No, not the US in Iraq, but a smaller matter: the recent arbcomm case. The case is now closed, and the the usual idiots are as usual getting it wrong (hint: the bit about admin is totally wrong). But then again, no-one from the outside ever understands wikipedia.

At some point I’ll do a long post on this (well, or maybe not. We’ll see. The point is, this isn’t that post). So for now:

The actual decision is available here, though if you prefer to skip over the goo and dribble you can just read the remedies. Though there is a fair amount of goo there too, so you may prfer to skip to just the remedy on me. Note that although that is framed as indefinite, it should probably be interpreted as no-fixed-end rather than permanent. Unless I’m Bad again, of course.

My response is on my talk page; feel free to join in there. One thing that may well be worth noting is that this isn’t a content decision; ie there is no finding at all of whether the climate change pages are in any way biased (so, e.g. Watts is hopelessly wrong. But I told you no-one understands wikipedia from the outside).

It occurs to me that the response may not stay there forever, and anyway maybe you can’t be bothered to click the link, so it is:

Final decision: thoughts

Of the decision:

* the “scorched earth” idea is unthinking and stupid.
* arbcomm demonstrate again an inability to distinguish the valuable from the valueless; indeed, they appear to be too lazy to even try.
* in pursuit of their atque ubi solitudinem faciunt, pacem appellant they have failed to notice that peace has already broken out. For two reasons: the worst of the “skeptics” (MN, M4th, Cla, ATren, TGL) are all gone; and the external forcing (Climatic Research Unit email controversy‎) has been resolved in favour of Climate Science. So all the disruption was for nothing.

About the only good thing about the PD is that it is so obviously bad, it is likely to rebound more to the discredit of arbcomm than anyone else.

Of the process:

* more of it should be open. There were very clearly extensive periods when off-wiki emails between the arbs were the main means of discussion. Some of that must be tolerable, but not to the extent that it is done. The arbs have become as addicted to secrecy as the Civil Service, and it is not good: both because of the dark deeds done in darkness (one example: the unexplained but welcome booting out of Rlevse) and because lack of on-wiki information fostered unease amongst the participants.
* the arbs need to be more involved, and to manage the process. Some are lazy, but none are good. This isn’t acceptable. It has become near-expected practice in arbcomm cases for nothing but a few gnomic utterances from arbs during the case. The sheer volume of evidence and discussion produced by petty back-and-forth needs to be rigourously policed. Arbcomm as a whole is fairly lazy, in that they don’t really evaluate the actual abckground to a case – that would be too much trouble, and they never bother. Instead, they rely on behaviour *during* a case, and part of their technique is a deliberate fostering of the possibility for disorder, in order to give them a lazy way of deciding. In this case, arbcomm gave a clear signal right at the start that evidence limits could be ignored. It was downhill from there.

Of the arbs:

* none of them emerge with any credit.

[ps: I changed the name of this post; the original still appears in the file name]

Comments

  1. #1 Michael Tobis
    2010/10/16

    The talk page is incomprehensible. I’d really like to know what happened, and in particular what needs to happen to avoid having sections of Wikipedia taken over by ideologues.

    Instead I get something so thoroughly arcane that I can’t read it.

    I think it likely that Wikipedia is NOT scaling, since apparently there is a complex history that one needs to know in order to participate. It reminds me of the days when most of Unix was verbal lore. There is something resembling documentation, and lots of it, but it is all completely devoid of meaning to anyone who didn’t participate in writing it. In that period, anything added to Unix was only known to the people who were already participants in the early days.

    It is important to understand that this indeed is and will remain a victory for the usual idiots unless and until you explain what happened from your point of view such than an outsider can understand it. I think you shouldn’t underestimate the importance of you defending yourself, not for your own purposes (I am sure you are held in high esteem by those in your personal and professional circles) but for the purposes of the climate debate.

    As I said in private email, there are many who support and appreciate your efforts to date.

    As a family man with a real job, you may be in some part relieved at this turn of events. But if your efforts are suddenly missing, it would be good to know what the rest of us, Wikipedia naifs all, could do to fill the gap.

    Is there a risk that science will be summarily or eventually replaced by the increasingly vast supply of non-science? What is to be done about it?

  2. #2 Chris S.
    2010/10/16

    In the old days of encyclopedias the publishers usually made an effort to seek out the finest minds and experts that they could afford and persuade them to write a few entries.

    Wikipedia gets an expert for free and what do they do?

  3. #3 jo abbess
    2010/10/16

    @WilliamConnolley

    For as long as I’ve been aware of your involvement in public communications on Climate Change, my impression is that you have been a diamond geezer.

    I find metadata in Wikipedia (talk pages, for example) unfathomable at the best of times, but when an issue has been dragging on and on, and I don’t keep up to date, there’s no following it any more, even with thread guidance.

    An article from you describing your personal experience of the energy and effort you put into Wikipedia in the last decade, (written maybe in short bursts as a series to avoid over-taxing you), would help your supporters and casual enquirers to show some concrete support, I think.

    Many of the sceptic-denier “memes” have inserted themselves like DNA fragments into journalist and public figure minds, sadly, probably through the use of constant gnawing repetition. Unfortunately this then becomes part of the currency, the soup of “knowledge”, and gets cycled back into public information, such as Wikipedia.

    Rooting out propaganda is hard, as you have found out.

    Your contribution has been so valuable that I would appreciate seeing your summary of the flow of events, as a narrative, and I’m sure others would too.

  4. #4 P. Lewis
    2010/10/16

    Thank the mythical entity’s abode in the firmament! I thought I was alone in losing the ability to read and comprehend overnight, or perhaps had just had an advanced warning of a senior episode. What am I going on about? I expect you can guess.

    And as Jo, CS and MT so eloquently put it: “Don’t let the bar stewards grind you down”.

  5. #5 pough
    2010/10/16

    I just curious to know if Wikipedia-style writing is impenetrable because people like you write it, or if you were drawn to Wikipedia because it’s impenetrable. It’s like UNIX shell commands twittered and then given over to a doctor to hand-write.

    ¿ɹoʇɐɔsnɟqo uɐ ɥƃnoɹɥʇ ʇı unɹ uǝɥʇ puɐ ʇsɹıɟ ɥsılƃuǝ uı ʇno ʇı ǝʇıɹʍ sʞloɟ ɐıpǝdıʞıʍ op

  6. #6 chek
    2010/10/16

    The treatment of this affair by the ‘sceptics’ says it all – they care nothing about science and everything about their political purposes.

    What is wikipedia thinking?
    That the barbarians will just meekly go home again now?

  7. #7 Short Brigade Harvester Boris
    2010/10/16

    As William’s unindicted co-conspirator in the Wikipedia climate articles I can give my perspective.

    I was going to write a long, detailed account but that really isn’t necessary. It suffices to say that Wikipedia has degenerated into a bureaucratic and political snakepit.

    One of the most egregious examples relates to an administrator in the climate change arena. He promised to “level the playing field” more favorably toward the contrarians by “break(ing) the back” of the “science club.” Administrators are supposed to be impartial and to that end there are a few rules to follow such as not acting on articles that they have edited. And sure enough, the administrator in question doesn’t edit climate articles. But there’s no specific rule that says “administrators should not work to enforce a predetermined agenda.” And indeed, the Arbitration Committee issued no sanction against him. So, trashing the spirit of policies is perfectly fine and dandy as long as you adhere strictly to the letter.

    There are plenty of other examples of this stuff (e.g., the decision that William linked to includes an escape clause that one of the Arbitrators custom-designed for a buddy of his). But the interwebs have a finite number of electrons and I’ve already used my share.

  8. #8 caerbannog
    2010/10/17

    OK, hopefully this won’t go to Dr. Connolley’s head… but some people (not Eli, mind you) are saying that Dr. Connolley is the most influent global-warming advocate after Al Gore — details here: http://fullcomment.nationalpost.com/2010/10/14/lawrence-solomon-global-warming-propagandist-slapped-down/

    [Yes, I saw that. Partly that is a failure of perspective on LS's part. But partly he needs to puff up his obsession into something interesting -W]

  9. #9 Steve Bloom
    2010/10/17

    I read over some of the arbcom discussion, and it sounded to me more or less like the triumph of the libertarian English majors.

    [Yes, there is precious little science, or understanding thereof, in arbcomm -W]

  10. #10 jyyh
    2010/10/17

    The current heading is much better than the first one… Likely I will not recommend GW-articles on wikipedia in the future, though I’ve done some edits to those previously, including suggesting removing the CO2 fact page since it was too political… We met once in there at Anthropocene, hope they get well.

  11. #11 Rattus Norvegicus
    2010/10/17

    pough,

    I can understand Unix shell scipts (Bourne, csh or ksh and even bash to a certain extent) I once wrote a several thousand line script to handle generic driver installation.

    But Wiki talk pages? Fergit about it, Jake, it’s Wikitown.

    (apologies to Robert Towne and Roman Polanski).

  12. #12 Hank Roberts
    2010/10/17

    So, what about putting a little link at the top of the main page to a WeaselPedia article on Climate Change, maintained as though it were at the old place, for those who’d like to imagine it still existed there?

    [Wiki is GFDL of course, and the full history exists, so you can always fork it -W]

  13. #13 Brian Schmidt
    2010/10/17

    I’m a lawyer and somewhat involved in wiki, and still I don’t understand all this stuff. The wiki arbitrators are shooting themselves in the foot.

    Several years ago I asked William if he’d still edit climate change articles and he said he would until he got kicked off. Prophetic.

  14. #14 John Mashey
    2010/10/17

    re: #11 Rattus
    Well, I sort of created serious shell scripting ~1975, but I have trouble with those Wiki talk pages, too. For amusement, I offer my “Dog astrology journal analysis” of The Hockey Stick Illusion.

    In a talk thread usually seeing 20 edits a day, discussions suddenly ceased for a day and a half, followed by a determined series of attempts to:

    a) Edit it out entirely, from a *talk* page, not a main page. The series of reasons were amusing.

    b) These were foiled, especially by WMC.

    c) No one ever answered the substance, which after all is alleging fabrication or misrepresentation, since Montford claims a source (Lindzen) did something he did not. Sadly, Montford is not an academic.

    Eventually, the section got archived away … but Wikipedia does not forget.

  15. #15 Steve Bloom
    2010/10/17

    It’s not at all sad that Montford isn’t an academic, JM. We don’t need more of Pat Michaels.

  16. #16 John Mashey
    2010/10/17

    But Steve, it is sad: if he were an academic, a complaint of academic misconduct would have long aqo come to his school, and any credible school would take this quite seriously.

    It is a lot easier to write nonsense when there is nothing to lose, and defamation law is much trickier to actually use.

  17. #17 Holly Stick
    2010/10/17

    #8: I think Solomon has a personal grudge against WMC for not letting him be described as an environmentalist as in the second link at the end of his article. And in the first link WMC prevented him from making other changes on wiki, so WMC must be a very important person because he controls information, and since LS and the rest of the idiots at the National Post think global warming is a PR hoax, then WMC must be high in the councils of the mighty.

    Solomon is called an environmentalist on wiki right now.

    John Mashey, that Hockey Stick Illusion seems to have been edited recently (maybe that happens all the time, I dunno). But the Reception section mostly just lists who has written in favour or against the book, with a few reasons given, but no effort to judge the quality of the support. I mean, so the National Post liked it, so what? It’s not like their opinion is worth anything.

    But is someone at wiki working now to push denialist viewpoints, or are the people editing wiki now just afraid to express opinions?

  18. #18 Anna Haynes
    2010/10/17

    Paging Jimmy Wales…

  19. #19 Johjn Mashey
    2010/10/17

    re: #17
    I’m not exactly sure who “someone at Wiki” would, given the widely-distributed nature of a vast volunteer effort.

    As to what was going on:

    1) I believe that the HSI will become a terrific case study.
    Numerous low-grade reviews are put forth as reliable sources, even just a citation to it. A certain set of people reallyy, really want HSI to be an authoritative text.

    2) If you want to get a feel for this, and can tolerate it:
    .

    Hunt backwards for astrology, then look for the last one that day (August 21), which is what I wrote.
    Then you can look upwards for anything with astrology or proposition in the comment.

    3) The fundamental problem is that if someone publishes a low-quality book that appeals to some people:

    a) It rarely gets reviewed by anyone who actually knows anything relevant.

    b) But does get reviewed by others, like local business writers, the co-founder of the Discovery Institute, writing (in effect) in its website. [That is DI, not Discover magazine.)

    c) Relatively few negative reviews will appear in Reliable Sources, and given usual limits, they have to be short.

    d) Serious reviews may well only appear in blogs, of which very few are considered RS. tamino’s in RealClimate would have been, had tamino not been a pseudonym, despite the fact that anyone with a working brain can figure out that identity in 5 minutes, if they don’t already know. Still, that was kept out.

    Similar things go on at:
    hockey stick controversy.

    or
    Edward Wegman.

    In both, in talk pages, I cite some non-RS material, which however includes many pointers to RS material. For example, one of the oddities of Wikipedia is that if there’s a non-RS blog, that shows side-by-sides of texts to allege plagiarism/fabrication in some source wished for support, some people don’t want that even cited in talk pages. That is, there can be prime facie evidence of serious credibility problems with a source, but one is apparently disallowed from mentioning it.

    That has led to the ominous comment:
    “I’m Tasty monster (it’s my alternate account). I disapprove of Deep Climate and John Mashey intruding into the editing of the encyclopedia. If either makes postings unsupported by reliable sources I’ll deal with it. –TS 20:52, 14 October 2010 (UTC)”

    I see, one should be disallowed from saying anything in a *talk* page unsupported by RS. I have summarized all this in talk on WP:RS.

    Note that I mostly was telling people that spending a lot of time editing these pages is likely to be a waste of time, until the dust settles, which isn’t yet. I do believe there will be much RS material that WMC might like, but others will not, but it will be very difficult to keep out, for all 3 of these pages. Oh, it might catch
    The Deniers.

    “Intruding into the editing of the Enclyclopedia” >.. ooh, that’s almost as fierce as:

    “Perhaps it would be better if “Dr.” Mashey were to write a peer-reviewed rebuttal of Mr. Schulte’s paper, rather than interfering in an unlawful manner on the blogosphere, which is not the best place for serious scientific discourse.”

    Sayeth the Viscount at: comments at DeSmogBlog

    The phrase starting at ,”which” is at least correct. Even a stopped clock is right twice a day.

  20. #20 Steve Bloom
    2010/10/17

    To return to my example, John, I will point out that Michaels was never subjected to an academic misconduct proceeding throughout his long association with UVa. It does seem like plagiarism is one of the few things that will get the wheels in motion, but it appears to me that much damage can be done without resorting to it. IIRC, you haven’t raised a single instance of Wegman’s plagiarism that he couldn’t have avoided without making his report less effective. Just making stuff up, which is what Michaels is largely guilty of, seems to fall substantially under academic freedom protections.

  21. #21 Paul Kelly
    2010/10/17

    Wikipedia has been a boon for crossword and double crostic solvers. As a source for serious seekers of solid scholarship (see article on alliteration), not so much.
    Often the best thing for one’s self is to just walk away with no regrets.

  22. #22 John Mashey
    2010/10/17

    re: #20
    I’d disagree, somewhat.
    I always say Wikipedia cannot be used as an authoritative source, but is often useful as a quick starting point for an introduction.
    I think there are large numbers of useful pages …
    the problem is the the small subset that engender intense beliefs that can depart from the real world.

  23. #23 Paul Kelly
    2010/10/17

    “Wikipedia cannot be used as an authoritative source, but often useful as a quick starting point for an introduction.”

    I can agree with that.

  24. #24 Holly Stick
    2010/10/17

    It’s useful for arguments on the Internet which are not going to be taken seriously by anyone and which will be forgotten in a day or two; and it often has useful links.

  25. #25 Andrew Haley
    2010/10/18

    The comment “Wikipedia is not a battleground, Passed 8 to 0″ is pretty bizarre, or at least unintentionally ironic. Clearly Wikipedia is a battleground, and denying the fact isn’t going to solve the problem.

    [Yes, I think it has to be understood as a statement of their desires, rather than of reality -W]

  26. #26 Pete Ridleyp
    2010/10/18

    William, Jo Abbess has asked on her blog for people to give you support by commenting here. Here is the comment that I posted in response.

    [I think that WP:DRY applies; but you make some amusing errors so it is worth commenting -W]

    ************

    Hi Jo, so “William Connolley’s struggle to keep Wikipedia clean on Climate Change has tired me out”. His stuggle to maintain the myth about our continuing (and increasing) use of fossil fuels causing catastrophic global climate change has made a lot of sceptics sick and tired. There’s an enormous difference between a clean up and a whitewash. The whitewash simply hides what you don’t want to see. A good clean removes all of the dirt.

    [I think it is clear from that you haven't actually read any of my edits, just relied on inaccurate descriptions from other people. And what you fail to realise (although I explicitly pointed it out) is that arbcomm haven't complained about the *content* of my edits -W]

    It is good news to read on Wikipedia that “William M. Connolley is topic-banned from Climate change ..” (Note 1). Section 8 of that page provides a good list of all of William’s questionable activities, including QUOTE:
    William M. Connolley previously sanctioned and desysopped

    [Well, true. But not really relevant to this dispute. Perhaps you should look at *why* that occurred - perhaps you too are a supporter of cold fusion? -W]

    William M. Connolley has been uncivil and antagonistic

    [Nah, that was bollocks from the darling delicate children -W]

    William M. Connolley has shown Ownership

    [Bit of a failure of reading skills from you. That failed - didn't you notice? -W]

    William M. Connolley BLP violations

    [Ditto: failed -W]

    William M. Connolley’s edits to biographies of living persons

    [No diffs provided -W]
    UNQUOTE:

    [Spam removed - W]

  27. #27 Marco
    2010/10/18

    Steve Bloom: making things up can get you in trouble, too, but it will have to be fabrications. There are a few examples here:
    http://ori.dhhs.gov/misconduct/cases/

  28. #28 TheGoodLocust
    2010/10/18

    The basic problem [redacted per WP:NPA -W]

    For example, I just looked at your last few CC edits and you removed a graph I’d uploaded for Ross McKitrick. You never liked it, consensus was gained to put it in the article, and you decreased the quality of the article just because [WP:NPA again -W]

    [Don't know which graph you mean. If it was by McK it was likely wrong... oh, do you mean the really awful one with fake temperature trends on? Can't even find that in my edit stream... no, I lie, I have found it: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Global_warming_controversy&diff=prev&oldid=388552768. Yes, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:AverageTvsNumberofStations.jpg is tripe. Oh yeah, plus, I don't believe you ever had consensus for inclusion: care to point to same? -W]

    And why am I one of the “worst” of the skeptics? [WP:NPA again -W]

    [Because you are permanently rude, deliberately abrasive, deeply ignorant of the science yet persist in editing in spite of your ignorance, and contribute nothing at all of value. Can you point to a single edit of yours that improved the science of Cl Ch on wiki? -W]

    The fact is that every time I’ve had to deal with you on articles you’ve made major screw ups [WP:NPA again -W]

    [An easy thing to say but I see no diffs to back this up. As far as I can tell I've made no screw ups at all. But if you have examples, please present them -W]

    [WP:NPA again -W]

  29. #29 MarkB
    2010/10/18

    I suspect the hacks see this as a victory because there are more hacks like them than there are science-minded individuals. Get rid of an equal number and the ratio is more in their favor.

    From the limited experience I have with Wikipedia, it seems two rules will continue to stand in the way of the hacks: Reliable Source and Undue Weight. Reliable sources include peer-reviewed academic references, IPCC, etc, but not blogs. That eliminates most of the contrarian nonsense and most of the “world will end” stuff, or anything not supported in the peer-reviewed literature. And Undue Weight means a solitary study cannot be given equal weight as the rest, so no false balance nonsense. Since these rules apply to all topics, changing these rules to any degree seems unlikely. Hopefully, there are a few more science-minded individuals to enforce these rules, now that WC and some other excellent contributors are on forced Wikipedia sabbatical, and help to improve the articles. It’s certainly a time-consuming effort, made more difficult by the clowns who seek to twist science to their political agenda.

  30. #30 Ian
    2010/10/18

    I’d really like to know what happened, and in particular what needs to happen to avoid having sections of Wikipedia taken over by ideologues.

    Step 1: Build a time machine
    Step 2: Travel back in time to ~2005
    Step 3: worry about 1 and 2 first

    [Not early enough. It was pretty bad in 2003, before I joined -W]

  31. #31 Marco
    2010/10/19

    William, regarding that McKitrick graph:

    http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2004/04/mckitrick.php
    and also:
    http://shewonk.wordpress.com/2010/08/20/station-drop-outs-and-other-skeptic-tales/

    I also remember some discussion on McKitrick’s claim that rural stations were disproportionally affected, showing that percentage-wise the rural vs urban stations remained the same. Can’t find that discussion, though.

  32. #32 Anna Haynes
    2010/10/19

    Jimmy Wales appeals to us to donate, to protect Wikipedia.
    (link)

    What does he mean by “protect”?

  33. #33 Pete Ridley
    2010/10/22

    In my opinion Wikipedia’s Climate Change entries can only improve now that you have had your editing privileges curtailed. Wikipedia, in trying to be a worthwhile encyclopaedia, needs topic experts to contribute, not amateurs. You said when you left the British Arctic Survey and Realclimate in December 2007 “I expect to continue my (now amateur) interest in climate” (http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2007/12/goodbye-to-all-that/). The question that I have pondered for a while is were you ever other than an amateur as far as contributing to our poor understanding of the processes and drivers of global climates?

    Because of the manner in which you present yourself, as a scientist having specialist knowledge of climate processes and drivers, I have done a bit of research into what contribution if any you have made to unravelling the considerable uncertainties that exist about those processes and drivers. I thought that, as you were working as a climate modeller for the British Antarctic Survey until December 2007, if you had made any significant contribution you would have been involved in some way with the IPCC’s scientific reports. I have checked the AR4 WG1 “List of Authors” with 616 names (including your Realclimate associates Gavin Schmidt (Modeller), Caspar Ammann, Rasmus Benestad, Stefan Rahmstorf, David Archer),
    .(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_authors_from_Climate_Change_2007:_The_Physical_Science_Basis). Because you acknowledge (http://scienceblogs.com/stoat/about.php) that “I’m a software engineer, working on embedded firmware for Cambridge Silicon Radio ..” I could find no mention of you.

    I thought that just maybe you had been involved in the TAR so checked the list of authors in Appendix III “Contributors to the IPCC WGI Third Assessment Report” (http://www.ipcc.ch/ipccreports/tar/wg1/pdf/TAR-APPENDICES.PDF) but once again I could not find any mention of you. I wasn’t the least surprised. After all, computer programmers and software engineers do not become scientists just because they work alongside real scientists.

    From that it appears that rather than being a researcher into global climate processes and drivers you were merely involved as a modeller relating to only one of the 6 major global climates defined by Köppen (http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1O14-Kppenclimateclassificatin.html), i.e. F – Perpetual Frost, all months below 0C.

    So, other than the fact that you had the title of “Senior Scientific Officer” during your time working as a modeller alongside scientific researchers at the British Antarctic Survey, is there any convincing evidence that you have ever been a research scientist involved in removing those significant scientific uncertainties about the processes and drivers of those different global climates? I could find no more evidence of that than there is that I, a Chartered Engineer, was ever a scientist, even though I had the title of Member of Scientific Staff when working with scientific researchers at Bell-Northern Research Laboratories.

    William, you come across to me (and from what I have read on other blogs, to others as well) as nothing more than an egotistical environmental activist, however, for the moment I’m prepared to give you the benefit of the doubt. Maybe I simply missed something – if so please let me know and if it is convincing then I shall be happy to apologise, otherwise, your claim to being “Known for Research into climate change” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Connolley) will continue to appear to me as being bogus. Lawrence Solomon said of you in his 14th October Financial Post article “Global warming propagandist slapped down” (http://opinion.financialpost.com/tag/wikipedia/) “Connolley did not wield his influence by the quality of his research or the force of his argument but through his administrative position at Wikipedia”. Can you show that Solomon was wrong?

    Pete Ridley

    PS: No matter what you “snip” from this comment, can you prevent it appearing elsewhere, possibly at Jo Abbesses blog or “I Hate The Media, or Watts Up, etc? Why waste your time? Just prove Solomon, me and all of the others wrong, or is that not possible?

  34. #34 Pete Ridley
    2010/10/23

    In my opinion Wikipedia’s Climate Change entries can only improve now that you have had your editing privileges curtailed. Wikipedia, in trying to be a worthwhile encyclopaedia, needs topic experts to contribute, not amateurs. You said when you left the British Arctic Survey and Realclimate in December 2007 “I expect to continue my (now amateur) interest in climate” (http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2007/12/goodbye-to-all-that/). The question that I have pondered for a while is were you ever other than an amateur as far as contributing to our poor understanding of the processes and drivers of global climates?

    Because of the manner in which you present yourself, as a scientist having specialist knowledge of climate processes and drivers, I have done a bit of research into what contribution if any you have made to unravelling the considerable uncertainties that exist about those processes and drivers. I thought that, as you were working as a climate modeller for the British Antarctic Survey until December 2007, if you had made any significant contribution you would have been involved in some way with the IPCC’s scientific reports. I have checked the AR4 WG1 “List of Authors” with 616 names (including your Realclimate associates Gavin Schmidt (Modeller), Caspar Ammann, Rasmus Benestad, Stefan Rahmstorf, David Archer),
    .(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_authors_from_Climate_Change_2007:_The_Physical_Science_Basis). Because you acknowledge (http://scienceblogs.com/stoat/about.php) that “I’m a software engineer, working on embedded firmware for Cambridge Silicon Radio ..” I could find no mention of you.

    I thought that just maybe you had been involved in the TAR so checked the list of authors in Appendix III “Contributors to the IPCC WGI Third Assessment Report” (http://www.ipcc.ch/ipccreports/tar/wg1/pdf/TAR-APPENDICES.PDF) but once again I could not find any mention of you. I wasn’t the least surprised. After all, computer programmers and software engineers do not become scientists just because they work alongside real scientists.

    From that it appears that rather than being a researcher into global climate processes and drivers you were merely involved as a modeller relating to only one of the 6 major global climates defined by Köppen (http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1O14-Kppenclimateclassificatin.html), i.e. F – Perpetual Frost, all months below 0C.

    So, other than the fact that you had the title of “Senior Scientific Officer” during your time working as a modeller alongside scientific researchers at the British Antarctic Survey, is there any convincing evidence that you have ever been a research scientist involved in removing those significant scientific uncertainties about the processes and drivers of those different global climates? I could find no more evidence of that than there is that I, a Chartered Engineer, was ever a scientist, even though I had the title of Member of Scientific Staff when working with scientific researchers at Bell-Northern Research Laboratories.

    William, you come across to me (and from what I have read on other blogs, to others as well) as nothing more than an egotistical environmental activist, however, for the moment I’m prepared to give you the benefit of the doubt. Maybe I simply missed something – if so please let me know and if it is convincing then I shall be happy to apologise, otherwise, your claim to being “Known for Research into climate change” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Connolley) will continue to appear to me as being bogus. Lawrence Solomon said of you in his 14th October Financial Post article “Global warming propagandist slapped down” (http://opinion.financialpost.com/tag/wikipedia/) “Connolley did not wield his influence by the quality of his research or the force of his argument but through his administrative position at Wikipedia”. Can you show that Solomon was wrong?

    Pete Ridley

    PS: No matter what you “snip” from this comment, can you prevent it appearing elsewhere, possibly at Jo Abbesses blog or “I Hate The Media, or Watts Up, etc? Why waste your time? Just prove Solomon, me and all of the others wrong, or is that not possible?

  35. #35 Hank Roberts
    2010/10/26

    A reminder that what’s being funneled into Wikipedia isn’t at all likely to be from purely green-grassroots individual work.

    The production of commercial “facts” is so great that we often don’t notice it — it’s like water for a fish.

    From Forbes:
    http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/2010/09/26/forbes-blogs-for-sale/

    From the public health side:
    http://annhyg.oxfordjournals.org/content/54/3/362.extract

    “… two books discussed in Ogden’s commentary—Defending the Indefensible: The Global Asbestos Industry and Its Fight for Survival by McCulloch and Tweedale and Doubt Is Their Product: How Industry’s Assault on Science Threatens Your Health by David Michaels. Both books expose a disturbing history of how the tobacco, asbestos, and other industries, through the use of industry-funded scientists and through industry-sponsored research, have systematically suppressed and distorted scientific evidence so as to create doubt about harms caused by their products, thereby influencing governments, through a mechanism of fomenting uncertainty, to not act to protect public health in spite of overwhelming independent evidence showing that action was indeed well justified (McCulloch and Tweedale, 2008; Michaels, 2008).

    In his commentary, Ogden does not address this issue. Instead, he focuses on another issue, stating that ‘Work funded by industry is not always wrong, papers from other sources are not always free from bias’. While this is true, it is also irrelevant since no such assertion has been made. His argument avoids the fundamental public health issue at hand, namely whether multi-billion-dollar industries are succeeding in subverting public health policy through industry-funded research, causing large numbers of people to suffer harm and loss of life. This is a serious and valid issue, deserving of a direct and relevant response, as opposed to a misleading distraction. …”

  36. #36 Hank Roberts
    2010/10/26

    The relevant quote about Forbes for this context:

    “When Scienceblogs tried something along these lines with Pepsi, Newsweek summed things up by saying that “it’s pretty clear that a line was crossed with the Pepsi blog and that the line should never be approached again”. But what D’Vorkin [Forbes] seems to be selling here seems actually to be several steps over the Pepsi/Scienceblogs line….”