Alarmist spammer unleashes Twitterbot to stifle climate debate

gw-spambot-180An Australian software developer grew tired of debating climate realists on Twitter so he created spambot to wear down his opponents. The bot responds to anyone who expresses skepticism about man-made global warming by posting one of hundreds of canned replies in an attempt to frustrate skeptics.


Nigel Leck, an Australian software developer, grew tired of debating climate realists on Twitter so he created a spambot to “wear down” his opponents. The bot, @AI_AGW, scans Twitter every five minutes looking for key phrases commonly used by those who challenge the global warming orthodoxy.  It then posts one of hundreds of canned responses hoping to frustrate skeptics. CFACT’s Twitter account @CFACT (follow us!) often receives many of these unsolicited messages each day. Since the bot became active on May 26, 2010, it has sent out over 40,000 tweets, or an average of more than 240 updates per day!

Technology Review gushed that Leck’s bot “answers Twitter users who aren’t even aware of their own ignorance.”  Leck claims that his little bit of trollware is commonly mistaken as a genuine Twitter user leading the unsuspecting to sometimes debate it for days. Eventually it wears people down.

Leck’s bot is an innovative, yet appalling new tactic in the ongoing campaign by global warming proponents to stifle debate and end discussion of climate science and policy. Spamming Twitter users is a tactic that is likely to backfire, as have so many of the ploys alarmists have tried in the past. There is nothing internet users find more annoying than trolls using spam to shut down online discussions. 

Read the rest at CFACT.

48 Responses to Alarmist spammer unleashes Twitterbot to stifle climate debate

  1. Dan McGrath November 5, 2010 at 1:47 pm #

    This seems somehow familliar.

  2. NEIL F. AGWD/BSD November 5, 2010 at 9:21 pm #

    One name does come immediately to mind. Is it possible that we have been arguing with a spambot for loe these last 2-3 years? Rob N’ Hood Bot?

  3. paul wenum November 5, 2010 at 9:35 pm #

    Sure sounds like it to me as well. I thought otherwise as well.

    • Dan McGrath November 5, 2010 at 10:23 pm #

      The AI has gotten more sophisticated as we’ve challenged it! :0

  4. paul wenum November 5, 2010 at 10:39 pm #

    Never changes. Deny the deniers.

  5. NEIL F. AGWD/BSD November 6, 2010 at 5:24 am #

    Hey Rob, I heard this joke the other day:

    Get it?

    • NEIL F. AGWD/BSD November 6, 2010 at 5:28 am #

      I have no idea what I just did.

      • NEIL F. AGWD/BSD November 6, 2010 at 5:35 am #

        Dan, please go ahead and delete that! It scares me.

        • NEIL F. AGWD/BSD November 6, 2010 at 5:54 pm #

          Ok, that was weird. When I first posted it all the 0’s and 1’s went on in a straight line and you had to scroll the webpage to the right to look at the whole thing. That’s what scared me. I thought I had actually written code that might muck up the website, (mainly because I have no idea how to write computer code!!!)
          Was that what happened on your screen too Dan? It looks as how I intended it now, but that gave me a surprise when I hit post comment.

  6. Dan McGrath November 6, 2010 at 6:44 pm #

    I edited the comment and added line breaks. The blog can’t wrap long uninterrupted words.

    • NEIL F. AGWD/BSD November 7, 2010 at 10:04 pm #

      Yeah, I was afraid I did something bad. I had no idea that would do that.
      You know, Rob must be a spambot because he’s not refuting it.

  7. paul wenum November 6, 2010 at 10:54 pm #

    Neil, I thought the joke was funny.

  8. Hal Groar November 7, 2010 at 9:07 pm #

    I loved the build-up to the punch line. I think I would have added three more “0’s” in line 6 after the 101 at the end. Other then that, great joke! I think I may refer to ol’ Rob as Robot. Dan does that brake site rules?

    • Dan McGrath November 7, 2010 at 9:28 pm #

      Probably, yes.

  9. Rob N. Hood November 8, 2010 at 4:37 pm #

    You guys don’t need me any more, I see that now. You never really did, and it makes me sad. You love your extremist cocoons and its lame excuses for everything, including “humor”. (Note the quotations).

    I’m sure you are all bright enough, at least, to be able to distinguish between spam-boting and something more real and humanoid. Plus I consider this to be my patriotic duty as a lover of democracy to try and bunch the panties of those like yourselves as much as possible. Paul Revere knew how to ride a horse and I know how to be a good troll for the cause.

    Maybe I should start my own line of pots and pans… or Troll Dolls….?? (Now THAT’s good humor!)

    • Dan McGrath November 8, 2010 at 5:08 pm #

      Tragically, another American job lost to automation. (self-identified) Human trollers have been made obselete by technology.

  10. NEIL F. AGWD/BSD November 8, 2010 at 8:44 pm #

    “You guys don’t need me any more, I see that now. You never really did”
    You see that now?????????? That’s a little slow on the uptake.

  11. Dan McGrath November 8, 2010 at 9:35 pm #

    He might really believe this stuff. Maybe he thinks he’s doing good here. If so, I can respect that, even if I think he’s wrong. Truth of the matter, though, I don’t think he really believes this stuff. He’s just trying to advance an agenda that’s hostile to our way of life. Agitprop.

  12. paul wenum November 8, 2010 at 11:05 pm #

    Dan, I fully agree. It’s called a difference of opinion. Never changes, nor shall it. Do I like it? No but that’s why at least in this beautiful republic we, (you and I as well as others) can say/write/post what we believe in right or wrong. Everything is subjective. Let’s keep it that way.

  13. Rob N. Hood November 9, 2010 at 8:00 am #

    I am not an animal…! er I mean an anarchist! I do believe what I write or copy, and do think I have a mission to try and correct the extremely wrong where ever I see it. You guys ARE the extreme minority and extremely wrong about 99.9 % of things (giving you that .01 % out of the kindness of my heart).

    Your “agitprop” (nice vocab there Dano) is just more paranoia. If anything, sites like these are agitprop, at least I consider them so. Same with the so-called Tea Party movement – just plain old business as usual agitprop. So how do you like them apples?

    • NEIL F. AGWD/BSD November 9, 2010 at 10:53 pm #

      Political propaganda, especially favoring communism and disseminated through literature, drama, art, or music.

      • Rob N. Hood November 10, 2010 at 8:36 am #

        Neil- thank you so much but I knew this was a real word- I even used it too. Sites like these are funded thru very wealthy elite, the Koch brothers for example, and are the epitome of agitprop. Also referred to as astro-turffed. Dan will deny this but it is so.

        • NEIL F. AGWD/BSD November 11, 2010 at 6:35 am #

          Oh really? Where’s my cut? I want some cash for all of my participation!!!! Sorry Dan, but I have to say it. THAT IS IDIOTIC!!!!!!

          • Rob N. Hood November 12, 2010 at 4:33 pm #

            I told Dan a long time ago he should be paying you, and Paul too. Sorry Hal. You’re just not up to snuff.

          • Hal Groar November 16, 2010 at 9:02 pm #

            Ol’ Rob said I’m not up to snuff…I gotta work on my cut and paste skills. In my last performance review from Dan he stated I needed to throw in more buzz words and agree with Neil more. That and buy a coffee cup. I promised to work on these things and left the office. I was wondering though, if Neil and Paul get nice corner offices and Dan gets the one with the balcony, how come mine is stuck by the mens room and why doesn’t Rob show up until 11:00AM every day?

          • Dan McGrath November 16, 2010 at 10:59 pm #


            Don’t complain too much about the office by the men’s room. Mine doesn’t have windows (let alone a balcony). We call our office “the bunker.”

        • Dan McGrath November 11, 2010 at 2:45 pm #

          You’ve got it all wrong. We’re funded by the transdimensional creature known as Cthulhu, “god of chaos,” whose inspired vision is the total destruction of mankind and the planet Earth. It will be accomplished by blogging. It’s a very clever and complicated plan. You probably wouldn’t be able to grasp the grand design, so I won’t explain it to you now. I only wish Cthulhu was richer (and didn’t plan to exile me to a dark oblivion when his grand purpose is complete). Minnesota Majority scrapes by on a shoestring. We could use some more Cthulhu bucks.

          Hear me, mighty Cthulhu! Thine servants need more money to do your bidding (and I could use a raise)!

          • NEIL F. AGWD/BSD November 11, 2010 at 7:26 pm #

            All hail Cthulhu! ohmmmmmmmmmmmmm

          • Rob N. Hood November 12, 2010 at 4:31 pm #

            Dan if you are working for peanuts you are not even as bright as I thought you were. You guys don’t even have a clue do you? Hey another thing that didn’t make the papers (sorry changing the subject again). Did you know another plane dropped out of the sky, not recently, but not that long ago, not sure of the date right now. Guess who was in it? Just a very conservative guy who was going to testify about his involvement in the 2004 Presidential election theft (electronic vote rigging). He was a computer genius and worked for GWB… He was an excellent pilot and this tragedy must just have been a coincidence right? Yea, right. You all are so naive it ain’t even funny.

  14. paul wenum November 9, 2010 at 6:49 pm #

    People like you worry me. If others of your ilk have the same mindset, God save our Republic. Talk about confused beliefs by a confused individual.

  15. Hal Groar November 9, 2010 at 9:06 pm #

    Rob the humor I see is that this country just vindicated what we have been saying here for quite some time and you continue to claim that we are the minority. I suppose we narrowly missed that Nevada race (which annoys each one of us) but for the most part the country decided that we are right. So your statement that we are the fringe doesn’t hold water. Yet you try…I give you credit for tenacity! Do you know the definition of crazy?

  16. paul wenum November 9, 2010 at 11:20 pm #

    Hal, I’m sure he knows and this [edited] is not in the right part of this universe! Read the article.

  17. Rob N. Hood November 10, 2010 at 8:44 am #

    Actually Hal, the Tea Party candidates did not win that big. In fact most of Palin’s chosen candidates LOST. Basically it was mostly mainstream Republicans who won. It is also a very very common thing for the other side to win big, more or less, in mid-term elections. Mostly the big money wins, not what you think of as some kind of virtuous movement. Sorry but this is true, if you only want to accept reality. Up to you.

    You all are basically Libertarians, and they never have and never will achieve any kind of prominence. Even most mainstream Republicans think you guys are nuts. Ironically, we on the Left share many of your views, but only up to a point. Then you guys go off the radar with your childishness and weirdness, thus losing any kind of solidarity we two groups could have. And that is sad.

  18. Hal Groar November 10, 2010 at 7:28 pm #

    Mr. Bot, why do you keep changing my political affiliation? I wish you would settle that so I know which direction to go. I was glad to see 680 state house seats fly out of the Dems hands. Redistricting will be funner! (whether I am A Libertarian, Tea Party guy or Republican) Lets just say my team won handily and we’ll leave it at that.

    • Rob N. Hood November 12, 2010 at 4:17 pm #

      You answered your own snarly question. Most of you all are all one and the same…

  19. paul wenum November 10, 2010 at 11:03 pm #


    • Rob N. Hood November 12, 2010 at 4:24 pm #

      Aww Paul, that twasn’t very nice…

  20. NEIL F. AGWD/BSD November 12, 2010 at 12:38 pm #

    Dan this needs to be posted post haste:

    “Global warming-inspired cap and trade has been one of the most stridently debated public policy controversies of the past 15 years. But it is dying a quiet death. In a little reported move, the Chicago Climate Exchange (CCX) announced on Oct. 21 that it will be ending carbon trading – the only purpose for which it was founded – this year.”

    I have heard that it has already closed Nov. 1

    • Dan McGrath November 12, 2010 at 12:55 pm #

      Done. Great story. Thanks.

  21. Rob N. Hood November 12, 2010 at 4:22 pm #

    Time to pop the champagne! Now, if you guys are right about AGW I will be the first to congratulate you. But remember, even a broken clock is right twice a day. In other words Cap and Trade and AGW are two different animals, and you guys have been wrong about EVERYTHING else under the sun (except for Cap and Trade)…sooo….. the chances aren’t looking too good. But I still hope you’re right about AGW too. I am pessimistic enough about our species however to think we may not even get the chance to find out if you are right or wrong. A few nukes going off around the world could change things pretty darn quick. After all 2012 is near at hand and our monster-sized military isn’t exactly making new friends around the world if you know what I mean.

  22. paul wenum November 12, 2010 at 9:39 pm #

    Thanks Neil for the update. Wasn’t aware. Dan, sorry for my comments that were deleted. Must be the libertarian in me.

  23. Rob N. Hood November 13, 2010 at 8:25 am #

    No apology to me? I’m so disillusioned.

  24. paul wenum November 13, 2010 at 10:15 pm #

    No apology warranted.

  25. Rob N. Hood November 14, 2010 at 12:14 pm #

    My bad. (liberals REALLY need to stop apologizing so much!)

    Can you show a little joy at least for this victory? Instead you have to revert to something so foul Dan has to delete it? Really? Wow…

  26. paul wenum November 14, 2010 at 9:16 pm #

    Have been known to be worse but I bite my tongue quite often with you.

  27. Rob N. Hood November 19, 2010 at 8:49 am #

    Don’t you guys ever get tired of winning most of the time? Ever since the 60’s when all the great mean were publically gunned down, the Right has been winning, and continue to. Sure you may lose a battle here or there, but even up till the present time, you keep on winning. And things keep on getting worse for the middle class. Hmmm. I attach some significance to that correlation, but I know you won’t. Pity, that.

  28. Rob N. Hood November 19, 2010 at 8:49 am #

    men, not mean

  29. paul wenum November 19, 2010 at 11:42 pm #


    What the hell is this with my website address????

A project of Minnesota Majority, hosted and maintained by Minnesotans for Global Warming.