The Skeptical Science Forum, Easy Access

As most people know, the Skeptical Science forum was hacked into a couple years ago and its contents were leaked onto the internet.  They’ve been in the public realm ever since.

They haven’t been easily accessible, however.  You had to download a compressed file contain a number of directories with a bunch of files in each.  Even if you found something interesting, you couldn’t link anyone to it because it was a file on your computer.  You had to give them the compressed forum and tell them which file to look for.  It was tedious.

I’ve decided to fix that problem.  I’ve uploaded a copy of the forum’s contents to a webserver so anyone can access or link to any of its contents.  You can find the uploaded copy of it here:

I’m sure some people will criticize me for disseminating stolen material, but this has been in the public realm for over two years.  Whatever harm may have been done has already been done.  Additionally, Skeptical Science freely distributed documents stolen from the Heartland Institute so they have no room to complain when people do the same with theirs.



  1. Is it even possible to harm a group that sullies its’ own reputation on a daily basis? Wait… their rep was garbage to begin with.

  2. excellent work brandon . all the rabid fruitloopery just a click away . from a brief perusal there are some nuggets in there, john crook will be devastated.

  3. I think publication will help people who followed SkS’s discussion of the hack itself. SkS themselves posted repeatedly about the hack so that debate is certainly in the public sphere.

    One of the major discussion points raised by those associated with SkS was whether posted quotes were taken out of context. Publication in their entirety would seem to fill the purpose of permitting people to assess that. Of course, these were available long ago and many people had them contents– but some did not. Easy availability of everything should alleviate concerns expressed by SkS members that the few quotes discussed were taken “completely out of context”, like the one in the sample quote below:

    What they found instead was dry, boring discussions of the science. Occasionally — only very rarely — they hit upon a particularly emotional thread, with comments from a person or two who became more colorful in their wording. These comments — a few, out of over 46,000 posts — were taken and displayed completely out of context, just like those from the CRU hack.

    (See skeptical science

    It seems to me the only way for people to evaluate that claim raised by SkS is for people to see the entire 46,000+ posts.

  4. Adding to the above, accusations of ‘out of context’ extend to debates over research in TCP. (Posted by dana1981 on Wednesday, 4 June, 2014)

    Tol nevertheless tried to find fault in our approach, and as a result submitted a flawed paper. In addition to making several basic errors, Tol cited numerous denialist and GWPF blog posts, including several about material stolen from our team’s private discussion forum during a hacking. Similar to the Climategate incident, Tol even took quotes out of context from the hacked discussions to try and invent evidence of ‘rater fatigue’ among our team where no such evidence exists (we rated papers at our own leisure without any set deadlines).

    The only way to assess whether Tol took quotes out of context is to permit people to see the full context. So this issue of “context” now seems to matter to debate in the scientific literature.

  5. lucia, yup. That’s a large part of why I decided to do this. I got tired of the Skeptical Science crowd claiming quotes were taken out of context then making false claims about the actual context.

  6. More discussions of whether quote are ‘out of context’.

    n order to deny the consensus, Montford employed the Climategate strategy, using material stolen during a hacking of the private Skeptical Science discussion forum. He then pulled quotes out of context to claim the study was “a public relations exercise,” because we discussed how to effectively communicate our consensus results. In reality, the comments Montford used to support this argument were made after we had preliminary results reviewing nearly 14,000 peer-reviewed abstracts that found only 24 rejecting the human-caused global warming consensus.

  7. I’m going on a bit here, sorry about the presumption but …

    Nice one Mr Shollenberger 🙂 I really think out of all the (IMHO abstruse) technical criticisms of the SkS consensus project that just having their ruminations widely available for anyone to look into like this is the most damning thing that could happen to it.

    So I personally appreciate that this can be referenced like this 🙂

    Their (and I mean the collective known as SkS) profound over-advertising of the consensus projects’ greatness deserves and invites this. 😉 No doubt about it, but I suspect you’ll get the inevitable flack. I am sure they will have wanted their own selected historian to have privileged access to this material to write up their glorious history 🙂

    I have looked through all this stuff already, especially as the egregious hype around the consensus project built up, and I would say that the discussion related to the consensus project is the only thing that matters. Sure people can now see the bitching on other subjects and run off and make a big deal – BTW I have to say the Nazi photos for me are not at all an issue and can be seen as a rather mild reaction to some people using their initials and calling them the SS for a while at the time – the only risible thing about that episode as far as I was concerned was some SKS minionati later claiming their discovery was hacking!

    The important thing is their advertising and projection of the ‘The Consensus Project’ TM.

    It was such a dreadfully powerful social experiment we really need to see the great men’s thoughts behind it. /sarc Oh and BTW in the tradition of that cliche, yes they were mostly men 😉

    This I think should be the understanding of morally allowing the showing of the forum hack, this is a trade-off : It should be like :

    Sure you can say you have done the largest scientific survey of all time, which has convinced Presidents* of the imminent danger of climate change and attracted breathtaking plaudits from “thought leaders” and fellow social scientists of its ‘elegance’ and garnered constant platforms on media all around the world for its authors…


    But only if we can see where you discussed it

    I will say that this in my opinion – that you will see they started discussing their certainty that virtually no scientists are looking outside a narrow band of cause for climate variability, and how they later discussed how they could ‘find’ they could design a survey that showed in the peer reviewed literature that virtually no scientists are looking outside a narrow band of cause for climate variability. And then you will see how they marketed that pretty much pre-acknowledged ‘finding’ as science and sat back.

    Is that a good trade off?

    We acknowledge SkS have “The Consensus Project” as a social powerful entity today if they allow the full expression of the forum for future historians to decide whether this was ever science?

    *The whole concept of politics *prior* to the science has a grand tradition of study but I think today, especially on this subject of climate, that Ben Pile or Roger Pielke Jr are the most honest explainers of that phenomenon today.

  8. Thought there was a list of SS contributors like Robert Way with small resumes of their background but cannot find it now. Has it been disappeared or what part of the list was I looking at.

  9. I’ve had a quick scan. What strikes me most is if they put they used their energy offensively promoting instead of constantly being in defensive rebuttal mode they may have won some hearts and minds. As it is they come across as a bunch of whiners.

    This needs to be seen more widely.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s