A Few Things Ill Considered

A layman's take on the science of Global Warming featuring a guide on How to Talk to a Climate Sceptic.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

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New Global Change Discussion Group

As I mention in the introduction to the How to Talk to a Climate Sceptic guide, I cut my teeth in the climate change debate on sci.environment and alt.global-warming. Sadly, since I arrived there in around 11/04 the signal to noise ration has dropped dramatically and the cross posting to political groups and groups with rush limbaugh in their names are a constant stream. Consequently, the number of well informed active participants has dropped.

Michael Tobis has taken some initiative in creating an alternate venue to save the baby while still chucking the bathwater. Here is the announcement in full, I hope it becomes a very active discussion venue.


  • globalchange.googlegroups.com

We are creating a moderated newsgroup/mailing list for the discussionof environmental science, economics, policy and politics, especially as related to global change issues such as climate change, biodiversity,and sustainability.

The signal to noise ratio on sci.environment and similar unmoderated discussion lists has dropped to the point where it can no longer sustain interesting or informative exchanges of information and ideas.

The success of the lightly moderated discussions on the realclimate.org blog has revealed that the hunger for serious and informed discussion remains. However, blogs do not fully replicate the broad-ranging conversational style that usenet once supported even in controversy-prone areas of interest.

Fortunately, new tools allow us to recapture most of the usenet experience without going through the tedious and archaic process of setting up a "big-eight" newsgroup.

It is difficult to specify what "fair" or "unfair" moderation meanswithout getting tediously legalistic. To avoid endless haggling aboutthis, we formulate our policy thus:

  • Posts will be admitted to the list if and only if ANY moderator finds the submission to be constructive and/or interesting, on topic, and not gratuitously rude.

We are not unanimous in our opinions, and are open to submissions from people outside the spectrum of opinion represented by the moderators.

We will endeavor to remove obvious provocations ("trolls"). We also discourage postings that are redundant, in the sense that the poster has already made their points and does not seem to take account of the responses but is merely insistently reasserting points previously made.

Whether, as a consequence of this policy, you find the list useful and interesting or otherwise is left to yourself. If you don't like our list, by all means make your own.



Probably the easiest way to participate is to point your browser to

and you can read the messages immediately. You may send submissions through the web interface, or by email to

Using the interface in this way does not require you to get a Google login.

"Membership" is encouraged, as it permits us to give individual participants an overall approval, reducing propagation delays and the workload of the moderators. Membership does not automatically implye mail delivery of messages. Non-members may also post but all their messages require moderation.


It is also possible to subscribe to the newsgroup as an RSS feed. See

for more information


We are in the process of setting up an NNTP feed through gmane. When it is available we will offer futher information.


You can subscribe to globalchange as a mailing list, but you have to use the web to sign up. Go to

and click "join this group" and follow instructions. To use this approach you will need to have or set up a free google login.

If you subscribe to the email, you need not ever use the web interface or your google account again. You may send submissions by email to globalchange@googlegroups.com


Looking forward to reviving the historically interesting and productive usenet-style conversations on environmental matters, we are, sincerely, your globalchange moderators:

  • James Annan
  • Raymond Arritt
  • Coby Beck
  • William Connolley
  • Michael Tobis

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  • At May 25, 2006 5:03 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Hi Coby,

    Sounds like an interesting initiative. But, looking at the names of some of your fellow-moderators, let me be skeptic as to the possibilities of having a fruitful interchange of ideas with people outside of your collective consensus sphere.

    It takes me a good 30-45 minutes to compose a meaningful message. Being a busy person, how am I to do that and then leave it at the mercy of the likes of William Connolley to have my time wasted through moderation/censorship?

    From my experience at RC, where he also “moderates”, you just end up having 95% of posters reaffirming each other in their believes (AGW is indisputable and very dangerous) and a few outliers being fist tolerated but soon vilified, provoked or directly censored to push them away from the debates (whatever happened to Alexi Tekhassi?). Which in my view is silly: if I were to set up a debate forum I would by all means encourage diverging views to come and participate. It would just be more fun! Of course, if you use the aforementioned tactics you do give the impression that no worthy arguments are on the other side but that’s basically for the consumption of those who were already convinced and besides it is intellectually dishonest.

    Good luck, anyway.


  • At May 25, 2006 11:07 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Personally, i'm looking forward to having a fruitful interchange of ideas with people INSIDE Coby's collective consensus sphere

  • At May 25, 2006 12:57 PM, Blogger coby said…

    Hi Mikel,

    The only consensus sphere I hope is maintained is that among any and all who believe in the civil exchange of evidentially supportable ideas, whatever they may be. Don't forget that over at RC they have a much narrower mandate. Your interests seem more economics oriented, and that is much more on topic for our group than RC.

    If you write with the same style there as here, no one is going to delete your posts.


  • At May 28, 2006 6:47 AM, Blogger Co2emissions said…

    Hey Coby

    I'll join yours if you join mine :)

    Yahoo climate change politics.

    Click to join climate change politics

    It's an attempt to get past the scientific debate, and discuss the politics of solving the problem. (btw, I'm Hoggle on alt.global-warming)

  • At May 28, 2006 9:00 AM, Blogger coby said…

    Hi Hoggle/co2emissions

    I'll check into that, thanks.

  • At May 29, 2006 4:26 AM, Blogger C W Magee said…

    I reckon we need a self-congratulating discussion group for every different ideology and opinion. This way, we never have to worry about people who disagree with us.

    Oh wait. That's called the World Wide Web.

  • At May 29, 2006 6:39 AM, Blogger coby said…

    That's certainly not what I look for in a discussion group or on the web, but you are free to seek what you want.

  • At June 03, 2006 1:58 AM, Blogger Peter K. Anderson said…

    It is however Coby that obstinate opposition seems to be produced whenever discussion of the flaws in 'greenhouse concepts' begins to highlight situations in SCIENCE the 'greenhouse platform' prefers to have not noticed however Coby.

    The effort the few will go to in attempts to appear as 'the only opinion' is extraordinary, seen in the behaviors of those attempting to produce monologous support of 'greenhouse concepts' by deletion of comment, or use of multiple anonymous identities to contive fake discussion.

    This obstinate 'greenhouse support' is belligerently maintained even when the discussion attempted is outlining common knowledge or recent reported events from daily news papers.

    There are always attempts to cover censorship by claiming actions only of 'discussion moderation', but the interesting behavior noticed ALWAYS is that it is only those raising the 'difficult to talk around points' that get censored in any way.
    Even when the 'pro greenhouse' identities produce language that legally would constitute verbal abuse if made in any other public place..

    Peter K. Anderson a.k.a. Hartlod(tm)
    From the PC of Peter K Anderson
    E-Mail: Hartlod@bigpond.com

  • At November 23, 2006 8:49 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Great innitiative. I will check into that. You can see other similar initiative at www.1ocean-1client.com.

    It is just great that more and more people are into this topic. Good luck!

  • At December 22, 2006 2:07 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    sorry, the link was http://www.1ocean-1climate.com


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