'William M. Connolley topic-banned (R3)
- It has become clear, during the case itself, that the topic area has become too personalized and polarized around a number of editors who are, frankly, incapable of working together. While I may not agree that all editors involved have the same severity of misbehavior, I can appreciate that a forcible fresh start is probably going to help — with gradual return on merit as the editors involve themselves in other areas of the project. —
- Sad, reluctant support. I dislike intensely the idea of separating a knowledgeable editor from editing in the field of his expertise. My instincts impel me to say that I would, if possible, prefer a more carefully tailored, nuanced sanction or set of sanctions that could preserve the value of William M. Connolley's editing while addressing the problems that exist with it. (This is an observation I've made about some of the other editors who are being topic-banned as well.) We have also acknowledged that some of the specific assertions made about him previously were inaccurate or taken out of context. However, the "enough is enough" consensus of the committee is clear, and given the entire record here I can hardly say that the overall structure and outcome of the final decision is an outlandish one. Given the result, I hope that William M. Connolley can refocus his dedication to the project in other ways, while addressing the concerns that have been expressed so that he can return to this topic area in due course.'
A step forward, but so many years of misleading innocent readers will not be so readily corrected. Wikipedia, like other utopian ventures, has always been vulnerable to those with few scruples about pursuing their own self-interest with ruthlessness. Even if we see no more Kyoto-style over-reaction to CO2 such as that captured in legislation in the UK (and that seems over-optimistic given the huge momentum of interested parties wanting more of it), there remains the damage to the standing of science and to the practice of both politics and education. I suspect that an oppressive burden of gloom has been imposed on wave after wave of children passing through their school years, with a diet of alarmism based, ultimately, on the speculations of a handful of climate modellers. Speculations that have been contradicted by many observational and theoretical studies, but which nevertheless survive and are vigorously promoted by those for whom they are like a dream come true.
If Wikipedia may be at least pausing its own part that promotional effort, and if even the BBC and the Royal Society have recently indicated at least a tiny embarrassment at their part in it, I like to think, in my optimistic way, that progress is being made.
But meanwhile, in schools and other organisations aimed at children throughout the world, the deliverables of this narrow, 'science is settled', doom-laden agitation about CO2 are pushed at the young. A dream come true for some, a nightmare for others, not least the children.