I think we’ve all had that pleasant surprise when something totally unexpected just drops out of the sky and into your lap. That happened to me last weekend when a creature called William Connolley attempted to comment on a piece I’d written about the Bengtsson scandal. If you’re unfamiliar with him, he’s infamous for editing thousands of Wikipedia articles on climate and anyone significant in the area. You can find several articles on his activities over at WUWT.
His idea of truth is somewhat idiosyncratic to say the least, but let’s just say if you were any way sceptical, you weren’t going to get a glowing entry. When the skeptics tried to correct the foul calumnies for their entry, they were promptly changed back, a loop they went around until he banned them from being able to edit anything.
I’m actually quite knowledgeable about him, since I’ve been a fawning admirer and stroker of his ego for as far back as his days co-founding the joke site called Real Climate with Gavin Schmidt and others of a similar ilk. Needless to say, it’s under one of my dark side Eco-Annie personas. The site is pretty much moribund these days but it did get a sniffy mention in the climategate emails by Phil “hide the decline” Jones, as being there just to disseminate propaganda.
He was never particularly significant in the self-declared pantheon of climate demigods, more like their technical gopher despatched as required to cobble together various bits of HTML for them. In his Wikipedia heyday, he built up a small but dedicated following of fanboys but since Wiki banned him and nobody sane reads his blogging attempts, he’s of late been at a loose end, cruising around the skeptic blogosphere, trolling for all he’s worth and generally leaving a terrible stench behind him.
As it happens, I’ve a personal score to settle with him, and one I never thought I’d get the chance to do but this looked to be a heaven-sent opportunity, if I could just play it right. Picking an appropriate way would undoubtedly come down to making use on his own rather inflated idea of his importance in the general scheme of things climatic, but in just the right way. He’s used to swimming around in a little pond of mutual fishy admirers and as far as I’m aware has never had a good kicking, so I laced up my steel-toed boots and thought about an appropriate bait to fix on the hook.
I left his comment in moderation, because it was basically about nothing more than his idea of a damage limitation exercise in the wake of the Bengtsson scandal. Since one of their battle cries has always been no platform for “deniers”, I can’t deny it was with a certain pleasure that I intended to return the favour. An approach came to mind – hell hath no fury like a fanatic scorned, so I sharpened my scorning pencil and scorned his ego with the following opening shot.
If you’ve ever worked in a bar, and I have, there’s an expression – taking out the trash. It means someone is misbehaving themselves and are basically being a pain in the butt for the regulars, so you encourage them out of the joint – feet first or head first, and you’re easy about which way it’s going to be, but it is going to happen.
After a while, you can spot the type coming through the door and sometimes you already know all about them by reputation, because the bartender’s Mafia tend to pass the word around about undesirables.
I’ve just had a comment in for moderation from a certain William Connolley, the creature infamous for over five thousand egregious edits of Wikipedia articles on climate, before he finally got banned from there. I’ve no doubt he’s snuck back in under yet another sock puppet persona, but he’s their problem and very definitely not going to be mine.
I’m aware of the school of thought that allowing the occasional troll in will pump up the number of hits but as I really don’t give a rat’s ass about hits, it’s not a consideration. I’m not allowed to comment on any warmist sites under my own name, so in the spirit of reciprocity, I fail to see why I should let them into Pointy’s Bar & Grill.
A zero tolerance policy on trolling and undesirables means exactly that, and you mate are an undesirable.
Any sensible person would have walked away after a rebuff like that, especially when you consider getting the upper hand in a one sided conversation is impossible, but we’re not dealing with sensible here. We’re dealing with arrogance. Would he be silly enough to bite? Sure enough, he chomped down hard on the bait.
Let the games begin.
How dare I refuse him entry? True to type, his reply after a bit of outraged whingeing was the threat that if I didn’t let him in, he’d blog all about it and then I’d be sorry, very very sorry. So there.
Meh, let’s take another lump out of his ego and scorn his sorry ass a bit more.
Publish away Willy, you’re yesterday’s man.
Jeez, he’s so predictable. An even more offended reply clumsily conflating freedom of ideas with his right to free expression, otherwise known as plying his trade as a propagandist all over my blog. Time to remind him of his murky past.
What’s it feel like Willy? To be denied a right of reply? Like your Wiki victims?
Another reply, taking offense at any idea he’s a troll, which I never accused him of being, but his reading and comprehension skills don’t appear to be too hot. That’ll get him into trouble in this little exchange. Let’s start moving him towards jumping through a few hoops for me. Yank hard on the line, get the hook all the way home.
Reading skills Willy. I didn’t say you were a troll, just an undesirable.
Another irate reply, but this time about the really insightful comments he’s just dying to share with everyone. He doesn’t want to address the issue of whether he’s an undesirable or not. Ho hum, keep stirring the scorning stew using the voice of sweet reason, nudge him towards some hoops but keep him on the hook with a question.
Willy, it’s not about your comments, it’s about you. You’re an undesirable and if I let you in, it’d lower the whole tone of the joint. Pretty soon the polite company here would drift away and the place would just become a hangout for bums and drunkards high on cheap booze and their own boring egos.
Seriously though, you’re used to being banned. Why such a hissy fit because you got the bum’s rush outta my gaff?
Quick as a flash, he’s back and still digging his heels in over undesirable, but he’s having a go at his idea of turning on the charm. Why he’s even worried I might damage myself. Ain’t that nice? I’ll play nice with him in return, but in my own fashion. There’s nothing more irritating than being sweet voice of reasoned with. I’m beginning to despair of ever getting him near a hoop. If nice doesn’t work, I’ll go back to not so nice.
“You’re banning me, because you don’t want your readers to see my comments; so it cannot but be about my comments. But you’ve given no reason why.”
But dear boy, I have and more than once – you’re an undesirable.
“Oh, I care. About you. About your intellectual honesty. Seeing you damage yourself like this is painful.”
Nice to know you care about me but I guess I’ll just have to limp along with the damage. Such is life, as Ned Kelly observed.
I’m just a minor imp of Satan, why are you obsessing on a wee timorous beastie like me? It’s not like I’ve any influence.
He replies and well, he finally got there in the end. I’ll show him the hoops with a suitable inducement. It’s a bit risky, because it might result in having to let the miserable little scrote in. What the hell, I’ll risk it for a biscuit and bit of fun.
“This is getting a bit odd. You’re now quoting my comments, but still not allowing the comments themselves to be published. I’m here to talk, if you’re prepared to have a conversation. But simply saying “you’re an undesirable” without saying why is the suppression that you claim to disdain.”
Ah, at last. Having finally dragged you to the heart of the matter, let’s do the Socratic thing. Why would I consider you to be an undesirable?
Get that answer right, and I’ll let you in.
The be nice with Pointy phase obviously exhausted him after five whole minutes of effort. Foreplay wouldn’t be this bozo’s strong suit. He’s gone back to ranting again, and speaking as a connoisseur of a decent rant, it must be said he’s not particularly good at it. I’ll return to scorning but put him under a bit more pressure. A slap on the wrist he gets, and we’ll put a countdown on his number of replies.
Because I’m rong and you’re right. Meh, not even warm Willy. Reread the question. It’s why “I” would consider you an undesirable – reading skills laddie. This is your chance to “read” me.
Get those little brain cells of yours racing around. That was strike one, by the way.
He’s back with a slightly more coherent answer. For someone called Willy, he’s inordinately fond of using the word expose. Probably an unconscious thing, but let’s resist exploring that thought any further. Anyway, he’s so far off the correct answer, there’s no chance of him getting in, but the nice guy in me throws him a hint. He’ll never get it anyway, it’s too firmly in his blind spot. He just knows he’s a righteous climate dude, so anything you do to further the “cause” is okay. Just ask Peter “identity thief” Gleick.
“I’m undesirable, because I expose the weakness of all the arguments that your “skeptical” commentators lap up”
Nope, you’ll find the commenters here quite capable of speaking their own mind when they don’t agree with a piece. I’d never insist a contributor must concur with my viewpoint and it’s a common courtesy I fully expect in return. Just as long as it’s lucid, polite and honest.
If that’s an example of you “reading” me, I have to say it’s pretty poor. I’ll give you a hint, since you obviously need one – it’s about data quality.
That was strike two. Only one more chance …
After a slight pause, he’s back. Rather than use up his last chance and be seen to fail, I feel he chickened out and did another free-range rant. Peck, peck, peck. Time for the blow off. This should get rid of him.
One chance left and you panicked, didn’t you Willy? There wasn’t even an attempt to answer the question in that last rambling diatribe. Think yourself lucky that I wasn’t your tutor in whatever hell hole of education dribbled you out. Even then, the pig’s ear and silk purse adage would apply, I’m afraid.
I notice a whole 3 hits from your blog amongst the hundreds of hits here today, so you’re obviously having a great old time telling me off over there. You make sure to tell all those righteous bruddas and sistas all about norty Pointy. Both of them.
Anyway, the answer is I don’t like data pollutants and after your activities on Wiki, that’s exactly what I consider you to be and therefore an undesirable.
Unbelievable! He’s back yet again, and he’s trying to work himself up to a Richter scale rant or something, but it’s a pretty lame effort. What the hell, I’m happy to keep booting him. Perhaps it’s time to set up another trap, preceded by another hard jerk on the line to keep his emotions running high.
You don’t handle rejection very well, do you Willy? You must be stamping your foot or holding your breath until you turn blue, all to no effect. You must feel very put upon. It’s so unfair when someone can dangle you off the end of a leash and there’s nothing you can do about it. I must admit, there’s a certain buzz jerking your particular lead.
Perhaps you’re now getting a feel for what your Wiki victims experienced.
And just like that, he took the bait, yet again. Un-bloody-believable. I beginning to realise I don’t need a hook with this one, he’s actually revelling in getting my exclusive attention. Getting rid of this clown will be as difficult as shaking off a little doggie that’s madly and insanely determined to hump your leg.
“what you’re saying makes no sense in the wiki context. Its almost like you know nothing about it.”
Oh I think I can speak with some authority about being one of your Wiki victims. Your activities there will not be forgotten, and if they are, I’ll make it my business to remind people. Let’s face it, in your heyday you went a little further than being a data pollutant.
A little pause before he replies in response to my terrible slip. Will he fall into the trap? I can almost hear the Machiavellian plan being honed and refined between him and his little Wiki helpers hunched together around a PC. If they can just identify me, they’ll be able to do an especially vicious Wiki hatchet job on me, as opposed to the usual vicious one. Yeah, go get him Willy, take him down, you is da man.
The plan rolls into action.
He’s “keen” to know my data and gone back to being nice, even prefacing the request for my identifying details with a pretty please. Jesus Christ. This guy is really profoundly thick, or imagines everyone else is.
At this stage, I’m beginning to wonder how much of a laughing-stock he’s going to insist on making of himself before he slinks away. I notice he studiously ignores my cryptic remark about him going a little further than just being a data pollutant but anyway, that’s for another day, isn’t it Willy? All that boasting to Eco-Annie about off-wiki activities might come back to haunt a certain someone …
Time for ye olde punch line. If it doesn’t get rid of him, nothing will.
“please provide us with the appropriate diff, so everyone can see just how I behaved. Or the article name, and rough date. And/or the name you edited under. See? I’m all keen to see your data”
No problem Willy, I’m there under my real name of Michael Mann. Just amend all those bloody lies under that piece and I’ll consider letting you in.
ps. Who’s the “us” by the way? It wouldn’t be that Victoria Venom or whoever person who’s also tapping on the glass to get in?
Since Willy has at this point exhausted his entire arsenal of tactics on me, namely being either dictatorial or nice, a new little creature has turned up and is demanding admission too. Bang, bang, bang, let me in, I demand entrance, and be quick about it, I’m a very important midget.
If he’d at least knocked politely, he’d have stood a snow flake’s chance. I’ve never heard of the little fellow but a quick Google reveals him to be a fanboy of Willy’s blog. Quelle surprise. As a matter of fact, he seems to be the only commenter there. Oh well, another little fishy on the line; let’s see how long I can play this one. Will he be as cognitively challenged as Willy? Let’s find out.
That should have been Victor Venema.
Sorry Vicky or is it Vic? Did you know a company tried to market a PC called the Vic-20 in Germany and didn’t sell a single one until they renamed it to the Steinberger-20 or something.
In German, the V in Vic is pronounced as F and is a lineal descendant of a very old Anglo-Saxon word …
He bites as well but it’s all yappy pooch trying to gnaw on my boot laces stuff. I won’t bore you with it. To be frank, I’m struggling to make any sense out of the pile of rambling rubbish. If a sequitur ever managed to take up residence in that vast cavernous vacuum between his ears, it’d die of loneliness. Apparently, I’m racist, sexist and tribalist, whatever that means. He’s tweeting away and saying terrible things about me to Miss Judy.
Nobody likes a teacher’s snitch.
He’s worried about my language offending the regulars but looking at the article and my comments, that whine appears to be totally baseless. Yes, I might very well think Willy is a wanker and someone with the name Victor Venema, who appears to be commonly referred to as V V by the climate “in” crowd, is just begging to have those letters permanently removed from his name and becoming Ictor Enema. I might think such things but heavens to Betsy, I’d never dream of saying them on this blog. Never.
He’s also segued into a rant about Judy Curry, who’d just blogged on the Bengtsson scandal using excerpts from several articles, including one of mine. I don’t like the way he did it. What little Christian charity I might possibly have had for him tanks. He really is small.
Vic Venom – “I do hope that your regulars do not take offence at your language.”
Coming from someone called Vic, that’s a larf. And don’t you mention Miss Curry, I’m getting to quite like her. I might even become a fan. Heaven and Earth Horatio …
The penny, after seemingly defying gravity for most of the evening, finally drops and Willy stomps out, but not before leaving a parting shot designed to salvage the tattered remains of his dignity. Of course, he can’t have the parting shot in a one way conversation but I certainly can. I don’t think he ever really understood the hopelessness of this game, because I rather suspect he refuses to believe anyone could possibly say no to him and mean it. It’s a whole new experience for the poor little chappie.
“You’ve provided an excuse (almost unbelievably tenuous, and not really believable by anyone of good faith, but an excuse nonetheless) for banning me. But you have no such excuse for VV,”
With a name like Vic Venom and his association with the likes of you, I’d ban him just on general principles.
“unless you’ve got something new to say, I’ll leave you to it.”
Thank God for that. Some people just can’t take a hint.
Run along now and bother someone else. And take your verminous little friend with you.
Well, that’s the end of that I think and I’m a happy bunny. I got my unexpected payback on Willy and had a whale of a time as well. Imagine that. After years of getting censored and banned, for once I get to wield the ban hammer on a climate prat like Connolley. Life don’t get any better. I’m sure there are more than a few of his Wiki victims out there who enjoyed it just as much.
I’m doing some end of day blog housekeeping and notice something strange, the hits are still racking up on the piece. Okay, it’s a fairly decent one but most of the regulars will have read it by now. What’s going on? A little bit of investigation reveals they’re mainly coming from Miss Judy’s blog, so I pop over for a look.
Well, I can’t believe my eyes. Willy and his latest pet stoat have drag assed over there to whine loudly about their treatment at my hands. Not only are they not getting any sympathy, quite the reverse actually, but the people there are popping over here to see what all the fuss is about. By any stretch of imagination, they’ve just had their ass handed to them in public and now they’re inviting anyone who might possibly have missed it to watch the action replay.
Momma Gump was surely right, stupid is as stupid does.
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