Dr. Richard Tol writes at his blog:
The Tol Poll is a direct result of the series of op-eds in the Guardian on the relationship between the environmental movement and environmental science organized by Alice Bell, and particularly Tamsin Edwards’ call for experts to talk about their area of expertise only. In the ensuing discussion, many noted just how nasty the climate debate has become, and Chairman Al, the Climate Chimp, suggested a poll on nastiness.
So I did, as a joke. Putting together an internet poll is trivial. (Designing a good poll is a lot of work.)
The poll itself is simple. Rate 12 people who are prominent in the British climate debate online, on a scale of 1 to 5 where 1 stands for “very nasty” and 5 stands for “very friendly”. There is a bonus question that places the respondent in the political spectrum, rating themselves on a scale of 1 to 5 where 1 stands for “very worried about the impacts of climate policy” and 5 for “very worried about the impacts of climate change”. (Some people argued these are different things, which of course they are, but I was not after identifying the agony aunts who worry about everything.)
The expected result: Some people are either loved or loathed, depending on the (in)congruence of their political position and that of the respondent, whereas other people are accepted by both sides of the debate.
The best I hoped for were some giggles, and perhaps a data set that could be used for a class in forensic statistics (as the framing of the poll invites dishonest answers).
I had not counted on Anthony Watts pushing the poll. I had not counted on someone writing a bot to flood the poll with fake results pushing a particular position, and someone else writing a bot to support the opposite position. Or maybe it was the same bot, as its author realized people saw through the ruse. The software I used, Google Docs, is not really suited for handling this amount of data.
As a courtesy to all those who took the time to fill out the poll and who discussed it (in grave, jocular or puzzled tones), here are some of the results. As Google Docs continues to be uncooperative, these are the results for the first 1288 valid replies; there are 11701 invalid replies by the bot(s).
Figure 1 shows that some people are better loved than others. As expected, the host of Watts Up With That tops the bill.
Read the rest here (lots of graphs): http://richardtol.blogspot.com/2013/08/the-tol-poll.html
Note: No Mad Haxor Skillz were used in the publication of this poll.
UPDATE: Richard Tol has a final result now, and it is here: