by Greg Krehbiel on 25 September 2013
Popular Science has decided to turn off comments on their website. Their reasons are pretty interesting.
- They’ve been deluged by spambots,
- They’ve been deluged by trolls,
- There are uncivil comments, which polarize debate.
- Some comments can detract from the message of the article.
Those are all good reasons, IMO, for a magazine website to turn off comments. This, however, was very telling.
If you carry out those results to their logical end–commenters shape public opinion; public opinion shapes public policy; public policy shapes how and whether and what research gets funded–you start to see why we feel compelled to hit the “off” switch.
I endorse and applaud the idea that Popular Science wants to educate about science, and that comments can distract from that mission.
I’m a little worried about their concern for public policy. I think that’s part of the problem these days. Science has become politicized. How about scientists stick to science?
I’m also a little worried that they’ve adopted some of the crazy talk of the AGW crowd.
People who doubt man-made climate change are not doubting “bedrock scientific doctrine,” and to say so is absurd. (I should note that they left some wiggle room on precisely that point, but it seems to be implied.)
“CO2 is a greenhouse gas” is bedrock science. “Man-made CO2 is causing significant and dangerous global warming” is not even close to bedrock science, and we need to call out people who make such claims.
-- 2013-09-25 » Greg Krehbiel