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Discussion > What exactly is considered to be Off Topic?

I do not ask because of The Legend that is the IIO but because I find it hard to draw the line.
Taking the Matt Ridley thread as an example; the article which heads the thread is about a number of different things. It could be said to be about the differences between two men; Matt Ridley and Joe Romm but it could equally well be about the difference between empirical evidence and theoretical evidence. At the end of the day it is about climate change or the lack of it and it includes the dreaded GHE.
Discussions broke out on a number of these aspects and although I know that talking about helping someone move house is OT, I am not sure about discussions inspired by the article heading the thread. How far can these discussions range before they cross the Bish's line of acceptability?

Dec 27, 2012 at 3:29 PM | Registered CommenterDung

Having had a comment cut on another thread I have decided that it might be better to:

a. Try and establish a link between what I'm posting to the discussion topic and why it isn't off at a tangent

b. Try not to ramble

c. Not to interact with trolls (this is a rule for this blog already.

Now a question, is anything off topic for this thread :)

Dec 27, 2012 at 5:05 PM | Unregistered CommenterSandyS

For what it's worth Dung, I support your view that frothy comments equivalent to the raised-arm-thrashing "Miss, Miss, here I am, me me" of the schooldays of yore should be snipped. Any visitor without prior knowledge of the blog is likely to think such behaviour immature, and it is. Imho the relentless nature of such commenting casts a pall over the whole blog, lowers its tone and results in unhappiness and reaction, such as this very topic. It is akin to a form of water torture, drip, drip, drip.

That being said I doubt that anything will be done about it, and I don't need to remind you Dung that it is not our blog. It would help immensely if there was an "ignore commenter" button though, which blessedly renders that poster's comments invisible to oneself for evermore. That system has worked successfully on commercial sites such as video gaming boards, which are heavily subject to trolling. Oh and Dung, if you could try to resist the urge to engage with your nemesis that would also help a lot, as it only results in more OT unpleasantness. DNFTT!

Dec 27, 2012 at 8:30 PM | Unregistered CommenterChris M

Nov 20, 2012 at 12:11 PM | Unregistered CommenterChris M

I am one of those who has had to put up with RD's belittling attitude, as a 'nym' who allegedly does not accept responsibility for my own words.

Without the acknowledgment and support of good people like Dung I may have stopped posting here by now.

That is the state that Richard's off topic snide remarks had brought you to. He has had a quiet period but seems to be starting again and I am not alone in objecting. In the Matt Ridley thread I was only the third person to respond to RD, SJF and Rhoda piled in before I got there and after I responded, jferguson, diogenes and Hilary Ostrov joined in ^.^
All RD needs to do is realise that he has very few supporters when it comes to his views on nyms, he should stop his crusade (at least in the main blog). Were he to behave like other BH regulars and simply engage in discussion of the thread and the science then I could not object.
Even without nym comments, most of RDs posts contain classical references, historical references, political references, name dropping and information about his personal experiences all of which add nothing to the threads in which he includes them. However I would never confront RD about those issues I would simply ignore them, they are after all just examples of what he is, an attack on those things would be personal.

Dec 28, 2012 at 7:15 AM | Registered CommenterDung

Dec 28, 2012 at 7:15 AM | Dung
"However I would never confront RD about those issues I would simply ignore them"

Dung, why not just ignore the rest of the comments by Richard too. There are a handful of commenters which I basically never bother to read, it is very easy to just skip to the next comment.

Dec 28, 2012 at 10:13 AM | Unregistered CommenterRob Burton

Rob Burton

Because alone amongst all the contributors to BH, Richard Drake constantly insults all of the people on the blog who use assumed names. He denies doing this and it is true that (probably apart from me) he never insults them by name, he does so by innuendo, by veiled threats and suggestions that people who do not use a real name are somehow inferior beings. I can only say that personally I can not just sit idle and not comment .

Dec 28, 2012 at 10:27 AM | Registered CommenterDung

Dung, I acknowledge what you are saying but don't want to revisit all that - I don't feel that enough support was forthcoming, including from you, when I tried to address the issue myself. Let others with a more combative frame of mind carry the baton, with my best wishes. Hilary has been particularly effective with her rejoinders.

I do believe it is something Andrew should be made aware of, preferably by direct email discussion. I can only assume that he does not appreciate the depth of feeling or the extent of disharmony this issue generates. It has been disheartening to see some truly exemplary threads, like the recent one with Richard Betts and other scientists engaging in a free exchange of views, badly marred by what seemed to me to be off-topic grandstanding with little or no scientific insight evident - an impolite and unwelcome intrusion imho.

BH is clearly one of the best and most influential climate blogs, and we should all contribute to its continuing success as best we can. Standards of posting behaviour quite rightly are and should be at the sole discretion of the Bish; we can only make suggestions for improvements and adapt to the prevailing ethos.

Dec 28, 2012 at 11:21 AM | Unregistered CommenterChris M

Were AlecM and therealviffer considered trolls on the thread in question? Yes - by steveta and myself and no doubt many others. Our host has made clear from his many deletions of AlecM that he frequently considers his contributions off topic. That's surely a guide to help us in our cogitations here.

Dec 29, 2012 at 10:37 AM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake

Richard Drake

The Bish and his helpers will delete those posts which they consider to be off topic, you do not need to get involved.
AlecM is indeed often deleted but he and therealviffer are not the same person and just because steveta does not agree with either of them is no reason to delete their posts.
However my opinion that you should be banned is just as irrelevant as your view that alecm and the realviffer should be considered off topic in the Matt Ridley thread.
It is not your blog Richard and praise god it never will be. Start your own blog and apply all the rules you think so important, you will end up talking to yourself which will be a boon to the rest of us.

Dec 29, 2012 at 11:06 AM | Registered CommenterDung

I do have my own blog, begun just before Climategate in November 2009, and in it I talk about modern software development and other concerns of interest to me. What difference does that make? Matt Ridley also has a blog, on which he recently decided to make commenting impossible - just as Donna Laframboise has for many moons. That's relevant, of course, because Matt used Bishop Hill to make the points he wanted to in response to Joe Romm, in the thread that six days later triggered the debate here.

You'd have to ask Matt why he chose Bishop Hill but I think we could hazard some guesses. Either way, the fact that he had alternative venues makes no difference on whether discussion about the greenhouse effect was on or off topic in this one.

One thing you shouldn't have done is to broaden the discussion, the moment I challenged you, Martin A and Rhoda on this, to your take on my other views. I wasn't having a go at pseudonyms in general, I was backing steveta's call for both AlecM and therealviffer - and by extension you and those seeking to answer you - to be considered off topic for the thread.

There's no issue for me in any BH contributor making suggestions as steveta originally did. We all know that "advisers advise, ministers decide," as Margaret Thatcher once memorably said, with Nigel Lawson the minister in mind and the late Alan Walters the adviser. Here the minister is a Bishop and he decides. None of us have disputed this so it's not an issue. We're all free to give advice and, as with other things, some of it is bound to be better than others. That's what this thread is all about.

Dec 29, 2012 at 11:28 AM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake

Richard Drake
Do you accept my description of the headline post by the Bish on the Matt Ridley thread?

Taking the Matt Ridley thread as an example; the article which heads the thread is about a number of different things. It could be said to be about the differences between two men; Matt Ridley and Joe Romm but it could equally well be about the difference between empirical evidence and theoretical evidence. At the end of the day it is about climate change or the lack of it and it includes the dreaded GHE.

If not perhaps you could explain why not?

During the thread you were back to your nym hating theme once again:

When I read that three days ago I thoroughly agreed. But it does presuppose that mydog has shape-shifted again. Has this BH phenomenon ever been fully honest and open about this behaviour? Dung seemed to suggest that he should feel rather hard done by. But doesn't this kind of activity penalise everyone else, including those not using real names? Why no complaint about this, except from steveta?

You say : "Here the minister is a Bishop and he decides" so why dont you follow your own advice?

Dec 29, 2012 at 11:37 AM | Registered CommenterDung

Dung: it wasn't my "nym hating theme once again" because there has never been such a theme. I don't hate anyone in this debate. I do want clarity though and I am quite certain that having discussion of general greenhouse theory - especially if this hadn't been challenged and went on for pages and pages, as it easily can - wasn't conducive to clarity for the person interested solely in Matt Ridley's issues with Joe Romm.

I do follow my own advice. I give my opinion and I let the Bishop decide. I've never advised that someone else should be banned. Having discounted the false pejoratives did you say that simply because I have often disagreed with you?

Last but not least, we now have your word that:

AlecM is indeed often deleted but he and therealviffer are not the same person ...

That is a first, that I know of, since someone first suggested that mydogsgotnonose had changed his name, many months ago. In Channelling dogginess in October we got to about ten nyms that mydog had used, or so we believed. Never did anyone authoritatively state that any of these 'sightings' were not the same underlying person.

So you have broken new ground with this claim my friend - indeed I think this could put our relationship on an entirely different footing. I hope you don't mind therefore if I ask for the basis for this statement.

Dec 29, 2012 at 11:50 AM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake

Richard Drake

Trolling yet again, ignore most of my opoints and pick on one that suits you.

Has this BH phenomenon ever been fully honest and open about this behaviour? Dung seemed to suggest that he should feel rather hard done by. But doesn't this kind of activity penalise everyone else

Since when did having multiple aliases become a crime? Why not go for latimer or Omnologous?

What is this rant about if not nyms?

You may or not have noticed that alecm has never denied having multiple aliases but therealviffer has strongly denied that he is alecm plus his posts are totally different.

Why not respond to the point that none of these issues has anything to do with you and if you think they are important then email the Bish and spare the rest of us please.

Dec 29, 2012 at 1:44 PM | Registered CommenterDung

Unlike a troll I answered all your points, an achievement made more difficult by your highly pejorative framing, just like the troll you've begun to portray, of my "nym hating theme" - a steaming pile of dung I also had to clean up. Now you cry 'rant' after quoting a perfectly reasonable question of mine. Could you instead please pay me and other readers the courtesy of providing quotes and URL references for the places where AlecM and therealviffer said what you claim?

By equating mydog and his ten or more alter egos and their many off-topic interjections over many months with the sturdy Latimer Alder (with whom I first exchanged emails in March 2011) and Omnologos (who we all know is Maurizio Morabito, BBC-embargo-buster) you must surely realise, even in your apparent newness to this blog, that you are pulling the other one.

But this is characteristic of your method throughout. If I gently criticise the specific misdeeds of one or two dodgy nyms I'm taken by you to be in blind hatred damning all sayings of the best ones. The kind of misdirection totalitarians have always applied before banning criticism and frequently doing violence to their source. So best to give it a rest old chap. You haven't been given totalitarian power over Bishop Hill, which means your intemperate advocacy of me being banned on 27th December 2012 was very misguided, in case you haven't yet realised.

Dec 29, 2012 at 2:15 PM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake

Richard Drake

I ask you to step out of character for a moment and try to be rational ^.^ This is a fairly short thread so far so can we point out to each other which points/questions have gone unanswered? In the spirit of the festive season you can go first :)
Any such point/question raised must be answered OK?

Dec 29, 2012 at 3:37 PM | Registered CommenterDung

How condescending. Write whatever you want - others will I'm sure notice if you ever provide quotes of AlecM and therealviffer, and their URLs, which I asked for last time around, on which this key statement depended:

You may or not have noticed that alecm has never denied having multiple aliases but therealviffer has strongly denied that he is alecm plus his posts are totally different.

Please note that although I dislike the condescending nature of your reply that does not constitute hatred. I think you realise that you've badly overstepped the mark in suggesting I should be banned. Because you have no hard evidence of misdeeds to back this up. You are left only with the option of substituting your totally misleading representation of what I've said for real evidence. And it's your burden of proof, for the simple reason I'm not arguing that you or anyone else should be banned.

And it also seems that I won the argument about whether the general greenhouse discussion was on topic for the Matt Ridley thread. Martin A implicitly accepted this in offering to move to email or another BH thread. All we're left with is Mr Dung backing up his claim that Richard Drake should be banned. You haven't as far as I know yet said the same about anyone else who has disagreed with you, such as steveta. But his reply on the other thread is well worth re-reading. I don't envy your position.

Dec 29, 2012 at 4:03 PM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake

Dec 29, 2012 at 4:03 PM | Richard Drake

How condescending [...]
[...]
You are left only with the option of substituting your totally misleading representation of what I've said for real evidence.

Not one, but (at least) two cases of pot.kettle.black in one comment. Amazing. Simply amazing.

Oh, silly me! I forgot ... According to Richard's Rules of Order™, only this self-appointed thread-moderator-wannabe is permitted to 'substitute totally misleading representations' of what others have said. And to determine who should be saying what to whom and when.

His recent performance record elsewhere strongly suggests that no apology will be forthcoming even when the evidence of his follies and foibles is presented to him. For those who might have missed it, several examples are provided in a "review of the bidding", so to speak, which can be found here [Dec 9, 2012 at 2:10 AM]

Some might say that Richard D (riding his anti-nym hobby-horse into whatever thread his little heart desires) is well on his way to earning himself the tag of <even when I'm wrong, I'm right>. But I couldn't possibly comment.

Dec 29, 2012 at 11:48 PM | Registered CommenterHilary Ostrov

Richard Drake

To avoid confusing you further I will make one point per post:

Do you agree with the following

Taking the Matt Ridley thread as an example; the article which heads the thread is about a number of different things. It could be said to be about the differences between two men; Matt Ridley and Joe Romm but it could equally well be about the difference between empirical evidence and theoretical evidence. At the end of the day it is about climate change or the lack of it and it includes the dreaded GHE

Dec 30, 2012 at 3:41 AM | Registered CommenterDung

Once again the Richard Dungdrake AI robot is off on a free associatoin jamboree. Can you two (one?) give it a rest? As author of the NoTroll greasemonkey script to get rid of a well known troll from these parts, I offer my services for free to write each of you one which will eradicate the existence of the other. Just let me know.

Dec 30, 2012 at 6:21 PM | Unregistered CommenterTheBigYinJames

Yin, nice script, but I'm not on the list (easy to add though). Another way is to put this sort of thing in your user style sheet:

.authored-by-richarddrake {display:none; }

Only works for registered users though, so won't catch you or me...

Dec 30, 2012 at 8:26 PM | Unregistered CommenterBitBucket

BigYin

I do not initiate these arguments and if I respond to him here in a discussion then it at least keeps him off the main blog. If he would behave normally I could happily ignore him.
Please dont associate me with RD mate, that is the worst insult possible.

Dec 31, 2012 at 5:00 AM | Registered CommenterDung

BitBucket, I don't consider you a troll. Like me you can't sustain an endless argument like some people here can, eventually you start to get irreverent, and this can come across as troll-like to those more committed to ongoing hostilities. You do say some daft things, but who doesn't.

Dung, I have a lot of sympathy for you. An example was the thread where I joked that you had a gun, RD went along with it happily, then as soon as you chimed in, he went all cold and hostile. He does it to annoy you mate, you should learn not to rise to it.

Dec 31, 2012 at 11:10 AM | Unregistered CommenterTheBigYinJames

Thanks for the reminder of the gun incident TBYJ. You did start it and I did treat it as a joke, then Dung joined in and I again joked back, admitting at once that I had much to be modest about in the underpants department. But I did then ask that we didn't continue to joke about people shooting and maiming me. I'm really sorry that I tried to draw that line. Now I know how much affection Dung really has for me. It's clear that I should have taken the joke for as long as anyone wanted to make it and however extreme it got. Good old Dung wants me banned and he wants personally to shoot me in the groin and perhaps elsewhere. This is absolutely hilarious and I'm very sorry that I didn't see that right away.

Dec 31, 2012 at 11:33 AM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake

Hilary: you have not said that you'd like to shoot me and for that I'm grateful. I did I think get it wrong on that thread when I said that you had implied that someone was being "terse" or was accusing someone of being terse. I do remember thinking that at the time, when I read what you wrote back. That is an acknowledgement that I was wrong on that point. Sorry.

Dec 31, 2012 at 11:39 AM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake

Dung:

Please dont associate me with RD mate, that is the worst insult possible.

Is that a joke, like wanting to shoot me, or to be taken seriously? Is this anger, as it seems, and has it blinded you? As a consequence do you think Bishop Hill should take your suggestion to ban me less seriously?

And can you give one example when I said something - please provide both a quote and URL - which justified your anger and this talk of banning me? I asking for a specific example, please, so that I and others can begin to evaluate whether there is a rational basis for any of this. Please give the worse example you can - that would be the obvious place to start.

Dec 31, 2012 at 11:45 AM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake