Talkback Tuesday: ‘Big trouble in little China’

Tuesday 1 October 2013, 6.00am HKT

T A L K B A C K   T U E S D A Y

RECENTLY, I did some whistleblowing at a world-famous site. Not quite in the stature of Eddie the Nationally Insecure Snowman (geddit?), but I did reveal my part in the rise and fall of ethics in a certain ‘wordprocessing’ practice.

academic fraud

(via via outoppie)

That site was Retraction Watch — the world-famous blog “tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process” — and the article was “Big trouble in little China: Two looks at what warps scientific publishing there” (Retraction Watch, 27 SEP 2013).

ctrouble screencapFor those who don’t know, retractions of published papers happen a fair bit in the scientific community. This isn’t because scientists are prone to engage in unethical practices or somehow more dishonest than humanities scholars — the first impression some might have because of that. Quite the opposite. It is because the scientific process as a whole is relatively better at ferretting out troublemakers in the long run than the processes found in the humanities.

(Of course, the humanities crowd might just take an alternative opinion on that.)

Apologies for the poor-looking screencaps because I was negligent.


The stuff that whistleblowing is (almost) made of

logo shush macgasm-net


My initial whistle call:—

ctrouble 01

(At presstime, 15 upvotes, 3 downvotes … or 12 horsepower)


Self-butthurt, since there’s no actual buttsecks

That quickly drew this comment…

logo spank me mt2naju

SORRY! It was this butthurt rant … ahem, comment:—

ctrouble 02

Comment on 29 SEP 2013 at 11.23am EST
(By presstime, 3 upvotes, 21 downvotes … or minus-18 horsepower)

‘Brazen’ doesn’t mean what that commenter think it means.

TROLL. And trolling because of some self-induced imaginary butthurt. Better punctuation is desirable but not essential, of course.

Never did I commented or even insinuated that India (or any other country for that matter) as “low-income paying,” words characterised as “brazen” and brazenly ascribed to me.

It’s a trolling technique. Spewing loads of facts is one way to ‘faggotise’ you in a comment thread, in the hope that you’d be locked into an Intarwebz wanking contest as to who gets more facts out more right. USENET (LUSERNET?) vintage.

Regardless, it’s not like I needed to challenge those facts. My temperament and attitude are simply to take it all in as true until shown otherwise. Besides, as a fact of life on the Internet, somebody else will come along to set the record straight anyway.

(Somebody did, in fact.)

I had one response, and it applies to any busybody with a tendency to latch on to words:—

ctrouble 03

(At presstime, 16 upvotes, nil downvotes … or 16 horsepower)

Now suitably butthurted, that commenter now clearly wanted to have the last word:—

ctrouble 04

Comment on 29 SEP 2013 at 9.22pm EST
(At presstime, 3 upvotes, 15 downvotes … or minus-12 horsepower)

Why the hell didn’t you say that in the first place?! It would’ve been more constructive, wouldn’t it?

Tell me where and how I said or hinted “all” people in any “entire” country.

Take a guess why the commenter as reading more into my comments than was actually there.

As Captain Jack Sparrow said, “Allow me to lend a hatchet to your intellectual thicket.” I’ve discovered that people like that individual have balls of titanium but brains of cabbage to make that kind of comment. If nothing else, it just highlights butthurt out of cultural overproudness when there wasn’t butthurt to be had in the first place.

Some people are so funny in an unfunny sort of way…


Thanks, admin, at least you know your job…

logo forced dog smile 24252

Behave, or moderators will force you to smile

The comment thread could’ve been retitled “A look at the butthurt that warps commenting.”


The Retraction Watch moderators have done a good job by trimming off certain bits from some of my comments.

No, it wasn’t because my original comments were rude or anything like that. One comment I asked the commenter what he/she was insinuating by bringing up those Indian facts and politely asked for an apology. In another comment I asked the rhetorical question:—

“Do you know more about MY professional life, or me?”

That got trimmed off, and well right it did.

Good job, in hindsight, for the moderators to trim because otherwise the whole comment thread would’ve just ended up as a flame war.

(Which, unfortunately, I think is about to turn into exactly that because that individual commenter doesn’t seem to let up and wants to have the last word.)

(Above strikeout … Groundless assertion on my part by the look of things right now.)


Back to the sensible stuff

logo ufo i want to believe 1241175938922

But the juicier bit is being asked a trenchant question by another commenter:—

ctrouble 06

‘Which is more unethical, the person hired to do this,
or the person who’s doing the hiring?’

(At presstime, 16 upvotes, nil downvotes … or 16 horsepower)

Gentle Reader, you tell me who has been a naughty boy and who has not?

At least some of us are paying attention:—

“Credit given – at least from me. Thanks for sharing your experiences. Your thoughts about why you did this (i.e. to pay your bills) also gives insight as to why others hired you.”

— another commenter on 30 SEP 2013 at 11.27am EST


The state of play as of now…

logo math rules gwlxpw3

As at presstime, the scoreboard stands at:—

The Naked Listener … 67 upvotes, 4 downvotes … +63 horsepower

Detractor(s) … 6 upvotes, 36 downvotes … –30 horsepower

Bystanders … 17 upvotes, 3 downvotes … +14 horsepower

Retraction Watch1 like (from me, only)

That’s a 93-point advantage for me over my detractor(s).

Draw your own conclusions.

“The biggest disappointments in life are
the result of misplaced expectations.”


All images via c4c except as indicated. Screencaps made from the Retraction Watch article.



© The Naked Listener’s Weblog, 2013. (B13318)

One Response to “Talkback Tuesday: ‘Big trouble in little China’”

  1. Ed Hurst said

    Good on you. As you probably know, I face trolls, too.I’m probably not as good at as you are, but I do face them.


Comments are closed.

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