In this question I took a claim I came about in an environmental essay, which I found intriguing -- "Did the 2018 drought in Europe result in 2019 worldwide grain crop not meeting demand?"

Oddthinking's answer was basically what I looked for, a data sheet giving all the information necessary.

LangLangC had a very different take on the whole thing. He considers this a "bad faith push question", the claim to be "alarmist", the author to be "lying". His answer went to some lengths to point out that e.g. droughts are not exceptional, went on to paint the claim as "presenting the 2018 summer drought as the ultimate bane of agricultural food production", and went on to ad hominem the author of the claim as "a sympathiser for the right wing eso-racism group "Extinction Rebellion"".

It came to somewhat of a head when I reverted an edit adding the author and somewhat inflammatory title of his essay to the question. As I stated in a comment:

It's been irritating me to no end when people post questions here with surrounding context, leading to answers needing to hedge against those contexts (when the claim per se would be a "yes" but the conclusions surrounding it demand further criticism, leading to lengthy discussions instead of factual answers).

I.e., I wanted to distance my question on the 2019 crop yield from the surrounding context of the essay, exactly that context that got LangLangC into such high gear. I absolutely do not see why any political affiliation or background of an essay author should matter when looking at whether the 2019 crop yield was significantly impacted by the 2018 drought in Europe and whether global demand had been met or not. What kind of conclusions people draw from those data points in this context or another is not up for discussion here, IMHO.

LangLangC obviously disagrees, taking things to another, older, eco-related question where he went on to call me, among other things, "a selective deplatformer [...] sabotaging critical thinking", while at the same time claiming to "not calling out a particular user", where he pretty clearly is. Without tagging me, mind you; I noticed these comments only due to voting activity on my answer to this long-dormant question.

(Which is, IMHO, a very good example of what happens when the conclusions drawn from a data point by a claimant are made part of the question.)


Point 1.

Personally, I consider it beneficial to the Q&A format of Skeptics.SE as well as Skeptics.SE as a multiplier that can bring questionable claims to the attention of a wider audience, to isolate datapoint questions from surrounding conclusions, interpretations, and opinions as far as possible.

Questions should not lend publicity to contentious conclusions drawn from those data points, and answers should be able to focus on facts without having to either hedge against or implicitly lend credit to conclusions drawn from that data point by the original claimant (leading to discussion).

Am I wrong in this?

Point 2.

Unless I have very much misunderstood the StackExchange code of conduct,

  • meta-discussions are to be held on meta, not sneakily vented in comments to old questions (indeed refusing to do so, claiming that I would not "listen" anyway -- I listen, I just do not agree);

  • ad hominem attacks and calling people names to the point of character assassination is not constructive, not regarding claimants and especially not regarding other users of the site. We should be able to have political difference, but personal amiability (to quote John Bercow).

Am I wrong in this? Am I being overly sensitive here?

  • I'd love to see his justification for calling Extinction Rebellion "right wing" and "racist". On the other hand, I don't think it's a good idea to escalate this argument any further. – F1Krazy Dec 3 '19 at 15:15
  • @F1Krazy That, I'd consider off-topic on this Q. But if you accept links, a chat or want a question answered on PoliticsSE: be my guest, analysis is ready for consumption, if you don't mind reading more than three paragraphs, that is ;) But don't be too disappointed about lack of novelty. It is not really news… – LаngLаngС Dec 3 '19 at 15:22
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    How can he call you names when he doesn't reference you? Note that old question you referenced: when I posed it to limit the context to the claim, you called me a science denier, a gish gallop, and equated any criticism not just of Mann, a discredited fraud, but of Climate Science to a Koch conspiracy. And now you want to limit context? And complain about abuse? – K Dog Dec 3 '19 at 18:14
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    A claim that turned out to be 100% true mind you. – K Dog Dec 3 '19 at 22:11
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    This Guardian article talks about claims about racism in ER, and takes them seriously: google.com.au/amp/s/amp.theguardian.com/environment/2019/oct/04/… . Given that the Guardian is a left wing newspaper and is generally pro-environment, I think the claims are at the least credible. (I recently heard about a Holocaust trivialisation comment by one of its cofounders who was still part of the organisation, but haven’t looked into any other allegations of eco-racism) – Andrew Grimm Dec 7 '19 at 22:28

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