Bad Bots

I always find it odd when bloggers complain about getting too many comments from readers who disagree with them. Most writers looking to tell a story or communicate a message want to reach as large an audience as possible. So I don’t get Chris Mooney here:

Hmm, have we got any denier bots here? I’m always amazed at how many “skeptics” show up for every GW post at this blog.

Bad bots! Leave Chris is peace.

17 Responses to “Bad Bots”

  1. harrywr2 says:

    This quote from Mooney’s article says it all, I assum he has a problem with it as he cherry picked the quotes.
    <i>”We’re going to get all voices heard about the science of climate,” Broun said. “Right now the (Obama) administration turns a blind ear and eye to opposing views.”</i>
    In a representative democracy, not having your voice heard is called ‘disenfranchisement’.  Personally, I stop reading/listening to anyone who feels that ‘disenfranchisement’ is a positive form of government.
    Most people who have studied governing will point out that the ‘disenfranchised’ are a threat to the stability of the regime.

  2. anon says:

    And note that Chris is so sensitive a detector of paid climate denier bots that his comment of complaint is comment 8.  In the prior 7 comments, only 3 are critical of AGW.
    It’s not like this is a Judith Curry, or Keith Kloor hundreds of comments blog post.  In fact, Mooney’s blog frequently gets many many more than 8 comments.  But in 8 comments, he’s already detected bots.
    Just look at the language too: “bot”.  Remember your classes in how during WWII (and all wars) we dehumanize the enemy to delegitimize them?  They are the hun, the jap, the deniers, the bots. Not human.  Not worth treating with respect and dignity.
    What is Chris Mooney’s background in science?  His bio at Discovery lists only his work in journalism, work which is easily and reasonably characterized as having a leftist political activist slant.
    Does Mooney have any college or post-graduate work in a field of science?  What classes, what experience does he actually have in science policy, which is what he claims to write about?
    KK, there is an opportunity for an actual journalist to help clear this up….  Well, nevermind, forget I said anything.

  3. Stu says:

    What’s the deal with this ‘denier bot’ idea? It seems to have come up in a couple of other places recently- although I can’t recall where. The birth of a new meme? I admit it’s a great way to totally ignore someone’s viewpoint. Denialists apparently not bad enough, the implication is now that the commenter isn’t even real… haha, well… great way to make friends and influence people I suppose… ?

  4. StuartR says:

    “What’s the deal with this “˜denier bot’ idea?”
    I think it all stemmed from the recent leaked info about government security agencies creating artificial personalities on social media. George Monbiot just had an article in the Guardian along similar lines to this “All sceptics just have to bots!” line. There is great article summing up all the problems of running with this line, on the site Climate Resistance, saying basically it insults the intelligence of the people they are try to warn away from sceptic opinion.
    Which you would have thought is obvious. Or maybe someone out there should be claiming the Turing Prize?

  5. harrywr2 says:

    StuartR Says:
    February 26th, 2011 at 6:09 pm @Stu

    <i>I think it all stemmed from the recent leaked info about government security agencies creating artificial personalities on social media</i>
    Folks on the national security blogs have known about ‘paid personalities’ on blogs for years. The question was always ‘whose’ government.  They frequently had difficultly staying with their storyboards. I.E. Losing track of whether they were from Maryland or Pennsylvania etc etc.

  6. JimR says:

    I think anon nailed it that this is just an attempt to “dehumanize the enemy to delegitimize” those who are willing to speak up skeptically. And I can’t see how this will work, especially with the large number of technical skeptics (probably more lukewarmers) from science and engineering fields. This type of person just can’t understand why there is never acknowledgment of problems or action to make things better in climate science. The “hide the decline” issue that has been the hot topic this week is just one example of that and these technical/science educated people just can’t understand how those in the climate science community refuse to condemn this behavior.
    These attempts to dismiss anyone not in full agreement such as this bot meme doesn’t help their cause.

  7. Dean says:

    Keith – as always, the issue is not disagreement but substantive disagreement. I like posting on blogs where people make interesting points in disagreement with me. But if they are dredging up some ridiculous point that has been disproved repeatedly, there is no point. On the very rare occasion that I post on JC’s blog, I don’t even go back any more to see if anybody responded. There are of course thoughtful people out there, but the others are just so overwhelming in number and persistence. It has been my unfortunate experience over many years and many issues that people’s persistence seems to be inversely proportional to their substance. It killed sci.environment in the 90’s and is why some blogs are so heavily moderated.

  8. Keith Kloor says:


    You make a good point. I think if a blogger was swarmed, then yes, I can see where someone might wonder what’s going. But on that Mooney thread, it was just a few comments.

    My feeling is this: there are always going to be people who stop by just to bust chops, which is fine. But others that might also vehemently disagree are at least intellectually curious and flexible enough to be drawn out of their comfort zone. And that’s a good thing.

  9. Steven Sullivan says:

    #7Dean:   Well-put. (I’m a Usenet veteran too. )
    Mooney maybe had in mind not just that thread, but ‘every GW post on [his] blog’.  And maybe he recognized some usual suspects or zombie memes (‘AGW is BS’) popping up on that particular thread and went: *facepalm* .
    But in general, the concept of signal to noise ratio is useful, and a thread or blog where it’s too low, isn’t.

  10. Matt B says:

    Any posting that uses the third person is from a bot….

  11. lucia says:

    Maybe Mooney looked on the admin side and saw a bunch of comments from the same IP?
    I did have some ‘bots bet on UAH temperatures.  They’d even figured out the really simple adding captcha, so I had to modify that.  Good thing I did because most the ‘bots bet the temperature anomaly would be 0C, and recently, they would have won!
    Still, I don’t think those commenters at Chris Mooney’s are ‘bots.  They are just people whose views Chris doesn’t like.

  12. Eli Rabett says:

    It was not a government agency, but an IT company that does business with the federal government and companies.  HBGray Federal

  13. Lewis Deane says:

    There’s anew meme going around site such as ‘Think Progress’ etc and I think it’s worth putting it context, viz:
    Just to put this in it’s ironic context ““ ironic because it originated from a blatantly illegal hack by the so called “˜Anonymous’ and is being used by the very same people, including the Guardian and the New York Times, who disdained the “˜dirty pilfered’ emails of CRU ““ that on the 6-7 Febuary HGBary Federal and HGBary, internet security companies, were hacked by “˜Anonymous’ and their email accounts dumped. The reason for the blatantly illegal hack was because the rather hubristic CEO of HGBary Federal, Aaron Barr, boasted, in the Financial Times, more as a publicity stunt than anything else, that he “˜knew’ the identities of some alleged Anonymous “˜Chiefs’ (there, apparently, aren’t any and the alleged “˜identities’ he found ended up being quite innocent people!). Be that as it may, among the dumped emails where “˜proposals’, very much far fetched, to create multiple fake accounts, controllable by one operative at a time, that could “˜propagandise’ or “˜disrupt’. Now the putative “˜left’, handing around these emails like grandma’s cookies, are all up in arms about Aaron Barr’s fantasies.

  14. Lewis Deane says:

    Jus as a coda, I would refer you to ‘Ars Technica’, a very good site, which has the ‘low down’ on all this. What has surprised me, but shouldn’t have, for there was a very similar ‘time lag’ on the CRU dump, is the lack of uptake on this story. These emails, from an admittedly small company, do tend to send a key hole shine on the nefariousness of our governments?

  15. kdk33 says:

    “The left… all up in arms about Aaron Barr’s fantasies”

    Oh my!  Has anyone warned Biden.

  16. anon says:

    Wow! I thought the government was inefficient, but now you guys are telling me they give out global warming grants like there’s no tomorrow with one hand, and with the other hand, they are busy trolling global warming sites all while staring at goats to convince Al Franken to support the troops in Afghanistan with another USO tour!
    And Chris Mooney is on top of this!  Woot Chris!

  17. L. Carey says:

    What am I missing in this logic?
    Keith Kloor: “I always find it odd when bloggers complain about getting too many comments from readers who disagree with them.”
    vs. Comment 184 @
    Keith Kloor Says:
    February 22nd, 2011 at 10:21 pm
    “…And that begs the question: why are you bothering to come here? i really wonder why some of you bother reading this blog. It’s obvious we’re on completely different wavelengths.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *