These problematic users were not the common “internet trolls” looking to have a little fun upsetting people. Such users are practically the norm on reddit. These people were true believers, blind to the fact that their arguments were hopelessly flawed, the result of cherry-picked data and conspiratorial thinking.
They had no idea that the smart-sounding talking points from their preferred climate blog were, even to a casual climate science observer, plainly wrong. They were completely enamored by the emotionally charged and rhetoric-based arguments of pundits on talk radio and Fox News.
Allen claimed that many “deniers” were abusive. Fine. Kick abusive participants out. Instead, even though Reddit is “passionately” in favor of free speech, no further global-warming questioning will be allowed. Period (as our president might say).
And, he thinks all newspapers should follow suit.
As moderators responsible for what millions of people see, we felt that to allow a handful of commenters to so purposefully mislead our audience was simply immoral.
So if a half-dozen volunteers can keep a page with more than 4 million users from being a microphone for the antiscientific, is it too much to ask for newspapers to police their own editorial pages as proficiently?
I know it keeps the blood pressure lower to only interact with co-believers. But if Allen thinks that spiking heterodox views will help promote increased belief in global warming, he’s wrong. It is a sign of weakness to forbid dissenting opinions, not a sign of strength.