Yesterday we had an enlightening guest post by Ian Rons titled Further Down the “Bore Hole” which presented some comment data and graphs, along with some observations about that nature of RealClimate.org and the way they treat visitors and commenters. Ian pointed out something I didn’t know, and that is this:
“The Bore Hole”, which started on 6th January 2011 (the date being evident from the post_id of 6013 and the moderator’s response to the first comment, although they have since re-dated it 6th December 2004 for some reason)
So I decided to have a look myself to see if this was true or not. Here is what I found. Note the yellow highlights:
…and here is the first comment, actually labeled first by the inline response of the moderator:
Using the search feature on RealClimate for “Borehole” yields this:
So, it seems clear that RC set the starting date for the Borehole thread back to 6 December, 2004, which incidentally is close to the Dec 1 2004 start date for the RC blog. Why? One could speculate that maybe they were trying to give the impression of it always have been a feature to use as tool to ward off the stinging criticism of the way they treat any member of the public who might disagree with them. Or, maybe they planned to put older comments in there. But, since there are no comments in “The Borehole” prior to 6 Jan 2011, it can’t be about them trying to put older, previously approved comments they don’t like from years past in there. They’ve had six months to do that and none have appeared. It is as they say, a curiosity.
Dr. Gavin Schmidt, in his recent inline comment in Unforced Variations 2, says we here at WUWT want to make this a “giant ad hom argument” all about “personalities”. Well no, the post was about data analysis of comment ID’s and why so many just “disappear” at RC. It isn’t anecdotal (though scads of first hand accounts exist) RC’s own comments ID database suggests a systemic removal.
If Dr. Schmidt wants to focus on it being personal, then I say it is about whether we should be trusting scientists that have no reason whatsover to alter the start date of a feature, but actually did so for reasons that are unexplainable.
And I’ll point out that whether Gavin likes it or not, science has always been coupled to personalities; Aristotle, Pythagoras, Newton, Kepler, Copernicus, Galileo, Volta, Rutherford, Curie, Mendel, Darwin, Hertz, Pasteur, Bohr, Planck, Hawking, and Einstein, who had one of the most interesting personalities ever. Science doesn’t make itself known by suddenly appearing in the Ether. It makes itself known through the curious personalities of people. For us here at WUWT, we often wonder if curiosity is dead at NASA GISS and their web-portal, Real Climate, and has been replaced with dogma.
Sure, changing the date on “The Borehole” is a small thing of and by itself, but it reminds me of this well known saying:
He who is true in a little, is true in much; he who is false in small things, is false in great.
Dr. Schmidt is of course, welcome to present his blog comment ID data for evaluation here and explain why RC does the things we are curious about.