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Reddit's /r/Science bans climate-change skeptics in controversial move

Nathan Allen, the moderator for the forum /r/science, said that climate-change deniers were constantly arguing with 'cherry-picked data and conspiratorial thinking.'

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No climate skeptics allowed. (Reddit/Screengrab)

Reddit's science feed has banned climate-change skeptics from making comments in the online forum.

Nathan Allen, the moderator for the forum /r/science, said that climate-change deniers were constantly arguing with "cherry-picked data and conspiratorial thinking."

Allen said that global-warming skeptics acted unruly in the forum, which offers its 4 million subscribers a place to debate recent, peer-reviewed scienctific publications.

"After some time interacting with the regular denier posters, it became clear that they could not or would not improve their demeanor," Allen said in a blog post for Grist.

Allen's post — entitled "Reddit’s science forum banned climate deniers. Why don’t all newspapers do the same?" — argued that the forum was for educated, scientific debate, not the baseless arguments that he accused climate-change deniers of using.

"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," wrote Allen.

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

Allen says these users have distracted from the real debate about climate change.

Critics of the move — including Fox News — cried censorship, citing Reddit's stated commitment to open debate.

An op-ed in the UK's Telegraph newspaper by Brendan O'Neill, the editor of libertarian online magazine Spiked, said that the move went beyond simple comment moderation.

"It’s talking about removing specific political opinions; it’s talking about targeting the expression of a particular idea – that the case for climate change is overblown – and squashing it," wrote O'Neill.

"This is political censorship, designed to silence the expression of dissent about climate-change alarmism on one of the internet’s most popular user-generated forums."

Reddit has said that it is Allen's perogative as editor what he chooses to remove or how he moderates.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/science/131219/reddits-rscience-bans-climate-change-skeptics-controversial-move