2011-08-12 23:38:05Deniers swarm "The Climate Agenda" media coverage poll
James Wight


Melbourne newspaper The Age has set up a sort of online poll where you can vote on questions you think media coverage should be devoted to. Anyone can submit their own question. Each person gets 7 votes which can be used at any time before the closing date 20 days from now. The Age is promising to investigate the top ten questions.

Predictably, it’s been swarmed by climate deniers. Currently the top question is Andrew Bolt’s “how much would global temperature fall?” with 4,000 votes, four times as many as the second question. Most of the top ten are based on contrarian assumptions.

2011-08-13 00:04:36


Didn't realize this was such a skeptic harping point.


I did a post on that - http://www.skepticalscience.com/co2-will-not-cool-planet.html


and the basic rebuttal from that - http://www.skepticalscience.com/co2-limits-wont-cool-the-planet.htm


2011-08-21 13:26:33
James Wight


The denier questions are still dominating the top ten. I encourage others on this forum to vote for pro-AGW questions.

The Age has generally been one of the better Australian newspapers at reporting climate change - probably because most of the other big Australian newspapers are owned by Newscorp. So if "The Climate Agenda" ends up being dominated by deniers it could be disasterous.

Oh, and I've submitted my own question, which so far only has 2 measly votes (hint, hint):

The Government is compensating trade-exposed industries for the carbon tax, on the basis that our carbon-intensive exports could be replaced by even more carbon-intensive production in other countries. Is this “carbon leakage” a real possibility, and does it justify the levels of compensation for trade-exposed industries in the carbon price legislation?

2011-08-21 14:10:01
Dana Nuccitelli

Dumb idea from The Age.  Deniers always overwhelm polls like this.  Scientific American learned that lesson when they posed a poll for their "readers", and deniers spammed the climate denial options to make it look like over half of Scientific American readers were climate deniers.

2011-08-21 21:11:03Okay, maybe I'm being naive but...
John Cook

...couldn't this be an opportunity for The Age to bat down the most popular denier myths? Particularly if they get good people to help write the answers. I know a few people at The Age so might try to connect them with the right experts.
2011-08-22 01:06:14
Dana Nuccitelli
As long as you know some folks over there, you might suggest they make use of SkS to rebut them too, John :-)
2011-08-22 02:17:02
Paul D


I assume you can vote 7 times for the same question, which maybe a policy skeptics are using.

2011-08-22 05:35:04
Paul D


There are some interesting discussions in the comments.


2011-08-22 19:57:59
John Mason


Really makes me think these online polls need to be abandoned - they get gamed every time by the denier crew. It's one of the few things they're good at!

Cheers - John

2011-08-23 00:17:42
Paul D


Many aren't very secure.

For many it is just a case of clearing the site cookies in your browser and voting as much as you like.

I have done it a few times with The Daily Mail, but it is laborious. eg. clear cookies, vote, clear cookies, vote,clear cookies, vote,clear cookies, vote,clear cookies, vote etc.

It isn't very successful because there is often an overwhelming bias already and just bring the votes between for and against to be equal takes a lot of effort for one person.

Would be useful to have a toolkit that can be customised and automated, so that they could be 'spammed' with votes, then the idiots might stop putting insecure polls online. It wouldn't surprise me if some nerdy denier already did this, which is why they are often biased.

I'm sure that if you knew Firefox (or the open source code it is based on) well enough, it would be possible to create a version that could be automated.

BTW The Age poll is obviously more sophisticated than most, so I don't recomend trying to vote more than you should. I doubt if deleting cookies is enough.