Friday, May 14, 2010

Remarks on the Poynder affair

This is a follow-up to A new Richard Poynder piece, so read that first if you haven't. I want to highlight some reader comments and add some of my own.

The footnote

Paul Grigolini appears to have published around 18 papers in CS&F since 2001. He also authored a paper in a book published by Springer in 2005 for the festschrift in honour of El Naschie's 60th birthday. The paper is entitled Quantum Mechanics and Non-Ordinary Statistical Mechanics.

has its origin in Text from the Birthday Book, The Birthday Book can be yours, and the reader comments from those.

Regarding Shrink's comment "It's so obvious he used this blog as a source. " Let me point out a smoking gun that has been unremarked so far. El Naschie Watch, particularly Shrink, performed a tour de force of Internet forensics back in November 2009. We wrote about it in Those Hidden Pressgazette Comments. Then, as now, the direct link to Sarah Limbrick's article showed only two reader comments, and they are from reader "highenergy". Shrink prodded and poked Pressgazette's DISQUS comment system to reveal a slew of others. One of these was from a reader named Hilf.

This is from page 7 of Richard's piece:

as a contributor called Hilf commented on the Press Gazette story

Maybe Richard is a 1337 h4x0r, but to me the simplest explanation is that he followed Shrink's footsteps to the Hilf comment and then clicked just to the right of Hilf's name to grab the permalink.

He's told us he follows this blog, and that he won't link to it because he is

uncomfortable with some of the images you have used in the past, and the tone of some of your comments about El Naschie.

I agree 50 percent with the reader who said

discomfort about past images or tone of comments is neither a plausible nor defensible excuse for unattributed use of content

That is, I think it's plausible that was his reason but not defensible. To Richard's credit, he doesn't actually seem to be trying to make a defense. I guess he's embarrassed. That would explain why he tried to hide the article. His blog at this moment still contains no mention of the stealth deletion.

A reader suggested

This post was removed due to a) threat of lawsuit, b) low quality and other persistent confusion, c) broken links, d) flagrant reuse of unattributed information from other sources

as a model he could follow, since he is, after all, a "professional freelance journalist". Ouch! I'm glad I'm only a blogger.

I just thought of another possible reason for him not to link to El Naschie Watch. If John Baez is someone he calls from time to time, he could lose a valuable contact.

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1 comment:

  1. OMG, I've missed the "Hilf" quote in Poynder's post. Yes, "the simplest explanation is usually the correct one" - as the Occam's Razor principle states. :D