Connolley may be out at Wikipedia

For those who don’t know, William Connolley, a Real Climate founding contributor, has been the most prolific climate information gatekeeper at Wikipedia, and was the subject of this Lawrence Solomon article:

Wikibullies at work. The National Post exposes broad trust issues over Wikipedia climate information

Given the volume of his volunteer Wiki output, one wonders how he supports himself with regular work.

Bishop hill reports today:

A correspondent writes to tell me that Wikipedia’s Arbitration Committee are currently examining the conduct of people involved in the ongoing saga of edit wars over climate change articles. 

The allegations and counter-allegations over who did what and when can be seen here.

There has now been a draft decision issued and it looks as though, hot on the heels of losing his SysOp privileges, Dr Connolley may be up for a ban. He will be accompanied by at least one sceptic.

(As always with Wiki, please don’t get involved if you are not already)

A look at the list of grievances  is interesting, note that Lawrence Solomon’s page is in an edit war.


Edit warring on Climate Change related articles

6) During the course of this arbitration case, the following articles required full page protection due to edit warring. [3]

Four of the six articles involved in the eight edit wars are biographies of living people. Almost 30 editors were involved in the eight edit wars that resulted in these page protections; two of these editors, William M. Connolley and Marknutley, were involved in seven of eight edit wars.


William M. Connolley previously sanctioned and desysopped

7) In the Abd-William M. Connolley arbitration case (July-September 2009), William M. Connolley was found to have misused his admin tools while involved. As a result, he lost administrator permissions, and was admonished and prohibited from interacting with User:Abd. Prior to that, he was sanctioned in Requests for arbitration/Climate change dispute (2005, revert parole) and Wikipedia:Requests for arbitration/Geogre-William M. Connolley (2008, restricted from administrative actions relating to Giano II). He was also the subject of RFC’s regarding his conduct: RfC 1 (2005) and RfC 2 (2008).


William M. Connolley has been uncivil and antagonistic

8) William M. Connolley has been uncivil and antagonistic to editors within the topic area, and toward administrators enforcing the community probation. (Selection of representative examples: [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9] [10] [11] [12] [13] [14] [15] [16] [17])

This uncivil and antagonistic behaviour has included refactoring of talk page comments by other users,(examples: [18],[[19]]) to the point that he was formally prohibited from doing so. In the notice advising him that a consensus of 7 administrators had prohibited his refactoring of talk page posts, he inserted commentary within the post of the administrator leaving the notice on his talk page. [20]] For this action, he was blocked for 48 hours; had the block extended to 4 days with talk page editing disabled due to continuing insertions into the posts of other users on his talk page; had his block reset to the original conditions; then was blocked indefinitely with talk page editing disabled when he again inserted comments into the posts of others on his talk page.[21] After extensive discussion at Administrator noticeboard/Incidents, the interpretation of consensus was that the Climate Change general sanctions did not extend to the actions of editors on their own talk pages, and the block was lifted.


William M. Connolley has shown Ownership

9) William M. Connolley is acknowledged to have expertise on the topic of climate change significantly beyond that of most Wikipedians; however, this also holds true for several other editors who regularly edit in this topic area. In this setting, User:William M. Connolley has shown an unreasonable degree of Ownership over climate-related articles and unwillingness to work in a consensus environment. (Selection of representative examples: [22] [23] [24] [25] [26] [27] [28] [29] [30] [31])


William M. Connolley BLP violations

10) William M. Connolley has repeatedly violated the biography of living persons policy. Violations have included inserting personal information irrelevant to the subject’s notability, use of blogs as sources, inserting original research and opinion into articles, and removing reliably sourced positive comments about subjects. He has edited biographical articles of persons with whom he has off-wiki professional or personal disagreements. (Selection of representative examples: [32] [33] [34] [35] [36] [37] [38] [39] [40])



The list of solutions that Wiki members can vote on don’t bode well for Mr. Connolley

William M. Connolley banned

3.1) User:William M. Connolley is banned from the English Wikipedia for six months for long-term violations of WP:OWN, WP:CIVIL, and WP:BLP.

(Please note that some of the remedy proposals here are alternatives.) Newyorkbrad (talk) 05:57, 23 August 2010 (UTC)

William M. Connolley topic-banned (Climate Change)

3.2) User:William M. Connolley is banned from all Climate Change articles, broadly construed, for one year. He may edit their talk pages. This editing restriction specifically includes modification of talk page edits made by any other user, on any talk page; in the case of posts to William M. Connolley’s user talk page, he is free to remove posts without response.


William M. Connolley topic-banned (BLP)

4) User:William M. Connolley is banned from editing any article that is substantially the biography of a living person, where the person’s notability or the subject of the edit relates to the topic area of global warming or climate change.


William M. Connolley restricted

5) User:William M. Connolley is subject to an editing restriction for one year. Should he make any edits which are judged by an uninvolved administrator to be uncivil remarks, personal attacks, assumptions of bad faith, or violations of WP:BLP, he may be briefly blocked, up to a week in the event of repeated violations. After 3 blocks, the maximum block shall increase to one month. This editing restriction specifically includes modification of talk page edits made by any other user, on any talk page; in the case of posts to William M. Connolley’s user talk page, he is free to remove posts without response.


h/t to WUWT reader Stephan


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Sean Peake

Bye-bye bad doggie.


It’s about time. Good riddence to bad rubbish…

Douglas DC

Refreshing. I didn’t know that would happen…


Agreed with the above posters. This is the first of the climate bullies to fall…. next!

Ken S

Wikipedia is just throwing out the trash!
Be nice if the good people of this country do the same to the trash
in congress this fall!


Ok, now I understand what Dr. Emanuel means when he’s want to control the blogosphere…..(insert roll-eyes here)


Connolley is the MAIN REASON I avoid wikipedia, and advise others to NOT consider wikipedia in any way authoritative, educational, reliable, or even worth looking at.
I realize that those who live in the AGW echo chamber don’t get this, but they need to figure it out, and fast. Wikipedia is now a joke to most people I know, and that’s all because of Connolley.
Too bad, because it was a good idea. And I have no reason to believe he’s out, even now. Even if his ban or suspension continues, he’ll just have others working for him.

Well, it is hard to say at this point what will happen to Connolley. I’m one of two skeptics that is currently on the pillory to be banned, which seems to be a pretty common occurrence – ban some people from each side of a dispute. The odd thing in my case is that I was topic banned 6 months ago and haven’t participated in any of the recent disputes (not many old ones either).
There are major problems with the proposed decision. For one thing his topic ban does not extend to the talk pages (it does for the skeptics though) and this is where Connolley has done the most damage by providing a bad example for those in is faction and being as horrible as possible in order to drive other editors away out of frustration and incivility.
The other main problem is that they aren’t proposing to check user (look at their IPs) to determine how much sockpuppetry (using alternate accounts for various reasons like harassment and vote-stacking) Connolley and his compatriots are engaging in – and several of his friends should certainly be banned as well.
All in all though I’ll be glad regardless of the outcome. I’ve spent way too much time on this shit and wikipedia can either show itself to be fair place to contribute or it can provide even more cover for these people and lose a huge amount of legitimacy.

CodeTech says:
August 24, 2010 at 12:31 pm
Connolley is the MAIN REASON I avoid wikipedia, and advise others to NOT consider wikipedia in any way authoritative, educational, reliable, or even worth looking at.

I agree – after seeing what was being done in the “GW/Climate” sections of wikipedia, I too realized that Wikipedia was lacking and have not been recommending it.
Connolley is only one of many who appear to have been “riding herd” over Wiki’s GW/Climate articles. The fact that this is being acknowledged is a beginning of vindication for those who would like Wikipedia to at least attempt to limit bias.


Unfortunately other areas of science in Wiki have the same problem as the climate pages, with only the ‘consensus’ view being portrayed. If Wiki want to be accepted as an even half reliable source of information, lots more ‘Connolleys’ need to be removed, and a balanced view of the scientific debate put forward.


It doesn’t matter – at least as far as Wikipedia is concerned. It’s far too little, far too late. It is far easier to keep a reputation, than to re-gain one.
Assuming it’s even possible to re-gain it.


Does this mean that he will not be sitting/squatting on the articles describing the Medieval Warm Period and the Little Ice Age? I tried to fix some of the stupid statements there, but Connolley (canoli? hmmm) rapidly altered them back and then threatened me. Thus, I avoid Wikipedia.
Imagine how stupid it is to even suggest (yes, the text is built of (referenced) opinions) that farming by American Indians and Europeans caused the Medieval Warm Period and the plagues, allowing reforestation, caused the Little Ice Age. There just was not that many people back then to make this even a pipe dream, but these clowns would like to suggest this scenario is real. What utter bullhockey! If that small an endeavor had such a huge effect then, then we should seriously ask why we are having such a small effect, if any, now?
I look forward to seeing these Wiki pages morphing into balanced treatments that can contain real science and contrasting opinions without a troll enforcing his political agenda.
I also question how (Dr.) Connolley has the time to do this much meddling with Wiki pages. Is there no oversight at his place of employment or is it simply that he is doing what they want him to do, although he was hired to do science. He is not a scientist in my opinion as he does not propound or appear to study real science and is definitely not an pre-eminent or dominant authority regarding real climate change; false climate change, yes, he is an authority.
He should have some kind of title, such as Climate Change Propaganda Minister in Charge of Monitoring Wikipedia.

Milwaukee Bob

“Agendas, agendas, agendas. Everybody’s got a damn agenda!”
“Let he who is without an agenda cast the first stone.”
“6 billion+ agendas in the world and this has been one of them.”
I know all of the above are from some move, book or TV show, I just can’t remember which ones.
As for Wikipedia, only those that have been totally brainwashed into believing that “everyone is equal” and “only a committee can design a horse efficiently” will find this particular instance of dissension surprising. Can you imagine what the folks at Encyclopedia Britannica would have said (which they probably have!) if someone suggested (and let’s pretend it was possible way back when) that everyone in the world should have input and edit capability (rights) to the next addition? “An encyclopedia by committee?!? What are you nuts!?!”
No… the nutty ones are those that direct school children to, “Look it up on Wikipedia.” Yes, there are schools that have links to W on their web sites….. well, it is cheaper than having a library with – – books. And it sure is a lot easier to rewrite history on a computer/the internet than to have those old musty books hanging around – – – that might not tell “it” the way “they” want it learned.
The internet has become a powerful tool. Duh! And like every powerful tool before it, it can and is a powerful weapon.
“Your hands, my hands. When everybody’s got their hands in it, something bad is going to come of it.” “It’s just a matter of knowing when.”


Charles Higley says:
August 24, 2010 at 1:06 pm
“Imagine how stupid it is to even suggest (yes, the text is built of (referenced) opinions) that farming by American Indians and Europeans caused the Medieval Warm Period and the plagues, allowing reforestation, caused the Little Ice Age. There just was not that many people back then to make this even a pipe dream[…]”
Oh, that’s just evidence for how strong the positive feedbacks are! We can be glad we haven’t crossed the tipping point during the crusades!

I’m glad if Connolley is really being shown the door. But he’s very sly with gadgets and tactics and may still have some tricks up his sleeve. Gawd, Mann’s “trick” is mentally retarded compared with Connolley’s speed and scale of action.
A generic problem with WP is the rule “No Original Research”. This cuts unfairly against fringe interests, and the unfairness stacks up until we have a whole encyclopedia of wrongly-assessed “pseudoscience”. However, I think their rule is right, because of their size. I think that fringe sciences and strong interests need their own specialist wikis – and a few of these have appeared.
I started to build a wiki earlier this year, on what looked like a very promising MediaWiki platform, but mine host disappeared into thin air, as did all the good work I’d put into it, sadly. However I now have an idea for a more limited-scale project and I’m writing an article for this, hoping it may lead to some kind of “barn-raising” in the climate skeptics’ world.


I have to say i need to thank William M. Connolley. Before i had the opportunity to look at some of the edit wars he was involved in i believed that Wikipedia was trustworthy; somehow, without thinking too much about it, i thought articles would become better over time. William M. Connolley showed me that the opposite can happen; and you can never be sure whether articles improve, deteriorate or vanish altogether.
Thank you, William M. Connolley. Thank you also for the many graphs you put on the climate change related pages. They showed me how history can be distorted and manipulated; often in very subtle ways.
By comparing William M. Connolleys charts and graphics to other web pages, i learned how ruthlessly fanatics try to suppress truth and spread lies. And to this very day i don’t know the motivation behind William M. Connolley’s deeds, and probably never will.
Truth was not on his side; but that never stopped him or the Wikipedia. They were made for each other.




“Given the volume of his volunteer Wiki output, one wonders how he supports himself with regular work.”
Same way Gavin has soooooooooooo much time to edit/stuff Real Climate with all his posts/edits/post removals . . . . he has a government job that he is paid to do but actually spends his time doing “other” things”.

Connolley is the main reason I avoid Wikipedia, too.
I even programmed my Web search features to omit any Wikipedia-mirroring addresses.
Mr. Connolley is one of the most detestable human beings I ever encountered (and, believe me, I had my share of most diverse encounters in many countries).
He should be banned forever from performing any editorial functions anywhere; same applies to other Wikipedia administrators who protected this religious zealot for years.

Sun Spot

As I understand it Connolley has ingratiated himself with Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales. Connelley will still be around and the cabal of Wiki AGW censors will remain active. The Internet/Wikipedia is a post 1984 object so be skeptical of appearances of objectivity.


I just read that our cause got $175m since 2009 for our lobbying.
Who got the money? I have been helping for the last ten months in forums and blogs, lost my job in May, and never got a dime.


Given the issues with peer reviewed journals, I’ve long felt that forum for internet-peer review is needed. A few basic rules, which, for the author mostly boil down to “show your work, all your work, starting with the raw data”, and a recognition that there will be bad apples, both in the author and reviewer roles, still could result in a very robust system.


I don’t give a flying **** about Connolley or Wiki, what I do care about is; the biased, half a***ed BS or post normal climatology thinking which is spread about wiki; like a farmer would splatter everywhere, on his muck spreader.
It is a failure, as I said, I don’t care (about Wiki – everything on their sites has to be taken with a bucketful of salt) but some read this excreta on Wiki and think it is the Gospel truth, that is worrying.

I’ll believe Connolley is out when he becomes a vociferous scientific skeptic of CAGW.
Wikipedia is run by censoring wannabe dictators practicing their censorship, and Connolley is only one example. No wonder Wiki has no credibility when it comes to earth sciences.

I am very thankful to William Connolley for opening my eyes.
Thanks, Mr Connolley.
Gratefully yours

CRS, Dr.P.H.

Hmmm….I just mined the hell out of Wikipedia and couldn’t find a single mention of McShane & Wyner’s article! No bios on the authors, no references cited etc.
In contrast, a simple Google search of “McShane & Wyner” generated about 82,000 hits.
Wikipedia, ugh! I hardly go there anymore.

I recommend the “No Wikipedia” logo be placed in the sidebars of webpages and blogs. Check at the bottom of this post for several jpegs of different sizes with the Wikipedia logo surrounded by a red circle and with a red slash.
Wikipedia may be useful, but should never be trusted. Always check the sources. The “No Wikipedia” logo is intended to indicate that Wikipedia is not cited on that page.
I think it is better to give up the convenience of citing Wikipedia than to give up integrity.
Best regards,


Haha brilliant! I was shocked to discover what happened with the WUWT and CA wiki-pages (the latter being deleted/redirected to McIntyre’s personal bio page). This has restored some of my faith in Wikipedia.

feta cheese

Rumour has it [snip – and lets just leave it at that ~mod]

John McManus

I look at his blog every day and am dissapointed if there is no new post. He is a bit “lukewarm” for my taste, but is a good source.

I’ve had so many of my edits reverted by Connolly that I’ve lost count. This guy is a bad faith player all around. I hope the wikipedia community rides him out of town on a rail. He is the number one reason I have zero faith in wikipedia for anything but noncontroversial mundane topics (and even there I go to the cited sources to check things).

What’s ‘going on’ is this:
The Open Secrets blog is trying to compare apples and oranges. In their heavily biased report, the industries that the NGO’s whine about never have their interests disclosed; they are simply assumed to be lobbying for ‘anti-environment causes. What kind of shoddy reporting is that? Like most folks, I prefer to make up my mind based on accurate information, not vague assumptions.
Also, the federal government’s giveaway of $2 billion a year for “climate studies” to its favored recipients is avoided. As we know, the feds are the most lavish mis-spenders of our tax money.


Alexander Feht says:
August 24, 2010 at 1:34 pm
I even programmed my Web search features to omit any Wikipedia-mirroring addresses.

Now that is a useful ap. Please tell me how I can do this, Alexander.


MattN says:
August 24, 2010 at 12:11 pm
It’s about time. Good riddence to bad rubbish…

Perhaps it is the contrary: He was too “light” in opposing hateful non-believers. We’ll have to wait.. 🙂


That’s 1 for the skeptics! This is first coup!
Wiki’s peer review seems much better than the british government or penn state, doesn’t it?
Everybody else was allowed to or helped to escape all consequences. Connolley is the first head on a pike!
Brandish it, flaunt it, rub some noses in it and bash more heads with it- it’s great for a warmist’s morale.
Let’s get someone to court now, with a perjury consequence for lying out loud.


Wikipedia would work much better if they removed all anonymity from politically sensitive pages. If you want to argue over that crap, fine, but we’ll all know exactly who you are.
It might not move the bias needle much, but it would at least be more openness.


Every faculty member at my institution of higher education banned Wikipedia “research” for any papers or take-home exams, no matter the topic. Go to the sources was our cry (along with no plagiarism). Given Connolley’s lengthy and aggressive career at making a laughing stock out of climate science (is there really such a field?) on Wikipedia, the reputation of the site and of all science subjects is in shreds. Can Wikipedia be redeemed? The arbitration committee better do more than slap his hands and give him a time out.


He is a lunatic. They put up with his BS for far too long. He is one reason the Wiki has lost credibility.


This is the front line of the information war.
It’s happening in the ‘climate change’ arena.
It’s happening in the ‘war on terror’ arena.
The opinions of the public are being manipulated. This is not happening by chance.
Ye champions of climate and scientific valour should know that your greatest enemy is indeed the dark blanket of disinformation (known as the MSM) which it is laid over the crib of the innocent, sleeping baby before it is murdered….
And also be aware that this wonderful arena of FREEDOM – called the internet – is squarely in the sights of the ruling elite who are aware exactly of the threat that it poses. They’re just itching to press the button.
Connolley is being sacrificed because his cover is well and truly blown. Probably thanks primarily to this site – otherwise knowbody might’ve noticed. Long live WUWT.


I like wikipedia and use it pretty often, mostly for tech info. Yesterday I was perusing the section on LDAP (a software protocol).
I also find the botanical information to be reasonable and a plant identification mobile site I am developing will have thousands of links to wikipedia (as well as other sources) at the species level.


Being banned? How ironic. Dr. Connolley finally gets to taste his own medicine that he has prescribed for so many.


I’ll only rejoice when his exile is formalized.

Ken Hall

My daughter was instructed at the very start of her key skills module at the start of her first year zoology degree that reputable sources are encouraged and that wikipedia is NOT a reputable source. If any student referred to wikipedia as a source, they would fail.
There is far too much political interference and the editor’s own bias in wikipedia.


Surprisingly little mention of KDP in all of that. But it seems far more focused on civility than some of WMC’s Cabal’s “policies.” WMC’s response is his usual tone(paraphrasing): “I know it all you peons are beneath me now move along.”
The actual climate change page is not where most of my personal distaste comes from. I’m far more turned off by the politicized use of BLP pages and event/controversy pages.
Wiki is in a tough position as the most qualified users available to edit scientific material there are also ferocious activists.
Does anyone know what WMC is doing for gainful employment these days? I’d be very curious to see if it’s just his personal activism or something more possibly driving the actions.

Cold Englishman

Wiki was a wonderful Utopian idea, but like all Utopiae, it assumes that those living within it are all above reproach-everybody is perfect.
Unfortunately human nature isn’t like that, and Wiki has destroyed it’s reputation by allowing Dr Connelly and others to edit material to suit their own prejudices. If they had dealt with this problem rapidly and with diligence they would have retained and enhanced their reputation, but the have taken too long and done too little.
A total lifetime ban is the only sanction here, but of course he could use an alias, so the ban would be ineffectual.
Hence, do not use Wiki at all. You simply cannot rely on it. Google will turn up plenty of references for any subject you care to name, even though they too can show bias.

Common Sense

Our K through 12 schools have always banned Wikipedia as a source. Until reading about the climate battle here, I thought teachers were being elitist. Clearly, they were correct.
Unfortunately, printed textbooks haven’t escaped revisionist history either and teachers are happy to use those.

Alan Simpson not from Friends of the Earth

I find [snip] Connelly is his own worst enemy, the half truths on wiki make people search wider for information.
I doubt if the wiki folks will ban him, in their rose tinted world duplicitous people cannot, ( absolutely CANNOT! exist so there! ), Connelly is a victim, a VICTIM I tell yah! /sarc.


William M. Connolley has been uncivil and antagonistic…
I’ve often been described in the same terms. ;-> Seriously, wikipedia doesn’t really have much use beyond the superficial, unless there is independent verification available elsewhere.

Alan Grey

” In this setting, User:William M. Connolley has shown an unreasonable degree of Ownership over climate-related articles and unwillingness to work in a consensus environment.”
It’s all about consensus don’t you know….lol

This is another case of ‘manmade global warming’ hurting itself. Time tells everything.