The Perfect Example For Why I Moderate My Comment Sections

Referee by Avinash Kunnath

Referee by Avinash Kunnath

For both my website and YouTube channel I have some very strict moderation rules. For both the rules say you need to stay civil, you answer questions when asked, provide citations (or give them when asked), don’t make claims that are demonstrably wrong, don’t spam, and the comment has to be on-topic. If the comment you place doesn’t abide by those rules you will either get a warning from me or if it crosses the line too much I’ll just remove it.

Repeated violations will lead to me banning you on my YouTube channel or my website. With the intermediate step on my website that all comments from you will go into my moderation queue before they appear. These rules are quite strict compared to what is the norm on most websites, but I’ve found them to be necessary.

When I just had started writing for this website and creating my videos I was very lenient towards commenters. Everyone could say anything in whichever way they wanted. This almost always resulted in very unpleasant and unproductive exchanges. My frustration with people not engaging me in an honest and civil way was what lead to me creating the rules that I now have.

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This Is Why You Can’t Reason With ‘Climate Sceptics’

knmi logoYesterday Bob Tisdale published the blog post titled ‘Open Letter to the Honorable John Kerry U.S. Secretary of State‘ (archived here) on the blog Watts Up With That (WUWT). He also published it on his own website.

My opinion of that letter from Tisdale is that it doesn’t accurately represent the IPCC and their latest release. There are a lot of reasons of why I hold that position and what I wrote for ‘No, Global Warming Hasn’t Stopped‘ gives a good introduction about his mistakes about climate models. I can also recommend the article ‘The new IPCC climate change report makes deniers overheat‘ by Michael Mann for a better understanding of how the latest IPCC report often is misrepresented.

When I started on my open letter to Tisdale I knew we would never reach any sort of agreement on his points about climate research or the IPCC. That’s why I focussed on the following in his letter:

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Cook’s 97% Climate Consensus Paper Doesn’t Crumble Upon Examination

97_piechart_smallSeveral months ago Cook et al released a paper in which they analysed the scientific consensus on anthropogenic global warming (AGW) in the peer-reviewed scientific literature.

What they did in that study is examine 11,944 abstracts from 1991 to 2011 that included the words “global climate change” or “global warming” in their abstract. What they found after analysing these abstracts is that among those that expressed a position on global warming, 97% endorsed the consensus position that humans are causing global warming.

When they asked the authors of those papers to rate their own papers they again found that 97% stated that humans are causing global warming. They also contacted 8,547 authors to ask if they could rate their own papers and got 1,200 responses. The results for this again found that 97% of the selected papers stated that humans are causing global warming. They did this to determine that there wasn’t any sort of inherent problem in their rating system and this seems to indicate that.

For anyone who is aware of other studies that did something similar these results weren’t a surprise. As studies like Oreskes 2004Doran 2009 and Anderegg 2010 showed similar results. It’s the very reason I just shrugged at these results and mostly watched everything play out from a distance. To me they just didn’t seem that interesting, or that they would generate a lot of controversy.

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Language Matters

For the blog WottsUpWithThat I wrote a guest blog post on why the language you use matters:

How we say things, the words we use, how we say it, and even our perceptions on the meaning of words do matter. It at the same time makes languages extremely powerful and the cause of a lot of strife.

Anyone participating in any exchanges around the environment, particularly in the context of global warming, will have noticed how heated these exchanges often are. These exchanges have a tendency to completely derail leaving both parties angry and/or frustrated with each other.

This can of course not always be prevented, but in my experience there are a few things that you can do that help. Considering I’ve participated in online dialogue on global warming, and many other environmental subjects, for about 5 years now I’ve noticed a few things; things that might help with keeping any exchange productive.

The post gives a good explanation on the words I use during exchanges on for example global warming and what I mean by them. It also makes very clear why I’m always so patient and polite in my exchanges (there’s actually a reason for this supported by research).

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Responding To Watts About Anonymous Opinions

Anthony WattsSomething I almost always do is to let someone know that I’ve mentioned them in one of my blog post. It’s why I sent my “Anonymous Opinion ‘Not Worth Bucket Of Warm Spit‘” post to Wotts and Watts on Twitter.

And Watts did responds to it with a tweet containing a link to his FAQ page. This is the relevant section from it:

Q. Why do a couple of guest essays have nom de plum names? Aren’t you adamant about people putting their names behind their words?

A. Anyone who publishes on WUWT must be known to the proprietor, and they are all known to me. This requirement is mainly for legal reasons. When running a large enterprise such as this, there may be a legal challenges to writing, and the writer must be held accountable for his/her own words in that case. For the few occasions where somebody wants to publish on WUWT using a nom de plume, the first requirement is full disclosure before publication, and that communications is recorded should there ever be an issue in the furture. Of the nearly 10,000 posts on WUWT, there are just a few that were given the opportunity to publish this way. For good reason, some of those authors fear things like this from activists such as Greenpeace: We know who you are. We know where you live. We know where you work. And we be many, but you be few.

Publishing on WUWT under a nom de plume known to the proprietor is different from anonymous commenters or some of my doppleganger blog children who use the cloak of anonymity to launch personal attacks against me or contributors to WUWT. For example, in a U.S. court of law, the accused is given the right to openly face the accuser(s). WUWT’s author policy of allows for that if need be. With external attackers who claim self righteousness under the cloak of anonymity, not so much.

No, allowing nom de plum names – also known as pseudonyms – for authors of content on your website is not different from anonymous users criticising Watts.

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Anonymous Opinion “Not Worth Bucket Of Warm Spit”

In my opinion anonymity has no bearing whatsoever on someone’s argument being valid or not; it’s completely irrelevant to making that assessment.

So I’m not quoting myself in the title, it’s Anthony Watts:


For those that might not know this, @wottsupwiththat is the person who runs the WordPress blog WottsUpWithThat. A blog that has as goal to “address climate science claims made on Anthony Watts’s Watts Up With That (WUWT) site.” And so far Wotts has been very critical towards some of the nonsense that’s published on WUWT.

Which is probably part of the reason Wotts has garnered some attention from Watts. Attention in the form of a fishing expedition for his identity.

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