Friday, April 3, 2015

They really are a bunch of paranoid twits at WUWT!

Sou | 5:41 PM Go to the first of 42 comments. Add a comment

It's Easter and I'm taking a day off. Couldn't resist writing about the latest denier conspiracy theory, though. (It will make a nice lead in to an article I'm working on.)

Let me start by asking you a question. If there are five explanations for something happening, which do you think your typical climate science denier will choose?
  1. the most likely
  2. the next most likely
  3. the improbable but possible
  4. the least likely
  5. the one that nobody in their right mind would contemplate
  6. 5. above -- and they'd blame it on a climate scientist.
If you picked the sixth (out of five options), you'd get it right.

Hysterical twits at WUWT

Over the past week, two deniers have had their Twitter accounts suspended. The first was "Steve Goddard", which apparently happened a few days ago and his account is now back in action.

The second is a chap called Tom Nelson, whose account was suspended a few hours ago.

Deniers all over are incensed (archived here). Anthony has been blaming Gavin Schmidt, the Director of NASA GISS. Anthony sent so many tweets to Dr Schmidt that he clogged up his timeline.  Over the last few hours, I counted eleven (11) tweets to Gavin from Anthony alone, and then there were all the other tweets to Gavin from Anthony's followers, and retweets.

I've been there - it's a real nuisance to have deniers clogging your timeline, stopping you from seeing tweets from people who have something to offer - other than denier spam. And I'm just a blogger. Think how Gavin Schmidt, the Director of NASA's GISS, must have felt.

Eventually Gavin lost patience and gave Anthony an ultimatum. He tweeted:

Anthony decided he preferred that Gavin block him entirely and tweeted back:

Part of Anthony's reasoning was probably so that he could boast, on his blog, that Gavin Schmidt had blocked him. It's been a while since he offered up a live climate scientist to rouse his rabble. (And if Anthony's tweets pass for courtesy, what is he like when he's rude and abusive?)

And announce it he promptly did. (After showing off a zillion other tweets to Gavin Schmidt, to show his readers that Anthony is no pussy cat - ahem.)

This is what I get if I try to see what Anthony Watts and Steve Goddard are tweeting. A "you are blocked" message. (The block from Steve Goddard is new. He mightn't have liked this article about his FOI trick - who knows. He used to like me :D)

Oh, and if you think Steve Goddard and Tom Nelson are well behaved on Twitter, think again. They would be marginal - here are some stats from KatyD.

Steve Goddard isn't listed in the chart, but he's posted 30,700 tweets since December 2011. That's huge! In Katy's chart, Tom Nelson gets the award for the most tweets in a two month period (that was the two months up to mid January. That's the red line. The green line is the number of followers he's got.)

And to show you how effective Tom has been (not), here is another of KatyD's charts, a more recent one:

You can see that of all in the list, Tom (far left) has by far the most tweets per follower.

I choose 1, 2 or maybe 3

My guess as to why Tom Nelson's account was suspended? A few days ago he was spamming #Ringberg15 with lots of nonsense and making it quite difficult to follow what the climate sensitivity experts were saying. I'll bet quite a few people blocked or muted him so they could read relevant tweets - maybe earning him an automatic ban. (There would have been lots and lots of people following #Ringberg15.)

So it could have been that, or maybe he was spamming someone else altogether. Or it was a mistake. But those are just guesses :)

Or... (I could only come up with three guesses. Maybe you can have a shot :D)

Anthony Watts chooses the "no-one in their right mind" option with the bonus (Choice 6)

By the way - Anthony's No. 1 "theory" was that Tom wrote the word "crap" in a tweet. (Go on, click the link!)

That's choice number 5. And he blamed Gavin Schmidt.  That makes it choice number 6!

This little storm in a teacup might remind you of another bit of Twitterish idiocy from science deniers - again relating to conspiracy theorist, Steve Goddard. (When the ning nongs decided that the White House got Twitter to delete a tweet from a nonentity. There are so many wrongs in the notion  ...)

From the WUWT comments

If you think I'm going to re-post all the WUWT comments bagging Gavin Schmidt, you've got rocks in your head. HotWhopper doesn't tolerate that sort of thing!

You know that part of the reason this blog exists is to write what scientists might want to say, but are too polite to do so.


  1. Replies
    1. Those disgusting tweets from Tom are what passes - in the world of Anthony Watts - for:

      never abusive, always courteous, but he does ask some questions that make some in the climate establishment very uncomfortable.


      LIke I said up top, I wouldn't want to know what passes for slightly impolite at one of Anthony's backyard barbecues. (With behavioural standards like that, would Anthony or Tom have any friends who'd be willing to share a beer with him?)

    2. I've noticed that male deniers tend to be much, much ruder to/about women than men. See the tweets to Katharine Hayhoe in rubinginosa's links. (My personal experience, too - the tone of the WUWT comments were overtly ugly sexism verging on porn, compared to that dished out to most male bloggers/scientists.)

      A sign of insecurity? Or something worse?

    3. What is it with some trolls have a friend jump out and claim how nice and polite they are, usually after you have responded in like fashion to their abuse and provocation?

      Perhaps the "friend" and troll are one and the same person - or at least their "friend" knows the script.

    4. Misogyny:
      See the "mostly feminist mafia" comment by Fred Singer, and the footnote on the topic at the end of Fred Singer Recalls Silly Attack On Consensus And Naomi Oreskes By Klaus-Martin Schulte, Lord Monckton's Endocrinologist Front Man.

      And if you really want to see something, Delingpole post in the SPECTATOR. You can ignore his article, just see comments:


      Actually, I think feminism right now is more pernicious than climate science.

      The reason for that??

      There is no website anywhere in the world where a community of downtrodden men courageously examine all the nonsense of the wimmin and, a la WUWT with climatology, dissect clinically the truth from the lies, the misdirections and the distortions.

      Tim Reed rtj1211 • 2 years ago

      "There is no website anywhere in the world"

      There is, minus the downtrodden part...


      This post addresses both issues together - feminism & climate change...

      http://www.avoiceformen.com/education/is-climate-change-a-man/ '

    5. With Naomi Klein on the loose, why does Delingpole bother ?

  2. With the automated systems Twitter uses the muting and blocking due to him spamming #Ringberg15 I suspect is the most likely cause. Twitter grants an automated suspension if enough people block him. This behavior is sometimes abused by people to silence someone they don't like.

  3. I suspect it was an automatic suspension because Nelson repeatedly mentioned numerous accounts that did not mention or follow him or that he did not follow and some of them reported him for spamming his stream.

    "DO NOT rapidly send tweets to lots of people that will likely not want to hear from you.

    Don’t @reply to lots of people in under an hour or less!"


    1. That's a useful article, David. One thing I noticed, which I heard from other people who've been suspended, but some people might not realise:

      Also, Twitter usually provides very little information when they suspend your account, and this is very frustrating. But don’t believe everything you hear people say about “why” they were suspended. If Twitter didn’t tell them why, they don’t know. So don’t be tricked by misinformation.

      So when Tom reckons it was "crap" the deniers were only too ready to believe him, even though that was a ridiculous notion to anyone familiar with Twitter.

      It made for a good story at WUWT, and got (so far) 234 responses. IIRC, that's more than Anthony's grand OAS announcement got.

  4. So these numpties cannot even understand how moderation on Twitter works? That makes it more than a tad ambitious for them to be trying to understand climate science.

    Maybe Anthony needs a few tweets enquiring when the big OAS announcement is coming.

  5. Ha! I thought you might like my graphs. Since the demise of twitpics they aren't very accessible as a group any more, but I started them when a bit fed up with Barry Woods continual repetition of his same old comments & when I saw the number of tweets he'd made I started to look at other tweeters stats.

    I've even had sceptics ask to be added! (Rog Tallbloke) as he considers himself very important in the climate chattering world. I've since spent (wasted) a lot of time on his blog trying to get to grips with his UHI suspicions! (https://tallbloke.wordpress.com/2015/01/06/urban-and-exposure-effects-during-windless-nights-near-london-rhs-wisley/)

    Now that twitpics has gone, the whole set of graphs cannot be seen together, maybe I'll set them up on a separate blog. I keep thinking that the data can't be analysed in new ways then suddenly another idea comes along - eg https://twitter.com/KatyDuke/status/544880370169413632 (see Roger's comments below the graph) & https://twitter.com/KatyDuke/status/533569589553414144/photo/1 & https://twitter.com/KatyDuke/status/545302106790694912 & https://twitter.com/KatyDuke/status/515148253852368896 (often get comments from the like of @tan123).

    Requests taken :)

    1. Katy, I love your charts.

      About Tallbloke - until last October, Tallbloke was on the outer at WUWT. Anthony described his blog as Transcendent Rant and way out there theory. He's since been taken back into the WUWT fold. Maybe Anthony thought he needed all the contributors he can get if he's to get OAS up and running. Especially since he trashed so hard one of the few contributors who's published in real science journals, that I doubt he'll ever be back.

      You can read about it here. There's also a link to Eli's discussion of the demise of the dreadful "Pattern Recognition in Physics".

    2. Intriguing that Tallbloke has found favour in Anthony's eyes while Scafetta has been cast into the outer darkness. Tallbloke seems to be a massive fan of Scaffeta, hailing something Scaffeta posted on Pielke Snr's now defunct blog as an "evisceration" of Gavin Schmidt et al.'s peer reviewed rebuttal of a Scaffeta paper.

      Talking of eviscerations, and even more intriguingly, I see that Watts has allowed someone called Joe Born (see wuwt, 1st April 2015) to stick the boot into Monckton, Soon et al.'s paper on climate sensitivity that appeared in an apparently peer reviewed Chinese journal last year. Since Monckton et al.'s effort has already been thoroughly debunked I doubt Born is saying anything original. What is startling is the contrast with last year when Watts was silencing Monckton's critics over his "valiant" defence of the ridiculous "Notch" model. The result of that seems to have been the loss from wuwt of another scientist with some actual reputation, Leif Svalgaard. Now without Anthony's support Monckton cuts rather a pathetic figure with repeated (unanswered) pleas in the comments section along the lines of "I hope Anthony will publish my response".

      Still as a luminary of the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) Monckton will be familiar with a leader who's prone to sudden volte faces.
      Oh, yes, and Tallbloke is a UKIP candidate in the forthcoming parliamentary elections, standing for the constituency of Pudsey in Yorkshire.

    3. All anybunny needs to know about Tallbloke is that he is an ardent anti-relativity guy.

    4. And a proponent of the luminous aether. What more need be said?

    5. Maybe he'll see the light if Tallbloke convinces Monckton that the luminferous ether has strong vibrational bands in the mid-infrared

    6. Katy, I love your charts, although they really are a challenge to me that I should be tweeting more

    7. Thanks John, but I don't think you should worry, as this chart shows http://climatechatter.files.wordpress.com/2015/04/climate-chatter-dec-chart1.jpg. I've now got them all in one place for ease of access Climate Chatter. I do slightly regret missing off one or two people at the beginning, but they were just the people I happened to notice when I did the first one in Sept 2013.

  6. "I'll bet quite a few people blocked or muted him so they could read relevant tweets" re #ringberg - you'd win that bet with me!

  7. "WOW @ClimateOfGavin blocks me after I have courteous exchange about @tan123 and ask him a question about complaint."

    That's a textbook sea lion. I'm surprised Watts has time to read up on trolling techniques.

    1. had to look that one up ::

      "Sea-Lioning is an Internet slang term referring to intrusive attempts at engaging an unwilling debate opponent by feigning civility and incessantly requesting evidence to back up their claims."

      from Know your Meme

    2. David,

      I only learned it a few months ago, it's a favourite at ATTP's joint. My life has been ever so much better having a label and image to associate with the ... technique.

    3. and of course it isn't really about evidence at all, since when presented it makes no difference....

    4. I don't see how asking for evidence when someone makes an unsupported statement is "sea-lioning" or harassment. If you then follow the person all over the net asking for evidence, then I suppose that would be sea-lioning. But having just learned about it now, I'm no doubt missing the subtleties (or the obvious).

    5. Tell that to a two year old who has discovered Why Daddy? Oh wait. . . no need

    6. Dan Andrews - the definition of sea-lioning is not "asking for evidence when someone makes an unsupported statement." You left out the part about "intrusive", "incessant", and "feigned civility", not to mention the observed result that explaining something to a sea lion doesn't make any difference because it will just keep asking the same questions. Missing the obvious? Obviously.

    7. Sea-lioning is a form of mild harassment. From what I saw during the bit of #gamergate I was unfortunate to witness, sea-lioning is also a good dog-whistle to rally the faithful into joining the harassment.

      There was that good cartoon of am sea-lion in action, I noticed Gavin Schmidt posted it on Twitter the other day. My admiration for him has gone up, he just smacks persistent trolls a good one and treat them like the children they are.

    8. Sadly, when they get their well deserved smack down, they treat it with indignation and act as though it validates their point. Intelligent people see through this, but as you said, it rallies other trolls to the cause and the harassment increases.

    9. See through it? That deniers are falling foul of automated pariah detection systems is amusing. When they start constructing their usual paranoid conspiracy theories around it - rather than learning to moderate their behaviour - it becomes comedy gold :)

    10. By sheer coincidence [1] I just wrote a mini-essay along those lines over at WUWT in the third thread of the series. One cannot live in my town, know its history back 50 years or so, and not see the tactic for what it is. I ended my comment with this link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Free_Speech_Movement

    11. whoops, forgot the footnote:

      [1] if you believe me, I have some oceanfront property in the Republic of Paraguay you may be interested in purchasing.

    12. Fun fact: Paraguay will have oceanfront property if we can melt the ice caps.

    13. I just love it when a scam comes together ...

    14. Heh, Bettina was a professor at my alma mater. However at UCSC we had the stoned speech movement.

    15. Cal's got that too. Not that I would know ...

  8. Tom Nelson (@tan123) is as thick as two short planks and just as obsessive. He is a prolific climate denier troll whose tweets rarely make any sense. Most people appear to have simply ignored him. Like others, I muted him during #Ringberg15 because he was cluttering up the timeline with his usual moronic tweets.

    As an indication of how monomaniacal he is, he trolled everyone of John Cook's tweets during the 97 hours of consensus. :-)

    My guess is his suspension is related to Twitter's CEO pledging to clean out the trolls and bullies. Given that the objective of the trolls is to deny the people they harass free speech, I have little sympathy for them.

    From a leaked memo from the CEO, Dick Costolo
    "We suck at dealing with abuse and trolls on the platform and we’ve sucked at it for years. It’s no secret and the rest of the world talks about it every day.
    We’re going to start kicking these people off right and left and making sure that when they issue their ridiculous attacks, nobody hears them."


    1. Interesting article, Mike H. Problem is, if they started kicking people off for being prolifically inane they'd lose ... a lot ... of their customer base. What Tom is doing is not exactly that -- he's basically asking nonsense questions repetitively and not taking, "no, that's wrong" for an answer the 1st time, so after the 10th time he gets "I already told you, that's crap". Defining a behaviour standard for that kind of thing isn't impossible to craft, but its inherent subjectivity would make it difficult to enforce fairly -- or in a way that Twitter could defend as fair. Especially so when this form of griefing is being done on a highly technical subject matter ... with high stakes political ramifications to boot. Not the kind of thing a big business like Twitter can simply say, "throw the bums out" and be done with it.

      On that note, Tom's account was restored this morning according to Anthony's first post of the day over at WUWT. The email to him reads in full: I work at Twitter, and I brought the account to the attention of our support team. They have remedied the situation. They do not ban accounts for political reasons this was probably an oversight.

    2. As mentioned up thread, it is easier enough to develop algorithms to identify potential twitter trolls - find prolific tweeters whose tweets are primarily into the timeline of people who do not follow them and who are regularly being blocked or muted.

      Not all people who are "prolifically inane" are twitter trolls. Nelson is however which is likely why he was caught up in the twitter net which is not aimed specifically at climate nutters. There is a difference between trolling and robust, even heated debate.

    3. MikeH,

      Agree with all, especially the last sentence. My point is that it's pretty obvious to me that Twitter made a political decision to reinstate Tom under political pressure to do so. No algorithm in the present day would have made that call -- and I don't particularly like it, but I think it was their only proper move.

    4. Well, it looks like Jeff B. at Twitter, the person responsible for getting Tom's account activated again, may be a WUWT reader. If that's the case, or if he's an AGW denier (which is almost a certainty), then of course he would view Tom's suspension as 'political'. When the reality is that Tom was heavily spamming the Ringberg discussion, and lots of people were blocking him to stop the noise.

      According to Katy D's stats, the guy is making 2000 of these abusive tweets a month! If that's not obsessive/trolling behaviour, I don't know what is. And they are mostly abusive. Witness the gems rubiginosa has collected, especially the ones directed at Katharine Hayhoe.

      Speaking of abusive, I see that Barry Woods and Foxgoose are also prolific tweeters. And I'll bet they're always singing that same old song, "Lew done us wrong!!!!!!". Every time poor Prof Lewandowsky posts anything on his site, they're all over it like an oil slick. In fact, I'm pretty sure it was them along with Geoff Chambers that were instrumental in threatening Frontiers enough with legal action that they felt they had to retract Recursive Fury.

    5. Random conversations with Barry Woods provoked my analyses back in September 2013. I've posted them all on a blog for ease of reference - it's Climate Chatter


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