Friday, October 3, 2014

Broken promise: And how Anthony Watts is rattled

Sou | 2:31 AM Go to the first of 51 comments. Add a comment

Update - see below. Anthony doesn't have the support he probably hoped for.

The science and other stuff posted at HotWhopper and from Eli Rabett of Rabett Run are really getting to Anthony Watts. For the third time in as many days, he's expressed some concern (a bit of an understatement :D) at HotWhopper pointing out the ridiculous at WUWT.  This time he's decided to complain in an article about internet trolling (archived here).

What Anthony Watts has always believed

With no hint that he sees the irony, under a cartoon taunting ATTP by anonymous cartooner, "Josh", Anthony Watts shows his vast command of vocabulary:
I've always believed that people who taunt others while hiding behind fake names aren't really contributing anything except their own bile and hatred. 
Now if WUWT decided to switch to science Anthony might no longer regard it as trolling to keep a blog that points out the ridiculous in pseudo-science, to replace it with science. As far as Anthony Watts is concerned, his endless derision of science and scientists and those who accept the science, is not trolling. It's only when mocking the endless mocking of science and scientists that it is seen as trolling in deniersville. (Remember, you can't be called a troll if you don't even ask a question, let alone a troll-like question.)

All this manufactured anger at anonymity does seem strange coming from someone who started an anonymous "society", without a single name willing to be associated with it in an official capacity. The "no-name OAS". (Not even its probable founder, Anthony Watts himself AFAIK.)

Perhaps the double standards are not so strange when you realise just how much of a conspiracy theorist Anthony can be, with his anticipation of nefarious intent.

Back to Anthony's latest dummy spit. There's more:
The best way to combat people like this is to call them out by their name every time they practice their dark art. To that end, and not just for these two losers, I'm stepping up moderation on WUWT. If you want to rant/spew from the comfort of anonymity, find someplace else to do it,  

Let's see how long it takes him to post another article from people who hide behind fake names, like HockeySchtick and Steve Goddard and other various anonymice. And how long before Anthony exposes "Bob Tisdale", who says he likes his own privacy but has no qualms in not respecting the privacy of other people?

Oh, and the article that Anthony dug up? It was a psych study about internet trolls. You can read about it here, or the full paper here.

BTW I respect a person's right to adopt any name they choose on the internet. I will not reveal anyone's name if they don't wish it revealed. I don't care who they are.

I've been posting on climate topics for years as Sou. Since long before HotWhopper. I prefer to keep my work life separate from climate blogging. Some people I trust knew who I was, and a couple I don't trust did too. Anthony Watts huddled over his computer for months trying to figure it out. It wasn't public knowledge despite Anthony's claims of it being so.

Anthony Watts can bully away to his hearts content. (While he's focused on HotWhopper it probably means one scientist won't have to take a bashing from WUWT. Or not today, at any rate. That's a good thing.) HotWhopper will continue to demolish disinformation about climate science. And where better to find out what disinformation is the flavour of the day than the "world's most viewed" anti-science blog? WUWT copies and pastes stuff from denier blogs all over the internet. It is a regular clearing house for science denial articles and provides a sterling "recycle denier memes" service.


I've just looked over the comments. There are now 94 of them. Much to Anthony's chagrin, I'm sure, I didn't see any comments mentioning, let alone berating, HotWhopper, I only saw one snide remark about Eli Rabett and a couple of people taking a potshot at the most civil blogger of all of us, ATTP. A large number of the comments were from people rushing to explain why they post comments at WUWT and elsewhere using a pseudonym. One person explained that they no longer feel the need to use a pseudonym because they are retired. One person had a go at Christopher Monckton for shouting "troll" whenever anyone challenged him.

Poor Anthony. He is probably feeling a bit alone and adrift right now.

From the WUWT comments - the promise is broken

Well, Anthony broke his moderation promise immediately. It failed at the first hurdle. Here are two of the first three commenters in order:

I've just updated the archive. Anthony's little outburst got a lot of comments just in the short time it took to write this article. There are currently 44 comments. Roughly two thirds are from people using a pseudonym or not their full real name. Yet not a deletion in sight! :D


  1. Dealing with Watts is sort of like the episode of Friends, where Chandler creates a card game called "Cups" and makes up rules to let Joey win. Except Watts reverses the rules so that only he can win. No consistency is required. No basis in reality is required. It's just "I win because I say I win."

    1. Thing is, as someone pointed out elsewhere, Anthony is in a no-win situation. At times he shows signs that he yearns for respect from scientists, but he's hitched his cart to science denial and scientist-bashing. He can't suddenly do an about face and start accepting science or he'll lose his fan base that he's built up over the years. Even if he did, he couldn't expect to get accolades from the people he's been trashing for the past six years or so. Some of them might be nice enough to acknowledge it, but he's lost any right to expect let alone demand it.

      He'd probably have to change his name if he wanted to start over and aim for some sort of respectability or credibility:)

  2. Some of the anonymous people at WUWT are afraid that that would no longer be tolerated. While Watts is very clear that the moderation in only tightened for people spreading science:

    Watts: If you want to rant/spew from the comfort of anonymity, find someplace else to do it, because quite frankly I'm in a position in my life where I don't have the time to deal with this sort of juvenile crap. Be on your best behavior, otherwise its the bit bucket for you.

    He would never call the most stupid nonsense against mitigation a rant.

    Sou, thanks for being the lightning rod. One post less with a fake attacks on climate scientists for his audience of mitigation sceptics.

    Watts: "The Josh rendition of the troll known as “andthentheresphysics” who may have a rude awakening very soon."

    The bullying tactics of a political extremists and keyboard warrior.

    1. The reason Anthony uses primitive intimidation to attempt to stop people writing about science is in part because he doesn't understand enough science to come up with any arguments. It's not just his lack of character.

      His bullying and intimidation don't usually work on anyone. That's when he resorts to banning them.

      I wonder if he thinks it makes him look brave and fearless rather than a schoolyard bully? How many people who read WUWT think better of him for it?

      I'd say not too many. (At least not when it comes to him bullying people who post at WUWT. They give him a free pass when he trashes scientists.) From what I've seen he gets as many of his fans criticising him for it as he gets people egging him on.

    2. I'm talking about Anthony's "naming and shaming" WUWT commenters, and threatening to go to the employer and publishing email addresses and egging people on to harass them or their employers. Or claiming they are being paid to comment, when it's patently untrue.

    3. Watts isn't a "schoolyard bully", he's the sort who form the bully's posse of toadies.

      It's a common misperception that bullies are cowards, but they usually aren't. It's the toadies who are cowards; bullies will usually fight to the last to defend their status. Sociopaths and narcissists know no fear.

    4. Cugel I suspect you are correct. Bullies are not necessarily cowards they just appear to have little self-respect. But they do encourage others to do the dirty work for them so they can avoid responsibility for it later.

  3. Replies
    1. I'll allow that direct link - since it's to an anonymous fake :)

  4. Anthony shows his hypocrisy when only last month he hat-tipped the #1 of all trolls Poptech for a story (August 27, "New book: About Face! Why the World Needs More Carbon Dioxide"). The regulars here (and on Eli Rabbit) will know that Poptech has a long history of trolling, first attacking the Firefox browser and later anything related to climate change, using a wide variety of fake names (Mastertech, GeneralAres, Andrew K, Drew, FFeLEET, Vincent, to name just a few).

    His continued trolling and spamming even got him banned from James Randi's skeptic forum: http://forums.randi.org/showthread.php?t=146653

    But of course, Anthony has no problem whatsoever hat-tipping known troll and spammer with a fake name Poptech when it serves his denial interests.

  5. If people want a laugh about the anonymity issue, try "Oh, the Sweet, Sweet Hypocrisy of Anthony Watts" by Steven Goddard's alter-ego.

  6. I've added an update. It looks as if people are so busy falling over each other in their rush to explain why they comment using a pseudonym that no-one has thought to commiserate with Anthony over HotWhopper. Or not that I could see at any rate.

    Anthony Watts must be feeling dreadfully alone right now.

  7. You'll like this Sou: just appeared in my twitter feed from @RogTallbloke... "A blog about anonyous trolls written by... an anonymous troll."

    I of course responded by pointing out his tweet was also written by an anonymous troll.

    1. You mean, Roger Tallbloke, the UKIP supporter? And surprise, Lord Monckton used to be the chief of UKIP Scotland.

      Some people may like the consequences of climate change.

    2. That would be the xenophobic, sexist, homophobic, anti science UKIP. What do they say about birds of a feather?

    3. UKIP and the GWPF are excretions of a self-perpetuating right-wing clique of long standing, rooted in the British public (that is, expensive and elite) school system and the minor aristocracy (viscounts and the like). These are the sort who worked for Hitler's victory well into WW2.

      They occupy prominent positions at the Daily Mail, Express and the Telegraph as well as the Murdoch press (even though Murdoch despises them, from the gossip I've heard), which explains a lot. They frequent certain London clubs, certain Oxford colleges and, of course, St Andrews University, where they re-capture their schooldays with circle-jerks.

      What's particularly striking about them is their mediocrity, despite the privilege they were either born to or cultivate.

      If you wonder what a UKIP future would be like, just picture Jeremy Clarkson driving across a human face. Forever.

    4. Hey, I went to St Andrews, please qualify your statement related to it! Sure, it was taken over by money worshipping managerialists in the late 90's, and probably hasn't recovered since, but I've never heard of cabals of ukippers and anti-science folk congregating there.

    5. Did you see the St Andrews team on University Challenge just recently? That squad of poseurs did more damage to your alma mater than my polemics ever could (despite said polemics being honed on friends who also went there).

      I'll happily concede that St Andrews has its share of dreadful oiks (my friends, for instance, all of them in IT) but not its fair share. And its reputation as the natural home of Young Fogeys long predates the 90's - as do I :)

    6. "If you wonder what a UKIP future would be like, just picture Jeremy Clarkson driving across a human face. Forever."

      Cugel, that is the most pithy, hilarious and scary comments I've read in the longest time. Your prize of one internetz is in the mail.

      Now I'm wondering what 1984 would be like if Blair (Eric, not Tony) was around today.

    7. I had to Google him, I'm afraid. But yeah, now I know who he is, it's funny :)

  8. I wonder if Anthony's blog is showing dwindling pageviews. If that's the case then he will be blaming HotWhopper and not his inability to post sensible stuff.

  9. I too noticed that whilst AW claimed to dislike anons, he's perfectly happy to have them on his side. That the first few comments on his blog are such was spiffy. I'd failed to notice that "Josh" is also anon; that's just the icing on the cake.

  10. Yeah, well, I hate to take credit for bringing HotWhopper back onto the WUWT radar, but I think I will.

    On WUWT, I posted several months ago that I enjoyed reading your posts. I explained it's good to read dissenting points of view -- especially well-written, educated dissenting points of view even if the person writing them is drawing the wrong conclusions and indirectly supporting doomsday predictions within the error bars that could go either way. It didn't go over well.

    I sometimes post anonymously here, not because I'm a narcissist, sadist, psychopath who and not because I fear the wrath of Sou, although I sometimes fear the wrath of Sou but in a good way, but usually by accident when posting from a different device or browser profile. (Like right now.)

    Any anonymous post you see that's just a little funny, but only just, and seems to be written by someone who possesses god-like command of English rhythm and structure, is probably mine.

    Actually I won't take credit for bringing you and Anthony back together today.

    But, if by some chance you guys end up meeting and having a Ricky and Lucy or Oscar and Felix or Brittany and K-Fed whirlwind romance, I'll take full credit for that. I think he's a bit older than you, so I'm not sure you'd be interested, but if you did get together, oh how the sparks would fly.

    1. Your style marks you out from the general run of Anons, and I mean that in a good way :)

    2. And I meant to say, this line in this post: "Back to Anthony's latest dummy spit.", is great! I'm not sure if it's an Aussie idiom or what, but I like great lines like a foodie likes fermented fish.

  11. Anthony's blog article and its comments are a classic case of "Reductio Ad Trollum" or RAT, a fallacy that was once thought to be endangered, its Facebook page is non-existent. RAT still survives today as a result of isolated breeding pairs that are nurtured by pockets of misinformation where they gather and huddle together.

    The RAT fallacy quickly mutates in response to its host environment but research has shown that the vectors for the fallacy or fallaxes (from the Latin word, phallus) use recombinations of the same material in never ending spirals or helices. (These recombinations make Crick and Watson's double helix model look positively anaemic.)

    A recent invention by the Grand McDojo has seen fallaxes graded into sashes or "belts" which are 'coloured' to mark the individual's level of incompetence in the field on which they are commenting e.g. 'white' represents 'mostly incompetent' and 'black' represents 'utterly and determinedly incompetent'. Within each belt 'colour' there are sub-divisions, which are known individually as a Tony in honour of the patron of the Save the Reductio Ad Trollum Society. The highest attainable level of incompetence is a Black Belt (Tenth Tony) and is highly prized among fallaxes.

    Regardless of the dojo, all fallaxes operate under the motto "Keep Calm and Carry On Trolling". I've been carrying on a bit myself, and so I'll stop for now.

    1. I have no point here, I just want to say "a phalanx of fallacies".

      Now to find a place to actually *use* that turn of phrase. Maybe it's just a synonym of a gish gallop?

  12. Sou, I just ran across your site. What a hoot! Where do you find the time and energy to contribute so much with remarkable insight, brilliance and sardonic wit? WUWT is a wonderfully rich resource to draw on, but turning such rough stones into paradoxic jewelry is an art. I await every new post with bated breath. Thank you.

  13. Apparently there's a new paradigm coming (a best estimate of when it will occur not included), and it spells trouble for: Bob Tisdale, justthefacts, Josh, Jean S, sunshinehours, policycritic, hockeyschtick, AndyG55, man bearpig, katabasis, poptech, TinyCO2, ATheoK, latitude, shub niggurath, Steve Goddard, skiphil, Jimbo, 3x2, _Jim, son of mulder, Gunga Din, streetcred, tonyb, intrepid wanders, "lurker passing through, laughing", pokerguy, kim, mangochutney, bushbunny, village idiot, NikFromNYC, agnostic, hot under the collar.

    1. More sekrits? Yawn. (I doubt Anthony knows the meaning of the word "paradigm".)

    2. Maybe this new "paradigm" will be enforced by WUWT moderator DB Stealey (aka Smokey),

    3. Thanks, btw. The list is great reference of WUWT regular anons, rubiginosa. (The "yawn" was aimed at Anthony Watts.)

    4. "Moderators, take note.. - Anthony"
      I don't think 'smokey' got the memo, because there's not much evidence of a paradigm shift. You can add to the list: Jim O, magicjava, The Ghost of Big Jim Cooley, GeeJam, knr, JJ, TRM, High Treason, Conodo Mose, and "Monckton of Brenchley". They have been calling scientists in general, and Drs Carl Mears (while relying on his data) and Benjamin Santer in particular: "liarists", "idiots", "scientits" (sic), "liars", "serial liars", and perpetrators of the "world's greatest hoax".

      1. It’s official: no global warming for 18 years 1 month
      2. Ben Santer’s 17 year itch, revisited – he and a whole stable of climate scientists have egg on their faces

    5. It's dismally disgusting how disreputable WUWT-ers and others cite data as being the one and only, while calling the people who collect, analyse, and provide them with that very same data - "liarists". (I thought I'd spice it up with some alliteration.)

      Deniers do that sort of thing all the time. "You are a liar and I'll misrepresent the data you've spent your working life generating, and that I got for free, to prove it."

  14. This post was pure entertainment. Sou, keep up the great work!

  15. I always thought that Anthony's claim to fame was 'claiming' that all meteorological stations were suffering from the heat island effect. As a very ignorant person he then went all out to 'claim' all sorts of other ridiculous inane claims far outside his level of knowledge. He is a moron that has been supported by other morons that do not have a clue.
    The 'Best' evaluation of the evidence showed how wrong he was. Ever since then he has been trying to save face.

    1. How wrong he was to endorse the BEST findings before they came in, and how sharper than the serpent's tooth must his sense of betrayal be. Delicious, ain't it? He and his oppo are sticking with it, though, and their confirming paper is due any time now. Honest.

      McIntyre started with the Hockey Stick and he's still banging on about it, although now more in defending MM05 than attacking Mann et al. Lindzen started with negative cloud-feedback saving the day and again is sticking with it come what may. Spencer and Christy started with low climate sensitivity and again have failed to move on. Whatsisname is still hanging in with cosmic rays. Curry's a late entry with the stadium wave but I think we can all see where that's going.

      It seems that obduracy is not a bug in AGW denial, it's a feature.

    2. How wrong he was to endorse the BEST findings before they came in...

      Surely, how right he was to endorse them before they came in?

      Where he has gone wrong is in not adjusting his thinking in the light of the new information.

    3. I was thinking wrong in his own terms, but I do get your point.

    4. And I got your point too.

      It was a very poor move tactically by him. A bit like a game of chess where you decide to make a queen sacrifice. You had better have an overwhelming position first!

    5. I can imagine McIntyre's face-palm when he heard about it. Data is for demanding, dammit, not for using!

      (Of them all, McIntyre is by far the cleverest, in my opinion. Perhaps the only one with any real smarts.)

  16. Sou, good article, and though my day's too crowded to write anything original right now, I do have the time to share this hopeful post with a few more readers. Thank you, peter

    Is Cognitive Dissonance getting to Anthony Watts?

    Sou's post this morning is another one worth sharing since I like the idea that Anthony Watts is getting rattled to the bone. Maybe in the evolution of things he will next implode and his substantial contribution to guaranteeing a living hell on Earth for our children will finally shut down. Sadly I appreciate there's too much money and right-wing political might behind his efforts at dumbing down the Manmade Global Warming education dialogue and the public, so I won't hold my breath.

    But I will take advantage of Sou's Reposting policy to share her latest observations regarding the Wattzer's campaign of fabricating confusion and lies.

    Is Cognitive Dissonance Fueling Conservative Denial of Climate Change?
    by Rania Khalek | June 15, 2011 | CommonDreams.org

    ~ ~ ~
    Media Exhibit Cognitive Dissonance Over Global Warming
    By Noel Sheppard | August 19, 2008


  17. I read through the comments at WUWT and I have to give props to this brave climate skeptic warrior for his noble approach.

    "Sometimes it’s a fine line between feeding a troll and keeping the record straight. As WUWT has become the most viewed website on global warming I think it’s important that the mainstream skeptical position is maintained, developed, and defended here if for no other reason than to accurately represent the mainstream skeptical position to those that may just be coming into the debate. If a comment isn’t deleted and it either 1) has the appearance of a legitimate criticism or 2) grossly misrepresents the mainstream skeptical position then it should be responded to with polite but devastating rebuttal."

    I've been reading Hot Whopper for about a month or so, leading me to read multiple WUWT comments. I get the feeling that John West, or anybody else over there for that matter, has ever managed any type of "devastating rebuttal."

    1. If WUWTers settled down to decide what the "mainstream sceptical position" actually is it would end in a bloodbath.

    2. A key component of the diagnostic criteria distinguishing denial from real skepticism...

  18. I made a comment over at WUWT and used my work email address to see if Watts would continue his internet coward-bully behaviour.

    Here is his comment;

    "What is interesting is that “Michael” fits the climate troll description perfectly, right down to the Flinders University affiliation and the holier than thou attitude that seems to be a common theme from Australian academics like Lewandowsky. Michael has had his say, he won’t get any other opportunities here.
    I think the Australian academics are commonly overwrought and giving such pushback because they can’t handle the fact that their climate programs have been tossed out by the action of democracy."

    Watts took the bait.....no surprise.

    And then no further comments allowed.

    Oh noes, censorship!!!


  19. Eli once dissed that matter with Willard Tony. The Bunny pointed out that a lot more people are aware of Eli Rabett than what's his name. One time Eli introduced himself to a well know meteorologist at a meeting. Blank stare. Oh you may know me as Eli Rabett. Big grin. Then puzzlement: How do I know you are Eli Rabett said the fellow.

    Now, thanks to Willard Tony Eli can simply point to WUWT.

    Creating a character with a bunch of carrots in one paw and a slightly jaundiced view of fellow lagomorphs is a blast.

    1. I've yet to meet anyone in person who's heard of WUWT or Anthony Watts the blogger. A few have heard of Anthony Watts, the famous one (here in Australia). He's a colourful character who plays (or played) in the NRL.

      Then again, most people I've asked haven't heard of Christopher Monckton either.

      Many more would know of David Karoly, Tim Flannery, Will Steffen, Blair Trewin, and Ross Garnaut - in my part of the world.

      I'll include Eli Rabett in my next mini-quiz. That'll separate the bunnies from the chaff :)

    2. Same with me with Monckton, but a lot more people recognise the description "the guy Craig Reucassel pwned", after the interview when he "thought" the discount viscount was a Sacha Baron Cohen character (a la Ali G and Borat).


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