Just before I wrote And, I’m back the other day, I came across this quote that inspired me to press on against the ugliness, the abuse, and the taunting that climate skeptics endure every day, with yours truly in particular being the brunt of many of those. For those who are childish purveyors of ugliness conducted from the shadows of anonymity (you know who you are, Slashdot labels them as ‘anonymous cowards’), this quote serves well as my guide for the future:
“Walk toward the fire. Don’t worry about what they call you. All those things are said against you because they want to stop you in your tracks. But if you keep going, you’re sending a message to people who are rooting for you, who are agreeing with you. The message is that they can do it, too.” ― Andrew Breitbart
Since I’m a regular target of hate mail, hate Tweets, and hate blog essays, for daring to express a consensus-contradictory opinion on Climate, I’ll add a thought of my own: Online, anonymity breeds contempt.
The Internet has created an easy and safe way for people to hurl insults, ugliness, slander, libel, and taunts without having to endure the consequences of their actions or the social shaming that would come if such things were said in polite company. Truly, such taunters comprise an army of
social justice warriors insignificant anonymous cowards.
As for WUWT’s role in this, I think it is summed up very well by this comment by drednicolson posted today:
That Alarmist comments appear at all [on WUWT] puts the site far ahead of the curve. Skeptics rarely get the same courtesy on Alarmist sites.
And Alarmism is wrapped heavily in identity politics, so any rebuttal, no matter how politely expressed, will likely be claimed a personal attack.
And using passive-aggressive, pseudo-polite language to attract hostility, then complain about people being mean, is a common ploy of the more insidious trolls.
Sometimes (more often than not) we have to resort to banning such people as they escalate their anger and eventually run afoul of our blog comment policy. But, there are those who can post disagreement without being mean or abusive. Commenter Nick Stokes comes to mind. While he is often maddeningly obtuse (he once got me so irritated I suggested it may be time for him to STFU – my bad, with apology) and mis-directive in the form of “Look! A squirrel!” he is almost always polite. Recently, with a comment where he smeared somebody, he earned being put on moderation (he’s earned several time-outs). Today, having paid his penance, I’m taking him off to see if he behaves. At least he uses his real name, which may be why he’s incapable of ever admitting to error in his comments.
While there are occasions where anonymity is required, such as whistleblowers, criminal informers, and people whose livelihoods are at risk if they speak out, the garden variety anonymous Twitter and blog taunters deserve the Arkell v. Pressdram response. In fact, that’s probably the best way to respond to such things.
Here is my suggestion:
When somebody spews irrational climate-fueled hate, just reply: “See Arkell v. Pressdram“. It’s a great way to get the message across without lowering yourself to their level of lexiconic skill. Then, ignore them. It’s the attention they seek. Deprive them.
So, besides giving that standard response, once. it’s best to just ignore the denizens of the “anonyverse” who want to tear you down, without having the integrity to put their own name to their childish taunts.