Andrew just wrote about me being trolled on his blog a while ago. Go read it, it is here: Sleazy sock puppet can’t stop spamming our discussion of compressed sensing and promoting the work of Xiteng Liu.
While re-reading that fateful blog entry and the attendant comments, I could not escape thinking about another recent discussion that is currently going on at Stack Overflow: Why is Stack Overflow so negative of late? In short, good constructive discussions can be polluted very fast by very few and can essentially destroy the good will of the rest of the community.
This led me pondering about the current pre-publication peer-review system. We all agree there should be some peer review, but why constrain it to a one shot review that might include uneducated or, worse, dishonest people ? Sure, we all think of ourselves as fair and knowledgeable when we agree to do a review. However since most pre-publication peer review is anonymous, anybody can become your 'peer'. It's not just a figment of my imagination. For some editors, it might be sufficient to give a talk in compressive sensing at a meeting to become a de-facto specialist of the field. What could possibly go wrong with that ? Here is what could go wrong, check the S10 section of this conference. Sooner or later, the system is becoming less robust because of a few.
The other problem I have with anonymity of the current pre-publication peer review system is that many people participating in it are deliberately giving away information about themselves (and the review they gave) to for-profit entities that have no compelling interest to protect it. What could possibly go wrong ? It's not like data breaches are that common anyway. Remember folks, it's not a question of 'if' but a question of 'when'.
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