unacceptable wording into acceptable language and go on from there. We as participants in the blogosphere all need to play some role as a teacher of civil society if we want a civil society in our discourse. Do not retaliate: demonstrate what civil society expects. If one hasn’t learned it from mom & dad, nor school, nor one’s social media “friends”, then it is time to learn it, sometimes painfully, (no put downs please) as a grown up.

    Of course, if you disagree with me I’m really going to mess with you!

    • The whole social revolution deconstructing of rules, a legacy of the Feminism Wars, Ban the Bomb, Civil Rights Wars, Viet Nam War protests, and now the Climate Wars etc., contributed to an unbridled social movement to: “…let it all hang out…”, “get real”, and so it is unbounded.

      Curious comment. Are you suggesting that there is some quantifiable trend of increase in incivility? Are you really arguing that the Civil Rights Movement (let alone the other phenomena you listed) contributed to “letting it all hang out,” as, somehow, in contrast to Jim Crow laws? Perhaps someone fighting for the right to sit at a lunch counter might disagree with that argument?

    • “YOU’RE A GUEST IN SOMEONE ELSE’S HOME”

      Part of the problem is, that it isn’t.

      It’s more akin to a public park that anyone can just wander through…..and we know what happens in public parks.

    • RiH008,

      That is an excellent comment. And I have noticed that you always (as far as I can recall) practice what you preach in this comment. You are an excellent example of how professional behave on line. I am embarrassed that I err.

  17. The most important point from the list above is brevity, and it’s the one that the denizens most routinely, and pointlessly, flaunt. How many posts have we read that drone on and on and on and on ,and don’t really say much new but just rehash the favourite old talking points of whoever it is that is intent on boring the rest of us to death. That brevity is the soul of wit, is apparently news to many of the denizens. Why they don’t get this is a mystery to me. There must be a significant degree of misplaced self-importance for them to think that anyone is interested in listening to them drone on and on. A point that can’t be made on a blog clearly, with the utmost brevity is one that probably shouldn’t be attempted in this format. Got your own pet theory on how modern physics is wrong?, go write a damn thesis somewhere, we don’t want to read your novella here. Some of us have much more important things to do than wade through your interminable tripe. Got something stupid/obvious/wrong to say – just get on with it and get to the point. Oh, and one other thing, even worse than the people who can’t make a point in 20 words or less, are those who apparently have a keyboard without a return key and so torture our eyes with a block of tedious prose unrelieved by a single line spacing to achieve that wonderous grammatical feature known as the paragraph. So make it brief, and FFS, paragraphs! It’s not that hard.

    • Wonderful funny, Michael; I’d try for a parody but my fingers and eyes would wear out.
      ========

      • Kim,

        Michael seems to believe that his brief, content free comments pass for wit.

        What I find ironic is that the above non-brief comment is one of the few he’s posted with real content.

    • > The most important point from the list above is brevity.

      Bull.

      • In case you didn’t notice, willard, my 9:02 was more important than your 12:27.

      • lol. Seriously? Your more finely-tuned focus on careful deleting offensive comments inspired you to delete the comment of:

        “meh.”

        Could you explain why you thought that comment worthy of a deletion. It was a simple, harmless joke. Not insulting in the least. No more or less on- or off-topic than any number of posts on this thread. No less serious than any number of posts on this thread. Without some explanation, I have no idea why you deleted that post, and so would have no idea how to avoid violating that same principle going forward.

      • Just a circumstantial proof of concept, Joshua.

    • Latimer Alder

      @michael

      Paragraphs and proper punctuation are pretty neat too.

      And you made your point about ‘brevity’ at such length that I didn’t bother to read it.

    • David Springer

      Clearly.

    • Michael’s points on the virtues of brevity and appropriate paragraphing are noted (and agreed with) but his post, as Kim has already stated, is not exactly a shining example of either of them!

    • On this day I nearly completely agreed with Michael and actually enjoyed his not-so-subtle yet humorous method of demonstrating his point. A new day indeed!

  18. David Springer

    Whatever amount of time it took to write the OP was wasted except perhaps for entertainment value.

    It’s as good as it’s gonna get unless someone starts enforcing the rules.

    • > Nanny tirelessly monitors forum discussions to make sure that everyone behaves. Though he is quick to admonish for off-topic messages and petty squabbling, he is generally slow to anger. Rather than wading into pitched battles, Nanny simply pulling the plug on combatants and bans repeat offenders.Weaker Warriors such as Innocence Abused, Weenie and Crybaby will run to Nanny for protection in the midst of battle.

      http://redwing.hutman.net/~mreed/warriorshtm/nanny.htm

      • Can’t believe I’ve never seen that site before.

        Thanks willard.

      • David Springer

        I was known as “The Banninator” in the years I ran Uncommon Descent. It’s a lot of work especially if you try to be fair. There wasn’t much other way to keep it G-rated. The patrons on the pro-side of Intelligent Design are mostly people you find in church on Sundays. Salt of the earth. Polite and charitable. That sure ain’t me but I know the drill. The antagonists were largely atheist potty mouthed college kids of the type you find on scienceblogs.com exemplified by PZ Myer’s Pharyngula. Viewed from the perspective of a USMC sergeant their sissified college-student antics were mildly amusing but not appropriate for the venue.

        The real solution is to either grow a thick skin or, if you can’t take the heat, get out of the kitchen. People who expect blogs to be like church on Sunday are unrealistic and don’t really belong on blogs or belong on different ones. That said, there is a demand for polite on-line society but as a service provider it’s a real bitch to git er done if the topic is controversial. Asking doesn’t work. Telling doesn’t work. Demanding a real email address to register for comments works. Censoring works. Banning works. But these all require effort on the part of the blog provider. There’s no such thing as a free lunch.

    • willard, if you don’t like it, create your forum and bloviate to your heart’s content. Other people will run their forums as they choose, not as you choose.

    • Thank you for proving that real names does not prevent unnecessary antagonism, David.

      According to you, what would be my choices?

      • Careful willard,

        David might take this as a threat. He’s big into believing that climate scientists have been routinely receiving death threats.

  19. I discovered this blog fairly recently. I think the posts are great and have been tempted to comment a couple of times but I have been put off by the sheer number of comments which have usually appeared very rapidly after the initial post. Many of these have been irrelevant, off-topic and downright rude. It is as if Judith’s blog has been taken over by a gang of unruly teenagers who get their rocks off by insulting one another. Her review is long overdue.

    However another aspect is that blogs can be destroyed by their own popularity. There is an optimum number of regular commenters. It is rather like the adage that the effectiveness of any committee is inversely related to the number of members (for N > 3, say). Let us hope that the new system improves things in this regard as well.

  20. Belated Happy New Year Dr Curry et al.
    Anonymous posting. To be or not to be?
    Environmentalism Good
    Eco Fascism Bad
    It is well understood what happens in the UK when people go against the consensus hence I post anonymously reluctantly.
    I used to be paranoid until all those people started following me around.

    • “following me around” Or visit:

      Tallbloke. “Tallbloke Towers Raided: Many Computers Taken” Scientific. Tallbloke’s Talkshop, December 14, 2011. http://tallbloke.wordpress.com/2011/12/14/tallbloke-towers-raided-many-computers-taken/

      An Englishman’s home is his castle they say. Not when six detectives from the Metropolitan Police, the Norfolk Constabulary and the Computer Crime division arrive on your doorstep with a warrant to search it though.

      I waved the first three in and bid them head through to the sitting room, where there was less of an chill near the woodburner. Then they kept coming, being introduced by the lead detective from Norfolk as they trooped in. I thought I’d been chosen to host the secret policemen’s ball or something. :)

  21. I have a suggestion which was very successful on another site, but I’m unsure if this blog’s underlying software is capable doing that.

    1/ everyone is allowed to make one comment on “root” level. When placing another comment, it replaces the old comment.

    2/ everyone is allowed to make any number of comments to other’s comments (nested comments)

    3/ only “root” comments are directly visible. Under each comment there is a number telling how many comments are there to that comment, but they are only visible after a click on the “show answers” button.

    It was very successful in reducing spamming and trolling and in keeping the commenting section clean.

  22. One idea that has been proposed for fighting spam in email is a small deposit on individual emails. AFAIK this has never been implemented. I think this could be done with comment submissions. Deposits could be automatically remitted to known regulars. There could be an option to remit remitted deposits to help support the blog. There are all kinds of possibilities. On threaded comments, commenters could decide on whether to remit the deposit on replies or keep it and kick a percentage up to the blog or the commenter that he or she has replied to. It would be like a blog ponzi scheme.

  23. JC: So I do not catch all the comments. Let me know if you have any suggestions.

    Of course you can not read all of the comments, plus the time zones factor. There are some regular very respectable commentators who might wish to help and you could entrust with some of the moderating chores.

    • Pointman’s post is worth reading.

      • David Springer

        No it isn’t worth reading. If saying things in the media that pissed people off were particularly dangerous there wouldn’t be a Fox or MSNBC personality left alive today. You have a greater chance of being hit by lightning than by an angry blogger.

      • David, “You have a greater chance of being hit by lightning than by an angry blogger.”

        If you are talking about a face to face confrontation, you are probably right. But angry bloggers are known to find information that may or may not be accurate and spread it to others that like to be internet pests. pointman’s extreme is just that, and extreme, there is a lot of stuff between normal and extreme. There is not need to live in fear of the extremes, just be aware and prepare.

        Kinda like climate science :)

      • Pointman’s post is worth reading.

        and:
        “No it isn’t worth reading. If saying things in the media that pissed people off were particularly dangerous there wouldn’t be a Fox or MSNBC personality left alive today. ”

        I say the problem is it’s not about the horror story.
        It’s more about possibility, some of internet jerk being
        annoying- or involving themselves in your life.

        And I imagine people in media commonly do get hassled-
        they in a sense lose some of their privacy. But they want
        to be famous. So they would say this just goes with territory.
        So anyone getting into media should expect possible
        annoyances.
        So if chance only 10% of some idiot annoying you or
        worse. I view it is a risk that one should not invite, unless it
        has some benefit which out weighs it.

      • Pointman’s points are the same I suggest.

        Also bear in mind that emails you send from your account could be traced back to you, unless you send them via anonymous services.

      • Brandon Shollenberger

        Pointman’s post is… questionable, to put it kindly. As Joshua pointed out, this part is suspect:

        Within a month the police, accompanied by a child protection officer were knocking on his door. They had a piece of paper with them authorising them to take his child into protective custody. In God’s name why, he asked in shock. He’d been downloading paedo porn. They’d already been to his email provider and his account was full of it. He was formally cautioned that downloading such material was a criminal offense.

        I won’t rule out the possibility of a police showing up like this, but it is unlikely. The fact somebody’s e-mail account was used for certain actions doesn’t mean that person is guilty of those actions. It is only if people didn’t do their job right that this would have happened.

        They lost their child. Welcome to the nightmare.

        If by “lost their child” Pointman means the child was taken away temporarily, it’s somewhat plausible. If it means Innocenti lost his child permanently, it’s not believable in the slightest. Not only would a number of people have had to fail to do their job, Innocenti would have had to fail to appeal the decision as it would be easy to overturn it in court. To add to the implausibility, Pointman responded to Joshua saying:

        The whole point of a web email account is you can use it from any computer. The IP address on the email header is forensically inconclusive though the MAC address might occasionally be. If you’re going to make assertive comments on a technical issue, at least learn the basics of the area.

        This is an end of conversation reply.

        This response is… peculiar. The fact you can access an e-mail account from anywhere doesn’t mean one can’t use IP addresses in determining who sent a mail. It would be a simple matter to check where the e-mails were sent from. It’s possible that information would be inconclusive (such as if the connection had been routed through a proxy), but the fact you can access that e-mail from anywhere has no bearing on it.

        Beyond that, Pointman says the MAC address in the header “might occasionally be” forensically conclusive. That makes no sense. First, MAC addresses are not included in e-mail headers. Second, MAC addresses are easier to spoof than IP addresses. You can even do it through a menu provided by Windows.

      • Judith:
        I find Springer the paramount of repulsive. Editing or removing what he says is even more repulsive. It’s messy, but the garbage posts are easy to skip over. For some, it’s a guilty pleasure soap opera… a Downtown Abby for climate geeks.

        Sometimes the foulest troll posts the best links. We need to accommodate the positive benefits of these fat tails because the negative side is so easy to avoid.

        I vote that we learn to adapt to their unfortunate behavior.

      • At the beginning of Climate Etc., there was a highly entertaining troll called Ianash. He disappeared at some point, but he was generally welcome since he was so entertaining (intentional or not, who knows).

      • David Springer

        @willard

        At best from protocol audit trails your emails can be traced to a computer not a person. Whose fingers were on the keyboard of that computer doing the typing is a different matter. It gets even more complicated when the ubiquitous home wireless router is involved. Then the audit trail can end at the router and the source can be any computer within radio distance of the router.

        Given that innocence is presumed the burden of proof becomes onerous about placing a specific person behind the keyboard. The case is usually made by ownership. I.e. if you own the computer and it is in your possession, and the computer is found to contain illegal content, then prima facae you are in possession of illegal material.

        In the hypothetical case presented by Pointman, Innocenti was never in possession of incriminating evidence as his hijacked email account wasn’t being accessed by his computer so would have cached no incriminating content and there would be no record of that computer (by IP or MAC address) having contacted the post office computer at the time the emails in question were sent.

      • > At best from protocol audit trails your emails can be traced to a computer not a person.

        Oh, I thought it could be traced to my DNA.

        Thanks, Big Dave!

    • pointman -

      Why didn’t Innocenti ask someone technically skilled to show that none of the emails came from his computer or IP addresses that he would have access to given where he was on his vacation? Why didn’t he use the “forgot your password?” option to regain admission into his email account?

      Not that someone using your name and email address as an attack wouldn’t be an enormous hassle, but there seem to be some curious aspects to your story..

      • The whole point of a web email account is you can use it from any computer. The IP address on the email header is forensically inconclusive though the MAC address might occasionally be. If you’re going to make assertive comments on a technical issue, at least learn the basics of the area.

        This is an end of conversation reply.

        Pointman.

      • Obviously Joshua, he couldn’t take a hint.

      • There is more than that that rings false in the story. For example, when you hack into somebodies email account you never change the password, so I am told…
        folks concerned about this sort of thing should just use gmail with 2 tier security.

      • moshe, read Pointman on the FOIA and AR5 leaks. Where there’s light there’s hope.
        =========

      • Perhaps this story occurred early in the days of the internet. Nowadays, e-mail accounts are hacked so frequently by various schemes, that I am sure law enforcement look at that as a serious possibility unless there is an independent line of evidence.

      • Brandon Shollenberger

        Steven Mosher:

        There is more than that that rings false in the story. For example, when you hack into somebodies email account you never change the password, so I am told…

        You should tell whoever told you that they don’t know what they’re talking about. Whether or not you change a password in a compromised system depends on your intentions. There are reasons to change it and reasons not to.

        Besides, what was done in this case isn’t “hacking” in any meaningful sense. All the person in the story did was guess at the guy’s password. Even if a hacker wouldn’t do something, a person randomly guessing your password might.

        (That said, I wonder how Pointman knows which passwords the guy guessed. I doubt the person told anyone.)

      • David Springer

        The story about Innocenti Bloggs is obviously fictional. The name is supposed to give that bit away at the outset. Not only is it fiction it’s implausible fiction for many of the reasons mentioned. Pointman made it up and he’s not half the expert at network protocol he imagines he is.

  24. Joe's World {Progressive Evolution}

    Judith,

    Moderating certain people just shows your bias towards their research and views…just like “consensus scientists” with publishing or the same bias the media still currently shows…hmmmm.
    Still does not matter as the web is a huge area with many people slowly focusing on scientists research and credibility to look for knowledge and NOT focused on being Marxist by only allowing what they want to shape to be published while hiding the truth behind fancy terms and bogus studies.

    • It has nothing to do with their research and their views. I tolerate what I view to be scientific crackpottery. I tolerate people talking about Nazis and commies. I do not tolerate one person saying the same thing over again. I do not tolerate insults to other commenters.

      • Yes, you are very tolerant doctor. Thank you.

      • Judith, you write “I do not tolerate one person saying the same thing over again”

        I think that this is a little too sweeping. It surely should depend on the subject under discussion.If someone says the same thing over and over again on the subject of climate sensitivity, is this to be tolerated? CS is, to me, THE topic on CE that needs to be discussed, ad nauseum. There are those of us who present the idea that CS has a value that is so high that the world will get to be too hot. And then there are those of us who belive that there is a strong indication that the CS could be indistinguishable from zero. Eventually this issue will be settled by the physics, but, in the meanwhile, are we to be debarred from voicing the same arguments, on both sides of the issue, because we are saying the same thing over and over again? I hope not, because each time this occurs, I learn a little more about the subject.

      • Think iron sun, planetary rotation. comments of the length of 100 words or so, so you don’t actually learn anything, and the same link posted over and over again.

      • I do have notes for another post on CS, but I’m in the throes of writing another proposal with a looming deadline, I will bump that one up in priority for when I have more time.

      • Bill Illis points @ Dessler’s newest.
        =====

      • Heh, not ‘newest’, ‘late, later, latest’.
        ==============

      • Is calling someone a “denier” an insult?

      • Talking about deniers generically, or discussion of someone else writing about deniers, is fine

        There is no reason to make comments here that label an individual as a denier. If an individual wants to so self label, that is fine (Tomas Milanovic self-labelled himself here as a denier)

      • Dr Curry

        I could not differ more strongly. If an individual is indulging in denial (evidence rejection is the typical manifestation), then why is describing this pathology correctly disallowed?

        I will go further. Many who indulge in denial misrepresent themselves as sceptics and play the victim when correctly described as deniers. This is a hijacking and perversion of language, itself indefensible.

        It allows those indulging in denial to warp the discourse in their own favour.

      • Calling someone a denier is useless in the context you describe. Evidence in natural systems is not at all straightforward, and reasoning about evidence in complex systems is extremely challenging. If you disagree with someone and are not getting anywhere in your argument, move on. Calling someone a denier is pointless, particularly in the context of making an argument, and makes you worse than the person who is merely making an erroneous argument.

      • Dr Curry

        By this reasoning, use of the term should be permitted, since according to you, it will delegitimise the user.

        But censoring the term actively facilitates denial – not scientific scepticism or a difference of interpretation of the evidence – denial. And nobody can protest that what is being done is *not* sceptical or a matter of difference of interpretation.

      • I do not censor the use of the term denial. I censor name calling, when it is referred to a specific participant on this blog.

        What is skeptical or not, denialism or not, is not really relevant in the context of a scientific argument. It is name calling, that adds nothing to the discourse about how the climate system works.

      • Steven Mosher

        BBD.

        denier doesnt work as an effective rhetorical tool. it’s known not to work. Why would people be in denial about that and continue the practice?
        It doesnt work as a description. it doesnt work to persuade. It’s a self indulgent put down that aims at ending dialogue and it doesnt even do that. The real question is why are people in denial about it’s efficacy or appropriateness.

      • Dr Curry

        Thanks for your responses. What is not at issue here is that name-calling which is obviously name-calling is to be avoided. I will of course respect your policy in this matter.

      • Steven

        It doesnt work as a description. it doesnt work to persuade. It’s a self indulgent put down that aims at ending dialogue and it doesnt even do that.

        I would dispute that it doesn’t work as a description. That is exactly what the rejectionists have achieved in terms of warping the discourse. I have never believed that it can persuade the unpersuadable, but that is no reason to allow them to hijack the language.

      • BBD

        Do you seriously believe that ONLY CAGW skeptics indulge in “evidence rejection”?

        Do you deny that some CAGW supporters indulge in “evidence rejection”?

        Don’t you remember how long it took for many CAGW supporters to finally accept the fact that there is a current “standstill” in global warming?

        Now that even James E. Hansen has conceded that this is, indeed, the case, there are still a few die-hards who deny it.

        Get used to it. Rejecting evidence that goes against one’s core belief (or paradigm) is common on both sides of any debate, including this one.

        Max

      • manacker

        What propels that dispute is the sometimes implicit and sometimes explicit attempt to use the slow-down in the rate of warming over a short period as evidence that S to CO2 is very low.

        This has led to entrenched positions on both sides.

      • BBD –

        I would dispute that it doesn’t work as a description.

        I guess it depends on how you define “work.” To be clear, in the vast majority of cases I find the “offense” to be faux, and a ploy that cynically exploits victims of the holocaust as a weapon in the climate change battle.

        But still, FWIW, I think that mosher’s post is absolutely correct in all respects. It does nothing to advance dialog and it fails rhetorically. In fact, I’d say that from a rhetorical perspective it is counterproductive. Do you think there is anything productive about similar pejorative terms such as “warmist” or “alarmist” or CAGWer, etc., etc.? There is no harm in them “hijacking the language.” It has no substantive relevance.

        The double-standard w/r/t “denier” in contrast to the pejoratives on the other side is instructive – but you cannot gain enough distance to point that out if you continue to use the term, IMO.

      • Steven Mosher

        BBD

        “I would dispute that it doesn’t work as a description. That is exactly what the rejectionists have achieved in terms of warping the discourse. I have never believed that it can persuade the unpersuadable, but that is no reason to allow them to hijack the language.”

        #############

        it would work as a description if you could tell me what exactly they deny. I can see radiative physics denier. or water vapor amplification denier. But flat out “denier” or climate change denier, doesnt work as a description because it is empty and open to the rejoinder “what am I denying”. You dont call them deniers to describe them, because it doesnt describe them. At the same time time they deny c02 they foolishly believe that sun spots cause everything. In short, its a bad description. Its too general. Its incomplete. and you nee to un fool yourself if you think it works as a description. It doesnt.

      • Judith, I’d say you hit the Goldilocks button. You are undoubtedly the best blogster on the net.

      • Steven Mosher

        “Do you think there is anything productive about similar pejorative terms such as “warmist” or “alarmist” or CAGWer, etc., etc.?

        I’ve used these terms. They work about as well as denier. Or rather they dont work. I suppose anytime we move to label people we disagree with, we really are moving away from the argument to some form of personalization.

      • David Springer

        Your tolerance of O’Manuel for so long belies your claim of no tolerance for repetition.

      • “Evidence in natural systems is not at all straightforward, and reasoning about evidence in complex systems is extremely challenging. …Calling someone a denier is pointless, ” – Judith

        That may be true, but it doesn’t necessarily follow that every claim about a natural system is possibly true or just in error.

        The emergence of cancer from smoking is a very complex, and highly variable, process.

        Nevertheless, if someone claims that smoking does not cause cancer, it is quite straight foward and reasonable to identify this as the thing it is – denial.

      • Michael, “Nevertheless, if someone claims that smoking does not cause cancer, it is quite straight foward (sic) and reasonable to identify this as the thing it is – denial.”

        Really? Smoking is a factor that contributes to cancer not the cause of cancer. Eliminating smoking would not eliminate cancer. Passive smoke is a factor that contributes to cancer not a cause of cancer. Insulating the population from passive smoke will not eliminate cancer. The link between heavy smoking and cancer is clear. The link between passive smoke exposure and cancer is less clear.

        Is that denial?

      • ” Smoking is a factor that contributes to cancer not the cause of cancer…”

        Fascinating.

        More, please.

      • Michael, as usual you miss the point which is the degree of risk. A heavy smoker increases his risk of lung cancer to roughly 20% by his 5 decade where a non smoker has a risk of lung cancer of roughly 1.5 percent in his 5th decade. Heavy smoking contributes to increased risk of cancer. If one elects to smoke, he increases his risk of cancer by roughly 18 percent. Heavy smoking obviously increases your risk of developing lung cancer by your 5th or 6th decade, but what percentage is required to define smoking as THE cause of lung cancer?

        Passive or second hand smoke increases your risk of cancer by 1 to 2 percent or may double your chance of developing lung cancer from ~1.5% to ~3%. The margin of error in the studies would be larger making it harder to determine if passive smoke is a significant “cause” of lung cancer.

        If heavy smoking led to a 50% or greater occurrence of lung cancer by some time period, it could be legitimately be labeled a “root cause” of lung cancer, LD50. What would be the realistic minimum threshold for defining a root cause?

      • Capt, you got one bit wrong: 20% over 1.5% is a 1333% increase, not 18%

      • Cap’n -

        Just for the record:

        A heavy smoker increases his risk of lung cancer to roughly 20% by his 5 decade where a non smoker has a risk of lung cancer of roughly 1.5 percent in his 5th decade.

        Looking at that statement, I hope that what you are saying is that while smoking is not the cause if cancer, it is without any reasonable doubt a cause of cancer.

      • Joshua, “Looking at that statement, I hope that what you are saying is that while smoking is not the cause if cancer, it is without any reasonable doubt a cause of cancer.”

        At 18% to 20% increased risk, I would say it is undoubtedly that smoking cigarettes is a “likely” cause of lung cancer. Would you say at 2% increased risk that smoking is a cause of lung cancer?

      • Cap’n

        At 18% to 20% increased risk, I would say it is undoubtedly that smoking cigarettes is a “likely” cause of lung cancer.

        First, I think that phatboy’s point deserves to be addressed.

        Second, I still need some clarification:

        By your use of the term “likely” I am left with questions as to your viewpoint. Let me try again with a question that asks for a yes or no answer: Do you think that there is any doubt that smoking is a cause of cancer?

        1) Yes (I think that there is doubt as to whether smoking is a cause of cancer).

        2) No (I do not think there is any doubt as to whether smoking is a cause of cancer).

      • And btw, Cap’n -

        As we have discussed before, the epidemiological implications of 2nd-hand smoke extend beyond increased prevalence of lung cancer.

      • Phatboy first, We could make the non smoker risk 0 and hit infinity :) Since the total percentage of all risk factors is 100%, I think my way is more realistic.

        Joshua, at 18% to 20% there is more uncertainty which would mean dig deeper. Cigarette smoking is linked to greater lung cancer risk than cigar smoking. If both were about the same, I would say that smoking tobacco is likely THE cause of smoking related lung cancer. Since there is a difference ther would likely be some other significant factor, a common cigarette additive for example. We have discussed this before.

        The real question is what should be used to define cause, more specifically “root cause”? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Root_cause

        Michael would likely say that smoking is the cause, any smoking is bad etc. With linear no threshold tolerances, the additional 1 to 2 % risk that may be associated with passive smoke justifies banning all smoking. The Michael will complain that conservative right wing wackos are against vaccinations which have ONLY a 3% risk of side effects. Heck, Joshua, when the small pox vaccine first started, the risk of death by vaccination was nearly 18 percent.

        Drawing lines and sticking to them is important.

      • capt, I don’t believe you’re seriously suggesting that a heavy smoker is only 18% more likely to contract cancer than a non-smoker, and in the next breath state that passive smoking doubles the risk – that would make passive smoking much more deadly than the real thing.
        The relative risk is 20/1.5 = 13.33, not 20-1.5 = 17.5, as you suggested.

      • Capt’nDallas

        Re: cigarette smoking and passive smoking

        Lung cancer from cigarette smoking reflects the interplay between: exposure/duration, genetics, carcinogens & cell promoters. The relative risk of 20% is a good estimate if one believes Wikipedia as one’s source.

        One notices that the “cigarettes causes cancer” data is from the 1980′s and summarized in the 1990′s when efforts and money tried to eliminate cigarette smoking altogether and ended up with the Tobacco Settlement which the states have subsequently spent.

        Passive smoking risk of lung cancer has an odds ratio of 1.1 to 1.2 also per Wikipedia, again, if you believe that source. The specific data lies in papers that may not have made it into the electronic literature so literature searches would need to dig into back paper issues.

        The passive smoking lung cancer story is an EPA Consensus statement also linked to a restaurant and workplace agenda. This is similar to the EPA’s Consensus Endangerment Finding for CO2 in the Climate Wars.

        EPA had learned its lesson well from the Tobacco Wars as it engaged in the Climate Wars by strictly limiting its information base. Listening to a few select “experts” who said what EPA wanted to hear.

        Passive cigarette smoking in children is another kettle of fish if one looks at lung growth and various illnesses, mostly upper and lower respiratory tract illnesses. Children seem to benefit from tissue repair processes that older folk seemed to have left behind, This tissue repair process’s influence on the Environmental Tobacco Smoke (ETS) children’s cancer story is a confounding variable.

        It seems to me that when the Feds want to change people’s behavior, they throw lots of money and “credentials” (read Consensus) at the issue.

        I am not for cigarette smoking at all. I recognize many people who do smoke have behavioral, anxiety, depressive, addictive personality issues which cigarette smoking does address. This “benefit” reason is why people take up cigarette smoking in the first place and stay with it. I just wish that those who don’t recognize or want to address these personal issues wouldn’t smoke during pregnancy and around children. Kids learn from their parents as role models re: life coping skills, good and bad.

        My onion.

      • > I recognize many people who do smoke have behavioral, anxiety, depressive, addictive personality issues which cigarette smoking does address. This “benefit” reason is why people take up cigarette smoking in the first place and stay with it.

        Right on.

        And nicotine just makes cigarettes taste better.

      • I recognize many people who do smoke have behavioral, anxiety, depressive, addictive personality issues which cigarette smoking does address.

        As the brother/caretaker of a schizophrenic for decades (who recently died from bladder cancer, which is highly associated with smoking), I am aware of some research that investigates a potential “benefit” from smoking among schizophrenics (who smoke a particularly high rates) – perhaps related to dopamine or other reduction in the symptoms of schizophrenia.

        Perhaps similar “benefits” might be associated with non-schizophrenics also. However, it does seem a bit unusual to me to state that smoking “addresses” “personality issues” as a definitive statement Maybe you could explain a bit what you mean by that?

        Also, this statement seems a bit categorical:

        This “benefit” reason is why people take up cigarette smoking in the first place and stay with it.

        Is it your view that only those who have “behavioral, anxiety, depressive, addictive personality issues” have addictive habits? If so, what % of the population do you think are free of “behavioral, anxiety, depressive, addictive personality issues” – and who engage in addictive behaviors because of the “benefits” you described?

      • And FWIW – some other interesting statements in that comment:

        One notices that the “cigarettes causes cancer” data is from the 1980′s and summarized in the 1990′s when efforts and money tried to eliminate cigarette smoking altogether

        (1) efforts and money can’t do anything in and of themselves, (2) those making the effort and spending the money were not trying to eliminate cigarette smoking altogether – but to reduce the negative impact from cigarettes as much as possible. It seems that you think that basically the entire medical establishment is interested in controlling behavior as opposed to addressing health risks. Is that your viewpoint?

        The passive smoking lung cancer story is an EPA Consensus statement

        Do you feel that all commonly accepted public health policy should be viewed “skeptically” on the basis of it being a “consensus statement?” If not – how do you make a distinction in that regard?

        also linked to a restaurant and workplace agenda.

        Is it an “agenda” to try to minimize the negative health manifestations of smoking in the workplace and restaurants? Do you think that is an “agenda,” does popular support for such an “agenda” affect you assessment? Perhaps if only a small minority of the public objects to such efforts, it is they who have the “agenda?” Or do both groups have “agendas” regardless of their size, respectively?

        This is similar to the EPA’s Consensus Endangerment Finding for CO2 in the Climate Wars.

        Listening to a few select “experts” who said what EPA wanted to hear.

        Is it your contention that only a “few select ‘experts’” recommend public health policies directed at reducing smoking as much as possible?

        It seems to me that when the Feds want to change people’s behavior,

        Do the Feds’ want to change behavior, or do they want to reduce the negative impact of cigarette smoking?

        they throw lots of money and “credentials” (read Consensus) at the issue.

        Would you recommend not “throwing money” at policies aimed at improving public health outcomes? Is there some cut-off point at which proper spending becomes “throwing money?”

      • Joshua:

        Personality issues? read: coping skills.

        Many people does not = all people.

        The literature seems to lie most frequently in the Behavioral Psychology areas. No recent money in that. Maybe personality/coping skills/cigarette smoking are in some more recent literature that has gotten into the electronic literature. Some of the core research is still in a paper, leaf through the abstracts for a while while sitting in a library and “bingo”, something of substance to read. Not my current mode although I would be interested if someone else has some electronic literature citations. National Institute of Health editorializes a lot and then refers to EPA and its consensus. Bah Humbug.

      • Joshua,

        There’s a very large and robust body of evidence linking smoking with cancer.
        The same cannot be said of passive smoking.
        And I speak as an ex-smoker who is now sickened by the smell of cigarette smoke.

      • Phatboy, “capt, I don’t believe you’re seriously suggesting that a heavy smoker is only 18% more likely to contract cancer than a non-smoker, and in the next breath state that passive smoking doubles the risk – that would make passive smoking much more deadly than the real thing.”

        No, what I said, was a heavy smoker’s risk of lung cancer is about 20% versus 1.5% for a non smoker and that is based on the American Lung cancer association data. The heavy smoker’s risk increased to about 20% or by about 18% percentage points from about 2 percent. You could say that the heavy smoker’s risk of getting lung cancer is 10 to 20 times that of a non-smoker or that smoking increases your risk of lung cancer by 1338%, but a heavy smoker has roughly a 1 in five chance of getting lung cancer, in the United States.

        In a mid or low income nation, his chances of living long enough to get cancer are low that lung cancer risk is lower. In Japan, their smokers have a lower risk than in the United States.

        http://cebp.aacrjournals.org/content/10/11/1193.long

        I have no doubt that smoking US made cigarettes increases your risk of lung cancer, but saying it “CAUSES” lung cancer is incorrect, it is a contributing factor.

      • Cap’n, the way you worded it was a bit misleading.
        I agree with you on the rest, though

      • Phatboy, it was intended to be misleading. Like EPA spin

      • > I have no doubt that smoking US made cigarettes increases your risk of lung cancer, but saying it “CAUSES” lung cancer is incorrect, it is a contributing factor.

        More precisely, we should say that:

        > Smoking accounts for 80% of lung cancer deaths.

        http://www.cancer.org/cancer/cancercauses/tobaccocancer/cigarettesmoking/cigarette-smoking-who-and-how-affects-health

        We could also say that:

        > Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in both men and women, and is one of the hardest cancers to treat.

        But cigarettes do not cause, cancer, of course not. That would be misleading.

        To say that lung cancer is caused by smoking might a bit tougher to dodge, though.

      • phatboy,

        The same cannot be said of passive smoking.

        I hope that you didn’t read anything in what I wrote that prompted you to write that comment. If so, please read it again.

        And once you’ve done that, please answer why you are focusing on that one public health outcome from exposure to 2nd hand smoke, as opposed to the array of health outcomes?

      • Joshua,

        Regardless of what high regard you hold the EPA in, something doesn’t become a public health hazard simply because they wish it to be.
        Anyway, we’re now completely off-topic, so I, for one, am going to desist – with apologies to our host.

      • Well wasn’t that fascinating!

        A whole lot of nonsense based on cap’n trying to parse my statement that “Nevertheless, if someone claims that smoking does not cause cancer,” as “smoking does not cause all cancer “.

        May I be allowed to lament the lack of at least half-decent sophistry?

      • phatboy,

        Regardless of what high regard you hold the EPA in,

        It isn’t clear, but it seems from that comment that you are assuming that you have some idea of my “regard” for the EPA. Given that you have no evidence to support any such assumption, I have to ask you whether you consider yourself to be a skeptic? You see, skeptics don’t reach conclusions w/o evidence. s

        omething doesn’t become a public health hazard simply because they wish it to be.

        I hope that you aren’t limiting our view of the hazards of 2nd hand smoke to its influence on lung cancer prevalence. Further, I hope that you aren’t arguing that 2nd health smoke is not a health hazard.

        Judith – are you reading this?

      • Dr Curry,

        I’ve learned to self edit. I just skip certain posts that I know are repeats and generally skip those involving multiple paragraphs.

        Next on my list – eliminating insults. (That may be tougher. Some people seem to beg for it.)

    • Cap’n,

      Please provide an example of a statement with the word “cause” that would satisfy your own criteria.

      A statement of the same form and the same type as “cigarette cause cancer”, pretty please with some Pepsi sugar on it.

      • Willard, “Cap’n,

        Please provide an example of a statement with the word “cause” that would satisfy your own criteria.”

        LD50 is commonly used for “cause”. Once you get to 10%, causation is hard to define. At roughly LD20, cigarette smoking could meet the “cause” threshold, but that would need to be defined before hand.

        From Wikipedia, “The term root cause has been used in professional journals as early as 1905,[1] but the lack of a widely accepted definition after all this time indicates that there are significantly different interpretations of exactly what constitutes a root cause.”

        Using linear no threshold modeling with no definition of the requirements of “root cause” before hand, is the reason that linear no threshold modeling is controversial. What would you provide as an example of your minimum requirements for the word “cause”?

      • Kepner and Tragoe took a shot at defining “cause” in 1965. (There may be multiple causes of the same problem.)

        Kepner, Charles Higgins, and Benjamin B Tregoe. The Rational Manager; a Systematic Approach to Problem Solving and Decision Making. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1965

        “Problem”: An Output which does not conform to one or more Requirements.
        “Problem Definition”: The Requirement which was not met by the Output.
        “Problem Analysis” Which Process Factor(s) explain both what the Problem is, and what it is not? Of these, was any Process Factor changed just before failure? Note that a Problem may be caused by a combination of coincident Process Factors, and that an overall Problem may have one or more sub-problems.

        Components of Problem Analysis
        - Requirements (performance standards)
        - Outputs (delivered to Customer)
        - Process Factors
        — Inputs (from sources outside the process)
        — Equipment and Facilities
        — Training and Knowledge
        — Process Definition and Procedures

        Problem Analysis can be divided into two cases:
        Case 1: the Inputs are managed according to requirements.
        Case 2: the Inputs are not managed according to requirements, or if the questions of Case 1 do not isolate the root cause.
        - Is there a missing input requirement?
        - Are the input requirements inadequately stated?
        - Is the process not able to meet the requirements all the time?

        A discussion is here:
        Harold | February 14, 2011 at 1:04 am | Reply

        http://judithcurry.com/2011/02/13/uncertainty-and-the-ar5-part-ii/#comment-42334

      • I presume you can’t provide a sentence with the word ’cause’ that you could accept, Cap’n.

        If that is the case, then you are more quibbling about the word ’cause’ than anything else.

      • Willard, “I presume you can’t provide a sentence with the word ’cause’ that you could accept, Cap’n.”

        You would presume incorrectly ’cause I just done it :)

        How about, ” All of the warming since 1900 is caused by atmospheric CO2 increase.” Is that a true statement? Or a doubling of CO2 will cause an increase in atmospheric forcing of approximately 3.7 Wm-2 at some layer of the atmosphere with an effective radiant energy of ~ 70Wm-2 which will cause a surface warming of 0.8 +/- 0.2 C. There I done it twice, is that a true statement?

        Now , “Smoking causes 80 to 90% of all lung cancer cases?” That is likely not true. It is a contributing factor, but with the average life expectancy increasing from 60 to 75 years over the period of study and medical advances which contributed to that increase in longevity, I doubt the level of confidence in the studies. The average age of lung cancer diagnosis has also increased to about 61 from the mid fifties. The rate of lung cancer incidence in males that are less likely to be in work environments that expose them to toxins have decreased, but lung cancer diagnosis in women that are less likely to be in the home have increased with the changing economy, by about 600% since the start of the studies.

        I happen to think that other environmental factors were never properly consider in the rush to publish.

      • willard, you might find this interesting, the tobacco studies were linear no threshold from what I can see. That doesn’t invalidate the studies, it just tends to skew or bias the studies so there is less margin of error on the up side than down side. So the “smoking causes 80 to 90 percent of all lung cancers is more likely the upper limit than a reasonable mean. No big deal, we all should know that by now.

        So based on the studies, heavy smoking is horribly bad and since that is bad second hand smoke has got to be bad. So now “we” have a cause of the other kind.

        Using the linear no threshold modeling, smoking “caused” with in a margin of error that is likely biased, approximately 150,000 deaths in the US primarily within a group of people in the 50 to 70 year age range. That is a “Cause” worth fighting for right?

        In the same year, 190,000 deaths in the US were “caused” by medical errors, that may or may not be a “cause” worth fighting for, I don’t know.

        How many deaths may have been caused by biased use of linear no threshold modeling? Drug companies do like to sell drugs and if linear no threshold modeling is considered valid, they can prove their products “cause” patients to get well using the same methods used to prove smoking “causes” cancer. So is the method used to determine “cause” worth quibbling over?

        Without a LD20 or some other standard set before the trials, would you “trust” the smoking studies, the Pharma studies, both or neither? I tend to think that bad statistics are bad statistics, let’s ban linear no threshold modeling! Now there is a cause I can sink my teeth into :)

      • > Without a LD20 or some other standard set before the trials, would you “trust” the smoking studies, the Pharma studies, both or neither?

        I don’t know about the studies, Cap’n, but without you stating what would be your own criteria beforehand, I would certainly trust you to raise concerns about the alarmist terminology by any study of your fancy.

        I say I don’t know about the studies, Cap’n, for I never really understood what it meant to “believe” in a study.

        A study is just a study is just a study.

        ***

        I’m still not sure what kind of sentence you’d take as a true statement of fact about a causal relationship of your liking. Not some kind of DIY exercice. I have a feeling that your example:

        (AGW) All of the warming since 1900 is caused by atmospheric CO2 increase.

        does not appeal to you.

        ***

        Sorry if I take time getting back at you. I have yet again unsubscribed from Judy’s. Comments that are so far nested don’t appear in my reader anyway.

        Speaking of LD50

      • Speaking of LD50, as I was saying earlier, here’s what I found:

        > As a measure of toxicity, LD50 is somewhat unreliable and results may vary greatly between testing facilities due to factors such as the genetic characteristics of the sample population, animal species tested, environmental factors and mode of administration.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Median_lethal_dose

        There seems to be many other measures of toxicity.

      • LD measures don’t even make any sense in regard to smoking and cancer. You can poison yourself with nicotine, but that’s not the discussion.

        Cap’n is talking out of his…..um…hat.

        Cap’n, try hazard ratios.

  25. David Springer

    Boiling down the OP into the essential bits, Judith “Rodney King” Curry asks “Can’t we all just get along.”

    No. We can’t.

    Did Marshal Matt Dillon eschew the six shooters on his gunbelt, enter Kitty Russel’s saloon, and tell all the rough wild west men inside “I want you all to start taking regular showers, shave, wear clean clothes, and stop all the swearing, fighting, shooting, gambling, and lewd behavior with the ladies. Pretty please.”

    You need to start packing heat, Curry. And load for bear.

    • My gun is pointed at the comment delete button

      According to blog stats, Climate Etc.’s primary demographic is males over 45 with advanced degrees, mostly in the U.S., Europe and Australia. We all know that demographic doesn’t know how to get along :)

      Effective and interesting blogospheric ‘warfare’ requires strong arguments and/or pithy clever ripostes. Either requires thinking/work, beyond venting spleen.

      • David Springer

        Snipping comments is a lot of work. Too much for you to keep it up for more than a very brief period of time which makes it an empty threat. Moderation of individual commenters instead of individual comments is less work but not much less. I’ve been doing social electronic networking for decades as both participant and provider, often both at the same time on the same service. If you want to go the censoring route but don’t want to take the time to do it yourself you have to delegate some authority. In the old days we called our subordinate nannies “sysops”. Managing a number of sysops is easier than managing orders of magnitude more individual users but it comes with its own set of problems. The least amount of effort is just banning troublemakers with a no remorse policy. In order to give it some teeth you have to create a barrier to re-entry i.e. a registration process at least a little bit troublesome to the users. Even something as simple as a 24-hour delay between registration and approval works wonders. This will create a sea-change in the volume of comments which may not be an acceptable trade-off.

        What would work wonders is what used to be called a kill file in Usenet days. This allows individual users to automatically screen out comments from individuals. On every online social system I created I included a way for individuals to block other individuals. I looked into modifying WordPress for this. I’m not the first to look into it and there have been some past efforts with plug-ins and such that worked for a while but currently there’s nothing workable out there and it’s not what I’d call trivial to make it play but it’s doable. When trolls can be disappeared by individuals who find them offensive it’s solid gold. The troll is looking for a reaction and if his words aren’t being read a reaction will not happen. It’s automatic “Do Not Feed The Trolls” with no will power required to resist the temptation. In my experience kill file and a bit of difficulty in re-registering with a different user name to thwart the kill file is all that’s required. Typically just not accepting new registrations from anonymous email accounts is sufficient on the re-registration side.

      • Judith, as David explains comment snipping is a lot of work. And you will never be viewed as doing it fairly.
        Rather, when you find somebody engaging in behavior you dont approve of, enter the fray. Point it out. Chastise them. And put them on moderation, subject to banning after multiple offenses.

        Dirty little secret.. many people comment here to get your approval. or to get your goat. Snip stuff that is super offensive or illegal, but start by grabbing some of the boys by the ears and dragging them outside the classroom.
        Trust me they wont whine.

      • “According to blog stats, Climate Etc.’s primary demographic is males over 45 with advanced degrees, mostly in the U.S., Europe and Australia. We all know that demographic doesn’t know how to get along :)”

        OK, speaking as an over 45 U.S. male with what some would consider an advanced degree (J.D.), and a knuckle dragging, mouth breathing, Caucasian Catholic Conservative to boot – might I point out that some of the best wars have been fought by women. Margaret Thatcher, Elizabeth I, Golda Meir, Joan of Arc….

        And speaking as a one time husband, and still father of persons of the female persuasion, let me say that I have seen women fight each other. If we let women run the armies, there would be no peace treaties. They would shoot the prisoners and bayonet the wounded.

      • “My gun is pointed at the comment delete button”

        Pistol-packin’ momma…
        Lay that pistol down

      • David Springer

        Getting involved in the fray is ill-advised. I have a preferred method in service delivery called “The Zero Support Policy”. If someone has a problem with some product or service from me I do not engage with them. I refund them. Cheerfully. No questions asked. If the product or service is sound (mine all are, natch) then at most you’ll lose 10% (rule of thumb) of your market this way. More importantly, and to the point, you’ll also lose 100% of your customer service overhead. Ten percent of your customers cause 90% of your support overhead. Just ditch the 10% and keep the 90% who are no problem.

        Moderation is a customer service overhead. To minimize you never get involved in the fray. You ban the person causing the problem. No questions asked. If he paid for your product refund his money.

        Back when Microsoft owned 90% of the market I used the same policy in regard to whether I’d offer a MacIntosh version of a product or service. Perhaps needless to say the last line of code I wrote for an Apple computer was in 1981 for an Apple IIe. In my defense I was working for someone else doing game development and Apple had more than 10% of the market at the time. Today this is no longer true technically true as I’m doing web app development now and keep an iPod 4G next to me in order to test for iPhone/iPad compatibility. FYI, for all practical purposes, an iPod is an iPhone without the cellular radio.

        Anyhow, the zero support policy can be usefully extended by instead of just ditching your problem children you send them a discount coupon for a competitor’s product or service. Make them his problem instead of yours.

      • David Springer

        P.S. Steve

        I think you’d be happier over on Watt’s Up With That. I will put in a good word for you there. ;-)

  26. Pingback: Spam, comments and etiquette | Digging in the Clay

  27. Judith

    I think you are one of the heroes of the revolution but I find your blog a lot less appealing than it used to be. I prefer to spend my time in the company of people who I don’t find boorish. In the recent past I am a reluctant visitor and don’t much like the company you keep. I can see from this post that you are alive to the problem and hope you can solve it. I wish you all the best.

  28. David Springer

    Anonymity and incivility is like crazy and stupid. Being crazy doesn’t make you stupid, but it helps. Being anonymous doesn’t make you uncivil, but it helps.

    The converse is also true. Being non-anonymous doesn’t make you civil, but it helps.

    The best reason for anonymity is work related. Many of you morons are posting from work and your employers probably have other things they’d prefer you be doing on their nickel. For others you’re embarrassed by your own idiotic opinions and behaviors and don’t want friends, relatives, current or possible future employers to be able to google your name and discover what a dopey asshat you are.

    This is why tenure was invented, by the way.

    Got it? Write that down!

    • David, I’ve used the name Faustino for many years in many fora, when I use the name Genghis Cunn it’s often because for some reason the name Faustino no longer works on a particular site. These names are far better known than my real name, which has appeared on this blog and other fora but, unlike my noms de net, doesn’t show up on Google searches. So whenever someone comes across one of those names, they have an idea of who I am and where I’m coming from.

      I’m almost never uncivil. A couple of times on CE when tired and in pain I’ve snapped at people I consider trolls who make no meaningful contribution (both present in this thread) rather than “not feeding” them.

      I was seriously ill with several illnesses 2000-09, including from late 2001 severe/extreme work-related depression. My boss, the head of Queensland Treasury, had made totally unfounded and professionally-damaging claims against me. I was strongly advised by senior managers, HR and an external counselling service that if I responded, I would be destroyed by the vicious response. I left work in mid-2002, I was very desocialized, when I began to put my head above the parapet and comment online on dreadful Queensland Government policy in mid/late 2004, and had good reason to fear serious attacks from the government – I’ve known of several similar cases where people committed suicide. So I used my existing nom de net Faustino, which probably only my brother in London could relate to me.

      So I’ll stick with “Faustino,” my real name appeared with it on a head-post here, I was to do another one but haven’t been up to it, I’ve been tending to short occasional minor posts of late so no one should be concerned about that.

      • FWIW, Faustino –

        You are one of those who serve as evidence that the argument of a causal link between anonymity and either vacuous contributions or incivility is spurious.

        Perhaps chief wouldn’t agree, but I can’t help but note the Irony that you were the one who responded to David Springer, of all people, on the connection between civility and anonymity. If you get my drift.

      • Anyone want to comment on what it is called a “BlogHog”, in terms of blog etiquette. Nothing personal, but Joshua comes to mind as someone who is loquacious, verbose, sometimes pompous, obsequious to those he favors, and generally takes a 1000 words to complete a simple thought.

      • Faustino,

        Thanks you for being so open and for always coming across as a very decent person, with the highest moral values. You are one of the best example who comment here.

        I am sorry to hear what happened to you, but not surprised. The public service has difficulty getting rid or people so they have adopted this vicious way of threatening people’s livelihood and health. IMO, It doesn’t happen to anywhere near the same extent in the private sector. In the private sector if you don’t fit with the culture of the organisation or don’t get on with your superiors, you either move within the organisation, leave or get fired. It happens relatively quickly and before so much damage is done to people. I’ve seen lots of it. Australian Department of Defence demonstrates many dreadful examples of how they make people unwelcome and they can become stuffed for life, but this also applies across the public service. What you experienced is very common. It is how higher levels deal with perceived threats to their position from excellent subordinates.

        The fact you are clearly such a decent, honest and highly competent person may well be the reason the head of Queensland Treasury felt threatened and this is how perceived threats to superiors are often dealt with in the public service.

      • No offense taken, Bob. As always, thanks for reading, and have a nice evening.

      • Joshua, you’re welcome and glad you got your thought across in one sentence.

      • It happens here, too.
        Kazman, Sam. Letter to Environmental Protection Agency. “Re: Proposed Endangerment and Cause or Contribute Findings for Greenhouse Gases Under Section 202(a) of the Clean Air Act, Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2009-0171,” June 23, 2009. http://cei.org/cei_files/fm/active/0/Endangerment%20Comments%206-23-09.pdf

        In reaction to
        Carlin, Alan. “Comments on Draft Technical Support Document for Endangerment Analysis for Greenhouse Gas Emissions Under the Clean Air Act (Based on TSD Draft of March 9, 2009)” Scientific Blog. Carlin Economics and Science, March 16, 2009. http://www.carlineconomics.com/files/pdf/end_comments_7b1.pdf

    • Robert I Ellison

      Michael,

      I saw your latest missive to ‘The Australian’ – well done.

      I am never uncivil first although I tend to give as good as I get and better. They have a choice – they can not drop tedious, unfunny and irrelevant snarks and insults but perhaps this is a step too far. One liners with negligible content seem all there is to some of these people.

      I will think of it in future as clothes irony.

      Cheers

  29. i am writing this in austria with a first generation kindle. not easy
    i must admit that over the last three months i have had many second thoughts about submitting comments and curtailing my articles-cue for loud cheer from the back of the audience.
    the amount of bile.snark.outrageous comments andhighly umpleasant ad homs is very distrurbing when you are trying to have a serious scientific discussion with those who have something on topic to say.

    many serious high level people must be put off by an amosphere that sometimes resembles an unruly bear garden although i must say the really vitriolic comments are not usually aimed at me.

    i agree with an early commenter that the obviously over the top comment is deleted and the reason why is given
    lets get back to a civilised but lively salon rather than an unruly bar after midnight
    tonyb

    • The over the top comments are educational though. One of the reasons that realclimate’s borehole is popular is you can see what is considered over the top in that venue.

      At one time claiming that aerosols were used to force models into submission would have been “crackpot”, now it is reality :)

      Perhaps instead of purging the over the tops, send them to some purgatory, crackpot, ad hom, off topic, spam?

    • Hi Tony
      Not in Salzburg for a Mozart Klaviersonaten ?

      • vuk and joshua

        im here for a sound of music conventiom….
        seriously we are here to ski although there are local silver mines used during the mwp that fell into disuse during the lia as the glaciers covered them. i dont know quite how i will casually suggest a visit to them to my wife…
        tonyb

      • Salzburg is one of my favorite cities. Try to visit whenever I’m over seeing relatives in Slovenia.

    • Hey tony -

      Vacation, or are you digging through those historical records of heat waves in Austria, or some combination of both?

    • tony,

      don’t stop commenting. You are one of the reasons I come to this site.

  30. Amazon.com has a rating system for product reviews, people can vote thumbs up/thumbs down on the reviews. Is a similar system available on WordPress? Then one could filter out comments with more thumbs down than thumbs up ratings.

    Another nice feature would be to allow us to filter by name.

    • Robert,

      I have to disagree with you. IMO, it is a dreadful idea. ‘The Conversation’ ran that for a while. People voted + or -. The number of votes accumulated. If your comment was net positive it was coloured blue and showed the net figure, e.g. ‘+10′. If net negative it was coloured read ‘-20′, for example.

      The problem is that the site is dominated by academics and those of far left persuasion. It seems about 90% are extremists, ‘Progressives’, Greenies socialists, and communists. So the votes for any rational person were red and with very high -ve scores. Everyone piled on, no matter what the comment.

      What was worse was that the comments were resorted all the time to show the highest +ve at the top of the thread and largest -ve at the end of the thread. So, people coming to the thread would read the loony left comments and probably never get down to the rationalists comments. The resporting meant that comments were shuffled all over the place so were in no logical order and made no sense. As a result very few rational people would comment. It was, and still is, a propaganda site for the fat left, although they have now dispensed with the reordering according to the votes and have removed the blue for votes approved of by communists and red for comments hated by communists. :)

  31. Ample evidence embedded in much of the above that the entire point of the post was largely missed.

  32. Judith

    Your denizens appreciate the opportunity to blog here.

    The topics you bring are almost always interesting – and usually they kick off a lively exchange.

    The ongoing debate on the scientific, political and economic aspects of AGW is alive and well here at Climate Etc.

    Like unruly children, we all get caught up in the excitement from time to time, but Tony B is right (and he is an excellent example): Manners are important, as is staying on topic.

    Keep our feet to the fire on civility, but continue giving us as much freedom to express our views as possible.

    Max

  33. 110 comments so far and quite unusually, not one from my least favorite commenter. What’s the topic again? Oh–comment policies. More like this, please.

    • haha. I can guess his initials

      • Now, now, you two. This is exactly what we are being cautioned against, is it not?

      • Steven Mosher

        huh, recognizing that Tom has issues with certain folks is hardly something one should deny. So, he’s got issues with certain folks. Big whoop. he actually gets to like certain folks and to like others less. he actually gets to do that. I like Pekka more than I like Springer. I like you more than I like Wagathon. I suppose, there is somebody who i like least of all, but I’ve never stopped to compute that. Too much trouble.

      • Frankly, Eli considers it amongst his most charming traits.

      • David Springer

        I’m crushed.

      • Funny, but BBD was not who came to mind.

        Wondering if it is a case of a shoe which fits.

        I agree with Mosher about liking Pekka more than Dave, even though I agree with many of the things he (Springer) says. Pekka is among the most civil commentors here.

  34. The Skeptical Warmist

    A great reminder post JC. Keeping exchanges here courteous, professional, on topic, and not dominated by any given denizen will keep the quality of Climate Etc. among the best of the blogosphere. I only choose to post regularly on a few sites or even bother to read but a few sites– I hope that Climate Etc. can remain among that group.

  35. I don’t know how it is possible to improve anything anymore. Remember the reason study that was done simply to prove all good night yours are idiots? Remember all the dancing that was required when the findings showed skeptics were far more adept in mathematics logic and reasoning skills? To stop all of the arguing all you have to do is require a math test. Then you get nothing but skeptics. or, decide to throw the scientific method out the window. then all you get is pulp fiction global warming alarmism.

    • More theology and geometry. Good night.
      ========

      • Give me genesis, or give me eunuchs. Er, mebbe it’s euclid.
        ========

      • Unfortunately, in this new age of lazy thinking our Cesta do stredu Zeme stops far short of a Journey to the Center of the Earth, preferring instead to hang out in margarita bars in Cancun to discuss the evils of American capitalism like Jean-Paul Sartre holding court in a Parisian café. As a passionate and freethinking existentialist, philosopher Sartre Would Piss on the Legs of Today’s Secular Socialist rabble.

    • Unfortuneately, I score highly on math tests, so I would at least be the exception that proves your rule.
      I was a navy nuclear operator and I failed a math test at school. It was a test on how well you could use a calculator, I had left my scientific calculator in Illinois when I went to school in florida, I got 57% without the calculator.

      • No blind decimals
        In Faber’s Bamboo Kastell.
        Ivory Ape Brain.
        ============

      • Bob,

        Surface or subs?

        They tried to get me to sign up for Nuclear Propulsion school, but I wasn’t interested in a 6 year commitment.

        Did end up in an engineering position at a commercial nuclear generation plant. Shows you how valuable a degree in History from Maryland is.

      • Hey Timg56,
        Subs, 688 class, the Atlanta.
        Then Clinton, BWR6 for 14 years.

        Nearly met Rickover 4 times, I’m pretty good at hiding from Admirals.

      • Bob,

        Dace / SSN 607

        One Med cruise we spent 40 some days trailing a Soviet sub while the Los Angeles, on her first deployment, worked up it’s crew tracking the Nautilus, which was on it’s final deployment. I thought at the time that back stateside there must have been a lot of Admirals walking around with stiffies, knowing that first time out of the box the lead 688 class boat was going to show it’s stuff.

        6 hours after we turned over the tail, they lost her. We still were tracking, even as we were exiting the area. The LA picked it back up within a few hours.

        Another time we were tasked with giving a boomer a security sweep. We arrived several hours early and followed in trail. The CO allowed the rendevous time to pass and after a couple of hours the boomer repoprted we were late. The CO announced over the underwater telephone that we were a couple of thousand yards behind him. Apparently one ticked off boomer capitain. Things were always breaking on our boat, but we were the quitiest boat on the river (Thames).

        Worked at too many nuke plants to list. Last was Trojan.

      • Baya and Baya, we see ya.
        ========

  36. Perhaps this is an echo of a previous comment.
    The climate debate has taken on all the characteristics of a political debate; and politics has become more about winning than serving. In serving, the scientific community should welcome and consider any disagreement because in the end that brings the debate closer to the truth. For a scientist to be truly outstanding, that scientist will, at the end of the day, consider all evidence and all possibilities.
    That consideration is what makes this blog very valuable.

  37. Once a science-based forum starts enforcing rules of etiquette it will soon be populated by well intended, polite but inane comments from people that genuinely believe, mistakenly, that they are scientifically competent. The forum will soon become boring and irrelevant and leave it’s moderator with no choice but to shut it down.

    Unfortunately most people believe they are scientifically competent. Only if there is some mechanism to control or stop the inanity does any scientific forum have any chance of being both courteous and scientifically interesting/relevant.

    • Unfortunately, this is not a “science-based forum.” Nor is globalclimatewarmingchange a “science-based” issue.

      The core of the debate, the debate this blog was formed to address, is the interface between science and politics in the policy area commonly referred to (variously) as global warming, climate change, climate disruption, or whatever the latest fad term is.

      Is AGW C? If it is, what should we do? If it is not, what should we do? And if we don’t know, what should we do? Many scientific questions come up in the debate. But what is most revealing about this site, is the degree to which politics has influenced what the CAGWers want to claim is pure science.

      I suggest that all who find this forum boring, or uninformative, or useless, or poorly managed, feel free to go elsewhere.

      Oh, and for those of you who find the insults and behavior here unbearable…you might want to stay in your mom’s basement and never go out into the real world. Give me a break.

      Someone insults you, don’t respond, unless you can do it better and funnier. Someone lies about you, respond once then ignore them. If the three year old keeps tugging on your shirt, begging for your attention, the last thing you should do is tell him to stop.

      For children, any attention is better than no attention at all.

      • Gary, my letter in The Australian (where I use my real name) on 15 Jan is pertinent. The issue is the ALP government’s attempts to curtail free speech by subjective “I was offended!” tests:

        “Michael Sexton argues that the best response to unwelcome invective is “to return fire” (Commentary, 14/1). The best response is to develop equanimity. There will always be things in life we don’t like. Each one of us must learn to deal with this, not demand that others walk on eggshells to avoid risk to our fragile egos.”

    • As opposed to the current situation wrt nasty but inane comments from people that genuinely believe, mistakenly, that they are scientifically competent?

  38. It is both interesting and appalling that posting a link to a slightly technical article can end up with not only fielding aggressive comments from people who obviously don’t know what they’re talking about, but more importantly, having your very integrity called into question.

    Yes, you do have a moderation problem Judith. Use the ban hammer, fewer comments but what you get left is quality.

    Here endith the sermon …

    Pointman

    • Right on, Pointman!

      Nothing deters me from reading more than having to wade thru oceans of pablum. Pablum does have its place, I guess.

    • Oh, and btw – I didn’t realize that law enforcement can’t trace IP addresses (via contacting ISPs) associated with web-based email. I figured those types of records were obtainable by the proper authorities.

      • Brandon Shollenberger

        Joshua, it depends. Getting the IP address used to send an e-mail would be fairly easy. All the authorities would have to do is contact the company hosting the service (with a proper warrant). Once they had the IP address used, they could contact the ISP that holds it. If someone used a simple connection, it’d be easy to find out where the mail was sent from.

        On the other hand, it’s possible for someone to use a proxy to route their connection. If that’s done, the IP address that shows up in the e-mail company’s logs would be that of the proxy. Depending on the proxy (especially where it was located), that might be a dead end.

        More relevant though is without checking the IP addresses used for the e-mail, the authorities would have no way to disprove Innocenti’s story. The only evidence provided in the story is his e-mail account was used. That’s not anywhere near sufficient proof to do much of anything to him. If the story did happen as Pointman says, the authorities failed to do their job. Badly.

      • Brandon -

        Depending on the proxy (especially where it was located), that might be a dead end.

        Sure, as you say it might be a dead end – but as I asked originally, if he were away on vacation when the emails were sent and he had some proof of his location during that time, it could well show that he was not capable of sending the emails (from the location from which they were sent) even if a proxy had been used.

        And yes, either way as you said, if Innocenti’s child were taken away as Pointman described, it seems that he unfortunately did not receive good legal or technical support. Too bad that Pointman, with his extraordinary technical expertise, wasn’t there to help his friend out.

      • Steven Mosher

        yes Joshua, a bunch of stuff in that story didn’t add up. Doesnt make it untrue, but lots of details seemed very odd.

    • Strange. I wonder which bit of “This is an end of conversation reply” they didn’t understand, though I do fully understand their desperation for my attention, or anyone else’s for that matter.

      Welcome to the internet, a facet of which is the last refuge of the macho pygmy behind a keyboard. Best not to feed them …

      Pointman

      • Pointman –

        I thought I posted a response here earlier – but it was from my cell phone so there I may well have made an error…certainly Judith wouldn’t delete my response to your enlightening gift of insight.

        I thank you for reading and responding to my posts. I can’t tell you how much it thrills me to attract your attention. I’m verkelmpt…

        It is also an honor to exchange views with someone so dedicated to the high art of blog discourse. Your uncompromising scientific standards are par excellence, as so well exemplified by your use of “macho pygmy,” and your commitment to consistency, accountability, and forthrightness are, dare I say, unparalleled (as exemplified by your repeated insults through the indirect route of responding by claiming that you aren’t responding).

        If there ever were a commenter that Judith could point to as a shining symbol of appropriate blog “etiquette,” it is clear that you are leading the pack.

      • err…verklempt…

    • Steven Mosher

      Sermons dont work in a conversation. Just in case you hadnt noticed

  39. “Would you say that to my face and in person?”

    The golden blog comment rule…

  40. Thank you, Dr JC, for finding the time and energy to run this site. You are a busy person and do this in your own time, on your own dime. Accordingly, you have every right to moderate however you like, despite the mistaken belief of some commenters that their opinions are more important than yours in this regard.

    Many of the problems are self-correcting for regular readers – there are some commenters whose posts I scroll straight past because they are repetitive and/or abusive, or just plain boring. There are others (like Tony n) whose posts I always read because they add value and are courteous.

    I think that the most useful thing you could do (apart from what you do already) is to be a bit tougher on relevance. Time and time again, the usual suspects re-fight their battles in the middle of a thread, often with long posts and multiple replies. By the time the reader gets past it all, the flow of the thread is lost.

    It is also a bit daunting, if one has been away for a few days, to see a post with hundreds of comments to wade through when it is certain that a significant proportion of them is utterly irrelevant to the topic. It would be great if you could delete the irrelevant stuff more consistently and banish the warriors to Open Threads, where they belong.

    Respectfully submitted,

    johanna

  41. Jesus H Christ on a chariot, what can one say except cheerio and I’ll leave youse guys to fight among yourselves. Nice blog.

    Pointman

    • Several people are skeptical of your story. What else did you expect from this site?

    • Brandon Shollenberger

      Pointman, you’re free to leave, but if you don’t address reasonable responses like mine all you show is you’re unreasonable. You said:

      It is both interesting and appalling that posting a link to a slightly technical article can end up with not only fielding aggressive comments from people who obviously don’t know what they’re talking about, but more importantly, having your very integrity called into question.

      My comment was not aggressive, and I certainly know what I’m talking about. There is no reason to ignore what I said.

      Incidentally, you seem to be displaying the very behavior you call out. Your responses have been unnecessarily combative, and you referred to MAC addresses in e-mail headers being forensically conclusive. If you know what you’re talking about, why would you suggest an easily changed value that isn’t included in e-mails would be forensically conclusive information pulled from an e-mail?

  42. What will we do when most agree AGW has been exaggerated?

    I don’t think we will ever have an engaging topic like AGW.

    The amount of time I spent on it would have earned me another degree.

  43. These comments put me in the frame of mind of the Vampire Lestat.

    “Oh Louis, Louis. Still whining Louis. Have you heard enough? I’ve had to listen to that for centuries.”

    (Well, sometimes it feels like centuries.)

  44. Let me bring this out as a seperate thread.

    @@@

    BBD | January 19, 2013 at 2:33 pm |
    Dr Curry
    I could not differ more strongly. If an individual is indulging in denial (evidence rejection is the typical manifestation), then why is describing this pathology correctly disallowed?

    @@@

    I resent this idea. There is only one thing in physics that cannot be, and should to be, challenged, is raw, hard, measured, empirical data. Nothing else. Everything else can and should be challenged. And I doubt that raw data has ever been discussed on CE. I would like BBD to detail what he considers is beyond challenge.

  45. Robert I Ellison

    I understand that some of the deniers take offense at the apparent implication that they are like Holocaust deniers. I am not trying to make that connection — since climate science deniers are nothing like Holocaust deniers. Holocaust deniers are denying an established fact from the past. If the media or politicians or the public took them at all seriously, I suppose it might increase the chances of a future Holocaust. But, in fact, they are very marginalized, and are inevitably attacked and criticized widely whenever they try to spread their disinformation, so they have no significant impact on society.

    The climate science deniers, however, are very different and far more worrisome. They are not marginalized, but rather very well-funded and treated quite seriously by the status quo media. They are trying to persuade people not to take action on a problem that has not yet become catastrophic, but which will certainly do so if we listen to them and delay acting much longer.

    Joe Romm is correct. I find the term deeply offensive with quite obvious and deliberate connotations of holocaust denial. I tend to respond with cult of AGW groupthink space cadet – which though a mouthful seems utterly more applicable. A number of behaviours suggestive of groupthink are evident in this collective behaviour. Pertinent is the piecemeal rationalisation of the complex and uncertain into simple global warming memes and faux certainty. Secondary is the attempt to marginalise and demonise those they perceive as the opposition. Moral certainty legitimises any pejorative characterisation. But the behaviours in total show all the qualities of groupthink documented by Janis in 1972. It is less science and more group narrative superficially in the objective idiom of science. It is conflated with other so-called values. Limits to growth, the pestilence of humanity, greed and waste, the evils of capitalism, etc. It is the battle of values that is the core of the climate war and to conflate it with science is a threat to the legitimacy of science.

    The shared global warming memes are the measure of ‘denialism’. One can accept the simple radiative physics but find that natural variability has a role to play. One can conclude that carbon dioxide emissions of 4, 8, 16, 32% … of natural flux as economies grow this century is a priori unsustainable. One can suggest pragmatic and effective responses as the Hartwell group and the Breakthrough Institute have – or indeed question the relative effectiveness of expenditures in meeting human development needs as Lomberg has for years – only to be labelled right wing ideologues, demagogues or worse and dismissed. I have warned for years that a lack of warming – from natural variation – will derail decarbonisation of economies for a generation only to be greeted by streams of abuse from the true believers. A repositioning of the discourse is the least that is needed. An apology wouldn’t go astray. In the meantime tit for tat is the order of the day with recalcitrant space cadets.

    • Secondary is the attempt to marginalise and demonise those they perceive as the opposition.

      Always and forever, the “chief” of unintentional irony.

      • Robert I Ellison

        Joshua,

        Your bad faith is patently obvious. Again with this nonsense about unintentioanal irony. You must at least be clever enough to look it up at Urban Dictionary?

        ‘One of the most misused words in the entire English language.

        There are several types of irony.

        Socratic irony – When someone pretends to be naive about a certain subject, and uses his questions about it to point out a flaw in the established belief. This is often used on the TV show South Park, where the children often ask questions about a situation until the folly in a parent’s decision becomes clear.

        Sarcasm – Understatement, mocking overstatement, or heavy-handed irony (stating the flat opposite of the truth) where both parties are aware of the difference between what’s said and what’s actually happening.

        Situational Irony – The irony that most people think of. A difference between what you expect to happen (in a story, for example) and what actually happens. Rain on your wedding day would be a sort-of example, because a wedding day is generally expected to be a perfect, happy day. The good advice you didn’t take, however, would NOT be irony, because that has nothing to do with what is expected and what isn’t expected. A traffic jam when you’re already late wouldn’t be irony either; there’s no automatic expectation that traffic will be fine, just because you happen to be late.

        Irony of Fate – The concept that the Gods, Fates, etc. are toying with humans for amusement by using irony. Beethoven’s loss of hearing is a famous example; one would expect a composer to be able to hear his compositions, but fate denied him that ability.

        Tragic (Dramatic) Irony – When the audience knows something that some of the characters don’t know in a play/movie/novel/whatever. For example, when the horror flick psycho is in the house and the homeowner just goes in without suspecting anything.’

        The Joe Romm quote was clearly part and parcel of the demonisation of ‘deniers’ – defined by me as someone who suggests that there are more effective approaches than caps and taxes. This is clearly not a statement that implies exactly the opposite is true and so is not irony in any sense. It is a true statement that is demonstably true. Indeed your silly little snark is a demonstration of the truth of my premise. True irony would consist of me saying that I appreciate your sage and cogent comments.

      • Chief -

        I’ll explain why your comments are so frequently (unintentionally) ironic – in the sense of happening in a way that is the opposite of what one might expect (there is no “misuse” when using irony to convey that meaning):

        Typically, when one sees a comment such as this:

        Secondary is the attempt to marginalise and demonise those they perceive as the opposition.

        one would expect it to come from someone who eschews such behavior, someone who assiduously avoids “attempt[ing] to marginalize and demonise those they perceive as the opposition.”

        Your long sting of “pissant progressive” and other invective provides a very ironic contrast to the philosophy you pay lip service to, irrespective of the behavior of others. Your behavior runs in direct contradiction to what one would expect from someone who professes offense such as you do.

        That said, I applaud that you aspire to respectable goals. My guess is that if you added a touch of introspection to your aspiration, your comments about others would be less unintentionally ironic.

      • And Chief -

        To add another, magnificantly ironic example of your propensity for unintentional irony…

        One would expect that someone who professes to understand irony well-enough to pedantically and condescendingly deign to explain the meaning of the term to someone else would actually understand how the term is accurately applied.

        That’s why you’re the “chief,” my brother.

      • Robert – add to your list “Clothes irony’, applied by a flat iron.

      • Robert I Ellison

        Unintentional silliness as usual Joshua. You vacillate between one line snarks typical of the usual suspects and interminable, tedious and quite empty headed pop psychology. I thought the urban dictionary quote would quite give away the game. I find urban dictionary to be amusing and relentlessly contemporary. Usually just a bit of fun rather than tedious pedantry.

        But you project too much. You presume that this truth I speak abourt pissant progressives – their moral certainty, the lack of intellectual rigour, the lack of reflection and review of assumptions – implies that I should not call a spade a spade or identify groupthink where I see it. I have been through this recently and have no wish to reference yet more diagnoses of AGW groupthink. Well – perhaps one more.

        ‘The present period since 1998 with no global temperature increase thereby has caused some embarrassment for the notion that burning of fossil fuel causes a marked increase of global temperatures. The embarrassment is becoming more and more pronounced as the atmospheric concentration of CO2 continues to increase.

        As increasing global temperature 1978-1998 was the main driver for concern about future climate, one would have expected this new temperature development to be broadly welcomed as a good development. Somewhat surprisingly, this has apparently not been the case. The lack of warming since 1998 has instead been ignored or defensively explained as being without significance. Some have simply chosen to refocus on other issues without direct relation to air temperature, such as, e.g., Arctic (not Antarctic) sea ice or retreating glaciers.

        A widespread defensive reaction to the recent temperature development has been that of stressing the importance of natural multi-annual and decadal temperature variations to explain the lack of warming. Previously, this was not a widespread line of argumentation among people supportive of the notion of significant anthropogenic warming: In contrast, observed temperature increases were usually presented as indications of anthropogenic warming, and definitely not as the result of natural multi-annual and decadal temperature variations.

        This way of asymmetrical reasoning is interesting from a psychological point of view, and is usually considered characteristic for groupthink.’ Prof. Ole Humlum – http://www.climate4you.com/

        So really both these facts are true. The pissant progressives practice demonisation by the use of such terms as denier and they suffer from groupthink. But even in the unlikely event that the groupthink isn’t true – there would still be no imperative for me to take the moral high ground and eschew the practice of marginalising pissant progressives. As I keep telling you Joshua – this is a war and you are the enemy. Is not all fair in war? What counts is winning and you make such silly an repetitive arguments that winning is child’s play.

      • God love ya’, chief. I can only hope (for the sake of your family) that in real life you show more humility, insight, and introspection than what you display in your on-line persona.

      • @Robert I Ellison

        You left out “romantic irony.” The literary device in which a fictional character exhibits awareness that they are merely a fictional character.

    • Robert I Ellison

      Oh please – you persist in awful pop psychology that is indistinguishable from meaningless drivel. It is all personal and science free. I am aware that this is recognised by denizens other than a few purblind, tribal, neo-obstructionist AGW space cadets. You would be better off dropping the concern troll foolishness and actually engaging on an basis that is informed by something other than your antipathy to economic growth and development.

    • RE this comment: “climate science deniers, ….. are not marginalized, but rather very well-funded and treated quite seriously by the status quo media.”

      I must say this is news to me. I recently agreed to take home delivery of the seattle Times (the main selling point for me being a sort of jobs program – I delivered papers as a kid and though it has become a job for adults, the appeal to helping them keep their job worked). The first 2 weeks of 2013 saw 4 opinion pieces on climate change, all accepting it as a threat. One opinion column, by Dr Howard Frumkin (UW Dept of Public Health) stated that Sandy, the 1930′s Dust bowl and last summer’s forest fires in central Washington were all linked by climate change. He went on to claim stuff about starvation, mass population displacement and wars being fought because of climate – all as if it has happened, in an attempt to paint AGW as one of the most significant threats to public health we currently face. I submitted a response opinion piece (only the 4th time I’ve ever tried this). It was rejected (breaking my string of success, btw).

      4-0 in support of the global warming is bad meme to date. I won’t bet on seeing a dissenting opinion in the 17 weeks I have left in my suscription. So much for “deniers” being treated serious by the media.

  46. A fan of *MORE* discourse

    Judith Curry comment: “You get the idea [regarding Blog etiquette], but it seems that people need periodic reminders.”

    Thank you Judith Curry, specifically for this post, and thank you too, more broadly, for the much-appreciated forum that has been sustained here on Climate Etc. by your efforts, and by your example too.

    Another aspect of blog etiquette, that perhaps is worth mentioning, is the utter futility of discourse in which the weakest science is cherry-picked for rude attacks by the weakest skepticism.

    Although James Hansen’s science comes in for plenty of criticism, not too many people recognize, and publicly appreciate, Hansen’s long-standing practice of respectfully acknowledging and rationally addressing the strongest grounds for climate-change skepticism. For example, in Hansen’s essay “Global Temperature Update Through 2012″, that was the subject of Judith’s recent post Hansen on the ‘standstill’, we see Hansen politely acknowledging, rationally analyzing, and flatly predicting:

    Acknowledging  The 5-year mean global temperature has been flat for a decade, which we interpret as a combination of natural variability and a slowdown in the growth rate of the net climate forcing.

    Analyzing  The second largest human-made forcing is probably atmospheric aerosols, although the aerosol forcing is extremely uncertain. […] The one major wild card in projections of future climate change is the unmeasured climate forcing due to aerosol changes and their effects on clouds.

    Predicting  The continuing planetary energy imbalance and the rapid increase of CO2 emissions from fossil fuel use assure that global warming will continue on decadal time scales. [That is why] global temperature will rise significantly in the next few years as the tropics moves inevitably into the next El Nino phase.

    If everyone’s posts were comparably polite, direct, rational, and predictive … then Climate Etc. would be a better forum, eh?

    Thank you again, Judith Curry, for personally exemplifying, and publicly requesting, that Climate Etc posters consciously seek the virtuous standards of discourse that Hansen’s essay shows us. We’ll all benefit from more Climate Etc posts that are polite, direct, rational, and predictive! \scriptstyle\rule[2.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}\,\boldsymbol{\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}\,\heartsuit\,{\displaystyle\text{\bfseries!!!}}\,\heartsuit\,\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}}\ \rule[-0.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}

    • Robert I Ellison

      ‘Nevertheless, however much models improve, there will always be an irreducible level of uncertainty—‘flap of the seagull’s wings’—because of the chaotic nature of the system. Even the climate we have observed over the past century or so is only one realization of what the real system might produce.

      Figure 12 shows 2000 years of El Nino behaviour simulated by a state-of-the-art climate model forced with present day solar irradiance and greenhouse gas concentrations. The richness of the El Nino behaviour, decade by decade and century by century, testifies to the fundamentally chaotic nature of the system that we are attempting to predict. It challenges the way in which we evaluate models and emphasizes the importance of continuing to focus on observing and understanding processes and phenomena in the climate system. It is also a classic demonstration of the need for ensemble prediction systems on all time scales in order to sample the range of possible outcomes that even the real world could produce. Nothing is certain.

      http://rsta.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/369/1956/4751.full

      It seems to point to the problem of continuously regurgitating the hopelessly inept and inane. The Interdecadal Pacific Oscillation – is not an oscillation but something that has quite different roots in fundamental physics. The different modes last for 20 to 40 years in the proxy records but nothing seems all that certain about the future – as Julia Slingo and Tim Palmer suggest. There is no reason to think that warm modes neccessarily follow cool modes in timeframes far longer that the instrumental record. But the simple memes of the space cadets keep coming back like bad pennies.

      The past is a different matter – the rejection of CERES data in particular (explicitly by Hansen for less than cogent reasons) seems suggestive of the post hoc rationalisation of space cadets. The fact that FOMBS was the cause of smilies being disabled – and persists in silly little LaTex gimmicks – in posts devoid of any scientific relevance suggests that another game is in play. One that is the antithesis of discourse in good faith.

      • Robert

        Here is my projection until 2045.

        What do you think?

      • Robert I Ellison

        I think you should read Julia Slingo and Tim Palmer.

        It is also a classic demonstration of the need for ensemble prediction systems on all time scales in order to sample the range of possible outcomes that even the real world could produce. Nothing is certain.

    • A fan of *MORE* discourse

      Robert I Ellison asserts: “Another game is in play. One that is the antithesis of discourse in good faith.”

      Robert, I am sure that you and I agree upon this proposition:

      Anyone who reads the following three articles in good faith …

      •  Boschi, Lucarini, and Pascale, Bistability of the climate around the habitable zone: a thermodynamic investigation (2012)

      •  Sun et al.  Lethally Hot Temperatures During the Early Triassic Greenhouse (2012)

      •  Hansen et al.  Scientific Case for Avoiding Dangerous Climate Change to Protect Young People and Nature (2012)

      … will have a very good idea what “game is in play”, eh Robert?

      The first article (respectfully!) encompasses physical theory, the second article (respectfully!) encompasses well-validated observations, and the third article (respectfully!) encompasses moral implications. Aye lassies and laddies, that’s solid science!

      \scriptstyle\rule[2.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}\,\boldsymbol{\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}\,\heartsuit\,{\displaystyle\text{\bfseries!!!}}\,\heartsuit\,\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}}\ \rule[-0.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}

      Needless to mention, this work is accompanied by concrete predictions: (1) sustained global energy imbalance, and consequently (3) increasing global temperatures, accompanied by (2) accelerating rise in global sea-level. It sure will be interesting to see if these predictions come to pass!

      Summary  This scientific work is consilient, on each of the rational, human, respectful, and moral axes. That consiliency is what strong science is all about … and that’s “the game that’s (respectfully!) in play” … and those are the objectives that Judith’s post/weblog (as I read it!) seeks to foster.

      \scriptstyle\rule[2.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}\,\boldsymbol{\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}\,\heartsuit\,{\displaystyle\text{\bfseries!!!}}\,\heartsuit\,\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}}\ \rule[-0.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}

      • FOMD,

        From the first link, “Probably the most notable examples of climate change events occurred during the Neoproterozoic (period spanning from 1000 million to 540 million years ago), when the Earth is believed to have su ered two of its most severe periods of glaciation”

        Approximately 550 million years ago the Earth likely tumbled, or shifted 90 degrees on its axis as is indicated by magnetic field alignment in rock of that period. http://discovermagazine.com/1997/nov/whenearthtumbled1270#.UPs9cCe_GmU

        While that is not conclusive, the Faint Sun Paradox would seem to indicate the orientation of the oceans and continents with respect to solar insulation are a critical consideration. The roughly 70% of the surface that is liquid ocean does provided the energy required to power the atmospheric effect.

        In the second link, the opening of the Drake passage and subsequent closing of the Pamama gateway are considered valid reasons for the cooling from that period and the reduction in atmospheric CO2.

        The third link is by an author that has expression considerable activism which should be separated from a scientific discussion.

    • Robert I Ellison

      Oh please – one suggests chaotic bifurcations between snowball Earth and warmth in from changes in energy inputs, one links purported high temperature 225 million years ago and extinctions and the other is a propaganda piece from James Hansen.

      What I suggest is that instead of merely linking to barely relevant bits of science or other documentation that you actally read something and attempt to frame a coherent argument instead of just twittering on like some (respectfully) ‘beslubbering lily-livered harpy’ on drugs.

      • A fan of *MORE* discourse

        Robert I Ellison asserts: “[Please] attempt to frame a coherent argument instead of just twittering on like some (respectfully) ‘beslubbering lily-livered harpy’ on drugs.”

        OK Robert, at your request, we’ll summarize the literature more explicitly:

        [1]  Both theoretically and observationally, earth-type climates exhibit bistability between snow-ball earth and heat-extinction earth.

        [2]  The paleo record associates high CO2 to total loss of ice-caps and lethal equatorial heat.

        [3]  If [1] and [2] are true, then high levels of anthropogenic CO2 constitute a catastrophic risk of civilization-drowning sea-level rise and lethal equatorial heat.

        Robert I Ellison, the above reasoning may (perhaps) not be correct … and yet the logical coherence of the argument, and its scientific foundations too, both are impeccable, eh? \scriptstyle\rule[2.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}\,\boldsymbol{\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}\,\heartsuit\,{\displaystyle\text{\bfseries!!!}}\,\heartsuit\,\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}}\ \rule[-0.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}

      • Robert I Ellison

        [1] Both theoretically and observationally, earth-type climates exhibit bistability between snow-ball earth and heat-extinction earth.

        The models are chaotic. ‘Lorenz was able to show that even for a simple set of nonlinear equations (1.1), the evolution of the solution could be changed by minute perturbations to the initial conditions, in other words, beyond a certain forecast lead time, there is no longer a single, deterministic solution and hence all forecasts must be treated as probabilistic. The fractionally dimensioned space occupied by the trajectories of the solutions of these nonlinear equations became known as the Lorenz attractor (figure 1), which suggests that nonlinear systems, such as the atmosphere, may exhibit regime-like structures that are, although fully deterministic, subject to abrupt and seemingly random change.’ Strictly speaking – and as the paper states – the models diverge to multiple states on the Lorenz attractors. In the Quaternary – climate has changed typically abruptly from glacials to interglacials and many states in between. The chaotic climate system is characterised by control variables and multiple negative and positive feedbacks. This is quite a fundamentally different concept of the underlying physics of climate.

        [2] The paleo record associates high CO2 to total loss of ice-caps and lethal equatorial heat.

        Temperatues of 50 to 60 degrees C seem unlikely anytime soon. The suggestion is that it was caused by volcanism in the breakup of Pangea. As an analogue or current or likely conditions it fails.

        [3] If [1] and [2] are true, then high levels of anthropogenic CO2 constitute a catastrophic risk of civilization-drowning sea-level rise and lethal equatorial heat.

        Temperature rise from CO2 is at most 0.1 degrees C/decade. Although I often sugested that dynamic complexity creates great uncertainty the evolution of a chaotic climate is very uncertain. The future evolution of the global mean temperature may hold surprises on both the warm and cold ends of the spectrum due entirely to internal variability that lie well outside the envelope of a steadily increasing global mean temperature. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1029/2008GL037022/abstract That was the message of the Slingo and Palmer quote as well.

        But a false certainty and alarmism is silliness of the highest order. It does not promote effective and pragmatic reponses in a world that is not warming.

      • David Springer

        Robert I Ellison | January 19, 2013 at 10:12 pm | Reply

        ” ‘beslubbering lily-livered harpy’ on drugs.”

        You are too kind.

        Seriously. WAY too kind.

      • Fan

        If [1] and [2] are true, then high levels of anthropogenic CO2 constitute a catastrophic risk of civilization-drowning sea-level rise and lethal equatorial heat.

        Yeah.

        But [1] and [2] are not true.

        Max

      • A fan of *MORE* discourse

        Manacker claims (without data, rationality, or citations): “Yeah. But [1] and [2] are not true.”

        Reminder  Climate scientists say that the party’s just getting started. Because we’re seeing more record-breaking heat events than cold events.

        Isn’t that what the data is telling us plainly, Manacker? \scriptstyle\rule[2.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}\,\boldsymbol{\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\frown}\,\diamondsuit\,{\displaystyle\text{\bfseries!!!}}\,\diamondsuit\,\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\frown}}\ \rule[-0.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}

      • Fan

        The “data” show more “extreme heat events” as a result of AGW?

        Realize this is only USA “data”, but let’s look at real US high temperature records by state

        http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/weather/wheat7.htm

        Only 6 were after 1990

        Only 1 was after 2000.

        23 were in the 1930s

        7 were before 1930

        The remaining 13 occurred between 1940 and 1990

        So these “data” are not showing a visible increase in hot extremes.

        Max

      • Bob,

        Why bother? fan is immune to informed, rational discussion. Just look at this comment of his – “the above reasoning may (perhaps) not be correct … and yet the logical coherence of the argument, and its scientific foundations too, both are impeccable, eh?”

        In other words, he pulls statements / claims / hypothesis out of thin air (or some darker, warmer location) and recognizing they could easily be wrong, still thinks he’s made some useful point because – at least for him – it has coherence.

  47. I have to confess the faux and abrupt superiorness and inability to explain themselves without resorting to disdain by some posters is rather off putting, as is the demand for peer reviewed literature for every concept pondered upon or conjecture explored. Many folk come here who are highly educated and skilled in their own areas. They do not need the open antipathy of those with a more narrow if deeper knowledge of some of the more arcane fields, for example certain applications of statistics. Having said that, it is always a pleasure to be informed by those with a real ability to educate others in their specific field or domain. But sadly, just because you know it doesn’t mean you can teach it…

  48. Most people here are dishonest concerning their underlying motives and those motives are always bad–hypocritical at best and usually just lying–e.g., worrying about polar bears is not a left versus right issue. it is not a real issue at all. it’s a make believe concern to mask ulterior motives. the refusal to admit the ‘hockey stick’ is a simple fabrication is ideologically motivated, science be damned.

  49. Steven Mosher | January 19, 2013 at 3:21 pm |

    It’s a self indulgent put down that aims at ending dialogue and it doesn’t even do that. The real question is why are people in denial about it’s efficacy or appropriateness.

    It works in societies that have a history of class stratification. I.E. The UK.
    Of course in the US we have no history of class stratification and people who use the technique…generally British in birth and upbringing end up being universally disliked and ignored in the US. I.E. See petition to deport Piers Morgan. Unfortunately…there is no shortage of English speaking people that believe that because we share a somewhat common language that we share a common culture.

    • Lord Monckton?

      However, the interesting response to the PM petition on the left, was good lord, I hate that guy, why are you making me defend his right to speak?

    • No history of class stratification in the US! Are you kidding? Oh that’s so funny, that you might actually believe that…

      • Sorry, it is true. There has never been a nobility class in America. There are income strata, but people move in and out of those all the time (and even multiple times in their life).

  50. Yr contributions based on deep experience and laced with
    wit are appreciated by many here, though perhaps not by
    some,) Faustino. We are fortunate to have you posting.
    .

  51. Steven Mosher | January 19, 2013 at 3:21 pm |

    BBD.

    denier doesnt work as an effective rhetorical tool. it’s known not to work. Why would people be in denial about that and continue the practice?
    It doesnt work as a description. it doesnt work to persuade. It’s a self indulgent put down that aims at ending dialogue and it doesnt even do that. The real question is why are people in denial about it’s efficacy or appropriateness.
    =====================
    You don’t understand the purpose. Why do they come to the blog in the first place? Is it to persuade? No. There are other possibilities that have nothing to do with making the case and winning debate points.

    • Steven Mosher

      “You don’t understand the purpose. Why do they come to the blog in the first place? Is it to persuade? No. There are other possibilities that have nothing to do with making the case and winning debate points”

      #############

      I’m well aware of the other purposes. Usually,folks don’t want to talk about them. Usually, folks want to defend it as a perfectly reasonable descriptive term.

  52. The fault, dear Judith is not in your readers but in yourself.

    As Tony Watts is discovering giving a platform to every crank, attracts others and objecting to others pointing this out leaves one spitting into the wind. Keep on doing it long enough and folks start walking the other way when they see you. It takes a long time to repair that sort of damage.

    • Dear Bunny, you say, ” giving a platform to every crank, attracts others”. Do you own a mirror, Eli.

      • Judith and Tony have featured multiple posts from, let us say, well south of the river. Eli does not recall any such at Rabett Run.

      • Eli, if need be I will loan you a bottle of Windex.

      • Eli, sorry for being so rude – I forgot to ask if you wanted the Windex overnighted or will regular mail suffice. Self-reflection is not indulgent.

      • Scott Basinger

        Thankfully, this isn’t the echo chamber that Rabett Run is, and has a much broader audience.

      • Steven Mosher

        Eli, I think Bob is suggesting with good cause that the person who runs the warren might be the crank.

      • Bob,

        I’d be indebted to you if you find a post on RR that could come even close to Tony’s recent credulousness re; the ‘article’ written by a known crank, appearing in a crank ‘journal’ about life in outer space.

      • Moshpit said, “Eli, I think Bob is suggesting with good cause that the person who runs the warren might be the crank.”

        Which one?

      • Michael, there are too many to list. The reason his blog is so insignificant (by traffic and comments) is because he is so utterly predictable. Look at a recent one on the SLAPP/anti -SLAPP Mann situation. Look at his defense of Monet. Without question, Eli is one smart bunny, but his raw intelligence always places a distant second to his ideology. It is perfectly fine to defend controversial issues, but no one with even a modicum of intelligence devoid of an ideological bent should defend Mann. In his inner depth, and I hope yours as well, he must realize that MBH98 & 99 are indefensible, yet he persists. That is ideological malice my friend. Mann is disgraceful, scientifically and otherwise, and if persists on defending such obvious rubbish what does that say about him and the rest of his blog. How about Gleick – and the list goes on. With respect to Anthony, did he not caution his readers upfront that essentially the story was fantastic? ( I use fantastic in its pure definition). The bunny is bright, the bunny is witty, but he is a one way street my friend. I would enjoy reading his blog if I thought he had the chutzpah to call out the bad ones once in a while. The bunny has got to recognize a rotten carrot when it hits its incisors. Michael, surely you realize I am not alone in this view.

      • Bob,

        Since you find Eli so predictable, would you mind telling us what will be the topic of his next ten posts?

        ***

        You say:

        > In his inner depth, and I hope yours as well, he must realize that MBH98 & 99 are indefensible, yet he persists.

        Indeed, see for your yourself how Eli persists:

        > As to MBH98, it was the first multiproxy study, the statistical method was adequate but not ideal, many pioneering papers do something like that. Certainly McIntyre and McKitrick were misleading (being of a charitable bent) in their claims about the tendency to find hockey sticks in noise. For a full discussion of this see Nick Stokes.

        http://rabett.blogspot.ca/2013/01/annoying-auditors.html?showComment=1357692218814

        For the full discussion by Nick Stokes, see:

        http://moyhu.blogspot.ca/2011/06/effect-of-selection-in-wegman-report.html

        Please tell us what you think about Nick’s post, and beware that you were saying something about “calling your own” to be deemed interesting to read.

        I hope your response will be interesting to read, Bob.

      • Eli:

        Certainly McIntyre and McKitrick were misleading (being of a charitable bent) in their claims about the tendency to find hockey sticks in noise.

        McIntyre and McKitrick’s discovery (reported in their 2005 GRL paper) about the tendency of the MBH algorithm to select hockeystick-shaped “PC1″s from trend-less noise has been checked independently (eg Huybers comment on their 2005 paper).

      • Brandon Shollenberger

        oneuniverse, it’s also worth pointing Nick Stokes’s discussion linked to in the same comment is deceptive. A basic fact about the process of generating hockey sticks in that post is the orientation of the hockey stick is irrelevant. “Upside down” hockey sticks would just get flipped right side up in a different step. That means the orientation of the generated hockey sticks shouldn’t be made an issue.

        But Stokes makes it one. If you look at his “decentered, not selected” graph, you’ll see it has upside down hockey sticks. If you look at any of his “selected” graphs, you’ll see they do not. This creates a larger visual discrepancy than would exist if both graphs were handled fairly. That discrepancy is completely unrelated to the matter being discussed, and thus introducing it creates a false impression. That makes it deceptive.

        The reason it happened is innocent enough. The selection process used selects not the series with the strongest hockey sticks, but rather, the series with the highest hockey stick index. That is, it limits itself to positively oriented graphs, effectively performing the “flip” that would happen in later steps of the overall process. When Stokes didn’t select series that way, he effectively left out the “flip” step.

        It’s understandable, but it is also deceptive. As I’ve pointed out to him before, if he changed the “decentered, not selected” graph to only show positively oriented hockey sticks (either by screening or flipping), it would greatly weaken his presentation.

      • Hi Brandon,

        While I do believe I see your point, I don’t agree that Nick’s choice not to flip was deceptive, since the whole point of his post was to highlight the difference between method used to create the Wegman report’s Figure 4.4, which misleadingly appears to be presented by the report as a representative sample, and a truly representative (random) sample.

        I did briefly consider when plotting my own random samples whether I should flip those with negative HSI to present a more visually-processable images, but chose against it, as ‘flipping’ was already part of the problem as I saw it (explained below) – I decided to stick with a purely random sample, considering it as the least contentious and most informative.

        I consider the fact that Wegman showed a chart of 12 ‘top 100′ hockey sticks (selected by sorting by HSI) as if they were a random sample to be misleading or deceptive in two ways :
        1. The samples weren’t randomly chosen, but selected for the presence of hockey sticks.
        2. The chart only included ‘positive’ hockey sticks, whereas the MBH method tends to select both positive and negative hockey sticks (depending on how the random data turned out). It can therefore be argued that, by showing only positive hockey sticks, Wegman avoided weakening the visual impact of the presentation.

      • Sorry about the typos and sleep-walking text.

      • Brandon Shollenberger

        oneuniverse, if we consider Nick Stokes silence on the matter non-deceptive, I’m going to have to argue the Wegman Report was non-deceptive as well. Nothing in the report said Figure 4.4 showed random samples. In fact, the discussion on the page suggested the opposite:

        Discussion: Because the red noise time series have a correlation of 0.2, some of these time series will turn upwards [or downwards] during the ‘calibration’ period6 and the MBH98 methodology will selectively emphasize these upturning [or downturning] time series.

        You’ll note it refers to negatively oriented hockey sticks twice. The fact none are shown strongly suggests the figure is not a representative sample. That would mean there is no deception involved.

        I disagree with that argument, of course, but it is based on the same approach as defending Nick Stokes. Nick Stokes didn’t just choose not to flip the negatively oriented graphs. That could be defended, and it would certainly not be inherently deceptive. What he did was worse, and it was deceptive: He ignored the issue.

        Discussing the effect of a change in methodology requires you discuss what was changed. Nick Stokes didn’t do that. He acknowledged the orientation doesn’t matter, saying, “In the PCA analysis, sign doesn’t matter,” but he then created a visual effect largely dependent upon that irrelevance. And he didn’t say what he did.

        The Wegman Report’s Figure 4.4 was deceptive because it didn’t fully describe relevant details. Nick Stokes did the same thing. If one is bad, so is the other. If one is okay, so is the other. You cannot justify hiding relevant details in one case while condemning it in another.

      • Brandon: You’ll note it refers to negatively oriented hockey sticks twice. The fact none are shown strongly suggests the figure is not a representative sample.

        It’s not as clear-cut as that, since another possible guess (although we now know that it wasn’t so) would have been that the authors had taken a random sample and flipped the negative-HSI PC1s. That IMO would have been a more reasonable guess, since it would have been informative and fair (as long as one knew the distribution of the HSI was symmetrical about 0, a fact presented earlier to the reader in fig. 4.2.)

        The Wegman report failed to disclose that fig.4.4 was created by selecting for high-HSI PC1s. Nick Stoke’s post showed that such selection by HSI pulls out hockey sticks even from the results of the centered runs.

        (In the comments to Nick’s post, I do point out that this hockey-stick selection ability of sorting by HSI fades away to almost nothing when used on AR1 data with low values of the lag-one coefficient (processed with the centered algorithm). In contrast, MBH’s decentered method still tends to create hockey stick shaped PC1′s from the same data. However, that doesn’t serve as a defense for the Wegman report’s blunder, nor was it meant to.)

        Brandon: Discussing the effect of a change in methodology requires you discuss what was changed. Nick Stokes didn’t do that.

        The Wegman report didn’t flip negative hockey sticks for fig.4.4 (or at any point) – it sorted by HSI and selected positive hockey sticks. Why should Nick have to discuss and defend not flipping, when it wasn’t present in the original method?

        Brandon: The Wegman Report’s Figure 4.4 was deceptive because it didn’t fully describe relevant details. Nick Stokes did the same thing. If one is bad, so is the other.

        I disagree that Nick did the same thing. Unlike for the Wegman report, there’s no need to guess how Nick created his charts – he disclosed that he took random samples for one set, and sorted by HSI for the other.

      • I wrote at 9.14 pm: “[..] ‘flipping’ was already part of the problem as I saw it [..] “.

        For accuracy, I should’ve written: “[..] the presentation of only ‘positive’ hockey sticks was already part of the problem as I saw it [..] “

      • Brandon Shollenberger

        oneuniverse:

        It’s not as clear-cut as that, since another possible guess (although we now know that it wasn’t so) would have been that the authors had taken a random sample and flipped the negative-HSI PC1s. That IMO would have been a more reasonable guess, since it would have been informative and fair (as long as one knew the distribution of the HSI was symmetrical about 0, a fact presented earlier to the reader in fig. 4.2.)

        Huh? I agree that would have been “another possible guess,” but how would it have been “informative and fair”? You said only selecting positively oriented hockey sticks was deceptive. You now say flipping negatively oriented hockey sticks so they’re positively oriented would be fair. There is no practical difference between those two.

        If anything, allowing negatively oriented hockey sticks to be flipped would have increased the visual impact over only selecting positively oriented ones as it would double the population to pick the top 12 from. That means what you call “fair” would do exactly what you say made Figure 4.4 deceptive in your point 2.

        Don’t get me wrong. I agree it would be fair. I just don’t see how it would be fair but the effectively identical process used for Figure 4.4 was deceptive.

        The Wegman report failed to disclose that fig.4.4 was created by selecting for high-HSI PC1s. Nick Stoke’s post showed that such selection by HSI pulls out hockey sticks even from the results of the centered runs.

        No, he didn’t. A hockey stick has a (relatively) flat shaft. Mann wouldn’t have had a hockey stick graph if earlier periods were as warm as the current period, and that’s the case in a number of the “hockey sticks” Nick Stokes found.

        The Wegman report didn’t flip negative hockey sticks for fig.4.4 (or at any point) – it sorted by HSI and selected positive hockey sticks. Why should Nick have to discuss and defend not flipping, when it wasn’t present in the original method?

        The very process of “select[ing] positive hockey sticks” requires not flipping them. MM’s method restricted values to a positive range. The fact it did so implicitly rather than explicitly doesn’t change the fact it did it. It doesn’t change the fact Nick Stokes allowed negative values when MM didn’t. Stokes changed the methodology.

        I disagree that Nick did the same thing. Unlike for the Wegman report, there’s no need to guess how Nick created his charts

        Look at my above paragraph. You gave an inaccurate description of the difference between the two methodologies used. Clearly, the issue needs to be discussed and described.

      • You said only selecting positively oriented hockey sticks was deceptive.

        I actually said “misleading or deceptive”, trying to accomodate your use of the word “deceptive”. I should’ve phrased myself better so there was no chance of misunderstanding, even by the most determined. My view is that it was misleading.

        You now say flipping negatively oriented hockey sticks so they’re positively oriented would be fair.

        I said flipping the negatively-oriented hockey sticks in a randomly selected sample would be informative and fair as long as the fact of the symmetrical distribution of the HSI around 0 was also presented. Do you disagree?

        If anything, allowing negatively oriented hockey sticks to be flipped would have increased the visual impact over only selecting positively oriented ones as it would double the population to pick the top 12 from.

        I wrote of flipping the negative-HSI series in a random sample, not a sample picked as a ‘top 12′.

        The very process of “select[ing] positive hockey sticks” requires not flipping them.

        It also requires not reversing them, or setting them to some arbitrary constant, for example. It requires not doing an infinite number of things also not done by Wegman.

        MM’s method restricted values to a positive range. The fact it did so implicitly rather than explicitly doesn’t change the fact it did it. It doesn’t change the fact Nick Stokes allowed negative values when MM didn’t. Stokes changed the methodology.

        What are you referring to by “MM’s method”, and what values were restricted to a positive range?

        MM’s method (the centered PCA) creates PC1s with both positive and negative HSI, as can be seen from MM05′s fig. 2 histogram (and the Wegman report’s fig. 4.2 histogram).

      • Woa.. I’ve re-posted the above comment, with formatting corrected, on the Open Thread, where it’s hopefully not so O/T.

  53. My Blog commenting etiquette:

    Do to others whatever you would like them to do to you.

  54. If it wasn’t for all the tax money taken from all of the tax payers and wasted on all the government scientists we would not all be involved in all of these discussions we all would not be discussing any of this. That’s really all there is to it all because when you get right down to it there isn’t anyone who really is at all afraid of global warming. It’s all a big hoax.

  55. So what is a “troll” exactly?
    Just a would-be put-down term for someone who won’t buckle down and just agree with you, dammit?

    • Tomcat, you write “So what is a “troll” exactly?”

      The term predates blogs and the internet, and goes back to one of the first international hookups, Usenet. What some people, looking for something to do, did, was to watch the traffic for a few days, and then put up a one controversial message each. They would then count to see which message generated the most counter messages, and the one which had the highest number, won.

      So, to me, basicly a troll is someone who is posting, not to generate sensible discussion, but to be controversial, and see how much disruption can be caused.

    • Yeah, the very last thing we want is controversy. What we want is settled views science, right? To ban the friggin’ trolls.

    • *So* ban ….

  56. A fan of *MORE* discourse

    Judith Curry asks: “Let me know if you have any suggestions. Thanks for your continued constructive participation here.”

    Suggestion  Before clicking “submit”, verify that your post has zero checks by the following criteria.

    ————————————
    Do NOT post your climate-change opinions if they contain
    ——————
    ☐  immorally short-sighted economics
    ☐  amoral market-first reasoning
    ——————
    ☐  slogan-based pseudo-mathematics
    ☐  outsider physical theories
    ——————
    ☐  personalization of issues
    ☐  personal abuse, scatology, obscenity, profanity
    ——————
    ☐  conspiracy theories
    ☐  claims of persecution
    ——————
    ☐  slogan-shouting
    ☐  appeals to ideological dogma
    ——————
    ☐  cherry-picking
    ☐  semantic quibbling
    ————————————

    Note  This checklist is a huge time-saver … it permits *some* climate-change weblogs to be skipped entirely!

    It’s true that if James Hansen’s climate-change worldview proves to be scientifically correct, then strict adherence to the above standards will leave climate-change skeptics/contrarians/denialists with little or nothing to say … but that’s precisely as it should be, eh? \scriptstyle\rule[2.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}\,\boldsymbol{\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}\,\heartsuit\,{\displaystyle\text{\bfseries!!!}}\,\heartsuit\,\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}}\ \rule[-0.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}

    • You forgot : do not post views with an underlying politics-first agenda.
      If that rules out the politically funded consensus, so be it. That is precisely as it should be.

    • fan,

      you left off “artifices most often used by 14 year old girls”.

      Also, whose morals do we use for the first two items you list?

    • Fan

      You’ve graced us with your concept of an “don’t do” etiquette list.

      Let me give you my critique.

      ☐ immorally short-sighted economics
      ☐ amoral market-first reasoning
      These two should be removed from the list. There is nothing “immoral” or “amoral” about cost-benefit analyses / economics or market-based reasoning. It simply is what it is.

      ☐ slogan-based pseudo-mathematics
      This cuts both ways, Fanny, and IPCC is one of the main culprits. Bogus mathematics get exposed, so this is self-correcting.

      ☐ outsider physical theories
      Forget this one, Fanny. The “outsider” theory of today may end up being the new “paradigm” of tomorrow. A goofy theory will get exposed as such, so this problem is self-correcting.

      ☐ personalization of issues
      ☐ personal abuse, scatology, obscenity, profanity
      Agreed. All “ad-homs” should be no-no’s. And there are more ways than just one to call someone an “idiot”.

      ☐ conspiracy theories
      This is an overplayed theme. I believe that no one really thinks there is a formal conspiracy (on either side). A better expression might be a “collusion of interests”, but I know that some posters accuse others of evoking a “conspiracy” when, in actual fact, they have done no such thing.

      ☐ claims of persecution
      Agreed. Anyone who feels “persecuted” by a blogging adversary probably has other psychological problems. However, if this person has been subjected to personal abuse (see above), there can be reason to feel being mistreated.

      ☐ slogan-shouting
      ☐ appeals to ideological dogma
      These are a bit nebulous. If someone warns that catastrophic AGW will soon strike us unless we change our life styles and curtail our sinful GHG emissions, is this “slogan-shouting”? Is it an “appeal to ideological dogma”? I do not think that these two are important “non-no’s”.

      ☐ cherry-picking
      One person’s careful selection of representative data or elimination of non-representative outliers is another’s “cherry picking”. IPCC AR4 is full of these examples. If one can provide evidence to show that the conclusions reached only work within the selected, very limited data range, then this is evidence of “cherry picking” the range, so this “non-no” takes care of itself

      ☐ semantic quibbling
      In any debate, semantics are important. Many disagreements get resolved once both parties agree on the terms being discussed. But incessant quibbling or parsing words leads nowhere and should be avoided.

      So I’d cut your list down to the essential two or three real “non-no’s” and let the rest take care of themselves.

      Max

      • Max,

        RE this: “there are more ways than just one to call someone an “idiot”.”

        Agreed. And thanks to fan one can exercise a good number of them.

    • PS to Fan

      Looks like I slipped into French with my spelling of “non-no’s”, but you know what I mean.

  57. And do not post yr climate change posts if they contain lots and
    lots of little pink hearts and cutesy faces with circle eyes and triangle
    noses and …

  58. Oh I forgot ! :: grin::

  59. A requirement – not suggestion – to stay on topic would improve the comment section dramatically. When you come by a few times and notice that every blog post is followed by the same people arguing the same off-topic disputes over and over, it’s hard to justify coming back for more.

    A few thoughts. Any skeptic-friendly blog would benefit from banning any mention of hockey sticks, or any -gate, or any quote or link to anything Feynman ever wrote. That point has been made – move on. If comments stayed on topic, I wouldn’t be bothered by the inclusion of personal insults. But if three out of every five comments is off topic, I don’t care how well mannered the debate is. Sometimes, a commenter is both wrong and acting like a dink. But if you use a blog post discussing a paper about sea surface temperatures to rant about the virtues of mathematical models or institutional skullduggry, there’s no where to go.

    Take home message: This is Dr Curry’s blog – if you don’t like her topics, start your own blog.

  60. Blog etiquette #1 :post to the topic. Looking through the comments how come the topic of tobacco and lung cancer took up 20% plus of the comment space on this thread?

  61. I have always seen your blog as “free wheeling”. I chalked that up to just the fact you do not have time to moderate it and keep it civil. I hope you succeed in your current guidelines. But also hope that you can do so without sacrificing too much of your time.

  62. Tomas Milanovic

    I thought that I could comment on the matter of the use of words “denial”, “denier”, “deny” which is generally source of endless pseudo philosophical shoutings.

    I follow here the definition and the way I understand that :
    to deny : to state that (something declared or believed to be true) is not true: e.g to deny an accusation

    So from that it should have been obvious that saying only “you deny” or “you are a denier” is absolutely meaningless. Indeed one can only deny something. Only a person denying everything, and such person can’t exist, could be called a denier without the necessary specification.

    Follows that somebody using the noun or verb witout the necessary specification is aiming for something else than an accurate use of vocabulary.
    As for me, for example, I have read so much trash in the WG2 of IPCC that I can design myself as a denier of the WG2 without any problem.
    I am also denier of many other things (f.ex marxism, continuous creation, Lorenz invariance breaking theories etc).
    That’s why I have not really a problem with the qualification of denier.

    Of course I realize that for americans the word “denier” alone (e.g without specification) is probably used as shorthand for “denier of the elimination of jews during the WWII” or something similar. Now for me who am not a native english speaker, this sounds like nonsense because if somebody tells me “X is a denier”, my first reaction is to ask “And what does he deny ?”
    Perhaps some people like to establish a kind of ambiguity in their statements, I don’t know – sounds anti-scientific to me.

    So to be clear, I am a denier like everybody else but the set of statements that I deny needs of course a much longer argument to explain why I deny some and don’t deny others.

    Another point I would like to do Judith , is that I appreciate you beginning to look in the troll and 1 liner problem .
    I participate less on CEtc now than in the past.
    One reason is that I am not so much interested in sociological or philosophical issues – I preferred the more technical threads in the beginnings of CEtc.
    The other reason is that, indeed, the 1 liners and trolls are more frequent than in the past.
    I wouldn’t exclude the hypothesis that both observations are correlated.

    • Tomas,

      You need to understand that “denier” isn’t meant to be precise, scientific language. It’s meant to be a rhetorical device. Anyone using the term has already crossed the bridge from cool, rational scientific discourse to emotive rhetorical warfare.

      BTW, this is precisely why the social science threads are relevant. The answer to why people resort to this kind of aggressive, emotive language can’t be found in the natural sciences; it’s to be found in the social sciences (unless you want to consider psychology to be a natural science).

    • A fan of *MORE* discourse

      Tomas Milanovic remarks  “I thought that I could comment on the matter of the use of words “denial”, “denier”, “deny” which is generally source of endless pseudo philosophical shoutings.”

      There is of course a substantial (and well-respected) scientific literature, encompassing many thousands of articles, on the study of denial in its irrational cognitive aspects, and specifically in regard to the deliberate cultivation of denial by commercial and political interests.

      Indeed, right here on Climate Etc we see the irrational embrace of denialist “outsider” thermodynamical theories of climate-change, by the members of Principia Scientific International (PSI), which persists even in the face of strong scientific evidence.

      Conclusion There is no reason to avoid the term “denial” in discussions of climate change, because examples of denialist cognition (both native denialism, and denialism that is purposefully cultivated by corporate and political interests) are readily found.

      Most importantly, in the long run, denialist beliefs yield to science, for one simple reason: Nature cannot be fooled.

      Isn’t that right, Tomas? \scriptstyle\rule[2.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}\,\boldsymbol{\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}\,\heartsuit\,{\displaystyle\text{\bfseries!!!}}\,\heartsuit\,\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}}\ \rule[-0.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}

      • You can’t reason very well, can you? How many ways are you wrong? Let’s start.

        First, you reason that because a couple of people who frequent this forum hold non-scientific opinions on some subjects. And evidently, that makes everyone here also scientifically ignorant? A “denialist”?

        Let’s see, I can look at your side of the argument and see several sloppy scientists who are petty and who lie. So that must mean you are also sloppy, petty, and lie, right? In fact, given that we’re all human, I’d bet that a few people on your side of the argument are embezzlers, so that means that you people are all embezzlers, right?

        Second, you throw in “deliberate cultivation of denial by commercial interests”. Hmmm, let’s see… which side of the argument actually gets millions of dollars per year from Big Oil? Turns out it’s your side of the argument. Who is getting millions of dollars a year in grants? Your side. Who is getting huge government loans and subsidies? Your side. So who has the commercial interest?

        Third, you mention “political interests”. Who wants a larger role for their people to overrule sovereign nations? Your side. Who wants to make energy so expensive that only the rich can afford it? Your side. Who has proposed that we have to cull the human population on Mother Earth? Your side.

        Last, I’ve run out of time, and all we’ve discussed is your lack of reasoning abilities — we haven’t had time to address your scientific knowledge, if any.

      • A fan of *MORE* discourse

        Wayne2 asserts  [rant redacted]

        ——————
        Evaluation of the post
        ☒  cherry-picking,
        ☒  slogan-shouting,
        ☒  semantic quibbling,
        ☒  immorally short-sighted economics,
        ☒  amoral market-first reasoning,
        ☐  “outsider” physics,
        ☒  personalization,
        ☒  abuse,
        ☒  paranoia, and
        ☒  conspiracy theories.

        Note  Wayne2 imputes opinions to “you” and “your side” that are found in none of my Climate Etc. posts.
        ——————

        Wayne2, your post missed a perfect score solely because it had no “outsider physics” in it. Perhaps you and Doug Cotton should collaborate?

        \scriptstyle\rule[2.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}\,\boldsymbol{\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}\,\heartsuit\,{\displaystyle\text{\bfseries!!!}}\,\heartsuit\,\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}}\ \rule[-0.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}

    • Tomas Milanovic

      Science is a construct of man. Man is a social being. So man’s choosing of what observations to conserve and what to reject has, at least, in part, a social context. How man views an observation is relevant to the discussion; hence the Wild West blogosphere, including Judith Curry’s.

      Yet, there is another component to the blog: informing others. This processes is not formal nor didactic, yet it works, at least for me. I pick and choose whom I listen to, whom, I consider honest. I always surprise myself as I see a point here or there from a source whom I had previously disregarded.

      To be sure, there are fact sources that I study: you being one of those. I mull and consider, and search, to fill the gaps in my understanding, language, and concepts. I view what I obtain from reading this blog as a sort of online University and that I need to be an omnivorous consumer. My internal sorting and emphasis occurs in a political environment as well so it is the whole “gimish” that I take away and ponder.

      More of your input is welcomed by me.

  63. People who use the word deny or denier are attempting to do so not just from a position of being right, but also of being ethically and morally superior. They tend to be people with limited cognitive ability, poor social skills and little knowledge of real life…

  64. Robert I Ellison

    Supercilious moralistic tripe from a ‘secular humanist’ sans any concrete policy notions at all. Did you even read the first few pages?

    How about – pragmatic and realisitc proposals and less of the tedious posturing. – http://thebreakthrough.org/archive/climate_pragmatism_innovation -

    ‘Future historians of efforts to address climate change will almost certainly look back on 2010 as the end of one era and the beginning of another. The first began with the creation of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Rio de Janeiro in 1992 and ended with the negotiation of the Copenhagen Accord in December 2009. By the Cancún talks in late 2010, the emphasis of international negotiations had shifted from efforts to establish legally binding emissions limits to more modest agreements to invest in new energy technology, transfer technology among nations, and support climate resilience efforts in the developing world.

    If efforts in this direction are redoubled, this shift of priorities could redeem international climate cooperation. What’s more, as the old framework has collapsed, new American leadership to address global energy, economic, and environmental challenges also becomes
    possible. In recognition of this reality, a group of scholars and analysts recently convened in Washington, DC to discuss the potential for renewed American engagement on climate change and the development of a strategy that’s effectiveness, paradoxically, would not depend on any agreement about climate science and the risks posed by uncontrolled greenhouse gas emissions. Climate Pragmatism is the result of that meeting and is co-authored by several of the same scholars who produced The Hartwell Paper.*

    The old climate framework failed because it would have imposed substantial costs associated with climate mitigation policies on developed nations today in exchange for climate benefits far off in the future — benefits whose attributes, magnitude, timing, and distribution
    are not knowable with certainty. Since they risked slowing economic growth in many emerging economies, efforts to extend the Kyoto-style UNFCCC framework to developing nations predictably deadlocked as well.

    The new framework now emerging will succeed to the degree to which it prioritizes agreements that promise near-term economic, geopolitical, and environmental benefits to political economies around the world, while simultaneously reducing climate forcings, developing clean and affordable energy technologies, and improving societal resilience to
    climate impacts. This new approach recognizes that continually deadlocked international negotiations and failed domestic policy proposals bring no climate benefit at all. It accepts that only sustained effort to build momentum through politically feasible forms of action
    will lead to accelerated decarbonization.’

    I very much fear you are part of the problem and not part of the solution FOMBS.

  65. +1 ter the new approach, Chief Hydrologist.

  66. Willis Eschenbach

    Brandon Shollenberger | January 23, 2013 at 1:24 am |

    Willis Eschenbach, you are remarkable in your consistency:

    My meaning is perfectly clear—why are you so intent on attacking me?

    Intent on attacking you? I have no desire to attack you. I was responding to something you said.

    Well, let’s see where my name first came up in your comments, shall we? Here’s how you began the discussion. I made a comment opposing the practice of posting anonymously. Pretty bland, I thought, and Brandon, your name was nowhere mentioned. In response, you replied:

    I find this comment [of Willis's] disturbing given how uncivil you are Willis. You’re a shining example of why a lack of anonymity isn’t going to solve anything.

    All it will do is chase off some people (including civil ones).

    But you’re not attacking me, no, no … after three people come back to defend me, you return to tell us you are amazed that anyone on this green planet would defend me … while at the same time calling calling me a bigot.

    Sheesh. I never thought other people would defend Eschenbach’s “civility.” I think one of the first times I called him out on his behavior was in response to this comment where he practically spouted off bigotry.

    Bear in mind, Brandon, that up to that point, I had never mentioned your name … but you were already in rabid poodle mode, attacking my ankles for all you were worth.

    Then you went on, and quoted Joshua approvingly …

    Same style, same level of vitriol, same propensity for distortions and inaccurate generalizations, same conclusions drawn without sufficient evidence that you’ll see in the majority of his posts and comments.

    You also accused me of calling you “delusional” … but curiously, in the citation you provided, I never once used that word. Not once. You made it up.

    Let me say again, Brandon, that up until that point I had not said a single word about you.

    So your claim, that you are a poor abused fellow “just responding to something I said”, some kind of nice guy, an injured innocent, a misunderstood man who never, ever would attack me, is a load of steaming excrement.

    You’ve been in attack mode since you uncapped your electronic pen. So why are you squirming around trying to deny it now? Even if you won’t discuss the science, you should at least have the balls to stand behind your attack, Brandon.

    w.

    • Brandon Shollenberger

      Willis Eschenbach, why do you constantly misrepresent what people say?

      But you’re not attacking me, no, no … after three people come back to defend me, you return to tell us you are amazed that anyone on this green planet would defend me … while at the same time calling calling me a bigot.

      I never said I wasn’t attacking you. I said I wasn’t “intent on attacking you.” Being intent on attacking you would require I be fired up or determined to do it. There’s no reason to think I’m that. You were wrong to say I am that. You’re now wrong to misrepresent what I said. Put simply, you made something up, and when I called you out on it, you misrepresented what was being said in a way that let you avoid admitting you were wrong.

      Bear in mind, Brandon, that up to that point, I had never mentioned your name … but you were already in rabid poodle mode, attacking my ankles for all you were worth.

      You call me making a few passing remarks made in a neutral tone “rabid poodle mode.” Not only is this an obvious misrepresentation, it’s absurd given the relative tones of our comments.

      You also accused me of calling you “delusional” … but curiously, in the citation you provided, I never once used that word. Not once. You made it up.

      This is yet another obvious misrepresentation. You portray me as making something up because you didn’t use the word “delusional.” Your entire position rests on the fact you didn’t use a particular word. My position rests on a much more sensible fact. Namely, that when I said the word “data” is used a certain way by thousands of programmers, you said:

      Would programmers disagree as you state? Sure, because they think that their computer models are reality.

      You said tens thousands of programmers use a word a certain way “because they think that their computer models are reality.” That’s a delusional belief. Ergo, you called tens of thousands of programmers delusional. I’m one of those programmers. Ergo, you called me delusional.

      So your claim, that you are a poor abused fellow “just responding to something I said”, some kind of nice guy, an injured innocent, a misunderstood man who never, ever would attack me, is a load of steaming excrement.

      I’ve never made this claim. I’ve never said anything like it. You are flagrantly making this up.

      Even if you won’t discuss the science, you should at least have the balls to stand behind your attack, Brandon.

      You’d almost have to be a liar to make things up this consistently. I directly challenged you to point to any science I’ve avoided discussing. You ignored that (like you ignored other things I said), repeated your accusation and insulted me.

      It’s mind-boggingly you could so consistently misrepresent what I say, often while ignoring the clarifications I offer. If you are not crazy, you are, at the very least, intellectually dishonest.

      • Willis Eschenbach

        OK, Brandon, so let me see if I have this right.

        You are definitely not “intent on attacking” me, you have “no interest in [me]“, you have no interest in my science … you’re just saying that I’m a bigot and if I”m “not crazy, [I am], at the very least, intellectually dishonest”.

        You don’t care about me in the slightest, but you are forced to act, because you can’t stand that I’m so krool to some random third party you never met, you say you “can’t accept that” … yeah, I know what you mean. I hate it when my innate nobility kicks in like that and forces me to go stick my nose into other peoples’ discussions …

        Is that it? You’re not intent on attacking me, you have no interest in me, so presumably it’s just a coincidence that you call me a crazy, intellectually dishonest bigot?

        This just gets better and better, Brandon. Any other zany ideas you’d care to share with us? All of this is my fault? My friend, as I showed above, you were well down the path of insulting and attacking me before I said one damn word about you. Absent time travel, I’d say that’s on you.

        w.

      • Brandon Shollenberger

        Willis Eschenbach:

        OK, Brandon, so let me see if I have this right.

        You don’t. As is your penchant, you exaggerate and misrepresent things to bolster your insults. I’d list examples but you chose to ignore half a dozen direct accusations of misrepresentation while making your current comment. If you won’t address the multitude of points that have already been raised, there’s no reason to think you’d address any new points I could make.

        I don’t think anyone else is interested at this point, and I’m sure Curry wouldn’t want this to continue. As such, unless you stop making intellectually dishonest comments based upon selective responses and intentional exaggeration, I’m not going to continue trying to have a discussion with you.

        But I do want to share a thought: I talked about you for one reason. I found the idea of you being presented as a civil commenter absurd. You’ve shown I was right. In fact, at one point I think you even admitted I was.

    • Why don’t you two kiss and make up? You both have fabulous and unique minds, but you’re both wasting them with this petit bickering. I value both your contributions highly, but I quit watching this dogfight awhile ago. Two, too evenly matched.
      ========

      • Imagine this pair in harness!
        ======

      • Brandon Shollenberger

        kim, if you think this is an even exchange even though one person constantly makes things up about the other as the basis for insults… you should reconsider.

        Regardless, the reason Eschenbach and I won’t “kiss and make up” is it’s not limited to exchanges between the two of us. He makes over-the-top comments laden with unreasonable insults and misrepresentations on a semi-regular basis. It’s not just me he levels them against. It’s lots of people. Even if he didn’t do it to me, I’d still see him do it to others. I can’t accept that.

        If he has something to contribute on a subject I’m interested in, I’ll happily look at it (contrary to his false claims of me avoiding his science). But beyond that, I have no interest in him.

      • Willis Eschenbach

        Thanks, Kim. When a man comes along and calls me an intellectually dishonest bigot, hey, I’m gonna defend myself. It may very well be of no interest at all to you, I can easily understand that. But to me, this is some blowhard trying his best to trash my reputation. Is your advice that I should just let him spread his venom around with no attempt to prevent his many misconceptions from being believed by others?

        All the best,

        w.

      • I’ll add my endorsement.

        I for one have developed a high opinion of both Willis and Brandon. From such bickering one thinks of egos unleashed. Both of you are accomplished and respected enough to forego spiffs on essentially unimportant stuff. I’ll pass on a piece of advice my mom was always giving me – one I still need a lot of work on, btw – “Don’t sweat the small stuff.”

        Moms – still the best source of guidence in the world.

  67. Willis and Brandon, a fabulous example of a pointless exchange and poor blog etiquette. I’ll allow it on this thread, but if I saw an exchange like this on a technical thread, the whole thing would be deleted.

    • Brandon Shollenberger

      For what little it’s worth, I wouldn’t have an exchange like this on a technical thread. Also, if I had a choice, I wouldn’t take it out of the fork it was started in. I like to keep things like this contained to a single spot where people can easily skip over it.

      That said, I do have a problem with dropping things. I feel obliged to respond to things even when I don’t think anything will come of it. I don’t mean to take things too far, but I often don’t know where I should stop.

      Sorry for creating messes like this.

      • Well, they’re both sitting in a tree, but I’m not sure they should share the same branch. Mebbe neighboring ones.
        ======================

    • Willis Eschenbach

      Thanks, Judith. As with Brandon, I’d avoid this on a technical thread.

      I would add that perhaps in your world defending your reputation is a “pointless exchange”. Perhaps on your planet when someone like Brandon, someone who swings some weight, calls you a “bigot” before you’ve even said a word about him, you can afford to just ignore it.

      I’m not in that privileged a position, buttressed by a PhD and a cushy university job. I don’t have tenure and all that that implies.

      All I have is my reputation, and yes, Judith, you can be sure that I will defend and explain it to the best of my ability. For example, in a previous thread I took a deliberate position on the Christianity question for a particular reason, and I’m sure that many people misunderstood it. Brandon, for example, mistook it for “bigotry”. So yes, I took the time to clear that up, to show that accusations of anti-religious bigotry against me are groundless … and no, taking the time to explain my position to prevent such large misunderstandings is not “poor blog etiquette” as you accuse.

      I’d be a fool not to take the time. For me, explaining my position to avoid misunderstandings and to demonstrate that accusations against me are baseless is as far from a “pointless exchange” as you can get.

      So before you rush to delete a similar exchange on a future thread, let me request that you consider that not everyone enjoys the privilege you have, of being in a position where you are much more situated to ignore such attacks and accusations.

      My best to you,

      w.

      • Willis, no one enjoys reading a blogospheric p**ing match (well, at least not anyone who is interested in serious discussion). No one bothers to figure out who started it, etc etc., it just makes both participants look bad and overall lose credibility.

      • I contemplate the conflagrations the pair could put out if pissing in concert. Try for four part harmony, so.
        =========

      • With all due respect- on this one Brandon acted poorly. I would not have noticed, but happened to see Judith’s comment and then read the thread

      • Willis Eschenbach

        curryja | January 23, 2013 at 4:26 pm |

        Willis, no one enjoys reading a blogospheric p**ing match (well, at least not anyone who is interested in serious discussion).

        And yet here you are, and kim, and an unknown number of lurkers, all reading it … well, at least I’m enjoying it, even if you aren’t. I find it all quite humorous.

        And as I said, I will defend my reputation against unwarranted and incorrect charges of religious bigotry, and I find it odd that you seem to think that it is wrong and incorrect of me to do so. As I said, perhaps you are positioned where you can afford to ignore such things. Me, not so much …

        w.

      • Personally, I don’t pay attention to what others in the blogosphere say about me. It has nothing to do with a ‘secure’ position, but rather because it isn’t important and no one pays attention, and it detracts from the blog as well as your own reputation. Yes, people are reading the comments, but you see the reaction is to try to get you to stop, move on. Not to egg you on or to provide support for one or the other of you. I am reading this as a moderator, paying no attention to content of this beyond that.

      • Willis Eschenbach

        curryja | January 23, 2013 at 5:39 pm |

        Personally, I don’t pay attention to what others in the blogosphere say about me. It has nothing to do with a ‘secure’ position, but rather because it isn’t important and no one pays attention, and it detracts from the blog as well as your own reputation.

        Thanks, Judith. I understand that you think the position you hold has nothing to do with your ability to ignore accusations. Let me suggest respectfully that that particular belief is one other thing that is due to the position you hold …

        Yes, people are reading the comments, but you see the reaction is to try to get you to stop, move on. Not to egg you on or to provide support for one or the other of you. I am reading this as a moderator, paying no attention to content of this beyond that.

        Kim and timg56 said kiss and make up. Rob Starkey and Max_OK and Scott Basinger and Faustino, on the other hand, provided support for one side or the other, mine as it turns out but it could have been the other way. So I’d have to say that there hasn’t been much reaction either way, nor a lot of support for your claim.

        You say you’re speaking as a moderator, which is good. So what exactly what are you trying to accomplish?

        You agree that people are reading the comments. I find that many of the people reading the comments want to grab some popcorn and a beer and watch the discussion. They often prefer it when the discussion gets heated and passionate, as long as it’s interesting. I have no problem with that. As I’m sure you have noticed, I generally give good value in the way of entertainment, even when you think I’m way off the rails. And Brandon is no slouch in that regard as well … so I’m not clear what your objection is as a moderator.

        It seems to come down to this, in the most simple terms.

        I’m not willing to be accused (on a non-technical thread) of being a religious bigot without defending my position.

        It seems that you are.

        I guess that what makes horse races …

        My very best to you,

        w.

      • Brandon Shollenberger

        Rob Starkey:

        With all due respect- on this one Brandon acted poorly.

        I don’t know just what you have in mind for this comment, but I will say this. I hesitated on making both of my first two comments. I generally try not to focus on matters of personality and behavior in individuals. I think the main reason I went ahead is I’ve frequently seen Willis Eschenbach talk about “policing your own” and how wrong it is to stay silent while other people misbehave.

        Given that, it seemed appropriate to point out his incivility when he seemed to be suggesting he’s a civil poster. I even went ahead and provided references to his words because he often demands people do so. I was following the very standards he promotes.

      • For the record – I never advocated anyone kissing anyone else. And though I believe people’s orientation in such matters are no one’s business but their own, I have to say that the image of Willis and Brandon smooching is gastronomically unsettling. Besides it is flu season.

        For me, arguments like this result in my skipping the comments of the two antagonists. In doing so I might missing something else interesting or important.

        Both of you are adults and can do as you choose. Neither one need care what I think. Neither one should feel any need to apologize or make up. I chimed in as someone who respects both you to recommend dropping it. Who enjoys seeing people they admire bickering? Not I.

        PS – if you must fight, pick on WEB. His is one disposition that can’t get any more sour. I was going to suggest fan, but i was taught not to beat up on little girls. (And smart enough to not pick fights with the big girls.)

      • Willis

        Most everybody enjoys watching a good debate – especially between two good contenders, like you and Brandon.

        It only gets boring to lurkers when it becomes 100% personal.

        Max

      • I do agree that this thread has been mildly entertaining.

        I’m not sure which part was the most interesting: (1) when Willis uses agreement with me as an insult, (2) that Willis thinks this nonsense = defending his reputation, (3) that Willis thinks that when a sizable % of readers formulate a more or less similar interpretation of his comments, that means that people “misunderstood” him.

        Thank god that Willis has the fortitude and courage to stand up to all those foolish people who misunderstand him.

        Too funny.

      • Willis Eschenbach

        Joshua | January 23, 2013 at 8:02 pm |

        I do agree that this thread has been mildly entertaining.

        I’ll settle for that.

        w.

      • Brandon Shollenberger

        manacker:

        Most everybody enjoys watching a good debate

        I’d be much more willing to engage in a debate if it were in an appropriate location. For example, if it had some meaningful topic that was related to the blog post. Like a debate over a scientific point being discussed in some post. I’d have that in a heartbeat. The problem is the only time science has come up in this exchange is when Eschenbach randomly claimed I avoid discussing his science even though there was no science to avoid discussing. Unfortunately:

        It only gets boring to lurkers when it becomes 100% personal.

        That’s pretty much the case here.

  68. Wait – I just realized that Willis and I are in agreement on something (that the threat is humorous).

    Me, if I found myself suddenly agreeing with Joshua, I would immediately take a cold shower and re-examine my fundamental assumptions. I mean,

    Fire up that shower, Willis, and start re-examining.

  69. I’m amazed to see that this is still rolling. I’ll use it as an excuse to post my letter in today’s Australian on proposed severe restrictions on free speech in a “human rights” bill. The last few sentences are pertinent to the above diatribes.

    “THERE are no inherent human rights — such rights are a social construct, and any rights granted will vary with the conditions, values and capacity of the host community. Implicitly, rights are devised and granted to further the well-being of the community and to protect against arbitrary harmful actions against groups or individuals. However, the granting of rights to an individual or group is never cost-free – it implies a constraint on, indeed is designed to constrain, the actions of others in regard to those protected by a right.

    “Any rights legislation therefore involves questions of balance, and there will never be complete agreement on what balance is most appropriate. Many of the arguments against Nicola Roxon’s bill are that balance is lost – that if an individual or group is given a right to be protected from subjective feelings of being offended or insulted, then this unduly represses everyone in the community from speaking freely and making their views known. We’ve all been insulted or offended, and most of us have learned to deal with it. Protecting those who have not with the proposed legislation imposes too great a cost on the majority.”

    Willis, I’m not sure that I was taking sides (I have no strong views on Brandon), but your general attitude appeals to me and I appreciate many of your posts and the two points of yours that I quoted are ones I strongly endorse, so I thought I’d give you some moral support.

    • Brandon Shollenberger

      Faustino, I strongly disagree with this:

      THERE are no inherent human rights — such rights are a social construct

      I believe humans inherently have rights. People are not granted rights by society. They give up rights in order to form that society. The nature of a social contract is one agrees to give up certain rights in exchange for others giving up certain rights. In other words, you have every right except those you have given up to join your society. That doesn’t contradict your overall argument (it just requires restructuring it), but I believe it is a much more coherent view.

      It’s probably off-topic for this page, but I thought I should at least share the view so you know it’s out there. I believe it is far more commonly held, and it is definitely more functional.

      • Brandon, we shall have to differ. I’ve looked inside myself and have found only particles, sensations, arising and passing away with great rapidity, impermanent, essenceless, I haven’t come across any inherent rights.

      • Brandon Shollenberger

        That’s fine. I just wanted to offer a different view.

    • Faustino -

      “THERE are no inherent human rights — such rights are a social construct, and any rights granted will vary with the conditions, values and capacity of the host community….

      I agree. I am surprised to see you post this – as I have come to identify you with a political ideology that usually infers an opposite viewpoint.

      • Joshua,

        Perhaps you consider ideologies too much as an one-dimensional issue.

        Concerning Faustino’s views I have observed that I agree very often with him – and also disagree often strongly. Even in cases where I disagree strongly, I tend to understand his views and consider them logical on their own right.

        There are others whose views differ from my own in a way, where I cannot find any valid logic. In some cases I can just wonder, how anybody can express such views.

      • Pekka,

        Perhaps you consider ideologies too much as an one-dimensional issue.

        (At least sometimes), no doubt. The reason I’m here is to unpack inaccurate generalities or other misunderstandings that result from “motivated reasoning.” The basic underlying pattern-finding component of human reasoning leans us all in that direction.

        For me, Faustino is someone who challenges inaccurate generalities. As are you.

      • Joshua, I’m often misunderstood. I have no political ideology.

      • blueice2hotsea

        “Might makes Rights” – anonymous goon

    • Faustino,

      I have to disagree with you. As someone who believes in God, I am in agreement with the founding fathers of my nation that I do indeed have the inalienable right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

      Since not everyone chooses to live in accordance to God’s will, we are forced to rely on a government to impose certain standards of behavior. Yes that is a social contract, but the rights themselves do not emminate from that contract. They exist independant of it.

      Which is why the founders listed the right to bear arms at #2.

      • Brandon Shollenberger

        timg56, a lot of the trouble with this sort of discussion is definitional so I wouldn’t worry about it. Without a clear statement of definitions, it’s possible two people who “disagree” actually believe the same thing just with different word usage.

        (As a sign of the pointlessness, Faustino says he can’t find a right within himself so he doesn’t believe he has inherent ones. He wouldn’t be able to find a socially created right either. Does anyone here really want to take the effort to pin down definitions enough to resolve that sort of thing?)

      • Tim, I’ve just seen this, my reply to Manacker below is relevant. My view is that whether or not there is a God or gods, ultimately each one of us is responsible for developing wisdom and insight and living a life which is good for us and good for others. I don’t think I have any inalienable rights, but have an opportunity to spend my life positively or negatively, and aim for the former. I gave up religion when I was 13, but the moral code of my mother (“Mollie the Methodist”) has given me a good base.

  70. What about the ‘internal milieu’ of the ‘locus ceruleus’? There be blue’s clues, Faustino.
    =======================

    • Too subtle for me, kim, but it led me to a very interesting Wiki entry. I was amused that when I jumped to the newest entry on the latest blog, I immediately found Brandon (the last poster at that time) and Fan in what appeared to be a replay of the discussion here.

      Our mental phenomena also arise and pass away with great rapidity, that locus now is not what it was a milli-second ago. It won’t be claiming inherent rights.

      • Probably the Pineal, anyway.
        =========

      • Brandon Shollenberger

        Faustino, A fan of *MORE* discourse and I weren’t responding to each other, the subject I was discussing there was completely different than what I discussed here, and nobody in an exchange with me insulted or attacked anyone.

        I have no idea how the two seemed “almost identical.”

      • Brandon, the nature and style of your post and the discussion, and the format and style of Fan’s post, which I came to straight from this thread – I clicked on your past as the most-recently posted, no other reason – made me think at first that I’d somehow returned to the blogiquette thread. The posts I’d just read here were way upthread, where, as I recall, Fan followed a post by you re Willis with a square-pointed list a la post on the other topic.

        It seems that our perceptions differ, not only our views.

        Last word.

  71. Say, Faustino, I’m stakin’ a case fer iinherent rights on the grounds
    that I was born an in -divid-ual, not a clone of any parent or society,
    but *me,* fer better or worse, malleable, impressionable, foolish, but
    an individual never-the -less.

    Travel back in time ter 18th century liberalism and the basic individualism inherited by us from Erasmus and Montaigne, from Cicero and Tacitus,
    to Pericles and Thucydides, (DHayek, RtS Ch 7, The Abandoned Road,)
    and yer see how we have progressively abandoned our individualism
    to the needs of the state.Think Antigone and Creon. While admitting
    yr own individuality, I consider, logically entails allowing others the same status, there-fore accepting that limited Rule of Law is necessary if yer
    live in a Society as an individual, not curtailing their rights ter go about their business also. HOWEVER ) renouncing yr inndividual activities to central planners per se is a move ter giving up yr inndividual freedom
    and doing so exponent-ially over time.. Say, and by what natural right
    can central planners have the authority ter ‘grant ‘ me or ‘deny’ me
    my pursuit of happiness and liberty, god-given or no?Isn’t this a kind
    kind of ‘null hypotheses operating here or am I con fused Lol

    Beth

    • Beth, every living thing, plant or animal, comes into existence through various biological and chemical processes. We can identify various components, genes etc, chemical composition, but I can’t see anything in there which means that that being must be treated in a certain way by other beings, that it has “rights” by virtue of its existence. I respect life, I think that the life-force is very powerful, scientists increasingly find life in locations where they though it was impossible; and I try not to kill, even mosquitoes though one gave me Ross River virus. But the latter is my choice, I don’t think that a disease-carrying mosquito seeking my blood has a “right” not to be killed by me.

      It appears that long ago humans gathered in small groups, perhaps 40-50 people, because they found it mutually beneficial (and they often fought with other such groups). They’ve also found it beneficial to adopt various codes of behaviour, some of which have through time been codified, normalised and expressed as “rights.” I can see no evidence that such rights exist outside of a mutually beneficial social compact. The current argument in Australia is that elements of the government are trying to impose on our society particular behaviour, views and standards which they think we should adhere to but which many people think would be damaging. There’s nothing inherent about these “rights,” they derive from a particular ideological viewpoint and a wish to impose it on others.

      You are not born with a basic “right” to food, shelter or anything else. The nature of existence is that beings are often in competition for such things, but have found in some instances that co-operation is beneficial. That’s a social process. We also, like all surviving beings, have an urge to pass on our genes, so babies are appealing and attract the support they can’t provide themselves. That’s an evoultionary survival mechanism.

      At one level, you are an individual. You have a unique mix of components, and a feeling of self. At another, you are, like all existence, made up of sub-atomic articles arising and passing away many trillions of times a second. Where do these alleged rights reside?

      I strongly defend the right to free speech. But I don’t believe it’s inherent, I believe from my knowledge and experience that it’s positive for individuals and society and should outweigh many other proposed rights. Nicola Roxon seems to have a different belief, and does not value FoS highly. It’s because it’s not inherent that this is an issue for debate.

  72. Thx fer yr reply, Faustino and I get yr arguments about ‘inherency’
    but, as i am made up of particles tho’ claiming the package is an
    individual, by what process can a cotery of oother packages, including Nicola Roxon, that make up a guvrmint,.claim the right ter grant
    or take away other packages individual liberty to go about their
    business? Is this an inherent right of guvmint? ‘ U will be a slave or,
    maybe, we will allow you to have a ittle bit of freedom because we have
    this inherent right, and you don’t. Might is right as demon-strated in the archives of 20 th century history of the organic state. .
    Beth

  73. OT (but heck we have covered everything from tobacco and cancer to the rights of individuals so far on this thread plus a classic food fight that never should have happened) but I fervently hope with Faustino that the next Federal election will rid us of Greens ideology and Labor mismanagement.

  74. Hi Peter,
    Some of us look on government as a necessary evil and not our
    master, others see it as a vast public utility to be free ter grow and …
    grow…and… GROW.
    Beth

  75. Passing strange perhaps, that the package, or whatever (they) it is,
    typing this comment on Climate Etc, has the distinct impression, addressing packages labelled ‘Kim’ or ‘Faustino,’ that ‘it’ is talking
    to distinct individuals.

    Cousin ‘It.’

    • Beth and Faustino

      From the U.S. Declaration of Independence (1776):

      ” We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government…”

      This is an “enlightened” political manifesto of how things “should be” from the “Age of Enlightenment”, and certainly not the “normal” way of life back then (or today, for that matter).

      Today “men” would be replaced by “men and women”, but the rest still holds very well as a guideline.

      Many would argue that the U.S. federal government today has exceeded its mandate from “the consent of the governed” to “secure these rights” of “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of happiness”.

      Some might even suggest that these “unalienable Rights” have been systematically eroded by a mushrooming federal bureaucracy, which keeps growing, spending, regulating and taxing its citizens exponentially.

      And, while Australia’s government was not founded on the basis of this document, it has arguably also exceeded such a mandate.

      No matter where you live, I think this is a good document to use as a framework for how things “should be” between the populace of a country and its government.

      If you are fortunate enough to live in a nation with a democratic form of government, you can actively work to make sure your government stays within the restrictions of this mandate

      Max

      • Max, I don’t believe in a creator nor that we are “endowed with certain inalienable rights.” Otherwise, I support the sentiments expressed. I treat people like people, the only ones who don’t like this tend to be self-important people who believe I should greet them obsequiously. I believe, based on my knowledge and experience, that we can live in a way which is good for ourselves and good for others, that this involves honesty, integrity and diminishing one’s ego, craving and aversion, and being concerned for the well-being of others. I believe that this does not rely on a creator, inherent rights or created rights, and it certainly doesn’t depend on government – it depends on the volition, wisdom and efforts of each individual.

        Given that not everyone always acts with good volition and intent for other’s welfare, societies have developed, with varying degrees of success, ways to encourage their members to behave in mutually beneficial ways, with sanctions for those who transgress. Sometimes this is codified in terms of “rights,” which, as I have observed, are a social construct.

        My contributions to national debate are in part to help constrain over-mighty government and promote policies which I consider to be in the broad public interest, though my efforts over the last 40 years have also been directed at helping individuals to develop the qualities I espouse and seek to live by.
        (And I hope this statement doesn’t seem too pious!)

  76. Beth

    “Rights?”

    Today we have all sorts of posited “rights”:

    - rights to a representative government
    - rights from an intrusive government
    - rights to a fair trial
    - rights of the unborn child (to life)
    - rights of the pregnant teenager (to an abortion)
    - rights to privacy
    - rights to bear arms
    - rights to own property
    - rights to clean drinking water
    - rights to clean air to breathe
    - rights to a reliable, low cost source of energy

    Then there are the “four freedoms”, as proclaimed as US policy by FDR

    - freedom of speech
    - freedom of worship
    - freedom from want
    - freedom from fear

    etc., etc.

    Not to mention rights for others like “animal rights”.

    IMO these are not “inherent human rights” but are part of the contract between a populace and its government.

    Having the rights and freedoms you want is not a given; it requires a constant dialogue between the governing and the governed – including, if necessary, the democratic replacement of the governing by the governed.

    Just my thoughts on this (as seen from tiny Switzerland).

    Max

    -

    • Let us not forget the last ten years, set against the backdrop of those in this world who seem to hate our freedom. It’s been a lose, lose; everyone.

    • One of the more obscure facts of history is the influence of the Swiss model (unique among European nations, even today) on the thinking of the American founders. “Tiny Switzerland” isn’t as tiny as you think.

    • As for Switzerland, as my physiotherapist was this morning asking about the degree of pain inflicted by various exploratory manipulations, I told him that it had nor quite reached the stage where i would invoke the Geneva Convention against torture. Close, though.

  77. Max,

    While federal bureaucracies and regulation expands, I agree,
    whatever ‘I’ am, ) that the Declaration of Independence, setting down
    as written record, inalienables right to liberty by virtue of being a
    human being living in America, puts the ball firmly in the citizens’
    court. The US guvmint can’t claim an inherent right to the granting
    or removal of liberty. Guvmint according to this Declaration is not
    the master of the people but its servant, deriving its powers from the consent of the governed.

    Wish the governed would be less free with their consent.

    Cousin It.

    PS ‘Who’ or ‘what’ r u Max ?

  78. Max,

    I claim, as in The US Declaration, the Right ter Liberty, the right
    to pursue my own activity as I see fit, so long as it does not
    curtail ditto fer others, hence ‘rule of law fer all.’ Freedom of
    speech, of course, goes w/out saying!

    When we move into demands fer ‘rights’ demanding government intervention, we begin ter curtail the Right ter Liberty,so we need
    ter be careful what we ask for. (Think I’ll reread Friedrich Hayek’s
    ‘The road to Serfdom.’ now that I’ve finished ‘ The Valley of Horses.’)

    Beth

  79. Willis Eschenbach

    Brandon Shollenberger | January 23, 2013 at 11:16 pm |

    manacker:

    Most everybody enjoys watching a good debate

    I’d be much more willing to engage in a debate if it were in an appropriate location. For example, if it had some meaningful topic that was related to the blog post. Like a debate over a scientific point being discussed in some post. I’d have that in a heartbeat. The problem is the only time science has come up in this exchange is when Eschenbach randomly claimed I avoid discussing his science even though there was no science to avoid discussing. Unfortunately:

    It only gets boring to lurkers when it becomes 100% personal.

    That’s pretty much the case here.

    Brandon, before I said one word about you in this thread, you called me a religious bigot.

    Before I mentioned your name, you told us were shocked to find out that not everyone thought I was being a bad, wrong person.

    Now you are whimpering because the discussion turned personal? You’re bitching because your insult about religious bigotry blew up in your face, rather that somehow morphing into “a meaningful topic that was related to the blog post” as you seem to have expected? That surprises you?

    You’re shocked that there was no science in a discussion you started by insulting the other man? WTF did you expect when you begin with insults and follow that up with more insults before the other man says a word to you, Brandon? With that kind of ugly personal attack as your opening salvo, were you expecting a love-fest? Did you think it would lead to a scientific discussion about religious bigotry?

    My friend, when you start by calling the other man names, and follow that up by calling him more names, before he says a word in response, yes, the conversation may well go sideways. So don’t bother trying to complain now that it has happened. Don’t bother telling us that you are surprised that it has gone sideways. The rest of us are not. You start a conversation by insulting a man, you’re gonna end up sideways.

    w.

    • A fan of *MORE* discourse

      Willis Eschenbach asserts  “You start a conversation by insulting a man, you’re gonna end up sideways.”

      LOL … another Climate Etc thread has imputed virtue to you, Willis Eschenbach (and Anthony Watts too!).

      Is this kinder, gentler (and scientifically referenced) mode of discourse preferable to opprobrium, do you think, Willis? Or does it nonetheless excite “sideways” bellicosity? \scriptstyle\rule[2.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}\,\boldsymbol{\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}\,\heartsuit\,{\displaystyle\text{\bfseries!!!}}\,\heartsuit\,\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}}\ \rule[-0.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}

      • Willis Eschenbach

        A fan of *MORE* discourse | January 24, 2013 at 1:21 pm

        LOL … another Climate Etc thread has imputed virtue to you, Willis Eschenbach (and Anthony Watts too!).

        What can I say, Fan? Me’n Anthony, we’re just virtuous kinda guys! It’s our burden to bear in life.

        As to your question about whether your current mode of attacking me is “preferable to opprobrium”, let’s see:

        op·pro·bri·um
        /əˈprōbrēəm/
        Noun
        1. Harsh criticism or censure.
        2. The public disgrace arising from someone’s shameful conduct

        Not sure which meaning you are talking about. I usually hear it used in the sense of #2 above, public disgrace.

        So sure, the way you’re talking is better than public disgrace.

        If you mean, is your current mode of discourse better than harsh criticism, perhaps it is. But it’s still just Fan trying to bite someone’s ankles, albeit more pleasantly. My question is, why are my actions so fascinating to you? It just seems bizarre and unhealthy to me, your recurring focus on what a bad, foolish, mean, krool guy I am … truly, don’t you have something better to do?

        w.

      • A fan of *MORE* discourse

        Willis Eschenbach complains of “Fan trying to bite someone’s ankles”

        Willis, scientific history establishes that your complaint is commonly heard from contrarians and “outsiders”: “If I have seen less far than others, it’s because midgets were standing on my toes!

        \scriptstyle\rule[2.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}\,\boldsymbol{\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}\,\heartsuit\,{\displaystyle\text{\bfseries!!!}}\,\heartsuit\,\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}}\ \rule[-0.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}

      • Willis, you ask Fan “why are my actions so fascinating to you?” Well, over the years, my kids have often said to me: “Dad, you’ve had such an interesting life, but now you are so BORING!!” Willis, I don’t think that you will ever be boring, being able to interface with you here is probably a high-light for certain less interesting, stimulating and informed posters.

        Of course, in the interests of civility, I can not speculate about who might fall into that category.

    • Brandon Shollenberger

      *snorts*

      you told us were shocked to find out that not everyone thought I was being a bad, wrong person.

      Now you are whimpering because the discussion turned personal? You’re bitching because your insult about religious bigotry blew up in your face, rather that somehow morphing into “a meaningful topic that was related to the blog post” as you seem to have expected?

      You’re shocked that there was no science in a discussion you started by insulting the other man?

      Don’t bother telling us that you are surprised that it has gone sideways.

      Apparently Willis Eschenbach wants to continue bickering so much he’ll do both sides of it. After all, I didn’t say anything of what he describes here. I’d be offended at his gross misrepresentations if it weren’t so hilariously idiotic. It’s like my words have no connection to what he says about me.

      Seriously, whimpering?

      • A fan of *MORE* discourse

        Perhaps there are two Willis Eschenbach? (1) “straightforward Willis” who posts rationally regarding data analysis, and (2) “sideways Willis” who commonly posts bellicose contumelious umbrage. If Willis (1) stopped posting on Climate Etc he would be missed. Willis (2), not so much! \scriptstyle\rule[2.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}\,\boldsymbol{\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}\,\heartsuit\,{\displaystyle\text{\bfseries!!!}}\,\heartsuit\,\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}}\ \rule[-0.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}

  80. A fan of *MORE* discourse

    Judith Curry   “Willis and Brandon, a fabulous example of a pointless exchange and poor blog etiquette.”

    Most Climate Etc folks (including me) agree 100% with Judith Curry … and yet there is a …

    Silver Lining  A fabulous opportunity to learn (by example!) the useful words “contumelious” and “contumely”.

    Please refrain from contumelious discourse, kids! \scriptstyle\rule[2.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}\,\boldsymbol{\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}\,\heartsuit\,{\displaystyle\text{\bfseries!!!}}\,\heartsuit\,\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}}\ \rule[-0.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}

    • Fan, I can’t fathom your lack of insight. There are few posters as fond of contumely as you. Are you genuinely not aware of that?

    • A fan of *MORE* discourse

      con·tu·me·li·ous
      /ˌkänt(y)əˈmēlēəs/
      Adjective (of behavior) Scornful and insulting; insolent.

      LOL … pokerguy, isn’t first-class climate-change science a never-finished journey toward the light?

      That’s how the Pope sees it, anyway!

      May your personal journey toward the light of clearer appreciation of the sobering, accelerating reality of climate-change — and moral actions founded upon that understanding — be beneficently non-contumelious, oh pokerguy!

      \scriptstyle\rule[2.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}\,\boldsymbol{\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}\,\heartsuit\,{\displaystyle\text{\bfseries!!!}}\,\heartsuit\,\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}}\ \rule[-0.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}

  81. Costumely. Costumelious would be a hybrid Dennis Rodman and Carmelo Anthony.
    =========

  82. Climate change exchanges on blogs like this are essentially from one side of the cultural divide to the other. It’s quite unlikely that any individual , for example, will think that AGW is real threat; but, Al Gore is a crook, CFC’s and DDT being severely restricted was a retrograde step, there’s no such thing as peak oil, environmentalism is a threat to western capitalism, there’s too much government intervention in our everyday lives, everyone should be free to own a semi-automatic assault rifle, and the Labour/Democratic parties of the western world are fronts for modern day Marxists, etc etc.

    Of course. if the issue of AGW were genuinely decided on its scientific merits such a mixture of views would be quite possible. But alas they don’t seem to be in reality. Those of us on one side of the divide tend to accept the mainstream scientific line on AGW , whereas those on the other side don’t.

    So, we’ll just have to slug it out, but at least try to be nice to people we detest, or at least with whom we seriously disagree, and who we would probably avoid in real life, to avoid our comments ending up in the deleted folder.

  83. Beth has awakened a sleeping giant with a reference to Sander Rubin the American Mensa Chair back in 1970. He listed these points back then as various forms of rhetorical offenses, which, unfortunately, still persists to this day in CE.

    “[Offensive Rhetoric] Quoted from International Mensa Journal 1970 Annual Report.

    The personal reason for raising these matters can only be explained if I mention some unpleasant facts. Most people take an interest only in those things which touch them closely. There are very few heroes, definitely outnumbered by a small band of vocal villains. What do villains do?

    They put words in other’s mouths.
    They take others’ words out of context and give them a meaning never intended.
    They falsely attribute motives or intentions to others.
    They state as facts things that are not so.
    They juxtapose to unrelated facts to imply a false inference.
    When all else fails, they use bad language or personal abuse.
    They treat a difference of opinion as a dereliction.
    They assert or repeat derogatory opinions without checking supporting facts.
    They indulge in irrelevant personal characterization.
    This sort of villainy has appeared with distressing regularity in the local Mensa press in recent months. I have been given contradictory advice:

    “Ignore irresponsible accusations.”
    “You’d better defend yourself.”
    “If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.”
    If you leave the kitchen to firebugs the house will burn down.”
    What is [most] disturbing, however, is less the appearance of such kinds of articles, which have been on the whole few, but the readiness of so many to accept such articles as at least substantially true and the total lack of balancing views or of self-policing by responsible peers.”

  84. Er ‘awakened a sleeping giant? Hafta say, a case of fools
    and angels, Peter. But glad ter be of use :(

  85. Great post and I agree with this rule: write a comment, not spam. I believe that a lot of people troll the comments for an opportunity to plug their site. I produce hip-hop based content and I noticed that a majority of the commnents on my blog are YouTube videos and links to songs. These people definitely do not “stay on topic.”

    Judith how do you monitor your comments for spam?

    Patrick

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  87. I also agree the rules. Etiquette is a code of behavior that delineates expectations for social behavior according to contemporary conventional norms within a society, social class, or group.

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