2011-10-04 16:20:25Advice about mocking and bullying
John Cook

john@skepticalscience...
123.211.208.191

Email from a friend:

I do have a couple of points which I offer for your consideration:

1) I would suggest reconsidering the use of Christy Crocks, Lindzen Illusions, Spencer Slip Ups, etc. I am not talking about the content (please keep this!) but rather about the mocking graphics and the mocking names. It could be argued that you were using emotive language (and emotive imagery) to prejudice the reader, rather than relying on the strength of the science in the rebuttals to make your points. While perhaps not qualifying as an ad hominem attack, it could certainly be argued that it was a form of implied character assassination. Now it may be that you feel the attack on character is warranted, but if so, then I would be more comfortable if you made it directly rather than by implication. (Though I would be most comfortable if you didn't attack characters and just let the science speak for itself).

2) My second point is really just some feedback for your consideration. I do find that the comments from the team can get a bit intimidating (notwithstanding the fact that they are often provoked and that I often agree with them). If I am the only one who has said this, then ignore me as overly sensitive, but if you are hearing this from a number of people, then you may want to consider trying to reign in the more subtle forms of (probably unintentional) intimidation that sometimes slip through.

Hope the comments are not out of line. I do have tremendous respect for what you are doing and recognise how much work is involved and how difficult it must sometimes be.

2011-10-05 12:22:54Follow-up email
John Cook

john@skepticalscience...
130.102.158.12

More suggestions from David - wouldn't be a bad idea for us to crystallise our behavioural policies for mods:

If you are not already aware of it, the Wikipedia Etiquette page might be useful if you're looking for ideas or a framework (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Etiquette) though it may be a bit unwieldy. I'm developing something similar for a site I'm working on (currently pre-beta and experimental) though I'm not sure it would be suitable for your site - anyway, feel free to take a look if you wish: http://changethegame.org.au/code.

2011-10-05 12:30:26comment
Robert Way

robert_way19@hotmail...
134.153.162.53

I agree with your friend to be honest... i've been somewhat against this since the start.

2011-10-05 14:13:21
Albatross
Julian Brimelow
stomatalaperture@gmail...
199.126.232.206

Hi John,

I thought that we were going to rename the buttons?  That woudl also require a change in graphics too, but I know that you and/or Wendy are always up for a challenge. 

Maybe the buttons could simply say "Christy's series" etc.  Lame attempt I know, but something that is not at all emotive....I personally thnik the series are a great idea and should stay, but the buttons need to change and the sooner the better.

Thanks for the pointer for "Etiquette".  I agree, but we cannot submit and be total pussycats.  People like Pielke Sr. are very good at being passive aggressive and are also good at intimidating people and Gish galloiping , so I'm not sure how to deal with that except call them on it.  I know, I know, we have to think about the audience, and believe it or not, I do honestly try, and accept that I for one need to improve on that front. 

It is really sad that we have to treat serial liars and disinformers with kid gloves when there is so much on the line.

2011-10-05 14:27:48
dana1981
Dana Nuccitelli
dana1981@yahoo...
69.230.101.55

The only button we're planning on changing is the Crocks (to Mythsteries!).

2011-10-05 14:46:36
KR

k-ryan@comcast...
69.138.165.234

I would agree that the buttons and graphics are counterproductive.

Yes, they are (IMO) accurate. But they hugely enable the 'victim' card from their targets. I would much rather see "Christy Curios", "Spencer Speculations", "Lindzen ???", "Monckton Mysteries", etc. It would remove an entire category of rhetoric in one go.

Personally, I would rather go the high road - it makes it much easier to contrast to those like WTFIUWT and the like.

2011-10-05 15:21:04
logicman

logicman_alf@yahoo.co...
86.180.36.136

Why not just go with 'debunked'?  A phrase such as 'Monckton debunked' is much more likely to be entered into a search engine than, e.g. Monckton's Maladroitness.  Maybe use 'deniers debunked' buttons?  Having the moral high ground and more Google hits is, to my way of thinking, a win-win situation.

2011-10-05 15:36:22
Albatross
Julian Brimelow
stomatalaperture@gmail...
199.126.232.206

I think logicman is onto something...."Christy debunked", "Spencer debunked", not exciting, but it speaks to what is being done and is not emotive.  

2011-10-05 15:39:55Alternative suggestion
Glenn Tamblyn

glenn@thefoodgallery.com...
124.181.72.163

Here is an alternative idea. The home page is becoming quite cluttered, and for a new visitor (of which we hopefully will be getting more & more), confusing, right down to the tone we are presenting.

So, why not move all our denier buttons to a separate page. There each one is given a small 1 para note about why the button is there for  that person. Also we can put some editorial content at the top explaining why we believe these people are not simply 'honest enquiring skeptical minds' but in fact serial misinformers. Hence our harsher tone.

Then a single button from the home page, perhaps "Deniers Rogues Gallery" can link to this. The home page is then cleaner and less combative and more inviting for a newcomer who may never even have heard of Monckton - if we start linking to the likes of Al Gore's sight we could start getting a lot of traffic from people who have never even entered the denialosphere.

2011-10-05 15:46:21
logicman

logicman_alf@yahoo.co...
86.180.36.136

Glenn: good points!

2011-10-05 21:01:21
Kevin C

cowtan@ysbl.york.ac...
144.32.72.165

I would also support the renaming. Also, 'OA is not OK' is cryptic, and the visual styles of 'Lindzen Illusions' and 'Lessons from past predictions' are rather similar. (There may be a colour difference which is not apparent to us protanopes of course.)

2011-10-05 21:27:15
Paul D

chillcast@googlemail...
82.18.130.183

I made the same observation Kevin about 'OA is not OK'.

I requested that the series be renamed.

2011-10-06 02:53:25
BaerbelW

baerbel-for-350@email...
93.231.181.72

I like both logicman's suggested name change to "...debunked" and Glenn's suggestion to move the buttons off of the homepage (or replacing all of them by just one button). With the current layout, two additional buttons will move the thermometer lower and lower on the homepage even though this is the direct link to the SkS's "heart", the rebuttals.

2011-10-06 03:20:03
Dikran Marsupial
Gavin Cawley
gcc@cmp.uea.ac...
139.222.14.107

one problem with the "X debunked" is that it suggests it is the person that is debunked rather than the specific arguments of theirs that needed debunking, so it could (i.e. will) be interpreted as an ad-hominem.  We could just have a button with their name on it.

2011-10-06 03:31:42
Albatross
Julian Brimelow
stomatalaperture@gmail...
199.126.232.206

Good point Dikran...

2011-10-06 03:45:32
Daniel Bailey
Daniel Bailey
yooper49855@hotmail...
97.83.150.37

I like both the movement of the buttons off the home page (Page 2 anyone?) and the renaming of the buttons with just the name of the individual who's arguments are being rebutted.  A section header could then be used to explain what the dealy with the buttons is.  And then there would be ample room for expansion, as needed.

2011-10-06 04:09:46
dana1981
Dana Nuccitelli
dana1981@yahoo...
64.129.227.4

The benefit of the current naming system is that it makes the series "sticky" (memorable).  "Lindzen's Illusions" is a lot more memorable than "Lindzen Debunked" or whatever standard naming convention we might switch to.  And the eye-catching buttons make people more likely to click on them.

I don't like the idea of changing the series and buttons to something mundane.  It decreases their effectiveness and is thus counter-productive.  SkS doesn't benefit from striving to be boring.

2011-10-06 07:37:05Supine grovelling so as to not offend tone trolls does not cut it for me.
Doug Mackie
Doug Mackie
dougmackie68@gmail...
202.154.144.146

I am against renaming. I simply refuse to believe that an honest 'undecided' person will form a denialist opinion based on the tone of SkS. Remember these are mostly not real people but are tone trolls. When the next generation say to me "Did you do everything you could?" I want to be able to say "Yes, I fought long and hard".

Supine grovelling so as to not offend tone trolls does not cut it for me.

2011-10-06 07:47:31
logicman

logicman_alf@yahoo.co...
109.150.158.48

Doug: sorry, this aging pedant can't resist.

Supine means 'lying on the back'.  Did you mean 'prostrate'?

I'm more prone to the supine ROFL, and if that isn't the worst pun you ever saw ...

2011-10-06 22:02:50
Tom Curtis

t.r.curtis@gmail...
203.212.156.153

I am strongly inclined to agree with Doug Mackie on this.  This soul searching about the names on the buttons began with Pielke Snr's comments about "Christie Crocks".  Well this is what Pielke Snr considers polite comment when it isn't his side being subject to it:

 

 

Essentially his use of the image is a deliberate attempt to represent Tom Karl and the EPA as liars.  Most of his cohort are neither as subtle nor as restrained as is Pielke.  If the "undecided person" was influenced by that sort of thing, they would by now be firmly wedded to consensus science and the need to do something concrete about global warming.

We should not go out of our way to be offensive, and we should never go over the top.  But except for occassional comments (not posts) we have not been offensive except to those who are looking to be offended, and certainly we have not been over the top. 

2011-10-06 22:39:04
Glenn Tamblyn

glenn@thefoodgallery.com...
60.229.14.183

Apropos Doug's comments. I am not suggesting the buttons be renamed. By moving them to a second page we can maintain our somewhat more assertive tone because we have explained why it is justified in these cases with the editorial at the top. But the Home page doesn't have to immediately hit every newcomer with that tone.

2011-10-07 03:08:12
Albatross
Julian Brimelow
stomatalaperture@gmail...
199.126.232.206

Tom,

That graphic Pielke posted is defamatory, and he is very clearly accusing Karl of being a liar.  Karl must be angry as hell.   This clearly shows Roger Pielke Senior to a duplicitous and a hypocrit.  I would even suggest that someone emails Pielke to say as much to him-- as politley as possible of course.

2011-10-07 07:36:58
Doug Mackie
Doug Mackie
dougmackie68@gmail...
202.154.144.146

logic is correct when used <i>literally</i> but when used <i>figuratively</i> (as was clearly the case) the meaning is different. This from the OED. (edited to remove fluff)

supine, adj.

a. Lying on one's back, lying with the face or front upward. Also said of the position. Often predicatively or quasi-advb.Sometimes used loosely for ‘lying, recumbent’....

 

2. a. fig. Morally or mentally inactive, inert, or indolent.

 

1779    J. Boswell Let. 17 July (1924) II. 290   A supine indolence of mind.

1807    T. Jefferson Writings (1830) IV. 72   The first ground of complaint was the supine inattention of the administration.

1819    Shelley Cenci iv. iv. 78   The supine slaves Of blind authority.

 

My point being that I slap down semantic wordgames from trolls and I also do it for SkSers.

2011-10-07 09:59:14
logicman

logicman_alf@yahoo.co...
109.150.158.48

I slap down semantic wordgames from trolls and I also do it for SkSers.

Ouch!  Point taken!  Sharply!  ;-)

2011-10-07 12:11:12Pielke hypocrisy
John Cook

john@skepticalscience...
130.102.158.12

It is a bit rich, Pielke getting indignant over the word crocks which refers to Christy's actions, while labelling someone a liar. I'm finding myself very annoyed when I think about Pielke, having trouble thinking purely rationally and strategically when I think about him.

2011-10-07 13:02:35
Daniel Bailey
Daniel Bailey
yooper49855@hotmail...
97.83.150.37

"I'm finding myself very annoyed when I think about Pielke, having trouble thinking purely rationally and strategically when I think about him."

That is ever the goal of the denialist side.

:)