A blog experiment by Brad Mills.



Here's one for the global warming crowd (or perhaps the vogue term now is "climate change"), and I think it's an interesting read regardless of which way your beliefs swing.

Because if you're basing it on your beliefs, you're going at it the wrong way.

Case in point: an article in the Daily Mail (UK, not Charleston) about Phil Jones, who came out and said the original data for the "hockey stick" graph is missing, and there has been no statistically significant global warming since 1995. The article itself is typical enough, I suppose, for a conservative tabloid which has lost sixteen libel lawsuits in the last decade. (Just in case you're keeping score, that's an average of one every seven and a half months.) The interesting part, by far, is the comments section.

The comments section is designed so you can sort the comments based on newest, oldest, best rated, and worst rated. Yes, people get to rate the comments and basically vote on them, like it's American Idol or something, and the most or least popular ones can be bumped to the top with a click of the mouse. Please note that popularity does not necessarily imply correctness, or even relevance.

Perhaps my world view is naive, but I like to believe people are at least partially open-minded and willing to listen to viewpoints which differ from their own and discuss them intelligently. Maybe one of these days I'll wake up. And again: I'm trying to keep in mind it's a tabloid. Anyway, when I sort the comments, the least popular ones are the ones which attempt to refute the article in any manner, and the most popular ones are basically "rah rah" comments which contribute little, if anything, to the discussion, the most popular one asking, "Can I get a rebate on all the 'Green' Taxes that I have paid for the last 15years" (Just like that, no question mark, and a spacing deficit in the last part of the sentence.)

I think that's a sad state of affairs. Given that it's a conservative newspaper, I assume it attracts a primarily conservative reader base... and they, in turn, are the ones who are voting on these comments. (It could be pink robots for all I care.) But you know, whoever you are, contribute. Don't just stand there and cheer and make snarky comments, and quit encouraging others to do the same. How about a real discussion — first, let's define the problem, if there is one, and second, let's figure out how we can get from here to a solution — together — without destroying the world's economy or the environment.

"Voting up" comments on a tabloid which agree with your view of the world, and "voting down" those which do not, is no way to solve anything.

I think Freeman Dyson said it best:

"Global warming has become a party line."

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