Climategate: The Corruption of Wikipedia

December 26, 2009

If you want to know the truth about Climategate, definitely don’t use Wikipedia. “Climatic Research Unit e-mail controversy”, is its preferred, mealy-mouthed euphemism to describe the greatest scientific scandal of the modern age. Not that you’d ever guess it was a scandal from  the accompanying article. It reads more like a damage-limitation press release put out by concerned friends and sympathisers of the lying, cheating, data-rigging scientists

Which funnily enough, is pretty much what it is. Even Wikipedia’s own moderators acknowledge that the entry has been hijacked, as this commentary by an “uninvolved editor” makes clear.

Unfortunately, this naked bias and corruption has infected the supposedly neutral Wikipedia’s entire coverage of Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) theory. And much of this, as Lawrence Solomon reports in the National Post, is the work of one man, a Cambridge-based scientist and Green Party activist named William Connolley.

Connolley took control of all things climate in the most used information source the world has ever known – Wikipedia. Starting in February 2003, just when opposition to the claims of the band members were beginning to gel, Connolley set to work on the Wikipedia site. He rewrote Wikipedia’s articles on global warming, on the greenhouse effect, on the instrumental temperature record, on the urban heat island, on climate models, on global cooling. On Feb. 14, he began to erase the Little Ice Age; on Aug.11, the Medieval Warm Period. In October, he turned his attention to the hockey stick graph. He rewrote articles on the politics of global warming and on the scientists who were skeptical of the band. Richard Lindzen and Fred Singer, two of the world’s most distinguished climate scientists, were among his early targets, followed by others that the band especially hated, such as Willie Soon and Sallie Baliunas of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, authorities on the Medieval Warm Period.

All told, Connolley created or rewrote 5,428 unique Wikipedia articles. His control over Wikipedia was greater still, however, through the role he obtained at Wikipedia as a website administrator, which allowed him to act with virtual impunity. When Connolley didn’t like the subject of a certain article, he removed it — more than 500 articles of various descriptions disappeared at his hand. When he disapproved of the arguments that others were making, he often had them barred — over 2,000 Wikipedia contributors who ran afoul of him found themselves blocked from making further contributions. Acolytes whose writing conformed to Connolley’s global warming views, in contrast, were rewarded with Wikipedia’s blessings. In these ways, Connolley turned Wikipedia into the missionary wing of the global warming movement.

Connolley has supposedly been defrocked as a Wikipedia administrator. Or so Wikipedia claimed in its feeble, there’s-really-not-much-we-can-do response to anxious questions from one of Watts Up With That’s readers.

In September 2009, the Wikipedia Arbitration Committee revoked Mr. Connolley’s administrator status after finding that he misused his administrative privileges while involved in a dispute unrelated to climate warming.

If this is true, it doesn’t seem to have made much difference to his creative input on the Wikipedia’s entries. Here he is – unless its just someone with an identical name – busily sticking his oar in to entries on the Medieval Warm Period (again) and the deeply compromised, soon-to-be-leaving (let’s hope) IPCC head Dr Rajendra Pachauri. And here he is again just three days ago, removing a mention of Climategate from Michael Mann’s entry. And here is an example of one of his Wikipedia chums – name of Stephan Schulz – helping to cover up for him by ensuring that no mention of that embarrassing Lawrence Solomon article appears on Connolley’s Wikipedia entry. And here he is deleting criticism of himself.

Connolley, it should also be noted, was one of the founder members of Real Climate – the friends-of-Michael-Mann propaganda outfit (aka “The Hockey Team”) which, in the guise of disinterested science, pumps out climate-fear-promoting hysteria on AGW and tries to discredit anyone who disagrees with the ManBearPig “consensus”.

Here he is, for example, being bigged up in a 2006 email from Michael Mann:

>> I’ve attached the piece in word format. Hyperlinks are still there,
>> but not clickable in word format. I’ve already given it a good
>> go-over w/ Gavin, Stefan, and William Connelley (our internal “peer
>> review” process at RC), so I think its in pretty good shape. Let me
>> know if any comments…
>>

and here are some of his associates:

From: Phil Jones
To: William M Connolley ,Caspar Ammann
Subject: Figure 7.1c from the 1990 IPCC Report
Date: Fri, 05 Jan 2007 13:38:40 +0000
Cc: Tom Crowley ,”Michael E. Mann” , “raymond s. bradley” , Stefan Rahmstorf , Eric Steig ,gschmidt@giss.nasa.gov, rasmus.benestad@physics.org,garidel@marine.rutgers.edu, David Archer , “Raymond P.” ,k.briffa@uea.ac.uk, t.osborn@uea.ac.uk, “Mitchell, John FB (Chief Scientist)” , “Jenkins, Geoff” , “Warrilow, David (GA)” , Tom Wigley ,mafb5@sussex.ac.uk, “Folland, Chris”

Get that? The guy who has been writing Wikipedia’s entry on Climategate (plus 5,000 others relating to “Climate Change”) is the bosom buddy of the Climategate scientists.

Nope, this isn’t a problem that is going to go away. Wikipedia may well be beyond redemption – as this useful resource site for Wiki-inaccuracies would seem to suggest. Like so many hippyish notions, Jimmy Wales’s idea of a free encyclopedia for everyone was a noble intention which has been cruelly and horribly abused by some very ugly people.

Do you want to know just how ugly? I’ve been saving the worst till last. Here it is: William Connelley’s Wikipedia photograph.

Connelly

UPDATE: (thanks, wondrous Thomas 33 for your delving). Et Tu, Jimmy Wales? It seems that the dread Connolley once earned the approbation of the Wiki-King himself, as he boasts here on an old blog:

 

2005-12-19

 

Connolley has done such amazing work…

Back to wikipedia… Nature has an article on wikipedia vs Britannica. It was an interesting exercise, and as the most notable climatologist on wiki :-) they interviewed me, which lead to the sidebar article “Challenges of being a Wikipedian” (see the Nature article; click on the “challenges” link near the bottom). It contains the rather nice quote from Jimbo Wales “Connolley has done such amazing work and has had to deal with a fair amount of nonsense” (does Lumo still read this?).

He can also be found gloating evilly over his powers:

2006-01-16

Wikinews

A few snippets from wikipedia… I’m now an admin, and hence have ultimate power to CRUSH ALL MY ENEMIES HA HA HA HA!!! <evil laugh trails off into the distance>. Sadly no: the rules prohibit me from abusing my powers and there are always other people watching anyway. And not that I have too many enemies, Of Course. Some of the comments are interesting though: try the RFA, scroll down for the Opposes. 

And I’ve just made my 10,000th edit. That slacker Lubos only has 2.3k, & Charles matthews has a feeble 54k.

Related posts:

  1. Wikipedia Bias – Jimmy Wales does the right thing
  2. Climategate 2.0
  3. Uh oh, global warming loons: here comes Climategate II!
  4. Climategate 2.0: junk science 101 with Michael Mann

5 Responses to “Climategate: the corruption of Wikipedia”

  1. Cassandra Troy says:December 26, 2009 at 10:44 amHi James. Thanks for all the great posts!

    “Climatic Research Unit e-mail controversy”, is its preferred, mealy-mouthed euphemism to describe the greatest scientific scandal of the modern age.”

    Haven’t you heard? It’s “SwiftHack” now (as in “swiftboating”): http://www.bluecommonwealth.com/diary/1704/your-climategate-swifthack-holiday-primer – LOL

  2. Gregory Kohs says:December 28, 2009 at 2:35 amIn this season of fundraising for the Wikimedia Foundation, it would be nice if people actually looked into WHY the Foundation that runs Wikipedia gets only 2 stars (out of four) for “organizational efficiency”. Donors should just throw 60 cents down the drain for every dollar they give this idiotic organization.

    http://www.tinyurl.com/WMF-myths

  3. PhilBest says:December 28, 2009 at 3:49 amJames, I’m trying to get your attention with THIS: (I posted it 5 days ago on another thread, the one about being a proud parent. And James is that; that’s all the more reason to have all the angles of this scandal covered by him)

    One thing James Delingpole actually does not seem to have caught up on yet, is the Google hits manipulation scandal. He says 31 million hits. But it was nearly that high 3 weeks ago, only to mysteriously drop to below 20 million, while Yahoo has gone up to over 50 million. “Bing” apparently went to 50 million 2 weeks ago, only to even more mysteriously drop back to below 10 million.

    I won’t post links in case this blog doesn’t like them. Check out the online articles “Googlegate” by Harold Ambler and “Google Carrying Out More Purges Than Stalin” by Kathy Shaidle.

  4. Bob Innes says:January 5, 2010 at 12:10 amJames: A change is as good as a rest so if that novel got you down, have a gander at a different but similar situation in which interested parties have kidnapped a wiki subject –

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Short_(finance)

    If you scroll down to a section called euphemistically, Views of Short Selling, you will see the whitewash job someone has done on the subject. Narry a mention of any immoral or criminal aspect. For that, one has to go to the talk page and also start looking at the history page about early summer 2009. Naturally the industry wants nobody to understand how this practice creates virtual duplicates and /or counterfeits.

    If you want to delve further into the whole mess, there are several sites to visit. The most active would be
    http://www.deepcapture.com/
    Jim Wales gets his share of ink.
    Another i like is
    http://www.rgm.com/
    Lots of sites object to the illegal naked shorting. I seem to be alone in being opposed to legal shorting, per my site.

    If you’re suitably horrified (maybe you own some shares) you can go to a petition (one of several) aimed at outlawing this situation.
    http://www.petitiononline.com/shortNOT/petition.html

    Please feel free to contact me if you’d like to follow up. I’m not sure what to do about Wikipedia. There seems to be copy cat sites springing up, even one called Conservapedia! so maybe the whole thing will collapse into a useless bog. Trying to keep up with these jokers seems to be hopeless. The folks making the money got time to burn.

    Keep up the good work.

    Bob

  5. Bob Innes says:January 5, 2010 at 12:23 amAddress correction. Please forgive & delete.
    Bob
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