Censorship Alive and Well at Wikipedia

August 21st, 2014 by Roy W. Spencer, Ph. D.

propaganda-ministryThat didn’t take long. Less than 24 hours after I noted the use of the “97% of scientists agree” meme as an example of “propaganda techniques” on Wikipedia, the example has disappeared.

But “Hope and Change” remains there as an example of Ad Nauseum propaganda. Time to scrub that one, too?

50 Responses to “Censorship Alive and Well at Wikipedia”

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  1. two says:

    Have they added ‘deniers’ yet?

  2. the moon is a balloon says:

    Do we now have to add “timely censorship of Wikipedia” to the WIkipedia list of propaganda techniques?

  3. AnonyMoose says:

    07:29, 21 August 2014‎ William M. Connolley (talk | contribs)‎ . . (16,792 bytes) (-53)‎ . . (Undid revision 617361920 by (talk) better to use a non-controversial example)

  4. Roy spencer says:

    Aha! He’s baaack!

  5. Morph says:

    It’s been reversed back.

    tick tock…

  6. Jim Curtis says:

    Let’s add intimidation to the list of propaganda techniques. However, 1984 is somewhat behind schedule. They’ll miss the boat entirely if they don’t hurry.

    • Jim Curtis says:

      Not especially times the left will celebrate (see Rush). The Ferguson myth of police (and national) racism is coming undone. The messiah is giving every sign of being a failure and not giving a da[rn]. Midterm reality is looming. They are being opposed at every turn now (by the alternate media, not the Republicans). No more monopoly on news. The scientific basis of the CAGW myth is plainly falling apart – to the point where they are showing signs of desperation in finding excuses. The IPCC, Algore, and Hanson are growing laughing stocks. Have a little compassion – its very hard on the egos of the superiors.

  7. ferd berple says:

    as soon as Connolley gets out of bed, he will scrap it again.
    There are obviously bots behind the scenes patrolling wikipedia and alerting “the chosen few” that they need to re-establish the one true word.

    which of course is a violation of wikipedia policy, but since when did that deter the righteous.

  8. Milton Hathaway says:

    The censors don’t appear to be very diligent. Look at the example they give for “Euphemism”: (e.g., “Reproductive Rights” vs. Abortion).

    A much more PC example would have been (e.g. “Pro-Life” vs “Anti-Abortion”).

    And there are others:

    Slogans: (e.g., “War on Women”)
    Stereotyping: (e.g., “Right Wing Extremists”)
    Ad nauseam: (e.g., “Hope and Change.”)
    Reductio ad Hitlerum: the example here is contained in the naming of the propaganda type itself

    What do these chosen examples of propaganda have in common? They are mainstays of liberal political discourse, of course!

    I’ve long thought that if I were a teacher of young minds, I would teach the classical logical fallacies and propaganda techniques, and then assign a weekly exercise to list all the fallacies in a given current events article. To me, it’s hard to think of a skill that would serve an individual better in the long run than the ability to spot these techniques right off the bat, bang, bang, that’s wrong, that’s wrong, that’s wrong, as one reads through them. It’s amazing how much time and energy we waste by not recognizing these fallacies soon enough, myself included.

    • Streetcred says:

      When I was in senior high school many years ago we were taught about the recognition of logical fallacies and propaganda in our English lessons … embedded scepticism.

    • anon says:


      There was an excellent litle book published in 1930, titled

      “Straight and Crooked Thinking”, by H Thouless.

      There is a new edition published 2011. Described as “A new edition of a timeless classic” by the publisher, and that is right, actually.

      I can remember it being in our School Library. I was the only person who ever took it out, in an establishment that sent 30 or 40 boys to Oxford or Cambridge every year. It wasn’t that these clever boys weren’t interested in “straight thinking.” They just assumed they already KNEW how to think. They had always been told they were “la creme de la creme”. They are now among the movers and shakers, I guess!

      I see what ‘streetcred’ wrote. Interesting that he says “in our English lessons…” That is the point to some extent.
      It was treated, if at all, as a minor adjunct to something else. You have to think straight if you do Geometry, but who does Geometry now?

  9. Thanks for one’s marvelous posting! I definitely enjoyed reading it, you will be
    a great author.I will be sure to bookmark your blog and will come back later in life.

    I want to encourage one to continue your great posts, have a nice

    • ..what glowing, yet non-specific, praise. I wonder if “web_designer_income” wants us to click though to his/her website? Hmmm…

      • dan cecil says:

        Don’t be so modest, Roy, web_designer_income speaks the truth about one’s marvelous posting. Although “you will be a great author” looks like a knock on your previous writing.

      • Fonzarelli says:

        I have to second Dan on that, Dr. S. At least he/she is nice… (would you prefer another nasty comment from Appell?)

  10. Someone else has suggested a compromise: https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Propaganda_techniques&diff=622251537&oldid=622248324

    Have you heard of compromise? Sometimes it can be useful in settling disagreements. Ranting about censorship is fun, but non-productive.

    Ranting about wiki but making no effort to improve it is also non-productive; carping from the sidelines is so much easier. Still, at least you’re not like the Watties, who rant about wiki and pretend not to trust it, but use it for a reference nonetheless.

    > bots behind the scenes patrolling wikipedia and alerting “the chosen few”

    Why stick to facts when you can make up paranoid fantasies instead?

    • Streetcred says:

      How about we reach a compromise whereby you deter from maligning Wikipedia? … there’s a +97% consensus opinion that this will lead to a settled outcome.

    • Massimo PORZIO says:

      No William,
      there is no compromise to truth!
      And in this case the truth is that
      – (e.g., “The debate is over. 97% of scientist agree”) –
      Was a clear example of propaganda happened (by the way, it didn’t matter if it was in the climate science arena because it was not explained there)
      – e.g., “The debate is over. Nearly everyone who matters agrees with me.” –
      Is a generic example requested by a propagandist (you) who is trying to hide the truth behind an argument, I really wonder why you are still entitled to revise on Wikipedia.
      It was already evident that you have not idea of what “moral integrity” means when you first removed the example yesterday, now you confirmed it.
      If I was a Wikipedia manager and my goal was keep Wikipedia a real objective source of information, I would inhibit people like you to revise at all because it’s evident that you don’t hold the cultural and moral integrity to do that.
      I know that you are “famous” and probably you don’t matter of my point of view at all, but let me tell you that IMHO you are a very poor man (I mean “culturally poor” of course, in case you didn’t get the point) .



      • William Connolley says:

        > there is no compromise to truth!

        You seem to be somewhat confused, as is our host. What we’re discussing is an *example* of one particular propaganda technique. So its perfectly possible to compromise, and find an example that’s acceptable to everyone that cares. Similarly, replacing one example with another isn’t censorship. Censorship is what WUWT does.

        > Is a generic example requested by a propagandist (you)

        No; I didn’t write that.

        > If I was a Wikipedia manager

        Wiki has no managers.

        > I know that you are “famous”

        I’m famous, without quotes. See http://www.conservapedia.com/William_M._Connolley Compare http://www.conservapedia.com/Roy_Spencer I’m clearly more famous.

        • Massimo PORZIO says:

          William please:
          “So its perfectly possible to compromise, and find an example that’s acceptable to everyone that cares.”

          Since we are looking for the truth (propagandist are exactly opposed to that, because otherwise there is no reason to do propaganda) just tell the truth, it suffices, we don’t need any compromise.
          If you believe that a compromise is needed, then tell us why don’t you accept that “The debate is over. 97% of scientist agree”, is clearly a good example of happened “bandwagon” technique?

          “Wiki has no managers.”

          It seems to me that you are unaware of how much is biased your point of view. We are talking about propaganda techniques and immediately you exposed your attitude to do it. The above is called “red herring”, that is an Aristotelian fallacy called in Latin “ignoratio elenchi”. That is, you were well aware that it was not important in this context if Wiki had or not had any manager, but you wrote that just trying to confuse the readers about the real question: that is, you are AGW biased. My point was valid even if Wiki has or not has “managers”.

          “I’m famous, without quotes.”
          You are so confused that you can’t distinguish when one put between quotes for sarcasm and when he did it just because has copied the text from your Wiki User page. In fact I read that there yesterday because it was in a link of the page about your revision on the “Propaganda techniques” article.
          Anyways, I admit that I quoted that just to stimulate your super-ego, and finally it worked fine indeed.

          “I’m clearly more famous.”
          This is the nice part of discussing with you: you are not minimally aware of how scientifically childish is your behavior; do you really think that you can convince me, or any other who is seriously reading this blog, that it has any importance if you are more or less “famous” of Dr. Spencer?
          William, even Adolf Hitler was a “famous” statistician of the 20th century, probably he was the “most famous”.
          Think before write next time.

          I always told that I’m a perfect ignorant in climate science. I’m an electronic engineer so I don’t have to justify my ignorance in this field. But reading your argumentation, you are not better than me in climate science. At least, I’m critical about anything by nature.


        • JohnKl says:

          Do you believe in compromising on everything? How often do you compromise the truth in your daily life?

          Oh! Your Wikipedia link contained a definition of “half-truth.”

          A half-truth is a deceptive statement that includes some element of truth. It comes in several forms: the statement might be partly true, the statement may be totally true but only part of the whole truth, or it may utilize some deceptive element, such as improper punctuation, or double meaning, especially if the intent is to deceive, evade, blame, or misrepresent the truth.”

          Since improper punctuation apparently suggests deception, and you apparently fail to use it in your posts (see below) who do you wish to deceive and why?

          In another post you made a punctuation error.

          “So its perfectly possible to compromise, and find an example that’s acceptable to everyone that cares.”

          Have a great day, however compromised it may be!

          • Massimo PORZIO says:

            Hi JohnKl,
            well said.

            By the way, I’m still thinking about your smart statements about evolution. They made me skeptic also about a theory I always considered valid.
            Thank you. Maybe one day I’ll investigate better the argument.

            Have a great day.


          • JohnKl says:

            Hi Massimo PORZIO,

            Thank you for the reply, I often enjoy your posts as well. Regarding evolution please consider perusing two books. Michael Behe wrote “Darwin’s Black Box” and Michael Denton wrote “Evolution: A Theory in Crisis.” Both books provide enormous evidence against the general theory, neo-Darwinian synthesis, and imo to an extent punctuated equilibrium, etc., etc., etc. Many others do as well but those two books go straight to the heart of the matter and provide extensive empirical information.

            Have a great day!

      • Fonzarelli says:

        Massimo, I’m not so sure that it’s wikipedia’s job to report the “truth”. In terms of say climate science, it’s their job to report what main stream climate science says. They are not climate scientists themselves. (and pragmatically speaking, they never could be) All we should really get out of Wikipedia is a reflection of what’s out there…

        • Massimo PORZIO says:

          Hi Fonzie 🙂
          yes I agree with you, I admit that that is what I expect from a true encyclopedia… Is Wiki that?

          Have a great day.


          • Massimo PORZIO says:

            Uhmm… It seems that you continue to apply the red herring about the issue at which you still haven’t give a reply (I quote myself):
            “If you believe that a compromise is needed, then tell us why don’t you accept that “The debate is over. 97% of scientist agree”, is clearly a good example of happened “bandwagon” technique?”

            And more, are you arguing that the real goal of science is not pursuing the truth?
            No, because I really don’t understand what do you mean with those links in your last message.

            Are you meaning that the “The debate is over. 97% of scientist agree” isn’t a clear travesty of scientific research written with the intent of mislead the masses about what we (the mankind, I mean) really know about climate?
            That just because is it “un-verifiable”?

            Ok, come on and just tell us how do you verify that it is not so, tell us what Wiki policy authorized you to remove it, that is tell us on what is based your “better to use a non-controversial example” statement which seems to allowed you to remove that example.
            What should be controversial in that example?


          • Massimo PORZIO says:

            In a former post you wrote:
            “I’m famous, without quotes. See http://www.conservapedia.com/William_M._Connolley Compare http://www.conservapedia.com/Roy_Spencer I’m clearly more famous.”
            Yesterday I was unable to open those links because of an error from the conservapedia web server, now I read what the links report and I doubt that you are really William Connolley.
            If you were joking with me, ok. Now stop it because it’s enough.


          • Fonzarelli says:

            Massimo, it seems his links were merely confirming what I said. (Even a guy in a tee shirt and leather jacket can be right now and then…) You make a valid point though; is wiki really even doing that?

          • Massimo PORZIO says:

            Hi Fonzarelli,

            I agree, but I cannot believe that the true William Connolley could be proud of what is written about him on conservapedia.

            I really doubt this is really William Connolley, if he was than this is absolutely the first time I discussed with someone of this kind.

            Have a nice day.


    • benpal says:

      “Have you heard of compromise? Sometimes it can be useful in settling disagreements” Exactly how is deleting an entry a compromise? From what I know about your relationship with Wikipedia, you don’t seem to be a man of compromise.

  11. geran says:

    Great job, Dr. Roy. Not only did you disturb Wiki, but you tweaked the Conn man.

    Great job!

  12. > Slogans: (e.g., “War on Women”)
    > Stereotyping: (e.g., “Right Wing Extremists”)
    > Ad nauseam: (e.g., “Hope and Change.”)

    Also gone (https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Propaganda_techniques&diff=622287682&oldid=622279716).

  13. Johan says:

    Honestly, I don’t think the “97 / 98 % consensus” is a very good example of “ad populum”. To begin with, almost everyone, including so-called lukewarmers and even skeptics agree that there is some manmade global warming. To the question “Is there such a thing as manmade global warming?”, my answer would be “probably yes, albeit in all likelihood small”. And “ad populum” is not always a fallacy – in many instances what a vast majority of scientists claim is “true” might actually be “true”, bearing in mind that “truth” is a philosophical / religious concept, and not a scientific one. All that is required is that this “scientific claim” can be tested through observing physical reality. And lastly, if it is a fallacy, I would rather call it “ad verecundiam” (the professors say so,so it must be true”).

    The bigger problem is that this “97-98% consensus” paper is a travesty of scientific research. But that is something entirely different.

  14. Ansgar John says:

    97% of scientists believe this to be true and thus it is true, is pseudo science. On the other hand it is logical that many of us who edit Wikipedia don’t think it is propaganda to point out what the majority thinks.

    • Fonzarelli says:

      Except that the majority don’t actually think that… A full 2/3 of the papers reviewed in the study expressed no opinion at all. As well, the criteria was so broad that even Dr Spencer was included in that number !

      • Doug Lampert says:

        But the 97% are correct according to warmists! And I agree that based on the criteria used to get 97% it’s utterly clear that Dr. Spencer is a member of the 97%. So according to warmists Dr. Spencer is correct on global warming.

        Boy, that’s a relief! Their own “logic” says as a member of the consensus of scientists only anti-science deniers would argue with him on this.

        • Massimo PORZIO says:

          I never thought that way before,
          but being a “consensus”, it’s evident that you must be clearly right!

          Have a nice day.


    • Brian says:

      The problem seems to be in the definition of terms. “Global Warming” is used as shorthand for catastrophic anthropomorphic global warming (for obvious reasons) because, if it isn’t catastrophic it won’t be a problem and if it isn’t anthropomorphic there’s nothing we can do anyway. Therefore, talking without precision of terms is leading us in circles.

      • Brian says:

        I was called away before finishing that last thought. The Earth has been gaining about 1 degree per century since the little ice age, that is the consensus, that is global warming, 97% of everybody can agree with that statement. It is the catastrophic and anthropomorphic parts that have people taking past each other. Therefore, it is very important, when discussing global warming, that you define exactly what type of global warming you are talking about.

  15. Dr. Spencer, would be very interested in reading your comments on the latest shift among the climate alarmists. They are now using the word ‘hiatus’ to describe the lack of empirical evidence for global warming and have all but embraced theories you considered about ocean participation in heat exchange. There’s a good essay on this here: http://somerealsanityplease.blogspot.com/2014/08/the-dangers-of-ersatz-religion.html

  16. anon says:

    IMO, ‘Wikipedia’ started out as part of the solution, but quickly became part of the problem. That is often what happens with the cultural inventions of man. Of course I still use it occasionally, but only as a starting point. There are much better on-line resources, especially if you have access through an institution.

    Still better is to go to a proper Library, get out an intriguing book on a subject you have never heard of, read until you meet the first equation or reference to Marx*, and then fall asleep.

    *Marx sent Darwin a copy of Das Kapital. It is still in Darwin’s former home. The pages were cut and notes were in the margin in Darwin’s handwriting – up to page 79. He gave it a fair go.

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