Subject: Re: Open Source in E-Commerce
From: Ben_Tilly@trepp.com
Date: Tue, 14 Mar 2000 12:29:15 -0500


Bill Cheng wrote:
>  | Bill Cheng wrote:
[...]
>  | Still I think I have shown that there is some evidence of my being
>  | sufficiently capable.  Now with that established,
>
>You know...  I'm not really impressed.  But that's irrelevant since you
>are not tring to impress me.  I don't doubt you have ability.  Even if
>you have mountains of publications, I still think you are saying
>nonsense...

As you say, I was not trying to impress you.  I was trying to convince
you of a point and I appear to have succeeded in that.

>  | would you please defend your claim that I was saying nonsense?
>
>You said:
>
>    ...academics tend to believe that non-academics should share their
>    value system.
>
>    For an academic (of course) working as a reviewer is part of what
>    makes the whole publish or perish system spin.  By reviewing papers
>    they establish connections of value to their future careers and can
>    guide the subject in ways that benefit the clique that they are in.
>
>If you have said, "My experience working as a reviewer ...", then I
>wouldn't have any problem with it.  Since you are saying it
>categorically, it's nonsense.  I know plenty of people reviews things
>just to keep up with what's going on because they are interested in
>what's going on.

Ah, so any categorical statement about a field is a priori nonsense?

Is the phrase "Publish or Perish" nonsense?  If not then what is the
difference in kind between my assertion and "Publish or Perish"?

FYI I would be the last person to say that all academics subscribe to
anything that could be called "The academic mindset".  For an extreme
counter-example I would name Paul Erdos.  Therefore examples of
academics who do not fit a given stereotype does not in and of itself
imply that the overall academic mindset does not match the stereotype.

[big skip]
>  | >I have good standing to be critical of what he said (regardless of
>  | >my publication record).  I found what he said was nonsensical.  The
>  | >way he said it reminded me of this story about a frog that lives at
>  | >the bottom of a well and thinks that he's the king of the world.
>  |
>  | Prounouncements of opinion do not facts make.
>  |
>  | FWIW my opinions of how the academic process works are based on
>  | discussions with academics at stages from graduate student to
>  | retired, and the basic point of how peer review works and why it
>  | is important is hardly original.
>
>Your opinions, your stories, that would be fine with me.

Raw data but not conclusions or opinions?  That is not how people tend
to function...

>  | >  | Tilly's characterizations of math academia seem entirely credible
>  | >  | to me:  they are quite consistent with my experience in CS
>  | >  | academia.
>  | >
>  | >Why don't you too just have a private party celebrating the fact
>  | >that you share the same point of view?  Speak for yourself and keep
>  | >it to yourself if you want to degrade a whole category of people.
>  |
>  | In what way have academics been degraded here?  Please be specific
>  | about exactly what this degredation consists of.
>
>You implied that the only motivation of people in academia in reviewing
>papers is to keep the system spinning and to "establish connections of
>value to their future careers..."  I'm sure a lot of people in academia
>don't need to review papers in order to "establish connections of value
>to their future careers".  You also said "...benefit the clique that
>they are in" to imply that people in academia are small minded and are
>only interest in benifiting the cliques that they are in.

I said those phrases.  Crispin did not.  Please keep us straight.

Incidentally I am amused at how much you took as implied from a simple
statement.  My statement was about the academic mindset in general.
If I had said that the capitalist mindset was to make money, would you
conclude that the only interest of any businessman was making money?

You would be wrong to do so.  But you would be right to conclude that
there is a lot of pressure on businessmen to do just that.

Back to your perceived criticisms.  When it comes to connections, it is
best to pursue multiple methods at the same time.  You may not *need*
to participate in reviewing papers, but it doesn't *hurt*.  Likewise
academics may be broad-minded generous sorts.  But there is a direct
reward for being part of a group of people working on a common set of
problems in a common direction.  My experience in mathematics is that
these groups tend to create barriers to outsiders in the form of shared
results and terms known to the in-group that take work to learn for
anyone else.  (The average math paper only makes sense to about a dozen
other mathematicians.)  Hence my use of the word "clique".  And
certainly once you are part of such a group there is a definite reward
for actions that benefit the group you are a part of!

>  | >  | Lets try and stay civilized here.
>  | >
>  | >Even if you find his nonsense agreeable, why do you have to publically
>  | >degrade people in academia?  Please be civilized yourself.
>  |
>  | I believe the first serious lack of civility was on your part when
>  | you decided to imply that I have "dismo ability".  An implication
>  | that is apparently based on no evidence.  Just pronouncements.
>
>I did not imply that.  Here's what I said:
>
>    I have heard from too many people with dismo ability using that
>    as a reason why people should believe them.
>
>Please be specific about exactly how this imply that *you* have "dismo
>ability"?

Here is the full quote:

    From the nonsense you've been saying, why should anyone
    "have to trust you"?  Because you said so?  I have heard
    from too many people with dismo ability using that as a
    reason why people should believe them.

You state directly that I am saying nonsense.

You sound very dubious that anyone would trust my self-judgement.

Your comment about people trusting my judgement is to compare me to
people who have "dismo ability".  Hence implying that your impression
is that I am someone who likely has "dismo ability".

Compare the directness of the personally directed implications that
I am responding to with the generalized and tenuous implications
that you are objecting to.

>  | You may pronounce me a moron.  That doesn't make it so.
>
>I did not.

Did I say you did?  The word I used was "may", in this case meaning
that there is nothing to stop you from doing so.  I did not claim
that you did so.

Regards,
Ben

PS Unless you say something terribly original, you may have the
dubious pleasure of the last word.