Talk:Timothy Ball

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POV in lede?[edit]

I removed what I thought inappropriate POV lnguage (italicized) in a BLP lede:

Ball has worked with Friends of Science and the Natural Resources Stewardship Project, organizations funded by the fossil-fuel industry which advocate against taking action to combat climate change, and is a research.... diff

Dave Souza in turn substituted:

Ball has worked with think tanks which advocate against taking action to combat climate change, and is a research fellow .... diff

While better than the original, I think this is still problematic, as an org that "advocates against taking action to combat climate change" is still a contentious value judgement (imo). Traditionally, when contentious descriptive language is questioned, we revert to a simple wikilink to the org (or whatever) in question, and let readers judge for themselves. --Pete Tillman (talk) 00:30, 10 June 2014 (UTC)

It's a properly sourced description, and is clearly reflects the majority expert view of these deceptively misnamed think tanks. Your POV is showing when you suggest that simple clarification is contentious. . dave souza, talk 12:20, 10 June 2014 (UTC)
We should give readers the names and wikilinks to the specific advocacy organizations. Removing them reduces clarity. Yopienso (talk) 18:07, 10 June 2014 (UTC)
The first paragraph of the David Cameron article says he represents Witney. We don't decide "ah, nobody ever heard of Witney" and replace it with "represents a constituency which has a big air force base" -- people who care about Witney will click. With such analogies in mind, I agree with Tillman and reverted to his last edit. Peter Gulutzan (talk) 14:48, 14 June 2014 (UTC)
If all the article says is "Ball is a member of something and something else", only giving the names and linking to articles, without giving a short description of the organizations, we are hiding the information behind the links. Especially when the name of an organization is designed to hide its intentions, as is the case with the organizations in question, should we help those organizations do that?
Think tanks are climate change denial's home, and that is not just an opinion. See Merchants of Doubt. --Hob Gadling (talk) 11:53, 26 June 2017 (UTC)

Articles for deletion: Timothy Ball[edit]

Tim Ball generates an incredible amount of hostile energy amongst the supporters of Climate Change and the anti-skeptics hit squad pulls out all the stops in order to eliminate any trace of him. The most persistent tactic amongst the Tim Ball opponents is now to deny that he's "notable". They have figured out that it's relatively simple to deny that an opponent is "notable", and to use the AfD process to bury the their opponent, in this case Dr.Ball. There is an excellent trail of the desperate arguments used by the anti-Tim Ball crowd in Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Timothy Ball. They returned in 2013 for another ambush in Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Tim Ball. The AfD articles alone should qualify Tim Ball as notable; no non-notable person would generate so much Climate Change hostility! Many thanks to Jinkinson, Spookymonkey, Yopienso, and Everymorning for bravely standing up for the notability of this extremely notable non-notable person. Santamoly (talk) 21:08, 14 January 2015 (UTC)

  • Thanks. I just thought I would point out that my username used to be Jinkinson. Everymorning talk 21:40, 14 January 2015 (UTC)

BLP noticeboard[edit]

Section = 109 BLP articles labelled "Climate Change Deniers" all at once. This article was placed in a "climate change deniers" category. After discussion on WP:BLPN and WP:CFD the category was deleted. Peter Gulutzan (talk) 16:01, 20 December 2015 (UTC)

Attributing Mann's statement to Mann[edit]

The article says Ball has been called "perhaps the most prominent climate change denier in Canada" with a footnote to cite a book by Mann -- but not an explicit statement in the text that this is Mann's statement. WP:BLP says quotations must be "explicitly attributed"; I am claiming it's significant that Mann, whom Ball has made fun of, is the source. But User:Yopienso says "It's not impt here that Mann made the comment. It's attributed in the footnote, anyway." Any other opinions whether the quotation should have in-text attribution? Peter Gulutzan (talk) 15:41, 26 December 2015 (UTC)

The exact sentence from the BLP policy is: All quotations and any material challenged or likely to be challenged must be explicitly attributed to a reliable, published source, which is usually done with an inline citation. So, the footnote fulfills the requirement.
Please notice that the quote should be in the paragraph I restored it to because it's about Ball's activism, not about Mann. YoPienso (talk) 16:54, 26 December 2015 (UTC)
YoPienso is correct about that BLP section but WP:INTEXT says "In-text attribution is the attribution inside a sentence of material to its source, in addition to an inline citation after the sentence. In-text attribution should be used with direct speech (a source's words between quotation marks or as a block quotation) ...". So I renew my question: Any other opinions whether the quotation should have in-text attribution? Peter Gulutzan (talk) 14:18, 24 May 2017 (UTC)
Seeing no opposition except from YoPienso, knowing the article mentions Ball's comment about Mann and Mann's lawsuit against Ball, believing that WP:INTEXT and WP:ATTRIBUTEPOV support such action, I moved the quote and added the words: Michael E. Mann has said that Ball is". If YoPienso disagrees again, I suggest we try WP:THIRDOPINION. Peter Gulutzan (talk) 17:36, 4 June 2017 (UTC)
Yes, I still disagree with you. Here are my reasons:
  • That sentence is the perfect clincher for the Section 4, about Ball's activism.
  • That sentence is out of context in the paragraph to which you moved it.
  • Mann's statement supports Ball's notability for this article, but doesn't demonstrate controversy.
Please note that while I'm the sole opposer, you're the sole proposer.
WP:INTEXT says, "It is preferable not to clutter articles with information best left to the references."
Regarding WP:ATTRIBUTEPOV, Mann's statement is not biased: Ball is (or at least, was) "perhaps the most prominent climate change denier in Canada." YoPienso (talk) 05:38, 5 June 2017 (UTC)
I have made the post on WP:THIRDOPINION. Peter Gulutzan (talk) 15:06, 5 June 2017 (UTC)
Two years ago, Brian Palmer called Ball "our northerly neighbor’s [Canada's] most prominent climate change denier." YoPienso (talk) 17:49, 5 June 2017 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────Well, no third opinion has been offered, so I've gone ahead and put the quote where I think it belongs. To compromise, I wrote a silly sentence to replace it down below where Mann comes in. It should be removed, however, because Mann's comments on p. 95 of his book don't deal with the libel suit at all. Apparently, p. 95 had been written before the State Pen insult was uttered. (Copyright date is 2012 so book was likely written a year earlier.)

Mann added a postscript to a later printing, but if he mentioned Ball, it was in pages not included in Google Books. If anyone has a full copy of the postscript, I think Mann would have mentioned Ball there, and we could reference his comments. YoPienso (talk) 18:00, 14 June 2017 (UTC)

YoPienso, Indeed the WP:THIRDOPINION request was closed. I suppose an RfC will be necessary, then. First a few comments about your comments.
* The sentence in WP:INTEXT that you point to is explicitly about the publisher, it's irrelevant.
* If you believe Brian Palmer is a notable person, with an independent confirmation i.e. he didn't just read it in Mann's book or in Wikipedia, then I suppose you could propose adding that somewhere -- but we're talking about Mann's words, said by Mann alone.
* You say that the sentence you added, "Mann criticized Ball in print on other issues.", is silly. I agree.
* I believe that you insist on the exact quote "perhaps the most prominent climate change denier in Canada" and will not accept removal or truncation or substitution, is that correct?
* I believe your guess about the order in which Ball and Mann insulted each other is incorrect. Ball's comment appeared on February 10 2011, Mann sued Ball in March 2011, Mann's book refers to several publications and events between May 2011 and November 2011 as you could see by going to books.google.com and searching "hockey stick and the climate wars" 2011 ... that's not an early hardback printing, I will try to find an older copy iff you claim your guess is important.
* I accept that WP:ATTRIBUTEPOV is only relevant if one believes Mann does or might have a bias. I will mention it because I do believe it and others might too. WP:ATTRIBUTEPOV's example -- "John Doe is the best baseball player" -- to me seems comparable to "Tim Ball is the most prominent climate change denier".
* The WP:BLP wording has changed, I have asked the responsible editor why it was changed.
I propose a single RfC question without talking about moving the quote:
The Tim Ball BLP currently says about Ball: He has been called "perhaps the most prominent climate change denier in Canada."[40] The citation is to a book by Michael E. Mann. Choice 1: Leave it as it is. Choice 2: Change it to: Michael E. Mann has called Ball "perhaps the most prominent climate change denier in Canada."[40].
Peter Gulutzan (talk) 15:32, 15 June 2017 (UTC)
Thank you, Peter, for engaging so collegially. What do you think of my most recent edits to the article? YoPienso (talk) 20:45, 19 June 2017 (UTC)
That change answers my objection about naming Mann, therefore the RfC that I was talking about is unnecessary and we can end this discussion. Thank you. Peter Gulutzan (talk) 13:45, 20 June 2017 (UTC)

Comment from User:Weatherlawyer[edit]

(I moved this from its initial position because it wasn't right where it was; I can't really work out where it was supposed to be; William M. Connolley (talk) 07:13, 1 June 2016 (UTC))

Who put the line in the article "that carbon dioxide is not a greenhouse gas" He states that it is and gives an exact ratio of the gas compared to water vapour. The slanted message should be cleaned up: scientific opinion for example, is a matter of opinion. Science is not a democracy. Weatherlawyer (talk) 03:33, 1 June 2016 (UTC)

Ping RW: Evidensely spoiled for choice

Weatherlawyer (talk) 03:33, 1 June 2016 (UTC)

External links modified[edit]

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Lede[edit]

I have swapped two sentences because they seemed more logical that way: Ball has a position and works with other people who share it. Then I noticed that they were in that order before User:Yopienso swapped them. That means I inadvertently reverted Yopienso's edit. What was the reason for swapping them in the first place?

What I did not like at the original wording is that the reader is confronted with a nice name like "Friends of Science" and does not know that those people are anything but that, unless he clicks on the link. --Hob Gadling (talk) 19:35, 21 June 2017 (UTC)

Pardon, then--your POV is showing. My reason for swapping them was because it's more logical to continue with Ball's employment and then tell about his opinions. My version, from the perspective of English composition, is better. I think that matters more than your POV. (Not to sound huffy here--I appreciate your friendly engagement.) All three of those groups have innocuous-sounding names, but we can't change that. I think ending with his opinion points back to their possible orientation. In any case, clicking on the links is not an undue hardship.
I would very much like to restore my version. Is that OK with you? YoPienso (talk) 20:39, 22 June 2017 (UTC)
No problem.
But "my POV", as you call it, is supported by what the science says: those organizations are fake, pretend, pseudoscientific, astroturfing, and have nothing substantial to contribute to the discussion. --Hob Gadling (talk) 06:37, 23 June 2017 (UTC)
One moment: I would like to keep the short description, as in [1]. Do you insist in hiding the characterization behind the link? --Hob Gadling (talk) 06:39, 23 June 2017 (UTC)
So, this has been discussed before a few sections up the page.
Wrt your POV, you're saying "those people" aren't nice, which is a personal attack. Your allegations that the organizations are pseudoscientific and that they practice astroturfing may be correct. I'm not sure they're pseudoscientist; they may simply interpret data differently than most scientists do. About the astroturfing, I'm unable to find proof that they are funded to any great degree by the fossil fuel industry. I'm not sure the Natural Resources Stewardship Project still survives, since most of their online presence was around 2007-08. More later. YoPienso (talk) 08:48, 23 June 2017 (UTC)
WP:NPOV is specific on tone. WP:IMPARTIAL: "The tone of Wikipedia articles should be impartial, neither endorsing nor rejecting a particular point of view." WP:SUBJECTIVE: " Strive to eliminate expressions that are flattering, disparaging, vague, or clichéd, or that endorse a particular point of view (unless those expressions are part of a quote from a noteworthy source)." What I was objecting to was your comment here on the talk page, which indicated a non-neutral point of view that could carry over into the article.
The issue here, though, is crafting the opening paragraph. Besides being tweaked stylistically, it needs to be updated.
  • I suspected the NRSP was defunct, since I could find only old webpages about it. Ball said here, "Private citizens funded the Natural Resources Stewardship Project (NRSP), but funding failed and so did the organization."
  • The most recent article by Ball posted at FCPP is from 2011, and he is no longer listed as a fellow. (Cp. this archived page copyrighted 1996-2012, where he is unalphabetically listed last.) Note that the FCPP isn't primarily about climate.
How is this?
Timothy Francis "Tim" Ball (born November 5, 1938) is a Canadian public speaker and writer who taught in the Department of Geography at the University of Winnipeg from 1971 until his retirement in 1996. He has worked with Friends of Science, a non-profit advocacy organization that states the Sun is the main driver of climate change, and for the now-defunct Natural Resources Stewardship Project. He is a former senior fellow at the Frontier Centre for Public Policy. Ball rejects the scientific opinion on climate change, stating that "CO2 is not a greenhouse gas."
I suggest we call Ball a public speaker and writer, per his CV, rather than a geographer. (What's a geographer? I combined "author" and "columnist" as "writer," and omitted his claim to be an environmentalist.)
You will notice I have already made various tweaks to the article, which I hope are uncontroversial. YoPienso (talk) 21:08, 23 June 2017 (UTC)
I fail to understand why "no-climate-change-policy advocacy groups" is not impartial. Neither do I see where the word "nice" is coming from. --Hob Gadling (talk) 11:46, 26 June 2017 (UTC)
I believe "no-climate-change-policy advocacy groups" is impartial. It's just clunky. What's wrong with saying they think the Sun is driving climate change? Or, we could say, He has worked with Friends of Science, a non-profit advocacy organization that opposes the anthropogenic climate change theory.
You introduced the word nice: ". . . the reader is confronted with a nice name like "Friends of Science" and does not know that those people are anything but that . . ." [Bolding added.] I remarked that "you're saying 'those people' aren't nice." Best wishes, YoPienso (talk) 16:40, 26 June 2017 (UTC)
Ah! Sorry, no, I didn't mean they are not nice, I meant they are not friends of science. They are friends of the free market.
Clunky is right. But since "do not interfere with the market!" is the key concern of all the denial industry think tanks, I guess the Sun idea is rather ephemeral. As soon as a big enough section of the public realize that the Sun idea does not work, those think tanks will replace it by some other reason for not interfering with the market, such as "global warming is not happening", "global warming is good for us" or "it's too late to do anything anyway".
Is there an "anthropogenic climate change theory"? The term smells funny. I do get a few Google hits for it, but they all point to William Happer. Why not use a more common wording such as "opposes the scientific consensus on global warming"? --Hob Gadling (talk) 06:15, 27 June 2017 (UTC)
Thanks for much for clearing up the "nice" thing. My apologies for misunderstanding your original comment.
I chose "anthropogenic" because Friends of Science says the Sun, not human activity, is driving the warming. It's more specific than your suggestion, but yours is fine with me. --YoPienso (talk) 08:25, 27 June 2017 (UTC)
Is it OK with you now? All that consensus-rejecting looks a bit repetitive now that I look at it. --Hob Gadling (talk) 18:16, 27 June 2017 (UTC)
Well, it's OK. I would write it differently, but I've invested enough time on this, I think. My compromise would be:
Timothy Francis "Tim" Ball (born November 5, 1938) is a Canadian public speaker and writer who taught in the Department of Geography at the University of Winnipeg from 1971 until his retirement in 1996. He has worked with Friends of Science and the Natural Resources Stewardship Project, which oppose the scientific consensus on global warming, and is a former research fellow at the Frontier Centre for Public Policy.[6][7][8] Ball also rejects the scientific opinion on climate change, stating that "CO2 is not a greenhouse gas."[9]
My preference would be:
Timothy Francis "Tim" Ball (born November 5, 1938) is a Canadian public speaker and writer who taught in the Department of Geography at the University of Winnipeg from 1971 until his retirement in 1996. He has worked with Friends of Science and the Natural Resources Stewardship Project and is a former senior fellow at the Frontier Centre for Public Policy. Ball rejects the scientific opinion on climate change, stating that "CO2 is not a greenhouse gas."
Why can't we call him a public speaker and writer? That's what he is. See my comment above on June 23.
"The scientific opinion on climate change" is indeed repetitive, but if you think readers won't click on the links, well, I don't know what to say. If we have to explain their position, we should also say the NRSP is defunct.
We must either say Ball was a fellow at the FCPP or is a former fellow.
Working with you is great; I just have other things to do. Face-smile.svg YoPienso (talk) 19:31, 27 June 2017 (UTC)
Same here. --Hob Gadling (talk) 19:35, 28 June 2017 (UTC)

Cornwall Alliance[edit]

Yopienso added a claim that Ball signed the Cornwall Declaration on Environmental Stewardship. I removed it. Yopienso re-inserted it. There are at least three things wrong now: (1) WP:V requires that the claim be clearly supported by a cite, but it isn't, the cite is to a source that says Ball signed something else (a support-our-favourite-candidate letter). (2) WP:BLPSPS requires that the cite be to a non-blog, but it's a blog, in fact it calls itself a blog. (3) WP:BLPREQUESTRESTORE requires that an editor not re-insert this kind of material in this kind of article without going to the talk page and getting consensus. Peter Gulutzan (talk) 00:03, 2 August 2017 (UTC)

I don't think there's a list of signers of the Declaration anywhere. It would be better to say that Ball has endorsed various statements by the Cornwall Alliance (e.g., [2][3][4]). Either way it's not a big deal. It isn't like either Declaration or Cornwall itself holds much sway in the wider world. Shock Brigade Harvester Boris (talk) 01:02, 2 August 2017 (UTC)
Sorry for that carelessness of mine; I've undone it. I mistook a different document put out by the Cornwall Alliance (and signed by Ball) for the Cornwall Declaration.
Blogs haven't generally been accepted as RSs (though some by reputable writers are), but are becoming more accepted by the Wikipedia community. I think we accept DeSmogBlog because, well, I'm not sure why, other than the powers that be like it. Am I mistaken? YoPienso (talk) 05:30, 2 August 2017 (UTC)
Here are exceptions to the no-blog rule. DeSmogBlog isn't one. YoPienso (talk) 05:47, 2 August 2017 (UTC)
Thanks for self-reverting. I believe that's the end of this matter. Peter Gulutzan (talk) 14:24, 3 August 2017 (UTC)

I've found my mistake. What do you think about adding that Ball signed a petition from Richard Lindzen to Pres. Trump asking him to withdraw from the UNFCCC? It was reported in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer and is also reported and reproduced on a anti-warmist unscientific contrarian site that has Lindzen and Patrick Moore on its board of directors. They are a RS for their own views. It's also reproduced by E&E. The purpose of inserting it would to update Ball's activism. Just today Ball and Harris published their opinions about this. See also United States withdrawal from the Paris Agreement. YoPienso (talk) 22:53, 3 August 2017 (UTC)

"Anti-warmist"? Shock Brigade Harvester Boris (talk) 23:32, 3 August 2017 (UTC)
Give me a better term. YoPienso (talk) 01:13, 4 August 2017 (UTC)
Anti-warmist is a red link. Climate change denier is not. --Hob Gadling (talk) 06:14, 4 August 2017 (UTC)
I don't agree that petition-signing is important but don't know a policy saying it can't be mentioned. The Ball and Harris article didn't originally appear in Greenville Online, it appeared two days earlier in USA Today. Peter Gulutzan (talk) 14:13, 4 August 2017 (UTC)
I've put details in footnotes. See my edit summaries.
Boris and Hob, your comments are so terse I can't understand them. YoPienso (talk) 18:32, 4 August 2017 (UTC)
What we are trying to say is that "warmist" is term that is not normally used - except by the denial industry. What it denotes is "mainstream climatologist" or "someone who does not subscribe to crazy conspiracy theories involving thousands of scientists" or "someone whose attitude to science is not biased against global warmist by a belief in free markets". "Anti-warmist" has the opposite meaning and is also used by the same industry. --Hob Gadling (talk) 21:47, 4 August 2017 (UTC)
Got it, thanks. How about "denialist"? Equally if oppositely bad? Should I say "climate-change denial website"? YoPienso (talk) 22:14, 4 August 2017 (UTC)
Both are terms used in reliable sources. There is no symmetry here. We have science on one side and pseudoscience on the other. --Hob Gadling (talk) 06:17, 5 August 2017 (UTC)
Many reliable sources (e.g., PBS) have tended toward "contrarian," presumably because it lacks the emotional connotations of "denialist." Associated Press has tried to promote the use of "doubter" or the clumsy but accurate "those who reject mainstream climate science" but it hasn't caught on. Shock Brigade Harvester Boris (talk) 15:02, 5 August 2017 (UTC)