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Thread: Science trolls

  1. #1 Science trolls 
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    I'm sure most of us have encountered what I'm going to call science trolls, for want of a better term.
    These are non-scientists who write these long articles - made to look like research papers - that usually consist of a list of equations taken from a standard physics textbook with a bunch of gibberish written about them and followed by far-out conclusions. They then upload their work to arXiv and flaunt it on forums - such as this one - and sneak references to them on Wikipedia. I have selected a few examples below for your amusement.

    My question is: why do they do it? Does anyone understand them at all? What's in it for them? Why do they waste so much of their own time doing this?

    http://arxiv.org/pdf/0709.3314v3.pdf
    http://arxiv.org/pdf/hep-th/0701221v3.pdf
    http://arxiv.org/pdf/physics/0306190v2.pdf
    http://arxiv.org/pdf/quant-ph/0107011v1.pdf
    http://arxiv.org/ftp/arxiv/papers/0709/0709.0687.pdf {MW edit}


    Last edited by MeteorWayne; July 6th, 2012 at 02:50 PM. Reason: Edited to remove ad homenim
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  3. #2  
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    Quote Originally Posted by nano View Post
    My question is: why do they do it? Does anyone understand them at all? What's in it for them? Why do they waste so much of their own time doing this?
    Is this a genuine question? Do you really not understand the effort people put into their work or why? Do you really need human nature spelling out to you?

    If this is a genuine attempt to learn something, then I am more than happy to explain the psychology to you. However I am unsure of your intentions here, you have titled your post science trolls is this about your post or the people you are referring to?

    Most people have a need and desire to create and achieve things this is no different with people who write science papers regardless of how well written or researched they are. Many people find different ways to satisfy this need wether it be through art, music or even writing a science paper. It is all part of the creative process and most of us understand this and find our own ways of achievement. When it comes to this endevour everybodies efforts are equaly valid and should be respected.

    None of us are really qualified to pass judgement on the achievents of others or what gives them a sense of satisfaction.
    This however should not be confused with critiquing someones work if asked to give an opinion on such, it is possible to respect the hardwork and efforts of others whilst not necessarily agreeing with it. But we should not to knock or criticise the effort involved.

    Further more anyone capable of writing a science paper is also capable of going to do other things, just to write one requires certain skills to be learned and applied and so this in it's self is an achievement.

    Criticism should always be constructive, criticism just for the sake of criticism is destructive to both those doing the criticising and those being critisised.


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    Chris, the people who write the sorts of papers that I am talking about presumably know that what they're writing is utter nonsense; I find it inconceivable that anyone familiar with, say, U(1) groups, could spout such a load of garbage and not know it. The question then becomes: why do they do it?

    Am I to take your opinion to be that they don't realise what they're doing? If so then I'm inclined to think that you haven't looked at those papers (or if you have then your scientific knowledge is clearly not up to scratch to pass judgment).
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  5. #4  
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    Quote Originally Posted by nano View Post
    I'm sure most of us have encountered what I'm going to call science trolls, for want of a better term.
    These are non-scientists
    And how do ou know who is a scientist and who isn't? What degree must they posses for you to consider them scientists? One of those papers is mine. Do you seriously want me to explain to you why I wrote it?
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    One of those papers is mine. Do you seriously want me to explain to you why I wrote it?
    Personally, I would be interested to hear that, if you have the time.

    Wayne
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    Quote Originally Posted by pmb View Post
    And how do ou know who is a scientist and who isn't? What degree must they posses for you to consider them scientists?
    This has nothing to do with qualifications. In fact, I'm inclined to think that many of those who wrote the exemplar papers above actually hold relevant degrees, which makes it all the more puzzling why they would submit such palpable drivel.

    By the way, these trolls I'm talking about really do exist. If any of you don't know what I'm talking about and think this is just me being an intellectual snob then please refrain from commenting.
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    Nano, you have sited people that have written certain papers as trolls and then listed some papers written, one of these papers is actually written by a member on the forum, so what exactly is your intention here Nano?
    Everything has its beauty, but not everyone sees it. - confucius
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chrisgorlitz View Post
    Nano, you have cited people that have written certain papers as trolls and then listed some papers written, one of these papers is actually written by a member on the forum, so what exactly is your intention here Nano?
    Does the fact that one of the papers was written by a forum member change the validity of my question?
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    Nano I have suggested that he ignores you. I think it's pretty clear to everyone what is going on.
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    Quote Originally Posted by nano View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by pmb View Post
    And how do ou know who is a scientist and who isn't? What degree must they posses for you to consider them scientists?
    This has nothing to do with qualifications. In fact, I'm inclined to think that many of those who wrote the exemplar papers above actually hold relevant degrees, which makes it all the more puzzling why they would submit such palpable drivel.

    By the way, these trolls I'm talking about really do exist. If any of you don't know what I'm talking about and think this is just me being an intellectual snob then please refrain from commenting.

    From what I can tell.... they haven't been published the articles, nor has the author published anything in peer review journals in physics nor does it show up in a thesis search--all of which tends to support your position.
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    Indeed, Lynx_Fox. No journal would dream of accepting any of them since they're utter drivel. But reading them I feel that the authors must know that they're drivel - in which case, what motivates them? That is what I'm interested in.
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    Would you remind us, nano, why we should take your word for it?
    Disclaimer: I do not declare myself to be an expert on ANY subject. If I state something as fact that is obviously wrong, please don't hesitate to correct me. I welcome such corrections in an attempt to be as truthful and accurate as possible.

    "Gullibility kills" - Carl Sagan
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    Quote Originally Posted by KALSTER View Post
    Would you remind us, nano, why we should take your word for it?
    I have clearly posted examples of what I'm talking about and have encouraged you to read them for yourself.

    I will repeat myself: these trolls that I speak of really do exist. As a researcher I have come across them numerous times, as have colleagues of mine. If you are not aware of their existence (and cannot be bothered to look through the examples I provided) then please do not comment.
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  15. #14  
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    I am asking about your qualifications.
    Disclaimer: I do not declare myself to be an expert on ANY subject. If I state something as fact that is obviously wrong, please don't hesitate to correct me. I welcome such corrections in an attempt to be as truthful and accurate as possible.

    "Gullibility kills" - Carl Sagan
    "All people know the same truth. Our lives consist of how we chose to distort it." - Harry Block
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  16. #15  
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    You'll have to ask in a few days, he's on vacation.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox View Post
    From what I can tell.... they haven't been published the articles, nor has the author published anything in peer review journals in physics nor does it show up in a thesis search--all of which tends to support your position.
    You can't judge an article or author simply because the author hasn't published a paper yet. It might just be that the artilce being discussed is (1) the first article they wrote and has not yet been published (2) not an article whose purpose it is to be published (3) the author never wanted to publish before he or she wrote that article or (4) hasn't found an appropriate journal in which to publish it.
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    Or it could be unable to pass through peer review. Just sayin'...
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    Quote Originally Posted by MeteorWayne View Post
    Personally, I would be interested to hear that, if you have the time.
    Sure.

    I went to a physics forum for my very first time to find out if someone knew the expressioin of the electric field of a rotating axially symmetric magnetic rod about its axis of symmetry. I found a place to discuss it and I learned that I enjoyed helping people learn physics.

    One day someone made the claim that mass does not increase with velocoty. Up until that time I was unaware that there was a debate on this subject. I very soon came to learn that it was all a matter of taste as to how mass is defined. So I decided to learn for myself what the who debate was about and why physicists held the views that they do. To be complete I had to drop everything and go learn general relativity.

    During that process I learned a huge amount of information about the concept of mass. I even went out and bought a couple of books on the subject. I read all the material that I could find in the literature on the debate. I then started constructing all the various types of situations that could be encountered when defining mass. I also learned how to use the stress-energy-momentum tensor to study the effects of stress n inertia. I constructed an example where to relativistic mass is not proportional to energy. I learned how to define and use the concept of active and passive gravitationmal mass. I learned how to calculate the gravitational field of a beam of light and other types of these things. All the while answering questions of the concept.

    I soon became bored repeating the same thing over and over again. So I came to the point where I had enough information to write an interesting article and point out several points the author of other papers seem not to know. So I wrote the paper. When the subject came up I'd give them the URL to it rather than repeat it all over again ever time it came up. I submitted to the American Journal of Physics but they weren't interested in the subject matter. I then began a search for a new journal.

    Unfortunately I damaged my spine around that time so I had to cease all my reearch. The pain I was in was so blinding that I had to stop beause I couldn't think straight anymore. Now that I', on pain killers now I might rewrite the paper for another journal. Not sure. I've had a hard 7 years in pain and now I'm just trying to relax and enjoy to being in s much pain. But when the subject comes up I still refer people to the arguement as a supplement to what I've already explained.

    Make sense?
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    It might had there been paragraphs. As it is, I'll have to read it a few times
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    Quote Originally Posted by MeteorWayne View Post
    Or it could be unable to pass through peer review. Just sayin'...
    Of course. But papers don't always go though at the first attempt. Sometimes it takes several runs in several different journals to get it published. In the end it could simply mean that nobody was interested in the subject matter. And not all the articles mentioned may never have been intended for publication. I myself am in no hurry to get mine published. Its serving its primary purpose as it is so its not a big deal for me not to have it published.
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    Quote Originally Posted by MeteorWayne View Post
    It might had there been paragraphs. As it is, I'll have to read it a few times
    Sorry about that. I broke it up into paragraphs for you so as to make it easier to read.
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    Quote Originally Posted by pmb View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by MeteorWayne View Post
    Or it could be unable to pass through peer review. Just sayin'...
    Of course. But papers don't always go though at the first attempt. Sometimes it takes several runs in several different journals to get it published. In the end it could simply mean that nobody was interested in the subject matter. And not all the articles mentioned may never have been intended for publication. I myself am in no hurry to get mine published. Its serving its primary purpose as it is so its not a big deal for me not to have it published.
    And what was the purpose?
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    Quote Originally Posted by pmb View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by MeteorWayne View Post
    It might had there been paragraphs. As it is, I'll have to read it a few times
    Sorry about that. I broke it up into paragraphs for you so as to make it easier to read.
    Thanx!
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    Quote Originally Posted by MeteorWayne View Post
    And what was the purpose?
    To give interested people a complete understanding of all the aspects of mass. That's a rather daunting tasl. Take a look at the following as an example of a discussion of invariant mass - Invariant Mass
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    Quote Originally Posted by nano View Post
    I'm sure most of us have encountered what I'm going to call science trolls, for want of a better term.
    These are non-scientists who write these long articles - made to look like research papers - that usually consist of a list of equations taken from a standard physics textbook with a bunch of gibberish written about them and followed by far-out conclusions. They then upload their work to arXiv and flaunt it on forums - such as this one - and sneak references to them on Wikipedia. I have selected a few examples below for your amusement.

    My question is: why do they do it? Does anyone understand them at all? What's in it for them? Why do they waste so much of their own time doing this?

    http://arxiv.org/pdf/0709.3314v3.pdf
    http://arxiv.org/pdf/hep-th/0701221v3.pdf
    http://arxiv.org/pdf/physics/0306190v2.pdf
    http://arxiv.org/pdf/quant-ph/0107011v1.pdf
    http://arxiv.org/ftp/arxiv/papers/0709/0709.0687.pdf {MW edit}
    Okay. I took a look at all the papers and they all seem normal for physics articles except for one which looks like crackpot physics. So nano's assertion seem quite unreasonable to me. Plus the term "troll" can't reasonably be employed here and make sense. The term Science Troll implies that someone is trolling in the area of science. That is not the case here, even for the crackpot article. Trolls, by their very definition, are inflamatory, extraneous or off-topic and have as their main intent to evoke emptional turmoil. I.e.

    Troll (Internet) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)
    In Internet slang, a troll is someone who posts inflammatory,extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community, such as an online discussion forum, chat room, or blog, with the primary intent of provoking readers into an emotional response or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion. The noun troll may refer to the provocative message itself, as in: "That was an excellent troll you posted."
    While the word troll and its associated verb trolling are associated with Internet discourse, media attention in recent years has made such labels subjective, with trolling describing intentionally provocative actions and harassment outside of an online context. For example, mass media has used troll to describe "a person who defaces Internet tribute sites with the aim of causing grief to families."
    Posting links to articleswho subject is physics an in no way be justlky referred to as trolls. The purpose of this thread is quote clear and it has nothing to do with the papers in question.
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    I didn't go over it extensively but the paper by pmb didn't actually seem trollish to me. There is actually a debate amongst physicists about how we should define mass in relativity, and the amount I read all sounded correct to me. I even scanned down the paper, nothing seemed really wrong with it. Unless I just didn't read far enough?
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheObserver View Post
    I didn't go over it extensively but the paper by pmb didn't actually seem trollish to me. There is actually a debate amongst physicists about how we should define mass in relativity, and the amount I read all sounded correct to me. I even scanned down the paper, nothing seemed really wrong with it. Unless I just didn't read far enough?
    That's because I was very cautious to make sure that it didn't come across that way. In fact none of the papers were trollish by any leap of the imagination. Some people just need to snipe at others for no good reason. Some people just get their jollys by insulting people. There's nothing more to it than that.
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    publish – to make publicly known; announce, proclaim, divulge, or promulgate.

    I can see someone with an interest in a bit of knowledge wanting to get it out to the public despite the fact that mainstream (or other) journals think it not of enough general interest to justify the advertisement and subscription rates that they charge.

    Not to get off track, but I'm a prime example. Thirty years ago, I derived my own linear regression method without squaring or minimizing anything, and I surprised myself by ending up with the Least Squares Method. To see if I had found a new LSM derivation, I searched statistical textbooks high and low, but did not find it or any mention of it. I sent the Abstract (ie, without showing the derivation) to various university professors of statistics, who all told me that I was wrong. I also sent the Abstract to a couple of mathematical journals who ignored it — didn't even respond. Finally, one statistics professor told me that my derivation was correct and that I had not found anything new. I've also found the mathematical foundation of the arithmetic mean, which I likewise cannot find anywhere or find mention of anywhere. I remain puzzled why there's no mention anywhere of these facts on these two extremely popular mathematical functions.
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    (delete duplicate)
    Last edited by pmb; July 7th, 2012 at 02:40 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by jrmonroe View Post
    Not to get off track, but I'm a prime example. Thirty years ago, I ...
    I hear that and understand where you're comming from.

    I my case there's just a lot of points that have been missed or just plain overlooked/forgotten in the public debate on relativistic mass. For example: In 1907 Einstein wrote a paper called On the Inertia of Energy Required by the Relativity Principle Annalen der Physik 23 (1907). Section 1 is called On the kinetic energy of a rigid body in uniform translation subject to external forces. This kind of thing is rarely, if ever, mentioned in modern relativity texts. Its implicit in the stress-energy-momentum tensor but you have to know what to look for. I found it because I did a deep search into Einstein's papers. This idea can be used to show that E = mc2 doesn't hold for stressed bodies. I raised that notion in my article because it seems that nobody else who wrote articls on the subject knows about it. In the article Einstein starts out by saying
    We consider a rigid body that is moving in uniform tranlation (velocity v) in the direcction of increasing x-coordinate of a coordinate system (x, y, z) that is assumed to be at rest. If external forces do not act upon it, then, according to the theory of relaivity, its kinetic energy is given by the equation



    where denotes mass (in the conventional sense) and V the velocity of light in vacuum. We now want to show that according to the theory of relativity thi expression does not hold any longer if the body is acted upon by external forces that balance each other.[
    I then use this same scenario to show that relativistc mass isn't just another name for energy since the normal relationship E = mc2 does hold under these circumstances. That's a very important point that has been over looked in this debate on relativistic mass vs rest mass.
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    This also reminds me of some epic OP's I find on science forums that run into the several thousands of words (and the responders who then unnecessarily click the QUOTE button instead of the REPLY button). Maybe their authors should do them up right (ie, put them in the proper format) and publish them on arXiv.org, and then write an OP referencing the article and asking a question.

    I think forums are not the place to publish anything ... and I'm using the word "publish" to mean any way of making a substantial package of knowledge available to the public. I generally refuse to read anything more than one screen long ... about 500 words. If they can't say it in 500 words or less, I don't want to read it.
    Grief is the price we pay for love. (CM Parkes) Our postillion has been struck by lightning. (Unknown) War is always the choice of the chosen who will not have to fight. (Bono) The years tell much what the days never knew. (RW Emerson) Reality is not always probable, or likely. (JL Borges)
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    Quote Originally Posted by jrmonroe View Post
    This also reminds me of some epic OP's I find on science forums that run into the several thousands of words (and the responders who then unnecessarily click the QUOTE button instead of the REPLY button). Maybe their authors should do them up right (ie, put them in the proper format) and publish them on arXiv.org, and then write an OP referencing the article and asking a question.
    Actually that's precisely what did. Was that what you were referring to?

    Quote Originally Posted by jrmonroe View Post
    I think forums are not the place to publish anything ... and I'm using the word "publish" to mean any way of making a substantial package of knowledge available to the public. I generally refuse to read anything more than one screen long ... about 500 words. If they can't say it in 500 words or less, I don't want to read it.
    I feel the same way. When I see a post which is too long I ignore it too. And I never post something so long that even I wouldn't want to read it. Often less than a page ful in total.
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    Quote Originally Posted by pmb View Post
    Actually that's precisely what [I] did. Was that what you were referring to?
    Thank you for doing so. I didn't pay complete attention to the situations of all the examples.

    Quote Originally Posted by pmb View Post
    I feel the same way. When I see a post which is too long I ignore it too. And I never post something so long that even I wouldn't want to read it. Often less than a page ful in total.
    Hey, what can I say? Great minds think alike. And often times it seems that the authors have spent a lot of time on their works, so they are doing themselves a disservice by not publishing them as effectively as they could.
    Grief is the price we pay for love. (CM Parkes) Our postillion has been struck by lightning. (Unknown) War is always the choice of the chosen who will not have to fight. (Bono) The years tell much what the days never knew. (RW Emerson) Reality is not always probable, or likely. (JL Borges)
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    Quote Originally Posted by jrmonroe View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by pmb View Post
    Actually that's precisely what [I] did. Was that what you were referring to?
    Thank you for doing so. I didn't pay complete attention to the situations of all the examples.

    Quote Originally Posted by pmb View Post
    I feel the same way. When I see a post which is too long I ignore it too. And I never post something so long that even I wouldn't want to read it. Often less than a page ful in total.
    Hey, what can I say? Great minds think alike. And often times it seems that the authors have spent a lot of time on their works, so they are doing themselves a disservice by not publishing them as effectively as they could.
    I guess that all I can really say in the end here is that nano never read my article but merely wanted to bitch about it for some bizzare, unrespectable reason. I'm glad that the majority of the members here are not like that.
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