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Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Climate denial blog-owner Anthony Watts calls his troops to Wikipedia action

Sou | 2:12 AM Go to the first of 22 comments. Add a comment
Anthony Watts has sent his troops to rewrite the Wikipedia entry for his blog. wattsupwiththat (archived here). He says he's not allowed to do it himself because of bias. But he thinks his biased fans are allowed to do so I guess. His headline was "The sad tales of the Wikipedia gang war regarding WUWT – ‘creepy and a little scary’". Poor Anthony - the creep is creeped out.

Anthony decided to go to what he calls gang warfare, calling up his gang. He wrote: "As we all know, Wikipedia has one major flaw in it’s design: it allows gang warfare." And Anthony tried to exploit that major flaw. Wikipedia has safeguards against gang warfare, which Anthony probably didn't know about.

The WUWT Wikipedia article opens with the line:
Watts Up With That? (or WUWT) is a blog dedicated to climate change denial[a] created in 2006 by Anthony Watts.[1
For a very short time, one of his biased fans managed to change it to: "Wattsupwiththat is a blog dedicated to climate science." (It was reverted back too quickly for me to get a screen shot.)

The Wikipedians are onto Anthony, with a note that "This page linked from WUWT, requesting his viewers sway consensus: new section", not long before the page was semi-protected. The Wiki editors noted that this was because there was a "sudden arrival of all these brand new accounts" - presumably all out to do Anthony's bidding.

Here is what Anthony wrote:
So, since this is a numbers game, and because anyone can edit Wikipedia articles, I ask WUWT readers to help out in this matter. Here’s some instructions on how to do so, including the official Wikipedia instructions. You can make edits after you create an account.

He thinks he can control Wikipedia the same way he "won" his prizes in the dismal Bloggie awards - by sheer weight of numbers. I think this time he'll have a battle on his hands. Wikipedia is not the Bloggies.

What is it that Anthony objects to? It's not really clear. Everything on the page is referenced so he can't claim that there is no evidence supporting what's there. About the only thing he's trying to claim is that he's not a climate science denier. He wrote:
I don’t “deny” climate change or global warming, it is clear to me that the Earth has warmed slightly in the last century, this is indisputable. I also believe that increasing amounts of CO2 in Earths atmosphere are a component of that warming, but that CO2 is not the only driver of climate as some would have us believe. However, what is in dispute (and being addressed by mainstream climate science) is climate sensitivity to CO2 as well as the hiatus in global warming, also known as “the pause”. Since I embrace the idea of warming and that CO2 is a factor, along with other drivers including natural variability, the label “denier” is being applied purely for the denigration value, and does not accurately reflect my position on climate.

That paragraph puts him fairly and squarely in the denial camp. However the article isn't about him. It's about his blog, wattsupwiththat. And WUWT is most definitely a denier blog. Almost every science press release that Anthony posts, the headline is prefaced with the word "claim", meaning it's to be denied. And the articles he posts are almost all from science deniers, and include wacky conspiracy theories, pseudo-science crackpottery and more.

For more evidence that WUWT is a climate science denial blog, you don't need to look any further than the WUWT comments. Or you can go to harder evidence. A while back he took a poll of his readers, that showed that 98.4% of them are fake sceptics, or climate science deniers.

There's more. While Anthony is willing to tell a big fat lie about William Connolley (in the same article), he urges his readers to "please stick to facts, not opinions". Which is a very strange request, coming from a blogger who favours opinions far more highly than facts. (Rather than being "disgraced" as Anthony Watts alleged, William Connolley is a Master Editor II and active on Wikipedia.)

The funny thing is that Anthony wrote:
The citations list on the WUWT Wikipedia page reads like a “who’s-who” of haters.
Here are some of the "haters" on the citations list:



From the WUWT comments


Gamecock tells Anthony to run to the guvmint and sue. He doesn't say what he thinks is false information. (With a name like Gamecock he's got to be a he.)
May 25, 2015 at 6:37 am
Perhaps I’m naïve, but it seems to me Wikipedia is libel for publishing known false information. I should think you could contact them and they would fix it. Just as Youtube removes improper postings. Once notified of a bad posting, Wikipedia owns it.

wickedwenchfan wonders what the fuss is all about
May 25, 2015 at 6:52 am
To be fair, this is a site where “deniers” like myself also come to get a fair hearing and meet like minded thinkers. That you, Anthony, are personally a “Luke warmer” who believes there is something called a ‘greenhouse effect’ when many on here don’t, is by the by.
I personally embrace the term “denier”, regardless of attempted Nazi connotations. It’s a badge of honour. Yes, I deny there is a Greenhouse Effect. Yes, I deny rising CO2 has any measurable effect on temperature of this planet or any other. Now prove me wrong!


TLM thinks it's fair enough but thinks that WUWT's denial is just an opinion:
 May 25, 2015 at 7:03 am
The problem with the whole Wikipedia entry is that it is written from the perspective of the MSM, the political left and the alarmist blogs and papers. There are loads of entries from the Guardian and references to “denial”, “denialism” and “denialist” (what is the difference between a “denier” and a “denialist” I wonder?). The only way to make this entry even slightly truthful would be to delete it all and start from scratch.
I think it is quite fair that the entry should include a reference to the fact that much of the MSM sees you as a “denier”, but the way it is presented is that it is a “fact” that you are a denier. Clearly this is opinion and not fact and should be stated as such.
Rather than changing the text I think it should be edited to flag up those parts of the entry which are clearly opinion and politics not fact.

22 comments:

Millicent said...

After so many years, it is hard to believe that poor Anthony still doesn't know what the definition of a climate change denier is. So the poor chap must be in denial.

Sou said...

His fans see WUWT as the Number 1 denier blog. Now that Anthony's trying to deny his denial, there must be a lot of cognitive dissonance going on at WUWT right now.

David Sanger said...

Anthony is trying to have it both ways. On the one hand he says he doesn't deny climate change or global warming. But on the other hand he allows guest posters to publish all sorts of inconsistent and contradictory views many of which do specifically deny climate change or increased temperature, or even the effect of CO2. Anthony makes no attempt to discourage such posts, or even to acknowledge that they present a whole hodgepodge of conflicting arguments.

Documenting the different positions of Tisdale, Eschenbach, Ball, Michaels and the others would show the contradictions more clearly. The commenters are even worse, all over the map, but that perhaps can be expected on any blog

Sou said...

It's just as likely that Anthony's boasting to his readers that his blog has a Wiki entry. And that he's wanting to distract his readers from all the extreme weather around the world this week.

Still nothing at WUWT on the floods and tornadoes in the US and Mexico, or the killer heat wave in India. Instead, it's all about Anthony.

Marco said...

As David notes, Watts is trying to have it both ways. Note his tactic of taking the comment abou his *site* as a claim about *him personally*. He himself may argue he is not a denier, but he simply cannot claim his site does not heavily promote denialists viewpoints (any and all articles by Tim Ball being the prime example, but there are many more as Sou has documented).

Hilariously, it is wickedwenchfan who gets it.

Victor Venema said...

It is not a problem I have myself, I am not fully sure, but I think that it allowed to work on your own page, it is only discouraged.

markus said...

"I don’t “deny” climate change or global warming, it is clear to me that the Earth has warmed slightly in the last century, this is indisputable"

So he's changed his mind from 5 years ago?

Surface Temperature Records: Policy Driven Deception?
"Authors veteran meteorologists Joe D’Aleo and Anthony Watts analyzed temperature records from all around the world for a major SPPI paper, Surface Temperature Records – Policy-driven Deception? The startling conclusion that we cannot tell whether there was any significant “global warming” at all in the 20th century is based on numerous astonishing examples of manipulation and exaggeration of the true level and rate of “global warming”."
http://scienceandpublicpolicy.org/originals/policy_driven_deception.html

Millicent said...

The Wikipedia article is- from my viewpoint - overly generous to Watts in its content. I'd say the RationalWiki article on Watts is a better reflection of his place in the world: http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Anthony_Watts

Among the WUWT comments - admittedly it might be a Poe writing for comic effect - is tne recommendation of taking legal action with the assistance of the doyen of imaginary lawsuits Lord Monckton.

Tim said...

They could also simply delete the WUWT Wikipedia page. It is read only 7 times a day. Not worth all the trouble of a long discussion.

Raymond Arritt said...

Just FYI, the "master editor" thing is an inside joke -- that is, a self bestowed pseudo-award. The fact that Master Editor II is alternatively titled "Auspicious Looshpah" is something of a hint. (Maybe you knew this already.)

Sou said...

Yes - but it sounds good, doesn't it :)

Sou said...

I simply cannot see Anthony Watts deleting his WUWT wiki entry altogether. No matter what it says, it means he's "famous" and helps make him a hero to thousands (nay, millions!)

Raymond Arritt said...

WUWT unquestionably passes the bar for "notability." This is a Wikipedia term of art that is not necessarily related to its plain-English meaning. (Wikipedia has a lot of those, along with a whole alphabet soup full of acronyms.) That means it will not be deleted no matter who asks.

Russell Seitz said...

Surely a blog boasting so many nanomoles of pageviews can muster its own corps of online Encyclopédistes ?

Now is the time for all good Wattipedes to wriggle to the aid of the Wattipedia !

bratisla said...

The only thing he will get from his "DDoS like attack" is that Wikipedia will close the page edition for this entry. And it's not the first time he tries that ...

Chase Stoudt said...

The talk page has really blown up. Looks like a WUWT troll managed to get denier removed one last time before being banned.

FLwolverine said...

That page is fascinating. The WUWT-ers are surprised that their strongly held opinions cut no ice with the Wiki editors. Imagine that!

Chase Stoudt said...

What I find so fascinating is the lengths the admin Sphilbrick (whose claim to wiki fame is writing about basketball) is going to defend the deniers. A quick look at the admins reading list reveals why. This particular admin also seems to have no problem aiding antivax editors.

Millicent said...

At the moment its all very funny watching the Wutters make pricks of themselves. But the pollutocrats who have managed to corrupt the US Supreme Court have the money to fund a large and complex campaign to destroy the integrity of Wikipedia if they want to.

Recent changes where search engines give preference to websites which fact check best makes a campaign to rewrite those facts more likely. And there is nothing out there, regardless of its value to humanity, that the pollutocrats will not destroy to protect their profits.

Chase Stoudt said...

That was fast. 11 hours after other wiki'ers pointed Sphilbrick to this thread he conveniently managed to archive his antivax views here. Granted, I can't tell if a bot was responsible but given the timing it seems suspicious.

Bernard J. said...

There are two reasons for this frenzy of denial of denialism.

The first is that the policitcally-savvy amongst those who deny the science of climate change know that to remove a powerful word from usage has a profound effect on the ability to frame the concept it encompasses. It's classic Orwellian Newspeak. Their intent is to deliberately hamstring the impartial people who are addressing the fact and nature of this denialism.

The second is that the cannon fodder, the useful idiots of denialism, take it personally when their ideology is pointed out as being a failure of understanding.

Neither can be cured.

It doesn't change the fact though that they are to greater or (more rarely) lesser extents denying the conclusions of the best science. When people label them as 'deniers' or 'denialists' they are simply employing a term/concept that has been around for centuries. The confabulation the general act of denying with the particular variant of holocaust denial is a purposeful stategy to invalidly taint valid opposition to their behaviour: it's an attempt to manipulate the better natures of their opposition to capitulate in the face of manufactured political incorrectness.

However, if these people really don't want to be called denialists I am more than happy to continue to use the term 'Denialati', which captures their denial of science and their self-organisation as a group opposing the perceived conspiracy of climate scientists and those who accept their understanding.

And the Denialati have no right to call themselves 'sceptics' (or 'skeptics'). To be truly scientifically sceptical one has to be parsimonious and objective in one's analyses, and denialists consistently demonstrate an absolute disregard for both parsimony and objectivity.

William Connolley said...

> That was fast. 11 hours after other wiki'ers pointed Sphilbrick to this thread he conveniently managed to archive his antivax views here. Granted, I can't tell if a bot was responsible but given the timing it seems suspicious.

You can tell. Look at https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=User_talk:Sphilbrick/Archive_54&action=history and check who the authors are. They are all "Lowercase sigmabot III" and the edit summaries are all like " =(talk | contribs)‎ . . (13,693 bytes) (+13,693)‎ . . (Archiving 5 discussion(s) from User talk:Sphilbrick) (bot)". In short, yes, it was a bot, and the 11 hours were pure coincidence.