This article is long overdue. Earlier I didn't pay much notice to people using the power of the "delete" button on their blogs to shut out criticism of their reasoning - or lack of such. Just now however things stepped up a bit as Allianz Insurance, partner to the World Wildlife Foundation in creating the so called Climate Scorecards, just did the same thing.
Before we get to them, take a look at others who have discovered some of the practical buttons that comes with being a blog administrator.
Monica Antonsson, of the blog "Änglagård, Tjernobyl och Jag", recently turned off the ability to post comments on her blog. She claims that this was because "[She] was terrorized by a rabid nuclear power lover". What happened was that practically every blog post she made was quoting some other nuclear opponent. She admitted herself that she did not even fact check these quotes, only that she found them "interesting". Most of these quotes had errors of fact, grossly exaggerated the state of matters or were in some other way worthy of criticism. When members of Nuclear Power Yes Please pointed that out to her, she claims we "spit on the information".
Monica claims that she is not opposed to nuclear power, that she is "only collecting information". But the links on her blog, not to mention her behaviour in general in the matter, tells a very different story. You don't have a link with the headline "No to more nuclear power. You can sign (the petition) here!" when you are "just collecting information".
The thing that finally made her snap and turn off comments was when I relayed to her the fact that every nuclear reactor that replaces the equivalent amount of coal power saves up to 15 000 lives. Her immediate reaction was to lash out and call me a liar, without checking the fact. I relayed to her the data behind the statements, and she immediately dismissed them as conspiracies by the EU and the UN, and shortly thereafter turned off the ability to further criticise what she posed.
This is what she calls "being terrorized". Well, I guess someone coming up to you telling you "You're so very wrong" and showing he has good cause for it(!) is quite terrifying.
Peter Swedenmark is a former editor in chief, and chief of the opinions & debate desk of a Swedish newspaper. After only two posts he made opposed to nuclear power under which I had discussions with other people on his blog, he quickly shut me out because "[he] didn't want this to become a playground for nuclear proponents". I guess having had the say-so of who gets to voice their opinion in the paper and who doesn't was stuck as an old habit.
Anders Grönwall, press secretary of the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation(SNF) did not appreciate when I criticised their hate-campaign against nuclear power where they among other things constantly and next to obsessively call it "expensive and dangerous". I wrote a comment on that saying that this had a certain likeness in method to another well known hate-campaign we all know about. The exact comment was:
Nobody except ardent opponents of nuclear power believes the scare-mongering where you are saying "Beware of the Jew...", sorry, "Beware of Radiation, it will come and get you!
Anders Grönvall mailed me and said "It feels as if you are trying to say that nuclear opponents are like nazis". I mailed him back and told him that this was of course not the case since trying to conserve nature and nazism were of course(!) completely unrelated. Such a connection would be completely invalid and silly. I also told him that I did not intend to not remove the comparison of the method since scare-mongering was the key issue I was criticising. He ignored all of those arguments and just repeated he wanted that wording removed. When I again wrote him a lengthy email explaining that if SNF did not agree, all they needed to do was defend themselves and argue the case. This mail he just ignored completely, never answered and withheld the comment.
And now, the latest one, Thilo Kunzemannof Allianz SE. As you know we posted a critical blog entry about how WWF and Allianz wantonly manipulated emissions data on the climate scorecards. A bit later I found the Allianz web page about the scorecards for 2009. A conversation had already started and Thilo had posted a sour comment where he tried to defend Allianz saying they had not lied because they had in some places told people that they had changed and misepresented the data. I posted a comment saying that a lie does not become diminished just because you admit to it.
A strange turn of events then followed. Thilo mailed me and said he wasn't going to approve the comment, claiming it was insulting to call them liars just because they admitted to lying. When I checked the page though, the comment was there, despite him saying he wouldn't approve it. 24 hours later still, I got a email saying that the comment had been removed, and indeed it had. Luckily I saved a screenshot of it; you can grab it here.
All in all, we are seeing a pattern where nuclear opponents are getting increasingly desperate when their claims are getting challenged. Having had the stage practically to themselves for over 30 years, they are finding themselves stumped when someone else gets up there with them and starts criticising their arguments.
Well they better get used to it. Trying to shut us out will not make us go silent. Oh no, quite the contrary.
P.S: Greenpeace didn't approve my comment critical of their Hiroshima Day article either. But I might write that one off since they don't seem to be accepting any comments at all on those pages.