Housekeeping: can we control the conversation?

Huub Bakker admonished us, saying:


Much as Brandoch may throw unsubstantiated statements and ad hominems around, the responses are also laden with ad hominem attacks. This hardly does anyone on this website any favours.

Richard Treadgold, I see that you slapped Brandoch over the knuckles for calling people liars but then didn’t do the same when Richard C accused Brandoch of lying. [although Richard C made the point that his “accusation” was merely a spoof of what Brandoch had said, it’s a fair point that I rarely admonish “friends” – RT]

I enjoy reading a good discussion of the facts and putting people in their place using facts and references but we really could do without the abuse from both sides. Please enforce politeness and respect on both sides, Richard. People coming to this site to be informed would be horrified with the slanging that is currently going on here and might conclude that sceptics are no better than alarmists.

I agree with him. But with one enormous caveat: I have no wish to rule the world. One reason there are no “Rules of conduct” posted here is to avoid adding to the rules we already endure. Courtesy is enough.

Andy made the point that “these threads seem to degenerate into open threads, usually involving questions like ‘has there been any warming in the last 16 years’, or ‘is the Antarctic actually melting,’” remarking: “these kinds of discussions are penetrable only to the people in the discussion.”

He suggests directing general questions and comments to an open thread, which is a good idea. The practical need is for close supervision, to snip or redirect any general remarks before they attract a bunch of responses. But I can’t watch the site all the time. I could put up an open thread each week or so – what do you think?

I note that some of you step in to admonish those who become discourteous; I hope you continue to do so – politely, periodically – knowing that example is the best admonishment (as this site, despite its imperfections, bears witness). Although my own patience gets tried by the likes of Brandoch and Ken, they are few and far between, thank goodness. There are many more people listening without rudeness and I would very much like to behave properly for their sake.

That is, for the sake of a good airing of the issues.

Any other suggestions?

By the way: guest posts are welcome, as I have so little time to write, yet there’s so much of interest and importance occurring. I couldn’t ignore this little household management issue, of course – though another poorly-written PhD thesis nags at me to edit the thing.

I’ll watch this thread with interest!

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10 Thoughts on “Housekeeping: can we control the conversation?

  1. Bob D on 27/11/2012 at 8:48 am said:

    I feel that we can do without the likes of Brandoch, Rob Taylor (are they the same person anyway?) and Richard Christie. They contribute nothing to the conversation, simply insulting everybody and never responding when their spurious statements are challenged. They simply change the subject and continue making unfounded allegations.

    How about putting up with folk like that for a short time, to give them a chance to reform their behaviour, but then just banning them if they won’t listen? Most blogs do that.

    I’m not of course suggesting that anybody is ever banned for providing inconvenient data, such as happens at Hot-Topic. Only if they are consistently rude and exhibit troll-like behaviour.

    Remember, people like that are only here to try to destroy this blog, or make it unpleasant for everyone. They hate dissent, and strive to prevent alternative views from being presented or debated. Their only weapons are ridicule and ad homs. After all, the real-world data doesn’t support them, so they have nothing else.

    Nobody visits their alarmist blogs any more, due to their disgusting manners, so their only outlet is to come here and insult us.

  2. Alexander K on 27/11/2012 at 8:51 am said:

    Richard, I am delighted you ‘have no wish to rule the world’ and heartily approve!
    With all due respect, Huub, I found Brandoch incredibly annoying in that he did what trolls always do ie use mis-direction, make unsubstantiated statements and totally ignored fair and relevant questions put to him. He was very obviously never interested in reasonable discussion but only in hi-jacking threads, which. for serious commenters, is beyond the pale.
    I have been impressed by the restraint displayed here in the face of Brandoch’s insults, rudeness and ridiculous goading; I feel that, while you are entitled to your opinion, Brandoch was always consistently the author of his own misfortunes here.

    • Thank you, Alexander!

      I agree with you and point out that Huub was also annoyed by Brandoch; he notes simply that we ought to avoid his errors in our own replies.

  3. Bob D on 27/11/2012 at 8:59 am said:

    As an additional comment, can I say that I have no problem with people like Simon. We’re on opposite sides and I usually don’t agree with him, but he is seldom rude and is often prepared to discuss a topic properly. Contrast that with Brandoch and Rob Taylor’s demeanour.

    I also have no time for Ken, but then few people have. It’s not just at this blog that he’s unwelcome due to his insulting behaviour.

    Let me also say that I have been guilty in the past of responding in kind to Brandoch and others, and I feel bad about that. It doesn’t help matters, and it’s exactly what they want – they needle as much as possible to distract from the real issues, like the lack of a tropospheric hot-spot, or the lack of any warming over the past 16 years.

  4. Huub Bakker on 27/11/2012 at 11:47 am said:


    I am aware that you don’t have much time to moderate this blog and therefore the onus is on us to keep it clean.

    I certainly have issues with Brandoch over his insults and his habit of throwing statements out there without any expectation of backing them up with any evidence. This is simply troll behaviour although I would not like to call him a troll; it’s like children, they are not bad children, they behave in a bad manner. 🙂

    As the owner of this blog you have the power to block people from posting as you did to Ken. It’s not as though Ken wasn’t given plenty of warning. Perhaps you might like to look at Brandoch in the same light. Certainly, he is not contributing to a useful discussion at all and is merely raising the static level and temperature of the comment threads, not to mention of the readers.

    BTW I put together a rebuttal of Joseph Postma’s “Understanding the Greenhouse Effect” that I would be happy to have you post, if you’d like to email me.

    • Alexander K on 27/11/2012 at 3:27 pm said:

      As a retired teacher of teenagers and young adults, I discovered many years ago that people who behave badly in public fora, such as Brandoch, were often never given pause, as they were growing to maturity, to consider their own behaviour and how it would be seen by adults with different views and experiences from themselves.
      Individuals who behave in a similar fashion to spoilt children, sadly, need to be treated as such.
      All the better if responsible adult people can do this without losing their sense of humour and manners, but dealing with such irritants is never easy.

  5. Mike Jowsey on 27/11/2012 at 12:41 pm said:

    A timely reminder – thanks Huub & RT. I will try to reword things so that I criticise the message rather than the messenger. Or maybe the delivery of the message, which in most cases from the CAGW proponents is laden with smugness, arrogance, rudeness and sarcasm.

  6. Doug Proctor on 28/11/2012 at 11:56 am said:

    All conversations eventually wander off into the brush. That’s when it’s time to close comments.

  7. Earthling on 07/12/2012 at 11:48 pm said:

    It’s my experience, over a number of years, that CAGW proponents (alarmists) are more likely to use ad hominem without provocation than sceptics, or as alarmists prefer to call us, deniers.

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