Reddit Moderator: Newspapers Should Ban Climate Change Skeptics

Tuesday, 24 Dec 2013 09:07 AM

By Lisa Barron

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The man who banned climate change skeptics from the popular social news forum Reddit, says newspapers should follow his lead.

Nathan Allen claims anyone who refuses to follow the orthodox view of global warming does not deserve to have his voice heard.

"These people were true believers, blind to the fact that their arguments were hopelessly flawed, the result of cherry-picked data and conspiratorial thinking," Allen writes on Grist.org.

"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."

Allen, a moderator with Reddit, who describes himself as a "Phd chemist," decided to ban climate-change skeptics from contributing to Reddit's science forum.

"They were completely enamored by the emotionally charged and rhetoric-based arguments of pundits on talk radio and Fox News," he said.

Allen went on to say that the "evidence simply does not exist to justify continued denial that climate change is caused by humans and will be bad."

So, he explained, "We needed more than just an ad hoc approach to correct the situation. The answer was found in the form of proactive moderation."

Which meant that "when a potentially controversial submission was posted, a warning would be issued stating the rules for comments (most importantly that your comment isn't a conspiracy theory) and advising that further violations of the rules could result in the commenter being banned from the forum."

"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?" Allen asked

The move by the user-generated forum was blasted as censorship by critics. "The greenies—and their many useful idiots in the liberal media—are terrified of open debate on climate-change because the real world evidence long ago parted company with their scientifically threadbare theory," James Delingpole, columnist and author of The Little Green Book of Eco Fascism, told Fox News.

Allen's tactic, he argued, is part of a "classic liberal defense mechanism: If the facts don't support you, then close down the argument."

It is not the first time that "proactive moderation" at Reddit has stirred controversy. Earlier this year, its politics forum banned several sites, including Fox Nation, Huffington Post and National Review, to avoid what it called sensationalized headlines and "bad journalism," reports Fox.

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