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« The trougher-in-chief | Main | Marge »

Have I been censored?

Richard Black, BBC online's environment bod, has posted an article about the silly Met Office climate model that is apparently going to be used for making policy decisions even though most scientists seem to think it's risibly bad.

In the comments thread someone raised the issue of the non-availability of the CRU's raw weather station data and was met with a deluge of green rant from someone calling themselves "yeah whatever", who provided a link to the gridded (i.e. "corrected") station data. When I pointed out that this was not what was asked for, I was met with the rather bizarre accusation that I was too lazy to look it up myself and a blunt assertion that the data was available. Surprisingly, this was deemed an acceptable response by the moderators.

In the circumstances, I thought my reply was a model of self-control. I pointed Yeah_Whatever to the notorious words of CRU scientist Phil Jones

We have 25 or so years invested in the work. Why should I make the data available to you, when your aim is to try and find something wrong with it.

I also said that there was a public interest in the release of the data and that Richard Black had a duty to report the refusal of CRU to do so.

And do you know what, twelve hours later it's still in the moderation queue.

Funny that.


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Reader Comments (51)

Go Bishop, Go.

Comment #1 is a corker.

I hope that we are turning the tide - showing the world that people can have independent thoughts about this whole climate thing.

Its a bit odd here in NZ. Thankfully my daughters school has not mentioned climate change at all in 3 years. This has probably got more to do with the school and the NZ curriculum than anything else - they are both crap.

A neighbour came round on 'earth hour' to nag me. I had put the oven on to clean itself, switched the 200 litre hot tank on to heat up after 2 days of cooling, loaded up the washing machine and the dishwasher, put the kettle on in case any neighbours came round. Then I remembered that I had some welding jobs in the garage.

She told me to switch the lights off to 'save the polar bears'. She said I was OK to carry on with the welding. She is a science teacher ! She was driving round with her family to see who was sitting in the dark. In her 2 litre car ! Yes a science teacher.
Jun 20, 2009 at 12:06 PM | Unregistered CommenterJack Hughes
I've found the environmental indoctrination at school a useful opportunity for the children to discover that not everything they are taught is true. My daughter now thinks glass recycling is madness.
Jun 20, 2009 at 12:09 PM | Registered CommenterBishop Hill
We did an experiment: put a load of ice (pretend iceberg) in a tumbler and watch the sea level before and after the ice melts. This was a bit eye-opener for everyone (.except me)

Its got to be floating - like an iceberg - not resting on the bottom.

PS: what is the source for of the "25 years" quotation ? I'll have a go at posting it.
Jun 20, 2009 at 12:14 PM | Unregistered CommenterJack Hughes
We recycle glass here in CHCH but it just gets piled up (separately). Nobody wants it.
Jun 20, 2009 at 12:15 PM | Unregistered CommenterJack Hughes
"Richard Black had a duty to report.."

That'll be what did it. The Beeb tries to avoid any sort of duty lately, at least as far as balance in AGW is concerned.
Jun 20, 2009 at 12:45 PM | Unregistered CommenterJames P
Check out this interview on BBC's Newsnight, though:

Kirsty Wark: "But if you want to make informed decisions, the best way of doing that is: alongside this report publishing the methodology. Publishing the methodology late is kind of strange, isn't it? Odd. It's unnecessarily obfuscatory."

Hilary Benn: "No, it’s nothing to do with obfuscation. A group of scientists have looked at this and said that they're happy for it to be published but it comes with caveats and it comes with health warnings, and we have to be straight and honest about the uncertainty, but what this gives us, which we've never had before, is information about a range of probabilities, and I think it's important that we put that out there, because we all have to deal with this."

Interesting answer, but notice he doesn’t say anything about the methodology, and Kirsty then moves on to other points. At least it got a mention, though.
Jun 20, 2009 at 1:18 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlex Cull
Now coming up to 2pm on Saturday, Bishop and I still can't see your comment #17 on that thread. Weird and inconsistent moderation, IMO. Also kudos to you for remaining cool in the face of yeah_whatever's unprovoked rudeness.
Jun 20, 2009 at 2:00 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlex Cull

No it isn't that. I've since posted the same comment without the link and it went through fine. It's definitely something to do with the link.
Jun 20, 2009 at 2:07 PM | Registered CommenterBishop Hill
It looks as if "yeah_whatever" is the "house troll"... I've just been through and complained about most of its postings as they all have greater or lesser degrees of abusive behavior in them. It's also allowed to post links without getting moderated.

Depressing reading really, it just serves to highlight the apalling lack of scientific and/or mathmatical knowledge of the general public. (And even more so, that of the "house troll").
Jun 20, 2009 at 2:29 PM | Unregistered CommenterPogo
I suspect someone has clicked on the "Complain about this comment" link and made a complaint. Looking at the subsequent page that comes up (I checked without actually complaining about anyone ) it says:

"The message you complain about will be sent to a moderator, who will decide whether it breaks the House Rules. You will be informed of their decision by email."

Maybe this means the Bishop is waiting for a human has to make a descision? It still seem a bit long though.
Jun 20, 2009 at 2:46 PM | Unregistered CommenterStuart
go, bishop, go !

Jun 20, 2009 at 3:30 PM | Unregistered Commenterper
Its the PDF format that causing the issue Bishop. Nothing more sinister than that. Why PDFs are treated this way is another matter.
Jun 20, 2009 at 3:47 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Lish
Is that it? Why don't they just say so?
Jun 20, 2009 at 5:09 PM | Registered CommenterBishop Hill
Nope that's not it. Yeah_Whatever seems to be able to post PDFs without any problems.
Jun 20, 2009 at 8:19 PM | Registered CommenterBishop Hill
I omitted to include a request for the data in my petition

If someone else would like to start a related petition requesting the data , it would be helpful, if I start another they would likely bounce both.
Jun 20, 2009 at 9:33 PM | Unregistered CommenterNeil Hyde
Can you not cancel and start again. We don't want our resources to be split, do we?
Jun 20, 2009 at 9:45 PM | Registered CommenterBishop Hill
It won't allow me to cancel or edit unfortunately.

But you raise a valid point about splitting resources.

My ex wife was/is a journalist /PR practitioner, my current (and she will beat me for that comment !!) is a PR Professional, there is too much fragmentation within the so called "Sceptic" community worldwide, particularly when compared to the "Green Machine". There is a great need for some sort of unifying entity to bring all the interested parties together(No i'm not offering)

Surely, a respected site like this , can get together with respected others, such as CA,WUWT,and others to present a united front, as realists appear fragmented.
Jun 20, 2009 at 10:00 PM | Unregistered CommenterNeil Hyde
I see that my comment 57, in which I merely agreed with Pogo about the 'new member' excuse for moderation, has been spiked! I did add that we obviously weren't to be trusted, which perhaps they took literally...
Jun 20, 2009 at 10:24 PM | Unregistered CommenterJames P
I wish you joy with the BBC's censors.

It was the immediate pre-Iraq war period that finally convinced me that the Corporation had moved beyond 'hopelessly biased' to 'actively evil' and it was the BBC's online boards and the activities of its 'moderators' that threw the switch.

In that period, the BBC's boards were assiduously being worked by a small number of Leftist academic activists who also seemed to be getting their letters read-out on R4 and 5 'Live' with impressive reliablity.

These activists were given a ludicrously easy ride by the 'moderators'' and formal complaint achieved (as ever with the BBC) nothing at all.

At that point I realised participating in anything the BBC runs is a waste of time. The Corporation will skew the evidence to get the results it wants (cf. Any Questions/Answers panels, audiences and phone-ins)

The BBC has made its decision about 'AGW' and anyone who dares disagree with it can expect nothing but trouble from the hive-mind..
Jun 20, 2009 at 11:38 PM | Unregistered CommenterGCooper

The thing is, it doesn't look like censorship any more. They seem quite happy for Peroxisome to link to the Phil Jones story, but not me. I wonder if there are two tiers of moderation - the first one automated, the second human. The humans are off for the weekend.
Jun 21, 2009 at 7:35 AM | Registered CommenterBishop Hill
It may sound paranoid, but doesn't that suggest anything posted by you is being subjected to special treatment?

I've long suspected they have categories of posters, beyond the merely banned. Perhaps you are on a 'treat with caution' list?
Jun 21, 2009 at 12:20 PM | Unregistered CommenterGCooper
Hmmm, just had a look and it seems Richard Black, the author of the page, has a comment
listed as "This comment has been referred to the moderators"!

Rather surreal, maybe there is some weird automated censor working there?
Jun 21, 2009 at 2:05 PM | Unregistered CommenterStuart
Yes, that's my conclusion. Strewth - you get better moderation on a two bit blogger account.
Jun 21, 2009 at 8:10 PM | Unregistered CommenterBishop Hill
all the richard said- and it was aimed at the Bishop- was that he did not attend the conference you asked about.

it was up for a while, then got referred.

Jun 22, 2009 at 1:23 AM | Unregistered Commenterper
How odd.
Jun 22, 2009 at 6:15 AM | Unregistered CommenterBishop Hill
Do you think that 'yeah-whatever' is the moderator, and has spiked a couple of his own to deflect the suspicion? I do think Richard Black should be allowed to comment on his own blog!
Jun 22, 2009 at 1:13 PM | Unregistered CommenterJames P
'yeah-whatever' is impressively well-informed, is he not?
How many posts? Some labour of love!
Jun 22, 2009 at 5:11 PM | Unregistered CommenterJonathan

Difficult to take anyone seriously with a moniker like that, though. He seems to lack the social graces too, but that seems to be rather common among the warmists. Whoever described him as the 'house troll' may be on to something!
Jun 22, 2009 at 5:32 PM | Unregistered CommenterJames P
"'yeah-whatever' is impressively well-informed, is he not? "

I wouldn't quite say that... He posts loads of comments without appearing to understand much of what he's saying.
Jun 22, 2009 at 5:40 PM | Unregistered CommenterPogo
I think what is happening is that YW is scurrying off to Wikipedia to get his next lines.
Jun 22, 2009 at 7:50 PM | Unregistered CommenterBishop Hill
Bizarrely, I've now had an email from the moderators saying it was due to posting of a pdf. I believe them, but Yeah_Whatever still has a posting with a pdf up, as do I, although mine is to a link on the BBC website.
Jun 22, 2009 at 8:11 PM | Registered CommenterBishop Hill
'yeah-whatever' You'd have to be an utter fruit-cake to do all that just for fun. He's got to be doing it on instructions, hasn't he?.
Jun 23, 2009 at 12:23 PM | Unregistered Commenterjonathan
Between 19 June 4:30pm and 23 June 12:13pm out of a total of 226 postings, 119 (inc 6 removed) by 'yeah whatever'.
Jun 23, 2009 at 1:08 PM | Unregistered Commenterjonathan
I did think to encourage him - as I said in the comments thread, he's done more to win people over to the sceptic side than I could.
Jun 23, 2009 at 3:02 PM | Registered CommenterBishop Hill
The petition has been approved:
Jun 25, 2009 at 4:55 PM | Unregistered CommenterNeil Hyde
You may be interested to know that yeah_whatever posts on realclimate under the name Mark:
Jun 25, 2009 at 6:17 PM | Unregistered CommenterWansbeck

Interesting. I think Jeff Id had picked this up one one of his posts. I wonder if he knows the provenance?
Jun 25, 2009 at 8:51 PM | Registered CommenterBishop Hill
Wansbeck - well spotted! He's so pleased with himself (or possibly cross with the opposition) that he relays some of his BBC experience on RC. I'm surprised he has the time...
Jun 26, 2009 at 9:51 AM | Unregistered CommenterJames P
Between 19 June 4:30pm and 26 June 12:43pm out of a total of 351 postings, 199 (inc 12 removed) by 'yeah whatever'. My taxes help pay for this.
Jun 26, 2009 at 1:59 PM | Unregistered Commenterjonathan
I said before that I thought "yeah_whatever" was impressively well-informed. Perhaps he's Gavin role-playing.
Jun 27, 2009 at 8:19 PM | Unregistered CommenterJonathan
He can't spell, though. On RC, he continuously spells 'desert' (the subject of some of his posts) as 'dessert' even after others have made fun of it. He's thoroughly hijacked Richard Black's blog comments, which is a shame, as RB seems reasonable enough.

I guess we should ignore him.
Jun 27, 2009 at 10:14 PM | Unregistered CommenterJames P
Jonathan, I don't think that he's "well informed" - it's obvious that he doesn't understand what "empirical evidence" is and his risible efforts to fail to achieve a "hockey stick" by generating random numbers - without realising that they have to be processed with the MBH98 model shows that his understanding of the whole process is rudimentary in the extreme.

IMHO he's just a "shouty" "Wikipaedia Warrior".
Jun 28, 2009 at 12:25 AM | Unregistered CommenterPogo
Pogo, You're right, it's the 241 posts out of 418 (as of 1:10am 28/6) that's impressive. As "Mark" he's also a serial poster at RC (has been for at least a year) and often makes a fool of himself there. For some reason they pander to him. One can't help wondering why.
Jun 28, 2009 at 11:51 AM | Unregistered Commenterjonathan
@jonathan "One can't help wondering why."

He preaches the party line... Or should I say "he PREACHES the party line"? :-)

He must have a lot of free time. Personally, though I've been tempted to "have a go back", I know it would be a complete waste of time, and, I "have a life". :-)
Jun 28, 2009 at 12:40 PM | Unregistered CommenterPogo
I get the impression that he regularly complains to the moderators whenever anyone retaliates. He accused me of doing this (when I hadn't, of course) but I have now reminded the mods that unfounded accusations of lying are straightforward libel. If they remove every post of his with that in it, there will be a lot of empty comments!
It's hard to believe that he's doing it all in his own time with no remuneration, but OTOH, how would he keep a girlfriend?
Jun 28, 2009 at 4:09 PM | Unregistered CommenterJames P
I placed a post yesterday and it was up long enough for Mark/YW to make some quotes and misinterpret them.
The post then disappeared: referred to moderators.
Now almost 24 hours later and still no response.
It seems that if you don't like a post you simply click on the complaint button and the post will be permanently removed. A very unsatisfactory situation especially for a public service.
Jun 28, 2009 at 7:49 PM | Unregistered CommenterWansbeck

I think the moderators don't work at weekends. There is just an automatic system for picking up blacklisted words and so on. Anything referred at the weekends gets sorted on Monday.
Jun 28, 2009 at 8:01 PM | Registered CommenterBishop Hill
This might amuse you. Not knowing any sensible way to contact the BBC moderators directly, I posted the following comment on Richard Black's blog:

"Would a moderator care to explain (sorry, but there seems to be no other way of communicating with them) why YW is allowed to accuse everyone of lying, but when I point this out (and the legal ramifications), my post is spiked?

Is YW a moderator (or moderator's assistant) himself, I wonder? It would explain a lot... "

It didn't make it, of course, and the only reply I've had is the standard email from the moderators saying that they had to remove it. If only YW worked for the DCSF...
Jul 6, 2009 at 11:57 AM | Unregistered CommenterJames P
I don't know if you're still interested as this topic is quite old now but just in case.
I finally received an email on Tuesday morning stating that my post had been removed as 'off-topic'. A bit harsh as it was a response to another poster and discussed problems with temperature reconstructions which are a major input into climate model certainty; the blog topic.
I had earlier seen a post where someone appeared to have deliberately altered a quote so for light amusement and to see how this moderation thing works I made the following complaint:
'I believe this post is defamatory or libellous for the following reason:
Dr. Lehr is misquoted. The phrase 'greenhouse gas envelope' has been replaced with 'total atmosphere'. The nature of the edit means that this is unlikely to be an accident and although this has been brought to the attention of the poster it has been ignored and he continues to use the misquote to question Dr. Lehr's work in further posts: 453, 454, 459, 463, and 464.
Although the apparently deliberate nature of the misquote says much more about the integrity of the poster than that of Dr. Lehr, I feel that this behaviour should not be tolerated.'
The post was left in place and some time later I received the following reply:
'Further to your complaint about some of the content on a BBC blog (reference number P25204925), we have decided that it does not contravene the House Rules and are going to leave it on site.'

Alleging a post to be off-topic appears to result in instant removal for some but wilful misrepresentation appears to be OK for others.
One guess who the other poster was!
Jul 6, 2009 at 7:58 PM | Unregistered CommenterWansbeck

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