Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Comment moderation: A Naschie Party win

Actually, I don't have a problem with this.

Blogs and Web sites should be run with whatever moderation policies the owners like, from comment-free; to sycophantic comments only; to completely unmoderated. The Internet's a big place, and there's room for all policies. As long as it's not censorship carried out by government bureaucrats it doesn't bother me.

Reciprocally, we Web users have a right to judge sites like Physics Forums based on any criteria, including their moderation policies.

I was banned instantly when I tried to post this:

Dear moderators and commenters,

Please be aware that science blogs and Web sites all over the Internet are being systematically infiltrated by cult followers and sockpuppets of certain crackpots, fringe scientists, and pseudoscientists. The most successful and troubling of these is the cult surrounding one M.S. El Naschie, founding editor of the Elsevier journal Chaos, Solitons and Fractals. I call them the Naschie Party, or the Naschienal Socialists.

Inside the insular and unfortunately rather technically unsavvy Arab world, particularly Egypt, Dr. Mohamed S. El Naschie has managed to dupe the media and much of the populace: He pretends to be a full professor and even presents himself as a Nobel-worthy scientist. (He refuses to say what university made him a full professor.) In the West, and among practically all competent mathematicians and physicists everywhere, he's not taken seriously as a scientist.

My blog, El Naschie Watch, is a news and humor blog devoted to El Naschie. It has many links to sources of information about him. These are mostly in English, but some are in Arabic or German. If you Google "El Naschie" my blog's usually one of the first few hits.

El Naschie has attacked my blog by name in at least one Arabic language media interview that I'm aware of. I have received death threats (caution: don't follow this link if you can't stand gory photos) from the Naschie Party.

Some site mods know about El Naschie and automatically delete Naschie Party posts. While I understand that approach, personally I'm not terribly enthusiastic about it, preferring to shine bright lights to scatter the cockroaches. As Web site moderators we must each handle it as we think best. My purpose in writing this comment is merely to let you know that the Naschie Party infiltration and sock puppetry problem exists here, so that whatever action you take, from banning to full permissiveness, is not taken in ignorance. [Note: The inline links I included in the original have been stripped out because they use a different format from Blogger, and I don't feel like re-creating them. --Ed]

They banned me so fast my head spun. Evelyn Wood herself couldn't have read my entire post in the time it took. But that's ok. They shouldn't have to publish my comment if they don't want to, no matter how silly or arbitrary the reason. It's their site.

Still, I think this shows poor judgment on their part. "Let no good deed go unpunished" can be their motto if they want.

The following threads at Physics Forums have varying degrees of Naschie Party pollution that the mods welcome:

  • An Exceptionally Technical Discussion of AESToE

  • All the lepton masses from G, pi, e

  • Chaos, Solitons & Fractals

  • Scale Relativity

  • Can some somebody explain the "Defined Chaose" for me?!!!

Translate English to Arabic

محمد النشائي El Naschie Watch محمد النشائي El Naschie News محمد النشائي
محمد النشائي All El Naschie All The Time محمد النشائي



  1. Jason, in the first topic 'An Exceptionally Technical Discussion of AESToE' there are no signs of pollution from the Naschie Party.


  2. Ah! Ok, I believe you. I found the string "El Naschie" in each of those five, but I don't remember the context of the hits. I can't even browse their site now without spoofing. Too much trouble. Meh.

  3. In the second topic El Naschie is mentioned only once. The user who cited one of his articles from CS&F is apparently banned.

    In the topic 'Chaos, Solitons & Fractals' El Naschie and his journal practice is criticized. Again, there's no sign of Naschie Party infestation.

    In the topic 'Scale relativity' the user who started the topic by advertising Nottale's theory of Scale Relativity is also banned. Although his posts were not deleted, no one is impressed by "Nottale's nice theory" and its "close relationship to the theory of G. Ord and M. El Naschie." One of the comments speaks for itself:

    "Nottale's work can not be qualified 'theory', to the best it is 'poetry'."

    Only the last topic can be seen as El Naschie fan(s) pollution, but the topic is pretty old and at that time the moderation on physicsforums regarding crackpottery maybe was not so strict.

    Jason, I think your arguments on El Naschie party pollution on physicsforums are very weak. Consequently, the purpose of your (now deleted) post is not justified. Anyway, I think the mods exaggerated by banning you from the forum, the mentioned reason (crackpot) is not convincing, to put it mildly.


  4. I'm sure you're right in all you say, shrink. Thanks for investigating!

  5. "You have been banned for the following reason:

    Talk about the pot calling the kettle black ...
    "Physics Forums" is a fringe site frequented primarily non-physicist dabblers (a.k.a. ...)