Monday, November 17, 2008

U.N. Sets Itself Up For A Freeping

I got this email from the U.N. the other day, asking me to visit their website (blanked out in the above) and complete their survey on what must be done to combat climate change. "Your views on which approaches to climate change will succeed and what key barriers are most slowing progress are important [enough(?)]to be widely heard." Thanks for the vote of confidence, fellows, but I have issues (beyond your poor grammar).

For example, how are you selecting your experts? My only thin claim to AGW expertise is the fact that I write this blog. Now, I note that you are making use of Globescan. I wrote about a previous Globescan AGW poll here, done by them on behalf of the European Climate Foundation. I was able to pick up the URL and complete the previous survey because it was widely circulated on a denialist mailing list. If I received your invitation because I participated in that survey, then it is likely that any number low-grade pseudo-scientists have received the same material, and your results are already in jeopardy.

In short, the security measures you have taken are dismal. I have redacted the URL to your survey in the above, but had I been so inclined I could have distributed it to any number of forums and lists with the tag "FREEP this poll!", and a 1,000 assholes with computers would have turned up at the site and essentially defaced the thing. Now, there are any number of methods by which this kind of result can be avoided, but your survey employs none of them. Pretty poor quality control for the U.N.

PS. Eli thinks the FREEPERS have already been on this one, but I have found no evidence for that yet. Probably just a matter of time, however.

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