It is time to stop quivering in our boots in pointless fear of the future and just roll up our sleeves and build it.
- Ray Pierrehumbert

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Lion's Den

I wandered over to Climate Audit last night in a moment of weakness. I had heard that I would receive a thoughtful and open-minded reception. See what you think.

Steve doesn't care for policy discussions, so here is what I wanted to post to this comment by Eschenbach.
Good Lord! Even your straw men have straw men!

My claim was that there are "people who understand the climate system much better than most of the regulars here". Then you proceeded to argue against the proposition that there are "people who understand the climate system". Well, not exactly argue.

However, if you believe that there is insufficient knowledge to project the evolution of the system for a century even crudely, I presume you would be very wary of changing its bulk radiative properties, right? If I were as contemptuous about climate science as you I'd be far more terrified of any global changes in concentration of radiatively active components than I am now.

There are several ways to constrain the global sensitivity of temperature to CO2 concentration, of which millenial reconstructions is the weakest, for reasons better known to readers of this group than to myself. There are other ways to estimate that key quantity. So reduced to that one quantity, we have a pretty good handle on it. It's too big to be comfortable postponing decarbonizing the economy until we run out of carbon.

But if you don't believe that, you have no way of knowing whether we are very close to utter catastrophe. So you should support cutting back on carbon emissions in the most drastic urgency.


judith said...

Michael, thanks for giving it a try. the secret to a useful exchange is to figure out who to reply to. When i first started over at CA, Eschenbach was thoughtful and humble. He has transformed into WUWT mode, playing to that crowd, with insults, etc.

paul from the clue-by-four said...

Nicely done, Dr. Tobis. Try to ignore the groundlings; if McIntyre and Eschenbach can't maintain a civil tone on their "home turf" it'd be a rather explicit rejection of the Curryan "climate scientists need to be more humble" thesis.

Marion Delgado said...

A modest suggestion - start out by saying there are people who understand general circulation models better than the regulars there.

Once it becomes "climate" the Almighty Market has already pronounced the truth on that issue for most of them, via its self-appointed spokesmen.

thingsbreak said...

So far in claiming that the skeptical blogosphere is knowledgable and more polite than the mainstream view blogs, Judy's what, 1 for 3?

Watts- initially supported then when informed of how full of idiocy and conspiracymongering it was retracted and said she was unfamiliar with its contents
CA- assured everyone of the respect afforded by its readers, which is clearly crap as evidenced by the reactions to your comments in that thread

[So far I'm willing to give her Lucia's Blackboard, though the positive contributions coming out of there of late seem to be more attributable to Zeke (but to her credit for hosting them).]

Good for you for trying to have a civil conversation with them. The contempt and ignorance on display was pretty depressing.

Also, I enjoyed Steve McI's courteous contribution:

McIntyre: Michael Tobis says:

"My credulity is not the issue."

On this point, reasonable people can agree. Tobis’ credibility is another matter entirely.

You can practically *taste* the respect and courtesy!

Steve Bloom said...

Every one of them has that situational Jekyll-and-Hyde thing going on, aside, that is, from the ones who are all Hyde all the time. Lucia manages to keep her Jekyll side showing all the time, so far, although her Hyde can be detected from here chosen subjects of interest and her obduracy when interacting with JA.

wv comments that there's that and even more: cessess

dhogaza said...

I have to admit I learned something new from Eschenbach in that thread:

"Now, if that’s the case, how come I’m the one who has had to point out to those folks, those who understand the climate system so well, that coral atolls float?"

I have a question, though. Given that coral atolls float, do visitors lying on the beach get seasick?

His comment here is downright offensive.

So much for the polite treatment (cough) of professional scientists CA is famous for.

Tom said...

You were not treated well there, Michael. (Better than I am treated here, however). I'm sorry for that, especially as you made several good points.

I hope you persevere in your attempts, and suggest that you return to posting at Lucia's site.

thingsbreak said...


It looks like even after several complaints by you (MT), Judith Curry, and some half-hearted protestations by Steve McI, the acrimony and disrespect persist.

At what point will JC be willing to consider her assertion falsified? ;)

Marco said...

Would "circling the wagons" be somewhat of a description of the behavior at CA?

ourchangingclimate said...

"wanted to post this":

Was it rejected or haven't you submitted it? If the latter, I'd encourage you to post it over there, as it very clearly and succinctly points out the major issues.

Awesome post, and good to try out engaging over there. I'm not surprised by the reception, but I'd wager that it takes time to be treated differently by the different "tribe", as Judith Curry also alluded to over at Kloor's.


Penguindreams said...

Par for the course, at least with respect to my visits (spectating) at CA and Lucia's.

Which raises my question to Tom:

What, exactly, is it that Michael (or I or anybody else) is supposed to be gaining -- for himself or the world at large -- by going to CA or Lucia's? Given that the bulk, or entirity (I discount Judith's comments at CA as she's a visitor there herself -- if we wanted to talk to her, we've get her email address.) of commentary for Michael's latest foray was unreceptive or worse, where, exactly, is the good?

Different open question:

I'm also puzzled as to why it is that it is up to the scientists to seek out 'skeptical' (whatever that means) blogs and engage the residents, rather than for the 'skeptics' to seek out science blogs and engage the scientists. Ditto why scientists should be going to 'skeptic' blogs and engaging people there, rather than 'skeptics' to put their work together and (try to) publish in the scientific literature.

I'll note: they're both honest questions, not rhetorical games. If anyone has substantive answers, I'm interested.

Tom said...

Hi PenguinDreams, taking your questions seriously, there has been a lot of comment on consensus websites, including this one, about the lamentable state of communications about climate science in general, and a growing feeling that science needed to make a 'better case' for itself. As, for example, this site is not intended for the general public, if Michael Tobis wants to communicate about science, he needs to adopt the Willie Sutton approach--he robbed banks because that's where the money was. If you want to change people's thinking about science, you have to go where they are.

The alternative--a site attractive to the general public that could educate them--seems to be beyond the community at present. Most end up preaching to the choir and hectoring non-believers. So people like Dr. Curry, Bart Verheggen and on rare occasion our host venture forth into the wild. They generally do okay out there.

krabapple said...

"When i first started over at CA, Eschenbach was thoughtful and humble. He has transformed into WUWT mode, playing to that crowd, with insults, etc."

JC, in the past few days you and Michael have highlighted the role of expertise.

Consider the possibility that some of the blogreading/writing AGW 'tribe' have been observing the rhetorical styles of Eschenbach and other prolific 'skeptics' for a long time long enough to develop *expertise* on them.

IOW, perhaps mere 'tribalism' is not the only reason why some of us disdain certain 'skeptics'.

Dan Olner said...

Tom: "The alternative--a site attractive to the general public that could educate them--seems to be beyond the community at present."

What - you mean something that explained the science in easily accessible chunks, written in a style that any interested layperson would be able to understand, with a little perseverance? No, there's nothing like that.

Penguindreams said...

Ok, so let's take that 'go where the people are' principle. Why CA and Blackboard rather than WUWT, if that's your principle? WUWT has far more traffic, more people. But, to continue the application, why bother with any of those? They all have far less traffic than the larger political blog sites, and climate certainly gets discussed on political blogs.

Your 'they generally do ok out there' would be a lot more useful a comment if you described what 'ok' was, and where 'out there' was. I do look in on CA and Blackboard (and WUWT, and quite a few others) from time to time, and the norm for a scientist, or anyone else saying things that come from the scientific literature, who shows up is the kind of reception Michael had this time. Judy's reception is fine for exactly as long as she's agreeing with McIntyre (or whomever is the blog host). As happened in the thread that prompted this post of Michael's, where she's agreeing with CA's tribal norms, she's accepted. Where she's disagreeing, say by suggesting that Michael has some points worth thinking about, or, earlier, that standards of today can't/shouldn't be applied to events of 20+ years ago, she's at best ignored.

So if by 'ok', you merely mean that they don't get large quantities of personal attack, I can agree. If 'ok' means that more people understand more about science, or anything in that direction, I don't see it. More data welcome. The best outcome I've seen is that as a result of Judy's visit(s) to CA some people on CA now believe that there is 1 honest scientist working in or near climate. But only one, as the comments are appreciative of Judy personally, but continue with complaint about how all the rest of the field should change to be more like Judy (again, only insofar as she's agreeing with CA norms). Conversely, the CA folks feel better about themselves for having Judy agree with them. Which is ok in terms of feelings, but hasn't improved anybody's understanding of the science, or scientists, or scientific practice, or ....

As Michael might say, that doesn't scale well. We really can't have all scientists working on climate post to all blogs that they agree with X, for any value of X. And, unfortunately, perusal of, say, WUWT's much larger audience than CA's, suggests that this would indeed be needed. For all that CA people seem to like, conditionally, Judy, she doesn't seem popular over at WUWT.

Ian Forrester said...

As I explained to Tom Fuller on his post on the Air Vent where he compared what he called "non-consensus" and "consensus" blogs his terminology is wrong. Climate blogs can be described in two ways: either "honest"/"dishonest" (as I posted on the Air Vent) or as "science"/"anti-science".

I will let the reader decide where each blog fits, but it should be easy for any scientifically knowledgeable person to determine for themselves.

Tom said...

Hi all,

Penguin, part of the problem is that very few blogs are debating the science. CA, for example, is about process, basically, not science. My much more humble site is mostly about media criticism.

Deltoid is about how evil Steve Mc, me and a few others are. Climate Progress, on a good day, is about green technology. Wish Joe had more good days.

Real Climate seems to have returned to science, after a bit of a break. But they are so hostile to dissenters that you can't have a discussion there. (They're not as bad as Deltoid, though.)

I've been happy to provide a forum, to Judith Curry, Stephen Schneider, both Pielkes and a few others. I invited Michael Tobis about ten times but he was more interested in lecturing me about my ignorance.

CA and Blackboard are good venues for scientific discussion (notwithstanding yesterday's unfortunate oil spill of a comment thread). The Blackboard especially is a neutral forum where fairly intelligent people across the spectrum can have some dialogue.

The problem with WUWT is that people go there for either entertainment or headlines. Comments are often one-liner critiques of the universe from a certain perspective. People drive by, give their opinions and go elsewhere. At Blackboard and CA, people hit the refresh button.

Michael, you should look at what Judith did as a model for a strategy. She studied her Dian Fossey pretty well, she did. Hang out, say hi, don't lead with your chin, don't feed the trolls, and edge into a relationship--don't show up with your lecture notes in hand and ask where the podium is.

Tim Lambert said...

Tom Fuller is not being truthful about what my blog is about.

CA hasn't changed one bit.

Tom said...

Ian, I am quite curious as to how you formed your opinion. What kind of survey did you take of the blogosphere and what were your criteria? How do you evaluate honesty? You sound very confident of your opinion, enough to be able to 'explain' things to me. How many blogs did you look at? What authorship and publishing schedule differences did you note? Did you evaluate blogrolls? Did you compare About pages?

I've been reading and writing blogs for quite some time now, and I don't think I would presume to be as confident as you are. In fact, I would bet that bloggers have good days and bad days--as do commenters, I'm sure.

Penguindreams said...

Do notice you actually don't respond to anything I asked about. Your feelings about Tim Lambert, et al., are quite irrelevant to your assertion that Michael or I or anyone else who works in or near climate should be going to CA, WUWT, or the like. Nor do you explain why it is CA that we should be going to rather than the vastly larger political blogs, even though you do say we should be going to where the people are.

Nor do you say what good has been accomplished by Judy or Bart going to CA and such. Or even give an example (link) of where you think good was accomplished.

Now you talk about debate, and wanting more of it. I discuss the topic, and why I think you're wrong, at more length in my old post discussion vs. debate.

For here, I'll note that CA is, for example, very much in the debating mode. Namely, that they have taken the negative side to the debate "Resolved: All scientists are paragons of virtue who have always collected and analyzed all data perfectly, especially Michael Mann and all involved in Hockey Stick work." So the locals duly attack that proposition. Conversely, interlopers are required to defend it and related (hence the responses to, c.f., Michael in this most recent example).

I see nothing useful served by such debate. All it does is harden positions.

Discussion is a very different matter. It involves, among other things, the possibility that participants will change their minds.

As I said, more detail at my blog post. Discussion is welcome at my site.

Tom said...

PenguinDreams, I'll have a look at your post and comment there, perhaps. As for the utility of CA, I doubt if you'll change many minds there, but I have been saying since I got started that maintaining lines of communications between opposing forces makes peace easier to come by. How long do you guys want to bash each other?

Michael Tobis said...

Tim, I disagree with your claim that CA is the same as ever. I think it has gotten much worse.

Michael Tobis said...

Tom, I am reminded of an old Peanuts strip wherein (if memory serves, and this is a very aged one) Charlie Brown makes a request of Lucy and then makes a similar request of a brick wall as a sort of experiment to test Linus' assertion that talking to Lucy was like talking to a brick wall.

There are situations where engagement is impossible. CA has developed an immune system wherein outside input is quickly wrapped in antibodies and rejected.

Lucia's and Keith's are emerging as useful neutral ground, and I say more power to them. (They're wrong on substance sometimes, but that almost seems necessary!)

Penguindreams said...

If no minds are changing, what has been communicated?

I'll also suggest that the 'you guys' is not a helpful comment from you. I'm a rather different guy from Michael. If you insist on lumping us all together, and, because you have lumped us together, decide that I'm bashing CA, you're not going to have much to discuss. Perfectly normal for debate, of course.

Before deciding that I'm 'bashing' CA, it might be a good thing to actually read what I've written about them. All I've done here is agree with you and Judy that Michael did not have a constructive visit to CA. Further, my personal observation that the results were par for the course compared to what I've seen on my other visits there. On the other hand, I also invited you to present an example of constructive visits to such places (however it is you define such places) by science types -- something which you've said exists. But you offer nothing for that either.

One heads up for your potential comments at my place: Disagreeing with me is fine, even encouraged. But staying on topic is fairly vigorously enforced. If you want to discuss 'debate vs. discussion', great. Do so on that thread (and none other). If you want to explain why I or anyone else should be going to CA ... I can't really think of a thread where that would be on-topic. I do have 'question place' threads, is about the only place.

Ian Forrester said...

Tom Fuller, if you don't understand the difference between "honesty" and "dishonesty" or "science" and "anti-science" as they refer to climate science, do you really think that you should be blogging on the subject? You show time and time again that you either know very little about science and climate science or you are being completely dishonest. Which is it? Your readers deserve to know.

Michael Tobis said...

Bart, no, it wasn't rejected, but I didn't want it subjected to Steve's pre-emptive snipping, and I did want a pointer from here to there.

Robert said...

MIchael - I did read some of that very long thread at CA and, though I generally don't agree with many of your positions, I think you brought out several very good points and were attempting to be openly communicative. Unfortunately, Willis E was just outright nutty in his attacks on you, even though you were agreeing with Steve's original premise that it is not unreasonable to ask for ice core data or insist that such irreplaceable data be appropriately archived. However, please remember from what I read it seemed it was mostly only Willis that was attacking you. It would be nice if Steve did a better job of containing/reigning some of his more pit bullish commenters, but more such commentary seems to be coming through since Steve's focus has shifting to climategate and his perception of the inadequacy of the inquiries and away from statistical analysis. Anyway, please don't let the behavouir of a few posters dissaude you and do continue wander out into other venues, even if you end up stepping in "it" on occasion. people

thingsbreak said...

It wasn't just Willis. Bender was as bad or worse, and the peanut gallery- while not as combative with MT directly- was equally dismissive. After JC and MT pointed out that the CA readers were making a fool of JC for recommending it as a bastion of polite discourse, Steve McI did some heavy pruning.

But Steve himself was one of the bitchiest of all, with his credulity/credibility snark.

Michael Tobis said...

Robert, not a single response at CA engaged with my ideas, though a couple paid lip service to the idea that I had some.

Most, including McIntyre's, were either aimed at taking offense at some perceived slight, or trying to bully me into buying into some version of the undefined but much bandied about "climategate" concept which purportedly "proves" something unspecified but awful.

Interest in the actual physical properties of the climate system was not in evidence, and discussion of the policy aspects was actively discouraged. These are the two matters on which I have anything to say to them, besides the fact that I have yet to hear anything about "climategate" that causes me any concern at all.

I wonder what purpose could possibly be served by further attempts to engage with them.

A couple of years ago you could have a meaningful conversation over there if you ignored the 75% that was noise. Today, it's 100% noise by all appearances.

Michael Tobis said...

Here's one that got snipped, but was mailed to anyone following the entry:

"It is really a shame that someone such as Michael Tobis can effectively end this wonderful discussion. In my humble opinion, Mr. Tobis had nothing to say about climate science. I hope that in the future individual contributors will not permit him to derail a wonderful discussion."

(I wish I knew how to exercise that superpower more reliably...)

Marion Delgado said...

It's apples and oranges to compare the treatment of a real, honest and competent scientist like Michael at a denialist site with whatever treatment is observed (or as I see it, imagined) by a random blogger here on Michael's essentially science-and-the-public blog.

Apples to apples would be to see how people here treat a real, honest, competent scientist, Dr. Curry. So far, the harshest thing I've seen is "she's wrong" (about CA, in particular).

Tom said...

Perhaps Marion Delgado argues for differing treatment of different guests because of what he has written about me in the past two days on one website alone. Michael, one reason CA commenters are tough on you is the behaviour of your commenters. It is unfair guilt by association, but all the words on a blog post, from author and commenters, meld together when forming an impression. Much of your impression of CA is formed by the commenters (although I agree with you that Steve has been grumpier than previously--starting to sound a bit like you, actually ;) )

Tom said...

Mr. Grumbine (and Michael), I think I am going to try and do you both a big favor and stay the heck off your sites. Thank you for your kind invitation, but my appearance at consensus websites seems to bring out poor behaviour on the part of some regular readers. As I am under no illusion that my thinking on climate science is in any way unique, I'll save you both any tension involved in policing your comments.

As for Hank Roberts, dhogaza and Marion Delgado, hey--you win.

MrPete said...

Michael, another hint, at least for CA: learn to distinguish thread types.

Some threads are pure science/math. Other threads are more about process. A few are just for fun (or in some cases, SM breaks his own rule and allows a discussion about politics or policy... but that's rare.)

If you want to find scientific "meat" then go look at the science threads.

And perhaps take SM up on his offer to any scientist, to post their own "headline" article. You want a good science discussion there? Start a scientific thread.

Michael Tobis said...

Tom, suit yourself, I guess.

It's all one big web, though. That's why it's called a "web". What you say anywhere else is fair game here and what you say here is fair game anywhere else. So I don't know what you achieve by staying away. Feel free to reconsider.

I have never been tempted to moderate out anything you said here. I think you're very wrong on many things, but I think your intentions are honest and decent. Also, I appreciate the kind words you had for me at the CA site.

MrPete said...

Tim Lambert links to one of his own posts to supposedly prove how awful CA is.

Thanks for the link, Tim. Mostly, all you proved there is that you have too much confidence in your understanding of blog systems.

CA did use SK2. And SK2 worked the way Steve McIntyre claimed, NOT the way you claimed. SK2 is perfectly capable of rejecting a single post. It all depends on how it is set up.

Since CA was sometimes receiving several spams per second, the site was locked down pretty hard.

You made scurrilous claims about SM's veracity in that thread. And you were wrong. You owe him and your readers an apology.

gravityloss said...

More funding and people to archive data and make it publicly available. Better, functioning organizations.

That's a goal that many agree with, including drs Tobis and Curry, from what I gather from their writings.

CA seems not to be helping towards this goal, but is rather a distraction. The biggest hurdle seems to be that people working with the data don't think CA etc are really that honest in intentions but seek to produce negative stuff about scientists. Maybe CA people view this as not true, or maybe they view it as true (negative intentions), but think it should be irrelevant.

Tim Lambert said...

MrPete, I was using SK2 before CA was, and I don't think you have ever used it. SK2 will not retroactively reject a post without a trigger. Read the code if you don't believe me.

You owe me an apology.

Lazar said...

If communicating to the public is the goal, why waste time trying to persuade a small and mostly fanatical crowd? Out of a sample of one thousand 'people on the street', how many have heard of CA let alone read the comments sections? The media generally don't care that they are amplifying noise. There are plenty of sources if that is what they want. I can't see how this action will influence media responsibility or public opinion.

Michael was right on target recommending that every scientist produces a blog, explaining their work, maybe responding to simple misconceptions and misinformation. Put the information out there that people can see how real science and scientists work, in contrast to the cartoons found on CA. The medium is still primitively evolved. I believe that is the best that can be done at present.

MrPete said...

I've not only read the SK2 code, I customized it to improve the ability for blog moderators to find spam in the accepted posts, and find good posts in the spam.

Certainly CA's copy of SK2 caught a lot of one-off spam. Perhaps you stopped using SK2 before the final version(s)? I dunno.

I make no claims about your copy of SK2. I only know the SK2 that was used at CA. I recommend you not infer too much from your own installation to others'.

(Meanwhile, if you have need, feel free to make use of my WP Tuner plugin, which has helped improve the performance of many WP blogs. I do know a bit about blog systems.)

MrPete said...

I'm hoping Tim has not yet replied with an apology because he's simply busy. (I've also attempted to interact with him privately.)

My initial statement still stands.

Tim, you made scurrilous claims about SM's veracity in that thread. And you were wrong. You owe him and your readers an apology.


PS I have little joy in urging you to please let go of the arrogance ("assumption of one's superiority toward others".) In this case, other peoples' competence exceeds your own.

If we could all learn to be humble in the small things, and avoid blowing them out of proportion, perhaps we can get along better.

Michael Tobis said...

MrPete, what does "in this case" mean?

I don't think there is any important topic in which I am the most competent person around. This doesn't bother me much as I'm something of a generalist. So "other people's competence exceeds my own" is stipulated.

Did you mean I am specifically wrong about something? What?

MrPete said...

Sorry Michael, the "you" in my comment was Tim, not Michael :)

If I could edit my comment, I would begin the PS with:

PS: Tim, I...

Feel free to make that edit if you like!

Tim Lambert said...

Mr Pete if you really are an expert on SK2, then you should have no trouble pointing to the code that would have flagged my comments as spam.

Specifically: When I posted them, SK2 did not mark them as spam -- they appeared in comments. Then, without my posting anything more, my comments disappeared and McIntyre confirmed that they had been marked as spam.

And contrary to your claims, I did not accuse McIntyre of lying about it. I said that John Andrews had manually marked my comments as spam, presumably without McIntyre's knowledge.

You owe me an apology.

Michael Tobis said...

Guys, I have no idea what you are talking about.

Anyway, please take it somewhere else.

MrPete said...

Michael, I don't want this to turn into a technical discussion. I was following up on Tim's comment above and his link to his own accusations.

I'll close this subthread with a few hopefully-interesting and applicable specifics, and an observation about the challenges of blog interaction that apply anywhere.

I'm happy to take this elsewhere (offline? another blog?) w/ Tim. (His linked thread is closed so that's not available.)

Tim appears to have confused three realities about antispam systems (including "SK2") and about human moderation:
a) Some spam is immediately blocked. (Bad words, bad links, posting too fast after arrival, etc etc.)
b) Some spam is recognized after several messages, and multiple visible messages will be auto-spanked. (A "snowball" effect)
c) Human moderators can block message(s) that are either visible or pre-moderated. (Spitball fights get removed; some blogs can relocate off-topic threads to a new place.)

Tim's current claim: a set of his visible comments were removed, and SM said the spam system did it. (Hmmm... maybe Tim thinks SM believes computers revise calculations without further input?)

I was responding to what Tim said. In his main post:
"Steve, I know how Spam Karma works. It doesn't decide that posted comments are spam unless it is triggered by another comment from that same poster."
And this, later in the comments:
"It wasn't Spam Karma 2 -- you have to post another comment to trigger it and I didn't do that."
My observation was that spam systems DO trigger based on individual comments, and Tim is wrong to claim otherwise.

At this point, what actually happened is immaterial. We're dealing with perceptions and misperceptions, communication and miscommunication.

The implications of all this are significant for same-blog and inter-blog "vigorous discussion."

First, as always, I advocate for humility.

I can't draw conclusions about a blog's proprietor just because my post doesn't show up, or maybe even disappears after having shown up. Moderating blog interactions can be incredibly difficult for a blog proprietor!

A small example: in the past, CA had the ability to mass-move discussions to a more appropriate thread. Some might be disturbed by this but at least their words were retained. On that's impossible. The only choice is leave it or delete it (and tell people to re-post elsewhere.) A big loss, in my book.

Bottom line: a blog moderator can feel rather powerless in the face of a comment thread containing dozens or hundreds of comments. Keep expectations low about their ability to surgically handle comments (ie removing other peoples' annoying words while retaining your great material :))

One more lesson I've learned, that applies to blog readers: try to consider both the "micro" and "macro" aspects of a situation.

In a blog (and many other situations) the "authorities" may be trying to accomplish a "macro" effect, like removing off-topic material, nurturing thoughtful discussion, etc. Yet those macro efforts have a specific "micro" effect on individual commenters.

Most people look at the micro aspect -- what has happened to them personally, or the thing they care about -- and cannot consider the bigger picture until they are satisfied in their narrow aspect. Even if they are misinterpreting their narrow aspect.

This applies directly to the topic of this posting by Michael... it is very hard for people to see the bigger picture...and therefore caution is required particularly when we ourselves are one speck in that picture.

(And yes, I apply that to myself. I make zero claim to perfection. In the Real World part of my present work involves trying to improve all of this for everybody.)

Tim Lambert said...

Michael, I know you feel that this is wandering off topic, but your post is about Climateaudit, so the censorship regime there is relevant. Regulars there are in denial about it, so if I point to examples they think I must be making it up or incompetent as MrPete does above.

As MrPete notes there are three ways posts can get marked as spam: a) immediately blocked by SK2, b) removed later by SK2, c) manually tagged. In the case under discussion (a) isn't possible since the comments appeared, and (b) isn't possible because there was nothing to trigger a reclassification by SK2, leaving (c) as the only possibility.

I suspect MrPete realizes this now, hence his new position that "what actually happened is immaterial".