The Heartland Institute's failed wiki

From the Heartland Institute:

Subject: Announcing ClimateWiki.org: The Definitive Climate Change Encyclopedia
To: <no-one@cares>
Date: Wednesday, June 8, 2011, 4:40 PM
Announcing ClimateWiki.org: The Definitive Climate Change Encyclopedia

CHICAGO - Backed by more than two decades of institutional knowledge and the work of some of the world's most esteemed climate scientists, The Heartland Institute <http://www.heartland.org/&gt; is proud to announce the launch of a new Web site called ClimateWiki.org . It is the definitive climate change encyclopedia.

It is doomed, obviously.

Looking at the Global Warming page (it might be best to look at the version when I wrote this) you see why. The page itself isn't too bad, of course. A bit dull - no graphs - but the text is basically OK. Which is because it is just the introduction from the wikipedia article. Why would anyone bother read the cut-down Heartland version rather than the real thing? If you want to live in the denialist echo-chamber, you read CA and Watts and watch Faux. You don't need a broken copy of wikipedia. They've moved it into "Category: Politics", which is presumably a silly joke on their part. Or perhaps, being the Heartland, all articles will be in the politics class?

Also, anyone pausing to compare their claims ("Backed by more than two decades of institutional knowledge and the work of some of the world's most esteemed climate scientists") against the reality (broken copies of wikipedia) is going to wonder at the disparity. Good grief: they haven't even managed to copy across the IPCC page yet.

Or, you can read an article not copied from wikipedia: they push their Introduction to Global Warming. That one is a true Heartland article, and has been written (or copied) straight from their current hand book, whose theme is "if you can't convince them that you are right, try to convince them that it is all to complicated and confusing for anyone to understand", aka FUD: Global warming is a complicated issue. It's easy to get confused by all the scientific arguments and conflicting claims... Scientists disagree on the causes and consequences of climate change for a number of reasons... Again, this is all very well if you're part of the echo chamber, but a teensy bit useless for anyone else.

More like this

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At least they use polite wording, Al Gore is called "large" and not "fat":

"Al Gore is one the worldâs largest advocates of the global warming theory."

;-)

I can't wait to find out what the 'Murcury' scare was all about (just a blank page at the moment) and why Freeman Dyson is listed as the sole alarmist scientist. Their novel approach to indexing is intriguing, too. Their alphabetical list of 'People' sorts everyone by their first names, just like they do on porn websites (or so I'm told).

By Vinny Burgoo (not verified) on 09 Jun 2011 #permalink

"a teensy bit useless"

Maybe that's another category they could use?

But Stoat, you should know by now that these think-tanks have their own idiosyncratic way of using English words. Every goon they consult is a "leading" "expert", so much so that the word "leading" is pretty much a cliché.

But it seems that -- as Sam pointed out -- they're trying to bring some variation into their lingo, so instead of "leading" we have "most esteemed". :-)

-- frank

"If you want to live in the denialist echo-chamber, you read CA and Watts and watch Faux. You don't need a broken copy of wikipedia..."

But 'you' do!

Ideally they'd have some cookie based re-routing system that transfers them seamlessly to their alternate world whenever faced with something they disagree with. When the aim is avoiding the discomfort of cognitive disssonance what is unsettling but wrong isn't broken, it's comfortable.

It appears to be, in the main, a repurposing of Singer's 900 page NIPCC report from a couple of years ago. I suppose they wanted to wring the last bit of value out of the money they paid S. Fred...

They're asking for editors, y'know. If I were into creating alternate selves on the web, I'd be tempted to sign up and...

[tempting, yes. But it wouldn't take them long enough to realise you were sane. I doubt you could fake the wackiness required -W]

Meet some of your Heartland colleagues O Climate Scientists:

List of Skeptical Climate Change Scientists
[scientific subdiscipline]

J. Scott Armstrong Professor of Marketing
Chris Horner Lawyer
Andrei Illarionov Russian energy lobbyist
Marlo Lewis Lawyer
James Taylor PR Flack

This page was last modified on 8 June 2011, at 18:21. This page has been accessed 602 times http://www.climatewiki.org/wiki/List_of_Skeptical_Climate_Change_Scient….

[At least the Armstrong page is blank. The David Bellamy one, though, has been padded out by repeating the text! -W]

I think this kind of Wiki can find its use as a reference source for denialists looking for arguments supporting their case. WUWT and CA isn't really organized so you can find "information" about a specific subject easily. There is a whole cadre of people who are willing to argue against AGW but who don't have the knowledge to do so. If a wiki like this is expanded they can just copy information and references from it and sound as if they know something.

["There is a whole cadre of people who are willing to argue against AGW but who don't have the knowledge to do so" - I do like that, its so true -W]

"If a wiki like this is expanded they can just copy information and references from it and sound as if they know something."

Then we go to Skeptical Science and find the appropriate rebuttal for whichever faulty arguments they copy.

By Holly Stick (not verified) on 10 Jun 2011 #permalink

Holly Stick, how many people will be able to tell which argument is correct? The denialists don't have to convince people they are right, they just have to spread doubt, make it seem as if there are two about equally strong sides to the debate.

I think this kind of Wiki can find its use as a reference source for denialists looking for arguments supporting their case.

Not gonna happen... it would make the inconsistencies way too visible. They would have to agree first on precisely what to deny: "It ain't happening, it's not our fault, adaptation will be easy, and anyway it's good for us."

WUWT and CA isn't really organized

Feature, not bug ;-)

By Martin Vermeer (not verified) on 11 Jun 2011 #permalink

Martin, if this wiki like the real one was open for editing by anyone you would probably be right that it would implode from the inconsistencies among the denialists, but as long as Heartland control the editing they can ensure that each article by itself is reasonably consistent. Contradictions between different ones won't matter so much as anyone looking for a quick answer isn't likely to go searching around.

Their About ClimateWiki page is a blank template.
Their Disclaimers page is a blank template.
Their Privacy Policy page is a blank template.

Well I had considered creating an account so I could make and edit articles, but it seems a bit too risky. Also I've noticed a total lack of branding or mention of ties to the Heartland Institute anywhere on the site (other than the copious citations of HI material). Almost as if they were trying to pass themselves off as unbiased and independent. Wonder if that'll backfire once people start seeing ClimateWiki in Google searches and sign up to contribute, not knowing that their submissions should be towing the denialist line. Will they eventually have too many knowledgeable contributors to police effectively?

Er, whoops, got sloppy and overlooked the line on the front page about moderation by the HI. I retract my comment about the absence of proclaimed links between them.

It's not that the guardian is a month late covering this;

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/blog/2011/jul/19/climate-change-w…

but that their guy spent the last month testing the alleged openness of CW.

[Yes, not too impressive. Nor is it impressive that he failed to do his research properly and realise it was just a copy of NIPCC - to be fair, it took me afair while, and prompting from commentors, but all that was available to the Grauniad. Perhaps they are just too dump to realise where the reliable sources are? -W]