On May 13th, John Cook, PhD student at the University of Queensland, published this article at the Conversation
There were 414 coments in the next few days. 257 of them have since been removed by moderators.
On 17th May 2016 the Conversation sent me eleven messages which all began as follows:
Your comment on ‘The things people ask about the scientific consensus on climate change’ has been removed. There are several reasons why this may have occurred:
Your comment may have breached our communit standards. For example it may have been a personal attack, or you might not have used your real name.
Your comment may have been entirely blameless but part of a thread that was removed because another comment had to be removed.
It might have been removed for another editorial reason, for example to avoid repetition or keep the conversation on topic.
For practical reasons we reserve the right to remove any comment and all decisions must be final, but please don’t take it personally. If you’re playing by the rules it’s unlikely to happen again, so feel free to continue to post new comments and engage in polite and respectful discussion.
And they appended the eleven removed comments. I’ve listed them at a fuller version of this article on my own dormant blog. You can read them yourself to see if they breach community standards. They don’t.
The next day I received this:
Your account on The Conversation has been locked follow your posting comments with abusive and potentially defamatory content.
Cory Zanoni Community Manager
I have replied to Cory Zanoni as follows:
In your mail justifying your decision to prevent me from commenting at the Conversation you accuse me of posting comments with abusive and potentially defamatory content. I assume this refers to the eleven comments on this article
which were deleted by the moderator the day before your decision to ban me. For simplicity I have listed the comments at this blog article, and I refer below to the numbers used in my blog article.
I have tried to identify comments which might be considered “abusive and potentially defamatory” and have identified the following:
comment 7 “That’s not quite true, is it?” addressed to author Cook
comment 8 which links to a photo of author Cook dressed as a Nazi
comment 9 which refers to the same photo, which was one of a series in which Cook and his collaborators apparently photoshopped photos of themselves in Nazi uniforms and put them up on the private part of their site SkepticalScience where they were discovered by Brandon Schollenberger. I took this information from this site
but the Conversation has established a rule that any comment citing this site (the world’s most popular scientific site) will be removed.
I note that accusing me of posting comments with abusive and potentially defamatory content is in itself potentially defamatory. I have indeed accused your second and third most frequent contributors of articles on climate change, John Cook and Stephan Lewandowsky, of being liars and charlatans on my site, but not on yours. Neither are climate scientists. Both are liars and charlatans.
I am preparing a letter of complaint to my own university and to other British universities which finance your site. Your moderation policy, as evidenced by the comments removed on this article (numbers 2, 3, 4, 5, 9) and on other articles demonstrate clearly that you are practising a policy of censorship of opinions which contradict the received opinion which your blog propagates: that opposition to current policies on climate change comes from the political right. As I indicated in one of the comments removed, I support the Communist party in France, where I have lived for thirty years.
Before I write to the universities which provide your financial support, I invite you to justify your claim that I have posted comments with abusive and potentially defamatory content. I look forward to your reply.