Reminder on Comment Policy

I do not moderate the comments for anything other than spam.  While I have banned a couple of folks over time, I am not sure you would even need two hands to count them.  My reasons:

  • I don’ t have time.  Period.  If I had to spend the time to moderate comments here, I would have to give up blogging.  This is a hobby, and in fact real life has been unbelievably busy of late.  An example here.
  • I have little inclination to do so.  If I wanted to constantly monitor the behavior of a couple of hundred people, I would have been a 7th grade teacher
  • It is strategic (part 1).  I find that the silliest people whom folks most want to ban do much to undermine their own arguments.  Why not let them?  To paraphrase Napoleon, why interrupt someone you disagree with when they are making a mistake?  I often get asked to ban troll X who opposes everything I write, but frankly I am far more likely to want to ban commenter Y who is doing a bad job of representing or supporting my positions
  • It is strategic (part 2).  Many alarmist websites like RealClimate ruthlessly moderate out dissent from their comments.  I purposely try to position this site in contrast to that policy.  If you are an outsider, and see two sides, one of which clearly allows open debate and one which does not, which might you trust more?
  • I am learning.  Apparently unlike most everyone else on this issue, I admit that I make a lot of mistakes.  My writing and position on climate change has evolved a lot since the beginning of this blog.  I treat this blog as a voyage of discovery, and many times my commenters are providing me free education.
  • At least trolls are visiting sites they disagree with.  A lot of blog readers stay in the echo chamber.

If you really find something absolutely offensive, you can email me and I will (maybe) do something about it.  But in general, the best way to deal with trolls is to ignore them.  Really, when you see someone posting every third comment making condescending and unsupported statements with all the social graces of a 12-year-old, is your first thought, “wow, that guy is someone to be reckoned with!”?

Let me end with an example from current alarmist uber-troll Rajendra Pachauri.  If he was a commenter of mine, why would I possibly purge him?  He’s doing so much damage to his own position that even Greenpeace wants his head:

The U.N.’s climate chief dismissed “nefarious” global warming skeptics this week by insinuating that they are deep in the pockets of big business — and suggested that they go rub their faces in cancer-causing asbestos.

Rajendra Pachauri, the besieged head of the U.N.’s International Panel on Climate Change, told the Financial Times on Wednesday that he is the victim of a “carefully orchestrated” campaign to block climate change legislation.

“I would say [there are] nefarious designs behind people trying to attack me with lies, falsehoods,” he told the paper, swatting away allegations that his India-based climate institute, TERI, has benefited from decisions made by the IPCC, which he also chairs.

Climate change skeptics “are people who deny the link between smoking and cancer; they are people who say that asbestos is as good as talcum powder,” he said.

“I hope that they apply it (asbestos) to their faces every day.”

  • At my blog, I publish (and only very rarely enforce) one and only one comment requirement:

    “Any assertion of fact must be substantiated.
    I don’t care what your source is, but you must cite it (directly).”

    This requirement derives from a platitude which I conceived:

    “The entire so-called ‘Liberal’ ideology is pure mythology.”

    The typical Leftist blog commentator will spew some utterly unsubstantiated and totally indefensible rhetoric/lie which has simply been repeated so often as to be accepted as fact among the well indoctrinated.

    When one simply requires such people to substantiate their assertions of fact, they typically don’t bother repeating the lie. The result is that my (rather limited) comments section generally advances the substantiated discussion rather than merely providing a platform for the further propagation of bald faced lies.

    But, that’s just my preference…

  • dearieme

    One thing I might have guessed about that railway engineer was that he might have known that “asbestos” is one word covering three different substances. And now I infer that he doesn’t. I wonder, what is it that he does know about? I mean, apart from money and power.

  • Jim Turner

    dearime:

    I believe that Pachauri’s asbestos comment is a dig at Christopher Booker, who has stated in his Telegraph column in the past that the common ‘white’ asbestos (I think) is no more hazardous than talc, as opposed to ‘blue’ and ‘brown’ that are highly toxic and associated with mesothelioma, a form of lung cancer.
    The comments were made in relation to a UK government ‘scam’ where all forms of asbestos are considered the same under disposal regulations, and require specialist (and expensive) licensed contractors to remove and dispose. Needless to say, the regulations were drawn up after consultation with those same contractors.
    For Pachauri to make such a feeble mis-quote shows that he is desperate and coming to the end of the line (railway pun intended).

    Jim

  • hunter

    Learning? Ha ha ha ha! Please, give us one example of a situation where your view changed.

    You repeat yourself tiresomely and endlessly. You seem to think that if you simply say stuff over and over again, it must be correct. You say you don’t moderate comments. It’s also obvious that you don’t read them, or if you do, you don’t understand enough science to meaningfully respond, let alone learn, when the basic flaws in your ramblings are exposed.

    You make yourself look very stupid indeed by never responding. If you don’t like comments, publish flat HTML. If you insist on advertising your stupidity through the medium of a blog, expect people to call you a cretin each time you re-display your mental backwardness.

  • Waldo

    A thoughtful commentary by Mr. Meyers and I do admire his stance. These are discussion boards, after all, and most moderation creates unfiltered propaganda and little else. So Kudos to you, Mr. Meyer.

    Nevertheless, I do have to point out that the comment “do much to undermine their own arguments” equally applies here. These things work both ways. If one is an outsider to this community, as I am, it becomes fairly apparent that the CS commentary is largely “unsupported” or supported by very questionable information – menacing emails sent by environmentalists, ‘proof’ that AGW is fake cross-posted by other marginally qualified or equally unqualified bloggers, and a string of pop-journalism from websources which have a decidedly conservative POV. For instance, can anybody find the above quote from Mr. Pachauri anyplace other than a) FOX News or b) an angry weather blog? Did anybody check?

    Bridge-Dwellers like myself provide you with a valuable service – we remind you that you are preaching to the choir and that outside observers may not be as convinced of your reasoning and evidence as you are.

    Which makes we wonder, Mr. Meyer, that if in fact “I make a lot of mistakes. My writing and position on climate change has evolved a lot since the beginning of this blog” should you be posting at all?

    But such is the nature of blogging…

  • mitchel44
  • kuhnkat

    Waldo,

    “Which makes we wonder, Mr. Meyer, that if in fact “I make a lot of mistakes. My writing and position on climate change has evolved a lot since the beginning of this blog” should you be posting at all?”

    Yup. They always undermine their own positions!

  • Hey Skipper

    As one who frequently visits, but rarely posts, I very much agree with your moderation policy.

    I had a comment deleted from RealClimate that did nothing more than cite contrary evidence (in that instance NOAA and NWS reports from Alaska, where I live, that could not find any sign of global warming). That is the sort of thing religions do.

    Additionally, as not-the-real-hunter so resolutely demonstrates, nothing says empty argument like ad hominem attack.

    There is a different saying paralleling Napoleon’s quote: There is no point killing someone who is committing suicide.

  • NewPoster

    OT: Question, anybody know anything about this story about alleged inaccuracies in the IPCC report (this was covered in the Sunday Times, a UK national newspaper yesterday) – http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/environment/article7017907.ece – Again, it’s about dodgy citations, these time for North African agriculture. Some quotes:

    The most important is a claim that global warming could cut rain-fed north African crop production by up to 50% by 2020, a remarkably short time for such a dramatic change. The claim has been quoted in speeches by Rajendra Pachauri, the IPCC chairman, and by Ban Ki-moon, the UN secretary-general.

    The African claims could be even more embarrassing for the IPCC because they appear not only in its report on climate change impacts but, unlike the glaciers claim, are also repeated in its Synthesis Report.

    The claims in the Synthesis Report go back to the IPCC’s report on the global impacts of climate change. It warns that all Africa faces a long-term threat from farmland turning to desert and then says of north Africa, “additional risks that could be exacerbated by climate change include greater erosion, deficiencies in yields from rain-fed agriculture of up to 50% during the 2000-20 period, and reductions in crop growth period (Agoumi, 2003)”.

    “Agoumi” refers to a 2003 policy paper written for the International Institute for Sustainable Development, a Canadian think tank. The paper was not peer-reviewed.

  • hunter (the sane one)

    NewPoster,
    Good question.
    It is turning that the only thing correct about the consensus position on AGW is that CO2 is a ghg.
    Glaciers? wrong.
    Storms? wrong.
    Rainfall? wrong.
    Sea levels rising in new ways? wrong.
    Strong positive feedbacks? wrong.

    Notice that our friendly troll, at the end of the day seeks the same thing as the immature teen whining to silence skeptics.

  • hunter (the sane one)

    Here is a review of the computer codes used by AGW promoters by a computer expert:
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2010/feb/05/science-climate-emails-code-release
    This quote is particularly interesting:
    “What he also discovered, even more worryingly, is that the accuracy of results declined from six significant figures to one significant figure during the running of programs. ”
    And then we can see another batch of glaciers that aGW promoters vastly over stated the risk of:
    http://www2.cnrs.fr/en/1692.htm
    This part is interesting:
    “Why did they overestimate ice loss from these glaciers by 50%?”

  • hunter (the sane one)

    Here is a review of the computer codes used by AGW promoters by a computer expert:
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2010/feb/05/science-climate-emails-code-release
    This quote is particularly interesting:
    “What he also discovered, even more worryingly, is that the accuracy of results declined from six significant figures to one significant figure during the running of programs. “

  • Jay

    Waldo Wrote:

    “Which makes we wonder, Mr. Meyer, that if in fact “I make a lot of mistakes. My writing and position on climate change has evolved a lot since the beginning of this blog” should you be posting at all?”

    The real question is should the IPCC be publishing at all?

    I don’t recall anyone arguing that AGW is proven fake by virtue of the CRU emails, Mann’s data manipulation, Hansen’s unsupported ravings, or a plethora of other concerns. But many bloggers have used these as examples to refute Mr. Gore’s pronouncement that “the debate is over” or the unsubstantiated (and tired) claim that there is a vast consensus among scientists concerning AGW.

    And lets leave the trolls to post their drivel. hunter proves the point that its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak (or post) and remove all doubt.

  • Onlooker

    A waste-bin and a repository-of-all-comment may look the same but there is a world of difference between them . It’s nice to be reminded that we are contributing to the latter and not the former.