Wikipedia:Requests for comment/William M. Connolley

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READ this before you spend time on this stale RFC[edit]

This page is stale since Mar 10, 2005. See bottom of page. I wonder why it is still open for edit here?

Since no progress was made after the RfC, it progressed to a Request for arbitration, found here, with the evidence page here. This is the currently active component of the dispute resolution process. (that unsigned comment by Kowloonese).

This RFC was effectively "won" by WMC; sadly that didn't affect the editing behaviour of the losing side (William M. Connolley 09:01, 9 Apr 2005 (UTC)).
Planting a flag and declaring victory has no meaning in the RfC process. Anyone interested should proceed to the RfA. Cortonin | Talk 16:24, 9 Apr 2005 (UTC)
(William M. Connolley 09:07, 11 Apr 2005 (UTC)) Ho ho ho. If the count of opinions had gone strongly in your favoour, thats exactly what you would be doing. But since you lost, you're weaseling out of it.

In order to remain listed at Wikipedia:Requests for comment, at least two people need to show that they tried to resolve a dispute with this user and have failed. This must involve the same dispute, not different disputes. The persons complaining must provide evidence of their efforts, and each of them must certify it by signing this page with ~~~~. If this does not happen within 48 hours of the creation of this dispute page (which was: {insert UTC timestamp with ~~~~~}), the page will be deleted. The current date and time is: 20:54, 12 April 2024 (UTC).

Statement of the dispute[edit]

William M. Connolley pushes POV, and systematically reverts any changes attempting to establish NPOV, including multiple instant reversions of placing NPOV dispute. William M. Connolley refuses to form consensus or accept compromise, and refuses to allow multiple perspectives to exist on controversial topics, and simply uses widespread continual reverting of changes to convert pages to his POV (often even using the Three-revert rule as a counting game to win edit wars). William M. Connolley objects to and deletes all sources and documentation that state anything he disagrees with.

This anti-NPOV behavior of William M. Connolley has compromised the integrity of a large number of Wikipedia's climate related articles, such as climate change, global warming, and greenhouse gas, and other articles such as Michael Crichton and Bjørn Lomborg.

Evidence of disputed behavior[edit]

(provide diffs and links)

  1. Talk:Climate change
  2. Talk:Global climate change
  3. Talk:Global warming
  4. Talk:Greenhouse gas
  5. Talk:Michael Crichton
  6. Talk:Bjørn Lomborg
  7. [1]
  8. [2]
  9. [3]
  10. [4]
  11. [5]
  12. [6]
  13. [7]
  14. [8]
  15. [9]
  16. [10]
  17. [11]
  18. [12]
  19. [13]
  20. [14]
  21. [15]
  22. [16]
  23. [17]
  24. [18]
  25. [19]
  26. [20]
  27. [21]
  28. [22]
  29. [23]
  30. [24]
  31. [25]
  32. [26]
  33. [27]
  34. [28]
  35. [29]
  36. [30]
  37. [31]
  38. [32]
  39. [33]
  40. [34]
  41. [35]
  42. [36]
  43. [37]
  44. [38]
  45. [39]
  46. [40]

Applicable policies[edit]

{list the policies that apply to the disputed conduct}

  1. Avoid bias. Articles should be written from a neutral point of view, representing differing views on a subject fairly and sympathetically.
  2. Respect other contributors.
  3. Wikipedia:Civility
  4. Wikipedia:Wikiquette
  5. Wikipedia:Writers rules of engagement

Evidence of trying and failing to resolve the dispute[edit]

(provide diffs and links)

  1. Talk:Global warming
  2. Talk:Global warming#NPOV disputed
  3. Talk:Global warming#"Skeptics unable to produce model that shows temperatures decreasing"
  4. Talk:Greenhouse gas#Sources for wv, co2, etc contributions.
  5. Talk:Michael Crichton
  6. Talk:Michael Crichton#Editing/Reversion War
  7. Talk:Michael Crichton#Shorter text is not bad after all
  8. Talk:Michael Crichton#Connolley "crosses the line" or... The Section Header that Connelly Wasn't Allowed to Censor
  9. Talk:Michael Crichton#JonGwynne breaks the 3 reverts rule

Users certifying the basis for this dispute[edit]

(sign with ~~~~)

  1. I certify the statement of dispute. Cortonin | Talk 12:18, 18 Jan 2005 (UTC)
  2. I also certify the statement of dispute. — TDC 13:53, Jan 18, 2005 (UTC)
  3. I also certify the statement of dispute. — Ben | Talk 02:08, 19 Jan 2005 (UTC)
  4. I also certify the statement of dispute except the part about refuses to form consensus or accept compromise. Dr. Connolley is a bona fide scientist and good-natured, courteous chap. And he is well-known at Wikipedia for his work to move climate-related articles toward consensus. To this end, he frequently has made compromises in the expression of text. My only complaint is that he doesn't do this enough, and that he insists that Wikipedia endorse his idea that "there is a consensus amoung scientists" supporting his POV. -- Uncle Ed (talk) 17:22, May 28, 2005 (UTC)
  5. I suggested to put both opposite views in the article. He refused to compromise. — Kowloonese 23:46, Apr 8, 2005 (UTC)
  1. Rejoinder (this is EP's rejoinder to Sunrays statement of support, moved into the correct section) Dr. Connolley, despite his never-failing courtesy and awesome scientific credentials, has taken it upon himself to pick and choose what information can go in each of the articles related to global warming. He refuses to allow articles to mention that disputes exist in the scientific community, portraying all disagreements as between "honest, objective scientists" and "lying, self-interested corporations and their lackeys" (I'm obviously paraphrasing here!) If a source disagrees with him, he all too frequently either insists that the Wikipedia article itself thoroughly discredit the source or he simply reverts the insertion of the source's POV. This is contrary to the spirit of Wikipedia (see co-founder Larry Sanger's statement, which I quote below). I have long hesitated to complain about Dr. C. because I thought it was good for our project to have a real, live scientist participating and feared that disciplinary action would have a chilling effect (pun intended!) on the collaboration; I add my endorsement to the complaints of others with the utmost reluctance. --user:Ed Poor (talk) 15:22, Jan 20, 2005 (UTC)
  2. Response to Ed Poor's Rejoinder Ed Poor seems to be stepping outside the normal Wikipedia protocal for Wikipedia:Requests for Comment to add a rejoinder to my endorsement of WMC's statement in response to Cortonin (below). No matter, if it will in some way serve to further improve the quality of Wikipedia articles, I am happy to respond. We agree on Dr. Connolley's courtesy and scientific credentials. However, in the best interests of Wikipedia's NPOV policy, I think it important to examine Ed Poor's statement that WMC "has taken it upon himself to pick and choose what information can go in each of the articles related to global warming." Larry Sanger's definition states: "neutrality is all about competing versions of what the facts are." WMC's writing in the articles to which he contributes almost invariably meets the scientific definition of fact: "In science, a fact is data supported by a scientific experiment" (from Wikipedia Fact). It would seem crucially important that we observe this criterion in our articles on scientific subjects--especially with definitions and summaries of the relevant research on a given topic. If there is a debate among recognized scientists on a particular subject we should summarize that as well. But such summaries are difficult and exacting, because, as soon as the article is posted, they will be subject to peer review. As a scientist, Dr. Connolly knows this and observes it is his writing. I've taken a close look the material presented by Cortonin in his Evidence of disputed behavior and will make some comments on it in the appropriate section. Let me summarize it here by saying that the additions he has made to the articles referenced generally do not stand the test of scientific fact. Sunray 21:00, 2005 Jan 20 (UTC)
  1. Addendum to my certification WMC has ignored and belittled my proposal for revamping the climate change section of Wikipedia, saying that I have not contributed anything, and providing no reasonable explanations for his discontent, and sometimes none at all [41]. In fact, when I demonstrated that important general information on greenhouse gases and the greenhouse effect was only accessible on the global warming page, even though scientists theorize that this effect has caused climate changes throughout history, he ignored me. Frequently he dismisses my concerns with curt responses such as "No." even when I cite articles I have good reason to believe are authoritative [42]. Most of my discussion with WMC has occurred on the Talk:Global climate change page. You can view my proposal and the sample page I created here: User:Benapgar/Proposal, User:Benapgar/Global_climate_change. I also created a climate forcings page, which User:Silverback dismissed as useless and which WMC said wealky duplicates material on the climate change page and accused me of trying to "strip stuff out of the other articles"[43]. A search for "climate forcing" on Google nets almost 50,000 hits[44]. Later, when I asked WMC to clarify the difference between radiative forcing and climate forcing, WMC went on a tangent and simply told me "CO2 is definitely a radiative forcing" and never came back. I am afraid to even add anything to this page because I think WMC will erase it and berate my knowledge of the subject if it isn't 100% perfect, and considering WMC never uses the term (even though many climate scientists do), I feel that he'll do that if I even get into describing it any way but his way. And I don't know what his way is since he never wanted the page in the first place. Last time I cited things like the Metereological Service of Canada and WMC said they were wrong, so I'm guessing citing the NOAA[45] he will also say they're wrong. I mean, I hadn't even looked at the page I just linked to when I started climate forcings, and to me it looks like I am on exactly the right track. Of course, WMC will say that that is wrong too and I just don't understand them, then refuse to explain what climate forcings are, and then ignore me. I don't want to put bad information in wikipedia, and nor do I want to spend the time putting in what I think is right only to have it erased and told I just don't understand it. — Ben 02:43, 22 Jan 2005 (UTC)
Opinion on the cause of the problem My opinion on the cause of the problem is that WMC often uses technically correct rhetoric, but not science, to make the case for global warming. This leads skeptics to believe they are being shut out of the conversation, which is what happens and likely what WMC is attempting to do. This is unconscionable in science, and results in skeptics pushing POV in an attempt to break through WMCs' disingenuous style of writing (likely the result of a personal backlash towards skeptics). An example would be WMC's argument over whether to include "all climate models predict global warming." The word all while possibly technically correct, is a rhetorical, not a scientific, self-justification which further enflames skeptics. The same would be true if a skeptic wrote "most" or "some" in that sentence. The result should be that the whole sentence should be re-written. Something like "Many different climate models are used in predicting climate. The models used by climatologists have all predicted global warming." Which gets the point across, and I doubt skeptics would have a problem with this since it is not "closed" and can be added to/re-arranged/qualified without causing much of an argument on either side.—Ben 22:38, 25 Jan 2005 (UTC)
(Furthermore, WMC's argument that his claim needs to be disproven by examples of climate models which do not predict warming is an ad ignorantiam argument, which, as logical fallacy, is extremely unscientific.) Ben 22:38, 25 Jan 2005 (UTC)
Unsigned one. This fallacy does not apply in a situation where the field of interest is easily searchable, such as published science, especially a totally modern one. Perhaps you are unaware, that the authors of scientific papers are also themselves expected to have searched the literature for previous publications of the similar or contrary results, and that peer reviewers rely upon these reviews of the previous work and themselves have a duty to review them if they suspect the review was incomplete. We are also talking here about a particularly small field requiring considerable computing resources where the practititioners are coordinating with each other so that their results can be compared and contrasted and the implications of their differences can be understood. It is a small community where if you say "most" instead of "all", it begs the question "which one", because if they are not aware of it, who is aware of it, and were they negligent in their review of the literature?--Silverback 01:56, 26 Jan 2005 (UTC)
Logical fallacies always apply when you are making an argument. You can take that up with Aristotle, not me. Anyway, it's my opinion that saying "all climate models" is a purposeful method of stifling dissent, by suggesting "consensus science," which is another fallacy called appeal to authority. This causes negative reactions from skeptics, and rightly so. In fact, you might as well remove it, because I have found a climate model which predicts cooling. Here it is: Yesterday it was 40°F, today it is 30°F. The trend indicates a 10°F drop per day. This is a climate model, and now the statement is inaccurate. It doesn't matter how bad of a climate model it is. Or if it does, change the phrase to "all reputable climate models." Which, of course, means that any climate model which predicts cooling is unreputable, which is POV. Still, you should do it, since the statement is now inaccurate. Otherwise I'll complain that you are misrepresenting my climate model and stating that it predicts warming when it doesn't. Then I'll put the factually incorrect tag on the article, then we can have another RFC! Hooray! —Ben 05:42, 26 Jan 2005 (UTC)
Thanx for the demonstration of your understanding of science. Get your model published and then it will be valid evidence. --Silverback 06:14, 26 Jan 2005 (UTC)
I have no response to this. —Ben 21:44, 26 Jan 2005 (UTC)
Continued on Wikipedia_Talk:Requests_for_comment/William_M._Connolley

Larry Sanger's definition of neutrality[edit]

Neutrality is all about presenting competing versions of what the facts are. It doesn't matter at all how convinced you are that your facts are the facts. If a significant number of other interested parties disagrees with you, the neutrality policy dictates that the discussion be recast as a fair presentation of the dispute between the parties. --Larry Sanger [46]

(William M. Connolley 21:18, 20 Jan 2005 (UTC)) I believe this definition will not work for the science articles, as per Sunray above. I've started a scetion for that on the talk page of this page.

Other users who endorse this summary[edit]

(sign with ~~~~)

  1. PARTIAL endorsement--I have found that where certain personalities are involved, Michael Crichton and Fred Singer for instance, that WMC is likely to insist that his ad hominem nits with these people be included, such as insisting that SEPP be labeled as a "one man band" or that statements POV dismissive of credentials be included in an article about a scientifically literate and respected author like Crichton. I can only give a partial endorsement, because on issues of the science itself, WMC makes valuable contributions and even where he disagrees will yield to allow possible alternative interpretations of the evidence to be included. I would hate to lose his participation in the climate science areas.--Silverback 20:58, 18 Jan 2005 (UTC)
  2. PARTIAL Endorsement--I've been following the latest fracas on Michael Crichton, which started a bit before I watchlisted the page, and reading the talk and history, and it seems to me that Mr. Connolley is in fact engaging in most of the behaviors that Mr. Gwynne accuses him of, and in general attempting to 'game' the rules of Wikiquette. He is, in general, reasonably polite in doing it, but I don't think that excuses the underlying behavior. Who knew MC was such a controversial topic? --Baylink 22:47, 18 Jan 2005 (UTC)
  1. Endorsement -- GregBenson 03:26, 19 Jan 2005 (UTC)--- Connelly has consistently reverted changes I have made intended to create a more objective point of view in matters regarding climate change. His behavior has in fact inhibited me from contributing to these entries since it is a near certainty that it will be removed or subverted within a day. His deep and hard-earned knowledge is in this subject is impressive, but he needs a firm reminder that HE DOES NOT KNOW EVERYTHING. My background is in geology, and paleoclimate is a big part of that science, but I have been effectively prevented from contributing in my area of expertise by WMC's heavy-handed reverts.
  1. PARTIAL endorsement-- MichaelSirks 20:25, 19 Jan 2005 (UTC) I have had run in with Connelly over the Bjorn Lomborg page. Where I delivered all the evidence that a certain facts on the page weren't true. He tried to filibuster the change. Questions I asked him to support his position weren’t answered. In the end I just changed the text and after that I didn’t hear of him again. Read the talk page about Lomborg.--MichaelSirks 20:25, 19 Jan 2005 (UTC)
  1. Endorsement Regardless of WMC's claimed scientific background, I find his contributions here to be of dubious value because of his apparent inability to accept any point of view other than his own. When changes are made to an article that he disagrees with, he immediately reverts them without any consideration for the contribution or effort to use the changes as a "jumping off point" to further improve the article. His petulant behavior in the talk pages and highly selective addressing of comments directed to him does not add to the generally cooperative environment here. Additionally, his inability to recognize his own partisanism makes it difficult or impossible for him to be objective. His tendency to stifle or overtly censor opposition/criticism of his views makes me wish there was some way to block him from reverting articles here and be forced to submit his proposed changes for approval before they are committed.--JonGwynne 13:28, 20 Jan 2005 (UTC)
  1. Endorsement WMC is a threat to wikipedia and should be banned for one year. Stirling Newberry 13:43, 25 Feb 2005 (UTC)
  1. Endorsement He is best for running his own website where he always has the final say. Such behavior does not work well with other Wikipedians. His presence here is making contribution a chore. Kowloonese 00:11, Apr 9, 2005 (UTC)
  1. Endorsement: I find his demeanor (such as it can be deduced from text) to be abrasive and overtly personal. He also edits according to his politics, which is unacceptable here (examples: [50], [51]). I have to agree with Stirling Newberry above, I'm afraid. -- 19:00, 10 April 2007 (UTC)[reply]


This is a summary written by the user whose conduct is disputed, or by other users who think that the dispute is unjustified and that the above summary is biased or incomplete.

(William M. Connolley 13:30, 18 Jan 2005 (UTC)) Cortonin makes a large number of charges, which I reject. The current dispute is really about the greenhouse gas page (oops, and GW too... OK, I'll come to taht at the end). The large numbers of links he provides is silly: yes there was an edit war over the Michael Crichton page, but in fact I withdrew from that after finding JonGwynne too unpleasant to deal with. The current MC page is biased pro-MC, but since no-one would support me there I decided to abandon it. The Bjørn Lomborg page doesn't sem a very good example for C's POV either.

But to turn to the GHG page, which is what this is really about. C says: objects and deletes all sources and documentation that state anything he disagrees with. This in turn is a ref to him trying to insert a dubious value of 95% for the greenhouse effect of water vapour, based upon this source: That page isn't a source: its just some bods pet page. The numbers on it are wrong. All this has been, is being, discussed on the talk page of greenhouse gas.

I have done my best to make the climate change related NPOV, despite continual pushing of POV and junk science by skeptics. In contrast to C's assertion, that I have compromised the integrity of a large number of Wikipedia's climate related articles I would say that on of the main reasons they reflect the current state of science is because of my edits to them.

To illustrate this from the GHG page, consider this [52] which is after C's edit. It states that The major natural greenhouse gases are water vapor, which causes about 95% of the greenhouse effect on Earth. This is hopelessly wrong (as a glance at the table on the greenhouse effect page will show). Even C now admits (implicitly) this is wrong, because his last version of the page [53] has the correct value of 60-70% for WV, and then continues with the strange The above calculations do not include the effects of clouds. While technically not a "gas",.... No, clouds aren't a gas, so they shouldn't be on the GHG page. I suggested, as a compromise, that the clouds be discussed on the GHE page; C has refused.

If anyone outside this dispute wonders why this gets argued over so much, the answer is that the skeptic of GW like to say "why worry about co2 when WV is the dominant GHG?". The argument is nonsense, but it doesn't stop them pushing it.

OK, the bit about global warming. C added some text there. I didn't much like the text, and I felt that what it discussed fitted better at climate change. We discused this at the GW page, I moved the text (and modified it) to climate change, and I heard no more from C. There was no edit war. An example of dubious text that C inserted (GW page) is Positive feedback mechanisms, due to their dramatic potential, have been popularized in mainstream media such as Al Gore's book Earth in the Balance or the 2004 movie The Day After Tomorrow.. This is rubbish: DAT shows *cooling* in response to *warming* and thus doesn't show a positive feedback at all. C's understanding of the science he is trying to describe is very weak.

Users who endorse this summary (sign with ~~~~):

  1. William M. Connolley 13:47, 18 Jan 2005 (UTC)
  2. PARTIAL endorsement see my corresponding "partial endorsement" above. I would add here that in addition to contributing substantially to the quality of the science on many pages, I have found WMC to be a person whose word is reliable. Since he states that he has withdrawn from participate on the Crichton page, then any conflict with him there can be considered resolved. He is communitarian, also to the extent that even where he has a strongly felt POV, although he stongly defends inclusion of his POV, he is generally open to the alternative POV being fairly represented so that NPOV can be achieved and the views or interpretations can be judged by the readers on their merits, as long as their merits do not misrepresent the evidence. Outside of personalities as described above, the POVs, I am referring to here are not opinions, but scientific interpretations, so perhaps have a different meaning that the usual wikipedia use of the terms.--Silverback 21:14, 18 Jan 2005 (UTC)
  3. Endorsement. William Connolley is a professional scientist who has adopted a couple of controversial topics - areas within his considerable expertice. He does a good job keeping the articles focused on the science and away from the spcial interest skeptics attempts to siderail the issues. He knows the topic and the critical references. Anyone trying to add info with a non-science POV had better have good sources and know his stuff, because Mr. Connolley will call him on it. I agree that Connolley is at times a bit contrary and stubborn :-) , but considering the nonsense he is trying to keep out of the articles and the persistence of those posters, he needs to be. We need more dedicated professionals who know their subject fighting to keep wiki articles useful and on track. And even tho' I have disagreed with him on a couple of minor points in the past, we need his expert abilities and I support him fully. - Vsmith 23:44, 18 Jan 2005 (UTC)
  4. Endorse I agree with every word Vsmith says, I have been following the disputes on and off from the sidelines but keeping well out. Keep up the good work WMC G-Man 00:33, 19 Jan 2005 (UTC)
  5. Endorse I think WMC has given a good summary of the situation. I haven't edited the articles that are listed as "contentious" -- I haven't had to because he has them well in hand. I do enjoy reading them, however. His knowledge of the science related to climate change is comprehensive. He can be relentless with some types of edits, and after examining several of the examples listed by Cortonin, I find WMC's reactions, in balance, quite reasonable. Some of Cortonin's positions show a profound lack of knowledge of the science, and his insistence on them is, at times, just plain silly. I would like to commend William for his excellent work on Wikipedia. Sunray 08:11, 2005 Jan 19 (UTC)
  6. Endorse WMC is occasionally brusque (though often under provocation), but in all the examples of controversy at which I've looked he's been struggling to present accurate and neutral text against those who try to remove its neutrality (usually, I think, under the sincere misapprehension that it's the other way around — but that's what makes the debates so passionate of course). Mel Etitis (Μελ Ετητης) 23:28, 24 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Analysis on which my endorsement was based (by Sunray)[edit]

I am not a party to this dispute and have never communicated with either of the principals. However, when I endorsed WMC's response, Ed Poor was moved to provide a rejoinder. In case Ed or anyone else thinks that my endorsement was taken lightly, I want to share my analysis with other Wikipedians. As stated above, I've taken a close look at some of the material presented by Cortonin in his Evidence of disputed behavior. My observations related to six of C's examples--the numbered footnotes (his examples #7-12) are set out below. In reading this, please bear in mind the following definition: "In science, a fact is data supported by a scientific experiment" (from Wikipedia Fact):

(I'm not sure if such a lengthy description should be on this page, rather than the discussion page, so I have placed my response to these issues raised under the discussion page here. Cortonin | Talk 05:48, 21 Jan 2005 (UTC))

Example # 1[edit]


  • The major natural greenhouse gases are water vapor, which causes about 60-70% of the greenhouse effect (due to gases) on Earth, carbon dioxide (about 26%) and ozone.

This edit, and the removal of a paragraph written by C, is the last in a series of reverts and counter-reverts between January 15 and January 17, 2005 on the role water vapor plays in the greenhouse effect and whether or not clouds are a greenhouse gas. Prior to this example, WMC has tried to explain the effects of water vapour and has provided a link on the subject showing that the IPCC has included water vapor in its climate change models. He has also pointed out to C that clouds are not a gas.

Assessment: Cortonin’s insertion of “due to gasses” into the sentence changes a purely descriptive statement about the greenhouse effect into something quite different. His addition of the paragraph on cloud effects renders the article (which is, after all, on Greenhouse gases), laughable.

A good question to ask oneself is: “What would I do if I were WMC in these circumstances?”

Example # 2[edit]

[55] Identical to Example #1. This is the penultimate revert by each party.

Example # 3[edit]


Here WMC has removed an edit by C. C's edit had modified a statement by WMC so as to increase the effect of water vapor on the greenhouse effect (by 35%) and decrease the effect of carbon dioxide by a commensurate amount. WMC has also removed a “reference” provided by C. WMC explains his reasons for doing this, in detail, on the talk page.

Assessment: This example is the crux of the matter, IMO, because it reveals the source of Cortonin’s information. The website referenced is the personal website of Monte Hieb. A quick review of Hieb’s credentials reveals that he has worked as chief engineer for the West Virginia Office of Miner’s Safety. He has done some geological survey work on fossils. There are extensive links from Free Republic’s website to Hieb’s. WMC refers to him as “just some bod,” but clearly he is a bod with a political axe to grind. Now there is nothing whatsoever wrong with having a website to put forward a political POV. However, should Wikipedia reproduce a political POV in a scientific article?

Example # 4[edit]

[57] WMC moves material from one article to another. He apparently does this before discussing it. Extensive discussion ensues. They agree to disagree.

Assessment: This appears to be a preemptory move by WMC. It would have undoubtedly been better to discuss this prior to the move. However, I don’t think that the outcome would be different, as C simply disagrees. It must be said, though, the material was not deleted, just moved.

Example # 5[edit]

[58] This example is similar to #3. Here C inserts the 95% figure for water vapour, adjusts the numbers and refers to the Clearlight website (Monte Hieb). WMC reverts and responds “the numbers are junk, see talk.” He explains on the talk page.

Assessment: An analysis of the source of the reference is interesting. Here is the statement by Hieb that Cortonin is hanging his hat on:

"Water vapor, the most significant greenhouse gas, comes from natural sources and is responsible for roughly 95% of the greenhouse effect (4). Among climatologists, this is common knowledge, but among special interests, certain governmental groups, and news reporters this fact is under-emphasized or just ignored altogether." website

Hieb provides five citations for his assertion that the contribution of water vapor to the greenhouse effect is 95%, not 60-70% as WMC has written. Of the five citations, two are dead links and one is a “personal communication.’’ The other two are: a) A statement by George H. Taylor, former Oregon State Climatologist that he now believes that the greenhouse effect might not be as great as he had once thought. He provides no data or references for his assertions. b) A book review of the book Hot Talk, Cold Science: Global Warming’s Unfinished Debate, by S. Fred Singer, Ph.D. that gives the 95% figure.

In order to use this reference, normally one would be expected to summarize the arguments in the book so as to be clear about how this number was derived. To not do this is to evade the possibility of peer review. In pointing this out, WMC is quite accurate in characterizing the material on the website as “junk science.” Surely this is not the sort of thing we want to base Wikipedia articles on.

Example # 6[edit]


Cortonin has added "a theory which predicts” to the lead sentence describing Global warming. WMC removes it.

Assessment: This is a definition. It answers the question “what is global warming? Scientifically speaking, global warming is not a theory. It is an observable phenomenon. Over the centuries, global temperature has increased and decreased. Global warming is simply an increase in temperature. There are theories about causes of global warming. WMC knows this and has tried to explain it. Some folks may find it difficult to understand the nuances but it is pretty basic science.


Taking these six examples, we see that WMC has been beset by C who has a very definite POV and will not relent. Through patient explanation, WMC manages to occasionally convince C of some of these basic points, but C keeps coming back with the same overall POV. Less patient Wikipedians would likely have asked to ban him.

Additional responses by WMC[edit]

(William M. Connolley 22:34, 20 Jan 2005 (UTC)) Thanks to those who have supported me. Since I first wrote my response, some others have added things, so I shall add this:

  • GregBensons comments are inaccurate or at best misleading, and the links he has supplied demonstrate this. His first is to Scientific opinion on climate change. If you check the edit history of this, you will see that he made precisely *one contribution* (which I removed, true; I'll come to that). So GB's assertion that I have consistently reverted changes is untrue for that page. His third, Global warming controversy is the same: he made one group of three edits, which I reverted. In neither case was there an edit war. I discussed both of these on his talk page, which is his second link. The text he added via 3 edits was and changes in the eccentricity of Earth's orbit and axial tilt through time (see Milankovitch cycles).. This is essentially the same as his first case. Clearly, GB is very interested in Milankovitch cycles (part of the problem may be that to a geologist, a few hundred, or a few thousand, of a few million years is quick or sooon). But that doen't make them appropriate for the GW pages: Milankovitch cycles are *slow* and they are *not* invoked to explain the current warming. In conclusion: GB's complain is wrong in describing the edit history; and the text he wanted was correctly removed by me.
GregBenson 22:01, 30 Jan 2005 (UTC) Perhaps I was not clear in the language of my endorsement of this RFC. What effectively inhibited my further contributions the GW and related entries was my observation that WMC was consistently reverting other people's edits (which to my knowlege were correct and contributed to NPOV). It is true that WMC and I have not participated in a revert war...I saw what happened to my first few attempts to contribute and quickly gave up (I don't have time to sit and monitor my Watchlist 24/7 like some folks apparently do), then afterwards observed from the sidelines and silently fumed at the arrogance being displayed.
  • Ben has also signed up. I *think* he has done this in afit of long-brewed pique. Ben wanted to make some very major changes to the whole structure of the climate related pages. He didn't much or any support for this idea (from me or anyone else). I had an extensive dialogue with him, and suggested that before making major changes he should bed himself in making some contributions and improvements to the pages as they existed. Ben presents as his evidence Talk:Global climate change, which I think shows me attempting to make sense of what he is saying, and indeed being helpful. If you do check that talk page, don't forget the archive Talk:Global climate change/Archive one which contains much relevant material. In fact it contains the most relevant stuff: what is left unarchived is not the main point. I think Bens main point is shown by this quote from him Furthermore, you continue to show utter contempt for my ideas by ignoring them. Which is totally unjust, because if you read the archive, you'll see that I was the only one prepared to talk with him.
    • Since I write that, Ben has responded, and I think what he has written essentially confirms what I've said. He wrote I am afraid to even add anything to this page because I think WMC will erase it . The page in question is his "climate forcings" page. There is no basis for his fears - I have never removed material from that page (except a duplicate see-also). Silverback (correctly, I believe) argued that the page was a duplication. Although Ben created that page, he never bothered to expand it from a tiny stub. Ben complains about me being "curt" on [60]. If you read that page, you'll see that I'm not. I spent a lot of time discussing these things in detail. I did not accuse Ben of trying to "strip stuff out of the other articles" - but I did warn him against doing so - populating his articles with stuff taken from the others would not be useful. I *did* say that Ben had spent an awful long time making comments on talk pages and very little time doing anything useful to actually add stuff to the real pages, which is still true. Ben also complains that I rejected his "authoritative sources". Ben found a web page from Canada met which said "Climate change refers to general shifts in climate, including temperature, precipitation, winds, and other factors. This may vary from region to region. On the other hand, global warming (as well as global cooling) refers specifically to any change in the global average surface temperature.. I disagree with this - there is more to GW that just changes in T. To which Ben replied And you have a PhD in what? And you have written which research papers on climate change?. Strangely enough, that annoyed me, as did his specific refusal to apologise for it later.
Please don't leave out the sources Meterological Service of Canada and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. I found it absurd that you would simply reply "No." to that statement, considering I was quoting other climate scientists whom you simply disagree with. I don't know why you were surprised I questioned your credentials when you were unable to refute the statement or even simply acknowledge it as opinion. "Strangely enough" as you say, that annoyed me. You are correct that I did not apologise, and I still will not apologise. There is no reason for me to apologise for questioning your credentials, which were entirely unknown to me at the time. Personally, I think this is just an ego-battle for you since no apology is in order. —Ben 19:44, 24 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Outside view[edit]

This is a summary written by users not directly involved with the dispute but who would like to add an outside view of the dispute.

I have read some of the articles dealing with climate change to which William M. Connolley is a frequent contributor, and occasionally I have edited there as well, but I don't think I have been in the middle of anything resembling an "edit war" in which he has been involved -- at least, not recently.

My impression is that Connolley has definite opinions, which he backs up with evidence based on considerable knowledge of the topics about which he writes. The people who have complained or accused him of POV editing generally tend to have less knowledge but equally strong opinions. Awhile back, for example, he was accused of inserting POV for stating something along the lines of "all climate models predict that an increase in greenhouse gases leads to an increase in global temperatures." His accuser claimed that user of the word "all" was POV. Connolley's response was to ask the accuser to give an example of a climate model that predicts otherwise. The accuser was unable to do so. After some additional back-and-forth, some qualifying language got added to the effect that ""all climate models predict that an increase in greenhouse gases leads to an increase in global temperatures in the absence of other changes in forcing factors" -- a change that Connolley accepted. In this case, therefore, he did not simply revert other people's contributions. Rather, he insisted on evidence-based editing and accepted a compromise.

Well, Connolley is on the side of the majority of scientists in the relevant field. There is a minority who pooh-pooh the idea of global warming and/or the idea that human activity has anything to do with it. Sometimes in scientific controversies the minority are eventually vindicated - but not often. The article should put the majority view at the forefront whilst noting it is not universally accepted

Users who endorse this summary (sign with ~~~~):

  1. ~~~~ (this was User:Sheldon Rampton who took the nowiki tag too literally... :-)
  2. G-Man 23:11, 18 Jan 2005 (UTC)
  3. Having been through acrimonious and tiresome disputes on matters where I know what I'm talking about with people who objectively do not, I feel some sympathy for an authority figure trying to preserve a reasonably scientific perspective. I note also that IMO if the structure of the topic were improved, some of these disputes would be avoided, as it would be easier to find an appropriate place for certain points (on both sides of the aisle) - and permit a less overwhelming list of links and references! It might also allow for a friendlier introduction for the layman, as well as less duplication. See my comments on Talk:Global warming. Rd232 20:26, 20 Jan 2005 (UTC)
  4. Pjacobi 23:02, 2005 Jan 20 (UTC)
  5. I've never seen WMC revert something without justification; he is always willing to discuss disputes, and makes concessions where he feels it is appropriate. Graft 18:28, 21 Jan 2005 (UTC)
  6. This discussion shows one of the problems of Wikipedia. Not all opinions are equally valid, and not all points of view deserve equal treatment. An article about the shape of the earth is not NPOV if it gives equal treatment to flat-earthers, cubists and spherists -- it is just bad! WMC tries to keep articles readable and focused, and very much tries to keep nonsense out of them. I am very glad that someone does this necessary work. Stephan Schulz 00:12, 25 Jan 2005 (UTC)
  7. Scellus 06:25, 25 Jan 2005 (UTC)
  8. Cleon Teunissen 01:15, 26 Jan 2005 (UTC)
  9. People don't always like being corrected, but sometimes it is necessary. I've ploughed through a lot of this argument this evening - probably too much! As far as I can see Wikipedia is lucky to have WMC taking part, while acknowledging that none of us are faultless.Orbitalforam 18:53, 8 October 2007 (UTC)[reply]


All signed comments and talk not related to a vote or endorsement, should be directed to this page's discussion page.


(William M. Connolley 19:15, 20 Jan 2005 (UTC)) I propose that while this RFC is in progress we all agree to avoid making controversial edits to any of the pages involved. "controversial" is defined as any edit that any other party in this dispute objects to. I further propose that those pages where edit warring has occurred (GW; possibly GC) the page be left in the state it was before this RFC started.

In favour[edit]


  • I think we need to improve the articles, not leave them as they are. How about, instead of that proposal, we all agree to not take part in the behaviors listed in the statement of dispute so that we can focus on bringing the articles toward NPOV in a productive and civil fashion. Cortonin | Talk 21:15, 20 Jan 2005 (UTC)
  • Absolutely. It seems that the problem here isn't the editing of the articles per se, but rather the conduct of an individual. The development of certain articles should not stop while this behavior and/or what to do about it is under discussion.--JonGwynne 14:32, 21 Jan 2005 (UTC)
  • Before the dispute is over, both views should be presented. Kowloonese 00:21, Apr 9, 2005 (UTC)

Related matter(s)[edit]

(William M. Connolley 19:49, 20 Jan 2005 (UTC)) JonGwynne created Consensus science which is (a) unnecessary because scientific consensus exists and (b) gratuitously POV (IMHO). So I've listed it on VFD; people here might be interested in voting.

Dr. C and I have agreed to form a Wikipedia:harmonious editing team using the Wikipedia:one-revert rule. Let's try this for a week or two and postpone or withdraw this RFC. --user:Ed Poor (talk) 22:47, Jan 21, 2005 (UTC)

I believe that's directly counter to the goals of this RFC. It empowers and strengthens the usage of reverts (which if you note were the problem), rather than encouraging cooperation, working together, and striving toward NPOV. Cortonin | Talk 02:47, 22 Jan 2005 (UTC)
While I agree with the spirit of the team, I couldn't agree to the rules. They are biased towards the status quo and deletionism. I think the status quo should be favored over "changes", since the original text often is the result of an accumulative history of compromises, which the changes end up partially reverting to an unstable and disputed state. However, "additions" since they should be assumed to be the results of good faith efforts, should generally be allowed to persist during discussions.--Silverback 22:42, 22 Jan 2005 (UTC)
I agree. That type of approach seems to work well for all the other areas of Wikipedia (including scientific topics). Cortonin | Talk 01:54, 23 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Gratuitous insults from JonGwynne[edit]

(William M. Connolley 17:26, 23 Jan 2005 (UTC)) I've moved this comments over from GW, so we can all see them. It shows JG's bad faith and a desire to stir up trouble rather than work harmoniously.

p.s. WMC, would you be terribly offended if I refer to you as "revert boy" from now on? I ask because of the, so it seems to me at least, petulant gusto with which you remove other people's work without contributing anything of your own. What do you want to bet that if there was a page on wikipedia that tallied up reverts that your name would be top of the list - especially if the factored in the number of words lost as the result of your reversions. Perhaps you find it rude of me to point this out - or perhaps because the way I choose to point it out. If so, I apologize sincerely. My purpose in pointing out your objectionable conduct is not to hurt your feelings but rather to suggest that we would all be better off if you stopped said conduct and became a more positive contributor here.--JonGwynne 15:30, 23 Jan 2005 (UTC)


Would you care to explain which part of this constitutes a "gratuitous insult" and/or "bad faith"? Or is this another one of your baseless allegations? As far as "a desire to stir up trouble rather than work harmoniously" goes, I would remind you that you're the one who is the subject of the complaints here regarding your persistent and objectionable behavior. I have participated in many different and controversial topics here and so far you're the only one whose behavior has been so disagreeable that I have been motivated to comment about it. In short, you want to see bad-faith and troublemaking, you need only look in the mirror.--JonGwynne 18:49, 23 Jan 2005 (UTC)
(William M. Connolley 20:42, 23 Jan 2005 (UTC)) I expected that from you. Its people like Ed Poor I was putting it here for.

That's as may be but entirely beside the point because you still haven't addressed the issue. If you want to make accusations like these, I'm going to insist that you either support them or retract them. That's the way it is done in civilized discourse. Perhaps this is a new concept to you. If so, I'm sure you can learn with our help. Here's the first step: When you accuse someone of making a "gratuitous insult" and/or acting in "bad faith", you should be prepared to explain and articulate your complaint. Otherwise, you risk looking peevish and quarrelsome. So, here's your chance to avoid looking that way. Go for it... --JonGwynne 21:30, 23 Jan 2005 (UTC)

I agree with Dr. Connolley on this one. The insult is obvious and the insulting, sneering attitude continues on the talk page in comments by JonGwynne. In fact I feel WMC has grounds for filing an RFC against JonGwynne. JG owes Dr. Connolley an apology for this insulting immature behavior. -Vsmith 23:51, 23 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Well perhaps you can explain where the insult is since it seems so obvious. Oh and since you apparently didn't notice, there's already an apology there. Would like a chance to read it again? BTW, do you mind if I ask you if you've ever disagreed with anything that WMC says? --JonGwynne 00:57, 24 Jan 2005 (UTC)
(William M. Connolley 09:25, 24 Jan 2005 (UTC)) Oh dear, that *is* a funny one :-)
Well, when you're done laughing, did you actually want to make a point, or is this whole exercise just another of your empty allegations? There do seem to be a lot of them. Are you unused to having to articulate your arguments to people?
(William M. Connolley 13:40, 24 Jan 2005 (UTC)) Check the histories. This is a good place for me to put on record my gratitude to Vsmith for his magnaminous attitude here (well, he is supporting science against non-science, but despite that he might well have been somewhat reluctant to support me), despite a short but quite bitter dispute between us in the past. The current unpleasantness has made me reflect on that.
"supporting science against non-science" Perhaps part of your problem is that you view every one of your reverts as somehow championing science against non-science. Did it ever occur to you that perhaps, just maybe, you're not the only scientist on Wikipedia, or perhaps that you're not the only one with a formal education? I'm sure that never occurred to you to question, but perhaps you should start. Part of the "assuming good faith" policy has to be to "assume good competence" in the other contributers to your articles. If you go around assuming you're the only competent or intelligent contributer, you will end up reverting everything you don't understand or everything you haven't heard of or learned yet. And on a medium as diverse as Wikipedia, there are guaranteed to be more things you don't know than things you do know, so editing here is in many ways an exercise in humility. You've made a large number of reverts on the greenhouse effect page recently, but nowhere in there did you stop to ask if maybe the person whose contribution you've reverted has taken a few more courses than you covering thermodynamics or the spectroscopic properties of media. There is no "science against non-science" going on here, there is simply pushy reverting clobbering contributions across the board. You could remedy all these complaints immediately by one simple step of assuming good faith and competence from other contributers, which would result in you respecting and considering other contributions, rather than viewing them all as corruption which needs to be reverted. Cortonin | Talk 19:43, 24 Jan 2005 (UTC)

I'm afraid you're being a lot more polite and reasonable than WMC deserves. My opinion, based on his conduct here, is that WMC is simply a zealot. He wouldn't be the first one with a university degree. Like any zealot (which is just my opinion and not meant to be taken as a statement of fact, I wouldn't want to hurt WMC's feelings), WMC is a "true believer" in his own POV and anything that deviates from his personal revealed truth is to be blotted out. Maybe I should be more diplomatic or tolerant or whatever... every time I think so, I remember the old saying "Never try to teach a pig to sing, it wastes your time and annoys the pig". So, maybe we should just accept the fact that WMC will continue to engage in objectionable behavior and leave him to it. What do you think?--JonGwynne 21:49, 24 Jan 2005 (UTC)

William M. Connolley's unsubstantiated allegations[edit]

I'd like to point out that despite having given WMC several opportunities to clarify what he means by "gratuitous insults" and "bad faith", he has failed to back up his assertions. I'd also like to point out that despite my strong disagreement with the statement he made, I have not attempted to modify his column header in spite of it being inaccurate. Since he hasn't raised any specific objection to the label and since he persists in the behavior which spawned it, I shall (until and unless he objects) refer to him as "revert boy" when appropriate.--JonGwynne 18:48, 24 Jan 2005 (UTC)

p.s. WMC, you shouldn't bother trying to change this header either, I'll be happy to repair any damage you do to this one just as I did the last time.--JonGwynne 18:48, 24 Jan 2005 (UTC)

(William M. Connolley 22:19, 24 Jan 2005 (UTC)) Well, after the above I've created Wikipedia:Requests for comment/JonGwynne to clear the air. I think JG's behaviour is clearly unacceptable.

Just out of curiosity, since you don't care what people think of your unacceptable behavior, what purpose do you think this little exercise of yours will serve? And since you seem to be an expert on the wikipedia complaint procedures. What do you suggest I do about your objectionable behavior? Should I file a separate complaint here in this RFC? Should I create a separate one? You seem to be the expert on carping, what do you think? I don't normally engage in that sort of conduct, so I'm not sure what my next move should be. By the way, did you know it was a violation of Wikipedia:Wikiquette to ignore other people's questions? I can only assume you didn't know since the same page also suggests that contributors assume good faith and avoid unnecessary reverts in favor of the "amend, edit and discuss" model - behavior that you are not known to demonstrate.--JonGwynne 23:37, 24 Jan 2005 (UTC)
Hmmm... Still no comment from William, I guess he doesn't mind violating wikipedia policy while demanding that others abide by it. I'm curious, would calling him a "hypocrite" at this point be considered fair comment or would it be seen as being rude?--JonGwynne 23:51, 29 Jan 2005 (UTC)
(William M. Connolley 12:45, 30 Jan 2005 (UTC)) You're trolling. The objectionable behaviour here is yours: deceptive edit comments, unannounced reverts, pointless trouble-stirring. Stop wasting everyones time. You want to lose another RFC, go ahead make-my-day.

I'm trolling? Hahahah! Do you go out of your way to hypocritical or is just naturally part of your personality? You're the one wasting people's time with this nonsense. Instead of accepting the fact that your behavior is annoying a lot of people and is in violation of wikipedia policies, you lash out and complain about other people. Time for your to stop lecturing others and start putting your own house in order. And what what's this rubbish about me "losing" an RFC? You want to treat this as a contest? Fine. Let's recap the "scores": Your have almost 50 examples listed of objectionable behavior, most of which seem to be valid. While, you, on the other hand, have failed to demonstrate even a single valid example of objectionable behavior on my part. Even if this was a contest, tou really don't want to treat it as one.--JonGwynne 08:44, 31 Jan 2005 (UTC)

William reverting attempts to bring consistency to Greenhouse gas article[edit]

One again, WMC shows his peevish side reverting legitimate attempts to reconcile one part of wikipedia with another. As a Briton, William can't seem to accept the fact that there is more than one spelling for "vapor" (e.g. water vapor and vapor pressure). To this end, he petulantly reverts any attempt to maintain consistency in various wikipedia articles on the subject by returning one of them to his personally preferred spelling rather than accepting the consensus of wikipedians.--JonGwynne 08:44, 31 Jan 2005 (UTC)

(William M. Connolley 09:56, 31 Jan 2005 (UTC)) Once again we see JG's mendacity. The spelling change was done by Vsmith. Also note pointless insults in the above. The assertion of "consensus" behind JGs version is also wrong.
And... once again, we see WMC's willingness to call other people liars when, if he really wanted to to find one, he need only look in a mirror. He did indeed revert my consistency edits - and on several occasions in just the last week alone. Is your relationship with truth so distant William that you cannot recognize deception when you practice it yourself? And what's this nonsense about insults? There are no insults in my previous statement. His efforts to manufacture them out of thin air are simply attempts to invent things to justify his strident complaints.--JonGwynne 19:53, 3 Feb 2005 (UTC)
(William M. Connolley 20:45, 4 Feb 2005 (UTC)) You condemn yourself, if you can't see petulant and peevish as insults. You started the edit war over spelling. You made pointlessly abusive edit comments Undo Vsmith's nuisance changes. The situation was fixed when it was properly discussed on the talk page, following policy, with no thanks to you. Vsmith accepted his mistake, which is commendable, and something you could profitably study.
You're the last one with any business lecturing others on proper conduct William. You've made more than your fair share of absusive comments in your time here. Describing you as petulant and peevish may not be flattering but it is nonetheless true. And you're also not one to bring up procedure since you feel so free to depart from it when it suits you. BTW, I notice some reluctance on your part to accept your mistake with regard to the spelling of "vapor". Go ahead... I'm waiting.--JonGwynne 02:28, 5 Feb 2005 (UTC)


We need to resolve these problems. The page is getting stale and there seems to be zero change in anyone's opinions. Furthermore, WMC, it seems, has rejected any and all complaints against him. By my count:

  • 6 people endorse the statement of dispute
  • 3 people partially endorse the statement of dispute
  • 5 people endorse WMC's rebuttal
  • 8 people endorse an outside point of view supporting WMC's position
  • 1 person partially endorses WMC's rebuttal

What comes next? —Ben 01:10, 6 Feb 2005 (UTC)

(William M. Connolley 11:29, 6 Feb 2005 (UTC)) You noticing the 8 outside views that endorse my side?
I thought about that, but they are comments, and are not specific to, nor are they endorsing, your position, otherwise they would have signed your position. If you would like to ask them to sign your rebuttal instead, please do. —Ben 22:51, 6 Feb 2005 (UTC)
And on second thought, to pre-empt your obvious whining like a little child about this, I've added the responses to your endorsements. It's entirely inaccurate, but you can feel better about yourself. —Ben 22:59, 6 Feb 2005 (UTC)
p.s. this is the sort of response from WMC why I endorse this RFC. Of course I noticed the outside view. I determined that they were not endorsements of your side. If you suspected that was incorrect, you could have changed it or commented on it. And if you had suspected I missed them, you simply could have added them yourself without asking. It's snide comments like this and baiting questions that make me wonder about your capacity to conduct yourself in a proper manner. It's perpetuating conflict for no reason. It's causing confrontation for no reason. See also Internet troll. —Ben 23:05, 6 Feb 2005 (UTC)
I don't understand how you could have read the outside summary and the comments on the signatures and not have concluded that they support WMC. They are separate because they represent opinions by outsiders not involved with the dispute, not because they do not take a position. To make it crystal clear: I think William is very much right. I am indeed astonished how much patience he shows in discussing positions. Yes, he does seem brusk sometimes, but usually only after a politically motivated "skeptic" ignored all scientific evidence for the umpteenth time and added misleading information again and again under various pretexts. I mostly follow some of this conflict on the Global Warming page, and while some details of global warming still allow for discussion, many things are not open to a real POV conflict any more (as e.g. the existence of an overwhelming scientific consensus that there is a warming effect and that much of it is caused by anthropogenic CO2). --Stephan Schulz 01:03, 7 Feb 2005 (UTC)
I left them out because I didn't know if it was appropriate to include them, plus I could not tell who was endorsing which comment. The second unsigned comment, under which appears all the names, is very vague and seems to merely lament the existence of "annoying skeptics". Other "outsiders" seem to have posted in the respective "support" section or under WMC's "rebuttal" section. It made me angry that WMC's tone, "you noticing," suggested this as a purposeful attempt to leave them out to take away his supporters. Lastly, I am also sick and tired of people insinuating anyone who thinks WMC is causing conflict, conducting himself poorly, and generally acting like who owns the place is a "skeptic." Let it be known that I believe the Earth is warming, that I believe it is being caused by anthropogenic greenhouse gases, and that it is a great concern for our times. All my posts on the talk pages support this. Furthermore I will not rest until WMC is taken to task for his conduct, regardless of the outcome of this RFC. WMC actually reminds me of the tone skeptics and trolls use so much that on occassion I have doubted his credentials, doubted his claimed belief that he agrees with the science, and even pondered e-mailing WMC and asking him to prove his identity. His conduct serves only to enrage skeptics, and as someone who wants to help skeptics learn about the science and form their own decisions--not have it force-fed to them through calculated rhetoric and condescension--this not surprisingly, enrages me too. —Ben 05:35, 7 Feb 2005 (UTC)
(William M. Connolley 10:01, 7 Feb 2005 (UTC)) You've made your position clear. Its noticeable, however, that you never ever step into any of the edit wars on the GW pages against the skeptics. As for proving my identity, that is silly: I am about the only person here whose identity is clearly documented, via the chain of web pages.
Yes, but be fair... we have no way of knowing whether or not the person contributing to wikipedia is the William M. Connolley who works for the BAS. Just because I'm willing to take you at your word doesn't mean everyone else is.--JonGwynne 12:41, 7 Feb 2005 (UTC)
It is NOT productive to try to categorize or clump everyone who disagrees with your perspective into a single group, such as "politically motivated". My views on global warming come from my best fair assessment of the science, not from "ignoring all scientific evidence", and certainly have no relation to my political views. According to the last IPCC report there does exist a slight majority support for anthropogenic CO2 as the primary trigger, but it is by no means "overwhelming".
(William M. Connolley 10:01, 7 Feb 2005 (UTC)) That is a misrepresentation. IPCC '95 said balance-of-evidence. 2001 strengthened that.
It "strengthened" it, yes. It strengthened it all the way up to "likely", not "overwhelming". [61] It seems to me that even the "likely" should be taken with some caution given the description of uncertainties on the same order as effect sizes. But now here's a great question for you. Why does the IPCC report say that greenhouse gas increases are at best "likely" to have caused the observed warming, yet you have fought tooth-and-nail to make the global warming article say that warming is "caused primarily by anthropogenic carbon dioxide"? Not only do you revert changes which contradict the scientific consensus (in violation of policy), but you also have caused the climate articles to exceed what the actual consensus itself says. Do you think this is at all NPOV? Cortonin | Talk 18:11, 7 Feb 2005 (UTC)
(William M. Connolley 20:36, 7 Feb 2005 (UTC)) You said "slight majority support...". Thats not correct: there is overwhelming support for the IPCC position, which is best taken from the WGI report [62] The warming over the last 50 years due to anthropogenic greenhouse gases can be identified despite uncertainties in forcing due to anthropogenic sulphate aerosol and natural factors (volcanoes and solar irradiance) and it is unlikely to be natural - unlikely being quantified at 10-33% chance.
I'm not seeing any mention of an overwhelming majority of supporters on that page. Cortonin | Talk 20:54, 7 Feb 2005 (UTC)
(William M. Connolley 21:24, 7 Feb 2005 (UTC)) I didn't say the report itself asserted support for itself. You, OTOH, *did* say that According to the last IPCC report there does exist a slight majority support for anthropogenic CO2 which is not correct. What the report does say is that the most recent increases are likely anthro.
In addition, some of the key evidence used to gather this consensus, namely the Mann hockeystick, has been brought into serious dispute (it amazes me that such an anomalous plot was even seriously considered in the first place, but that's another topic). So perhaps you should consider that people can legitimately dispute the interpretations of the global warming evidence and computer simulations from within a well-reasoned scientific basis. It would do the climate articles a lot of good if the contributers stopped viewing their own perspective as scientific, and the opposite perspective as political, because that couldn't be farther from the truth. Cortonin | Talk 06:05, 7 Feb 2005 (UTC)
I started this RFC because I wanted people to be able to edit the climate related articles without having every edit assumed negative and immediately reverted, with no edits being worked with under good faith according to Wikipedia policy, and almost every edit resulting in an edit war, which was happening for a long time before I got to those articles, and apparently is still happening. I'm somewhat sickened by the melodramatic soap opera that this RFC has been turned into. It resembles the same non-friendly attitudes that have been repelling editors away from the climate articles for quite some time. Cortonin | Talk 22:43, 6 Feb 2005 (UTC)
The solution is simple, really. We need the people editing the climate articles to behave with the civility and cooperation I've seen in most of the rest of Wikipedia. People need to agree to aim for NPOV, and need to understand that Wikipedia does not strive for only representing the scientific consensus, and that it explicitely states that this is not at all NPOV, because both the consensus and non-consensus views should be presented with documentation. People need to encourage contributions from other editors by being friendly, cooperative, and productive in their discussions on the talk pages. People need to work together to build consensus on the controversial components, rather than simply insist upon pushing their singular interpretation. People need to assume good faith in edits from other contributers, and as part of that avoid blanket reverts of edits by others. Most edits are made for a specific reason, and there is greater value in trying to figure out that reason and working with the new edits to try to achieve greater clarity in the article. It's usually better to improve a new edit so that its accuracy is higher rather than to continually revert, keeping the article in a static state. People need to stop viewing each new edit through the lense of "my side" and "your side", because this only leads to a continual war mentality. Edits need to be viewed as concerned and thoughtful contributions, and they need to be worked with in a communal fashion. All of these things are already Wikipedia policy, and they work quite well everywhere else they are followed. We need to all agree to follow these on the climate related articles, and then all of these problems will disappear. Cortonin | Talk 22:43, 6 Feb 2005 (UTC)
(William M. Connolley 10:01, 7 Feb 2005 (UTC)) Civility would be nice. What do you think about JG's abusive edit summaries? Are they civil?
Incivility has been running rampant on the climate pages. How about instead of falling back to, "I'm not the only one doing it", we agree to change behavior so that the incivility stops. I clearly outlined above exactly what's necessary, all it takes is for you to agree to it. Cortonin | Talk 18:21, 7 Feb 2005 (UTC)
(William M. Connolley 19:42, 7 Feb 2005 (UTC)) No, the incivility has been pretty much all from JG. I disagree with a lot of what you say, but you're civil, and I appreciate that. JG isn't.
Then will you agree to follow the policies that I refer to in the above paragraph that starts with "The solution is simple"? Cortonin | Talk 20:22, 7 Feb 2005 (UTC)
(William M. Connolley 16:52, 9 Feb 2005 (UTC)) "The solution is simple..." is a bad start. the solution isn't simple. But, formally, I have always tried for NPOV in these pages and continue to. Incivility won't be fixed by just wishing for it - JG has made that quite plain. By failing to condemn his gross incivility, you are failing to contribute to the solution of this problem.
That's part of the problem William. You think you're striving for NPOV, but you are, in fact, a strong partisan. I'll give you the benefit of the doubt that you sincerely don't realize you're doing this, but everything you write is enormously POV. You're strongly biased in favor of everything the IPCC says and ridicule those who question the IPCC's views or your own personal views on global warming. Your condemnation of skepticism is nothing short of shocking from someone who claims to be a scientist. As for my alleged incivility. Don't blame Cortonin, blame yourself. You get back what you give. Think about that.--JonGwynne 00:48, 10 Feb 2005 (UTC)
Unfortuantely, the obstacle to this seems to be WMC and his cohorts Vsmith and Gene Nygaard. Their knee-jerk revisionism only encourages others to respond in the same fashion. GN actually invited me to poison myself on one of his comments. It was pretty sad.--JonGwynne 23:50, 6 Feb 2005 (UTC)
Hmm... the above was quite typical of JG, sounds really civil doesn't it? But then we have the added conversion note below - that pledge will be interesting to watch. Time will tell. Seems something akin to this was proposed a few weeks ago and resoundly rejected by both JG and Cortonin or is my memory faulty? I must admit to being rather skeptical of JGs sincerity - watching the developmennt. -Vsmith 04:24, 8 Feb 2005 (UTC)
Not faulty, but slightly fuzzy.  :) That proposal was for all reverts to be final, a rather counter-wiki approach which makes all articles static. (Still waiting patiently for WMC's reply to the above proposal.) Cortonin | Talk 06:33, 8 Feb 2005 (UTC)
(William M. Connolley 22:11, 8 Feb 2005 (UTC)) I've already said that as far as I can see all (or at least the vast bulk) of the incivility is from JG. I think that in calling for civility from all sides, without strongly emphasising to him that he has fallen far from what is required, you are not being even handed. AS for "sides" - I am confident that if I used language as he has, you would have criticised me strongly: or, put another way, that you are not as unbiased as you are trying to suggest. How about making a start: JG has just been banned for breaking the 3RR again: do you support that ban?
I wasn't following the edit war involved with the ban, but I trust the administrators who performed the ban checked it appropriately and performed it correctly. Why is it that everytime I ask you if you will obey the policies I referenced above, you point a finger at JG? I'm talking to you, on the RFC about you. Will you please agree to obey those policies? Cortonin | Talk 23:03, 8 Feb 2005 (UTC)
So, Vsmith, you gonna watch from the sidelines and continue your existing modus operandi, or are you going to be the first to join up with the new approach? What about you, Cortonin, you in? --JonGwynne 15:56, 8 Feb 2005 (UTC)
But you know what, Cortonin is right and I'm going to make a special effort in this paragraph to not refer to anything that any specific person here is doing and maybe together we can turn down the temperature a little. More to the point, I will pledge unilaterally not to revert any article here but to only add contructively to them. I will further pledge not to remove anything another person adds to an article without first posting my concerns in the discussion section and waiting a reasonable amount of time for them to respond to my concerns. I invite everyone else to join me in this pledge but even if no one does, I will agree to abide by it for at least a week as a show of good faith.--JonGwynne 01:51, 8 Feb 2005 (UTC)
  • --JonGwynne 01:51, 8 Feb 2005 (UTC) (anyone else care to join? Sign up below if you're in)

William M. Connolley is a liar[edit]

(William M. Connolley 22:11, 8 Feb 2005 (UTC)) Since JG bas just been banned for breaking the 3RR, I don't think his offer above has any credibility.

The only reason I was banned was because you are a liar. Of course that's not news, you've been long known to maintain an arms-length relationship with truth. I didn't break the rule as you could have seen if you'd bothered to look. Your pathetic attemts to silence those who are critical of your blikered views are a perfect example of why this RFC was necessary. I think perhaps I'll open a new one against you. Maybe you'll finally get the hint. In the meantime, I'm going to make an exception for you with regard to my above pledge. --JonGwynne 08:00, 9 Feb 2005 (UTC)
My wasn't that friendly and in tun with JGs commitment above. I removed the inflamatory and misplaced header - no reason to shout your insults. Vsmith 12:44, 9 Feb 2005 (UTC)
Since WMC has deliberately excluded himself from consideration by his egregious behavior, I've made an exception for him.--JonGwynne 18:30, 17 Feb 2005 (UTC)


I propose listing this dispute in Wikipedia:Requests for mediation.—Ben 00:52, 10 Feb 2005 (UTC)

  • What dispute? Between which users? There is so much chaff here it is hard to sort through. Please clarify (briefly) what this mediation would be about and who the parties would be. Sunray 19:25, 2005 Feb 10 (UTC)
  • Try ignoring all the distracting chaff and observing the initial unchanged problem which required this RfC in the first place. That would be the problem seeking resolution then, and the problem still seeking resolution. Cortonin | Talk 21:17, 10 Feb 2005 (UTC)
  • So you are proposing a mediation between you and WMC? What about Ben and JonGwynne who have been very involved? After all, it was Ben that proposed this go to mediation. Who would be the parties to the mediation? Sunray 22:47, 2005 Feb 10 (UTC)
  • Whoever wishes to be. However, mediation will not work here if WMC does not wish to take part in it, as he has indicated. Cortonin | Talk 00:48, 11 Feb 2005 (UTC)

I could be persuaded to take part, if I thought there was a genuine attempt by certain parties to try to resolve these disputes. I've looked at some of the mediation stuff in the past and have the impression that it is moribund.

Those in favor[edit]

(sign with ~~~~)

  1. Ben 00:52, 10 Feb 2005 (UTC)
  2. Cortonin | Talk 01:03, 10 Feb 2005 (UTC)

Those opposed[edit]

(sign with ~~~~)


(William M. Connolley 09:50, 10 Feb 2005 (UTC)) I'm not sure mediation would be useful here. I rather suspect that going to RFA would be more helpful.


I withdraw my proposal for mediation. WMC you "win" if that's what you'd rather have than discussion. Someone else can deal with you. I will cease discussing or arguing with you. I also will cease working on climate forcing and any and all related climate articles. WMC you might as well just erase climate forcing, since you never wanted it and never edit it,

(William M. Connolley 23:07, 13 Feb 2005 (UTC)) Its true I didn't want it, for the reasons I gave. Its not true I never edited it: after you weighted in against me on this RFC I was cautious about touching "your" page, since you seemed very anti-me. So I made one brief good-faith edit - which you immeadiately reverted. OK, I thought - better leave it alone.
That's because you didn't read the page. The "see also radiative forcing" link you inserted was a duplicate. If you had happend to look exactly two carriage returns above where you put it, you'd have seen it there. I presume you, in your own twisted way, enjoyed watching me struggle. Glad I could serve your ego. --Ben 05:26, 14 Feb 2005 (UTC)
Having done so, I now see it starts Note: This Wikipedia article is a work in progress. Some terms may be misrepresented. - which appears to be a regrettable testimonial to your overenthusiasm.
I added that myself.--Ben 05:26, 14 Feb 2005 (UTC)
As I said though, I am done here. I lose my temper with you too easily, which I'm sure you enjoy watching. Here are some links which you might do well to read, which, from my perspective, shed some light on my and others' anger:
p.s. Feel free to have the last word, I'm not coming back.

and you have declared yourself comptroller of these pages. I, for one, don't have time for this (I don't know how you do WMC, but whatever) nor do I have time for continuing the argument. You are the "winner" of global warming. Nobody seems to care about the state the articles are in, nor do outsiders notice your tendency to incite and enflame contributors, nor do they notice your tendency to force the issue through rhetoric rather than science. This is, of course, due to an emotional reaction to skeptics (witness those who claim I am a skeptic simply based on my support of this RFC) rather than science, but that's hardly surprising.

Down the road, I'd like to see articles where the reader creates his or her own argument with the methodology of climatology and the NPOV facts discovered. The reader is free to challenge the methods and the facts without having to pick apart rhetoric calculated to exclude their ideas from the article. The argument is not forced upon them, the methods and facts used are provided so they may discover for themselves, whatever their opinions may be. I also would like to see the politics dealt with separately from the science. I hope that this will happen soon, considering the ever-increasing urgency in educating people about the science of climate change, but I fear it will not be due to the style of writing and the personalities involved.

Good luck Corontin. I may not be on your "side" when it comes to the validity of the science, but I'm still on your "side" when it comes to the way these articles are written (and WMC's conduct of course). I for one, have no need to exclude skeptics like you from the argument, since I believe the science can speak for itself--if only WMC would let it. And hey, maybe it can't. Considering WMC's vicegrip he's obviously worried about something, either the science, or the power and control. Just so you know, I think it's the latter. --Ben 22:36, 13 Feb 2005 (UTC)

You analysis of WMC is pretty cogent. His mania about dominating this discussion and minimizing everyone's input when it doesn't agree with him is indicative of some pretty serious issues. Sorry to see he was successful at bullying you out of here.--JonGwynne 18:30, 17 Feb 2005 (UTC)

(William M. Connolley 00:09, 19 Feb 2005 (UTC)) Note that I have filed Wikipedia:Requests for arbitration/JonGwynne

(William M. Connolley 22:42, 10 Mar 2005 (UTC)) JG lost that RFA: see there for details: in brief: JonGwynne has engaged in personal attacks; JonGwynne has refused to accept consensus on articles related to global warming...; JonGwynne is placed on standard personal attack parole for three months; JonGwynne is limited to one revert per 24 hour period on articles related to global warming.

Declaring victory[edit]

(William M. Connolley 22:42, 10 Mar 2005 (UTC)) This RFC is stale. Following the 2-weeks advice, I've removed the listing from the RFC page.