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RationalWiki talk:What is going on in the blogosphere?

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What is going on?

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[edit] "The alt-right didn't start out racist"

What? I'm sorry...WHAT?! The term was frigging coined by a Neo-Nazi. Blitz (Complaints Box) 17:34, 24 April 2017 (UTC)

It goes into Richard Spencer, he wasn't actually always an out-and-proud white supremacist. Some of the article is interesting, but it's all predicated on the idea that the alt-right is a "movement" with clear leaders and an organized ideology. It's more of a coalition of people who can tell you very clearly what they don't like- globalism, immigration, minorities, feminism, etc.- but don't have any coherent ideology outside of that. It's why they loved Trump so much- he was like them. The Nazi types have practiced for decades to polish their arguments and play mind games with these kinds of people, those who don't often have a deep understanding of political history or ideologies, but are just frustrated and using voting as an outlet for frustration. Your /pol/ types are the more "matured" alt-right, those with more coherent (if deplorable) ideologies close to traditional white nationalism and anti-semitism. Hentropy (talk) 23:37, 27 April 2017 (UTC)
I can confirm that there was a paleoconservative revival preceding the alt-right. Lots of Republicans including myself were not impressed with the direction taken by movement conservatism during the Bush years, and were looking for conservatisms that rejected economic libertarianism. The problem is, when you started looking for that sort of thing, sooner or later you'll end up meeting admirers of John C. Calhoun. - Smerdis of Tlön, LOAD "*", 8, 1. 03:30, 28 April 2017 (UTC)

[edit] The Hoaxers

This post in particular.

The biggest problem with that article is that the authors conclude that there is a problem with the entire field of gender studies rather than the problem of predatory access journals, which I think is the bigger problem.

“The Conceptual Penis as a Social Construct” underwent a blind peer-review process and yet was accepted for publication. This needs serious explaining. Part of the fault may fall on the open-access, pay-to-publish model, but the rest falls on the entire academic enterprise collectively referred to as “gender studies.” As we see it, gender studies in its current form needs to do some serious housecleaning.

I think it's a pretty big leap of faith. So, the content itself is good, but their conclusions, I think, is going too far. They keep emphasizing the dangers of predatory open-access journals but weaken their point by trying to criticize gender studies as a whole.

On the other hand, no one is arguing, nor has any reason to argue, that respectable journals like Nature and countless others have adopted a peer-review process that is fundamentally flawed or in any meaningful way corrupt. Much of the peer-review system remains the gold-standard for the advancement of human knowledge. The problem lies within a nebula of marginal journals, predatory pay-to-publish journals, and, possibly to some degree, open-access journals—although it may largely be discipline-specific, as we had originally hoped to discover. This is, after all, not the first time postmodernist academia has fallen for a hoax.

This hoax, however, was rooted in moral and political biases masquerading as rigorous academic theory. Working in a biased environment, we successfully sugarcoated utter nonsense with a combination of fashionable moral sentiments and impenetrable jargon. Cogent Social Sciences happily swallowed the pill. It left utter nonsense easy to disguise.

The thing is, even "hard" science has blips where hoaxes are published in things like Nature. This doesn't say anything about the field but that people are prone to biases and can demonstrate being careless. I.e. humans are human.

It doesn't help that some people in the comments section are using this as a means to celebrate denigrating gender studies, but I read some of the more critical comments and have to agree with them. So, overall, I had to give the post a down-vote, especially since I think RationalWiki is the type that would defend gender studies. --It's-a me, LeftyGreenMario! 01:51, 23 May 2017 (UTC)

Yes, this is a completely stupid entry and whoever put it in here is a bit gullible. I added PZ's dissection of why vanity publishing in a predatory OA journal mostly proves "I R VERY SMRT" - David Gerard (talk) 12:52, 23 May 2017 (UTC)
Also, even Sokal of the infamous Sokal affair, which the hoaxers were inspired from, warned about drawing conclusions about the field, so it doesn't seem like even they were following carefully what he was doing. Anyhow, the PZ Meyers article is welcome, thanks! --It's-a me, LeftyGreenMario! 18:00, 23 May 2017 (UTC)
Legitimate social science shouldn't begin with moral or political assumptions. The stunt demonstrated at minimum that an institution in the field, however new and unestablished, took rank nonsense seriously when it appeared that the language was conventional and the gender politics oriented in the 'correct' direction of misandry. That may be a small point -- and all such abuses of trust are dick moves, that much I grant -- but it is a valid point IMO. - Smerdis of Tlön, LOAD "*", 8, 1. 18:09, 24 May 2017 (UTC)
The stunt demonstrated only that you are unduly gullible when you see someone claiming something you agree with - David Gerard (talk) 21:20, 5 June 2017 (UTC)
The journal almost certainly knew it was nonsense, they wanted the money. Christopher (talk) 18:15, 24 May 2017 (UTC)
Sure, but is this problem unique to gender politics? And this also doesn't demonstrate accurate representation of the field; it's a problem if it's much more widespread and it's restricted to that field, but time and time again shows that it's more likely a bigger problem of predatory open-access journals and a glitch with peer review, since other fields including "hard" science like medicine (think Andrew Wakefield) had have journals publishing drivel.
Christopher: Yeah, this might be a double play, though the first time it was attempted to be published, it was rejected and redirected to an open-access journal. Still, 600 bucks is 600 bucks.... (talk) 18:20, 24 May 2017 (UTC)
Wakefield may have gotten nonsense published, but (disclaimer: I've never read it) it probably wasn't obvious nonsense, and it likely was written in prose that made sense. He fudged his data, not the text. The problem exposed here is not in any data set, but in the acceptance of text that contains incoherent posturing that is given a pass if the politics seems acceptable. - Smerdis of Tlön, LOAD "*", 8, 1. 19:03, 24 May 2017 (UTC)
I've also never read it but wasn't it a non randomised study with no control done on 12 people? That should never have been published. Christopher (talk) 19:08, 24 May 2017 (UTC)
Yeah, but I believe the gender studies scholars would reject this too regardless of politics. A low-impact journal rejected it in the first place! --It's-a me, LeftyGreenMario! 22:59, 26 May 2017 (UTC)
A sociologist reviews the paper in question. Reverend Black Percy (talk) 00:12, 27 May 2017 (UTC)
Huh, I'd expect the sociologist to actually show good papers in the field and compare them to this drivel hopefully to convince that gender studies is nice to have (that's what I think IMO). All he did was repeat PZ Meyers and the Joshi dude. --It's-a me, LeftyGreenMario! 22:30, 27 May 2017 (UTC)
You'd also expect them to fill their article and paper with examples of similar nonsense from serious gender studies papers, like Sokal/Bricmont did. If what they're saying about the field is true, that shouldn't be hard. - Smerdis of Tlön, LOAD "*", 8, 1. 01:23, 29 May 2017 (UTC)
The Boghossian et. al. hoax ended up missing the mark completely by not being accepted by any non-predatory journal of gender studies with any impact whatsoever — an achievement by its own standard, considering there's certainly no lack of Poe-themed papers which manage to pass peer review in gender studies.
The pranksters further manage to deprive their own stunt of a point by arguing that one, single, intentionally Poe paper passing peer review says something about the field in general — a statement which is categorically incorrect. And this, as if the reams of unintentional Poe papers published in (non-predatory and impactful) gender studies don't speak volumes more about the field (whatever one argues they do say).
Importantly: the relative pros and cons any given person sees in Boghossian's stunt is by no means reflective of said person's view on the quality of gender studies research in general. Another surefire sign of the fundamentally failed execution of this particular hoax — which, in my view, ended up being an affront to Sokal's classic. Reverend Black Percy (talk) 21:29, 29 May 2017 (UTC)

[edit] Odd

Someone just posted an new entry for April, in the the april section. Quite aside from why bother posting so late, whats the relevance of the story? is some random carjacking something we should be concerned with? Dunno what arbital is, and while MIRI might be of some interest to some folk here i doubt an intern going nuts is. the srbitsl and miri stuff isnt in the linked article as far as i can see, so what gives? AMassiveGay (talk) 23:57, 4 June 2017 (UTC)

Why bother posting so late? Because I only just heard about it (on Tumblr, where it was stated that this is definitely the same guy). Arbital is basically a wiki/blog platform associated with MIRI. Some people are interested in drama in the LessWrong-rationalist community. I did worry that this is too much like rubbernecking, and wasn't sure whether to post it, but in the end I came down on the side of publication: if MIRI is trying to solve the philosophical problem of ethics and build an AI that will "save the world", the morals of its employees and former employees are kind of relevant information. I can source the Arbital contributor claim to Arbital and the former MIRI intern to this page... Wait, it turns out he was actually employed by MIRI as community architect for Arbital. Looks like someone scrubbed his LinkedIn profile to removed any evidence of association with MIRI... but they didn't scrub that CFAR web page. --Greenrd (talk) 06:35, 5 June 2017 (UTC)
im not convinced that this is relevant, and this is assuming its the same chap. its unreasonable to expect all employee of a company to be saints, and even less so to extend that to former employees. He doesnt appear to have any public presence beyond what you have linked. i am inclined to believe your first instinct in that is rubber necking. if he were more high profile, still employed by, and supported by MIRI, then maybe. As it stands, with so little concrete info, id say no. I guess it wont matter too much as no one is going to see the wigo anyway. AMassiveGay (talk) 11:10, 5 June 2017 (UTC)

[edit] the Ark park lark

How much state money went into fueling this fiasco, again? ikanreed 🐐Bleat at me 23:42, 21 June 2017 (UTC)

[edit] "Alt-right" Wikipedia

The Wired article does draw me in since it sounds like an article that would ridicule this wiki, and besides, it's Wired, but after reading, I have to say that the article itself is a bit disappointing. I find it very annoying that they characterize the "alt-right" more often than I like simply "conservative" rather than "far-right" like they should be characterized. While they did describe them as "fringe" at one point (which is more apt to describe them), just because they're growing doesn't make them less "fringe" and more "conservative". I also don't like how the article characterizes Allum Bokhari, tech writer for Breitbart, as someone who is rational, someone who simply "disagrees" rather than being likely an insidious fringe character who likes Donald Trump.

The problem is, not everyone agrees on the facts. “Just look at the source list,” Bokhari tells me. “The most respectable news organizations on Wikipedia are things like the New York Times and the Washington Post.” (By the tone of his voice, he might as well preface those names with "fake" and "failing.") Meanwhile, alt-right mainstays like Infowars or the Daily Caller don’t have the kind of traditional fact-checking programs to make it into the site.

I give credit to the article for taking this seriously, though, acknowledging Brietbart's rise and being a bit ominous and sad at the end. But I don't like how they described their far-right as "conservative" or "right-wing" when they deserve more extreme labels. If not, I guess I'll just associate conservatism with general shittiness if this keeps up. --It's-a me, LeftyGreenMario! 01:05, 23 June 2017 (UTC)

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