The Heartland Institute is sad

The Heartland Institute is sad. Because, like the Watties, they don’t like their wiki page (ar). But they aren’t going to take it lying down, oh no:

In recent months, left-wing activists have hijacked The Heartland Institute’s profile at Wikipedia, removing objective descriptions of our programs and publications and replacing them with lies, errors, and outright libelous claims. Our efforts to correct the site have been rejected by the editors of the self-described “free encyclopedia.” Can you help?

(my bold). Weirdly, although that was posted on “February 19, 2016” not a simple wacko denialist has showed up to help1; their bench really is very thin indeed nowadays. And that’s despite them posting careful instructions for how to edit the page into the shape they want. As Trump would say: Losers!

Notes

1. Shortly after I wrote this a couple showed up, and then went away again. See discussion in the comments.

Refs

* Deepak Chopra vs Wikipedia

Comments

  1. #1 Magma
    2016/02/22

    Oh, now I’m sad. *sniff*

    Off topic… *what* exactly is the fellow with the knife holding in his left hand, and do I really want to look this up on Google?

  2. #2 Magma
    2016/02/22

    OK… I did. A mid-14th century illustration of the self-circumcision of Abraham. I could probably have skipped that.

    [I thought it seemed vaguely appropriate -W]

  3. #3 Kevin O'Neill
    Monastery, Nova Scotia
    2016/02/22

    Re the self-circumcision of Abraham: They just don’t make god-fearin’ men like they used to.

    Now is this the same knife he was going to use to kill his son Isaac? And was this before or after the aborted sacrifice? There are just so many things they never covered in catechism classes.

  4. #4 dean
    2016/02/23

    Abraham does not look at all happy to be doing his God’s bidding. Hardly a sign of a true believer.

  5. #5 SteveP
    The Doghouse
    2016/02/23

    Not to be confused with The Heartworm Institute. The Heartworm Institute is an American conservative and libertarian  public policy stink tank founded in Heartwormland. The Institute conducts work on issues including education destruction, public misinformation, facilitating the supply of addictive toxic substances to children, fighting the general welfare, illness production, healthcare denial, climate degradation and environmental destruction. Through its corporate partners in Heartwormland, the institute works relentlessly to achieve its goal of redirecting world wealth to heartless psychopaths. Its motto is “Excrementa , Urinam , et Corruptione”.

  6. #6 John Mashey
    2016/02/23

    Well, Peter Thusat did show ip to help, also claiming Heartland did no lobbying. But then, from LinkedIn, we do find:
    ‘Executive Director
    The Heartland Institute
    November 1990 – October 1992 (2 years)
    Achieved praiseworthy accomplishments as regional executive director and chief Ohio spokesman for this state and local public policy think tank. Scheduled, funded, produced and edited cutting-edge reports, studies, white papers, newsletters, press releases and other publications. Oversaw finances. Organized and hosted special events. Spoke at issue conferences and on radio and television programs. Addressed numerous civic clubs and political groups. Met with elected officials, lobbyists and opinion leaders. Successfully generated more than 200 favorable newspaper stories, op-eds and TV/radio publicity.’

    <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=The_Heartland_Institute&action=history&quot;.which Isambard Kingdom seems to have known.

    See also my addition to WMC’s note.

    [Ha, I’d found that Linkedin page when searching on the name, but had somehow passed it by as “obviously not him” – it was the picture that threw me, it completely didn’t fit his image -W]

  7. […] instructions for how to edit the page into the shape they want. As Trump would say: Losers! The Heartland Institute is sad – Stoat Sign in or Register Now to […]

  8. #8 ...and Then There's Physics
    2016/02/23

    > [I thought it seemed vaguely appropriate -W]

    Any chance you can post it on their wiki page?

    [As an anon, perhaps… I put it to you as a challenge :-) -W]

  9. #9 Dunc
    2016/02/23

    Somebody has finally shown up with a brand new account to make some incredibly cack-handed edits, which managed to stay up for almost 40 minutes. You just can’t get a good propagandist these days…

    [To be fair, a small amount of correction has survived (https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=The_Heartland_Institute&diff=706431161&oldid=706326835) so some minor good may come of this. I’m hoping for more popcorn, though; surely they can put up more than that? -W]

  10. #10 JCH
    Texas
    2016/02/23

    I read about this Cannoli guy who can cook up a wiki storm. Maybe they should hire him from the bench to get their page to their liking.

    [I’m a gun for hire; but can they afford me? -W]

  11. #11 Russell Seitz
    Mustique
    2016/02/23

    Heartland needs someone smart and computer literate with time on their hands that they’ve dealt with before,

    They could always try Florence prisoner

    [Speaking of technophilia, I believe I’ve fixed up your href, let me know if I guessed wrong -W]

  12. #12 Russell Seitz
    Mustique
    2016/02/23

    Oops!-
    Here’s the right link

    [Ha ha, I was there before you. In return, I’ve “borrowed” your fine image -W]

  13. #13 Russell Seitz
    2016/02/23

    Thanks- you beat me to it. no snip snip jokes please.

  14. #14 Brian Schmidt
    United States
    2016/02/24

    Wonder why Kierkegaard didn’t talk about this version of Abraham.

    Anyway, blogged a link back here and asked a broader question about why denialists have usually failed so spectacularly on wiki:

    http://rabett.blogspot.com/2016/02/funny-what-turns-up.html

    [It is odd. Both Heartland and WUWT have appealed to their readership, who you might have thought was both large and active, and yet they’ve totally failed. The obvious answer is that they are all mouth and no action -W]

  15. #15 John Mashey
    2016/02/24

    Just so all know:
    1) JLakely =Jim Lakely, long-time Heartland communications mgr and E-i-C of their blog, Somewhat Reasonable, where appeared Joe Bast’s post asking for help on WIkipedia.

    2) Via Linkedin, Peter Thusat’s bio includes:
    ‘Executive Director
    The Heartland Institute
    November 1990 – October 1992 (2 years)
    Achieved praiseworthy accomplishments as regional executive director and chief Ohio spokesman for this state and local public policy think tank. Scheduled, funded, produced and edited cutting-edge reports, studies, white papers, newsletters, press releases and other publications. Oversaw finances. Organized and hosted special events. Spoke at issue conferences and on radio and television programs. Addressed numerous civic clubs and political groups. Met with elected officials, lobbyists and opinion leaders. Successfully generated more than 200 favorable newspaper stories, op-eds and TV/radio publicity.”

    3) “Dr Farnesworth” is hard to find:
    site:https://www.heartland.org farnesworth doensn’t find anything very clear, unless one counts Farnsworth.
    Assuming this was a real person, their contribution (H/T dunc) started:

    “”’The Heartland Institute”’ is an American public policy [[think tank]] founded in 1984 and based in Chicago. The Institute employs some of today’s greatest minds in their respective fields to search for honest, unbiased answers to some of today’s most serious issues. The Institute’s funding is transparent and does not include “big tobacco” or “big oil.” For example, in hopes of ending the climate change debate they brought together a great number of independent scientists, most of PhD level training, and all very well-respected in their fields. After years of research, all documented, these Physicists, Meteorologists, and other world renowned scientists were brought together and have issued 2 in-depth, thoroughly reviewed papers. Both of these papers do not simply attempt to justify fossil fuels, instead they scientifically raise legitimate questions regarding the IPCC claims and back up the questions with hard data. These papers are not for profit and are free to view or download on their site. Anyone seeking to dispute the work are free to do so, though most simply resort to tainting this page or elsewhere making untrue libelous claims against Heartland. It makes one curious as to why such tactics are used if instead they could simply prove Hearland’s work incorrect, perhaps they cannot. Heartland also works tirelessly on other issues including; education reform, [[government spending]], taxation, healthcare, education, [[tobacco smoking|tobacco]] policy, and [[hydraulic fracturing]].”

    I’m not sure which claims are more amusing. :-)

    [Jlakely reverts Dr Farnesworth saying “This edit of the lead of Heartland’s entry violates many WIkipedia guidelines. Better to work with a scalpel than a machete” so he’s not a fool; and he then makes a helpful update which has stood (as well as another helpful edit) -W]

  16. #16 Raymond Arritt
    4295 Ensenada Drive, Woodland Hills, CA 91364 USA
    2016/02/24

    Brian, it’s quite amazing that most of the time Wiki actually works. There are some notable failures (the article on Vladimir Putin springs to mind) but even articles on controversial topics are mostly sound.

    [I’m watching the Putin article now (following your plaint) but even that isn’t too bad. And it has a nice big banner on it to warn you -W]

    The problem is in how the sausage is made. People who try to skew things toward teh crazy — anti-vaxers, homeopaths, climate “skeptics” and so on — can drain a lot of energy. But that’s of no concern to the typical reader.

    [I think that the wiki-bureaucracy tends to see the end result – mostly decent pages, e.g. Global Warming – and fails to appreciate how much the energy drain and inevitable disrespect puts people off -W]

  17. #17 Raymond Arritt
    In the basement, mixing up the medicine
    2016/02/24

    @John, on first reading I thought Dr. Farnesworth might have been a Poe. I kind of don’t think so, but it’s possible.

  18. #18 Russell Seitz
    Barbados
    2016/02/24

    Dr. Farnsworth is the science guy in Futurama

  19. #19 John Mashey
    2016/02/24

    Re Farnesworth, Farnsworth, or whoever.
    The ambiguity level is high, because on the one hand it seems a Poe, but on the other, reread Bast’s post.

  20. #20 Dunc
    2016/02/24

    If Dr Farnesworth is a Poe, it’s a subtle one. I mean, sure, their contribution is clearly ridiculous on stylistic points alone, never mind the actual content, but it’s still well within the envelope of established behaviour for these sorts. It’s not as obviously unhinged as e.g. everything Monckton says.

    Still no further edits. This is disappointing, like turning up at the circus only to find that it consists of nothing more than one guy with a slightly exuberant bow tie and only two jokes…

  21. #21 Kevin O'Neill
    2016/02/24

    How long before popcorn goes stale?

  22. #22 Russell Seitz
    Cambridge MA
    2016/02/24

    Kevin, it depends on whether it’s organic or GMO

  23. #23 Brian Schmidt
    United States
    2016/02/24

    My guesses on why reality wins at wikipedia:

    1. Reliable Source requirement for statements messes up denialist ability to add BS like they can elsewhere. I’ve been annoyed at the inability to cite to blogs where a lot of information is located these days, but there is an upside.

    2. The origin bias with wiki being developed by highly educated people skews against denialism, somewhat.

    3. Conflict of interest policies limit self-interested editing by denialists, somewhat.

    4. English wiki has some overlap with non-English wiki, and denialism is somewhat less rampant in non-English speaking developed countries.

    [Those are part of it. I think 3 and 4 are least important. 2, in that it reflects there being a largeish potentially interested group who might join in, matters. 1 is important – some of the biggest arguments we’ve had on Global Warming where when there were reliable sources for foolish ideas – e.g. some of the solarist papers – and the question was more about balance which can be hard to establish.

    Another part is that if there is a conflict, you’re required to talk, on the talk page, to resolve the issue. If you’re not able to talk sanely, you’re going to lose when others come to see the debate, or when the admins come to visit. I think that is the crucial piece -W]

  24. #24 Susan Anderson
    2016/02/25

    [I think that the wiki-bureaucracy tends to see the end result – mostly decent pages, e.g. Global Warming – and fails to appreciate how much the energy drain and inevitable disrespect puts people off -W]

    This, especially the second half, is the problem in a nutshell. Thanks.

  25. #25 John Mashey
    2016/02/25

    But at least so far, in this case, the level of involvement from Bast’s plaintive request is underwhelming, especially compared to the endless attempts that WMC spent so much time deflecting.

  26. #26 Dunc
    2016/02/25

    Another part is that if there is a conflict, you’re required to talk, on the talk page, to resolve the issue. If you’re not able to talk sanely, you’re going to lose when others come to see the debate, or when the admins come to visit. I think that is the crucial piece -W

    Yes. I’ve never personally been involved in wiki, but I definitely get this impression… Being able to resolve conflicts like a grown-up is obviously a key skill for a wiki editor, especially on “controversial” topics, and denialists of all stripes seem to have real difficulty with this. Also, being able to write like a grown-up… This is what I was alluding to when I said that Dr Farnesworth’s edits were obviously stylistically ridiculous even if you disregard the actual content. They just don’t seem to be able to resist the sort of purple prose that has no place in an encyclopedia, and that’s a red flag.

  27. #27 matt
    2016/02/25

    Dont know all the wiki rules but quickly found – “Rule 7. Avoid shameless self-promotion”… so find a middleman. Does it come up in the discussion if an organisation/person asks others to edit their wiki page and gives hints, or is this not considered at all?

    [The rules in this regard are flexible. If you’re an organisation, then no-one will complain if you turn up on the talk page and say “things X, Y and Z are wrong; they should say P, Q and R, and here are links to prove it”. Quite likely, if it checks out, the changes will be made. You can even say “I think this sentence is misleading because of this nuance” and even that will be a fair hearing. What won’t work (although I haven’t seen anyone try this) is to turn up and monopolise the talk page. We have plenty of regulars who do that anyway :-). I think people can even edit their own articles (I used to edit mine, a bit) as long as they do so cautiously; stick to facts; back off if people complain; and so on -W]

  28. #28 Hank Roberts
    2016/02/25
  29. #29 Howard
    2016/02/25

    What’s sad is that you all care about the least useful aspect of wikipedia. 99% of wiki is loaded full of great useful stuff.

    [Yes; and this article is part of that 99% -W]

    Anything to do with current controversial/adversarial groups like Kochland and Tol-Land mental institutes becomes a meta battleground for the pathetic bickering classes. I am sad that people think this issue is important as it is rather pitying that y’all care about the nutters so much. Like the darkness need the light, the deniers only exist because you give them gravity by your careful and loving attention.

    [I have some sympathy for that view; its part of why I gave up shooting the Watties in their barrel -W]

  30. #30 JBL
    2016/02/25

    Yes, Howard, surely James Inhofe would resign from the Senate if only people would stop writing blog posts that you disapprove of.

  31. #31 Howard
    2016/02/26

    JBL: Inhofe will resign when he is told to by exxonmobilegeneraldynamicsarcherdanielsmidland

  32. #32 Mal Adapted
    Old Olympus's towering top
    2016/02/26

    Howard:

    JBL: Inhofe will resign when he is told to by exxonmobilegeneraldynamicsarcherdanielsmidland

    Should be devonenergyboeingmurrayenergyamericantruckingassociationgeneraldynamics

  33. #33 John Mashey
    2016/02/26

    Mal:
    http://www.opensecrets.org/politicians/summary.php?cycle=Career&type=C&cid=N00005582&newMem=N
    You get a different list if you pick career and all money paths.

    Guess who’s #1 and #2

  34. #34 Russell Seitz
    2016/02/27

    At least Inhofe shoots doves instead of climate hawks.

  35. #35 Mal Adapted
    2016/02/28

    Right, per John Mashey, that’s kochindustriesmurrayenergy.

  36. #36 Susan Anderson
    2016/02/28

    This might also be useful: add Scaife, Olin, and Bradley to Kochtopus:
    http://www.desmogblog.com/2016/01/21/beyond-koch-brothers-scaife-olin-bradley-jane-mayer-dark-money

    DeSmog is invaluable. Thanks JM.

  37. #37 John Mashey
    2016/02/29

    Yes, good new material, although some of this was known a while back.
    See Crescendo… p.93-
    In order:
    Exxon
    4 Scaife’s
    3 Kochs (we didn’t know about Charles’ other one)
    Eearhart
    Olin
    L&H Bradley
    etc.

  38. #38 Russell Seitz
    2016/02/29

    When will John get around to announcing his deep, deep shock at the discovery of right-wing Republicans in Orange County, and Socialists in Burlington Vermont?

    The climate wars wouldn’t be much fun without the MacArthur and Bradley foundations playing tweedledee and tweedledumber.

  39. #39 MarkG
    2016/03/06

    How did this vanity site make into Wiki?

    “On November 12, 2015, Ward issued The Climate Change Challenge in the media[16] and in personal emails to more than 2000 climate scientists, drawing attention to the reality that it has never been shown experimentally that increasing the concentration of carbon dioxide in air actually leads to significant warming of the air.”

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_Langdon_Ward

    [Thanks for that. Potentially interesting indeed -W]

  40. #40 Raymond Arritt
    2016/03/06

    MarkG, remember that WP is “the encyclopedia that anyone can edit.” If you see stuff like this you can fix it.

  41. #41 Raymond Arritt
    Nowhere you need to know about.
    2016/03/06

    Addendum: given the page view statistics this isn’t worth spending a huge amount of time.

    [Agreed. For your next trick, tell us why there were 146 views on 2015/11/25 -W]

  42. #42 Raymond Arritt
    Working in the coal mine, going down, down, down.
    2016/03/06

    It turns out that he was mentioned in a blog post on that date:

    http://hannahlab.org/climate-skeptics-peter-wards-ozone-depletion-theory/

    Seems like a not-very-prominent blog but then 125 hits isn’t a huge number.

    [Well found. I’ve left him a comment -W]

  43. #43 Hank Roberts
    above ground level for a while longer, probably
    2016/03/07

    > Seems like a not-very-prominent blog

    Refreshing, though, to see a young scientist who hasn’t yet become cynical about attempting rational discussion and mathematics as tools for convincing some of the skeptics.

  44. #44 John Mashey
    2016/03/07

    Ward actually had a booth at AGU2015, and I notice he made substantial contributions to the page.

    [About his only contribs. I did check he hadn’t been wacky elsewhere; but if he had, I’d have already noticed him -W]

  45. #45 Kevin O'Neill
    Franklin, WI USA
    2016/03/21

    Wiki editors have no sense of humor :)

    “After University of Wisconsin junior guard Bronson Koenig hit two 3-pointers in the final 13 seconds to beat the Musketeers, 66-63, in the second round of the NCAA tournament on Sunday, someone changed the first line of Xavier’s Wikipedia page.

    “Xavier University (/ˈzeɪviər/ zay-vee-ər) is a co-educational Jesuit, Catholic university located in Cincinnati, Ohio, United States and is owned by Bronson Koenig.[7]” it read.

    Also an additional school motto was listed as “It was a lucky shot.”

    The page was changed back to erase the additional edits a few hours later.”

    GO BADGERS !!!

    [It always ends in tears: 2016-03-21T15:15:13‎ Lectonar (talk | contribs)‎ m . . (28,601 bytes) (0)‎ . . (Protected “Xavier University”: Persistent disruptive editing ([Edit=Allow only autoconfirmed users] (expires 15:15, 31 March 2016 (UTC)) [Move=Allow only autoconfirmed users] (expires 15:15, 31 March 2016 (UTC)))) (undo | thank) -W]

  46. #46 Hank Roberts
    .... Giant beehives found under Antarctica ...
    2016/04/08

    Apropos Peter L. Ward, there’s more; ATTP tried to engage for a while. Commenting is done now.

    I did note one paper that’s consistent (I think) with PLW’s Wikipedia description of sulfates causing ozone degradation (though I still can’t make out his reasoning that ozone degradation allows more UV to heat the planet — seems to me once the UV arrives it’s heating some part of the planet, though if it’s not heating the stratosphere that would mean the stratosphere’s cooler so less efficient at radiating infrared away).
    —–
    … While ODS [ozone depleting substance] levels remain high, a large stratospheric sulfuric aerosol enhancement due to a major volcanic eruption or geoengineering activities would result in a substantial chemical depletion of ozone over much of the globe. ”

    http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/csd/assessments/ozone/2014/adm/

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