Global Warming
Issues with Wikipedia

In general, Wikipedia provides good information on various subjects. However, when it comes to Global Warming, the quality goes down considerably.

The main problem is that the articles push a single point of view ... very strongly. The "rules" are that new information can not be added unless it is published in a peer reviewed journal. Well, for something this controversial, that is a good rule. However, these guys cheat - even when it is in a journal, and even when written by their heroes, these guys remove anything that does not agree with their preconceived position. Really.

There is way too much to say - it is not worth my time to write it all down. This page just gives a few examples.

To be clear, I am not just discussing the Global warming page, these comments apply to most of the related pages, including biographies of people on both sides of the issue.

Vandalism | Point of View Pushers | Terminology | Information Rot | Title Changers | Unallowed Facts | Personal Vendettas | Scibaby | Editors | Other Opinions


Vandalism

Vandalism is a general problem with all open web sites (sites that anyone can edit), not just Wikipedia. However, with most subjects, the vandals hit only a few times a year. But not with Global Warming.

Basically, the vandals are a disaster. Over 50% of the edits are just vandals and someone else removing their edits. The obvious (and most common) problems are

Less obvious are It appears that most of these are just kids in high school (based on the language and the fact that many of them don't have regular logons). The Global Warming regulars keep this stuff under control - but what a waste of time.


Point of View Pushers

Most of the point of view (POV) pushers appear to be college students or recent graduates.

Typically, these people lack a basic understanding of science ... even though their claimed degrees would suggest otherwise.

Many people just wing it - they try to edit these pages without doing any background research. These are the worst because they won't actually read the papers they reference.


Terminology

Many of the edit wars have been over terminology. By controlling the terminology, and hiding the fact that many editors disagree with the current terminology, is one way that bias is maintained in the articles.


Information Rot

Information Rot is the condition where good information is included for a few years, and then, one day, it simply goes way. To be specific, thousands of people have seen some data and found it to be useful. And then one day some twerp comes through and deletes it. Don't get me wrong, this is not a Global Warming problem, but a problem with Wikipedia in general.

For instance, on the Wikipedia Global warming page, in October 2007, the following note was produced to help stop daily edit wars ... and it worked. (It is surprising how many people don't understand temperature conversion.)

In order to "clarify" the note, in April 2009, it was changed to At first glance, there is no real change. In my opinion, changing the phrase temperature to average worldwide temperature in 2 places adds nothing to a note which is intended to stop an edit war. However, it is the deletions that bother me. Specifically, the hidden note was added in March 2009, because several people and bots were changing temperatures to templates. For instance, was changed to which then renders incorrectly as This major technical error was made February 3, 2008, and not fixed until March 2009. Apparently, a non-technical editor manually ran AutoWikiBrowser to make things pretty. (An example of automated Information Rot - I said that this was a general problem.) And none of the "experts" noticed it for more than a year.

So, eventually the note was fixed and an internal hidden note was added to keep this nonsense from happening again.

But the twerp, who had no recent history of editing any Global Warming related articles, decided to make the change anyway ... twice (so far).

Remember, this note was written because people kept changing an increase of 57 F to an increase of 91 F ... which, of course, is incorrect.


URL Changes

Once a page has been on the internet for several years, it is indexed by the various internet search engines and older versions of the page are available via the internet archive. If the page is even marginally useful, there are likely to be hundreds of links to it from other sites.

As a result, a change to that page's url is a serious decision. There can easily be hundreds of other pages affected. Typically, this is not a big problem with Wikipedia because a redirect page is automatically created, preventing links in normal pages from being broken. However, ....

There are tens of thousands of Wikipedia pages about people. Typically, they are identified by the person's real name. However, as we all know, names are not unique and, therefore, some method is need to tell one Tom Smith from another. The Wikipedia method is to produce a disambiguation page and to add a unique phrase after the name.

The problem occurs when a page about a specific person has existed for several years and then, one day, another person with the same name appears. The logical (and no longer used) method of handling this was to leave the existing page url alone and to add a link to the associated (and new) disambiguation page. The result is that nothing bad happens. (Now there is a concept.)

Unfortunately, several self-appointed ... eh, people ... have decided that that is unfair. As a result, they have decided to disambiguate (change the url of) existing people who have had pages for a number of years. As expected, the result is a mess. The search engines now have two (or more) links for the same person ... but they now go to different pages. The information stored in the internet archives is now worthless (because no one will know to search for that url). Hundreds of individual web pages, blogs, and the like, will no longer point to the correct site.

Well, what's a few hundred problems? Well ... they make these kinds of changes to thousands of pages per day! That means that literally millions of sites are affected. In my opinion, that is a very big deal. To be clear, these people produce more harm than most computer viruses. I hesitate to use harsh terms - such as vandalism - because I am sure their intent is not malicious. However, ... these people (vandals) are editing pages where this is the only edit that they will ever make. They have no interest in the page except to change the name.

And it gets worse - in at least one case that I know of, it started an edit war and many hundreds of hours were lost (wasted) because of the simple drive-by vandalism. There was even a vote to see which term could be used to attack the person. The fact that there was an edit war should have been enough for some administrator to return things to the state that existed before the rename.

To be totally explicit, on June 13, 2009, Tassedethe (the self-appointed ... well, whatever he thinks he is) changed the name. No discussion, no consensus, just "surprise ... you're screwed". And then he did the same thing to hundreds of other pages. (At least he had the good sense to select "weather presenter" for the disambiguation term.) As of July 28,2009, the edit war is still continuing.

Basically, one group of people wants to do anything possible to discredit this person and this situation provides a mechanism to slip it in under the BLP rules. The other group supports the work Watts is doing. My suggestion is to return to what was there before the twerp started the edit war and then to ban this type of, uh, information rot.

These are fairly typical entries from Tassedethe - contributions - for 07-26-09, the were over 1,000 entries like these

I am sure that there are other instances where this unthinking person has started an un-necessary edit war.

tasse de th - French for "cup of tea"

I am sure these twerps see themselves as "heroes fixing serious problems" but I see them as "drive-by vandals, creating a serious problem for the web in general".


Unallowed Facts

The theory of CO2 produced Global Warming depends on two primary assumptions Any facts that challenge these points are simply deleted ... no matter how solid.

If either of these assumptions is disproved, then the entire theory of CO2 produced Global Warming is immediately disproved.

In fact, there is significant data that both of these points are false.

But, any attempt to add facts like these to Wikipedia is immediately stopped by the true believers. Absolutely rock solid references do not matter.


Personal Vendettas

One of the more controlling Global Warming editors referred to himself as the Mailed Fist when he bragged about how he has driven skeptics away from Wikipedia. Further down in the same blog entry, this person called Dr. Roy Spencer, a respected NASA scientist who vocally disagrees with the Global Warming hysteria, "a wacko". Oh, and the supposed purpose of the blog - to claim that another NASA scientist was not really a scientist because he was an administrator and had not published enough papers to qualify.

It is interesting that even though personal attacks of this nature are not allowed in Wikipedia, this person still linked to his blog in one of the "discussions" (arguments) about including data that he disagreed with. The attempts to call this person out for such remarks were immediately deleted by other "true believers", but the link to the offending comments was left in.

This is one way many Wikipedia articles become biased - if you don't like someone's opinion, you label them wacko (an ad hominem attack) or claim that they are no longer scientists (another ad hominem attack). Then you brag about how you control the entire Global Warming section of the encyclopedia with a Mailed Fist.


Scibaby

There is a particular Wikipedia editor that the pro-Global Warming editors don't like - Scibaby.

This person has apparently created hundreds of accounts (sock puppets) to hide his identity (317 as of June 2009). In order to block this person, thousands of IP addresses are permanently blocked from editing. In July 2009, two special filters were created just to try and block this one user.

For the most part (ie, what I have seen), Scibaby tries to add balance to the otherwise totally one sided, propaganda ridden Global Warming sections of Wikipedia. In general, I agree with him that more balance is needed and I agree with most of his wording ... though he tends to go too far.

It has gotten to the point that any edit attributed to Scibaby is immediately deleted without any attempt to determine if it is valid and should be left in. The reason for deletion is typically given as - Scibaby.

On the other hand, some of Scibaby's edits alter facts in a way that is not correct. For instance, he tried to redefine the nano technology size limit from "100 nm to 1um a number of times". This happens often enough that it is clearly nothing but vandalism and, as a result, Scibaby, and any sock puppet attributed to him, is permanently banned.

As an example, I found this edit by StenSmith (identified as a Scibaby sock puppet)

That is not what I would call vandalism ... though several similar titles were not changed.

On another page, and with a different user ID (Josko33), the following passage was added ... and immediately remove by the POV police.

In summary, there are several areas of interest

It is not clear to me that all the user accounts identified as Scibaby sock puppets are definitely the same person ... though it is highly likely.

By the way, any user that restores an edit made by a banned user can also be banned.


Editors

The main editors on any specific page can be found at wikichecker. I suggest Global warming (16,403 edits), Talk:Global warming (21,196 edits). (The number of edits was as of 08-10-09.)


Other Opinions

Wikipedia is a great source of information if you know how to use it. Basically, before accepting what is in the article as true, you should always review the talk pages.


Author: Robert Clemenzi
URL: http:// questionable-science.com / Global_Warming / Wikipedia / Wikipedia.html