Esmeralda

Esmeralda Dangerfield has been posting at RC. And she has been censored. However, not in the usual RC way. In her case, Gavin posted her post, but made an edit of what he calls “cut-and-paste contrarian talking points”. He then goes into an explanation of why he edited her post.

What is interesting about it is that Esmeralda put up her entire post at CA, so we can see what Gavin cut out.

It is perhaps understandable that RC exercised its moderation rights here in the way that they did. As Hu McCulloch said at CA “Rejected … by RC!” thread. Post 176:

Hu McCulloch: August 20th, 2009 at 10:16 am

RE Esmeralda Dangerfield #171,

Great points, but your comment is so long and comprehensive that even I can empathize with RC’s not posting it. Even on most CA threads, it would be cut or dropped.

Unless you open your own blog, you will have better success making your points with short, concise, “letters-to-the-editor” sized comments.

Anyhow, it is certainly interesting to see an example of RC moderation at work. Since we have room here (not being burdened by too many posts, or comments for that matter!) we decided to put up both of Esmeralda’s posts, the edited one from RC, followed by the complete one posted at CA. We have highlighted the differences.

RC “Resolving Technical Issues in Science” thread. Post 172

Esmeralda Dangerfield says: 19 August 2009 at 6:03 PM

Gentlepersons….. I am *very* sorry! I did not mean to imply that warming was not – or was – happening. I am new to this, but have spent many hours in the past week or so, tumbling through the rabbit hole of various web sites.

I *was* referring to the need for doing good, quality science, with openness. Where, oh where, did I write something about “scientific misconduct,” “fraud,” “corruption,” something of which so many would take offense? A lack of openness was the worst of my recent observations. Has anyone read this thread?

[edit of cut-and-paste contrarian talking points]

[Response: On the off-chance that you are indeed new to this – you need to know that your sources are not telling you the truth. You quote people like John Theon as if they knew what they were talking about. How do you know that? Where did you come across his name in this context? Who told you he was a valid authority? He isn’t, and he wasn’t. Instead he is a retired administrator (since at least the mid-1990s) who has no publication history or expertise on the matter. As for Joanne Simpson, her comments – pushed around the denialosphere by people like you innocently or not – are taken out of context and a complete distortion of her opinions on the subject.

As for the harassment of researchers by ‘people only seeking the truth’, the evidence is all around that this is a political tactic rather than it being due to any desire to use the information to further science. What did they do with the GISTEMP data, programs and instructions that was put on line after a similarly generated outcry? Nothing. Why don’t they demand the same transparency from the producers of the satellite temperature data? Obvious – they see no political point in doing so, yet the scientific point is just as valid. These people see very clearly that since short of continuously web-streaming the work of each individual scientist, there will always be more that can be asked for regardless of what is currently available. Thus it is like a perpetual outrage-generating machine that just keeps on chugging along, like the Moloch, never satisfied with what it has. Meanwhile, what matters is forgotten (or was never acknowledged in the first place). Which is of course the point.

The truth of the matter is that the vast majority of scientists are extremely flattered to have people genuinely interested in their research and are more than willing to go out of there way to help people further the science. However, they generally don’t take kindly to be accused of misconduct and then being asked by the same people to take time out of their day to help them understand something. Respect needs to go both ways – scientists will have respect and time for people wanting to know more or check things independently when the same people doesn’t automatically assume that any decision made in the analysis or mistake in a description is proof of some nefarious agenda. – gavin]

There have been nothing but dismissive taunts directed at me in response to my posting, many asking if I “believe” in global warming, and, well, I’m taken aback. I would not have thought that would be a question asked by a scientist — ever. I thought science was “just the facts,” the results….but…?

My post was an attempt to “cool” the tempers of recent. I made no charges, only an observation of dismissive discourteous secretiveness, in only a short time — and which Dr. Theon writes about, I might add, again. I might be new to this, but I’m not uneducated or stupid or undiscerning.

I am easy to get rid of. …smile. I didn’t realize “you” had decided: we know there’s warming; it’s getting worse and worse… Given how bad “you” know it is, what’s the point to further study?

As a taxpayer, it would be much cheaper to stop the research now, issue all of “you” baseball bats and let you break the knees of anyone who doesn’t say the right thing.

I am chagrined, embarrassed, and will, most certainly — having been properly chastised — disappear. Consider me a “fly-by.” But, I will certainly talk about this experience with you, believe me!
I still believe you would have a lot to gain by working with, not against, these very smart, talented, experience, energetic and caring rag-tags.

Here is Esmeralda’s Post from CA, which includes the entire post that she lodged at RC. From CA “Rejected … by RC! thread. Post 171. I have bolded the part of her comment excised by RC. Esmeralda refers to additional comments – I am assuming that those are the points in brackets, which presumably were not in the original post delivered to RC.

Esmeralda Dangerfield: August 20th, 2009 at 8:52 am

Hi, guys! Maid Marian’s back from Nottingham, and it’s only a flesh wound! …smile.

Below is the unexpurgated version of my message to RC. Pls note the massive edit of what is considered standard “contrarian talking points.” (I even was versed enough to anticipate the objection to Joanne Simpson’s comments and reference her (grudging?) point that we probably ought to do something since there’s a (remote?) possibility the thugs are right. I have made some other observations in messages below. ….Ez

19 August 2009

Gentlepersons….. I am *very* sorry! I did not mean to imply that warming was not – or was – happening. I am new to this, but have spent many hours in the past week or so, tumbling through the rabbit hole of various web sites.

I *was* referring to the need for doing good, quality science, with openness. Where, oh where, did I write something about “scientific misconduct,” “fraud,” “corruption,” something of which so many would take offense? A lack of openness was the worst of my observations, of recent. Has anyone read this thread, alone?

I have read about a paper by Eric Steig et al and a tempest about a needed correction that was not dealt with, in my estimation, courteously. Apparently, there is another correction likely to be needed, but that question has been “refused” by this site.) Dr. Steig seemed not forthcoming in a dismissive comment to the effect that the methodologies used were available in textbooks, etc. and he would supply no further information. (No one asked this question, but *I* wondered why this, apparently minor, correction was not caught in the routine pre-publication peer review process.)

I also read elsewhere about the UK Met Office’s refusal to give some data (whether raw or massaged) to Steve McIntyre, a former Canadian mining engineer. Their reasons are bizarre, hysterical! I have not encountered anything so funny since Monty Python’s Ministry of Funny Walks. Is this the real world? Are the world’s researchers pressing for this data release? (Apparently, Peter Webster, who already has the data, is. Is anyone else?)

Further, I read a statement by John Theon, who declared “climate models are useless. My own belief concerning anthropogenic climate change is that the models do not realistically simulate the climate system because there are many very important sub-grid scale processes that the models either replicate poorly or completely omit,” Theon explained. “Furthermore, some scientists have manipulated the observed data to justify their model results. In doing so, they neither explain what they have modified in the observations, nor explain how they did it. They have resisted making their work transparent so that it can be replicated independently by other scientists. This is clearly contrary to how science should be done. Thus there is no rational justification for using climate model forecasts to determine public policy,” he added.

Although Theon has been described as an old “geezer” who no one ever heard of by some (…Very Young Turks…?) one doesn’t have to google deeply to find a very impressive list of Theon’s credentials, awards, committee chairmanships, etc. etc. His comments about not making research transparent so it can be replicated independently certainly *seems* to be the tone of what I’ve read, only in the past week or so.
And, Dr. Joanne Simpson, who said recently that we should do something about climate warming in case it was true, but, that — now that she no longer had possible funding on the line — she could say that she *remained* skeptical. WOW!!!

Several weeks ago, the NYTimes Sunday Magazine wrote a wonderful feature article about Freeman Dyson (another geezer, but some might know him as Esther Dyson’s papa…?), who was annoyed that Gore invoked Roger Revelle in his movie. Dyson said, in effect, “I *knew* Roger. He was a skeptic.” As is Papa Dyson.

I’m sure “you” all know all this. It was new to me, but, inside this rabbit hole, I confess to being fascinated and — so far — I come down firmly on the side you describe as skeptics, who I would classify as truth-seekers, those who believe in science which can be scrutinized and replicated. For a pick-up army of rag-tags, they are impressively smart and dedicated to truth, not disproving one theory or another (although it appears their work, so far, puts them on the side other than the one you “believe(?)” in. If I were “you,” I’d use them, not ridicule them. (I haven’t the foggiest how much work it is for these rag-tags to do what they do, which, it seems, is reverse engineer “your” assumptions and methodologies, etc. guessing through trial and error, how “you” did the work you won’t reveal to them. But, I think theirs is a *lot* of work, not done by anyone other than those with the sharpest minds. And pro bono! — only because they care about good science. Without a budget or expensive tools. This seems daunting to me. And “you” throw up roadblocks at every opportunity, apparently because they *might* come up with an answer you don’t “believe” in… I am incredulous.)

There have been nothing but dismissive taunts directed at me in response to my posting, many asking if I “believe” in global warming, and, well, I’m taken aback. I would not have thought that would be a question asked by a scientist — ever. I thought science was “just the facts,” the results….but…?

My post was an attempt to “cool” the tempers of recent. I made no charges, only an observation of dismissive discourteous secretiveness, over a short observed span of time — and secretiveness of which Dr. Theon writes about, I might add again. I am new to this, but I’m not uneducated or stupid or undiscerning.

I am easy to get rid of. …smile. I didn’t realize “you” had decided: we know there’s warming; it’s getting worse and worse… Given how bad “you” know it is, what’s the point to further study?

As a taxpayer, it would be much cheaper to stop the research now, issue all of “you” baseball bats and let you break the knees of anyone who doesn’t say the right thing.

I am chagrined, embarrassed, and will, most certainly — having been properly chastised — disappear. Consider me a “fly-by.” But, I will certainly talk about this experience with you, believe me!
I still believe you would have a lot to gain by working with, not against, these very smart, talented, experience, energetic and caring rag-tags.

There have been some comments at CA about why RC is so determined to “manage” the message. A succinct expression of this was given by Calvin Ball, again in the CA “Rejected … at RC! thread. Post 177

Calvin Ball: August 20th, 2009 at 11:03 am

I think maybe some confusion is generated by comparing RC to CA and WUUT. You can’t expect the dynamics to be similar if the mission is different. Back to RC’s mission:

“RealClimate is a commentary site on climate science by working climate scientists for the interested public and journalists. We aim to provide a quick response to developing stories and provide the context sometimes missing in mainstream commentary.”

In other words, they’re not an egalitarian general discussion group, but an information dissemination site with comments. The primary mission isn’t to question and discuss, but to communicate a clear, unambiguous message. Any dissenting comments that can’t be handily shot down conflict with the primary mission. While the language quoted is somewhat vague, it implies that the board operators are authorities, and their word is immutable fact.

This is a very different dynamic from CA, where Steve chooses the topics, and makes his case, but is questioning rather than asserting. It makes the job of moderation a lot easier when the only criterion for snipping is decorum and relevance, and there isn’t a narrative to be maintained.

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