Talk:Tim Ball

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POV in lede?[edit]

I removed what I thought inappropriate POV lnguage (italicized) in a BLP lede:

Ball has worked with Friends of Science and the Natural Resources Stewardship Project, organizations funded by the fossil-fuel industry which advocate against taking action to combat climate change, and is a research.... diff

Dave Souza in turn substituted:

Ball has worked with think tanks which advocate against taking action to combat climate change, and is a research fellow .... diff

While better than the original, I think this is still problematic, as an org that "advocates against taking action to combat climate change" is still a contentious value judgement (imo). Traditionally, when contentious descriptive language is questioned, we revert to a simple wikilink to the org (or whatever) in question, and let readers judge for themselves. --Pete Tillman (talk) 00:30, 10 June 2014 (UTC)

It's a properly sourced description, and is clearly reflects the majority expert view of these deceptively misnamed think tanks. Your POV is showing when you suggest that simple clarification is contentious. . dave souza, talk 12:20, 10 June 2014 (UTC)
We should give readers the names and wikilinks to the specific advocacy organizations. Removing them reduces clarity. Yopienso (talk) 18:07, 10 June 2014 (UTC)
The first paragraph of the David Cameron article says he represents Witney. We don't decide "ah, nobody ever heard of Witney" and replace it with "represents a constituency which has a big air force base" -- people who care about Witney will click. With such analogies in mind, I agree with Tillman and reverted to his last edit. Peter Gulutzan (talk) 14:48, 14 June 2014 (UTC)
If all the article says is "Ball is a member of something and something else", only giving the names and linking to articles, without giving a short description of the organizations, we are hiding the information behind the links. Especially when the name of an organization is designed to hide its intentions, as is the case with the organizations in question, should we help those organizations do that?
Think tanks are climate change denial's home, and that is not just an opinion. See Merchants of Doubt. --Hob Gadling (talk) 11:53, 26 June 2017 (UTC)


I have swapped two sentences because they seemed more logical that way: Ball has a position and works with other people who share it. Then I noticed that they were in that order before User:Yopienso swapped them. That means I inadvertently reverted Yopienso's edit. What was the reason for swapping them in the first place?

What I did not like at the original wording is that the reader is confronted with a nice name like "Friends of Science" and does not know that those people are anything but that, unless he clicks on the link. --Hob Gadling (talk) 19:35, 21 June 2017 (UTC)

Pardon, then--your POV is showing. My reason for swapping them was because it's more logical to continue with Ball's employment and then tell about his opinions. My version, from the perspective of English composition, is better. I think that matters more than your POV. (Not to sound huffy here--I appreciate your friendly engagement.) All three of those groups have innocuous-sounding names, but we can't change that. I think ending with his opinion points back to their possible orientation. In any case, clicking on the links is not an undue hardship.
I would very much like to restore my version. Is that OK with you? YoPienso (talk) 20:39, 22 June 2017 (UTC)
No problem.
But "my POV", as you call it, is supported by what the science says: those organizations are fake, pretend, pseudoscientific, astroturfing, and have nothing substantial to contribute to the discussion. --Hob Gadling (talk) 06:37, 23 June 2017 (UTC)
One moment: I would like to keep the short description, as in [1]. Do you insist in hiding the characterization behind the link? --Hob Gadling (talk) 06:39, 23 June 2017 (UTC)
So, this has been discussed before a few sections up the page.
Wrt your POV, you're saying "those people" aren't nice, which is a personal attack. Your allegations that the organizations are pseudoscientific and that they practice astroturfing may be correct. I'm not sure they're pseudoscientist; they may simply interpret data differently than most scientists do. About the astroturfing, I'm unable to find proof that they are funded to any great degree by the fossil fuel industry. I'm not sure the Natural Resources Stewardship Project still survives, since most of their online presence was around 2007-08. More later. YoPienso (talk) 08:48, 23 June 2017 (UTC)
WP:NPOV is specific on tone. WP:IMPARTIAL: "The tone of Wikipedia articles should be impartial, neither endorsing nor rejecting a particular point of view." WP:SUBJECTIVE: " Strive to eliminate expressions that are flattering, disparaging, vague, or clichéd, or that endorse a particular point of view (unless those expressions are part of a quote from a noteworthy source)." What I was objecting to was your comment here on the talk page, which indicated a non-neutral point of view that could carry over into the article.
The issue here, though, is crafting the opening paragraph. Besides being tweaked stylistically, it needs to be updated.
  • I suspected the NRSP was defunct, since I could find only old webpages about it. Ball said here, "Private citizens funded the Natural Resources Stewardship Project (NRSP), but funding failed and so did the organization."
  • The most recent article by Ball posted at FCPP is from 2011, and he is no longer listed as a fellow. (Cp. this archived page copyrighted 1996-2012, where he is unalphabetically listed last.) Note that the FCPP isn't primarily about climate.
How is this?
Timothy Francis "Tim" Ball (born November 5, 1938) is a Canadian public speaker and writer who taught in the Department of Geography at the University of Winnipeg from 1971 until his retirement in 1996. He has worked with Friends of Science, a non-profit advocacy organization that states the Sun is the main driver of climate change, and for the now-defunct Natural Resources Stewardship Project. He is a former senior fellow at the Frontier Centre for Public Policy. Ball rejects the scientific opinion on climate change, stating that "CO2 is not a greenhouse gas."
I suggest we call Ball a public speaker and writer, per his CV, rather than a geographer. (What's a geographer? I combined "author" and "columnist" as "writer," and omitted his claim to be an environmentalist.)
You will notice I have already made various tweaks to the article, which I hope are uncontroversial. YoPienso (talk) 21:08, 23 June 2017 (UTC)
I fail to understand why "no-climate-change-policy advocacy groups" is not impartial. Neither do I see where the word "nice" is coming from. --Hob Gadling (talk) 11:46, 26 June 2017 (UTC)
I believe "no-climate-change-policy advocacy groups" is impartial. It's just clunky. What's wrong with saying they think the Sun is driving climate change? Or, we could say, He has worked with Friends of Science, a non-profit advocacy organization that opposes the anthropogenic climate change theory.
You introduced the word nice: ". . . the reader is confronted with a nice name like "Friends of Science" and does not know that those people are anything but that . . ." [Bolding added.] I remarked that "you're saying 'those people' aren't nice." Best wishes, YoPienso (talk) 16:40, 26 June 2017 (UTC)
Ah! Sorry, no, I didn't mean they are not nice, I meant they are not friends of science. They are friends of the free market.
Clunky is right. But since "do not interfere with the market!" is the key concern of all the denial industry think tanks, I guess the Sun idea is rather ephemeral. As soon as a big enough section of the public realize that the Sun idea does not work, those think tanks will replace it by some other reason for not interfering with the market, such as "global warming is not happening", "global warming is good for us" or "it's too late to do anything anyway".
Is there an "anthropogenic climate change theory"? The term smells funny. I do get a few Google hits for it, but they all point to William Happer. Why not use a more common wording such as "opposes the scientific consensus on global warming"? --Hob Gadling (talk) 06:15, 27 June 2017 (UTC)
Thanks for much for clearing up the "nice" thing. My apologies for misunderstanding your original comment.
I chose "anthropogenic" because Friends of Science says the Sun, not human activity, is driving the warming. It's more specific than your suggestion, but yours is fine with me. --YoPienso (talk) 08:25, 27 June 2017 (UTC)
Is it OK with you now? All that consensus-rejecting looks a bit repetitive now that I look at it. --Hob Gadling (talk) 18:16, 27 June 2017 (UTC)
Well, it's OK. I would write it differently, but I've invested enough time on this, I think. My compromise would be:
Timothy Francis "Tim" Ball (born November 5, 1938) is a Canadian public speaker and writer who taught in the Department of Geography at the University of Winnipeg from 1971 until his retirement in 1996. He has worked with Friends of Science and the Natural Resources Stewardship Project, which oppose the scientific consensus on global warming, and is a former research fellow at the Frontier Centre for Public Policy.[6][7][8] Ball also rejects the scientific opinion on climate change, stating that "CO2 is not a greenhouse gas."[9]
My preference would be:
Timothy Francis "Tim" Ball (born November 5, 1938) is a Canadian public speaker and writer who taught in the Department of Geography at the University of Winnipeg from 1971 until his retirement in 1996. He has worked with Friends of Science and the Natural Resources Stewardship Project and is a former senior fellow at the Frontier Centre for Public Policy. Ball rejects the scientific opinion on climate change, stating that "CO2 is not a greenhouse gas."
Why can't we call him a public speaker and writer? That's what he is. See my comment above on June 23.
"The scientific opinion on climate change" is indeed repetitive, but if you think readers won't click on the links, well, I don't know what to say. If we have to explain their position, we should also say the NRSP is defunct.
We must either say Ball was a fellow at the FCPP or is a former fellow.
Working with you is great; I just have other things to do. Face-smile.svg YoPienso (talk) 19:31, 27 June 2017 (UTC)
Same here. --Hob Gadling (talk) 19:35, 28 June 2017 (UTC)

Cornwall Alliance[edit]

Yopienso added a claim that Ball signed the Cornwall Declaration on Environmental Stewardship. I removed it. Yopienso re-inserted it. There are at least three things wrong now: (1) WP:V requires that the claim be clearly supported by a cite, but it isn't, the cite is to a source that says Ball signed something else (a support-our-favourite-candidate letter). (2) WP:BLPSPS requires that the cite be to a non-blog, but it's a blog, in fact it calls itself a blog. (3) WP:BLPREQUESTRESTORE requires that an editor not re-insert this kind of material in this kind of article without going to the talk page and getting consensus. Peter Gulutzan (talk) 00:03, 2 August 2017 (UTC)

I don't think there's a list of signers of the Declaration anywhere. It would be better to say that Ball has endorsed various statements by the Cornwall Alliance (e.g., [2][3][4]). Either way it's not a big deal. It isn't like either Declaration or Cornwall itself holds much sway in the wider world. Shock Brigade Harvester Boris (talk) 01:02, 2 August 2017 (UTC)
Sorry for that carelessness of mine; I've undone it. I mistook a different document put out by the Cornwall Alliance (and signed by Ball) for the Cornwall Declaration.
Blogs haven't generally been accepted as RSs (though some by reputable writers are), but are becoming more accepted by the Wikipedia community. I think we accept DeSmogBlog because, well, I'm not sure why, other than the powers that be like it. Am I mistaken? YoPienso (talk) 05:30, 2 August 2017 (UTC)
Here are exceptions to the no-blog rule. DeSmogBlog isn't one. YoPienso (talk) 05:47, 2 August 2017 (UTC)
Thanks for self-reverting. I believe that's the end of this matter. Peter Gulutzan (talk) 14:24, 3 August 2017 (UTC)

I've found my mistake. What do you think about adding that Ball signed a petition from Richard Lindzen to Pres. Trump asking him to withdraw from the UNFCCC? It was reported in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer and is also reported and reproduced on a anti-warmist unscientific contrarian site that has Lindzen and Patrick Moore on its board of directors. They are a RS for their own views. It's also reproduced by E&E. The purpose of inserting it would to update Ball's activism. Just today Ball and Harris published their opinions about this. See also United States withdrawal from the Paris Agreement. YoPienso (talk) 22:53, 3 August 2017 (UTC)

"Anti-warmist"? Shock Brigade Harvester Boris (talk) 23:32, 3 August 2017 (UTC)
Give me a better term. YoPienso (talk) 01:13, 4 August 2017 (UTC)
Anti-warmist is a red link. Climate change denier is not. --Hob Gadling (talk) 06:14, 4 August 2017 (UTC)
I don't agree that petition-signing is important but don't know a policy saying it can't be mentioned. The Ball and Harris article didn't originally appear in Greenville Online, it appeared two days earlier in USA Today. Peter Gulutzan (talk) 14:13, 4 August 2017 (UTC)
I've put details in footnotes. See my edit summaries.
Boris and Hob, your comments are so terse I can't understand them. YoPienso (talk) 18:32, 4 August 2017 (UTC)
What we are trying to say is that "warmist" is term that is not normally used - except by the denial industry. What it denotes is "mainstream climatologist" or "someone who does not subscribe to crazy conspiracy theories involving thousands of scientists" or "someone whose attitude to science is not biased against global warmist by a belief in free markets". "Anti-warmist" has the opposite meaning and is also used by the same industry. --Hob Gadling (talk) 21:47, 4 August 2017 (UTC)
Got it, thanks. How about "denialist"? Equally if oppositely bad? Should I say "climate-change denial website"? YoPienso (talk) 22:14, 4 August 2017 (UTC)
Both are terms used in reliable sources. There is no symmetry here. We have science on one side and pseudoscience on the other. --Hob Gadling (talk) 06:17, 5 August 2017 (UTC)
Many reliable sources (e.g., PBS) have tended toward "contrarian," presumably because it lacks the emotional connotations of "denialist." Associated Press has tried to promote the use of "doubter" or the clumsy but accurate "those who reject mainstream climate science" but it hasn't caught on. Shock Brigade Harvester Boris (talk) 15:02, 5 August 2017 (UTC)

Weaver Suit[edit]

The edit describing the dismissal of Weaver's defamation suit used very selective editing to completely mischaracterize Judge Skolrood's decision. The judge didn't say that Weaver's views on climate were extreme. The judge said that Weaver's characterization of Ball's article was extreme. The judge explicitly dismissed the suit because Ball's article was so shoddy and badly written that it couldn't have damaged Weaver's reputation. It took some pretty high-level rhetorical ju-jitsu to pretzel the judge's words into that paragraph. I just fixed it up to match the two newspaper articles. M.boli (talk) 15:41, 1 March 2018 (UTC)

M.boli, I'm a bit worried about the version as it stands now, and I've seen what the judge actually wrote. He did not write that Ball's article was defamatory, he wrote the opposite: "it is not defamatory". He did not write that Ball's article was "written with indifference to the truth", he wrote about "a lack of attention to detail on Dr. Ball’s part, if not an indifference to the truth". And he wrote lots of other stuff, e.g. (regarding Mr Weaver's notice of civil claim) "I agree with Dr. Ball that many of the meanings advanced by Dr. Weaver are extreme and are not borne out when the words are considered from the perspective of a reasonable, right-thinking reader.", so the article should not give the impression that Mr Ball's poor writing was the sole consideration. Less important but should be fixed: in direct quotes one should use the capitalization that is in the original -- MOS:SIC -- so "Article" not "article". Peter Gulutzan (talk) 16:53, 1 April 2018 (UTC)
I think you have a point. I've re-written it a little based on what I think are direct quotes. Arguably it is now a little repetitive and could be compressed William M. Connolley (talk) 18:11, 1 April 2018 (UTC)
Thanks muchly! I apologize, that was quite sloppy. M.boli (talk) 18:37, 1 April 2018 (UTC)
William M. Connolley's edit handles the essential part of my complaint and WP:BANEX seems applicable, so that ends this issue. Peter Gulutzan (talk) 22:26, 2 April 2018 (UTC)


@William M. Connolley: Wrt "you can't create a full stop," actually, you can ... at least in the USA. Canada may follow British rules, which are likely different from American rules. Experts disagree in America, though--how shocking.

APA style--"In general, it is not necessary to use an ellipsis at the beginning or end of a quotation, even if you are quoting from the middle of a sentence." See the example in the first green box and the explanations just above.
Chicago and MLA styles--"When a quotation is placed at the end of a sentence, but the quoted material is only part of a larger sentence, authorities differ on the use of ellipsis points. The Chicago Manual of Style allows the use of a sentence-terminating period; the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers requires ellipsis points." Examples are given.

I personally think the article looks better and is easier to read without the ellipsis, which is why I removed it. But it's a trivial difference I won't worry about. YoPienso (talk) 09:01, 16 June 2018 (UTC)

Neither of your quotes justifies inserting a full stop that wasn't there William M. Connolley (talk) 20:27, 16 June 2018 (UTC)
Not only that, but the omitted part contained what was arguably one of the most important findings, viz. "...including his views of Dr. Weaver as a supporter of conventional climate science." Shock Brigade Harvester Boris (talk) 20:55, 16 June 2018 (UTC)

Dr Connolley:
APA style:

Original sentence: “Stars have disproportionately high and prolonged performance, visibility, and relevant social capital, and there are minimum thresholds for each that must be attained to be a star.”
Correct use: One theory of exceptional employee behavior posits that star employees “have disproportionately high and prolonged performance, visibility, and relevant social capital” (Call, Nyberg, & Thatcher, 2015, p. 630).
Incorrect use: One theory of exceptional employee behavior posits that star employees “. . . have disproportionately high and prolonged performance, visibility, and relevant social capital. . .” (Call, Nyberg, & Thatcher, 2015, p. 630).

Chicago style:

The following examples are based on a paragraph from Henry David Thoreau’s Walden:
I learned this, at least, by my experiment: that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours. He will put some things behind, will pass an invisible boundary; new, universal, and more liberal laws will begin to establish themselves around and within him; or the old laws be expanded, and interpreted in his favor in a more liberal sense, and he will live with the license of a higher order of beings. In proportion as he simplifies his life, the laws of the universe will appear less complex, and solitude will not be solitude, nor poverty poverty, nor weakness weakness. If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them.
Thoreau argues that by simplifying one’s life, “the laws of the universe will appear less complex.”

But the difference is insignificant and I'm happy to let you have your way. YoPienso (talk) 21:01, 16 June 2018 (UTC)

SBHB: The question was one of punctuation, not content. Please add anything you think improves the article. YoPienso (talk) 21:03, 16 June 2018 (UTC)
I'm very slightly curious if you'll ever be able to accurately parse what I wrote William M. Connolley (talk) 22:00, 16 June 2018 (UTC)

Michael Mann and Frontier Centre for Public Policy[edit]

User:Dave souza made an edit which effectively reverted this edit by User:CEOmike which had said Michael Mann was in a lawsuit with Ball, and then Dave souza added this edit containing a long quote from a statement from a few days ago by Frontier Centre for Public Policy. I reverted, but Dave souza re-inserted. I believe that WP:BLPPUBLIC and WP:BLPREQUESTRESTORE apply, but let's see whether the change has the required consensus anyway. My objection is that the Frontier statement is about Frontier's interaction with Michael Mann and not explicitly about Mr Ball who is not even mentioned by name in the statement, although of course it probably has to do with a work by Ball which according to the quote is "untrue". I do not know whether the lawsuit filed against Ball in a British Columbia court may still exist and may be separate from what happened with Frontier. Peter Gulutzan (talk) 21:38, 10 June 2019 (UTC)

According to the reference for the lawsuit where Mann sued Ball, the offence occurred in an interview Ball gave to Frontier, and Frontier published. Mann was demanding that Ball and Frontier retract it. So I think probably Souza has this correct. – M.boli (talk) 23:50, 10 June 2019 (UTC)
Science journalist David Appell covers this in a blog post: Michael Mann Wins a Court Case. That includes a link to Mann's tweet stating "I've settled my claims in BC Supreme Court against The Frontier Centre for Public Policy Inc. on a basis which includes the following retraction & apology. I have not settled my claims against Tim Ball, who remains a defendant in that lawsuit". . . dave souza, talk 05:00, 11 June 2019 (UTC) (removed redlink to David Appell, who was already covering the general topic area in David Appell (24 June 2003). "Hot Words". Scientific American. – but no wiki bio. . .dave souza, talk 05:19, 11 June 2019 (UTC) )
Now that I know David Appell thinks it was "the Canadian Supreme Court" I'll know to be wary of his journalism. If Michael Mann's tweet is correct then the statement that he's in a lawsuit with Timothy Ball is not "superseded and inaccurate" as you claimed. If it's not correct then the Frontier letter is not about the lawsuit with Timothy Ball. Peter Gulutzan (talk) 14:45, 11 June 2019 (UTC)
My summary comment "superseded and inaccurate" was premature, but I remain of the view that the deleted wording "isn't very relevant here". Not only that, but it's not supported by the cited source – hope you're not proposing WP:SYN on a BLP issue. Don't know how many lawsuits you think Frontier had on the go. . . dave souza, talk 16:46, 11 June 2019 (UTC)

Seeing M.boli approving Dave souza's edit, and seeing nobody but me disapproving, I will not pursue this. Peter Gulutzan (talk) 02:13, 14 June 2019 (UTC)

I agree with Peter Gulutzan on this topic. The quote from Frontier Centre for Public Policy contains "untrue and disparaging" which in current context suggests a stance in the Mann-Penn case and brings fourth an accusation of Mr. Penn lying. This is misplaced, premature and, I assume, from a non WP:RS. Besides, links are dead. I'm about to remove the paragraph for being an exercise in disparaging. Remember Wikipedia:Neutral point of view. Rakeroot (talk) 21:44, 5 September 2019 (UTC)
I think you're on weak grounds complaining about "untrue and disparaging"; these are the direct words from the Frontier Centre and (I'm guessing here) were likely a form of words agreed as a condition for settling the case. You're on better grounds complaining that the link is dead, but I don't think that's good enough either, since you're not actually disputing that the words are genuine; you just don't like them. Poking around, I don't find many sources; the best I can find still up is this image from Mann's twitter feed, William M. Connolley (talk) 22:30, 5 September 2019 (UTC)
This only proves Frontier Center has come in line with Mann and I don't see the link to settling the case. Don't assume Penn had any part in the retraction and apology. What purpose do you see in keeping this in the article? And, if I like the words or not is irrelevant. They are words from Frontier Center, uttered in predicament. How is that for a reliable source? I only see the messenger bailing out here!?!?!?! Rakeroot (talk) 00:05, 6 September 2019 (UTC)

The Climate Change Litigation Database, from Columbia Law School Sabin Center on Climate Change Law, has a summary of this case. It can be found here. I've added emphasis to the part about Frontier Centre settling.

In 2011, climate scientists Michael Mann filed a libel claim against Timothy (“Tim”) Ball, The Frontier Centre for Public Policy, Inc., and an unnamed defendant ("John Doe"). The defendant Ball participated in an interview with the FCPP and John Doe during which Ball made false and defamatory statements inferring that Michael Mann is guilty of criminal fraud in relation to the alleged “Climategate” scandal or alternatively that there are probably grounds to find Mann guilty. The plaintiff sought damages, an injunction against further publication of the defamatory statements, and a court order for the defendants to remove the interview containing the defamatory statements from all electronic databases, including the FCPP website. In June 2019, the FCPP settled with Mann and issued a retraction and apology on their website. According to the media and statements from Michael Mann and his lawyer, on August 22, 2019, the court dismissed the case on account of delay. This dismissal was apparently responsive to Ball’s request which stressed his poor health. This profile will be updated if a written decision is released or further information becomes available.

The site then links to two documents: the complaint, and the retraction press release from Frontier Centre.

  • Regarding the dismissal of the case: the climate database seem to be reserving judgement about what whatever the heck happened two weeks ago.
  • Regarding the Frontier Centre: it issued a press release apologizing for having published a defamatory article, there are secondary sources saying this was pursuant to settling their part the suit, and I don't see why it would be wrong to take them a their word.

For what it's worth, I think it is correct to leave the Frontier settlement in this article and wait-and-see until reliable sources describe the dismissal of the Ball part. M.boli (talk) 03:18, 6 September 2019 (UTC)

Thanks, agree with your assessment that we've still not got a reliable source about the case being dismissed. While Columbia Law School Sabin Center on Climate Change Law could be considered for a rs, it's carefully describing its report on the Ball case as "According to the media and statements from Michael Mann and his lawyer", which doesn't get us much further. . . dave souza, talk 08:37, 6 September 2019 (UTC)
Thank you for your input and the link but it doesn't change a thing. Using FPCC's words to imply Penn is guilty of accusations is clearly biased. How is this hard to see? Or is Penn fair game? I think Dave souza should fight his wars somewhere else. Rakeroot (talk) 07:13, 6 September 2019 (UTC)
Penn? Also, see WP:NPA. . . dave souza, talk 08:37, 6 September 2019 (UTC)
I am sorry. I do find my last sentence rather dull and I do appreciate the work you all doing for the Wikipedia. ...and I meant Ball, of cause. Apparently I lost a little too mush sleep pondering what is going on here. Again, I'm sorry, this wasn't meant as a personal attack. I wanted to highlight the fact that there is a war going on for the public opinion and the consensus, which is fine with me just not here on Wikipedia and that I find your debated addition to the article clearly biased as you are using the citation to finish the sentence. This way you are giving "untrue" significance to the accusations, which in turn is the topic of the court case. I am aware you are, all, plowing waist deep in twisted wordings but I don't think that warrants for twisting things up here on Wikipedia. Rakeroot (talk) 10:16, 6 September 2019 (UTC)

My understanding of the problem is:

  • The article doesn't explicitly say there were were two defendants (Ball and Frontier Centre).
  • The part where Frontier settled makes it seem like Ball did something wrong.
  • ...but the actual outcome is: case against Ball is dismissed!
I've found a reliable source that the case is dismissed, the British Columbia court registry, but it is behind a paywall. I paid the $6, here it is copy-pasted with formatting and web-page navigation stuff removed.
File Number VLC-S-S-111913

Details for Document: Order
Date Filed: 22Aug2019
Filing Parties

Terms of Order

    Order that the claim made by Plaintiff be dismissed
    Costs will follow the event  and of the action since the action is dismissed
I could edit the article to clarify that there were two defendants (Ball and Frontier Centre), Frontier settled with the apology, and Ball was dismissed. We still have no RS explaining the dismissal. Can I use the Columbia database plus the (paywalled) court registry as additional sources for the disposition of the case?
The other documents in the case are also available, there are over a hundred, each with a price. I didn't go there! Also it would be useless for sourcing Wikipedia pages, and it would be squarely in OR territory. --- M.boli (talk) 13:44, 6 September 2019 (UTC)

Update: I edited the article as I suggested. Please check it.

Also maybe somebody can correct the cite template for the BC courts registry? I have two URLs. One is to the main page, the other is for the case itself. The URL for the case itself is paywalled, clicking on it directly produces request for payment without even saying what for. So I put the main url in the cite, and used |article-url parameters for the case. But this doesn't work. M.boli (talk)
Thank you M.boli! Rakeroot (talk) 15:43, 6 September 2019 (UTC)
M.boli Thank you. The court registry is RS but will probably be superseded when there are more RSs so fussing about the cite may be unnecessary. (Does the document really say there were two defendants? It's not in what you quoted.) Climate Change Litigation Databases does not look like RS, thank you for not using it. But to get back to the topic about the sentence about FCPP retraction and apology: you and dave Souza think it is okay (I should also count William M. Connolley if the topic ban does not apply to talk page edits), Rakeroot and I think it is not okay. Will you accept that there is no consensus? Peter Gulutzan (talk) 15:41, 6 September 2019 (UTC)
My understanding of your objection was to the effect that Mann sued Ball, and Frontier apologized, but Frontier apologizing seemed to be a side-issue with respect to Ball. So publishing their retraction was perhaps unfair to Ball, who didn't retract.
I understand that objection, but I think it doesn't deal with Frontier was a co-defendant along with Ball. See the front page of the complaint.
It occurs to me that I have not been looking at the pages for Michael Mann and for FCPP. Conceivably it would be logically consistent to:
  • Quote the retraction by FCPP on FCPP's page and Mann's page,
  • Not quote the retraction on Ball's page since that retraction wasn't Ball's.
On Ball's page mention only that FCPP settled. It could be odd to write that Mann sued Ball and FCPP, and Ball's fork was dismissed, without mentioning that there was different outcome for the FCPP fork. --- M.boli (talk) 16:29, 6 September 2019 (UTC)
Thanks for your work to find sources for dismissal of the case against Ball. As stated below, I've raised the need for context at WP:BLPN#Tim Ball – hope we can find more sources soon! . . . dave souza, talk 15:44, 8 September 2019 (UTC)
WP:BLPPRIMARY: "Exercise extreme caution in using primary sources. Do not use trial transcripts and other court records, or other public documents, to support assertions about a living person." The bald statement from the BC courts registry is such a primary source, requiring context from a secondary source. Using the sources cited, I've modified the wording to "the court dismissed the action against defendant Ball, on grounds of delay." That at least avoids giving tacit support to the wild assertions which some editors have attempted to add to articles.
Regarding the problem that "The part where Frontier settled makes it seem like Ball did something wrong. * ...but the actual outcome is: case against Ball is dismissed!" – the dismissal wasn't a question of whether Ball had made a defamatory statement, it was apparently in response to a plea for the case to be terminated on grounds of delay, citing the defendant's age, illness and lack of influence or credibility – much as in the Weaver defense.
Mann's said "It was a ruling from the bench, there isn't (yet) any written decision. We will likely challenge the dismissal of the suit." A written decision will give a much better source, and hopefully it will be covered in reliable secondary sources. . . . dave souza, talk 03:28, 7 September 2019 (UTC)
I dispute the reliability of your source of "on grounds of delay", they don't give us their source. Also stop claiming accusations were untrue. You have no grounds for that. Also the "age, illness and lack of influence or credibility" part is from somewhere else (Weaver case, right?) Rakeroot (talk) 08:24, 7 September 2019 (UTC)
Everybody except the crackpot fringe agrees that Ball's accusations are untrue. Wikipedia has a WP:FRINGE guideline. --Hob Gadling (talk) 10:22, 7 September 2019 (UTC)
  • Taking account of the case made at, I've agreed with others that site isn't a reliable secondary source for the dismissal of the case, so have edited the article accordingly and raised the issue at WP:BLPN#Tim Ball. . . dave souza, talk 15:00, 8 September 2019 (UTC)
I don't think the dismissal is in dispute and thereby it doesn't need any source but it might be best to hide it anyway so the crackpot fringe deniers don't use the information, like you suggested. But I still disagree with using this case to judge all Balls accusations false. Or at least define what accusations are we talking about. Rakeroot (talk) 11:28, 9 September 2019 (UTC)
The coverage in this article specifically refers to Ball's FCCP interview claims about Mann – your earlier proposal to show the case dismissed cited the blog Watts Up With That?, which promotes climate change denial, and it's possible that Ball has made other false accusations on that blog, but we'd need a reliable source to discuss them. . . . dave souza, talk 11:46, 9 September 2019 (UTC)
Yeah, I know. I saw a case was dismissed and thought I could contribute on Wikipedia. What I didn't know was it was this complicated. Now we can't even say the case is dismissed although everyone agrees... Then, I found that you felt the urge to discredit and judge Tim Ball anywhere possible. In this context, where a case was filed and dismissed I found this misplaced. Rakeroot (talk) 13:05, 9 September 2019 (UTC)
Your edit didn't give due WP:WEIGHT to the reliable secondary source cited for the point: Ball's viewpoint is fringe and so has to be shown in the context of mainstream views. At first you apparently thought Mann had "refused to back up the figures behind his 'hockey stick'," but as noted at Data and methods these were available from publication in 1998, with clarifications in 2003 and even his private property (the Fortran coding) was made available by 2005. If reliable secondary sources give credit to Ball for anything, then that can appear in this bio. The way the case was dismissed is certainly rather confusing, which is why good sourcing is essential. . . dave souza, talk 14:35, 9 September 2019 (UTC)
Your insertion of "untrue and disparaging" lacked good sourcing. The source is not Mother Jones, they merely repeated an article in National Observer which repeated those words from a Frontier page that cannot be found. Even if it was about Ball (which you failed to prove), it would be Frontier's opinion, SPS and undue. Peter Gulutzan (talk) 15:32, 9 September 2019 (UTC)
The words "untrue and disparaging" were quoted (not "merely repeated") in an article published by Mother Jones (generally regarded as a good source) with a header stating "This story was originally published by National Observer and is shared here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration" – National Observer looks a reputable news website / online newspaper, it doesn't seem to be in the RSN archives. Its article includes an image of the relevant Frontier page, so superseded the direct link to that page, but that's still available on the wayback machine here, if required. The article is clearly about the lawsuit with co-defendants Frontier and Ball about the words Ball said in the interview they published. The same point is made in the Climate Change Litigation Database, from Columbia Law School Sabin Center on Climate Change Law, quoted above. . . dave souza, talk 16:49, 9 September 2019 (UTC)
Dave souza, this is not the place to talk about my Wikipedia history but I feel like I need to defend myself now. I came to another Wikipedia TALK-page with some news. I don't believe I pushed for them in any particular direction and I never touched the article. I'm sorry if my news was from a bad source but there seems to shortage of news about the dismissal of this case. By the way, do you work for National Observer? Rakeroot (talk) 17:37, 9 September 2019 (UTC)
Eh? . . . dave souza, talk 08:58, 10 September 2019 (UTC)
To be clear, that's a wee joke – I don't think the National Observer has a Scottish outpost, but we share some terms. Just remember to comment on content, not on the contributor. You did the right thing in bringing news to a talk page rather than just putting it in an article, unfortunately your source has a track record of misinformation. While its accusations may look convincing in isolation, they don't meet Wikipedia's core policies, including WP:WEIGHT, which always apply. . . . dave souza, talk 09:28, 10 September 2019 (UTC)
Sorry my mistake, I actually thought you might, but had you mixed up with Mike De Souza of National Observer which made your comments look weird in my head. Sorry!!! Rakeroot (talk) 11:23, 10 September 2019 (UTC)
Rakeroot, it looks like Vsmith has joined in support of dave souza by re-inserting the contentious material, and nobody has joined our side. So I'll once again decide not to pursue this. Peter Gulutzan (talk) 22:02, 9 September 2019 (UTC)
Thanks Peter, think we're all on the same side in trying to improve articles. . . dave souza, talk 09:34, 10 September 2019 (UTC)
So, we have to state Balls accusations are untrue but stating they are a lie is "incoherent"? Rakeroot (talk) 08:31, 10 September 2019 (UTC)
We don't state either, we show the assessment made by reliable sources; in this case, one that quotes the retraction made by the FCCP. Shuffling the paragraph made it incoherent, don't think there are any reliable sources for stating his assertions are a "lie" and don't think that's helpful language. . . . dave souza, talk 08:58, 10 September 2019 (UTC)
To clarify the situation, Ball (with the interviewer) made the allegations in February 2011, after the PSU investigatory committees and EPA report had cleared Mann. In August 2011 the investigation by the Office of the Inspector General of the National Science Foundation exonerated Mann, but Ball and the FCPP refused to withdraw their accusations, and blogs like WUWT, American Thinker and Power Line have continued their efforts to damage Mann's reputation. The data and methods they allege wasn't provided was all linked in Mann's 2005 letter responding to Senator Joe Barton's demands. The letter includes a copy of a 2003 email from David J. Verardo of the National Science Foundation confirming its requirements for providing data and methods had been fully met by MBH. . . dave souza, talk 10:32, 10 September 2019 (UTC)
I dont like "They" in "They settled the Frontier Centre for Public Policy's part...". Can we change it to "This settled the Frontier Centre for Public Policy's part..."? Or if there is any better suggestions. Rakeroot (talk) 11:58, 12 September 2019 (UTC)
Good point. Taking this and your edit summary suggestion that "untrue and disparaging" "should be attributed in the text to the person or group who holds the opinion" into account, I've rephrased the relevant sentences:
On 7 June 2019 the Frontier Centre For Public Policy published a retraction and apology in which they accepted that they had published "untrue and disparaging" allegations about Mann, and said that "Although the Frontier Centre for Public Policy still does not see eye to eye with Mr. Mann on the subject of global warming and climate change, we now accept that it was wrong to publish allegations by others that Mr. Mann did not comply with ethical standards". Mann said that this retraction and apology was part of the basis on which his claims against the Frontir Centre for Public Policy had been settled, but Ball remained a defendant.
Hope that's sufficiently clear, no doubt it can be copyedited. Not convinced we need the FCPP's "eye to eye" sentence here, but have left it in place. . . dave souza, talk 12:47, 12 September 2019 (UTC)
Thank you! I think there still might be a problem though. The wording "[FCPP] accepted that they had published "untrue and disparaging" allegations" still doesn't clearly attribute to FCPP. Maybe just try something else instead of "accepted"? Rakeroot (talk) 13:51, 12 September 2019 (UTC)
Ok, have changed "accepted" to "stated", think that covers the point. . . dave souza, talk 14:23, 12 September 2019 (UTC)
With the discussions at WP:BLPN#Tim Ball and here in mind, I suggest we write the paragraph short and concise like this:
Ball also found himself at the center of controversy in February 2011 when he told an anonymous interviewer that Michael E. Mann, director of the Earth System Science Center at Pennsylvania State University, "should be in the State Pen, not Penn State," due to Mann's role in the Climatic Research Unit email controversy.[1] The interview was published on the Frontier Centre for Public Policy's web site. Mann then sued Ball and Frontier Centre for libel, and stated that he was seeking punitive damages and for the article to be removed from the web site.[2] On 7 June 2019 the Frontier Centre For Public Policy published a retraction and apology and settled their part of the case.[3] On 22 August 2019 the court dismissed the action against defendant Ball.[4][5]
Rakeroot (talk) 18:09, 15 September 2019 (UTC)
Thanks, I continue to think the "untrue and disparaging" quote provides important context. As discussed at WP:BLPN#Tim Ball consider the Seattle Times opinion piece questionable, and I've shown a newer source there which gives good mainstream coverage of the situation so far. Will comment further when time permits, . . dave souza, talk 11:46, 17 September 2019 (UTC)
Edited proposal above. Removed unverifiable source. user:Dave souza, you will have to elaborate on "important context". For discussions I suggest WP:BLPN#Tim Ball . . . Rakeroot (talk) 06:07, 18 September 2019 (UTC)
Edited proposal above. Added source to proposal. "Oral reasons for judgment" by BC court. . . . Rakeroot (talk) 11:52, 19 September 2019 (UTC)


  1. ^ "Dr. Tim Ball, Historical Climatologist". Frontier Centre for Public Policy. 10 February 2011. Archived from the original on 14 February 2011. Retrieved 2 February 2014.
  2. ^ Greer, Darryl (28 March 2011). "Prof Claims Climate-Denier Defamed Him". Courthouse News Service. Retrieved 2 February 2014.
  3. ^ McIntosh, Emma (16 June 2019). "A Scientist Took Climate Change Deniers to Court and Wrested an Apology From Them". Mother Jones. Retrieved 16 June 2019. (story originally published by the National Observer)
  4. ^ "Michael Mann v. Timothy ("Tim") Ball, The Frontier Centre for Public Policy, Inc. and John Doe". Climate Change Litigation. Retrieved 6 September 2019.
  5. ^ "2019 BCSC 1580 Mann v. Ball". The Courts of British Columbia - Home. 22 August 2019. Retrieved 19 September 2019.
Thanks. That [5] is an excellent new primary source, and primary sources are permitted under the second paragraph of WP:BLPPRIMARY. I can see no reason not to use a slightly modified form of your last sentence "On 22 August 2019 the court dismissed the action against defendant Ball on ground of delay." supported by this. I don't see the need for other sources, but have no necessary objection. I make no comment on other suggested edits at this stage. Jonathan A Jones (talk) 13:26, 19 September 2019 (UTC)
I have now added this reference on to an IP's edit which I was broadly happy with. The time has come when we really can't ignore this any longer: giving the impression that a case is active against a living person after it has been dismissed is a breach of core BLP principles. Jonathan A Jones (talk) 14:09, 19 September 2019 (UTC)
Thank you, I think that covers the main point of this thread and I will move my proposal to a new thread. . . Rakeroot (talk) 05:00, 20 September 2019 (UTC)

Than you to everybody! I think the language has converged on a good solution. I dropped out of this discussion about 2 weeks ago when it started taking up too much of my time, and more people were getting involved. I think the result does justice to the topic while being fair to everybody. M.boli (talk) 21:12, 22 September 2019 (UTC)

Timothy and Tim[edit]

@Joel B. Lewis: I'm not going to edit war with you, but I will ask you to please revert yourself. Please look at the example of Tina Fey, which is included in the link I included on my edit summary. That exactly applies to this article. You seem to have missed the following in the link you provided wrt to hypocorism:

If a person is known by a nickname used in lieu of or in addition to a given name, and it is not a common hypocorism[d] of one of their names, or a professional alias, it is usually presented between double quotation marks following the last given name or initial; the quotation marks are not put in lead-section boldface. Example:
Bunny Berigan has: Roland Bernard "Bunny" Berigan.
A nickname can eventually become a professional alias, even the most common name for a person. Such a case loses the quotation marks, other than in the subject's lead section if introducing the nickname in mid-name. If the monicker is dominant (in general or in a particular context) it can often be used in other articles without further elaboration. :Example:
Earvin "Magic" Johnson Jr. (born August 14, 1959) is ...

Your edit has completely removed the diminutive, "Tim," by which Ball is frequently known. Per both MOS:FULLNAME (Ex.: Elizabeth Stamatina "Tina" Fey) and MOS:NICKNAME (Ex.: Roland Bernard "Bunny" Berigan), it should be as it was: Timothy F. "Tim" Ball.

Best wishes, YoPienso (talk) 22:30, 24 June 2019 (UTC)

Oy vey. This is the relevant section of the guideline:

It is not always necessary to spell out why the article title and lead paragraph give a different name. If a person has a common English-language hypocorism (diminutive or abbreviation) used in lieu of a given name, it is not presented between quotation marks or parentheses into or after their name. Example:

  • Tom Hopper's lead has simply: Thomas Edward Hopper.
There is a footnote on the word "common" (suppressed in the quote) that, in relevant part, says:

As a guide to what is a "common" hypocorism, consider consulting the Hypocorism § English subsections "Shortening, often to the first syllable" and "Addition of a diminutive suffix ..."; consider treating names listed in the "A short form that differs significantly from the name" subsection as non-hypocoristic nicknames, depending on the particular case. ...

Hopefully no further explanation is required? --JBL (talk) 22:49, 24 June 2019 (UTC)
Very well, then; redirect the article to "Tim Ball" since that's his professional name, used on his own website and on the covers of his books. Does it seem right to you that in this biography "Tim" appears only in the references? YoPienso (talk) 23:24, 24 June 2019 (UTC)
I have no objection to moving the page to Tim Ball. --JBL (talk) 23:38, 24 June 2019 (UTC)
We'll need to ask the community about that. There have been several iterations of this BLP. "Tim Ball" was redirected to "Timothy F. Ball" in 2007 and then deleted in 2010 and 2013.
The community might have some thoughts on the long-standing consensus to introduce the article with Timothy Francis "Tim" Ball for over 5 yrs. YoPienso (talk) 00:09, 25 June 2019 (UTC)
Um, okay, if you want to solve easy problems in hard ways, have a blast. --JBL (talk) 00:33, 25 June 2019 (UTC)

Timothy alone or also Tim? Redirect?[edit]

To all page-watchers:
Should the first line of the article be Timothy Francis Ball or Timothy Francis "Tim" Ball?
If the former, should the article redirect to "Tim Ball"?
Please see the above discussion between User:Joel B. Lewis and myself for more details. Thanks! YoPienso (talk) 00:15, 25 June 2019 (UTC)

Timothy Francis "Tim" Ball. Peter Gulutzan (talk) 00:58, 25 June 2019 (UTC) Update: after reading the 2016 RfC discussion I withdraw my initial support for restoring "Tim". Peter Gulutzan (talk) 15:49, 25 June 2019 (UTC)
So, should the article be redirected to "Tim Ball" per the example of Tom Hopper? A deleted version of this BLP was titled "Tim Ball." YoPienso (talk) 18:05, 25 June 2019 (UTC)
No opinion.Peter Gulutzan (talk) 01:10, 26 June 2019 (UTC)
Yopienso, in your opinion, is it correct to say that he is typically called "Tim Ball" in references (and the world at large)? --JBL (talk) 11:33, 27 June 2019 (UTC)
I would say generally or usually, not typically. He nearly always presents himself to the public as Tim Ball (or Dr. Tim Ball or Tim Ball PhD, which we wouldn't do). Check every page of his personal website, including the donations page. Then there are his Frontier Centre bio, his books on Amazon (also here), and interviews, including this podcast just last week, lectures, and columns. The media--including wikis and blogs--call him Tim Ball too: Sourcewatch, RationalWiki, DesmogBlog (and here), Climate Depot, WUWT, Principia Scientifica, Friends of Science, New York Times, etc. A significant exception is that Heartland refers to him as Timothy Ball. Also, his email is Notice that his speaker's profile at ICSC is headlined SPEAKER'S PROFILE - DR. TIM BALL and his photo his labeled "Dr. Tim Ball," but the profile itself, logically enough, uses his full name and degree, "Timothy F. Ball, Ph.D." YoPienso (talk) 17:39, 27 June 2019 (UTC)

No redirect possible[edit]

At least for a tech-unsavvy person like me, a redirect can't be made because this article--"Timothy Ball"--is already a redirect of a previous article titled "Tim Ball." See here and here.
It seems to me that the simplest thing to do is to restore the opening line, Timothy F. "Tim" Ball. YoPienso (talk) 00:42, 30 June 2019 (UTC)

Would crudely switching the source code for the two articles work? First copy the "Timothy Ball" article code into "Tim Ball" using an article editor, eliminating the hash-redirect. Second maybe wait a bit for Wikipedia to stop registering "Tim Ball" as a redirect. Third replace "Timothy Ball" with the hash-redirect.
NEVER MIND: now that I think about it, that removes the article history and talk page history etc. Not a good plan. — M.boli (talk) 16:27, 30 June 2019 (UTC)
Let's ask @IntoThinAir:, who created this version of Tim Ball's BLP, what he thinks. YoPienso (talk) 19:27, 30 June 2019 (UTC)
Per WP:HYPOCORISM we do not need to put "Tim Ball" in the lead, we should just put "Timothy Francis Ball". Per WP:NICKNAME if Ball is most commonly referred to as Tim, not Timothy, then the article should in fact be moved to Tim Ball. The way to do that if you are not an admin would be WP:RM#CM, unless you think it wouldn't be controversial. IntoThinAir (talk) 21:21, 30 June 2019 (UTC)
Thank you! I think it could be controversial since the present article is a redirect from "Tim Ball", indicating prior debate and/or consensus that "Tim Ball" was not the best title. At present, all here seem to agree that it should be titled "Tim Ball", for reasons enunciated in this section. YoPienso (talk) 01:15, 1 July 2019 (UTC)

Requested move 1 July 2019[edit]

The following is a closed discussion of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. Editors desiring to contest the closing decision should consider a move review after discussing it on the closer's talk page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

The result of the move request was: Moved. Title appears to be uncontroversial based on above two sections and no objections here after 7 days. Deletions of former articles about this subject do not affect the article title. Station1 (talk) 05:37, 8 July 2019 (UTC)

Timothy BallTim Ball – This is the name he is commonly known by and uses in his professional life. (See 18 links posted above at 17:39, 27 June 2019.) This question arose after a good-faith edit of the first line from Timothy Francis"Tim" Ball to Timothy Francis Ball per MOS:HYPOCORISM: If a person has a common English-language hypocorism (diminutive or abbreviation) used in lieu of a given name, it is not presented between quotation marks or parentheses into or after their name. MOS:FULLNAME states that the article title should generally be the name by which the subject is most commonly known, . . .. Ergo, the title of this article should be "Tim Ball. YoPienso (talk) 04:10, 1 July 2019 (UTC)

This request is a good idea and uncontroversial (the discussion about it has been open for 10 days, no one has raised an objection). --JBL (talk) 14:43, 4 July 2019 (UTC)
I was unable to redirect the article. Would you care to? YoPienso (talk) 02:15, 5 July 2019 (UTC)

The above discussion is preserved as an archive of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page or in a move review. No further edits should be made to this section.


I reverted [6] a change since the source was just a teensy bit unreliable. FWIW, Mann's version is and is, as you'll notice, somewhat different. But I don't think that counts as an unbiased RS either William M. Connolley (talk) 16:23, 23 August 2019 (UTC)

Well, don't think HotWhopper's terribly rs either, but shows Mann's view for those avoiding FB. . . dave souza, talk 19:32, 23 August 2019 (UTC)


Born in 1938, retired in 1996 - at age 57/58. Is this really a retirement or a job change, as he kept being active after 1996, didn't he? --Gunnar (talk) 19:39, 17 September 2019 (UTC)

I think it just means he retired from teaching, not from working. YoPienso (talk) 13:59, 23 September 2019 (UTC)