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Discussion > What exactly is considered to be Off Topic?


My humble apologies :(

Jan 8, 2013 at 11:30 AM | Registered CommenterDung

I have been holding off on posting, in a quandary as to how to respond. But something needs to be said.

Thanks very much for your support Dung, truly appreciated. And thank you too Hilary for your perceptive comments, spot-on as always. shub, I'm not sure if any attempt at mediation has the faintest chance of success, but thanks for trying. If anyone was wondering why I no longer directly engage with Richard Drake, the above trolling should provide the answer.

I think most people would agree that BH shouldn't be 'All about Richard'. If he could accept that he is just one contributor amongst many, that would be very welcome. As I see it, by placing ourselves in the firing line we, Dung, Hilary and I, have at least tried to uphold reasonable standards of civility and considerate behaviour on this fine blog. Why do we bother? Silence equals assent, and sometimes speaking out is necessary. That is all.

Jan 8, 2013 at 4:50 PM | Unregistered CommenterChris M

Powerful words Chris M - but examples please, with links so that others can assess the context. I've made a start in Amiability, anger and apologies. Look forward to it. And I've now given a much fuller answer to Dung's claim on this thread that the GHE underpins every other discussion on Bishop Hill.

Jan 8, 2013 at 5:18 PM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake

Jan 8, 2013 at 4:50 PM | Chris M

most people would agree that BH shouldn't be 'All about Richard'

No argument there, Chris! Well, except from Mr. Vanity Man, of course!

Have you ever been to one of those social gatherings where some chap - who thinks very highly of himself - and is so enamoured of the sound of his own voice that he just can't stop talking (especially about himself!) even though he's boring everyone else to tears! But I digress ...

I found it somewhat amusing that he so quietly and conveniently disappeared after my review of the bidding [Dec 9, 2012 at 2:10 AM]

You know, if I hadn't read it myself, Chris, I would never have believed that anyone would have the unmitigated gall to publicly declare, as he indisputably did, in that very same thread [Dec 7, 2012 at 9:22 AM]:

Hilary: your original comment wasn't to me, I mentioned you only in passing and you shouldn't have bothered with me further.

And just in case anyone might have missed this mere "mention in passing" that - according to Richard's Rules of Order™ - I was supposed to have ignored because my "original comment" wasn't to him ... here it is in all its pompous, unsubstantiated glory:

Richard Betts seems to have made Nic Lewis priority so far. I personally think that's a good call. Unlike Hilary Ostrov I didn't interpret one of Richard's terse answers as dismissive of Nic; quite the reverse, I thought it showed a busy man was really trying to help [Richard Drake, Dec 5, 2012 at 8:41 PM]

And did he who insists on links from others provide a link to substantiate his utterly baseless, unfounded assertion that I had interpreted someone else's words as "dismissive"? Not bloomin' likely!

But, you know ... I think Mike Jackson nailed it a few days ago, when he wrote

And now I have to put up with your pontificating and patronising comments?

I think not.

Frankly, I think we've all had more than enough of Richard's Rules of Order™ - and of his pontificating and patronizing comments.

<cue long-winded exercise in diversionary self-exculpatory recycled revisionism from Mr. Vanity Man>

Or maybe he'll quietly and conveniently disappear ... again!

Happy New Year, Chris :-)

Jan 9, 2013 at 6:34 AM | Registered CommenterHilary Ostrov

Why do we bother? Silence equals assent, and sometimes speaking out is necessary.

I do not really appreciate people putting words (or in this case, not putting words) in my mouth,

Silence just indicates my opinion that this is a blog side show with far too many subtleties for myself to ever try to understand. No time, no energy, no desire. I doubt I am alone in that.

Jan 9, 2013 at 7:30 AM | Unregistered CommenterJiminy Cricket

A vital point, Jiminy, and an obviously true one, which applies to us all. There are currently 144 Bishop Hill discussion threads and I think I have made comments in 14. Is my silence in 130 to be taken as agreement to everything in them, even when people have been violently disagreeing? Even when I haven't read them?!

Silence just indicates my opinion that this is a blog side show with far too many subtleties for myself to ever try to understand.

We do not have to think something is a side show to acknowledge it may have too many subtleties for us to understand, let alone usefully contribute. In February 2011 Jonathan Jones wrote this:

People have asked why mainstream scientists are keeping silent on these issues. As a scientist who has largely kept silent, at least in public, I have more sympathy for silence than most people here. It's not for the obvious reason, that speaking out leads to immediate attacks, not just from Gavin and friends, but also from some of the more excitable commentators here. Far more importantly most scientists are reluctant to speak out on topics which are not their field. We tend to trust our colleagues, perhaps unreasonably so, and are also well aware that most scientific questions are considerably more complex than outsiders think, and that it is entirely possible that we have missed some subtle but critical point.

There are many other reasons people may be silent, other than assent, as illustrated by the Bish's tweet in response to Richard Betts on involvement in the IPCC in the last hour:

Silly to criticise people for not taking part when only the other side (incl WWF) is funded by the state

I'll come back later to some of the other things said here and (more importantly) to what three people have said in reply in What if the slayers are right? but thanks for getting us over this 'pons asinorum' as I'm sure you remember I like to call it :)

Jan 9, 2013 at 10:14 AM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake

I lookes at "Bish's tweet" above.

Good reply to Richard Betts from Jonathan Jones:

Richard Betts ‏@richardabetts

If sceptics don't care enough about IPCC to review it, why do they make such a fuss about it? :-)

42m Jonathan Jones Jonathan Jones ‏@nmrqip

@richardabetts I can't speak for others, but fundamentally I don't see it as my job to help fix a broken process implementing a stupid idea

I make a fuss because people are making stupid decisions based on this flawed process. This is bad politics but I also ... ... worry that science will take the blame when the whole dirty process unravels. Pretending I can fix the mess doesn't help

He might also have added "see how McIntyre got treated as an IPCC reviewer".

Jan 9, 2013 at 11:55 AM | Registered CommenterMartin A

Yep, silence isn't to be taken as assent, to the IPCC or anyone else, but I'm very glad Jonathan chose not to remain silent on this today. And that's the challenge for us all. Which areas count the most, for each of us, with our very different skill sets (if any!) It means a lot to me at least that Professor Jones broke silence in February 2011 and again today. Respect.

Jan 9, 2013 at 12:10 PM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake

Jiminy, huh? That was not a general but a specific comment, which has nothing to do with you nor to your reply to the comment. 'We' clearly means only we who are directly involved. You would need to know the full history of this sorry travesty to understand, and I don't expect you or anyone else to express an opinion one way or another on it. Of course it is a sideshow, and an increasingly unpleasant one at that. Please accept my best wishes.

Jan 9, 2013 at 1:25 PM | Unregistered CommenterChris M

So you never take my silence as assent, Chris M? Fair enough, I would agree with you on that. But whose silence, on what, could have been taken as assent here? You seem to be trying hard to stay with generalisations. I could suggest reasons for your apparent unwillingness to deal with the detail but that would be unkind. Please make clear exactly you mean - with links such as I provided here and Dung failed to provide here. Thanks in advance.

Jan 9, 2013 at 1:36 PM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake

This harassment must end, now. Clear enough? Martin, if you have any influence over Drake, I appeal to you, as I believe you to be a reasonable person, to exert it. With thanks if you are able to help.

Jan 9, 2013 at 1:48 PM | Unregistered CommenterChris M

Which part of what I said was harassment, just so that Martin and I know? :)

Jan 9, 2013 at 2:00 PM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake


You just dont "get it" as is often the case. Chris M's reference to silence is the silence of those on BH who do not take the time to step in and tell you what a pompous ass you are, what a bully you are and how much you go on and on about nothing of interest to anyone but yourself. This is the reason for the "silence equals assent" quote.
Why dont you lay off Chris M and concentrate on me Richard ^.^
What about another example of you just not "getting it"?
Over on your other thread you say I called for you to be banned "because of one comment" about off topic posts. Drako (spare me any more Francis Drake references) it takes more than one comment to push me into asking for someone to be banned.
You are a troll far worse than BBD ever was (if you want quotes go look them up yourself because I am tired of you ignoring them when I do it) and you deserve banning far more than any other poster I have seen on BH.

Jan 9, 2013 at 3:12 PM | Registered CommenterDung

Dung, sorry to be boring but I continue to ask for the worst example of my behaviour on Bishop Hill and a link to it. If I am a troll far worse than BBD that should be easy for you. I suspect, you see, that you do not have any really bad evidence to provide.

As I admitted on 31st December, Hilary Ostrov has just cause to criticise me about something I said in an important thread beginning 2nd December and, to give Hilary credit, she has linked back to that thread in this one. I think that's the worse thing I've done on Bishop Hill in the last few months and I certainly don't think it means I should be banned.

So your example of the worst thing I've done on Bishop Hill, with a link, would be a terrific help to me and I'm sure to others. Or I'll assume you don't have anything that will stand examination in context.

Jan 9, 2013 at 3:45 PM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake

I started this discussion genuinely to understand the phrase "off topic" so that I had a better chance to stay on the right side of His Grace's Laws. However The Bish has made his wishes known and so I can safely avoid future problems.
The statement I made still holds true more or less:

Over 90% of everything written on the main blog threads is related to or about the GHE. The GHE is the mechanism which (we are told) will deliver CAGW and thus requires a reduction in carbon emissions. Our Energy policy has been devastated, road and fuel taxes have shot up, smart meters are to be foisted upon us, electric car research and promotion was paid for by us and the list goes on. Scientists promoting the consensus have been questioned and accused, politicians have been accused, FOI requests made and inquiries set up. ALL of these things are the subjects of main blog threads and they all exist because of THE GHE.
Like everyone else I like to discuss the science and the politics but my bottom line belief is that the IPCC, the UEA, the Met Office and many other dedicated organisations are totally wasting their time and our money. Discovering exactly how our climate changes is a long, long term project and until we get a lot closer to understanding it, trying to predict anything at all is a mug's game.

Jan 9, 2013 at 3:53 PM | Registered CommenterDung

Dung: have you heard of the Enhanced Greenhouse Effect? See also here and here. John Houghton, Steve McIntyre, Robert Ellison (Chief Hydrologist) and Spence_UK are not alone in thinking that this is the crucial dividing issue. Nic Lewis I feel sure from his recent work feels the same, as would Judith Curry, Roy Spencer and, last but not least, Richard Lindzen. This may need further explanation but those links, the second from over five years ago, are reasonable places to start.

Jan 9, 2013 at 4:00 PM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake


Hmmmm...the worst thing you have ever done and a link, where to start? The worst thing you have done is to attack nyms in a way that became personal (in the sense that people who use pseudonyms are likely to be less valuable than those using real names). When I accused you of this you accepted that you had done it and I quoted your admission in my post:
Dec 31, 2012 at 12:17 PM | Registered CommenterDung

In that post I also gave two examples of you doing it. Your response was :

I don't find any of the quotes you give objectionable, let alone cause to have me banned. If this is the worst you can find I don't think you have even the beginnings of a case.

What this shows Drako old buddy old bean is not that my quotes did not condemn you but that once
again, you just dont get it.

You are constantly off topic with classical references and personal anecdotes which add nothing at all to the thread:
You had started to "mess around with my name and so although I did not comment I did mess with yours and got this for my trouble:


OK Dungo, the allusion is up to you - the Disney cartoon elephant or the 70s rock group. As for me, when I introduced myself in Spanish to some delightful Spaniards and Argentinians with whom I was staying in Zaragoza in 1982, right at the end of the Falklands War and the start of the World Cup group stages, for which I had partly come over, their response forever sticks in the mind: "Francisco Drake - pirata!" Pronounced Fran-this-co Dra-kay of course. We were firm friends after that.

The elephant was called Dumbo by the way but if the cap fits.....

Jan 9, 2013 at 4:17 PM | Registered CommenterDung


Your quote at Jan 9, 2013 at 4:00 PM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake
did not respond in any way to comments that I had made and so is totally off topic.

Jan 9, 2013 at 4:23 PM | Registered CommenterDung

You haven't provided any links, once again. Why not? The context is always extremely important. If you complain so much and refuse to provide links you cannot be surprised if nobody takes the demand to ban another BH regular very seriously.

Jan 9, 2013 at 4:25 PM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake


I believe this is referred to as a link:
Dec 31, 2012 at 12:17 PM | Registered CommenterDung

Jan 9, 2013 at 4:27 PM | Registered CommenterDung

Totally Off topic But brilliant

Jan 9, 2013 at 4:30 PM | Unregistered Commenterjamspid

Dung: No, that doesn't remotely cut the mustard once you're referring to other threads. If you are arguing I should be banished from Bishop Hill solely because of what I've said on this thread, feel free. But I don't think that's consistent with your campaign so far.

Jan 9, 2013 at 4:31 PM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake


Another of your not nasty quotes about nyms:

What I wonder about is your verdict on this part of the thread, since last week. If I depart now, as is likely, given other commitments, will you take it that you have 'won' and that I have 'lost'? Such seems to be tendency of the anonymous yobmeisters. Shout as many lies as you can about your opponents, then when they give up trying to correct you, declare victory and that everything they have said on the subject in question has been declared null and void,

LINK-->Nov 20, 2012 at 8:10 PM | Unregistered CommenterRichard Drake <--LINK

I got that torrent of abuse just because I asked you to keep your nym stuff off the main blog.

Jan 9, 2013 at 4:51 PM | Registered CommenterDung


Re: Jan 9, 2013 at 4:31 PM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake

I think I am the one who can best know what my campaign is.

Jan 9, 2013 at 4:56 PM | Registered CommenterDung

Come on, Dung, you can't be that obtuse surely? I'm asking for the URL for any page from which you quote anything of mine (or anyone else, for that matter), so that others can assess what was written in context. The URL can be found at the top of your browser. It can be used to produce HTML (anchor) links, for maximum convenience to the reader, as Hilary and I have done on this page, or simply pasted in as is, like so:

What comes after hash is more of an advanced topic. But just pasting in the URL your browser gives you is fine.

Jan 9, 2013 at 4:58 PM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake