So Silly

Yesterday I talked about how misquotations are bad because I wanted to show a strange one I found at Climate Audit whose author, Steve McIntyre, chose to ignore. Instead, after the second time I said there was a misquotation, he changed his post to fix a problem he found because of what I said. He then proceeded to say absolutely nothing to anyone about the change he made.

The result was it went completely unnoticed, even by me, until I wrote yesterday's post. I was, I believe understandably, perturbed by this. By changing his post without giving any indication, McIntyre would alter the apparent meaning of my remarks. Anyone who saw me point out problems then looked at the "fixed" version would be misled about what I said. McIntyre defends this, saying:

This denial doesn't deny any facts I alleged. McIntyre claims he didn't make a change secretly, but he doesn't say how anyone could have possibly been aware of the change. On top of this, he doesn't mention the fact he made an additional change to his post which I hadn't noticed. Nobody had.

According to McIntyre, he didn't make any secret change to his post, yet even as he said this, he knew neither I nor anybody else had noticed the second change which I'll discuss today.

Before continuing, I want to point out McIntyre's tweet here says he fixed an error after I "pointed it out a second time." Two tweets before this, he had said:

McIntyre acknowledges I brought this issue up only two times, yet he claims I "nagged" him. According to McIntyre, my two comments in 24 hours highlighting an error in a post he wrote was nagging. That's nuts. Who portrays a person in a negative light, as though they are persistently painful or troublesome because they made a whole two comments in 24 hours?

I'm not angry about that. I'm just baffled at how silly it is. Similarly, I can't get mad at McIntyre making small, secret changes to his blog post then denying there was anything secret about it. While I think that's wrong on many levels, it's so weird all I can do is laugh. I mean, look at the change I was pointing out McIntyre made to his post. Here's the original version:

Here's the updated version:

It's really small. If he was going to make that change in response to things I said, why not throw a quick response up saying something like, "Added an ellipsis to fix this"? There wouldn't have been any downside. It wouldn't have made him look bad. It wouldn't have changed any point he was making. Instead, he made the change and didn't tell anyone, then he denied there was anything secret about making that undisclosed change.

It's even stranger when you realize that's not the only change he made to the post. This is from a quote block in the original post:

McIntyre changed it to this:

He didn't mention that change anywhere either. Why not? What possible benefit could there be to making a change like that without saying anything? Not saying anything is just silly. It's even sillier that McIntyre didn't say anything about this change even after I accused him of making secret changes in regard to the first example.

What is the rationale behind responding to accusations of making a secret change to a post by denying the accusations while intentionally not mentioning the other undisclosed change you made? McIntyre denied making a secret change, mentioned one change he did make and... just chose not to say anything about the other change he had made, a change nobody had noticed yet.

That's just silly. There's no potential upside to doing that. I know some people will dismiss this all as "nitpicking," but if these issues are small and don't matter, what possible reason is there for not getting them right? How could anything be made better by changing a post to fix misquotations in it without doing anything to indicate changes have been made?

Now, after I made yesterday's post McIntyre edited my second comment pointing out his post had issues to add an inline remark which said:

Steve: I don’t agree that there was a “gross misquotation” in the post. However, there was a missing ellipsis in the first two quotations which I’ve remedied.

But inline responses like this don't have timestamps so nobody reading his blog will be able to tell he only added that response acknowledging he had changed his post after I criticized him for not disclosing such. Again, that's silly. Unless his purpose was to try to create a false trail which made it seem like he had disclosed what he did of his own volition, why do this? How would anyone be benefitted by making this disclosure in a way which masks how events unfolded?

I don't know. What I do know is the part of all this which makes me laugh the most is McIntyre didn't actually fix the quotation I called into question. You can see how McIntyre misquoted displayed in yesterday's post. For a short version, 1) McIntyre left out half a dozen paragraphs at one point; 2) McIntyre left out a single sentence at another point; 3) McIntyre removed a number of line breaks which had been used to separate paragraphs; 4) McIntyre used a translated version of the text without noting the version he offered was not the original.

Any and all of those would qualify as using a misquotation. McIntyre fixed only #1. The other three problems were left untouched. He didn't even address #2 by adding an ellipsis where he removed a sentence. There's still text missing from his quote. I pointed this out to McIntyre a little while ago. It'll be interesting to see if he chooses to fix it.

Which brings me back to the second secret change McIntyre made, the one I only discovered today. McIntyre added an ellipsis to a quote block I hadn't examined before because he realized he had excised some text from this article. However, if you compare that article to McIntyre's version, you'll find some text is still missing. Here are two lines McIntyre excludes:

Jenxcus and Bladabindi
The Najaf variant - md5 2962c44ce678d6ca1246f5ead67d115a

These were section headers. They are part of the article. While it's fine not to include them if you feel they are superfluous to your point, they are part of the text. If you remove them, you need to indicate so. A couple images were also removed. Given the images were used as evidence to clarify/bolster the case being made, removing them without any indication is, at a minimum, questionable. This created a situation where McIntyre joined these two paragraphs:

Security.Najaf seems to match the online handle of a developer apparently located in the Najaf province of Iraq. He is a prolific poster on the dev-point[.]com forums, a forum which has contained a lot of NJ-Rat/Worm-associated material. He is listed as recoder – presumably modifying programmer – in many other malicious scripts. One example is the file with md5 de8e6e14b7e548eda7d4ff33bb3705ad:

In this file, the C&C server is defined to aziza12.no-ip.biz, a domain which also has been used as C&C by Bladabindi malware such as the sample with md5 a5ce6dcb062ceb91a6fce73e99b3514d. This is a DynDNS domain, meaning that there is no domain registration data to look at. However, if we examine the IP history of this domain, we see that it has mapped to a number of IP addresses over time, many of which are located in Iraq. One of these, 178.73.223.9, has also earlier this year pointed to the domain islamstate.no-ip[.]biz.

Into a single paragraph with no line break. This happened because there was no textual line break in the article, but rather, the break between paragraphs was created by inserting an image.

An obvious question in all this is, "How much does any of this matter?" In and of themselves, I would say none of these examples matter much. What matters is the standards involved. This sort of "quotation" may not change the meaning of something in any particular case, but it is lazy and sloppy. A person can get away with being sloppy for a while, but eventually, they will make a mistake that matters.

What's more important, however, is how people respond to situations like these. I make mistakes. Everybody does. When I make a mistake, I try to acknowledge it, correct it and thank anyone who brought it to my attention. That is what a person ought to do. If a person doesn't do it, it forces people to ask why they don't.

I don't claim any of the errors in that post are important in and of themselves. I laughed because I thought it silly such simple errors got made, but if they had been corrected in a normal fashion, I wouldn't have thought anything more of them. Instead, we got a situation where McIntyre made secret changes to his post which only partially fixed the errors it contained, denied having made any secret changes while intentionally choosing not to mention a change he knew nobody had noticed and made strange remarks like saying a person who made two comments in 24 hours was nagging him even though the comments weren't even directed at him.

That's silly. This is all pointless nonsense that nobody should have to waste their time on, but at the same time, it can't be ignored unless one is willing to disregard errors and untruths. I don't think we should be willing to. If nothing else, once you know somebody secretly edits things they publish after-the-fact, you ought to at least wonder how often they make these sorts of changes. Are these the only two examples, or are there more? Are all other examples as "minor" as these ones, or are some much larger?

I don't know. At this point, I don't know what to think about any of this. All I know is this situation is so silly it's hilarious. This is the sort of bizarre situation I think we should all take a moment to get a chuckle out of. Because honestly, this sort of thing is so silly all you can do is laugh.

21 comments

  1. "What is the rationale behind responding to accusations of making a secret change to a post by denying the accusations while intentionally not mentioning the other undisclosed change you made?"

    FWIW, this all seems to me to be rather typical of the disingenuousness that I've seen from Steve towards people who disagree with him. It also seems fairly normal to me, a lot of people act like that - but it does, IMO, suggest that he isn't someone I could trust to provide analysis on technical issues I couldn't evaluate for myself. But I determined that long time ago.

  2. Skeptical Science did the same, and you can see it on their posts about Mike's Nature Trick, with JeanS's comments looking strange now.

    However, here McIntyre replies that he's remedied in response to your comment, so anyone who reads that should get the right impression that McIntyre made changes in response to your comment.

  3. MikeN, Steve McIntyre only said that after I pointed out he had secretly changed his post though. If I hadn't noticed the secret change he made, there's no reason to think he would have said anything about it. He intentionally refrained from mentioning the fact he made a second change to his post, something nobody had noticed up to that point.

    It's good the situation is somewhat improved (though it's silly McIntyre still uses a misquotation, claiming to have fixed the problem despite me pointing out it's still wrong), but the only reason it is improved is because I caught what he did. What if I hadn't?

  4. Brandon, my personal take on this is that it all depends on perspective, and on personal habits and methods for using tools.

    Examples:
    1) You highlight that SM "removed" images and a line break w/ no indication, and "joined" two paragraphs into a single paragraph. To you, this is apparently a serious misquote.
    - I agree that was the ultimate effect of a copy-paste
    - I will also state, based on significant experience, that such is the natural and normal impact of a typical plain-text copy-paste between two web resources. Depending on perspective, it could (or could not) be a misquote or even a textual change!

    In other words, the web does not automagically retain paragraphs, line breaks, images, or text formatting. And, as a matter of fact, many if not most text-processing tools don't do that either. The flow, sequence and even punctuation of the text is not modified by such a cut and paste.

    My bottom line on this aspect: much of the (textually literate) world still treats text content as the only thing of value... everything else is easily lost along the way. We may not like it, but that's reality.

    (At another extreme: long story short, many years ago I learned the hard way (and with some significant embarassment) that some developing world cultures are not "illiterate"... they are "multimedia"... and our tools and methods are completely inadequate to understand, let alone act with maturity, in their context. I was correctly accused of being unable to "read" a photo that had been sent to me. Not only was I unable to read it, I completely ignored it as superfluous. 🙁 )

    2) In line with #1 above, punctuation is also a historically recent and very culture-specific development (along with standardized spelling.) Different audiences have entirely different takes on the significance of punctuation. The changes you sought, to add ellipses so as to recognize elision of text, fall into this category for some.

    (As a perhaps-extreme example: turns out that in certain famous genealogies, the cultures that carefully recorded various "X begat Y begat Z" provide no indication that their standard of excellence is to preserve the **significant** generations. They simply don't care whether every single generation is recorded or represented. We "moderns" are horrified by such things of course.)

    I say all of this not to defend or promote anybody... but simply for understanding.

    Overall bottom line, from my personal perspective:
    - When I see "misquote" I primary look for **incorrect wording** and particularly **changed meaning**. To quote a dictionary: misrepresent, misstate, take/quote out of context, distort, twist, slant, bias, put a spin on, falsify.
    - It appears to me that you're a hardliner or purist when it comes to quotes, and others have other perspectives. (FWIW, my wife is also more of a purist, and also a grammar nazi: she can't even listen to much music because of the horrible grammar 😉 ) I found this discussion enlightening: http://ajrarchive.org/article.asp?id=1340

  5. MrPete:

    1) You highlight that SM "removed" images and a line break w/ no indication, and "joined" two paragraphs into a single paragraph. To you, this is apparently a serious misquote.

    I don't think I said anything which suggests I view this as "a serious misquote." Relative to other misquotations, I'd say the examples discussed in this post (including the ones you don't discuss) are relatively minor. That's why I said I "would say none of these examples matter much." I would only view them as serious in that misquotations are a serious matter in general. There's no reason for using them when it is trivially easy to avoid doing so.

    In other words, the web does not automagically retain paragraphs, line breaks, images, or text formatting. And, as a matter of fact, many if not most text-processing tools don't do that either. The flow, sequence and even punctuation of the text is not modified by such a cut and paste.

    My bottom line on this aspect: much of the (textually literate) world still treats text content as the only thing of value... everything else is easily lost along the way. We may not like it, but that's reality.

    I don't think saying one's software failed to copy things accurately therefore it's okay to misquote someone makes much sense. If you copy and paste a PDF file and the text comes are completely garbled (as can happen with such files), that doesn't mean you can present the garbled text as the original. Humans are the ones responsible for making sure quotations are accurate. If the tools they use aren't sufficient for the job, they can do it manually. It isn't difficult to accurately indicate what people presented. Why not do it?

    (Again, I'll note there were other examples discussed in this post, including text which was removed. Whatever point you may have about the example you choose to focus on, it says nothing about the other examples.)

  6. I suppose I should also point out that link is to a discussion about how people (or at least journalists) view changing spoken quotations, not written ones. There's a big difference between changing a person's words the first time they're put in print and changing words which have already been printed one way - the matter of record. Whatever one feels about altering a verbal quotation, doing so doesn't leave any record of contradiction. Changing written quotes does. That's a big difference.

    (I don't approve of either, but I recognize the practical differences involved.)

  7. I’ve just deleted Climate Audit from bookmarks. It’s become absolutely disgusting with the stunningly biased Russia stuff. Thinking of the years I’ve admired him and the site, I can’t say I’m not sad though.

  8. I feel the same way Sven. It's actually why I haven't posted anything here in what, nine days now? I'm struggling to find motivation to "blog" after this. Not only is it sad that Steve is behaving as he is, but the fact almost none of his readers seem to care makes me wonder what's the point?

  9. Brandon -

    Reading Lucia's has been particularly interesting recently as well.

    I don't believe that views on climate change (be they "skeptical" or non-"skeptical") reliably predict susceptibility to conspiracy ideation, but I do think that the abundant evidence of (IMO) laughable conspiracy ideation filling threads at CA and Lucia's serves to underline the influence of ideology in how people ("skeptics and non-"skeptics" alike) interpret scientific evidence. Weak control for the influence of ideology on reasoning, IMO, explains many recent comments at CA and Lucia's, and that interaction between ideology and reasoning is (IMO) not distinctly different in these recent threads than it always has been, even if it hasn't always been quite so direct and obvious.

  10. I haven't read lucia's blog in some time as she seems to have given up discussing climate issues, and the "off-topic" discussions there have never impressed me. It wouldn't surprise me if what you say were true. I know many people at Climate Audit lately have lets their ideology/worldviews/expectations cloud their judgment to a large degree. I think one of the biggest factors is that these sites seem to have moved further away from technical discussions. Focusing on specific issues, especially ones involving objective matters like calculations, seems to help people be more rigorous in their thinking.

    What I don't get is, even if one is less rigorous in their thinking, how do they change their standards? I get how ideology could introduce biases in what a person thinks/expects, but how does it make them change their views on what is right and wrong? I don't have an answer to that. I am by no means perfect, but I couldn't begin to imagine doing some of the things I keep seeing people do.

    (I was in the process of formatting a post I had written offline when I saw you had commented. The post should be live soon, and it deals with this topic to some extent.)

  11. Brandon -

    I think one of the biggest factors is that these sites seem to have moved further away from technical discussions.

    It's interesting that traffic in the climate-o-sphere seems to be generally down. Climate Etc. is mostly politics all the time now also, and the same patterns of exchange play out as what was seen on climate topics. IMO, a significant underlying element is that discussion related to climate change is a proxy for ideological struggle.

    Focusing on specific issues, especially ones involving objective matters like calculations, seems to help people be more rigorous in their thinking.

    Maybe. I'm not convinced. My sense is that the underlying political influence on reasoning was always there to the same extent, just somewhat obfuscated with a layer of complexity in association with a complex topic. But that is an impression drawn from (my) not being able to assess the rigor of the reasoning on the other topics directly - so I take it with a grain of salt. But from my view, the subjective components were always there.

    What I don't get is, even if one is less rigorous in their thinking, how do they change their standards?

    I'm not convinced that their standards have "changed," per se. I can't follow the more technical components, so I look for the possibility that patterns of bias that can be seen by parsing the technical arguments to see more fundamental patterns of reasoning. The very same kind of issues that you've pointed out in these posts about Mcyintire's arguments, IMO, have been present in the past. For one example, being non-responsive to criticism in a rather disingenuous fashion.

    I get how ideology could introduce biases in what a person thinks/expects, but how does it make them change their views on what is right and wrong?

    I don't think they've changed in their views of what is right and wrong, only convinced themselves that what was "wrong" in a previous context, when done by someone else, is not what they are doing in this context.

    I don't have an answer to that. I am by no means perfect, but I couldn't begin to imagine doing some of the things I keep seeing people do.

    It's easier to see this stuff in other people.

  12. Joshua:

    I'm not convinced that their standards have "changed," per se. I can't follow the more technical components, so I look for the possibility that patterns of bias that can be seen by parsing the technical arguments to see more fundamental patterns of reasoning. The very same kind of issues that you've pointed out in these posts about Mcyintire's arguments, IMO, have been present in the past. For one example, being non-responsive to criticism in a rather disingenuous fashion.

    I've seen you make similar accusations before but have never known what you refer to. Could you point to any examples of where you think McIntyre did this on a technical matter from say, more than two years ago? I think that's about when I first came across McIntyre doing something I found incredible (in posts on a lawsuit filed by Andrew Weaver).

    I don't think they've changed in their views of what is right and wrong, only convinced themselves that what was "wrong" in a previous context, when done by someone else, is not what they are doing in this context.

    Probably.

    It's easier to see this stuff in other people.

    I don't think I've ever been accused of doing what I described. I know people, including you, have accused me certain forms of "irrational" thinking, but I don't recall anyone accusing me of doing so for ideological reasons. And quite frankly, most of the accusations were idiotic. For instance, you followed me around for some time referring to me as "Chewbacca" because I would sometimes respond to people by pointing out what they said "makes no sense." Yet, as much as you criticized me for that "approach," you never once addressed anything I said after making such a remark to demonstrate why I claimed what they said made no sense. In fact, you often pretended like I didn't provide any follow-up explanation to support my claim.

    I'm sure I have my biases and blindspots. In fact, I know of some. What I also know is the ones I've identified in myself aren't ones anyone else has picked up on (at least, that they've said). And many of the ones people have accused me clearly untrue. My personal favorite* was one day I was posting on two different blogs, and over a dozen people called me a close-minded partisan shill. Only, half said I was a shill for oil companies while the other half said I was a shill for alarmists. I don't know how those people would have reacted if they had looked at both blogs I was commenting on, not just one.

    *The other one which I loved was when people said I was a consensus hack who fell for SkS propaganda because I criticized Richard Tol's criticism of the SkS consensus paper. One person even said something to effect of, "I bet you haven't even looked at the leaked data!" I hope everyone here realizes why I nearly fell out of my chair over that one.

  13. Brandon -

    I've seen you make similar accusations before but have never known what you refer to. Could you point to any examples of where you think McIntyre did this on a technical matter from say, more than two years ago?

    Technical matter? I should be clearer. I try to parse and then look for patterns in the technical arguments, but it can be tough for me to find clear patterns of disinginuity in such discussions. I suppose I may have seen what I thought I could identify as disinginuity from Steve in such situations, but no, none of them come to mind. But really I was focusing more on less technical exchanges (which can establish patterns of engagement that carry over to technical exchanges)...such as "being non-responsive to criticism in a rather disingenuous fashion." I did happen to stumble across one that may qualify: http://climateaudit.org/2014/05/14/the-cleansing-of-lennart-bengtsson/#comment-602916. I suppose you may disagree, but at least in part what I see there is a disingenuous lack of response to the criticism that the participants at his sight were engaged in hyperbolic characterization and demonizing in a circumstance where they lacked specific evidence. Yes, there is (what I consider to be a largely pedantic) point that Nick could be making a false claim w/r/t "hate mail," but, IMO, focusing on that does ignore the larger criticism.

    As for it being less than two years ago, no, that doesn't qualify. I'm not going to go digging to find the examples, but I certainly know that I felt that McIntyre has responded to me in the past in response to criticism, where he ignored the large point to focus on semantics or pedantry - which is how I would characterize his engagement with you as you laid out in these threads.

    I don't think I've ever been accused of doing what I described.

    I think that I have seen people "accuse" you of focusing, pedantically, on semantics and such, in a way that circumscribes the more important, underlying issues. Perhaps not.

    I know people, including you, have accused me certain forms of "irrational" thinking,

    I don't remember "accusing" you of "irrational thinking." Perhaps I have (I would assume that you have used quotes because you have an example), but I don't think of your thinking as generally having the attribute of being "irrational" at all. I suppose I sometimes have felt that an argument that you have made is "irrational" - but even that I don't recall.

    but I don't recall anyone accusing me of doing so for ideological reasons.

    I suppose it is a quirk of mine, but I use the term "ideological" in a rather broad sense. I don't only mean it to refer to more typically and commonly identified ideologies. I use "partisan" in a similar sense. I don't really want to get into a back and forth with it about you - but my larger point is that it is always difficult for us to see "motivated reasoning" in ourselves, where our reasoning is influenced by a predisposition towards "identity protection."

    For instance, you followed me around for some time referring to me as "Chewbacca" ...

    As for "following you around," I don't agree with the characterization. Likewise, you have said that I was trying to assassinate your character?
    reputation? (I don't remember which) - a characterization that again, I don't agree with.

    Anyway, If I called you "Chewbacca" it was juvenile. As I recall, I felt that referencing "Chewbacca" reflected a legitimate criticism of an aspect of your style of engagement, but that I didn't use the term in itself as a name for you. Here's an example where I called you "Brandon" in a discussion where "Chewbacca" was introduced:

    https://judithcurry.com/2013/01/16/hansen-on-the-standstill/#comment-286818

    In a list of threads that you can find here, I do not find that I referred to you as "Chewbacca" (although I can find interesting related anecdotes, such as when you referred to me as a fool.

    http://lmgtfy.com/?q=site%3Ajudithcurry.com+joshua+chewbacca

    And, in fact, here when Steven Mosher says that I have called you "Chewbacca," and when I responded that I didn't recall having done so, Steven said that he didn't find any examples. I will also note that in this thread, I agreed that doing so is juvenile.

    https://judithcurry.com/2013/05/21/how-to-humble-a-wing-nut/#comment-324527

    The thread in which that commented is nested is also, IMO, a good reference for some of the issued you raised in the comment I'm responding to.

    because I would sometimes respond to people by pointing out what they said "makes no sense."

    So that seems a bit disingenuous to me. It isn't simply that you said that what they said "makes no sense" that I have responded to.

    Yet, as much as you criticized me for that "approach," you never once addressed anything I said after making such a remark to demonstrate why I claimed what they said made no sense. In fact, you often pretended like I didn't provide any follow-up explanation to support my claim.

    Again, I don't want to do the digging in order to rehash this argument. I believe that I have responded, at times, to your claims of someone not making sense. But at some point I feel that it gets pedantic and I just stop, and sometimes I just think that the stage where I feel it is pedantic is inevitable, so I don't even bother to start.

    I'm sure I have my biases and blindspots. In fact, I know of some. What I also know is the ones I've identified in myself aren't ones anyone else has picked up on (at least, that they've said). And many of the ones people have accused me clearly untrue. My personal favorite* was one day I was posting on two different blogs, and over a dozen people called me a close-minded partisan shill. Only, half said I was a shill for oil companies while the other half said I was a shill for alarmists. I don't know how those people would have reacted if they had looked at both blogs I was commenting on, not just one.

    I believe that you have read comments of mine where I have observed that you are one of the relatively few people who is openly and explicitly critical of weak reasoning on both sides of the great climate divide - and I feel that is to your credit.

  14. Joshua, I believe the number of links that trips moderation is 4. I'd have to check to be sure.

    I suppose you may disagree, but at least in part what I see there is a disingenuous lack of response to the criticism that the participants at his sight were engaged in hyperbolic characterization and demonizing in a circumstance where they lacked specific evidence. Yes, there is (what I consider to be a largely pedantic) point that Nick could be making a false claim w/r/t "hate mail," but, IMO, focusing on that does ignore the larger criticism.

    Nick Stokes specifically said readers had made a claim up, a claim nobody had even made. I can't agree it is disingenuous for people to focus on Stokes fabricating things about what they said rather than trying to look at some larger point he didn't make clear. I certainly can't fault them for focusing on it when he refused to correct his false claim. When people start fabricating claims you supposedly made so they can shoot down things you never said as though that addresses what you did say, it is appropriate to focus on the falsehoods to try to resolve them first.

    And, in fact, here when Steven Mosher says that I have called you "Chewbacca," and when I responded that I didn't recall having done so, Steven said that he didn't find any examples. I will also note that in this thread, I agreed that doing so is juvenile.

    You're right. After reviewing, I can see I've conflated the behavior of a couple different people in regard to that issue. I know willard called me Chewbacca time and time again (and has continued to do so in the last year or so), and several others joined in. Wagathon is one name which springs to mind, as is WebHubTelescope, who also liked to repeatedly bring up various details of my life which had nothing to do with anything to try to smear me. I hope you can forgive me for groupin you (in my memory) in with people who made many similarly remarks to you but whose behavior was notably worse. It has been years since those discussions happened. (It doesn't help when you responded to the comments where that sort of thing happened, without complaint.)

    I'm not going to try to dig up all the past discussions, but here is one of the first examples I found with a quick internet search. I was mocked for saying what someone said "makes no sense." What the person said in mathematics, if we accept a certain set of axioms as well as the existence of the numbers 0 and 1... I said that "makes no sense" as the first axiom in that set of axioms is that the number 1 exists.

    I challenge anyone to say that was unreasonable. I don't think one can. It doesn't make sense to say, "If we assume X and also use this other set of assumptions which includes assuming X." What happened is a person didn't know the topic he was talking about well, made a silly mistake that caused him to say something nonsensical, and that was the sort of thing which got me labeled Chewbacca.

    Again, I don't want to do the digging in order to rehash this argument. I believe that I have responded, at times, to your claims of someone not making sense. But at some point I feel that it gets pedantic and I just stop, and sometimes I just think that the stage where I feel it is pedantic is inevitable, so I don't even bother to start.

    I've seen you repeatedly use this sort of claim with the convenient timing of the point you ran out of arguments to defend something silly/incorrect you said. That includes times when you fabricated claims about what I said due to misreading sentences then refused to acknowledge my corrections as to what my intended meaning was. Consider me skeptical. I can't help but suspect this often winds up being little more than an excuse to avoid dealing with inconvenient ideas.

  15. Nick Stokes specifically said readers had made a claim up, a claim nobody had even made. I can't agree it is disingenuous for people to focus on Stokes fabricating things about what they said rather than trying to look at some larger point he didn't make clear. I certainly can't fault them for focusing on it when he refused to correct his false claim. When people start fabricating claims you supposedly made so they can shoot down things you never said as though that addresses what you did say, it is appropriate to focus on the falsehoods to try to resolve them first.

    And I see it as a disingenuous focus on a basic irrelevancy while ignoring Nick's more substantive criticism. You're certainly entitled to your opinion of what is "appropriate" just as I am of mine. Admittedly, it wasn't the best exemplar I've seen from McIntyre of the sort I'm discussing - but it just happened to be one that I ran across as I was searching on the whole Bengtsson thingie. If it doesn't convince you that the pattern of behavior that you described isn't some sort of new development, that's fine to. It looks like an old pattern to me.

    I hope you can forgive me for groupin you (in my memory) in with people who made many similarly remarks to you but whose behavior was notably worse.

    I don't particularly care, Brandon. For me to focus on that, rather than the larger and, IMO, more salient topics of discussion, would seem to me to be disingenuous. I just put it in as a point of fact. Not only do I particularly care, I certainly would never consider it to be some kind of unforgivable offense. The notion of "forgiveness" here seems completely irrelevant. I feel similarly to you calling me a "fool." I view all of that stuff as irrelevancies.

    It has been years since those discussions happened. (It doesn't help when you responded to the comments where that sort of thing happened, without complaint.)

    Seems like a weak and lame justification to me, Brandon. In my opinion, there are likely other reasons that would contribute to why you made that error, and offering lame excuses only serves to undermine your asking me to "forgive" you, IMO - which I note comes absent any apology for making a false claim (which also undermines your asking me to "forgive" you).

    I'm not going to try to dig up all the past discussions, but here is one of the first examples I found with a quick internet search. I was mocked for saying what someone said "makes no sense."

    Was I a part of that discussion? If not, then why did you bother to give me that example from your search?

    I challenge anyone to say that was unreasonable. I don't think one can. It doesn't make sense to say, "If we assume X and also use this other set of assumptions which includes assuming X."

    See comment above.

    I've seen you repeatedly use this sort of claim with the convenient timing of the point you ran out of arguments to defend something silly/incorrect you said. That includes times when you fabricated claims about what I said due to misreading sentences then refused to acknowledge my corrections as to what my intended meaning was. Consider me skeptical. I can't help but suspect this often winds up being little more than an excuse to avoid dealing with inconvenient ideas.

    How wonderfully ironic, after you (wrongly) criticized me for doing something I didn't do, you then lumped me into a guilt-by-association scenario by offering what other people did, while offering the excuse that you didn't want to take the time to do the research. That is, to add to the irony, EXACTLY the kind of response that leads me to thinking that often, trying to engage with you on these types of issues is futile - because of a tendency on your part to (1) confuse opinion with fact and, (2) argue semantics and pedantics rather than address the issues which, IMO, are more salient.

    Yes, I have criticized you for offering a "that makes no sense" framework for engaging on issues where you are in disagreement with folks. I have explained, multiple times, why I have made those criticisms, and IMO, doing so has proven to be fruitless. You can certainly think that I am merely ducking accountability for saying silly things. If I felt there was any point in engaging you on that issue, I would do so. You can certainly develop whatever reasons you might think explain my behavior in that regard. It really doesn't particularly matter to me. I would prefer to engage with you on the issue in a way that I think is in good faith and that might produce meaningful exchange - but it isn't something that I lose sleep about. With that, I'll catch you on another thread.

  16. Brandon,

    My read.

    I have noticed that Steve generally dislikes adjectives, melodrama, sarcasm, etc, unless in humorous comments.

    "An ellipsis has been excluded..." is a helpful suggestion whereas "gross misquotation" pushes buttons, hints at vileness and ka-boom goes the hat-tip.

    Ditto for "Thanks for including that ellipsis, per my request." vs "secret changes" and "plagiarism".

    So Steve lays in a double-bind trap with a dead-pan (and technically incorrect) reference to your "nagging". If you do not object to the error, "nagging" stands; if you incessantly demand retraction, "nagging" is confirmed.

    But you need to get past the silly, nitpicking details and focus on the best path forward. IMO, that would be for you to privately email all future, friendly, helpful suggestions to Steve. Include a humble request for an acknowledgment should he opt to use any suggestion. And an apology wouldn't hurt.

    Cheers.

  17. blueice2hotsea, this reminds me Steve McIntyre talking about how people argue the reason scientists refused to share data with him is he wasn't nice enough. Lots of people like to make that argument, but it's completely baseless. How "nice" McIntyre was was never the reason people reacted the way they did.

    The same is true here. When I am perfectly polite and congenial, McIntyre doesn't behave any differently. I've tried that tactics, many times, and the outcome is either the same or worse - worse because he will sometimes use the non-challenging tone to downplay the seriousness of the points I raise. The reason I don't go out of my way to be "nice" in my criticisms of McIntyre is I've done so plenty of times, and it never helped. If "playing nice" with someone doesn't work the first ten times, there's no reason to think it will work on the eleventh. Given McIntyre has reached the point of fabricating things out of thin air and falsely claiming people have said things completely unlike anything they have actually said, I don't think the problem is that I am "mean."

    I know some people like to believe if you're nice enough, conflicts will be better/get resolved, but my experience is most of the time how nice you are doesn't change the outcome. People who would have listened to you in the first place will tolerate a bit of crassness while people who don't listen to you wouldn't have listened no matter how nice you might have been to them. Combine that with the fact this sort of "being nice" is unwarranted in many cases given McIntyre's behavior, and I don't see any reason I would want to attempt it.

  18. Joshua, sorry about not responding sooner. I didn't see your comment on this post with all the comments my latest post had been receiving.

    And I see it as a disingenuous focus on a basic irrelevancy while ignoring Nick's more substantive criticism. You're certainly entitled to your opinion of what is "appropriate" just as I am of mine. Admittedly, it wasn't the best exemplar I've seen from McIntyre of the sort I'm discussing - but it just happened to be one that I ran across as I was searching on the whole Bengtsson thingie. If it doesn't convince you that the pattern of behavior that you described isn't some sort of new development, that's fine to. It looks like an old pattern to me.

    The behavior you pointed to was completely appropriate. If someone starts fabricating claims about what people are saying, there is no reason to expect a useful discussion can be had unless those fabricated claims are corrected. If people are free to make things up willy-nilly to create fake reasons to criticize others, it's unlikely any disagreements will be resolved.

    I don't particularly care, Brandon. For me to focus on that, rather than the larger and, IMO, more salient topics of discussion, would seem to me to be disingenuous. I just put it in as a point of fact. Not only do I particularly care, I certainly would never consider it to be some kind of unforgivable offense. The notion of "forgiveness" here seems completely irrelevant.

    I really hope you don't think someone using the phrase, "I hope you can forgiave me for X" in a sentence like this really means they are seeking your forgiveness. People say I take things too literally, but even I wouldn't suggest something like that.

    Seems like a weak and lame justification to me, Brandon. In my opinion, there are likely other reasons that would contribute to why you made that error, and offering lame excuses only serves to undermine your asking me to "forgive" you, IMO - which I note comes absent any apology for making a false claim (which also undermines your asking me to "forgive" you).

    A group of approximately six people consisently made the same, false claim about me. All but one member of the group used a nickanme for me, Chewbacca. Several memebers of the group followed me around, posting off-topic responses to anything I said in order to jeer at me based on this false claim. The one member who apparently did not engage in these practices talked to the others while they did without expressing any displeasure over what they did.

    If you think it is unreasonable that years later a person might fail to remember one person in a group stood idly by while the rest of the group did certain things, I don't know what to say. I didn't care enough to remember individual's names and their specific actions.

    And seriously, do you really think I asked you to forgive me? Even if one decided to take my idiomatic expression literally, they wouldn't interpret it as a request.

    Was I a part of that discussion? If not, then why did you bother to give me that example from your search?

    Because it shows the exact sort of argument you relied upon. You would consistently criticize me for saying something "makes no sense" without doing anything to show why the reason I said it "makes no sense" is wrong. Often, you wouldn't even acknowledge the reason I gave.

    How wonderfully ironic, after you (wrongly) criticized me for doing something I didn't do, you then lumped me into a guilt-by-association scenario by offering what other people did, while offering the excuse that you didn't want to take the time to do the research.

    I never offered such an excuse. It would help if tried reading the things I write, not the things you imagine I write. I won't say anything more though as I've made that observation many times, and so far, you have routinely refused to go back and realize what you thought I wrote was what you apparently thought I had written. Perhaps that sort of behavior should make me less surprised when you do things like downplayed Nick Stokes completely fabricating claims about what other people said, to the point you label it disingenuous when people focus on trying to get him to correct his fabrications.

  19. FWIW... I agree with some statements above that "climate blog traffic" is generally down on many of the blogs.

    Along with that, it may be helpful to realize that quite a few of the blogs -- I'm sure this one also falls into this camp -- are basically operated and monitored mostly by the primary poster. Not enough active "help" available to moderate off-topic comments.
    I know for sure that's true with Steve McIntyre's blog. I used to be pretty active in helping out, but Real Life has intruded in a big way for the last couple of years.

    It would be great if there were plenty of tools and volunteers to clean up all the messes.

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