Friday, December 28, 2012

The Y-Axis of Evil

This post is interesting on two levels.  

The most important is how well Rob Honeycutt explains a recent denialist meme and how it manipulates and misrepresents temperature graphs and science.  

The second reason is sort of gossipy but worth sharing just the same.  You see in the comments section some of Anthony's Watt'sUpWithThat tactics are exposed.  Considering I'm familiar with this "Smokey" character, a WUWT regular - I found it interesting and worth sharing that he's been outted as a WUWT sock-puppet.                                                                                                                                         

The Y-Axis of Evil (via Skeptical Science)
Posted on 28 December 2012 by Rob Honeycutt Very recently a comment popped up on the WUWT site that caught my attention. It was a comment similar to many I've seen before and one that needs addressing. The comment was from someone named D Böehm, saying, "The alarmist crowd likes to use 0.1ºC increments…

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Here's the comment that started the gossipy fun going: 

D Böehm aka Smokey aka dbs (a moderator on WUWT who likes to post under sock-puppets) has posted any number of monstrously distorted graphs - he appears to make a hobby of them. Over and over and over..

Now, I will note that I feel anonymity on the Web is a good thing. Sock-puppeting, however, is another story entirely - if a moderator on a site misrepresents himself/herself as a rather virulent poster or two (who seem oddly immune to moderation), that is not honest. I don't care what a posters real name is, or where they work, their posts should make sense on their own. But if they are mixing rolesas moderator of a site and an unrestrained sock-puppet poster of distorted information and insults, that's just downright deceptive. And calls into question the site itself - if there's deception in an aspect as important as moderation, what else is going on?

From the WUWT policy page:
* Internet phantoms who have cryptic handles, no name, and no real email address get no respect here. If you think your opinion or idea is important, elevate your status by being open and honest. People that use their real name get more respect than phantoms with handles. I encourage open discussion.
* Anonymity is not guaranteed on this blog. Posters that use a government or publicly funded ip address that assume false identities for the purpose of hiding their source of opinion while on the taxpayers dime get preferential treatment for full disclosure.
* A real working email address that you own (as a commenter) is required, so that I may contact you if needed. False or misleading email addresses may earn banishment. Changing handles and/or changing email addresses to get around this will also earn the same fate.
Hmm... I sense an inconsistency.

For a previous critique on this kind of graphic distortion, with no discernible purpose other than to deceive, see a comment on D Böehm/Smokey's work here

Summary: If you see a graph with unneeded compression or expansion, and in particular if you see one where [ ] the important data has been altered to change values, you can conclude one thing with certainty. The presenter of that graph is attempting to mislead. - KR

Disclosure: I have been banned from that particular site since a post of mine that mentioned "D Böehm/Smokey", i.e. calling attention to the sock-puppet. Annoying, but rather unsurprising.

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