Posted by: GoRight | February 6, 2010

Climate Change Probation

It should be no surprise that there are constant conflicts on the climate change pages at Wikipedia, but ever since the ClimateGate scandal broke these have flared up all over.  New editors are showing up to try and correct the bias that they find there and with a typical Shoot, Ready, Aim mentality the entrenched alarmists have been up in arms.

As a result the “community” enacted a set of editing restrictions which are intended to quell the disruption.  These restrictions are commonly referred to as the Climate Change Probation and they are designed to give system administrators additional authority to hand out sanctions for disruption of various sorts.  Disruption in this context is anything that causes the content to be unstable for extended periods of time.  Typically this takes the form of what is referred to as edit warring between the different factions of the skeptics and the alarmists.

Under ordinary circumstances this might be a good thing but the climate change pages are anything but normal.  They are tightly controlled by a small group of editors who game the system to maintain control.  Some even suspect there is off-wiki coordination which is officially considered improper behavior but it undoubtedly happens because there is no way to prove it has occurred, and therefore there is no way to stop it.

As was predicted the enforcement of violations of the site’s policies and governing rules is being enforced selectively so as to eliminate the opinions of anyone that wants to see more balanced coverage of the climate change debate.  This means that the skeptics are being actively targeted by supposedly neutral administrators who hand out overly harsh sanctions to them while ignoring and even defending the same abuses by the alarmists.

For interested outsiders the formal description of the Climate Change Probation is available here.   The details of the current discussions regarding sanctions under the probation is here and archived cases are available from the upper right hand portion of that page.  The log of any sanctions which have already been imposed is available here.

Additional commentary on this topic can be found on a site called Wikipedia Review which specializes in insider discussions of all things Wikipedia that can’t actually  be discussed on Wikipedia because of the current policies and guidelines.

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Responses

  1. Wikipedia started well and gained a lot of well-deserved fame.
    I used to help them editing and adding content in my areas of expertice (see http://www.oarval.org/avalencia/).

    On 2002 I noticed a definte left-wing bias when the article on Hugo Chavez became a defence of his dictatorship grab of my country (Venezuela). My edits and additions were being rejected 100% of the time. And, if I proved my case to an editor, another would take over and delete me again. I gave up.

  2. This is a pretty common experience on wikipedia (I’ve tried to insert some realism into the Chavez article as well). Thhe most fanatical people will have the last say in wikipedia while the more sane people will eventually realize the futility in trying to reason with the insane.

    At the heart of it is power, the power over other people’s beliefs, and such bait is irresistible to a certain type of fish that probably feels quite powerless in its everyday life.

  3. […] the “warmer friendly” admins by emphasizing that such admins are fully empowered by the climate change probation to act unilaterally against the […]


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