Posted by: GoRight | October 2, 2011

William M. Connolley Seeks to Have His Ban Lifted

For anyone who follows the climate change debate and how it plays out on Wikipedia the news that William M. Connolley is attempting to have his ban lifted should be of particular interest.  Since his ban the environment on the climate change pages has improved considerably owing largely to the elimination of his caustic attacks on other editors who don’t particularly share his extreme and exclusionist philosophy.  The neutrality of the climate pages has begun to improve since his ban and reversing his ban would only serve to reverse that positive trend.

Of course his usual allies are piling on in support of lifting the ban whereas they were more than happy to pile on to insure that I had no such good fortune.  Such is the state of things.  If the climate change pages are better off without my input they are most certainly better off without the caustic atmosphere WMC so frequently engenders.  Removing people’s comments.  Insulting people in his edit summaries and elsewhere.  Skewing the neutrality of the climate change content to promote his myopic views.  None of these are good for the encyclopedia and few have done more to harm the reputation of the climate changes pages on the project than has William M. Connolley.

The discussion will be ongoing here.  If you are so inclined I encourage anyone with an opinion on this matter to express it there.

If memory serves, at the time of his ban the Arbitration Committee expressed the strong sentiment that as a condition of having one’s ban reversed they would put a premium on subsequent work which lead to moving articles in other areas to Featured Article status.  If my memory serves correctly then one has to ask the obvious question, how many articles has William successfully moved to that level of status?  I don’t know because I have not been following along that closely, but I suspect the number is 0 (zero).  If I am wrong please correct me in the comments.

Assuming he hasn’t moved any articles to featured article status since his ban, and given that he presumably remains a caustic influence when it comes to climate change topics, why then is it in the best interests of the project to lift his ban?  If he wishes to contribute to the project let him continue in the small way that he has since the ban.

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Responses

  1. GoRight: “The neutrality of the climate pages has begun to improve since his ban…”

    Are you refering to BLP articles or the articles on the science of climate change? Can you give examples of this?

  2. My comment is based on only a sporadic reading of random articles and discussion since my ban. Specifics on changes to individual pages are difficult to provide since in any given instance I can only assume what WMC’s reactions might have been based on my prior experience with him.

    I believe that the BLP related aspects are certainly improved in this area. I suspect others are as well.

    One good example of where I see improvement is the list of scientists opposing the mainstream scientific assessment of global warming. Here is the version as of WMC’s last edit, and here is the most current version. If you compare the treatment of say, Richard Lindzen, between the two you get a much better and more well rounded sense of what Lindzen’s position actual is. WMC and his closest allies worked pretty hard on the previous version of that page to insure only the most minimal text of the skeptic’s statements were included and that only a minimum of such statements were allowed per skeptic (or septic as WMC would call them).

    Is this improvement due solely to WMC having been topic banned? Obviously not. But I firmly believe that the discussions necessary to make that progress went much more smoothly without WMC’s signature invective and ad hominem insults thrown into the mix.

    So this is the kind of thing I am referring to. I’ll check some of the non-BLP related pages for examples and get back to you.


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