Immoderate moderation at the DT
My friend Locusts has just put up a piece at his place about the decline of debate at the Daily Telegraph to “just above the level of public toilet graffiti.” I left it shortly after Disqus was rushed into service and a bizarre censorship regime imposed, leaving the comment below. Sadly, occasional visits since then have confirmed that there is no intelligent debate occurring, just screaming matches. A forum like that will never persuade the average unaligned reader of the merits of the anti-AGW case; they’ll simply walk away.
As I said earlier on, I will no longer be contributing to this blog. This is in no way a reflection on James nor on the other contributors to it.
I’d like to say up front that being a part of such a vibrant community for the last few months has been a very real personal pleasure. The wit, erudition and experiences shared have underscored my belief that there is intelligent life in the universe and it sometimes comes complete with an A10.
My reasons for leaving the party are twofold. The first and minor reason, is the new blogging software. Apart from its bugs and the serious security loopholes, it positively inhibits the meaty discussions that were the backbone of the blog. As an example of this, another poster in his farewell post took the time to write a long and thoughtful piece on what he considered to be the direction blogging in general (and on the DT) was going. It was hardly discussed. Why? Because it was quickly buried somewhere in one of the ‘pages’ with no way to reference or locate it except to trudge through page after page. I doubt if the non-contributing readership even know it was there after it slipped off the first page. To put it bluntly, the blog software encourages the Tofu nibblers of debate and buries the big free-range carnivores.
The big reason is the censorship. This blog was always subject to light moderation but the accent is on light. You had to be going at it hard to lose a post and speaking as a veteran of the occasional troll war we had, some of it wasn’t altogether pretty – a back alley knife fight with no rules of engagement. They came to close down debate so we fought them to protect the debate and I never had a problem with that. This was one of the few, if not the only, places in the UK where skeptics of AGW could gather and present their side of the story and we’d be damned if we’d be elbowed off the ball. James, to his credit, let those battles play themselves out to whatever conclusion.
I’d like to thank James for providing this platform here, especially as I suspect he’s taken more than a few bullets from an overwhelmingly pro-AGW press establishment. Consensus journalism, like consensus science, is a cancer gnawing away inside institutions.
If you care about what is being debated and I do, then you must have the freedom to speak your mind. If you participate in a debate shaping your words to avoid possible censorship, then you’re not debating. You’re taking part in a show debate and what’s infinitely worse, lending it a bogus integrity by your participation. I won’t have any part of that.
Sticking with the blog would be like watching a good friend going down to progressive Alzheimers. I’d rather remember the good times.