Be hated?

I thought I would post this video (H/T Victor) by Veritasium who, last year, posted a video called 13 misconceptions about global warming. This new video is him discussing the fall out from his climate change video and, given the title, focuses on being hated. His suggestion is that maybe it’s okay to be hated, as it means that you’re probably sticking to your principles and saying things that challenge what other people might believe.

One problem I have with the “be hated” idea is that – as he himself says – simply being hated doesn’t mean that you’re doing something right. On the other hand, if you’re going to stick your neck out and publicly express your views, it’s probably hard to avoid encountering some who might appear to hate you. He also discusses whether or not one should engage with such people – “don’t feed the trolls” – and suggests that you lose something by not responding. Willard might be pleased – ClimateballTM: the only losing move is not to play the game 🙂

My own personal take is to simply be true to yourself. Be honest, say what you believe, take heed of criticism when it seems measured and thoughtful, and largely ignore those who seem incapable of not being vitriolic and unpleasant (I say “largely”, because sometimes there may be a grain of truth in their vitriol). Sadly, if you do choose to engage publicly about a contentious topic like climate change, it’s hard to avoid being insulted and potentially discovering people who appear to hate you because of what you say.

Personally, I think this is unfortunate, as it is an important topic and it would be good if more engaged publicly. On the other hand, I can understand why many might choose not to. Certainly my advice to anyone who doesn’t like the idea of being hated, is to not get involved. I have found it quite difficult at times, because it is something I’ve never encountered before. You do, however, learn how to deal with it and how to mostly ignore those who seem incapable of being reasonable. One thing to be careful of is to not start responding in kind; easier said than done at times, though. Another thing to be careful of is starting to ignore all your critics; you can’t be right all the time. I’d like to say that you eventually learn how to do this, but I’m not sure that’s strictly true; it’s a continual learning experience.

Advertisements
This entry was posted in Climate change, ClimateBall, Personal, Science and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

94 Responses to Be hated?

  1. BBD says:

    I don’t really care what they think of me; it’s not a popularity contest.

    One thing to be careful of is to not start responding in kind; easier said than done at times, though. Another thing to be careful of is starting to ignore all your critics; you can’t be right all the time.

    Wise words.

  2. RickA says:

    Good advice for everybody.

  3. JCH says:

    aTTP, I luv you man.

  4. I want to be respected by people I respect.

    In the climate “debate” some people behave in such a disgusting manner. What they think of me is irrelevant for me.

    I am happy that my brain seems to be able to make this distinction quite well and fully understand it when others do not manage and chose not to engage. When I would live in America and the outside world would see me as part of the group that misbehaves so terribly, I might also not be able take it so lightly.

  5. The line, I paraphrase, “Did global warming stop? No, but people seem to have forgotten how to draw trend lines”, was good. There is a level of silliness below which we should probably not even try to give a serious answer.

    The video also dispels the myth that you have to be a “climate warrior” to disagree with WUWT & Co. No that is a normal reaction for someone who loves science and rational thought as basis for their lives and the society they live in.

  6. JCH,
    Don’t go all soppy on my now 🙂

    Victor,

    I want to be respected by people I respect.

    Yes, that’s probably my generally view too.

    This is a big issue, I think

    There is a level of silliness below which we should probably not even try to give a serious answer.

    It’s one thing to disagree about something complex, where a single answer may not be possible. But there are some things that should be obvious.

  7. In my experience, scientists aren’t trained to deal with being hated at this incomprehensibly disgusting level. Nothing would prepare your average physics grad student for a constant barrage of public speeches from WUWT guest authors like the one insisting that scientists “should stand trial alongside Radovan Karadzic for nothing less than high crimes against humanity: for, in their callous disregard for the fatal consequences of their corrupt falsification of science, they are no less guilty of genocide than he.”

    That average grad student would probably also be shocked at the constant stream of comments from WUWT et al. accusing scientists of being Nazi eugenicist anti-American genocidal mass murderers and a godd*mned stupid dumbsh*t despicable fraudulent dishonest lying f*cking moron idiot *sshole malicious lying sonofabitch Unabomber who doesn’t deserve a human pronoun.

    So it seems like we have to start training grad students to deal with a constant stream of hateful, libelous abuse from websites like WUWT and from members of Congress(!?). This might be easy for people like Victor, but that extra filter reduces the number who become scientists. Even just training students to deal with so much hatred would probably convince many that they picked the wrong career.

    What an effective way to discourage students with the ability and curiosity to become scientists. Crippling a technological civilization’s ability to do science isn’t what one would generally call a “good idea” even in the best of times.

  8. In my experience, scientists aren’t trained to deal with being hated at this incomprehensibly disgusting level.

    I certainly wasn’t.

  9. verytallguy says:

    Dumbsci

    In my experience, scientists aren’t trained to deal with being hated at this incomprehensibly disgusting level.

    Neither is anyone else, and others get it much worse. They way “sceptics” conduct the debate is often appalling, but it’s not something in isolation; it’s part of a wider culture on the web. And it needs constant challenge from decent people, and curated spaces rather than a free for all. For example:

    Isabella Sorley, 23, used Twitter to tell campaigner Criado-Perez to “f*** off and die you worthless piece of crap”, “go kill yourself” and “rape is the last of your worries”.

    John Nimmo, 25, told Criado-Perez to “shut up bitch” and “Ya not that gd looking to rape u be fine” followed by “I will find you [smiley face]” and then the message “rape her nice ass”, Westminster magistrates court heard.

    http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2014/jan/24/two-face-jail-twitter-abuse

  10. I think ‘hated’ is rather extreme. Any anger is born out of frustration. The vast majority of participants, on both ‘sides’, just find themselves ridiculing the other, which the distance/anonymity offered by the internet assists, if not provokes. ‘Unfollowing’ comes when we’ve heard enough of the ridicule. Whether the ridicule is earned is another matter.

    Only when it comes to blows can we really say that it’s turned to hate.

  11. john,

    I think ‘hated’ is rather extreme.

    I kind of agree. It is often simply frustration. On the other hand, people have said things along the lines of “I hate all that you stand for”, so it can get pretty close at times.

  12. BBD says:

    VTG

    Yes, vicious stupidity and inhumanity do characterise rather too much online discussion on many topics.

  13. vtg,
    Some of that is indeed appalling and I have real trouble understanding how anyone can say such things, either in real life, or online.

  14. Willard says:

    > My own personal take is to simply be true to yourself.

    Style matters more than ClimateBall ™ players may think. It’s not what you say that matters, it’s what you show for yourself. Scientists show how scientists think and feel and are before they explain anything about their topics.

    If I want to read about climate change, I can RTFR. If I want to read about scientists, I read scientists. Hence I like Kate more than what she has to say:

    I’m particularly interested in climate detective work, known in the scientific community as “detection and attribution” or, alternately, “attracting the ire of internet strangers with bizarre hobbies”. It’s important to remember that many external factors can affect the climate system, and that the small and large-scale sloshing motions of air and water create internal climate variability. If something interesting is going on, like, say, a massive increase in global temperatures, we’d like to know if this can be attributed to something in particular: is it purely a consequence of natural climate variations, or is it caused by something external like volcanoes or the Sun or, dare I say it, us?

    http://marvelclimate.blogspot.com/2015/10/the-whole-sum-and-parts.html

    Of course, you need something to say. But that’s not the point. The point is to create a bridge with the audience.

    Basic rhetoric point, known since at least Quintillien.

    ***

    Next step is to convince scientists that their faces matter as much as their words. Basic journalism.

  15. JCH says:

    I agree on the distance, but on anonymity, when you look at the mean and nasty on Climate Etc., the worst (and I mean the absolute nastiest) people on Climate Etc tend to either use their real names or use screen names even though their real identities are know to all.

  16. Willard says:

    I should also add that becoming personal also helps reduce hate:

    In Obedience to Authority: An Experimental View (1974), Milgram describes nineteen variations of his experiment, some of which had not been previously reported.

    Several experiments varied the immediacy of the teacher and learner. Generally, when the victim’s physical immediacy was increased, the participant’s compliance decreased. The participant’s compliance also decreased when the authority’s physical immediacy decreased (Experiments 1–4). For example, in Experiment 2, where participants received telephonic instructions from the experimenter, compliance decreased to 21 percent. Interestingly, some participants deceived the experimenter by pretending to continue the experiment. In the variation where the learner’s physical immediacy was closest, where participants had to hold the learner’s arm physically onto a shock plate, compliance decreased. Under that condition, thirty percent of participants completed the experiment.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milgram_experiment

    The conformity that was tested was only to inflict electric shocks, and has not been tested for mean tweets.

  17. Willard says:

    Here’s an example:

  18. @aTTP

    Saying “I hate all that you stand for”, is quite a long way from saying a direct, “I hate you”. Of course there is a corollary—if that’s the best word. I, for one, feel a bond with people who hold similar views to my own on the need for climate action.

  19. dikranmarsupial says:

    “In my experience, scientists aren’t trained to deal with being hated at this incomprehensibly disgusting level.”

    Scientists also tend not to have much experience of discussing science with people that argue in a rhetorical, rather than a scientific manner. Things like not being willing to give a straight answer to a straight question tends to wind scientists up a bit, unless you have become used to that sort of thing. Generally scientists are only too keen to spell out their position completely unambiguously, and expect the same from others.

  20. JCH,
    I know we’re meant to respect those who have the courage to use their real names online, but that typically requires that they at least say things that aren’t utterly despicable.

  21. john,
    I think I see what you’re saying. I tend to “like” people whose general views seem similar to my own. However, that doesn’t mean that I hate those who hold views quite different to my own. In general, I actually quite enjoy interacting with people who hold different views. I tend to enjoy it less, though, when the discussion become rather vitriolic.

    Dikran,
    Indeed. I do find myself getting frustrated when people won’t straightforwardly answer what seem like reasonable questions. I suspect some think that you’re trying to catch them out, but it’s entirely normal in science to question what others have done, to simply find out more, not to try and trip them up.

  22. VTG, yes that’s why I keep challenging WUWTians regardless of how unpleasant it is. It seems true that women generally have to deal with more internet abuse than men do, and I’ve seen multiple instances where climate contrarian rage seems to have been amplified by misogyny directed at Hayhoe, Oreskes, etc. (I personally consider death threats to be evidence of hatred, and rape threats to be evidence of misogynistic hatred.)

    Maybe scientists who work on GMOs also have to deal with this, but if I’d followed my original inclination to go into quantum optics then I’d probably be able to discuss my research without constantly being cussed at. That must be nice.

  23. BBD says:

    ATTP

    Indeed. I do find myself getting frustrated when people won’t straightforwardly answer what seem like reasonable questions.

    Oh, me too. The absolute hallmark of intellectual dishonesty.

  24. verytallguy says:

    Dumbsci,

    Personally, I’ve come to the conclusion that uncurated spaces are best left to their own devices.

    The fewer sensible people there, the more obvious the batshit crazy is.

    But I make no claim that my personal conclusions are the right ones.

  25. > I do find myself getting frustrated when people won’t straightforwardly answer what seem like reasonable questions.

    For instance:

    [W]hilst your links are interesting in that you believe other influences are underplayed, for clarity, could you state whether or not you agree with the rather tortured English of the IPPC attribution statement, viz:

    It is extremely likely that more than half of the observed increase in global average surface temperature from 1951 to 2010 was caused by the anthropogenic increase in greenhouse gas concentrations and other anthropogenic forcings together. The best estimate of the human-induced contribution to warming is similar to the observed warming over this period.

    [IPCC AR5 WG1 SPM D.3]

    Thank you!

    https://andthentheresphysics.wordpress.com/2015/06/22/assessing-anthropogenic-global-warming/#comment-58444

    Who was the scientist and who was the layman, again?

    😉

  26. VTG: I get the strategy, but it’s hard to restrain myself because so many of my family and friends are misinformed by those uncurated spaces.

  27. T-rev says:

    I disagree with the premise of engaging with deniers as anything more than poking a tiger, I am interested in the science, not the human behavior of denial. Talk to a denialist of any persuasion (creationist, anti-vaxer, climate denier etal) and you harden their denial resolve.

    For example

    http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/antivaccination-parents-dig-in-heels-even-after-receiving-medical-info/

    That said, it’s human behavior that stops any action on mitigation BUT that’s not the fault of deniers, they’re a small (albeit vocal) minority

    http://www.smh.com.au/environment/climate-change/australia-tops-the-world-for-climate-change-denial-study-20150717-gierns.html

    I am interested in human behaviour of those saying we need to mitigate, who then don’t mitigate. We seem to be at the stage that we’re self aware alcoholics, constantly promising to give up. I personally don’t think action will come from Governments (I am with Tom Murphy or Dennis Meadows etal on this) it has to come from the people first and then Government’s see it as an issue. Aside from my partner and I, I don’t know anyone who takes it seriously enough to modify their behavior (voting habits and personal emissions habits). Yes I hear the justification they’re emissions don’t matter and that’a the same one the Australian Government makes or Qatar or the UK etc So why vote ? The murder you commit doesn’t matte ? A good paper here on that
    http://jamesgarveyactually.files.wordpress.com/2011/03/why-go-green-rip-talk-2010-edit.pdf

    It’s just another form of denial.

    I am also unsure why anyone listens to the advice of some of the worst offenders in seeking solutions, this oddity seems peculiar to Climate Change. I can’t find the meta study but I remember reading that 90% of smokers didn’t pay any attention to the advice of a doctor who smoked when telling them they needed to quit. In that respect, actions matter. You don’t beat your partner and then claim to be against domestic violence, no one takes you seriously but in the mitigation debate, the biggest emitters are given the most attention..

    Me, I am interested in the Science, particularly the ECS and also interested in mitigation and the strategies involved and reactions. eg one has to wonder at Miami’s idea of pumping the Atlantic into the Atlantic as any sort of sane response but that’s a precursor of how we will spend tax dollars. We never see much on this since Tom Murphy (Do the Math) has gone quieter, saying he’s repeating himself.

    As to vitriol, I can only assume you guys are not that long on the internet ? decades before when Usenet was the aggregator of choice, it was much much worse, similarly before that, BBS. That is it’s always been that way, it’s not going to change no matter the appeals to decency.

  28. verytallguy says:

    Dumbsci,

    Influenced by content btl or atl?

    If the former, I’m sceptical. If the latter, I doubt commenting would make any difference.

    But I may, of course, be completely wrong.

  29. Below the line or above the line? I dunno. I just hear them repeating myths that they probably heard on Fox News (my family is from the south, ’nuff said). In 2009, a high school friend even specifically pointed me to WUWT. That’s when I realized that I couldn’t abandon those uncurated spaces without also letting Fox and WUWT victimize my family and friends by causing them to become new vectors for these civilization-paralyzing memes. That kind of shame won’t just wash off.

    At the very least, every minute a contrarian spends cussing at me is one minute they can’t spend trying to confuse someone else, or sending death threats to another scientist.

  30. At the very least, every minute a contrarian spends cussing at me is one minute they can’t spend trying to confuse someone else, or sending death threats to another scientist.

    That’s one way of looking at it. I think I thought something similar for a while, but it does become somewhat trying after a while.

  31. Adam R. says:

    aTTP: “Indeed. I do find myself getting frustrated when people won’t straightforwardly answer what seem like reasonable questions. I suspect some think that you’re trying to catch them out…”

    But that indeed is the goal in arguing with deniers. They are right to suspect it, and the veteran Climateballers among them are infuriatingly adept at being disingenuous in order to avoid it.

    At bottom they have nothing but their grand conspiracy theory and their ideological agendas. Some realize this and are merely cynically dishonest in arguments (Curry is an example). Others dodge tough questions because they know, at some not-quite-conscious level of intuition, that honest answers would lead them to some very uncomfortable cognitive dissonance. Then there are the obdurate cranks who simply aren’t listening, and only want to get on with expounding on their particular sort of crackpottery.

    In all cases it will be impossible to pin them down because it would imperil their denial, which they cannot allow. It is not a pointless exercise to try, though, because the intellectual weaknesses of science denial are thus exposed.

  32. No, staying on topic is not pointless. It is the best way to show that mitigation sceptics build their ideology on quicksand. They do not like it and will try to change the topic in every way they can. Point the readers/lurkers to this and return to the original topic and try to understand why you disagree, theoretically until you agree.

  33. Magma says:

    Whatever our field of expertise all of us are likely to known one or more unpleasant, mean-spirited, abrasive persons in our academic or professional lives. Crabby old professors who should have long retired, colleagues with inflated senses of their own skill and importance, managers more interested in demonstrating their place in a corporate chain than in what that chain is supposed to accomplish… it can be annoying or even stressful to the point that people change schools or jobs.

    But few of the above pains-in-the-workplace demonstrate the same unchangeable numskulledness that I regularly see in climate change pseudoskeptics, usually combined with a completely unfounded sense of their own knowledge, a deep dislike and mistrust of genuine expertise in others, and a readiness to defame their opponents as murderous, corrupt or venal socialists, ‘econazis’ or con artists… sometimes all of them at once.

    While I generally strive to be polite, I often dispense with the social niceties when dealing with their like online. In person I would have a hard time not being confrontational or insultingly dismissive, which is why I’ve chosen to steer clear of a couple of ‘skeptics’ still teaching at my alma mater… I don’t see any likely outcome that would be positive and a few that would be negative.

  34. Magma says:

    In the above I omitted to mention that most of us will recall times when the crabby old professor or manager with an attitude was right, and we were wrong. Incidences of that happening with a full-on denier are as rare as unicorns.

  35. Sou says:

    “Hate” is the main word used by deniers whenever they come across a criticism of science denial, no matter whether it’s couched in an unemotive, intellectual manner, or whether it’s couched in more emotive language. There is a lot of confirmation bias operating when a person senses they disagree with something someone wrote – whoever it is (and science deniers have a very small vocabulary).

    The “hate” word comes into play when a person senses a personal attack, even when it isn’t a personal attack. An attack on a person’s beliefs can appear to be an attack on a person, even when it’s not. That applies more to people who identify most closely with their beliefs, IMO. People whose emotions and reason are all mushed together. (More common with science deniers than scientists. The latter are trained to think analytically, and probably most are predisposed to do so.)

    One trick I’ve learned is that if my first reaction to a comment (or article) that attacks scientists (or me) – that is to attack people rather than facts or arguments – is to read it again a few times with a critical thinking hat on. Of course the most vitriolic comments can then be seen as even more vitriolic, while other comments can be analysed to determine what the writer is trying to say.

    After a while it becomes easier to work out whether it’s worth engaging or not. Much of the time it’s not worth engaging. It depends on the context. In my experience, responding to flames on Twitter are not usually worth it. Responding to articles *about oneself* (not science) at WUWT are generally not worthy of a response (and it’s generally not advisable to read the comments). Responding to a comment on *your own blog* can be worth it if the payoff is a better explanation of the science – up to a point. Incessant trolling needs to be stopped one way or another (I delete comments and/or move them to the HotWhoppery.)

  36. Sou says:

    My thoughtful comment 🙂 disappeared? Can someone check the spam folder?

  37. AlAnon says:

    Note, too many negatives in para 3, in case you want to tidy it up – “…it’s hard to avoid not being insulted…”

  38. AlAnon,
    Thanks.

    Sou,
    Found it.

  39. izen says:

    @-verytallguy
    “And it needs constant challenge from decent people, and curated spaces rather than a free for all. … Personally, I’ve come to the conclusion that uncurated spaces are best left to their own devices. … But I make no claim that my personal conclusions are the right ones.”

    My own personal conclusions are quite the opposite.

    Curated spaces have a role in restricting or constraining discussion in specific ways, which can be useful. However WUWT is a curated space, that it shows hypocrisy in allowing ‘hate speech’ towards its opponents while curating against hate speech like using the word Denier is rather typical of all curated spaces.

    Curation = censorship.
    You need the free-for-all uncurated spaces, red in tooth and claw, for useful civilised multicellular social groups to evolve and emerge out of the chaos.

  40. Evolution is red in tooth and claw, but civilization protects the physically weak from the most violent. Humans might have evolved intelligence because we don’t have claws or sharp teeth. Soldiers hold back the darkness so that scientists and engineers have time to create the light, but this strategy is less effective if scientists have to be soldiers too.

    So far, one commenter suggests that talking to contrarians “hardens their denial resolve” (which is presented as undesirable) and another suggests that if fewer sensible people talk to contrarians then their batshit crazy becomes more obvious (which is presented as desirable).

    I dunno what to do either. Maybe we need more psychologists working on this problem?

    I never got into Usenet, which should be John Mashey’s cue to reminisce about “killfiles”. However, I dialed a few local Baton Rouge BBS’s in the early 90’s and used IRC quite a lot during the late 90’s. I spent a lot of time arguing about contentious topics like creationism and Christianity vs. atheism, and had many lengthy conversations with young earth creationists. After my experiences with climate contrarians I actually look back fondly on those conversations because the young earth creationists were comparatively polite and scientifically literate. Even though I was literally challenging their religion, young earth creationists never lashed out the way climate contrarians often do when I merely state scientific facts without even mentioning policy that might (conceivably) challenge their politics.

  41. snarkrates says:

    There simply is no basis for discussion with denialists. They don’t deal in evidence. At most they take facts out of context (e.g. ice is growing in Antarctica, it’s cold today…). Their criterion is not whether what they are saying makes sense, but whether they can say it with a straight face.

    The only possible reason to wade into the rightwing fever swamps is to refute the stupidity of the denialists. Point out where they are wrong. Leave a link (if allowed) to where someone who is not utterly brainwashed can find actual accurate scientific information and leave.

    The denialists are people of the lie. At some point, at some time, they embraced a lie. Maybe that lie made them feel better. Maybe it comforted them. Maybe it brought them out of despair. Maybe that lie was religious. Maybe it was glibertarianism (defined by an anti-Rand Paul supporter as a Republican who smokes dope). It doesn’t matter what the first lie was. What maters is that it is the piece of flotsam to which they cling in a sea of uncertainty. And that lie makes them cling to other lies–climate denial, but also racism, misogyny. You won’t get them to let go of their lie, even if it is to step into a lifeboat of science and truth. So correct them. Laugh at them, but above all, ignore them. Stick to the few who have stumbled into the rightwing fever swamps who aren’t too pathetic to bother with.

  42. snarkrates, if you are talking about real racists, it does not make sense to talk about the science. They are already convinced and they like the consequences. They are willing to suffer as long as other groups suffer more. Such people only pretend not to believe the science because that is nicer to say than their real motivation.

    You may be able to reach such people by talking about the consequences of climate change for their group. We have much more to lose than a subsistence farmer, but we tend to communicate that the poor have more to lose, which is not the best argument for a racist. We tend to communicate that many people in the third world countries will die, for the racists you need to add that this will increase their birth rate and total population. That this population will migrate to the West.

  43. Willard says:

    > Curated spaces have a role in restricting or constraining discussion in specific ways, which can be useful.

    There is no such thing as a non-curated space anymore, not even Judy’s, which may not have improved with more curation. At least there’s still Don Don to make the threads almost interesting. For instance, here’s JCH almost losing his temper:

    Professor Curry protects her precious little attack poodle.

    http://judithcurry.com/2015/11/20/climate-culture/#comment-745040

    There can’t be un-curated blogs on WordPress anyway, unless site owners have other ways to protect themselves:

    If you operate a blog, comment on a blog, post material to WordPress.com, post links on WordPress.com, or otherwise make (or allow any third party to make) material available (any such material, “Content”), you are entirely responsible for the content of, and any harm resulting from, that Content.

    https://en.wordpress.com/tos/

    And then there’s Eli’s.

  44. izen says:

    @-Willard
    “There is no such thing as a non-curated space anymore, not even Judy’s, which may not have improved with more curation.”

    I doubt that there ever was a space on the interwebs that was completely uncurated. But at the risk of sounding old-fogey-ish it was much more… robust in the old days.

    What I perceive happening is a shift in viewpoint about the value of curation. The open warfare of a flame-zone is now seen as a flaw not a feature. People who ‘take offense’ at text rendered on a screen are granted the status of ‘victim’ instead of being classified as idiots.

    The web is increasingly constrained, policed and curated, those parts of it that have avoided the worst of that are now seen as dangerous or dark. The very qualities of open access that were first viewed as beneficial are now seen as harmful and dangerous.

    Just because someones feelings might be hurt if they get that previously common four word exhortation that would greet any climate science post on an anti-AGW site;
    Fek off and dye.

  45. The problem with the whole curation argument is that from my perspective here, it’s trivial. It’s my site. I enjoy engaging below the line. I learn a lot from it. However, I’m not interested in interactions that degenerate into slanging matches. If I can’t engage below the line, then I won’t want to do this anymore. Therefore I moderate. Simple. I make no claims as to whether this is in general a good thing or a bad thing, it’s just what it is.

  46. One site that seems to not have any moderation at all is, believe it or not, that of the Met Office. Take a look at the comments there, they appear largely ignored by the blog owner. http://blog.metoffice.gov.uk/2013/05/31/a-response-on-statistical-models-and-global-temperature/#comments

  47. john,
    That’s why I rarely comment there.

  48. verytallguy says:

    There is no such thing as a non-curated space anymore, not even Judy’s

    Out of interest, whilst there us no sanction against posting conspiracy theories at Judith’s (the comments would be considerably thinner if there were), it is expressly prohibited to point out a poster’s conspiracy ideation. Immediate moderation appears should you transgress.

    Which I’ll count as evidence for Tall’s law of blogs: Blogs get the commenters they deserve.

  49. > I doubt that there ever was a space on the interwebs that was completely uncurated.

    Agreed, izen. I had this in mind:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/4chan

    There is still an in-crowd with moderators and editorial lines, but the anonymity and the responsibility of those who maintain the site ain’t the same.

    I believe it is from this kind of culture that we got the meme that resembles the most your four words exhortation:

  50. Kestrel27 says:

    I have a lot of sympathy with what you say here. Most blogs on both sides of the debate contain posts and comments expressed in vitriolic terms. They can be mildly entertaining but rapidly become repetitive and boring and of course there is no chance at all that they will persuade anyone on the other side to change their views. The fact is that the mud slinging may be hurtful but doesn’t matter much; nor do second order issues such as the existence (or not) of conspiracies or consensus. The only important things are what the scientific truth is and what governments and the international community should do about it.

    I can’t resist pointing out to Sou though that about two thirds of the comments on Hotwhopper are regularly vitriolic, and that despite her moderate tone here, she is often vitriolic herself. As for Snarkrates, the irony of commenting on a post regretting the use of hate language and vitriol by using exactly that sort of language has, presumably, escaped him.

  51. Thank you for your lukewarm concerns, Kestrel27

  52. Kestrel27 says:

    Happy to oblige. What I wrote was not about my concerns in any direction but the nature of the debate – which is what the post was about, yes?

  53. Don’t hate me because I tell the truth. Hate me because I remind you of your father.

  54. > What I wrote was not about my concerns in any direction but the nature of the debate […]

    I thought you could not resist to pull in Sou’s, Kestrel27, and ironized on snarkrate’s comments in a way that could be interpreted as playing the ref.

    My mistake.

  55. Michael 2 says:

    Willard says: “Hence I like Kate more than what she has to say”

    Thank you for that introduction. I like that style of writing; it is interesting to me and will be read, every word (eventually).

    http://marvelclimate.blogspot.com/

    At least two things are interesting to me. Either the articles are interesting, or the conversations are interesting. Since I seem not be conversing here, and the articles here lately have not been very interesting, it is unclear how many of my comments you’ll need to delete in the future. But I write for the blog owner and moderators anyway and I trust that you see them even when no one else does.

    Finding a new writer that is interesting suggests a new avenue.

    It really is amusing to see so many hateful comments about haters. That seems a bit like “recursive” fury. 😉

    It appears the Time of Purification has come. Take a side. There’s “us” and there’s “them”. Don’t talk to them! So what if “our” conversations tend to be a bit predictable? That’s the price of purity.

  56. anoilman says:

    I get hated… They sure get riled at me.

    I often face down people who complain about having posts removed… ’cause mine get deleted too. The difference is that I have the good graces to realize I’m being a jerk at times, and deserve to be ‘moderated’. (Right Willard?)

    A few sites have received complaints about me… and did nothing about it. That’s because I’ve contributed to them or provided information to them. I often get up votes from the moderators.

    Lets see now… I recently was told that I should be taken to a place full of polar bears where they have strict gun control laws.

    I do find it odd since I wouldn’t wish harm on another man (including them), yet that seems to be something these guys actually want. If you think about this, that is pretty much what the concern over global warming is.

    So… being a jerk the other day I decided to say they were making Al Gore look right. Only do that if you want to waste a considerable amount of time. 🙂

  57. “Scientists also tend not to have much experience of discussing science with people that argue in a rhetorical, rather than a scientific manner. Things like not being willing to give a straight answer to a straight question tends to wind scientists up a bit, unless you have become used to that sort of thing. Generally scientists are only too keen to spell out their position completely unambiguously, and expect the same from others.”

    This is too funny.

    “”Scientists also tend not to have much experience of discussing science with people that argue in a rhetorical, rather than a scientific manner. “

  58. dhogaza says:

    You also think that “Michael ‘Piltdown’ Mann” is funny.

    Hardy-har-har.

    “”Scientists also tend not to have much experience of discussing science with people that argue in a rhetorical, rather than a scientific manner. “

    I’d guess that at the time you made the rhetorical phrase, Mann had not had any experience discussing science with people who argue like you.

    Thank God.

  59. dikranmarsupial says:

    Steven Mosher, yawn, I’m giving that the nolle prosequi (as Jeeves would say) that it deserves.

  60. snarkrates says:

    Kestrel27,
    Give 1 example of hate speech in what I wrote. Just one. Or do you define hate speech as anything that hurts your “widdow feewings”.

  61. izen says:

    @-snarkrates
    “Give 1 example of hate speech in what I wrote. Just one.”

    Hate speech is in the ear of the hearer, but this;-

    @-“The denialists are people of the lie. At some point, at some time, they embraced a lie. Maybe that lie made them feel better. Maybe it comforted them. Maybe it brought them out of despair.”

    Is grounded in Peck I think. Ethically dubious to identify the opponent as stage-1 people who have embraced evil (possibly demonic) by avoiding their conscience, while implying you are a stage-3 person at least, rational and evil free.

    Such neat schema that can classify people as evil and good almost independently of context I find dubious. And prone to the paradoxical problem of being a way of dividing people into 4 groups that encourages the very lack of empathy it critiques.

  62. Joshua says:

    I hope I’m not exaggerating, but I would guess that I’m the most hated person at Climate Etc. There are a number of commenters there for whom a pretty large % of their comments over the course of a couple of years have been filled with insults directed my way (e.g., Tom Fuller, Pokerguy, Tim###?, Monfort), Sub-threads have been devoted to discussing how to get Judith to moderate my comments (which she now is doing in an on-going basis) and calling for me to be banned. Our friend Steven Mosher himself has thrown a pretty long list of insults my way, some of them completely bizarre (such as that he can tell I’m a misogynist, racist, anti-semite because he can read into my soul). A number of commenters have declared that they wouldn’t read Climate Etc. because of my comments.

    So with that as background:

    ==> “One problem I have with the “be hated” idea is that – as he himself says – simply being hated doesn’t mean that you’re doing something right. “

    I think that looking at it as a measure of whether you’re doing something “right” or “wrong” is a bit misdirected. The vitriol tells us little about the attackees in comparison to what it tells us about the attackers, IMO. But even there, I think the the existence of vitriol doesn’t tell us a whole lot about the attacker(s) either, and trying to judge individuals or groups on the basis of the vitriol is unwise. The ubiquity of the vitriol on both sides of the climate wars, and indeed (particularly in on-line discussions on) so many other issues that are polarizing, makes drawing conclusions about what is indicated very much subject to confirmation bias, from what I’ve seen.

    So many on each side on so many issues are convinced that they can reverse engineer from the vitriol to differentiate themselves or their group from individuals or groups on the other side the issues. And surprise, surprise, they always conclude that the existence of vitriol proves that the “other(s)” is/are inferior.

    More importantly, I think, the vitriol is a window into the meta- aspects of the discussion taking place, (if you can call it a discussion). It tells us about how people exchange views, and indeed reason, when they are identified with a position (in contrast to an interest) on a polarizing issue.

  63. snarkrates says:

    Joshua: “Our friend Steven Mosher himself has thrown a pretty long list of insults my way, some of them completely bizarre (such as that he can tell I’m a misogynist, racist, anti-semite because he can read into my soul).”

    Oh, dear. Steve should know that you can flunk your metaphysics final if you look into the soul of the person next to you! (stolen unapologetically from to Woody Allen)

  64. The vitriol tells us little about the attackees in comparison to what it tells us about the attackers, IMO.

    Yes, I think this is probably fair, although I suspect there are many who says things online that they wouldn’t say in a face-to-face situation. They may well seem very pleasant in real life, but I don’t know what this inconsistency tell us about them.

  65. snarkrates says:

    But Izen, they have embraced lies–and they cleave to them in preference to the truth. I will not sugarcoat my speech when I see people embracing dishonesty (even with themselves) and cowardice.

  66. izen says:

    @-snarkrates
    “But Izen, they have embraced lies–and they cleave to them in preference to the truth.”

    Inherent in the human condition is the ability to embrace lies and cleave to them AS the truth. Everybody has a preference for the truth. But tend to differ on how they construct it.

    @-” I will not sugarcoat my speech when I see people embracing dishonesty (even with themselves) and cowardice. ”

    Nor should you, although Joshua might question the utility of that strategy.
    But I admire your certainty that you can differentiate truth from lies.
    I have trouble telling good science from the slightly flaky stuff…

  67. Joshua says:

    ==> “but I don’t know what this inconsistency tell us about them.”

    I am dubious of judgements that people make of other people, based on on-line behaviors. I certainly know that there’s a pretty long list of people who are completely confident about completely wrong assessments of me – that they made on the basis of their judgements of my on-line behavior (Steven being an amusing example).

    So I think that neither vitriolic online behavior nor inconsistencies between on-line and real-world behaviors can be reliable evidence for assessing someone that you’ve never met, and where you have no idea what they’re like in the real world outside of the blogosphere. I suspect that there are quite a few people who have been totally obnoxious to me on-line but that I’d probably get along fine with in the real world, even if we’d disagree strongly on any variety of issues. I’d guess that many of the people who are most vitriolic and obnoxious on-line, display in the real world, behaviors that reflect values that I respect (even if I might disagree with them, strongly, on any variety of ideological issues).

    The problem, IMO, is the very human tendency to negatively judge someone based on a position they hold on an ideological issue that is diametric to our own position . That’s tendency leads to the mistaken notion that you can judge a person based on a tiny slice of data about them (e.g., what their opinions are about climate change). Even judging a person on the basis of a position they hold is problematic, IMO, but to do son based on how they act on-line in relation to that position seems all that much more problematic.

    What I try to do, not terribly successfully I might add, is to observe my own instinctive tendency to think that I can assess someone at a personal level on the basis of insufficient evidence, and to use that tendency as a window into assessing my own reasoning biases.

  68. I am dubious of judgements that people make of other people, based on on-line behaviors.

    Yes, that was kind of what I was getting at. Having said that, I do find it hard to think well of those who seem comfortable saying things online that they’d never say in person.

  69. Magma says:

    I have trouble telling good science from the slightly flaky stuff… Izen

    Just check what comes off after a good scrubbing.

  70. Wonderful discussion, thanks. I’ve borrowed some of your comments and you may get some traffic from my puppies (they follow me closely, regardless of content, being concerned to make it about me and not the content; they appear to think my name will lend credibility to their anti-sense). They pour, polite, reasoned contempt, in case any lurkers might think the content of value. (here: http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/11/23/video-views-of-our-inconvenient-minds-in-the-context-of-climate-science-and-energy-solutions/ )

    As I write this, I realize that part of the issue is the difference between tactical and substantive argument.

  71. Joshua says:

    ==> ” Having said that, I do find it hard to think well of those who seem comfortable saying things online that they’d never say in person.’

    Sure. I have a hard time thinking well of people who display that behavior also. But: (1) I think that, also, needs to be viewed in context. Perhaps it means that they’re someone I’d generally respect, but who doesn’t have terribly good impulse control when they’re engaged in discussing issues that reach deep into their ideological orientation. That description would fit a lot of people – never myself, of course 🙂 and, (2) I am aware that I have a tendency to think poorly of someone based on that evidence, contingent on whether I agree with them ideologically and, (3) I am aware that such a double-standard is ubiquitous, and particularly so in on-line discussions. It’s amazing how often I can go to basically any thread in the blogosphere and see unintentionally ironic judgements being made on the basis of such selective reasoning.

    You know, the basic:

    We could help all those poor children if only those poopyheads that disagree with me would stop insulting people.

    .

  72. Joshua says:

    Izen –

    ==> “…although Joshua might question the utility of that strategy.”

    Perhaps more to the point, I’d question how people measure that utility.

  73. snarkrates says:

    Izen: “I have trouble telling good science from the slightly flaky stuff…”

    We aren’t talking about the bleeding edge of science. We’re talking about people who reject even the most basic scientific facts–e.g. that the planet is warming, that greenhouse gasses warm the planet, etc. And you simply cannot do this without vilifying the entire scientific community who established these facts.

    Voltaire said, “If they can make you believe absurdities, they can make you commit atrocities.” It doesn’t matter whether the absurdities are religious or glibertarian in nature. They are equally dangerous.

  74. verytallguy says:

    I do find it hard to think well of those who seem comfortable saying things online that they’d never say in person

    It’s amazing how some people change their behaviour according to circumstance.

    For instance, as a regular cyclist, I can very confidently say that people behave in cars in a way they would never dream of doing in person.

    Or: How many people flick a v sign in a supermarket queue vs in a traffic jam?

  75. izen says:

    A word in favour of hatred, sort of, at the risk of some self-promotion.

    Long in the past, just after the ClimateGate emails were released and the Delingpole/Telegraph climate blog was in full swing I spent (wasted?) many hours posting. On a blog with a thousand comments per thread running in near real-time it is difficult to have much impact. However as one of the few regular posters on the OTHER SIDE of the issue any post would attract many replies, most extremely negative.

    One poster clearly well informed about US military equipment coined the phrase “scramble the A10s, the trolls are out.” whenever I and another ‘greenie’ would first post on a thread. The A10 is a ground attack aircraft with he/napalm rockets and a ridiculously powerful machine gun in the nose that can cut tanks in half. It had featured in the Gulf war eliminating insurgents.This became for a group of posters a game, strengthening their cohesion by inventing ever more inventive and extreme ways of destroying the ‘hated’ presence of the trolls.

    As one of the targets I found it very funny, and with surprisingly little encouragement some of the participants, as part of that community spirit that develops on blogs, provided me with an audio recording and storyboard of one of the more Grand Guignol versions of the nightly troll greeting for use in an animation.

    The following is from that time, commemorating the creativity engendered by the vitriol and hatred. I incorporated the storyboard portraits of the protagonists from our reported appearance. I also included a long-running dispute about why CO2 does not sink to the ground, my answer – carbon flapping the oxygen ‘wings’ allow it to fly everywhere.

    They were of course all suitably shocked at the 10:10 climate change ‘Red Button’ video.

  76. Magma says:

    They were of course all suitably shocked at the 10:10 climate change ‘Red Button’ video.

    That abysmally-judged bit of video wasn’t merely an own goal… it was more like an own hat-trick. It’s always important to get a second or third outside opinion before trying out a ‘clever’ idea in front of a potentially hostile audience.

  77. Joshua, given that you are not a climate scientist and thus not a natural object of hatred at Climate Etc., one can at least conclude that you are able to make people think.

  78. BBD says:

    Victor

    Anyone who questions the Wrong at JC’s becomes a natural object of hatred there.

  79. JCH says:

    My prediction: the whistleblowers work on this SST series:

    “Note, they cited a 0.01C/decade OI SST trend since 2003.” – Professor Curry.

  80. Willard says:

    Auditors ought to have fairly obvious candidates of whistleblowers as we speak, and will chase them down as they did with others like them. Or him. Or her. Or it.

  81. mwgrant says:

    Joshua wrote:

    I hope I’m not exaggerating, but I would guess that I’m the most hated person at Climate Etc.

    Away games are tough, Joshua. For the record I do not associate vitriol with you. Shall we say your ‘tenacity’ and aggressive challenges to Judith might be noticed and draw unjustified responses. IMO recently there is more vitriol from some elements at CE than here, where smug snark apparently is the specialty. My perception is also that the focuses of the two blogs are different and perhaps that explains the different preferences at each.

  82. VTG should avoid cars with lots of bumper stickers, because their drivers are ~16% more likely to engage in road rage. The supermarket is a public space so we at least try to act diplomatically. However, cars (and computers) let people feel like they’re in a private space while interacting with strangers. Evolution hasn’t prepared primates for this situation. People who personalize their cars with adornments like stickers and dashboard toys are more territorial, but everyone probably has less tolerance for obnoxious strangers in their own private homes vs. in a public space like a supermarket.

    Cars and computers are tricking our primate minds into thinking another primate has rudely barged into our private spaces, when we’re actually interacting in a public space just like in a supermarket. Ironically, it’s a supermarket where all the shameful insults and (possibly unintentional) misinformation are permanently recorded by the Wayback Machine, etc.

  83. I tried to leave a comment at Andy’s. Not sure if it’ll get through. Perhaps there was a glitch in the registration process.

    We’ll see.

  84. ” Steven Mosher himself has thrown a pretty long list of insults my way, some of them completely bizarre (such as that he can tell I’m a misogynist, racist, anti-semite because he can read into my soul).”

    Ahh.. no. I didnt say anything close to that.

    nice try though.

  85. Eli Rabett says:

    Eli is, of course, a bunny. Sometime lagomorphs have their own reasons

  86. Joshua says:

    ==> “Ahh.. no. I didnt say anything close to that.”

    Of course you did. Nice try, though.

  87. Joshua says:

    M-dub –

    ==> “For the record I do not associate vitriol with you. ” Coming from me? Directed to me? Both?

    ==> ” My perception is also that the focuses of the two blogs are different and perhaps that explains the different preferences at each.”

    In what way do you see them as different?

  88. Joshua says:

    Victor –

    ==> “Joshua, given that you are not a climate scientist and thus not a natural object of hatred at Climate Etc., one can at least conclude that you are able to make people think.”

    My impression is that there are two broad categories of targets of “hated” at Climate Etc. One is climate scientists who don’t agree with Judith and other “skeptics” about climate science. The other is anyone who isn’t aligned ideologically with most “skeptics,” and to some extent Judith, Of course, there’s a great deal of crossover between those groups, but it’s interesting to me that so much vitriol has been directed my way over at Climate Etc. over the past couple of years by many a denizen who actually can’t even correctly summarize my views on climate change (and in fact, many other issues). Most of it seems to come from “denizens” who either feel a compulsive need to protect Judith from criticisms of her arguments (in part because they fail to distinguish criticisms of her arguments from criticisms of her personally) or who are compulsively disgusted by people who have different positions than they on any number of politically charged issues such as climate change.

    As a teacher, my primary coal is to help people be more meta-cognitive about their thinking and learning processes. I like to hope that I’m pretty good at that in a classroom or other formally didactic contexts. It’s interesting to speculate about whether I might have any such impact in the blogosphere. Of course, I have been told many times and in many different forms, by “skeptics” over at Climate Etc. that I certainly have no such effect on the “denizens.” But one thing I learned when I worked with children (something which is quite different from when I’ve worked with graduate students, executives, and other adults), is that you have to look long term, for indirect signals for the effect that you’re having on a students’ intellectual/developmental trajectory. Young children are very rarely going to have the insight or verbal acuity needed to express appreciation for any ways that someone has positively impacted their development.

    When I look at the blogosphere, I see a lot of people acting like juveniles. Even though I don’t assume that climate warriors are uniformly juvenile in all walks of life, I sometimes think that their decent into juvnenility extends to their insight into their development and learning that results from their online interactions. That is to say, sometimes I like to think that I see a positive impact that I’ve had in indirect ways – which might be as you say, akin to making people think. For example, I think that I’ve seen Steven Mosher, over time, adopt a few arguments that I’ve presented to him in exchanges where we’ve held diametric positions. Of course, I could just be imagining that change in his perspective or that I had any role in such a change if it took place (i.e., confirmation bias), but sometimes I have to wonder.

    I used to take kids I taught hiking a lot. It was always amusing to see them complaining all the way up a mountain about how much they were being tortured – only to later hear them later, when speaking to each other from a distance they thought was out of my earshot, talking with great excitement about how proud they were for having accomplished a task that was so challenging and so far beyond their self-imposed limitations. When I read “denizens” at Climate Etc. complaining, over and over, about how “painful” they find it to read my comments (despite that there’s nothing that compels them to do that reading), and I think about how they protest that they don’t read my comments (when they are making it plainly obvious that in fact they do), I have to wonder if their might be some parallels. Sometimes I do wonder if, as you suggest, the amount of vitriol extended my way in the blogosphere isn’t tantamount to how some children manifest the sometimes painful nature of letting others have a role in their development (i.e., calling me a Nazi for “making” them climb a mountain).

    That all sounds ridiculously grandiose I suppose – and my buds over at Climate Etc.may use this comment as fuel for their vitriol should they happen tor read it..but more vitriol would just be a drop in the bucket. And I should add that whether or not I have such an effect, I kind of think that I see the paradigm play out on a larger scale. For example, probably some of those who direct the most vitriol Mosher’s way have had their knowledge development about climate change altered by his input. Of course, that hasn’t ever been the case for me. 🙂

  89. mwgrant says:

    J-Person aka Joshua

    ==> 1 Shall we say your ‘tenacity’ and aggressive challenges to Judith [and others] might be noticed and at times draw vitriolic responses from some but not all. The former is probably the bigger factor. I also figure you have to know this going in. :O)

    ==> 2 Bias. Content orientation. Openness. Moderation. … Anyone can make their own list. Here however I was thinking mostly of content orientation.

  90. Willard says:

    > As a teacher, my primary coal is to help people be more […].

    I usually get that from Matt Ridley.

  91. Joshua says:

    Yeah – one of my better typos.

  92. Pingback: William Rowan Hamilton | …and Then There's Physics

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s