The Connolley Problem, pt 2: Connolley who?

In part 1 of this series, I pointed out how self-described ‘concerned citizen‘ Dave Rado left out a fairly important detail in telling the story of his consultation with William Connolley about filing an complaint concerning alleged bias in the 2007 UK Channel Four Television Corporation video “The Great Global Warming Swindle.” Rest assured, Rado’s enslavement to Ross Gelbspan’s ‘industry-funded skeptic climate scientists’ accusation will come up in a later post, but today’s post is a necessary setup for it.

As a reminder for Dave Rado’s description in his ‘reluctant whistleblower’ piece of “the British Antarctic Survey’s scientist William Connolley”, have another look at this screencapture. If this was a one-time thing, it wouldn’t indicate much. But the important bit that Rado omits regarding Connolley within his 176 page complaint to the regulator for TV broadcast content, Ofcom, is troublesome to people well-acquainted with all aspects of the climate issue who know what Connolley is most infamous for.

One need look no farther than the current Wikipedia entry on Connolley for his infamy:

Known for Blog activity about climate change …

Connolley began editing Wikipedia in 2003 and served as a Wikipedia administrator from 2006 until 2009. He has been cited and quoted in the media regarding these activities, especially with respect to his editing in the area of climate change.

In July 2006, a New Yorker article described him as briefly becoming “a victim of an edit war over the entry on global warming” ….

Compare that to the February 25, 2007 Wikipedia entry for him (a bit over a week before “The Great Global Warming Swindle” was broadcast), and it just says he was a contributor to Wikipedia, but the controversy about his “edit war” is there, albeit shorter and worded differently. Arguably, the New Yorker article was an indicator of trouble surrounding Connolley and editing bias within Wikipedia’s global warming entries:

“User William M. Connolley strongly pushes his POV with systematic removal of any POV which does not match his own,” his accuser charged in a written deposition. “His views on climate science are singular and narrow.”

Connolley is now an admin, with two thousand pages on his watchlist—a feature that enables users to compile a list of entries and to be notified when changes are made to them.

Quite likely it was that power over Wikipedia global warming entries that boiled over into a May 2008 National Post article by Lawrence Solomon which started out with these words,

Next to Al Gore, William Connolley may be the world’s most influential person in the global warming debate.

Solomon continues, further down the page in reference to Dr S Fred Singer, a person I’ve tagged in several of my blog posts,

Singer is relentlessly smeared, and has been for years, as a kook who believes in Martians and a hack in the pay of the oil industry. When a smear is inadequate, or when a fair-minded Wikipedian tries to correct a smear, Connolley and his cohorts are there to widen the smear or remove the correction …

Aside:  I know well of how this “alteration-revision back to prior version” situation works. Back in the summer of 2008, not knowing at all how Wikipedia works beyond that it was open to editing by the public, I tried to correct the entry about Dr Singer and his alleged position on second hand smoke. My decision came after thoroughly reading a 2006 Desmogblog entry about Dr Singer while on my own due diligence efforts to find out if he was the rotten person his critics said he was. From one of Desmog’s own ‘evidence links’ which they apparently failed to carefully read, I clearly saw how Dr Singer did not have the position that Desmog portrayed him to have. So, after around 20 minutes of fiddling (re-wording, putting it online for several minutes, typo fixing, putting it back online, etc.) with that particular part of the entry for him, the result was what is seen in the left-side column here ….. and the right side column is what the online entry reverted to barely 50 seconds after my final edit. Note the Wikipedia admin name at the top right, Kim Dabelstein Petersen. It is the same name Lawrence Solomon wrote about in a July 2008 article variation titled “Wikipropaganda” which I first saw about two months after my own attempt to alter Dr Singer’s page.

So, did Dave Rado mention a word of Connolley’s work at Wikipedia in his complaint to Ofcom in 2007? No, not one. A site-specific search of his collective web site, which includes the full 176 page complaint, only turns up seven references to Connolley:  an Appendix page of peer reviewers of the complaint, with very brief biographical information; Connolley’s sign-off of his peer review effort; a mention of him as a peer reviewer in a summary of the complaint; his name in the complaint’s Table of Contents; a link to Connolley’s opinion of Ofcom’s 2008 ruling; and two citations of Connolley’s viewpoints on the 1970s ‘global cooling crisis’.

That latter pair of items has a potential significance: Dave Rado didn’t just contact John Connolley in indirect fashion a few days before the broadcast of “The Great Global Warming Swindle”, he posted two comments at a prior variation of Connolley’s blogs two years earlier which featured the ‘global cooling craze’ as a myth. Could Rado say that he did not see the link at Connolley’s 2005 right-side blog column for his Wikipedia page, and could Rado say he did not click on Connolley’s home site where, among a few other pages, it shows disdain for people skeptical of man-caused global warming?

… if you have questions, … there are a couple of other places where I have written slightly more ordered versions. The first is wikipedia: specifically, the Global cooling page (the link there is to an old version … click here to go to the currently-current version, which may or may not be sane depending on the depredations of skeptics or vandals).

Note that the first verbatim web link within the above quote doesn’t function in the Web Archive system, but placing the root url of it in a web browser yields this result, an 18 December 2004 “Global cooling” version “edited by Sheldon Rampton” – the person I detailed at length in my June 17, 2014 “Who put the “ICE” and its “reposition global warming as theory (not fact)” phrase in Wikipedia?” blog post.

Did Rado purposely leave out any mention Connolley’s Wikipedia work as just one of two reviewers of the entire Ofcom complaint because it might lead people to discover that Connolley has the appearance of being heavily biased against the very people the complaint was complaining about? Certainly that is one good question for reporters and investigators to ask, but a better question would be to ask just exactly how and why Connolley became a reviewer and whether this turn of events was what lead to the number of people who contributed to Rado’s complaint, and the type of material within the complaint which supposedly support the accusation about ‘industry-corrupted’ skeptic scientists.

Stay tuned for more details about that last appearance problem for Rado in a later blog post. But, coming up next, there is the question of how all that material gets assembled by just three guys within a finite number of days: “The Connolley Problem, pt 3: A Time Span Problem.”