Reviewer signs name on review. Should the editor censor?

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38

Say a reviewer writes something like

This paper is [yada yada blah blah].

Sincerely,

Professor John Smith, Big Name University

Should the editor just forward the review to the authors because Professor John Smith, by signing his name onto the review, is presumably willing to reveal his identity to the authors? Or should the editor keep the review anonymous by deleting the signature?

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  • 18

    Just a data point: I have some senior colleagues who always sign their reviews, whether they are positive or negative. Their view is that reviewer anonymity is a right that they choose to waive, rather than a rule they have to follow. This is probably very field dependent though. (My colleagues who do this are Earth scientists.)

    – Nathaniel
    Jan 3 at 13:13

  • 11

    What about contacting the reviewer to clarify what their intentions are?

    – usul
    Jan 4 at 3:14

  • 1

    @Nathaniel i’ll second that as an earth scientist myself. Many of the senior people around me always sign their name, unless they are forced to be anonymous.

    – Gimelist
    Jan 6 at 9:58

38

Say a reviewer writes something like

This paper is [yada yada blah blah].

Sincerely,

Professor John Smith, Big Name University

Should the editor just forward the review to the authors because Professor John Smith, by signing his name onto the review, is presumably willing to reveal his identity to the authors? Or should the editor keep the review anonymous by deleting the signature?

share|improve this question

  • 18

    Just a data point: I have some senior colleagues who always sign their reviews, whether they are positive or negative. Their view is that reviewer anonymity is a right that they choose to waive, rather than a rule they have to follow. This is probably very field dependent though. (My colleagues who do this are Earth scientists.)

    – Nathaniel
    Jan 3 at 13:13

  • 11

    What about contacting the reviewer to clarify what their intentions are?

    – usul
    Jan 4 at 3:14

  • 1

    @Nathaniel i’ll second that as an earth scientist myself. Many of the senior people around me always sign their name, unless they are forced to be anonymous.

    – Gimelist
    Jan 6 at 9:58

38

38

38

Say a reviewer writes something like

This paper is [yada yada blah blah].

Sincerely,

Professor John Smith, Big Name University

Should the editor just forward the review to the authors because Professor John Smith, by signing his name onto the review, is presumably willing to reveal his identity to the authors? Or should the editor keep the review anonymous by deleting the signature?

share|improve this question

Say a reviewer writes something like

This paper is [yada yada blah blah].

Sincerely,

Professor John Smith, Big Name University

Should the editor just forward the review to the authors because Professor John Smith, by signing his name onto the review, is presumably willing to reveal his identity to the authors? Or should the editor keep the review anonymous by deleting the signature?

peer-review ethics editors anonymity

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asked Jan 3 at 1:22

AllureAllure

28.1k1484137

28.1k1484137

  • 18

    Just a data point: I have some senior colleagues who always sign their reviews, whether they are positive or negative. Their view is that reviewer anonymity is a right that they choose to waive, rather than a rule they have to follow. This is probably very field dependent though. (My colleagues who do this are Earth scientists.)

    – Nathaniel
    Jan 3 at 13:13

  • 11

    What about contacting the reviewer to clarify what their intentions are?

    – usul
    Jan 4 at 3:14

  • 1

    @Nathaniel i’ll second that as an earth scientist myself. Many of the senior people around me always sign their name, unless they are forced to be anonymous.

    – Gimelist
    Jan 6 at 9:58

  • 18

    Just a data point: I have some senior colleagues who always sign their reviews, whether they are positive or negative. Their view is that reviewer anonymity is a right that they choose to waive, rather than a rule they have to follow. This is probably very field dependent though. (My colleagues who do this are Earth scientists.)

    – Nathaniel
    Jan 3 at 13:13

  • 11

    What about contacting the reviewer to clarify what their intentions are?

    – usul
    Jan 4 at 3:14

  • 1

    @Nathaniel i’ll second that as an earth scientist myself. Many of the senior people around me always sign their name, unless they are forced to be anonymous.

    – Gimelist
    Jan 6 at 9:58

18

18

Just a data point: I have some senior colleagues who always sign their reviews, whether they are positive or negative. Their view is that reviewer anonymity is a right that they choose to waive, rather than a rule they have to follow. This is probably very field dependent though. (My colleagues who do this are Earth scientists.)

– Nathaniel
Jan 3 at 13:13

Just a data point: I have some senior colleagues who always sign their reviews, whether they are positive or negative. Their view is that reviewer anonymity is a right that they choose to waive, rather than a rule they have to follow. This is probably very field dependent though. (My colleagues who do this are Earth scientists.)

– Nathaniel
Jan 3 at 13:13

11

11

What about contacting the reviewer to clarify what their intentions are?

– usul
Jan 4 at 3:14

What about contacting the reviewer to clarify what their intentions are?

– usul
Jan 4 at 3:14

1

1

@Nathaniel i’ll second that as an earth scientist myself. Many of the senior people around me always sign their name, unless they are forced to be anonymous.

– Gimelist
Jan 6 at 9:58

@Nathaniel i’ll second that as an earth scientist myself. Many of the senior people around me always sign their name, unless they are forced to be anonymous.

– Gimelist
Jan 6 at 9:58

8 Answers
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41

If the journal is structured with a blinded review process, as most are in my experience, I would censor the name as an editor.

Only if there is some sort of explicit journal policy allowing reviewers to unblind themselves would I consider not censoring the name.

share|improve this answer

  • 6

    This answer relies on the assumption that the blinded review process is fundamentally reliant on compulsory, rather than offered anonymity. At least historically this is definitely not the case, and some people argue that reviewer anonymity is voluntary (others argue more strongly that it’s positively a bad idea). I therefore think this answer’s reasoning is flawed and, consequently, the recommendation is incorrect.

    – Konrad Rudolph
    Jan 4 at 19:33

  • 2

    @KonradRudolph See JoshuaZ’s answer. The signature of a senior person on a review, especially for a more junior author, could carry an implied threat of “Do what I say because I’m a big cheese and I can crush you”. Anonymity removes that power.

    – JeffE
    Jan 5 at 23:30

  • @JeffE You can make this argument but it’s definitely not obvious. And it’s flawed (I’d go even further: it’s flat out wrong): in single-blinded peer review a vindictive reviewer could punish non-compliance with review demands anyway, regardless of signature. In double-blind peer review this gets much harder — but, again, regardless of whether a reviewer wants to sign their review. The fact that a signature isn’t obviously seen as a threat completely removes its effectiveness to work as such.

    – Konrad Rudolph
    Jan 6 at 19:01

  • @KonradRudolph Some journals explicitly have a policy that reviewers may give up their anonymity. In that case, as my answer states, no need to censor anything. As JeffE points out, there are arguments for anonymity regardless of reviewer views. In smaller worlds, breaking anonymity of one reviewer could easily break the anonymity of others indirectly, or at least reduce the uncertainty, as well as the implied threat that JeffE suggests, and the possible quid pro quo that could be implied (“I gave you a favorable review so you might do the same for me”).

    – Bryan Krause
    Jan 6 at 20:46

  • 1

    @KonradRudolph Sure, but a vindictive colleague could also punish disagreement even without being a reviewer. Eliminating abuse is impossible. I’m proposing the anonymity takes away a channel inappropriate leverage, and just as importantly, the appearance of inappropriate leverage. Authors should not feel pressured to accept reviewer opinions because the reviewer is their senior; crucially, that pressure exists independently of the senior reviewers’ actual intentions.

    – JeffE
    Jan 7 at 19:28

23

So, I have heard of people not censoring when people do so. There have been at least some controversies in some fields where this has happened. See for example, https://www.quantamagazine.org/a-self-aware-fish-raises-doubts-about-a-cognitive-test-20181212/ . For that reason I would strongly recommend removing the signature. Anonymity is important, and I personally (and other people) have had bad experiences with referees who have deliberately unmasked themselves. A big part of the concern where a referee has deliberately unmasked themselves is that if they are prominent in the field there’s a possible implied intimidation or threat of retaliation for results they don’t like. Also, it is possible that the file you got was intended for the editor and wasn’t actually intended to not be unmasked in the first place. But regardless, editors should do all they can to keep the referees anonymous.

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  • 3

    I would also mention to the reviewer that it isn’t appropriate to sign reviews. This might result in some discussion, of course.

    – Buffy
    Jan 3 at 1:30

  • 8

    What were these bad experiences about?

    – henning
    Jan 3 at 8:02

  • 4

    I think the name should not be elided without asking the reviewer. If it is your policy to strictly cut out the identification, you could tell the reviewer that you cannot use their review with an unblinded name and ask them permission to do so. But I strongly recommend to never remove any words (including name) silently from a review.

    – Captain Emacs
    Jan 3 at 11:08

  • 4

    @JoshuaZ That’s interesting. The article reports a reviewer who waived anonymity. His review strongly criticized a paper that was part of a debate in which the reviewer took an opposing view to the paper. He also had an important stake in the debate. But I don’t understand what difference it made that the he signed the review. The review would have been critical regardless, and the author would have improved his study and resubmitted at another venue, also regardless of the reviewer’s anonymity.

    – henning
    Jan 3 at 14:14

  • 6

    @henning The concern is in part that if someone is sufficiently prominent in a field they are by non-anonymizing their review potentially engaging in implied intimidation. That’s one of the issues. Tangent: I actually had an issue in another direction on another paper where there were multiple reviewers and a technical error resulted in all the reviewers being deanonymized to each other (not to the authors); one of the other reviewers was extremely prominent. My review was in essential agreement with his, but if it had disagreed a lot, I would have been concerned.

    – JoshuaZ
    Jan 3 at 21:03

18

There are a few different cases to consider. First of all, there is the question of whether a journal’s policy even allows for signed reviews. I think that most journals do not have an official policy about this. However, if there is a strict prohibition against non-anonymous reviews, then the editor should remove the identifying information before sending the report on to the authors (and any other relevant parties, such as other referees who are working on the same paper).

In the more likely event that signed reviews are not outright forbidden, then editor should look at the additional question of whether the referee really intended to make their identity known. From the report alone, it may or may not be clear whether a referee is intentionally choosing to dispense with anonymity. If there is just a signature at the end of the report, the reviewer might have added it out of absentmindedness. If the situation is unclear, the editor should check back with the referee, to see whether they actually intended to include their name before passing that name on.

However, I have seen one review that concluded with:

I choose to sign this review.

[Referee’s Name]

In that case, it was quite clear that the reviewer (who was both a very senior person and giving a positive report) was not worried about maintaining anonymity. In a clear-cut situation like this, a referee can simply send the authors the report without any additional concerns.

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  • 8

    This policy seems to encourage signing every positive report with your name…

    – HRSE
    Jan 3 at 6:52

  • 3

    @HRSE, I’m not sure it does. My reviewing style is very distinctive. If I signed a positive report and then didn’t sign a negative one for the same author, then it would be very clear to the author who had authored the negative report. (Probably it is anyway, to be honest.)

    – LSpice
    Jan 4 at 18:53

6

If the journal policy is to maintain anonymity then it should not be done, even if the referee has indicated her/his name can be revealed. The reason is simple enough: if the review is not signed and one knows that John Smith from Big Name University usually signs his reports, then one can deduce the referee was NOT John Smith, which may help the author conclude about the identity of the real referee.

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  • On the other hand, if one is really dedicated to this kind of sleuthing, one could simply ask John Smith, who, being willing to sign his reviews, is presumably also willing to own up to them even if unsigned.

    – LSpice
    Jan 4 at 18:53

6

“Should” or “should not” is impossible to answer in the general case. Some journals may have a formal policy one way, some may have a policy the other, and I suspect that the vast majority have no formal policy about what to do with signed reviews.

There is a (small and localized but real) debate over whether reviewers should sign their reviews, and at least for a while it seemed that there was a small movement toward signed reviews. I can say that I’ve signed reviews and at least in some instances they have been passed on to the authors, so there are some journals and editors who don’t have concerns about this.

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  • 2

    Regardless of the policy, as has been argued elsewhere, silently changing a referee’s report is, I think, not good practice. If it is to be changed, then it should be done only with notice to the referee.

    – LSpice
    Jan 4 at 19:11

1

As ZeroTheHero touches on, anonymity is not a property of an individual, it’s a property of a set of people. You can’t have a single anonymous reviewer; if of the set of possible reviewers, all but one sign their name, then whenever there’s a review that isn’t signed, everyone knows whose it is (note my wording does admit the possibility that there are people that are qualified to review but haven’t been asked to do so by the journal, in which there would be some anonymity in that people might be unsure as to whether the review is from one of them, but for many papers the set of people qualified to review is quite small). We don’t let voters waive “their” right to secret ballot, because if all the voters for Party A sign their names on their ballots, then we know that any voter whose name we don’t see voted for another party. Since anonymity is not a property of a single person, it is not the right of a single person to waive.

Now, if you as a journal want to have limited anonymity, that is your choice, but it’s not the reviewer’s choice.

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    0

    I was involved as a referee in a case where the authors turned around and invited me to be a co-author, and I’ve heard of that happening before. I didn’t accept the offer, because the paper wasn’t something I wanted my name attached to, but I can imagine cases where it would be appropriate to do so.

    share|improve this answer

    • Welcome to this site! I’m not sure how your answer answers the question. Did cou sign your review with your name and have you been contacted by the authors?

      – OBu
      Jan 4 at 12:23

    • 1

      Even without an author’s signature, this is possible; the authors can contact the editor with any messages, including invitations to co-author, for the referee.

      – LSpice
      Jan 4 at 19:12

    • 1

      I have also done this, but with the editor as an intermediary.

      – JeffE
      Jan 5 at 23:34

    -1

    I think the editor should delete it to avoid spoiling the puzzle game of figuring out who the reviewer is. (Easy one is when they ask the author to cite them.) 😉

    share|improve this answer

    • figuring out who reviewed you. Please explain who is that “you”?

      – scaaahu
      Jan 3 at 7:18

    • @scaaahu “you” will be the author, if the author is also the reviewer then that really is an issue… Other readers are also left with the puzzle… Don’t think it really deserved a downvote…

      – Solar Mike
      Jan 3 at 8:09

    • 1

      @SolarMike The question asks what should the editor do, not even a reviewer or an author.

      – scaaahu
      Jan 3 at 8:12

    • 4 “you” and not all the same …

      – Solar Mike
      Jan 3 at 8:15

    • @SolarMike I was asking the answerer to explain the “you” in figuring out who reviewed you. Which “you” are you talking about?

      – scaaahu
      Jan 3 at 8:21

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    8 Answers
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    41

    If the journal is structured with a blinded review process, as most are in my experience, I would censor the name as an editor.

    Only if there is some sort of explicit journal policy allowing reviewers to unblind themselves would I consider not censoring the name.

    share|improve this answer

    • 6

      This answer relies on the assumption that the blinded review process is fundamentally reliant on compulsory, rather than offered anonymity. At least historically this is definitely not the case, and some people argue that reviewer anonymity is voluntary (others argue more strongly that it’s positively a bad idea). I therefore think this answer’s reasoning is flawed and, consequently, the recommendation is incorrect.

      – Konrad Rudolph
      Jan 4 at 19:33

    • 2

      @KonradRudolph See JoshuaZ’s answer. The signature of a senior person on a review, especially for a more junior author, could carry an implied threat of “Do what I say because I’m a big cheese and I can crush you”. Anonymity removes that power.

      – JeffE
      Jan 5 at 23:30

    • @JeffE You can make this argument but it’s definitely not obvious. And it’s flawed (I’d go even further: it’s flat out wrong): in single-blinded peer review a vindictive reviewer could punish non-compliance with review demands anyway, regardless of signature. In double-blind peer review this gets much harder — but, again, regardless of whether a reviewer wants to sign their review. The fact that a signature isn’t obviously seen as a threat completely removes its effectiveness to work as such.

      – Konrad Rudolph
      Jan 6 at 19:01

    • @KonradRudolph Some journals explicitly have a policy that reviewers may give up their anonymity. In that case, as my answer states, no need to censor anything. As JeffE points out, there are arguments for anonymity regardless of reviewer views. In smaller worlds, breaking anonymity of one reviewer could easily break the anonymity of others indirectly, or at least reduce the uncertainty, as well as the implied threat that JeffE suggests, and the possible quid pro quo that could be implied (“I gave you a favorable review so you might do the same for me”).

      – Bryan Krause
      Jan 6 at 20:46

    • 1

      @KonradRudolph Sure, but a vindictive colleague could also punish disagreement even without being a reviewer. Eliminating abuse is impossible. I’m proposing the anonymity takes away a channel inappropriate leverage, and just as importantly, the appearance of inappropriate leverage. Authors should not feel pressured to accept reviewer opinions because the reviewer is their senior; crucially, that pressure exists independently of the senior reviewers’ actual intentions.

      – JeffE
      Jan 7 at 19:28

    41

    If the journal is structured with a blinded review process, as most are in my experience, I would censor the name as an editor.

    Only if there is some sort of explicit journal policy allowing reviewers to unblind themselves would I consider not censoring the name.

    share|improve this answer

    • 6

      This answer relies on the assumption that the blinded review process is fundamentally reliant on compulsory, rather than offered anonymity. At least historically this is definitely not the case, and some people argue that reviewer anonymity is voluntary (others argue more strongly that it’s positively a bad idea). I therefore think this answer’s reasoning is flawed and, consequently, the recommendation is incorrect.

      – Konrad Rudolph
      Jan 4 at 19:33

    • 2

      @KonradRudolph See JoshuaZ’s answer. The signature of a senior person on a review, especially for a more junior author, could carry an implied threat of “Do what I say because I’m a big cheese and I can crush you”. Anonymity removes that power.

      – JeffE
      Jan 5 at 23:30

    • @JeffE You can make this argument but it’s definitely not obvious. And it’s flawed (I’d go even further: it’s flat out wrong): in single-blinded peer review a vindictive reviewer could punish non-compliance with review demands anyway, regardless of signature. In double-blind peer review this gets much harder — but, again, regardless of whether a reviewer wants to sign their review. The fact that a signature isn’t obviously seen as a threat completely removes its effectiveness to work as such.

      – Konrad Rudolph
      Jan 6 at 19:01

    • @KonradRudolph Some journals explicitly have a policy that reviewers may give up their anonymity. In that case, as my answer states, no need to censor anything. As JeffE points out, there are arguments for anonymity regardless of reviewer views. In smaller worlds, breaking anonymity of one reviewer could easily break the anonymity of others indirectly, or at least reduce the uncertainty, as well as the implied threat that JeffE suggests, and the possible quid pro quo that could be implied (“I gave you a favorable review so you might do the same for me”).

      – Bryan Krause
      Jan 6 at 20:46

    • 1

      @KonradRudolph Sure, but a vindictive colleague could also punish disagreement even without being a reviewer. Eliminating abuse is impossible. I’m proposing the anonymity takes away a channel inappropriate leverage, and just as importantly, the appearance of inappropriate leverage. Authors should not feel pressured to accept reviewer opinions because the reviewer is their senior; crucially, that pressure exists independently of the senior reviewers’ actual intentions.

      – JeffE
      Jan 7 at 19:28

    41

    41

    41

    If the journal is structured with a blinded review process, as most are in my experience, I would censor the name as an editor.

    Only if there is some sort of explicit journal policy allowing reviewers to unblind themselves would I consider not censoring the name.

    share|improve this answer

    If the journal is structured with a blinded review process, as most are in my experience, I would censor the name as an editor.

    Only if there is some sort of explicit journal policy allowing reviewers to unblind themselves would I consider not censoring the name.

    share|improve this answer

    share|improve this answer

    share|improve this answer

    answered Jan 3 at 1:28

    Bryan KrauseBryan Krause

    12.2k13759

    12.2k13759

    • 6

      This answer relies on the assumption that the blinded review process is fundamentally reliant on compulsory, rather than offered anonymity. At least historically this is definitely not the case, and some people argue that reviewer anonymity is voluntary (others argue more strongly that it’s positively a bad idea). I therefore think this answer’s reasoning is flawed and, consequently, the recommendation is incorrect.

      – Konrad Rudolph
      Jan 4 at 19:33

    • 2

      @KonradRudolph See JoshuaZ’s answer. The signature of a senior person on a review, especially for a more junior author, could carry an implied threat of “Do what I say because I’m a big cheese and I can crush you”. Anonymity removes that power.

      – JeffE
      Jan 5 at 23:30

    • @JeffE You can make this argument but it’s definitely not obvious. And it’s flawed (I’d go even further: it’s flat out wrong): in single-blinded peer review a vindictive reviewer could punish non-compliance with review demands anyway, regardless of signature. In double-blind peer review this gets much harder — but, again, regardless of whether a reviewer wants to sign their review. The fact that a signature isn’t obviously seen as a threat completely removes its effectiveness to work as such.

      – Konrad Rudolph
      Jan 6 at 19:01

    • @KonradRudolph Some journals explicitly have a policy that reviewers may give up their anonymity. In that case, as my answer states, no need to censor anything. As JeffE points out, there are arguments for anonymity regardless of reviewer views. In smaller worlds, breaking anonymity of one reviewer could easily break the anonymity of others indirectly, or at least reduce the uncertainty, as well as the implied threat that JeffE suggests, and the possible quid pro quo that could be implied (“I gave you a favorable review so you might do the same for me”).

      – Bryan Krause
      Jan 6 at 20:46

    • 1

      @KonradRudolph Sure, but a vindictive colleague could also punish disagreement even without being a reviewer. Eliminating abuse is impossible. I’m proposing the anonymity takes away a channel inappropriate leverage, and just as importantly, the appearance of inappropriate leverage. Authors should not feel pressured to accept reviewer opinions because the reviewer is their senior; crucially, that pressure exists independently of the senior reviewers’ actual intentions.

      – JeffE
      Jan 7 at 19:28

    • 6

      This answer relies on the assumption that the blinded review process is fundamentally reliant on compulsory, rather than offered anonymity. At least historically this is definitely not the case, and some people argue that reviewer anonymity is voluntary (others argue more strongly that it’s positively a bad idea). I therefore think this answer’s reasoning is flawed and, consequently, the recommendation is incorrect.

      – Konrad Rudolph
      Jan 4 at 19:33

    • 2

      @KonradRudolph See JoshuaZ’s answer. The signature of a senior person on a review, especially for a more junior author, could carry an implied threat of “Do what I say because I’m a big cheese and I can crush you”. Anonymity removes that power.

      – JeffE
      Jan 5 at 23:30

    • @JeffE You can make this argument but it’s definitely not obvious. And it’s flawed (I’d go even further: it’s flat out wrong): in single-blinded peer review a vindictive reviewer could punish non-compliance with review demands anyway, regardless of signature. In double-blind peer review this gets much harder — but, again, regardless of whether a reviewer wants to sign their review. The fact that a signature isn’t obviously seen as a threat completely removes its effectiveness to work as such.

      – Konrad Rudolph
      Jan 6 at 19:01

    • @KonradRudolph Some journals explicitly have a policy that reviewers may give up their anonymity. In that case, as my answer states, no need to censor anything. As JeffE points out, there are arguments for anonymity regardless of reviewer views. In smaller worlds, breaking anonymity of one reviewer could easily break the anonymity of others indirectly, or at least reduce the uncertainty, as well as the implied threat that JeffE suggests, and the possible quid pro quo that could be implied (“I gave you a favorable review so you might do the same for me”).

      – Bryan Krause
      Jan 6 at 20:46

    • 1

      @KonradRudolph Sure, but a vindictive colleague could also punish disagreement even without being a reviewer. Eliminating abuse is impossible. I’m proposing the anonymity takes away a channel inappropriate leverage, and just as importantly, the appearance of inappropriate leverage. Authors should not feel pressured to accept reviewer opinions because the reviewer is their senior; crucially, that pressure exists independently of the senior reviewers’ actual intentions.

      – JeffE
      Jan 7 at 19:28

    6

    6

    This answer relies on the assumption that the blinded review process is fundamentally reliant on compulsory, rather than offered anonymity. At least historically this is definitely not the case, and some people argue that reviewer anonymity is voluntary (others argue more strongly that it’s positively a bad idea). I therefore think this answer’s reasoning is flawed and, consequently, the recommendation is incorrect.

    – Konrad Rudolph
    Jan 4 at 19:33

    This answer relies on the assumption that the blinded review process is fundamentally reliant on compulsory, rather than offered anonymity. At least historically this is definitely not the case, and some people argue that reviewer anonymity is voluntary (others argue more strongly that it’s positively a bad idea). I therefore think this answer’s reasoning is flawed and, consequently, the recommendation is incorrect.

    – Konrad Rudolph
    Jan 4 at 19:33

    2

    2

    @KonradRudolph See JoshuaZ’s answer. The signature of a senior person on a review, especially for a more junior author, could carry an implied threat of “Do what I say because I’m a big cheese and I can crush you”. Anonymity removes that power.

    – JeffE
    Jan 5 at 23:30

    @KonradRudolph See JoshuaZ’s answer. The signature of a senior person on a review, especially for a more junior author, could carry an implied threat of “Do what I say because I’m a big cheese and I can crush you”. Anonymity removes that power.

    – JeffE
    Jan 5 at 23:30

    @JeffE You can make this argument but it’s definitely not obvious. And it’s flawed (I’d go even further: it’s flat out wrong): in single-blinded peer review a vindictive reviewer could punish non-compliance with review demands anyway, regardless of signature. In double-blind peer review this gets much harder — but, again, regardless of whether a reviewer wants to sign their review. The fact that a signature isn’t obviously seen as a threat completely removes its effectiveness to work as such.

    – Konrad Rudolph
    Jan 6 at 19:01

    @JeffE You can make this argument but it’s definitely not obvious. And it’s flawed (I’d go even further: it’s flat out wrong): in single-blinded peer review a vindictive reviewer could punish non-compliance with review demands anyway, regardless of signature. In double-blind peer review this gets much harder — but, again, regardless of whether a reviewer wants to sign their review. The fact that a signature isn’t obviously seen as a threat completely removes its effectiveness to work as such.

    – Konrad Rudolph
    Jan 6 at 19:01

    @KonradRudolph Some journals explicitly have a policy that reviewers may give up their anonymity. In that case, as my answer states, no need to censor anything. As JeffE points out, there are arguments for anonymity regardless of reviewer views. In smaller worlds, breaking anonymity of one reviewer could easily break the anonymity of others indirectly, or at least reduce the uncertainty, as well as the implied threat that JeffE suggests, and the possible quid pro quo that could be implied (“I gave you a favorable review so you might do the same for me”).

    – Bryan Krause
    Jan 6 at 20:46

    @KonradRudolph Some journals explicitly have a policy that reviewers may give up their anonymity. In that case, as my answer states, no need to censor anything. As JeffE points out, there are arguments for anonymity regardless of reviewer views. In smaller worlds, breaking anonymity of one reviewer could easily break the anonymity of others indirectly, or at least reduce the uncertainty, as well as the implied threat that JeffE suggests, and the possible quid pro quo that could be implied (“I gave you a favorable review so you might do the same for me”).

    – Bryan Krause
    Jan 6 at 20:46

    1

    1

    @KonradRudolph Sure, but a vindictive colleague could also punish disagreement even without being a reviewer. Eliminating abuse is impossible. I’m proposing the anonymity takes away a channel inappropriate leverage, and just as importantly, the appearance of inappropriate leverage. Authors should not feel pressured to accept reviewer opinions because the reviewer is their senior; crucially, that pressure exists independently of the senior reviewers’ actual intentions.

    – JeffE
    Jan 7 at 19:28

    @KonradRudolph Sure, but a vindictive colleague could also punish disagreement even without being a reviewer. Eliminating abuse is impossible. I’m proposing the anonymity takes away a channel inappropriate leverage, and just as importantly, the appearance of inappropriate leverage. Authors should not feel pressured to accept reviewer opinions because the reviewer is their senior; crucially, that pressure exists independently of the senior reviewers’ actual intentions.

    – JeffE
    Jan 7 at 19:28

    23

    So, I have heard of people not censoring when people do so. There have been at least some controversies in some fields where this has happened. See for example, https://www.quantamagazine.org/a-self-aware-fish-raises-doubts-about-a-cognitive-test-20181212/ . For that reason I would strongly recommend removing the signature. Anonymity is important, and I personally (and other people) have had bad experiences with referees who have deliberately unmasked themselves. A big part of the concern where a referee has deliberately unmasked themselves is that if they are prominent in the field there’s a possible implied intimidation or threat of retaliation for results they don’t like. Also, it is possible that the file you got was intended for the editor and wasn’t actually intended to not be unmasked in the first place. But regardless, editors should do all they can to keep the referees anonymous.

    share|improve this answer

    • 3

      I would also mention to the reviewer that it isn’t appropriate to sign reviews. This might result in some discussion, of course.

      – Buffy
      Jan 3 at 1:30

    • 8

      What were these bad experiences about?

      – henning
      Jan 3 at 8:02

    • 4

      I think the name should not be elided without asking the reviewer. If it is your policy to strictly cut out the identification, you could tell the reviewer that you cannot use their review with an unblinded name and ask them permission to do so. But I strongly recommend to never remove any words (including name) silently from a review.

      – Captain Emacs
      Jan 3 at 11:08

    • 4

      @JoshuaZ That’s interesting. The article reports a reviewer who waived anonymity. His review strongly criticized a paper that was part of a debate in which the reviewer took an opposing view to the paper. He also had an important stake in the debate. But I don’t understand what difference it made that the he signed the review. The review would have been critical regardless, and the author would have improved his study and resubmitted at another venue, also regardless of the reviewer’s anonymity.

      – henning
      Jan 3 at 14:14

    • 6

      @henning The concern is in part that if someone is sufficiently prominent in a field they are by non-anonymizing their review potentially engaging in implied intimidation. That’s one of the issues. Tangent: I actually had an issue in another direction on another paper where there were multiple reviewers and a technical error resulted in all the reviewers being deanonymized to each other (not to the authors); one of the other reviewers was extremely prominent. My review was in essential agreement with his, but if it had disagreed a lot, I would have been concerned.

      – JoshuaZ
      Jan 3 at 21:03

    23

    So, I have heard of people not censoring when people do so. There have been at least some controversies in some fields where this has happened. See for example, https://www.quantamagazine.org/a-self-aware-fish-raises-doubts-about-a-cognitive-test-20181212/ . For that reason I would strongly recommend removing the signature. Anonymity is important, and I personally (and other people) have had bad experiences with referees who have deliberately unmasked themselves. A big part of the concern where a referee has deliberately unmasked themselves is that if they are prominent in the field there’s a possible implied intimidation or threat of retaliation for results they don’t like. Also, it is possible that the file you got was intended for the editor and wasn’t actually intended to not be unmasked in the first place. But regardless, editors should do all they can to keep the referees anonymous.

    share|improve this answer

    • 3

      I would also mention to the reviewer that it isn’t appropriate to sign reviews. This might result in some discussion, of course.

      – Buffy
      Jan 3 at 1:30

    • 8

      What were these bad experiences about?

      – henning
      Jan 3 at 8:02

    • 4

      I think the name should not be elided without asking the reviewer. If it is your policy to strictly cut out the identification, you could tell the reviewer that you cannot use their review with an unblinded name and ask them permission to do so. But I strongly recommend to never remove any words (including name) silently from a review.

      – Captain Emacs
      Jan 3 at 11:08

    • 4

      @JoshuaZ That’s interesting. The article reports a reviewer who waived anonymity. His review strongly criticized a paper that was part of a debate in which the reviewer took an opposing view to the paper. He also had an important stake in the debate. But I don’t understand what difference it made that the he signed the review. The review would have been critical regardless, and the author would have improved his study and resubmitted at another venue, also regardless of the reviewer’s anonymity.

      – henning
      Jan 3 at 14:14

    • 6

      @henning The concern is in part that if someone is sufficiently prominent in a field they are by non-anonymizing their review potentially engaging in implied intimidation. That’s one of the issues. Tangent: I actually had an issue in another direction on another paper where there were multiple reviewers and a technical error resulted in all the reviewers being deanonymized to each other (not to the authors); one of the other reviewers was extremely prominent. My review was in essential agreement with his, but if it had disagreed a lot, I would have been concerned.

      – JoshuaZ
      Jan 3 at 21:03

    23

    23

    23

    So, I have heard of people not censoring when people do so. There have been at least some controversies in some fields where this has happened. See for example, https://www.quantamagazine.org/a-self-aware-fish-raises-doubts-about-a-cognitive-test-20181212/ . For that reason I would strongly recommend removing the signature. Anonymity is important, and I personally (and other people) have had bad experiences with referees who have deliberately unmasked themselves. A big part of the concern where a referee has deliberately unmasked themselves is that if they are prominent in the field there’s a possible implied intimidation or threat of retaliation for results they don’t like. Also, it is possible that the file you got was intended for the editor and wasn’t actually intended to not be unmasked in the first place. But regardless, editors should do all they can to keep the referees anonymous.

    share|improve this answer

    So, I have heard of people not censoring when people do so. There have been at least some controversies in some fields where this has happened. See for example, https://www.quantamagazine.org/a-self-aware-fish-raises-doubts-about-a-cognitive-test-20181212/ . For that reason I would strongly recommend removing the signature. Anonymity is important, and I personally (and other people) have had bad experiences with referees who have deliberately unmasked themselves. A big part of the concern where a referee has deliberately unmasked themselves is that if they are prominent in the field there’s a possible implied intimidation or threat of retaliation for results they don’t like. Also, it is possible that the file you got was intended for the editor and wasn’t actually intended to not be unmasked in the first place. But regardless, editors should do all they can to keep the referees anonymous.

    share|improve this answer

    share|improve this answer

    share|improve this answer

    edited Jan 5 at 17:37

    answered Jan 3 at 1:27

    JoshuaZJoshuaZ

    2,332614

    2,332614

    • 3

      I would also mention to the reviewer that it isn’t appropriate to sign reviews. This might result in some discussion, of course.

      – Buffy
      Jan 3 at 1:30

    • 8

      What were these bad experiences about?

      – henning
      Jan 3 at 8:02

    • 4

      I think the name should not be elided without asking the reviewer. If it is your policy to strictly cut out the identification, you could tell the reviewer that you cannot use their review with an unblinded name and ask them permission to do so. But I strongly recommend to never remove any words (including name) silently from a review.

      – Captain Emacs
      Jan 3 at 11:08

    • 4

      @JoshuaZ That’s interesting. The article reports a reviewer who waived anonymity. His review strongly criticized a paper that was part of a debate in which the reviewer took an opposing view to the paper. He also had an important stake in the debate. But I don’t understand what difference it made that the he signed the review. The review would have been critical regardless, and the author would have improved his study and resubmitted at another venue, also regardless of the reviewer’s anonymity.

      – henning
      Jan 3 at 14:14

    • 6

      @henning The concern is in part that if someone is sufficiently prominent in a field they are by non-anonymizing their review potentially engaging in implied intimidation. That’s one of the issues. Tangent: I actually had an issue in another direction on another paper where there were multiple reviewers and a technical error resulted in all the reviewers being deanonymized to each other (not to the authors); one of the other reviewers was extremely prominent. My review was in essential agreement with his, but if it had disagreed a lot, I would have been concerned.

      – JoshuaZ
      Jan 3 at 21:03

    • 3

      I would also mention to the reviewer that it isn’t appropriate to sign reviews. This might result in some discussion, of course.

      – Buffy
      Jan 3 at 1:30

    • 8

      What were these bad experiences about?

      – henning
      Jan 3 at 8:02

    • 4

      I think the name should not be elided without asking the reviewer. If it is your policy to strictly cut out the identification, you could tell the reviewer that you cannot use their review with an unblinded name and ask them permission to do so. But I strongly recommend to never remove any words (including name) silently from a review.

      – Captain Emacs
      Jan 3 at 11:08

    • 4

      @JoshuaZ That’s interesting. The article reports a reviewer who waived anonymity. His review strongly criticized a paper that was part of a debate in which the reviewer took an opposing view to the paper. He also had an important stake in the debate. But I don’t understand what difference it made that the he signed the review. The review would have been critical regardless, and the author would have improved his study and resubmitted at another venue, also regardless of the reviewer’s anonymity.

      – henning
      Jan 3 at 14:14

    • 6

      @henning The concern is in part that if someone is sufficiently prominent in a field they are by non-anonymizing their review potentially engaging in implied intimidation. That’s one of the issues. Tangent: I actually had an issue in another direction on another paper where there were multiple reviewers and a technical error resulted in all the reviewers being deanonymized to each other (not to the authors); one of the other reviewers was extremely prominent. My review was in essential agreement with his, but if it had disagreed a lot, I would have been concerned.

      – JoshuaZ
      Jan 3 at 21:03

    3

    3

    I would also mention to the reviewer that it isn’t appropriate to sign reviews. This might result in some discussion, of course.

    – Buffy
    Jan 3 at 1:30

    I would also mention to the reviewer that it isn’t appropriate to sign reviews. This might result in some discussion, of course.

    – Buffy
    Jan 3 at 1:30

    8

    8

    What were these bad experiences about?

    – henning
    Jan 3 at 8:02

    What were these bad experiences about?

    – henning
    Jan 3 at 8:02

    4

    4

    I think the name should not be elided without asking the reviewer. If it is your policy to strictly cut out the identification, you could tell the reviewer that you cannot use their review with an unblinded name and ask them permission to do so. But I strongly recommend to never remove any words (including name) silently from a review.

    – Captain Emacs
    Jan 3 at 11:08

    I think the name should not be elided without asking the reviewer. If it is your policy to strictly cut out the identification, you could tell the reviewer that you cannot use their review with an unblinded name and ask them permission to do so. But I strongly recommend to never remove any words (including name) silently from a review.

    – Captain Emacs
    Jan 3 at 11:08

    4

    4

    @JoshuaZ That’s interesting. The article reports a reviewer who waived anonymity. His review strongly criticized a paper that was part of a debate in which the reviewer took an opposing view to the paper. He also had an important stake in the debate. But I don’t understand what difference it made that the he signed the review. The review would have been critical regardless, and the author would have improved his study and resubmitted at another venue, also regardless of the reviewer’s anonymity.

    – henning
    Jan 3 at 14:14

    @JoshuaZ That’s interesting. The article reports a reviewer who waived anonymity. His review strongly criticized a paper that was part of a debate in which the reviewer took an opposing view to the paper. He also had an important stake in the debate. But I don’t understand what difference it made that the he signed the review. The review would have been critical regardless, and the author would have improved his study and resubmitted at another venue, also regardless of the reviewer’s anonymity.

    – henning
    Jan 3 at 14:14

    6

    6

    @henning The concern is in part that if someone is sufficiently prominent in a field they are by non-anonymizing their review potentially engaging in implied intimidation. That’s one of the issues. Tangent: I actually had an issue in another direction on another paper where there were multiple reviewers and a technical error resulted in all the reviewers being deanonymized to each other (not to the authors); one of the other reviewers was extremely prominent. My review was in essential agreement with his, but if it had disagreed a lot, I would have been concerned.

    – JoshuaZ
    Jan 3 at 21:03

    @henning The concern is in part that if someone is sufficiently prominent in a field they are by non-anonymizing their review potentially engaging in implied intimidation. That’s one of the issues. Tangent: I actually had an issue in another direction on another paper where there were multiple reviewers and a technical error resulted in all the reviewers being deanonymized to each other (not to the authors); one of the other reviewers was extremely prominent. My review was in essential agreement with his, but if it had disagreed a lot, I would have been concerned.

    – JoshuaZ
    Jan 3 at 21:03

    18

    There are a few different cases to consider. First of all, there is the question of whether a journal’s policy even allows for signed reviews. I think that most journals do not have an official policy about this. However, if there is a strict prohibition against non-anonymous reviews, then the editor should remove the identifying information before sending the report on to the authors (and any other relevant parties, such as other referees who are working on the same paper).

    In the more likely event that signed reviews are not outright forbidden, then editor should look at the additional question of whether the referee really intended to make their identity known. From the report alone, it may or may not be clear whether a referee is intentionally choosing to dispense with anonymity. If there is just a signature at the end of the report, the reviewer might have added it out of absentmindedness. If the situation is unclear, the editor should check back with the referee, to see whether they actually intended to include their name before passing that name on.

    However, I have seen one review that concluded with:

    I choose to sign this review.

    [Referee’s Name]

    In that case, it was quite clear that the reviewer (who was both a very senior person and giving a positive report) was not worried about maintaining anonymity. In a clear-cut situation like this, a referee can simply send the authors the report without any additional concerns.

    share|improve this answer

    • 8

      This policy seems to encourage signing every positive report with your name…

      – HRSE
      Jan 3 at 6:52

    • 3

      @HRSE, I’m not sure it does. My reviewing style is very distinctive. If I signed a positive report and then didn’t sign a negative one for the same author, then it would be very clear to the author who had authored the negative report. (Probably it is anyway, to be honest.)

      – LSpice
      Jan 4 at 18:53

    18

    There are a few different cases to consider. First of all, there is the question of whether a journal’s policy even allows for signed reviews. I think that most journals do not have an official policy about this. However, if there is a strict prohibition against non-anonymous reviews, then the editor should remove the identifying information before sending the report on to the authors (and any other relevant parties, such as other referees who are working on the same paper).

    In the more likely event that signed reviews are not outright forbidden, then editor should look at the additional question of whether the referee really intended to make their identity known. From the report alone, it may or may not be clear whether a referee is intentionally choosing to dispense with anonymity. If there is just a signature at the end of the report, the reviewer might have added it out of absentmindedness. If the situation is unclear, the editor should check back with the referee, to see whether they actually intended to include their name before passing that name on.

    However, I have seen one review that concluded with:

    I choose to sign this review.

    [Referee’s Name]

    In that case, it was quite clear that the reviewer (who was both a very senior person and giving a positive report) was not worried about maintaining anonymity. In a clear-cut situation like this, a referee can simply send the authors the report without any additional concerns.

    share|improve this answer

    • 8

      This policy seems to encourage signing every positive report with your name…

      – HRSE
      Jan 3 at 6:52

    • 3

      @HRSE, I’m not sure it does. My reviewing style is very distinctive. If I signed a positive report and then didn’t sign a negative one for the same author, then it would be very clear to the author who had authored the negative report. (Probably it is anyway, to be honest.)

      – LSpice
      Jan 4 at 18:53

    18

    18

    18

    There are a few different cases to consider. First of all, there is the question of whether a journal’s policy even allows for signed reviews. I think that most journals do not have an official policy about this. However, if there is a strict prohibition against non-anonymous reviews, then the editor should remove the identifying information before sending the report on to the authors (and any other relevant parties, such as other referees who are working on the same paper).

    In the more likely event that signed reviews are not outright forbidden, then editor should look at the additional question of whether the referee really intended to make their identity known. From the report alone, it may or may not be clear whether a referee is intentionally choosing to dispense with anonymity. If there is just a signature at the end of the report, the reviewer might have added it out of absentmindedness. If the situation is unclear, the editor should check back with the referee, to see whether they actually intended to include their name before passing that name on.

    However, I have seen one review that concluded with:

    I choose to sign this review.

    [Referee’s Name]

    In that case, it was quite clear that the reviewer (who was both a very senior person and giving a positive report) was not worried about maintaining anonymity. In a clear-cut situation like this, a referee can simply send the authors the report without any additional concerns.

    share|improve this answer

    There are a few different cases to consider. First of all, there is the question of whether a journal’s policy even allows for signed reviews. I think that most journals do not have an official policy about this. However, if there is a strict prohibition against non-anonymous reviews, then the editor should remove the identifying information before sending the report on to the authors (and any other relevant parties, such as other referees who are working on the same paper).

    In the more likely event that signed reviews are not outright forbidden, then editor should look at the additional question of whether the referee really intended to make their identity known. From the report alone, it may or may not be clear whether a referee is intentionally choosing to dispense with anonymity. If there is just a signature at the end of the report, the reviewer might have added it out of absentmindedness. If the situation is unclear, the editor should check back with the referee, to see whether they actually intended to include their name before passing that name on.

    However, I have seen one review that concluded with:

    I choose to sign this review.

    [Referee’s Name]

    In that case, it was quite clear that the reviewer (who was both a very senior person and giving a positive report) was not worried about maintaining anonymity. In a clear-cut situation like this, a referee can simply send the authors the report without any additional concerns.

    share|improve this answer

    share|improve this answer

    share|improve this answer

    answered Jan 3 at 2:54

    BuzzBuzz

    14.6k94877

    14.6k94877

    • 8

      This policy seems to encourage signing every positive report with your name…

      – HRSE
      Jan 3 at 6:52

    • 3

      @HRSE, I’m not sure it does. My reviewing style is very distinctive. If I signed a positive report and then didn’t sign a negative one for the same author, then it would be very clear to the author who had authored the negative report. (Probably it is anyway, to be honest.)

      – LSpice
      Jan 4 at 18:53

    • 8

      This policy seems to encourage signing every positive report with your name…

      – HRSE
      Jan 3 at 6:52

    • 3

      @HRSE, I’m not sure it does. My reviewing style is very distinctive. If I signed a positive report and then didn’t sign a negative one for the same author, then it would be very clear to the author who had authored the negative report. (Probably it is anyway, to be honest.)

      – LSpice
      Jan 4 at 18:53

    8

    8

    This policy seems to encourage signing every positive report with your name…

    – HRSE
    Jan 3 at 6:52

    This policy seems to encourage signing every positive report with your name…

    – HRSE
    Jan 3 at 6:52

    3

    3

    @HRSE, I’m not sure it does. My reviewing style is very distinctive. If I signed a positive report and then didn’t sign a negative one for the same author, then it would be very clear to the author who had authored the negative report. (Probably it is anyway, to be honest.)

    – LSpice
    Jan 4 at 18:53

    @HRSE, I’m not sure it does. My reviewing style is very distinctive. If I signed a positive report and then didn’t sign a negative one for the same author, then it would be very clear to the author who had authored the negative report. (Probably it is anyway, to be honest.)

    – LSpice
    Jan 4 at 18:53

    6

    If the journal policy is to maintain anonymity then it should not be done, even if the referee has indicated her/his name can be revealed. The reason is simple enough: if the review is not signed and one knows that John Smith from Big Name University usually signs his reports, then one can deduce the referee was NOT John Smith, which may help the author conclude about the identity of the real referee.

    share|improve this answer

    • On the other hand, if one is really dedicated to this kind of sleuthing, one could simply ask John Smith, who, being willing to sign his reviews, is presumably also willing to own up to them even if unsigned.

      – LSpice
      Jan 4 at 18:53

    6

    If the journal policy is to maintain anonymity then it should not be done, even if the referee has indicated her/his name can be revealed. The reason is simple enough: if the review is not signed and one knows that John Smith from Big Name University usually signs his reports, then one can deduce the referee was NOT John Smith, which may help the author conclude about the identity of the real referee.

    share|improve this answer

    • On the other hand, if one is really dedicated to this kind of sleuthing, one could simply ask John Smith, who, being willing to sign his reviews, is presumably also willing to own up to them even if unsigned.

      – LSpice
      Jan 4 at 18:53

    6

    6

    6

    If the journal policy is to maintain anonymity then it should not be done, even if the referee has indicated her/his name can be revealed. The reason is simple enough: if the review is not signed and one knows that John Smith from Big Name University usually signs his reports, then one can deduce the referee was NOT John Smith, which may help the author conclude about the identity of the real referee.

    share|improve this answer

    If the journal policy is to maintain anonymity then it should not be done, even if the referee has indicated her/his name can be revealed. The reason is simple enough: if the review is not signed and one knows that John Smith from Big Name University usually signs his reports, then one can deduce the referee was NOT John Smith, which may help the author conclude about the identity of the real referee.

    share|improve this answer

    share|improve this answer

    share|improve this answer

    answered Jan 3 at 3:22

    ZeroTheHeroZeroTheHero

    85511

    85511

    • On the other hand, if one is really dedicated to this kind of sleuthing, one could simply ask John Smith, who, being willing to sign his reviews, is presumably also willing to own up to them even if unsigned.

      – LSpice
      Jan 4 at 18:53

    • On the other hand, if one is really dedicated to this kind of sleuthing, one could simply ask John Smith, who, being willing to sign his reviews, is presumably also willing to own up to them even if unsigned.

      – LSpice
      Jan 4 at 18:53

    On the other hand, if one is really dedicated to this kind of sleuthing, one could simply ask John Smith, who, being willing to sign his reviews, is presumably also willing to own up to them even if unsigned.

    – LSpice
    Jan 4 at 18:53

    On the other hand, if one is really dedicated to this kind of sleuthing, one could simply ask John Smith, who, being willing to sign his reviews, is presumably also willing to own up to them even if unsigned.

    – LSpice
    Jan 4 at 18:53

    6

    “Should” or “should not” is impossible to answer in the general case. Some journals may have a formal policy one way, some may have a policy the other, and I suspect that the vast majority have no formal policy about what to do with signed reviews.

    There is a (small and localized but real) debate over whether reviewers should sign their reviews, and at least for a while it seemed that there was a small movement toward signed reviews. I can say that I’ve signed reviews and at least in some instances they have been passed on to the authors, so there are some journals and editors who don’t have concerns about this.

    share|improve this answer

    • 2

      Regardless of the policy, as has been argued elsewhere, silently changing a referee’s report is, I think, not good practice. If it is to be changed, then it should be done only with notice to the referee.

      – LSpice
      Jan 4 at 19:11

    6

    “Should” or “should not” is impossible to answer in the general case. Some journals may have a formal policy one way, some may have a policy the other, and I suspect that the vast majority have no formal policy about what to do with signed reviews.

    There is a (small and localized but real) debate over whether reviewers should sign their reviews, and at least for a while it seemed that there was a small movement toward signed reviews. I can say that I’ve signed reviews and at least in some instances they have been passed on to the authors, so there are some journals and editors who don’t have concerns about this.

    share|improve this answer

    • 2

      Regardless of the policy, as has been argued elsewhere, silently changing a referee’s report is, I think, not good practice. If it is to be changed, then it should be done only with notice to the referee.

      – LSpice
      Jan 4 at 19:11

    6

    6

    6

    “Should” or “should not” is impossible to answer in the general case. Some journals may have a formal policy one way, some may have a policy the other, and I suspect that the vast majority have no formal policy about what to do with signed reviews.

    There is a (small and localized but real) debate over whether reviewers should sign their reviews, and at least for a while it seemed that there was a small movement toward signed reviews. I can say that I’ve signed reviews and at least in some instances they have been passed on to the authors, so there are some journals and editors who don’t have concerns about this.

    share|improve this answer

    “Should” or “should not” is impossible to answer in the general case. Some journals may have a formal policy one way, some may have a policy the other, and I suspect that the vast majority have no formal policy about what to do with signed reviews.

    There is a (small and localized but real) debate over whether reviewers should sign their reviews, and at least for a while it seemed that there was a small movement toward signed reviews. I can say that I’ve signed reviews and at least in some instances they have been passed on to the authors, so there are some journals and editors who don’t have concerns about this.

    share|improve this answer

    share|improve this answer

    share|improve this answer

    answered Jan 3 at 13:02

    iayorkiayork

    12.3k53344

    12.3k53344

    • 2

      Regardless of the policy, as has been argued elsewhere, silently changing a referee’s report is, I think, not good practice. If it is to be changed, then it should be done only with notice to the referee.

      – LSpice
      Jan 4 at 19:11

    • 2

      Regardless of the policy, as has been argued elsewhere, silently changing a referee’s report is, I think, not good practice. If it is to be changed, then it should be done only with notice to the referee.

      – LSpice
      Jan 4 at 19:11

    2

    2

    Regardless of the policy, as has been argued elsewhere, silently changing a referee’s report is, I think, not good practice. If it is to be changed, then it should be done only with notice to the referee.

    – LSpice
    Jan 4 at 19:11

    Regardless of the policy, as has been argued elsewhere, silently changing a referee’s report is, I think, not good practice. If it is to be changed, then it should be done only with notice to the referee.

    – LSpice
    Jan 4 at 19:11

    1

    As ZeroTheHero touches on, anonymity is not a property of an individual, it’s a property of a set of people. You can’t have a single anonymous reviewer; if of the set of possible reviewers, all but one sign their name, then whenever there’s a review that isn’t signed, everyone knows whose it is (note my wording does admit the possibility that there are people that are qualified to review but haven’t been asked to do so by the journal, in which there would be some anonymity in that people might be unsure as to whether the review is from one of them, but for many papers the set of people qualified to review is quite small). We don’t let voters waive “their” right to secret ballot, because if all the voters for Party A sign their names on their ballots, then we know that any voter whose name we don’t see voted for another party. Since anonymity is not a property of a single person, it is not the right of a single person to waive.

    Now, if you as a journal want to have limited anonymity, that is your choice, but it’s not the reviewer’s choice.

    share|improve this answer

      1

      As ZeroTheHero touches on, anonymity is not a property of an individual, it’s a property of a set of people. You can’t have a single anonymous reviewer; if of the set of possible reviewers, all but one sign their name, then whenever there’s a review that isn’t signed, everyone knows whose it is (note my wording does admit the possibility that there are people that are qualified to review but haven’t been asked to do so by the journal, in which there would be some anonymity in that people might be unsure as to whether the review is from one of them, but for many papers the set of people qualified to review is quite small). We don’t let voters waive “their” right to secret ballot, because if all the voters for Party A sign their names on their ballots, then we know that any voter whose name we don’t see voted for another party. Since anonymity is not a property of a single person, it is not the right of a single person to waive.

      Now, if you as a journal want to have limited anonymity, that is your choice, but it’s not the reviewer’s choice.

      share|improve this answer

        1

        1

        1

        As ZeroTheHero touches on, anonymity is not a property of an individual, it’s a property of a set of people. You can’t have a single anonymous reviewer; if of the set of possible reviewers, all but one sign their name, then whenever there’s a review that isn’t signed, everyone knows whose it is (note my wording does admit the possibility that there are people that are qualified to review but haven’t been asked to do so by the journal, in which there would be some anonymity in that people might be unsure as to whether the review is from one of them, but for many papers the set of people qualified to review is quite small). We don’t let voters waive “their” right to secret ballot, because if all the voters for Party A sign their names on their ballots, then we know that any voter whose name we don’t see voted for another party. Since anonymity is not a property of a single person, it is not the right of a single person to waive.

        Now, if you as a journal want to have limited anonymity, that is your choice, but it’s not the reviewer’s choice.

        share|improve this answer

        As ZeroTheHero touches on, anonymity is not a property of an individual, it’s a property of a set of people. You can’t have a single anonymous reviewer; if of the set of possible reviewers, all but one sign their name, then whenever there’s a review that isn’t signed, everyone knows whose it is (note my wording does admit the possibility that there are people that are qualified to review but haven’t been asked to do so by the journal, in which there would be some anonymity in that people might be unsure as to whether the review is from one of them, but for many papers the set of people qualified to review is quite small). We don’t let voters waive “their” right to secret ballot, because if all the voters for Party A sign their names on their ballots, then we know that any voter whose name we don’t see voted for another party. Since anonymity is not a property of a single person, it is not the right of a single person to waive.

        Now, if you as a journal want to have limited anonymity, that is your choice, but it’s not the reviewer’s choice.

        share|improve this answer

        share|improve this answer

        share|improve this answer

        answered Jan 3 at 19:30

        AcccumulationAcccumulation

        1,39938

        1,39938

            0

            I was involved as a referee in a case where the authors turned around and invited me to be a co-author, and I’ve heard of that happening before. I didn’t accept the offer, because the paper wasn’t something I wanted my name attached to, but I can imagine cases where it would be appropriate to do so.

            share|improve this answer

            • Welcome to this site! I’m not sure how your answer answers the question. Did cou sign your review with your name and have you been contacted by the authors?

              – OBu
              Jan 4 at 12:23

            • 1

              Even without an author’s signature, this is possible; the authors can contact the editor with any messages, including invitations to co-author, for the referee.

              – LSpice
              Jan 4 at 19:12

            • 1

              I have also done this, but with the editor as an intermediary.

              – JeffE
              Jan 5 at 23:34

            0

            I was involved as a referee in a case where the authors turned around and invited me to be a co-author, and I’ve heard of that happening before. I didn’t accept the offer, because the paper wasn’t something I wanted my name attached to, but I can imagine cases where it would be appropriate to do so.

            share|improve this answer

            • Welcome to this site! I’m not sure how your answer answers the question. Did cou sign your review with your name and have you been contacted by the authors?

              – OBu
              Jan 4 at 12:23

            • 1

              Even without an author’s signature, this is possible; the authors can contact the editor with any messages, including invitations to co-author, for the referee.

              – LSpice
              Jan 4 at 19:12

            • 1

              I have also done this, but with the editor as an intermediary.

              – JeffE
              Jan 5 at 23:34

            0

            0

            0

            I was involved as a referee in a case where the authors turned around and invited me to be a co-author, and I’ve heard of that happening before. I didn’t accept the offer, because the paper wasn’t something I wanted my name attached to, but I can imagine cases where it would be appropriate to do so.

            share|improve this answer

            I was involved as a referee in a case where the authors turned around and invited me to be a co-author, and I’ve heard of that happening before. I didn’t accept the offer, because the paper wasn’t something I wanted my name attached to, but I can imagine cases where it would be appropriate to do so.

            share|improve this answer

            share|improve this answer

            share|improve this answer

            answered Jan 4 at 10:53

            B ChinB Chin

            1

            1

            • Welcome to this site! I’m not sure how your answer answers the question. Did cou sign your review with your name and have you been contacted by the authors?

              – OBu
              Jan 4 at 12:23

            • 1

              Even without an author’s signature, this is possible; the authors can contact the editor with any messages, including invitations to co-author, for the referee.

              – LSpice
              Jan 4 at 19:12

            • 1

              I have also done this, but with the editor as an intermediary.

              – JeffE
              Jan 5 at 23:34

            • Welcome to this site! I’m not sure how your answer answers the question. Did cou sign your review with your name and have you been contacted by the authors?

              – OBu
              Jan 4 at 12:23

            • 1

              Even without an author’s signature, this is possible; the authors can contact the editor with any messages, including invitations to co-author, for the referee.

              – LSpice
              Jan 4 at 19:12

            • 1

              I have also done this, but with the editor as an intermediary.

              – JeffE
              Jan 5 at 23:34

            Welcome to this site! I’m not sure how your answer answers the question. Did cou sign your review with your name and have you been contacted by the authors?

            – OBu
            Jan 4 at 12:23

            Welcome to this site! I’m not sure how your answer answers the question. Did cou sign your review with your name and have you been contacted by the authors?

            – OBu
            Jan 4 at 12:23

            1

            1

            Even without an author’s signature, this is possible; the authors can contact the editor with any messages, including invitations to co-author, for the referee.

            – LSpice
            Jan 4 at 19:12

            Even without an author’s signature, this is possible; the authors can contact the editor with any messages, including invitations to co-author, for the referee.

            – LSpice
            Jan 4 at 19:12

            1

            1

            I have also done this, but with the editor as an intermediary.

            – JeffE
            Jan 5 at 23:34

            I have also done this, but with the editor as an intermediary.

            – JeffE
            Jan 5 at 23:34

            -1

            I think the editor should delete it to avoid spoiling the puzzle game of figuring out who the reviewer is. (Easy one is when they ask the author to cite them.) 😉

            share|improve this answer

            • figuring out who reviewed you. Please explain who is that “you”?

              – scaaahu
              Jan 3 at 7:18

            • @scaaahu “you” will be the author, if the author is also the reviewer then that really is an issue… Other readers are also left with the puzzle… Don’t think it really deserved a downvote…

              – Solar Mike
              Jan 3 at 8:09

            • 1

              @SolarMike The question asks what should the editor do, not even a reviewer or an author.

              – scaaahu
              Jan 3 at 8:12

            • 4 “you” and not all the same …

              – Solar Mike
              Jan 3 at 8:15

            • @SolarMike I was asking the answerer to explain the “you” in figuring out who reviewed you. Which “you” are you talking about?

              – scaaahu
              Jan 3 at 8:21

            -1

            I think the editor should delete it to avoid spoiling the puzzle game of figuring out who the reviewer is. (Easy one is when they ask the author to cite them.) 😉

            share|improve this answer

            • figuring out who reviewed you. Please explain who is that “you”?

              – scaaahu
              Jan 3 at 7:18

            • @scaaahu “you” will be the author, if the author is also the reviewer then that really is an issue… Other readers are also left with the puzzle… Don’t think it really deserved a downvote…

              – Solar Mike
              Jan 3 at 8:09

            • 1

              @SolarMike The question asks what should the editor do, not even a reviewer or an author.

              – scaaahu
              Jan 3 at 8:12

            • 4 “you” and not all the same …

              – Solar Mike
              Jan 3 at 8:15

            • @SolarMike I was asking the answerer to explain the “you” in figuring out who reviewed you. Which “you” are you talking about?

              – scaaahu
              Jan 3 at 8:21

            -1

            -1

            -1

            I think the editor should delete it to avoid spoiling the puzzle game of figuring out who the reviewer is. (Easy one is when they ask the author to cite them.) 😉

            share|improve this answer

            I think the editor should delete it to avoid spoiling the puzzle game of figuring out who the reviewer is. (Easy one is when they ask the author to cite them.) 😉

            share|improve this answer

            share|improve this answer

            share|improve this answer

            edited Jan 4 at 0:48

            Community

            1

            1

            answered Jan 3 at 7:11

            guestguest

            251

            251

            • figuring out who reviewed you. Please explain who is that “you”?

              – scaaahu
              Jan 3 at 7:18

            • @scaaahu “you” will be the author, if the author is also the reviewer then that really is an issue… Other readers are also left with the puzzle… Don’t think it really deserved a downvote…

              – Solar Mike
              Jan 3 at 8:09

            • 1

              @SolarMike The question asks what should the editor do, not even a reviewer or an author.

              – scaaahu
              Jan 3 at 8:12

            • 4 “you” and not all the same …

              – Solar Mike
              Jan 3 at 8:15

            • @SolarMike I was asking the answerer to explain the “you” in figuring out who reviewed you. Which “you” are you talking about?

              – scaaahu
              Jan 3 at 8:21

            • figuring out who reviewed you. Please explain who is that “you”?

              – scaaahu
              Jan 3 at 7:18

            • @scaaahu “you” will be the author, if the author is also the reviewer then that really is an issue… Other readers are also left with the puzzle… Don’t think it really deserved a downvote…

              – Solar Mike
              Jan 3 at 8:09

            • 1

              @SolarMike The question asks what should the editor do, not even a reviewer or an author.

              – scaaahu
              Jan 3 at 8:12

            • 4 “you” and not all the same …

              – Solar Mike
              Jan 3 at 8:15

            • @SolarMike I was asking the answerer to explain the “you” in figuring out who reviewed you. Which “you” are you talking about?

              – scaaahu
              Jan 3 at 8:21

            figuring out who reviewed you. Please explain who is that “you”?

            – scaaahu
            Jan 3 at 7:18

            figuring out who reviewed you. Please explain who is that “you”?

            – scaaahu
            Jan 3 at 7:18

            @scaaahu “you” will be the author, if the author is also the reviewer then that really is an issue… Other readers are also left with the puzzle… Don’t think it really deserved a downvote…

            – Solar Mike
            Jan 3 at 8:09

            @scaaahu “you” will be the author, if the author is also the reviewer then that really is an issue… Other readers are also left with the puzzle… Don’t think it really deserved a downvote…

            – Solar Mike
            Jan 3 at 8:09

            1

            1

            @SolarMike The question asks what should the editor do, not even a reviewer or an author.

            – scaaahu
            Jan 3 at 8:12

            @SolarMike The question asks what should the editor do, not even a reviewer or an author.

            – scaaahu
            Jan 3 at 8:12

            4 “you” and not all the same …

            – Solar Mike
            Jan 3 at 8:15

            4 “you” and not all the same …

            – Solar Mike
            Jan 3 at 8:15

            @SolarMike I was asking the answerer to explain the “you” in figuring out who reviewed you. Which “you” are you talking about?

            – scaaahu
            Jan 3 at 8:21

            @SolarMike I was asking the answerer to explain the “you” in figuring out who reviewed you. Which “you” are you talking about?

            – scaaahu
            Jan 3 at 8:21

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            Is it moral to propose work that’s already partly done?

            The name of the pictureThe name of the pictureThe name of the pictureClash Royale CLAN TAG#URR8PPP

            22

            Academia involves a lot of proposals and approvals and it can save effort to combine them. A grant including work that’s already been started is easier to satisfy. The applications I receive for independent study describe work that students have already started on. My grandfather used to tell me about submitting the same paper in several courses in his student days.

            To generalize between these cases, failing to clarify the amount of work already done is a common tactic among researchers. What moral principles guide such actions? Are some specific techniques kosher and others off limits?

            share|improve this question

              22

              Academia involves a lot of proposals and approvals and it can save effort to combine them. A grant including work that’s already been started is easier to satisfy. The applications I receive for independent study describe work that students have already started on. My grandfather used to tell me about submitting the same paper in several courses in his student days.

              To generalize between these cases, failing to clarify the amount of work already done is a common tactic among researchers. What moral principles guide such actions? Are some specific techniques kosher and others off limits?

              share|improve this question

                22

                22

                22

                5

                Academia involves a lot of proposals and approvals and it can save effort to combine them. A grant including work that’s already been started is easier to satisfy. The applications I receive for independent study describe work that students have already started on. My grandfather used to tell me about submitting the same paper in several courses in his student days.

                To generalize between these cases, failing to clarify the amount of work already done is a common tactic among researchers. What moral principles guide such actions? Are some specific techniques kosher and others off limits?

                share|improve this question

                Academia involves a lot of proposals and approvals and it can save effort to combine them. A grant including work that’s already been started is easier to satisfy. The applications I receive for independent study describe work that students have already started on. My grandfather used to tell me about submitting the same paper in several courses in his student days.

                To generalize between these cases, failing to clarify the amount of work already done is a common tactic among researchers. What moral principles guide such actions? Are some specific techniques kosher and others off limits?

                ethics working-time research-proposal

                share|improve this question

                share|improve this question

                share|improve this question

                share|improve this question

                asked Jan 1 at 7:29

                Aaron BrickAaron Brick

                2,93111331

                2,93111331

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                    32

                    Let me make two points. The first is that in order to write a research proposal you have to understand the area well enough to describe it. This implies that you have already explored it and have done some work to get it ready for submission. Even after you submit, you aren’t likely to just forget about the problem until you get funding. The alternative would be just saying random things in research proposals. So, there is no alternative, in my view, to making proposals on partially done work.

                    The second point is at the other extreme. I’ve heard that some very successful researchers, though the stories may be apocryphal, work like this. Do research problem A. After you are nearly done, write a grant request for problem A and if it is funded, write the report but use the funds to do problem B, that wasn’t mentioned in the grant request. If B is successful, write a grant for it (B) so that you have funding for problem C, etc.

                    You might question the ethics of this, but the realities are that the funders get what they funded, and the researchers get the funds they need to do research that the funders (and society) like. If you think about doing it any other way, what you wind up with is a lower success rate for funded research (hence less funds for students, etc) and lower reputations all around. That is because there is no guarantee that your initial thoughts on a research topic will bear fruit. So you try to solve more problems than you can reach conclusion on. Lower “success” doesn’t serve anyone very well and turns research into a sort of jungle – eat or be eaten – situation.

                    But, I’ll also note that if you apply for a grant for a piece of work and tell the funders that it is nearly done, you won’t get funded. That should be pretty obvious, I think. On the other hand, if you ask for funding for a wild idea you just had, you won’t get funded (unless you are already a superstar). So there is a tension here. So maybe there is a sort of “sweet spot” in which it all fits. But certainly the work is partly done before funding is contemplated by either the researchers or funders.

                    Even if the real situation isn’t quite as extreme as this, a researcher funded for A and working on A would be foolish to completely ignore problem B if it occurred along the way. S/he would be wise to follow the threads for at least a while to see what potential there might be. People, including researchers, aren’t machines that work on only one thing at a time to the (mental) exclusion of all else.

                    The reality is somewhere in between these extremes, though both extremes exist, I’m pretty sure.

                    share|improve this answer

                    • 11

                      though the stories may be apocryphal — The stories are not apocryphal.

                      – JeffE
                      Jan 1 at 21:24

                    5

                    The answer might depend on the field, but (at leat to me) one borderline is that you can not sell the same piece of work twice.

                    E.g. you can not apply for a grant whilst you have more or less the same work packages in an other grant application (or running grant). The same holds true for students work: You can d osubsequent work steps in one larger area, but you must clearly distinguish which part of the work has been done for which course / part of the exam.

                    share|improve this answer

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                      32

                      Let me make two points. The first is that in order to write a research proposal you have to understand the area well enough to describe it. This implies that you have already explored it and have done some work to get it ready for submission. Even after you submit, you aren’t likely to just forget about the problem until you get funding. The alternative would be just saying random things in research proposals. So, there is no alternative, in my view, to making proposals on partially done work.

                      The second point is at the other extreme. I’ve heard that some very successful researchers, though the stories may be apocryphal, work like this. Do research problem A. After you are nearly done, write a grant request for problem A and if it is funded, write the report but use the funds to do problem B, that wasn’t mentioned in the grant request. If B is successful, write a grant for it (B) so that you have funding for problem C, etc.

                      You might question the ethics of this, but the realities are that the funders get what they funded, and the researchers get the funds they need to do research that the funders (and society) like. If you think about doing it any other way, what you wind up with is a lower success rate for funded research (hence less funds for students, etc) and lower reputations all around. That is because there is no guarantee that your initial thoughts on a research topic will bear fruit. So you try to solve more problems than you can reach conclusion on. Lower “success” doesn’t serve anyone very well and turns research into a sort of jungle – eat or be eaten – situation.

                      But, I’ll also note that if you apply for a grant for a piece of work and tell the funders that it is nearly done, you won’t get funded. That should be pretty obvious, I think. On the other hand, if you ask for funding for a wild idea you just had, you won’t get funded (unless you are already a superstar). So there is a tension here. So maybe there is a sort of “sweet spot” in which it all fits. But certainly the work is partly done before funding is contemplated by either the researchers or funders.

                      Even if the real situation isn’t quite as extreme as this, a researcher funded for A and working on A would be foolish to completely ignore problem B if it occurred along the way. S/he would be wise to follow the threads for at least a while to see what potential there might be. People, including researchers, aren’t machines that work on only one thing at a time to the (mental) exclusion of all else.

                      The reality is somewhere in between these extremes, though both extremes exist, I’m pretty sure.

                      share|improve this answer

                      • 11

                        though the stories may be apocryphal — The stories are not apocryphal.

                        – JeffE
                        Jan 1 at 21:24

                      32

                      Let me make two points. The first is that in order to write a research proposal you have to understand the area well enough to describe it. This implies that you have already explored it and have done some work to get it ready for submission. Even after you submit, you aren’t likely to just forget about the problem until you get funding. The alternative would be just saying random things in research proposals. So, there is no alternative, in my view, to making proposals on partially done work.

                      The second point is at the other extreme. I’ve heard that some very successful researchers, though the stories may be apocryphal, work like this. Do research problem A. After you are nearly done, write a grant request for problem A and if it is funded, write the report but use the funds to do problem B, that wasn’t mentioned in the grant request. If B is successful, write a grant for it (B) so that you have funding for problem C, etc.

                      You might question the ethics of this, but the realities are that the funders get what they funded, and the researchers get the funds they need to do research that the funders (and society) like. If you think about doing it any other way, what you wind up with is a lower success rate for funded research (hence less funds for students, etc) and lower reputations all around. That is because there is no guarantee that your initial thoughts on a research topic will bear fruit. So you try to solve more problems than you can reach conclusion on. Lower “success” doesn’t serve anyone very well and turns research into a sort of jungle – eat or be eaten – situation.

                      But, I’ll also note that if you apply for a grant for a piece of work and tell the funders that it is nearly done, you won’t get funded. That should be pretty obvious, I think. On the other hand, if you ask for funding for a wild idea you just had, you won’t get funded (unless you are already a superstar). So there is a tension here. So maybe there is a sort of “sweet spot” in which it all fits. But certainly the work is partly done before funding is contemplated by either the researchers or funders.

                      Even if the real situation isn’t quite as extreme as this, a researcher funded for A and working on A would be foolish to completely ignore problem B if it occurred along the way. S/he would be wise to follow the threads for at least a while to see what potential there might be. People, including researchers, aren’t machines that work on only one thing at a time to the (mental) exclusion of all else.

                      The reality is somewhere in between these extremes, though both extremes exist, I’m pretty sure.

                      share|improve this answer

                      • 11

                        though the stories may be apocryphal — The stories are not apocryphal.

                        – JeffE
                        Jan 1 at 21:24

                      32

                      32

                      32

                      Let me make two points. The first is that in order to write a research proposal you have to understand the area well enough to describe it. This implies that you have already explored it and have done some work to get it ready for submission. Even after you submit, you aren’t likely to just forget about the problem until you get funding. The alternative would be just saying random things in research proposals. So, there is no alternative, in my view, to making proposals on partially done work.

                      The second point is at the other extreme. I’ve heard that some very successful researchers, though the stories may be apocryphal, work like this. Do research problem A. After you are nearly done, write a grant request for problem A and if it is funded, write the report but use the funds to do problem B, that wasn’t mentioned in the grant request. If B is successful, write a grant for it (B) so that you have funding for problem C, etc.

                      You might question the ethics of this, but the realities are that the funders get what they funded, and the researchers get the funds they need to do research that the funders (and society) like. If you think about doing it any other way, what you wind up with is a lower success rate for funded research (hence less funds for students, etc) and lower reputations all around. That is because there is no guarantee that your initial thoughts on a research topic will bear fruit. So you try to solve more problems than you can reach conclusion on. Lower “success” doesn’t serve anyone very well and turns research into a sort of jungle – eat or be eaten – situation.

                      But, I’ll also note that if you apply for a grant for a piece of work and tell the funders that it is nearly done, you won’t get funded. That should be pretty obvious, I think. On the other hand, if you ask for funding for a wild idea you just had, you won’t get funded (unless you are already a superstar). So there is a tension here. So maybe there is a sort of “sweet spot” in which it all fits. But certainly the work is partly done before funding is contemplated by either the researchers or funders.

                      Even if the real situation isn’t quite as extreme as this, a researcher funded for A and working on A would be foolish to completely ignore problem B if it occurred along the way. S/he would be wise to follow the threads for at least a while to see what potential there might be. People, including researchers, aren’t machines that work on only one thing at a time to the (mental) exclusion of all else.

                      The reality is somewhere in between these extremes, though both extremes exist, I’m pretty sure.

                      share|improve this answer

                      Let me make two points. The first is that in order to write a research proposal you have to understand the area well enough to describe it. This implies that you have already explored it and have done some work to get it ready for submission. Even after you submit, you aren’t likely to just forget about the problem until you get funding. The alternative would be just saying random things in research proposals. So, there is no alternative, in my view, to making proposals on partially done work.

                      The second point is at the other extreme. I’ve heard that some very successful researchers, though the stories may be apocryphal, work like this. Do research problem A. After you are nearly done, write a grant request for problem A and if it is funded, write the report but use the funds to do problem B, that wasn’t mentioned in the grant request. If B is successful, write a grant for it (B) so that you have funding for problem C, etc.

                      You might question the ethics of this, but the realities are that the funders get what they funded, and the researchers get the funds they need to do research that the funders (and society) like. If you think about doing it any other way, what you wind up with is a lower success rate for funded research (hence less funds for students, etc) and lower reputations all around. That is because there is no guarantee that your initial thoughts on a research topic will bear fruit. So you try to solve more problems than you can reach conclusion on. Lower “success” doesn’t serve anyone very well and turns research into a sort of jungle – eat or be eaten – situation.

                      But, I’ll also note that if you apply for a grant for a piece of work and tell the funders that it is nearly done, you won’t get funded. That should be pretty obvious, I think. On the other hand, if you ask for funding for a wild idea you just had, you won’t get funded (unless you are already a superstar). So there is a tension here. So maybe there is a sort of “sweet spot” in which it all fits. But certainly the work is partly done before funding is contemplated by either the researchers or funders.

                      Even if the real situation isn’t quite as extreme as this, a researcher funded for A and working on A would be foolish to completely ignore problem B if it occurred along the way. S/he would be wise to follow the threads for at least a while to see what potential there might be. People, including researchers, aren’t machines that work on only one thing at a time to the (mental) exclusion of all else.

                      The reality is somewhere in between these extremes, though both extremes exist, I’m pretty sure.

                      share|improve this answer

                      share|improve this answer

                      share|improve this answer

                      edited Jan 1 at 12:00

                      answered Jan 1 at 11:46

                      BuffyBuffy

                      39.8k9125205

                      39.8k9125205

                      • 11

                        though the stories may be apocryphal — The stories are not apocryphal.

                        – JeffE
                        Jan 1 at 21:24

                      • 11

                        though the stories may be apocryphal — The stories are not apocryphal.

                        – JeffE
                        Jan 1 at 21:24

                      11

                      11

                      though the stories may be apocryphal — The stories are not apocryphal.

                      – JeffE
                      Jan 1 at 21:24

                      though the stories may be apocryphal — The stories are not apocryphal.

                      – JeffE
                      Jan 1 at 21:24

                      5

                      The answer might depend on the field, but (at leat to me) one borderline is that you can not sell the same piece of work twice.

                      E.g. you can not apply for a grant whilst you have more or less the same work packages in an other grant application (or running grant). The same holds true for students work: You can d osubsequent work steps in one larger area, but you must clearly distinguish which part of the work has been done for which course / part of the exam.

                      share|improve this answer

                        5

                        The answer might depend on the field, but (at leat to me) one borderline is that you can not sell the same piece of work twice.

                        E.g. you can not apply for a grant whilst you have more or less the same work packages in an other grant application (or running grant). The same holds true for students work: You can d osubsequent work steps in one larger area, but you must clearly distinguish which part of the work has been done for which course / part of the exam.

                        share|improve this answer

                          5

                          5

                          5

                          The answer might depend on the field, but (at leat to me) one borderline is that you can not sell the same piece of work twice.

                          E.g. you can not apply for a grant whilst you have more or less the same work packages in an other grant application (or running grant). The same holds true for students work: You can d osubsequent work steps in one larger area, but you must clearly distinguish which part of the work has been done for which course / part of the exam.

                          share|improve this answer

                          The answer might depend on the field, but (at leat to me) one borderline is that you can not sell the same piece of work twice.

                          E.g. you can not apply for a grant whilst you have more or less the same work packages in an other grant application (or running grant). The same holds true for students work: You can d osubsequent work steps in one larger area, but you must clearly distinguish which part of the work has been done for which course / part of the exam.

                          share|improve this answer

                          share|improve this answer

                          share|improve this answer

                          answered Jan 1 at 11:06

                          OBuOBu

                          11.8k22652

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                              Does the peer review reciprocity principle apply globally or per venue?

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                              11

                              It is commonly accepted within academia that if you submit and publish peer-reviewed papers, you should also do your share, and review your peers’ papers.

                              Does the underlying principle apply globally or per-venue? Should you aim to do approximately as much review work as your own papers received, considering the total sum of all your contributions in your field? Or is there a social convention or moral obligation to do peer review work in the same venues that you submit or publish papers in?

                              share|improve this question

                                11

                                It is commonly accepted within academia that if you submit and publish peer-reviewed papers, you should also do your share, and review your peers’ papers.

                                Does the underlying principle apply globally or per-venue? Should you aim to do approximately as much review work as your own papers received, considering the total sum of all your contributions in your field? Or is there a social convention or moral obligation to do peer review work in the same venues that you submit or publish papers in?

                                share|improve this question

                                  11

                                  11

                                  11

                                  1

                                  It is commonly accepted within academia that if you submit and publish peer-reviewed papers, you should also do your share, and review your peers’ papers.

                                  Does the underlying principle apply globally or per-venue? Should you aim to do approximately as much review work as your own papers received, considering the total sum of all your contributions in your field? Or is there a social convention or moral obligation to do peer review work in the same venues that you submit or publish papers in?

                                  share|improve this question

                                  It is commonly accepted within academia that if you submit and publish peer-reviewed papers, you should also do your share, and review your peers’ papers.

                                  Does the underlying principle apply globally or per-venue? Should you aim to do approximately as much review work as your own papers received, considering the total sum of all your contributions in your field? Or is there a social convention or moral obligation to do peer review work in the same venues that you submit or publish papers in?

                                  publications peer-review ethics etiquette

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                                  asked Dec 28 ’18 at 10:06

                                  TedTed

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                                      18

                                      First, I’d say that your obligation* of peer review is to help your community of peers, not specific venues or publishers. It’s the peers that do the reviewing mostly for free, and their work you’re supposed to reciprocate. Hence the principle should apply globally.

                                      However, spreading your efforts out a bit can be beneficial, leading to more diverse reviewer pools for a given journal. (And hence a higher chance they can find the ideal person to ask.) And of course, you’re free to focus your efforts on reviewing for journals you particularly like, whether for their quality, (possibly also unpaid) editors you have a good relationship with, or other reasons.

                                      Second, aiming for a close balance in reviewing efforts given and received seems misguided. Focus on writing useful reports, not on the amount of work (that of others is hard to estimate anyhow). You can’t really review more than you’re invited to review, and even then it’s certainly better to decline if you can’t produce a quality review in the expected standard time frame than accepting each invitation in a vain attempt to cancel out review work you’ve received already.

                                      *If obligation is the right word. I tend to think of ‘obligation’ as a requirement, whereas this reciprocity is more of an ‘ought’ in my opinion. But hey, different definitions exist.

                                      share|improve this answer

                                        9

                                        I think you are defining “reciprocity” too narrowly. And a definite answer to your direct question would be misleading.

                                        In general, the people participating in an academic field form a community and as a community they contribute to it. But people contribute in different ways and in different ways at different times depending on their skills and circumstances. Note my underlying assumption that you don’t work in a field solely to advance your own career, but to advance the state of knowledge for everyone.

                                        Some people are, for example, good researchers, but poor reviewers. Perhaps they don’t have the time or the temperament to be helpful. They best contribute to the community via their research. Other people are the opposite. I was once in a situation in which it was impossible to do much research but I still understood what was important and could still review. Yet other people have a more balanced approach.

                                        One other issue is time. At different points in a career, people can contribute in different ways. A young researcher probably needs to focus more on production than on helping others, just to increase the chances of advancement. At other times, perhaps later in the career, a person has lower output, but still needs to keep abreast of what is happening in the field, and so reviews current work.

                                        But there are other ways to contribute other than reviewing. Conference committee work, for example. Advising younger researchers (students) is an obvious contribution.

                                        To come to a more definitive answer to your question, though, if you publish a lot of papers at a conference, you become more closely aligned with that community, so you are more likely to be asked to review there. Probably you will want to accept. I don’t think you owe any allegiance to a commercial publisher, however, even if you publish with them frequently. But you might want to “help out” some particular editor who has been helpful to you in the past. But note that my examples here are more in the realm of personal, rather than professional, obligations. But I don’t think that in most cases, other than the most extreme, that it is an ethical issue.

                                        share|improve this answer

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                                          18

                                          First, I’d say that your obligation* of peer review is to help your community of peers, not specific venues or publishers. It’s the peers that do the reviewing mostly for free, and their work you’re supposed to reciprocate. Hence the principle should apply globally.

                                          However, spreading your efforts out a bit can be beneficial, leading to more diverse reviewer pools for a given journal. (And hence a higher chance they can find the ideal person to ask.) And of course, you’re free to focus your efforts on reviewing for journals you particularly like, whether for their quality, (possibly also unpaid) editors you have a good relationship with, or other reasons.

                                          Second, aiming for a close balance in reviewing efforts given and received seems misguided. Focus on writing useful reports, not on the amount of work (that of others is hard to estimate anyhow). You can’t really review more than you’re invited to review, and even then it’s certainly better to decline if you can’t produce a quality review in the expected standard time frame than accepting each invitation in a vain attempt to cancel out review work you’ve received already.

                                          *If obligation is the right word. I tend to think of ‘obligation’ as a requirement, whereas this reciprocity is more of an ‘ought’ in my opinion. But hey, different definitions exist.

                                          share|improve this answer

                                            18

                                            First, I’d say that your obligation* of peer review is to help your community of peers, not specific venues or publishers. It’s the peers that do the reviewing mostly for free, and their work you’re supposed to reciprocate. Hence the principle should apply globally.

                                            However, spreading your efforts out a bit can be beneficial, leading to more diverse reviewer pools for a given journal. (And hence a higher chance they can find the ideal person to ask.) And of course, you’re free to focus your efforts on reviewing for journals you particularly like, whether for their quality, (possibly also unpaid) editors you have a good relationship with, or other reasons.

                                            Second, aiming for a close balance in reviewing efforts given and received seems misguided. Focus on writing useful reports, not on the amount of work (that of others is hard to estimate anyhow). You can’t really review more than you’re invited to review, and even then it’s certainly better to decline if you can’t produce a quality review in the expected standard time frame than accepting each invitation in a vain attempt to cancel out review work you’ve received already.

                                            *If obligation is the right word. I tend to think of ‘obligation’ as a requirement, whereas this reciprocity is more of an ‘ought’ in my opinion. But hey, different definitions exist.

                                            share|improve this answer

                                              18

                                              18

                                              18

                                              First, I’d say that your obligation* of peer review is to help your community of peers, not specific venues or publishers. It’s the peers that do the reviewing mostly for free, and their work you’re supposed to reciprocate. Hence the principle should apply globally.

                                              However, spreading your efforts out a bit can be beneficial, leading to more diverse reviewer pools for a given journal. (And hence a higher chance they can find the ideal person to ask.) And of course, you’re free to focus your efforts on reviewing for journals you particularly like, whether for their quality, (possibly also unpaid) editors you have a good relationship with, or other reasons.

                                              Second, aiming for a close balance in reviewing efforts given and received seems misguided. Focus on writing useful reports, not on the amount of work (that of others is hard to estimate anyhow). You can’t really review more than you’re invited to review, and even then it’s certainly better to decline if you can’t produce a quality review in the expected standard time frame than accepting each invitation in a vain attempt to cancel out review work you’ve received already.

                                              *If obligation is the right word. I tend to think of ‘obligation’ as a requirement, whereas this reciprocity is more of an ‘ought’ in my opinion. But hey, different definitions exist.

                                              share|improve this answer

                                              First, I’d say that your obligation* of peer review is to help your community of peers, not specific venues or publishers. It’s the peers that do the reviewing mostly for free, and their work you’re supposed to reciprocate. Hence the principle should apply globally.

                                              However, spreading your efforts out a bit can be beneficial, leading to more diverse reviewer pools for a given journal. (And hence a higher chance they can find the ideal person to ask.) And of course, you’re free to focus your efforts on reviewing for journals you particularly like, whether for their quality, (possibly also unpaid) editors you have a good relationship with, or other reasons.

                                              Second, aiming for a close balance in reviewing efforts given and received seems misguided. Focus on writing useful reports, not on the amount of work (that of others is hard to estimate anyhow). You can’t really review more than you’re invited to review, and even then it’s certainly better to decline if you can’t produce a quality review in the expected standard time frame than accepting each invitation in a vain attempt to cancel out review work you’ve received already.

                                              *If obligation is the right word. I tend to think of ‘obligation’ as a requirement, whereas this reciprocity is more of an ‘ought’ in my opinion. But hey, different definitions exist.

                                              share|improve this answer

                                              share|improve this answer

                                              share|improve this answer

                                              answered Dec 28 ’18 at 10:52

                                              AnyonAnyon

                                              7,04622641

                                              7,04622641

                                                  9

                                                  I think you are defining “reciprocity” too narrowly. And a definite answer to your direct question would be misleading.

                                                  In general, the people participating in an academic field form a community and as a community they contribute to it. But people contribute in different ways and in different ways at different times depending on their skills and circumstances. Note my underlying assumption that you don’t work in a field solely to advance your own career, but to advance the state of knowledge for everyone.

                                                  Some people are, for example, good researchers, but poor reviewers. Perhaps they don’t have the time or the temperament to be helpful. They best contribute to the community via their research. Other people are the opposite. I was once in a situation in which it was impossible to do much research but I still understood what was important and could still review. Yet other people have a more balanced approach.

                                                  One other issue is time. At different points in a career, people can contribute in different ways. A young researcher probably needs to focus more on production than on helping others, just to increase the chances of advancement. At other times, perhaps later in the career, a person has lower output, but still needs to keep abreast of what is happening in the field, and so reviews current work.

                                                  But there are other ways to contribute other than reviewing. Conference committee work, for example. Advising younger researchers (students) is an obvious contribution.

                                                  To come to a more definitive answer to your question, though, if you publish a lot of papers at a conference, you become more closely aligned with that community, so you are more likely to be asked to review there. Probably you will want to accept. I don’t think you owe any allegiance to a commercial publisher, however, even if you publish with them frequently. But you might want to “help out” some particular editor who has been helpful to you in the past. But note that my examples here are more in the realm of personal, rather than professional, obligations. But I don’t think that in most cases, other than the most extreme, that it is an ethical issue.

                                                  share|improve this answer

                                                    9

                                                    I think you are defining “reciprocity” too narrowly. And a definite answer to your direct question would be misleading.

                                                    In general, the people participating in an academic field form a community and as a community they contribute to it. But people contribute in different ways and in different ways at different times depending on their skills and circumstances. Note my underlying assumption that you don’t work in a field solely to advance your own career, but to advance the state of knowledge for everyone.

                                                    Some people are, for example, good researchers, but poor reviewers. Perhaps they don’t have the time or the temperament to be helpful. They best contribute to the community via their research. Other people are the opposite. I was once in a situation in which it was impossible to do much research but I still understood what was important and could still review. Yet other people have a more balanced approach.

                                                    One other issue is time. At different points in a career, people can contribute in different ways. A young researcher probably needs to focus more on production than on helping others, just to increase the chances of advancement. At other times, perhaps later in the career, a person has lower output, but still needs to keep abreast of what is happening in the field, and so reviews current work.

                                                    But there are other ways to contribute other than reviewing. Conference committee work, for example. Advising younger researchers (students) is an obvious contribution.

                                                    To come to a more definitive answer to your question, though, if you publish a lot of papers at a conference, you become more closely aligned with that community, so you are more likely to be asked to review there. Probably you will want to accept. I don’t think you owe any allegiance to a commercial publisher, however, even if you publish with them frequently. But you might want to “help out” some particular editor who has been helpful to you in the past. But note that my examples here are more in the realm of personal, rather than professional, obligations. But I don’t think that in most cases, other than the most extreme, that it is an ethical issue.

                                                    share|improve this answer

                                                      9

                                                      9

                                                      9

                                                      I think you are defining “reciprocity” too narrowly. And a definite answer to your direct question would be misleading.

                                                      In general, the people participating in an academic field form a community and as a community they contribute to it. But people contribute in different ways and in different ways at different times depending on their skills and circumstances. Note my underlying assumption that you don’t work in a field solely to advance your own career, but to advance the state of knowledge for everyone.

                                                      Some people are, for example, good researchers, but poor reviewers. Perhaps they don’t have the time or the temperament to be helpful. They best contribute to the community via their research. Other people are the opposite. I was once in a situation in which it was impossible to do much research but I still understood what was important and could still review. Yet other people have a more balanced approach.

                                                      One other issue is time. At different points in a career, people can contribute in different ways. A young researcher probably needs to focus more on production than on helping others, just to increase the chances of advancement. At other times, perhaps later in the career, a person has lower output, but still needs to keep abreast of what is happening in the field, and so reviews current work.

                                                      But there are other ways to contribute other than reviewing. Conference committee work, for example. Advising younger researchers (students) is an obvious contribution.

                                                      To come to a more definitive answer to your question, though, if you publish a lot of papers at a conference, you become more closely aligned with that community, so you are more likely to be asked to review there. Probably you will want to accept. I don’t think you owe any allegiance to a commercial publisher, however, even if you publish with them frequently. But you might want to “help out” some particular editor who has been helpful to you in the past. But note that my examples here are more in the realm of personal, rather than professional, obligations. But I don’t think that in most cases, other than the most extreme, that it is an ethical issue.

                                                      share|improve this answer

                                                      I think you are defining “reciprocity” too narrowly. And a definite answer to your direct question would be misleading.

                                                      In general, the people participating in an academic field form a community and as a community they contribute to it. But people contribute in different ways and in different ways at different times depending on their skills and circumstances. Note my underlying assumption that you don’t work in a field solely to advance your own career, but to advance the state of knowledge for everyone.

                                                      Some people are, for example, good researchers, but poor reviewers. Perhaps they don’t have the time or the temperament to be helpful. They best contribute to the community via their research. Other people are the opposite. I was once in a situation in which it was impossible to do much research but I still understood what was important and could still review. Yet other people have a more balanced approach.

                                                      One other issue is time. At different points in a career, people can contribute in different ways. A young researcher probably needs to focus more on production than on helping others, just to increase the chances of advancement. At other times, perhaps later in the career, a person has lower output, but still needs to keep abreast of what is happening in the field, and so reviews current work.

                                                      But there are other ways to contribute other than reviewing. Conference committee work, for example. Advising younger researchers (students) is an obvious contribution.

                                                      To come to a more definitive answer to your question, though, if you publish a lot of papers at a conference, you become more closely aligned with that community, so you are more likely to be asked to review there. Probably you will want to accept. I don’t think you owe any allegiance to a commercial publisher, however, even if you publish with them frequently. But you might want to “help out” some particular editor who has been helpful to you in the past. But note that my examples here are more in the realm of personal, rather than professional, obligations. But I don’t think that in most cases, other than the most extreme, that it is an ethical issue.

                                                      share|improve this answer

                                                      share|improve this answer

                                                      share|improve this answer

                                                      answered Dec 28 ’18 at 12:44

                                                      BuffyBuffy

                                                      39.2k9125202

                                                      39.2k9125202

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                                                          For a utilitarian, is a lie morally equivalent to a mistake?

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                                                          16

                                                          As far as I know, utilitarians consider that only the consequences should be considered as the calculation of the morality of an action.

                                                          Since a mistake and a lie differ only in their intent, are they equivalent according to this philosophy?

                                                          share|improve this question

                                                            16

                                                            As far as I know, utilitarians consider that only the consequences should be considered as the calculation of the morality of an action.

                                                            Since a mistake and a lie differ only in their intent, are they equivalent according to this philosophy?

                                                            share|improve this question

                                                              16

                                                              16

                                                              16

                                                              1

                                                              As far as I know, utilitarians consider that only the consequences should be considered as the calculation of the morality of an action.

                                                              Since a mistake and a lie differ only in their intent, are they equivalent according to this philosophy?

                                                              share|improve this question

                                                              As far as I know, utilitarians consider that only the consequences should be considered as the calculation of the morality of an action.

                                                              Since a mistake and a lie differ only in their intent, are they equivalent according to this philosophy?

                                                              ethics utilitarianism

                                                              share|improve this question

                                                              share|improve this question

                                                              share|improve this question

                                                              share|improve this question

                                                              asked Dec 25 ’18 at 11:22

                                                              Blincer

                                                              1835

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                                                                  14

                                                                  The evaluation of such a thing looks different under different utilitarian approaches.

                                                                  Act utilitarianism

                                                                  Act utilitarianism is a utilitarian theory of ethics which states that a person’s act is morally right if and only if it produces the best possible results in that specific situation.

                                                                  Source: Wikipedia

                                                                  So the first thing that’s important to understand is that under this approach an act utilitarian will consider certain lies – those that result in more happiness than not saying the lie – morally a good thing.

                                                                  An example of this would be:

                                                                  Thomas has stolen a thousand dollar from his millionaire friend. His friend asks “You are my friend, I trust you 100%, did you steal that money?”. Thomas – an act utilitarian – confidently answers he did not, as telling the truth would make both him and his friend unhappy.

                                                                  This brings us back to your original question where a lie can thus indeed be morally good or bad in the same way a mistake can be.

                                                                  Rule utilitarianism

                                                                  Rule utilitarianism is a form of utilitarianism that says an action is right as it conforms to a rule that leads to the greatest good, or that “the rightness or wrongness of a particular action is a function of the correctness of the rule of which it is an instance”.

                                                                  Source: Wikipedia

                                                                  Under this philosophical approach the main question is about how the rules are defined. It’s easily conceivable that a rule utilitarian would thus take the approach that “on average” the long term effect of lies makes people unhappy, and thus lies – as a rule – are morally wrong.

                                                                  Obviously in that case there is a strong distinction between a lie and a mistake as rules are considered an abstraction which …

                                                                  Rule utilitarians argue that following rules that tend to lead to the greatest good will have better consequences overall than allowing exceptions to be made in individual instances, even if better consequences can be demonstrated in those instances

                                                                  Source: Wikipedia

                                                                  Weak Rule utilitarianism

                                                                  Expanding a bit based on the discussion in the comments: weak rule utilitarianism will allow exceptions to be made to the rule in “extreme”. E.g. Lies might be always wrong except if it saves someone’s life. The opposite of this (strong rule utilitarianism) doesn’t allow any exceptions to be made. In either case though there will be a rule involved in the moral evolution of the case and thus there can be a difference between a mistake and a lie.


                                                                  And beyond those two there are of course countless of other variants of utilitarianism, so read up on those as well.

                                                                  share|improve this answer

                                                                  • 2

                                                                    Great answer. I would add that I’ve also seen hybrid approaches that value both rules and acts. So a person may say that based off of Rule Utilitarianism a lie does harm and is thus is generally wrong, but a sufficiently high anticipate good from the lie (a la act utilitarianism) may be enough to outweigh the harm of breaking the rule.. So for example they may deem a white lie to be wrong due to it’s breaking the rule on lying for only a minor increase in happiness, but lying to a assassin to help his intended victim to hide is moral, since it does enough good to justify breaking the rule.
                                                                    – dsollen
                                                                    Dec 26 ’18 at 18:15

                                                                  • I don’t think the example of Act Utilitarianism that you used is strong enough… the assumption is that the only consequences of Thomas’ conversation with his friend are whether or not Thomas has the $1000 (having = good) and whether or not the millionaire is angry at Thomas (angry = bad). But having and anger are not defined by act utilitarianism to be good or bad. This works more as an example of moral socialism than as act utilitarianism, I think.
                                                                    – elliot svensson
                                                                    Dec 27 ’18 at 15:18

                                                                  • @elliotsvensson “betrayal by a friend stealing money causes pain” was my line of thinking.
                                                                    – David Mulder
                                                                    Dec 28 ’18 at 9:20

                                                                  • @dsollen This position is taken by John Stuart MIll himself when he argues that “Thus, to save a life, it may not only be allowable, but a duty, to steal, or take by force, the necessary food or medicine, or to kidnap, and compel to officiate, the only qualified medical practitioner.” Strong rule utilitarianism is the variant which states that a rule may not be broken no matter what.
                                                                    – David Mulder
                                                                    Dec 28 ’18 at 9:42

                                                                  19

                                                                  Since utilitarianism is meant for people who are not all-knowing, only the foreseeable consequences count. And a mistake and a lie do not differ only in intent, they also differ in what the person knows, and, therefore, can foresee.

                                                                  share|improve this answer

                                                                  • 1

                                                                    They also differ in the consequences to the person saying something, in that that person has the experience of having lied or of having told the truth as understood. One problem I’ve seen sometimes in utilitarian analysis is in omitting some class or classes of consequences, such as (in this case) the internal ones.
                                                                    – David Thornley
                                                                    Dec 26 ’18 at 22:42

                                                                  2

                                                                  The definition of “lie” and “mistake” differ only in their intent, but that does not mean that the set of lies differs from the set of mistakes only in their intent. Given a particular lie, and a particular mistake, it would fallacious to say: “This lie is no worse than this mistake, because the lie differs only in its intent”. Lies tend to be worse than mistakes. At the very least, a lie results in a person knowing that they lied, while a mistake does not. Lies are also more likely to result in another person coming to believe that they were lied to.

                                                                  Furthermore, morality refers to a criterion by which we decide between courses of action. If we know that something is a lie, then it (generally) follows that we should not do it. If we do not know that something is a mistake, then we will not consider the morality of performing mistakes when deciding whether to do it, so our moral judgment of mistakes is irrelevant. And knowing it is a mistake is incoherent: if we know that it is wrong, then it’s not a mistake; it’s a lie. If a claim is false, then we will consider the claim being false in our decision whether to make the claim only when we know that the claim is false. “Being a mistake” is not an attribute for which it is coherent to include in one’s decision-making (although of course “likely to be a mistake” is).

                                                                  share|improve this answer

                                                                  • @PedroA: Note that you can suggest corrections to such obvious mistakes yourself, which is more efficient that leaving a comment (and also gives you reputation).
                                                                    – Wrzlprmft
                                                                    Dec 27 ’18 at 11:55

                                                                  0

                                                                  Depends on what you mean by “moral equivalence”. If you mean that the consequences are equivalent, then yes, they are the same, but this is independent of utilitarianism. If you mean “both are bad”, then they are not equivalent — to an actor with imperfect information, what in hindsight is shown to be a mistake may have been a perfectly rational, ethical decision when it was made with the information then available to the actor.

                                                                  share|improve this answer

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                                                                    The evaluation of such a thing looks different under different utilitarian approaches.

                                                                    Act utilitarianism

                                                                    Act utilitarianism is a utilitarian theory of ethics which states that a person’s act is morally right if and only if it produces the best possible results in that specific situation.

                                                                    Source: Wikipedia

                                                                    So the first thing that’s important to understand is that under this approach an act utilitarian will consider certain lies – those that result in more happiness than not saying the lie – morally a good thing.

                                                                    An example of this would be:

                                                                    Thomas has stolen a thousand dollar from his millionaire friend. His friend asks “You are my friend, I trust you 100%, did you steal that money?”. Thomas – an act utilitarian – confidently answers he did not, as telling the truth would make both him and his friend unhappy.

                                                                    This brings us back to your original question where a lie can thus indeed be morally good or bad in the same way a mistake can be.

                                                                    Rule utilitarianism

                                                                    Rule utilitarianism is a form of utilitarianism that says an action is right as it conforms to a rule that leads to the greatest good, or that “the rightness or wrongness of a particular action is a function of the correctness of the rule of which it is an instance”.

                                                                    Source: Wikipedia

                                                                    Under this philosophical approach the main question is about how the rules are defined. It’s easily conceivable that a rule utilitarian would thus take the approach that “on average” the long term effect of lies makes people unhappy, and thus lies – as a rule – are morally wrong.

                                                                    Obviously in that case there is a strong distinction between a lie and a mistake as rules are considered an abstraction which …

                                                                    Rule utilitarians argue that following rules that tend to lead to the greatest good will have better consequences overall than allowing exceptions to be made in individual instances, even if better consequences can be demonstrated in those instances

                                                                    Source: Wikipedia

                                                                    Weak Rule utilitarianism

                                                                    Expanding a bit based on the discussion in the comments: weak rule utilitarianism will allow exceptions to be made to the rule in “extreme”. E.g. Lies might be always wrong except if it saves someone’s life. The opposite of this (strong rule utilitarianism) doesn’t allow any exceptions to be made. In either case though there will be a rule involved in the moral evolution of the case and thus there can be a difference between a mistake and a lie.


                                                                    And beyond those two there are of course countless of other variants of utilitarianism, so read up on those as well.

                                                                    share|improve this answer

                                                                    • 2

                                                                      Great answer. I would add that I’ve also seen hybrid approaches that value both rules and acts. So a person may say that based off of Rule Utilitarianism a lie does harm and is thus is generally wrong, but a sufficiently high anticipate good from the lie (a la act utilitarianism) may be enough to outweigh the harm of breaking the rule.. So for example they may deem a white lie to be wrong due to it’s breaking the rule on lying for only a minor increase in happiness, but lying to a assassin to help his intended victim to hide is moral, since it does enough good to justify breaking the rule.
                                                                      – dsollen
                                                                      Dec 26 ’18 at 18:15

                                                                    • I don’t think the example of Act Utilitarianism that you used is strong enough… the assumption is that the only consequences of Thomas’ conversation with his friend are whether or not Thomas has the $1000 (having = good) and whether or not the millionaire is angry at Thomas (angry = bad). But having and anger are not defined by act utilitarianism to be good or bad. This works more as an example of moral socialism than as act utilitarianism, I think.
                                                                      – elliot svensson
                                                                      Dec 27 ’18 at 15:18

                                                                    • @elliotsvensson “betrayal by a friend stealing money causes pain” was my line of thinking.
                                                                      – David Mulder
                                                                      Dec 28 ’18 at 9:20

                                                                    • @dsollen This position is taken by John Stuart MIll himself when he argues that “Thus, to save a life, it may not only be allowable, but a duty, to steal, or take by force, the necessary food or medicine, or to kidnap, and compel to officiate, the only qualified medical practitioner.” Strong rule utilitarianism is the variant which states that a rule may not be broken no matter what.
                                                                      – David Mulder
                                                                      Dec 28 ’18 at 9:42

                                                                    14

                                                                    The evaluation of such a thing looks different under different utilitarian approaches.

                                                                    Act utilitarianism

                                                                    Act utilitarianism is a utilitarian theory of ethics which states that a person’s act is morally right if and only if it produces the best possible results in that specific situation.

                                                                    Source: Wikipedia

                                                                    So the first thing that’s important to understand is that under this approach an act utilitarian will consider certain lies – those that result in more happiness than not saying the lie – morally a good thing.

                                                                    An example of this would be:

                                                                    Thomas has stolen a thousand dollar from his millionaire friend. His friend asks “You are my friend, I trust you 100%, did you steal that money?”. Thomas – an act utilitarian – confidently answers he did not, as telling the truth would make both him and his friend unhappy.

                                                                    This brings us back to your original question where a lie can thus indeed be morally good or bad in the same way a mistake can be.

                                                                    Rule utilitarianism

                                                                    Rule utilitarianism is a form of utilitarianism that says an action is right as it conforms to a rule that leads to the greatest good, or that “the rightness or wrongness of a particular action is a function of the correctness of the rule of which it is an instance”.

                                                                    Source: Wikipedia

                                                                    Under this philosophical approach the main question is about how the rules are defined. It’s easily conceivable that a rule utilitarian would thus take the approach that “on average” the long term effect of lies makes people unhappy, and thus lies – as a rule – are morally wrong.

                                                                    Obviously in that case there is a strong distinction between a lie and a mistake as rules are considered an abstraction which …

                                                                    Rule utilitarians argue that following rules that tend to lead to the greatest good will have better consequences overall than allowing exceptions to be made in individual instances, even if better consequences can be demonstrated in those instances

                                                                    Source: Wikipedia

                                                                    Weak Rule utilitarianism

                                                                    Expanding a bit based on the discussion in the comments: weak rule utilitarianism will allow exceptions to be made to the rule in “extreme”. E.g. Lies might be always wrong except if it saves someone’s life. The opposite of this (strong rule utilitarianism) doesn’t allow any exceptions to be made. In either case though there will be a rule involved in the moral evolution of the case and thus there can be a difference between a mistake and a lie.


                                                                    And beyond those two there are of course countless of other variants of utilitarianism, so read up on those as well.

                                                                    share|improve this answer

                                                                    • 2

                                                                      Great answer. I would add that I’ve also seen hybrid approaches that value both rules and acts. So a person may say that based off of Rule Utilitarianism a lie does harm and is thus is generally wrong, but a sufficiently high anticipate good from the lie (a la act utilitarianism) may be enough to outweigh the harm of breaking the rule.. So for example they may deem a white lie to be wrong due to it’s breaking the rule on lying for only a minor increase in happiness, but lying to a assassin to help his intended victim to hide is moral, since it does enough good to justify breaking the rule.
                                                                      – dsollen
                                                                      Dec 26 ’18 at 18:15

                                                                    • I don’t think the example of Act Utilitarianism that you used is strong enough… the assumption is that the only consequences of Thomas’ conversation with his friend are whether or not Thomas has the $1000 (having = good) and whether or not the millionaire is angry at Thomas (angry = bad). But having and anger are not defined by act utilitarianism to be good or bad. This works more as an example of moral socialism than as act utilitarianism, I think.
                                                                      – elliot svensson
                                                                      Dec 27 ’18 at 15:18

                                                                    • @elliotsvensson “betrayal by a friend stealing money causes pain” was my line of thinking.
                                                                      – David Mulder
                                                                      Dec 28 ’18 at 9:20

                                                                    • @dsollen This position is taken by John Stuart MIll himself when he argues that “Thus, to save a life, it may not only be allowable, but a duty, to steal, or take by force, the necessary food or medicine, or to kidnap, and compel to officiate, the only qualified medical practitioner.” Strong rule utilitarianism is the variant which states that a rule may not be broken no matter what.
                                                                      – David Mulder
                                                                      Dec 28 ’18 at 9:42

                                                                    14

                                                                    14

                                                                    14

                                                                    The evaluation of such a thing looks different under different utilitarian approaches.

                                                                    Act utilitarianism

                                                                    Act utilitarianism is a utilitarian theory of ethics which states that a person’s act is morally right if and only if it produces the best possible results in that specific situation.

                                                                    Source: Wikipedia

                                                                    So the first thing that’s important to understand is that under this approach an act utilitarian will consider certain lies – those that result in more happiness than not saying the lie – morally a good thing.

                                                                    An example of this would be:

                                                                    Thomas has stolen a thousand dollar from his millionaire friend. His friend asks “You are my friend, I trust you 100%, did you steal that money?”. Thomas – an act utilitarian – confidently answers he did not, as telling the truth would make both him and his friend unhappy.

                                                                    This brings us back to your original question where a lie can thus indeed be morally good or bad in the same way a mistake can be.

                                                                    Rule utilitarianism

                                                                    Rule utilitarianism is a form of utilitarianism that says an action is right as it conforms to a rule that leads to the greatest good, or that “the rightness or wrongness of a particular action is a function of the correctness of the rule of which it is an instance”.

                                                                    Source: Wikipedia

                                                                    Under this philosophical approach the main question is about how the rules are defined. It’s easily conceivable that a rule utilitarian would thus take the approach that “on average” the long term effect of lies makes people unhappy, and thus lies – as a rule – are morally wrong.

                                                                    Obviously in that case there is a strong distinction between a lie and a mistake as rules are considered an abstraction which …

                                                                    Rule utilitarians argue that following rules that tend to lead to the greatest good will have better consequences overall than allowing exceptions to be made in individual instances, even if better consequences can be demonstrated in those instances

                                                                    Source: Wikipedia

                                                                    Weak Rule utilitarianism

                                                                    Expanding a bit based on the discussion in the comments: weak rule utilitarianism will allow exceptions to be made to the rule in “extreme”. E.g. Lies might be always wrong except if it saves someone’s life. The opposite of this (strong rule utilitarianism) doesn’t allow any exceptions to be made. In either case though there will be a rule involved in the moral evolution of the case and thus there can be a difference between a mistake and a lie.


                                                                    And beyond those two there are of course countless of other variants of utilitarianism, so read up on those as well.

                                                                    share|improve this answer

                                                                    The evaluation of such a thing looks different under different utilitarian approaches.

                                                                    Act utilitarianism

                                                                    Act utilitarianism is a utilitarian theory of ethics which states that a person’s act is morally right if and only if it produces the best possible results in that specific situation.

                                                                    Source: Wikipedia

                                                                    So the first thing that’s important to understand is that under this approach an act utilitarian will consider certain lies – those that result in more happiness than not saying the lie – morally a good thing.

                                                                    An example of this would be:

                                                                    Thomas has stolen a thousand dollar from his millionaire friend. His friend asks “You are my friend, I trust you 100%, did you steal that money?”. Thomas – an act utilitarian – confidently answers he did not, as telling the truth would make both him and his friend unhappy.

                                                                    This brings us back to your original question where a lie can thus indeed be morally good or bad in the same way a mistake can be.

                                                                    Rule utilitarianism

                                                                    Rule utilitarianism is a form of utilitarianism that says an action is right as it conforms to a rule that leads to the greatest good, or that “the rightness or wrongness of a particular action is a function of the correctness of the rule of which it is an instance”.

                                                                    Source: Wikipedia

                                                                    Under this philosophical approach the main question is about how the rules are defined. It’s easily conceivable that a rule utilitarian would thus take the approach that “on average” the long term effect of lies makes people unhappy, and thus lies – as a rule – are morally wrong.

                                                                    Obviously in that case there is a strong distinction between a lie and a mistake as rules are considered an abstraction which …

                                                                    Rule utilitarians argue that following rules that tend to lead to the greatest good will have better consequences overall than allowing exceptions to be made in individual instances, even if better consequences can be demonstrated in those instances

                                                                    Source: Wikipedia

                                                                    Weak Rule utilitarianism

                                                                    Expanding a bit based on the discussion in the comments: weak rule utilitarianism will allow exceptions to be made to the rule in “extreme”. E.g. Lies might be always wrong except if it saves someone’s life. The opposite of this (strong rule utilitarianism) doesn’t allow any exceptions to be made. In either case though there will be a rule involved in the moral evolution of the case and thus there can be a difference between a mistake and a lie.


                                                                    And beyond those two there are of course countless of other variants of utilitarianism, so read up on those as well.

                                                                    share|improve this answer

                                                                    share|improve this answer

                                                                    share|improve this answer

                                                                    edited Dec 28 ’18 at 18:06

                                                                    answered Dec 26 ’18 at 13:20

                                                                    David Mulder

                                                                    37019

                                                                    37019

                                                                    • 2

                                                                      Great answer. I would add that I’ve also seen hybrid approaches that value both rules and acts. So a person may say that based off of Rule Utilitarianism a lie does harm and is thus is generally wrong, but a sufficiently high anticipate good from the lie (a la act utilitarianism) may be enough to outweigh the harm of breaking the rule.. So for example they may deem a white lie to be wrong due to it’s breaking the rule on lying for only a minor increase in happiness, but lying to a assassin to help his intended victim to hide is moral, since it does enough good to justify breaking the rule.
                                                                      – dsollen
                                                                      Dec 26 ’18 at 18:15

                                                                    • I don’t think the example of Act Utilitarianism that you used is strong enough… the assumption is that the only consequences of Thomas’ conversation with his friend are whether or not Thomas has the $1000 (having = good) and whether or not the millionaire is angry at Thomas (angry = bad). But having and anger are not defined by act utilitarianism to be good or bad. This works more as an example of moral socialism than as act utilitarianism, I think.
                                                                      – elliot svensson
                                                                      Dec 27 ’18 at 15:18

                                                                    • @elliotsvensson “betrayal by a friend stealing money causes pain” was my line of thinking.
                                                                      – David Mulder
                                                                      Dec 28 ’18 at 9:20

                                                                    • @dsollen This position is taken by John Stuart MIll himself when he argues that “Thus, to save a life, it may not only be allowable, but a duty, to steal, or take by force, the necessary food or medicine, or to kidnap, and compel to officiate, the only qualified medical practitioner.” Strong rule utilitarianism is the variant which states that a rule may not be broken no matter what.
                                                                      – David Mulder
                                                                      Dec 28 ’18 at 9:42

                                                                    • 2

                                                                      Great answer. I would add that I’ve also seen hybrid approaches that value both rules and acts. So a person may say that based off of Rule Utilitarianism a lie does harm and is thus is generally wrong, but a sufficiently high anticipate good from the lie (a la act utilitarianism) may be enough to outweigh the harm of breaking the rule.. So for example they may deem a white lie to be wrong due to it’s breaking the rule on lying for only a minor increase in happiness, but lying to a assassin to help his intended victim to hide is moral, since it does enough good to justify breaking the rule.
                                                                      – dsollen
                                                                      Dec 26 ’18 at 18:15

                                                                    • I don’t think the example of Act Utilitarianism that you used is strong enough… the assumption is that the only consequences of Thomas’ conversation with his friend are whether or not Thomas has the $1000 (having = good) and whether or not the millionaire is angry at Thomas (angry = bad). But having and anger are not defined by act utilitarianism to be good or bad. This works more as an example of moral socialism than as act utilitarianism, I think.
                                                                      – elliot svensson
                                                                      Dec 27 ’18 at 15:18

                                                                    • @elliotsvensson “betrayal by a friend stealing money causes pain” was my line of thinking.
                                                                      – David Mulder
                                                                      Dec 28 ’18 at 9:20

                                                                    • @dsollen This position is taken by John Stuart MIll himself when he argues that “Thus, to save a life, it may not only be allowable, but a duty, to steal, or take by force, the necessary food or medicine, or to kidnap, and compel to officiate, the only qualified medical practitioner.” Strong rule utilitarianism is the variant which states that a rule may not be broken no matter what.
                                                                      – David Mulder
                                                                      Dec 28 ’18 at 9:42

                                                                    2

                                                                    2

                                                                    Great answer. I would add that I’ve also seen hybrid approaches that value both rules and acts. So a person may say that based off of Rule Utilitarianism a lie does harm and is thus is generally wrong, but a sufficiently high anticipate good from the lie (a la act utilitarianism) may be enough to outweigh the harm of breaking the rule.. So for example they may deem a white lie to be wrong due to it’s breaking the rule on lying for only a minor increase in happiness, but lying to a assassin to help his intended victim to hide is moral, since it does enough good to justify breaking the rule.
                                                                    – dsollen
                                                                    Dec 26 ’18 at 18:15

                                                                    Great answer. I would add that I’ve also seen hybrid approaches that value both rules and acts. So a person may say that based off of Rule Utilitarianism a lie does harm and is thus is generally wrong, but a sufficiently high anticipate good from the lie (a la act utilitarianism) may be enough to outweigh the harm of breaking the rule.. So for example they may deem a white lie to be wrong due to it’s breaking the rule on lying for only a minor increase in happiness, but lying to a assassin to help his intended victim to hide is moral, since it does enough good to justify breaking the rule.
                                                                    – dsollen
                                                                    Dec 26 ’18 at 18:15

                                                                    I don’t think the example of Act Utilitarianism that you used is strong enough… the assumption is that the only consequences of Thomas’ conversation with his friend are whether or not Thomas has the $1000 (having = good) and whether or not the millionaire is angry at Thomas (angry = bad). But having and anger are not defined by act utilitarianism to be good or bad. This works more as an example of moral socialism than as act utilitarianism, I think.
                                                                    – elliot svensson
                                                                    Dec 27 ’18 at 15:18

                                                                    I don’t think the example of Act Utilitarianism that you used is strong enough… the assumption is that the only consequences of Thomas’ conversation with his friend are whether or not Thomas has the $1000 (having = good) and whether or not the millionaire is angry at Thomas (angry = bad). But having and anger are not defined by act utilitarianism to be good or bad. This works more as an example of moral socialism than as act utilitarianism, I think.
                                                                    – elliot svensson
                                                                    Dec 27 ’18 at 15:18

                                                                    @elliotsvensson “betrayal by a friend stealing money causes pain” was my line of thinking.
                                                                    – David Mulder
                                                                    Dec 28 ’18 at 9:20

                                                                    @elliotsvensson “betrayal by a friend stealing money causes pain” was my line of thinking.
                                                                    – David Mulder
                                                                    Dec 28 ’18 at 9:20

                                                                    @dsollen This position is taken by John Stuart MIll himself when he argues that “Thus, to save a life, it may not only be allowable, but a duty, to steal, or take by force, the necessary food or medicine, or to kidnap, and compel to officiate, the only qualified medical practitioner.” Strong rule utilitarianism is the variant which states that a rule may not be broken no matter what.
                                                                    – David Mulder
                                                                    Dec 28 ’18 at 9:42

                                                                    @dsollen This position is taken by John Stuart MIll himself when he argues that “Thus, to save a life, it may not only be allowable, but a duty, to steal, or take by force, the necessary food or medicine, or to kidnap, and compel to officiate, the only qualified medical practitioner.” Strong rule utilitarianism is the variant which states that a rule may not be broken no matter what.
                                                                    – David Mulder
                                                                    Dec 28 ’18 at 9:42

                                                                    19

                                                                    Since utilitarianism is meant for people who are not all-knowing, only the foreseeable consequences count. And a mistake and a lie do not differ only in intent, they also differ in what the person knows, and, therefore, can foresee.

                                                                    share|improve this answer

                                                                    • 1

                                                                      They also differ in the consequences to the person saying something, in that that person has the experience of having lied or of having told the truth as understood. One problem I’ve seen sometimes in utilitarian analysis is in omitting some class or classes of consequences, such as (in this case) the internal ones.
                                                                      – David Thornley
                                                                      Dec 26 ’18 at 22:42

                                                                    19

                                                                    Since utilitarianism is meant for people who are not all-knowing, only the foreseeable consequences count. And a mistake and a lie do not differ only in intent, they also differ in what the person knows, and, therefore, can foresee.

                                                                    share|improve this answer

                                                                    • 1

                                                                      They also differ in the consequences to the person saying something, in that that person has the experience of having lied or of having told the truth as understood. One problem I’ve seen sometimes in utilitarian analysis is in omitting some class or classes of consequences, such as (in this case) the internal ones.
                                                                      – David Thornley
                                                                      Dec 26 ’18 at 22:42

                                                                    19

                                                                    19

                                                                    19

                                                                    Since utilitarianism is meant for people who are not all-knowing, only the foreseeable consequences count. And a mistake and a lie do not differ only in intent, they also differ in what the person knows, and, therefore, can foresee.

                                                                    share|improve this answer

                                                                    Since utilitarianism is meant for people who are not all-knowing, only the foreseeable consequences count. And a mistake and a lie do not differ only in intent, they also differ in what the person knows, and, therefore, can foresee.

                                                                    share|improve this answer

                                                                    share|improve this answer

                                                                    share|improve this answer

                                                                    answered Dec 25 ’18 at 11:49

                                                                    Conifold

                                                                    35.1k252139

                                                                    35.1k252139

                                                                    • 1

                                                                      They also differ in the consequences to the person saying something, in that that person has the experience of having lied or of having told the truth as understood. One problem I’ve seen sometimes in utilitarian analysis is in omitting some class or classes of consequences, such as (in this case) the internal ones.
                                                                      – David Thornley
                                                                      Dec 26 ’18 at 22:42

                                                                    • 1

                                                                      They also differ in the consequences to the person saying something, in that that person has the experience of having lied or of having told the truth as understood. One problem I’ve seen sometimes in utilitarian analysis is in omitting some class or classes of consequences, such as (in this case) the internal ones.
                                                                      – David Thornley
                                                                      Dec 26 ’18 at 22:42

                                                                    1

                                                                    1

                                                                    They also differ in the consequences to the person saying something, in that that person has the experience of having lied or of having told the truth as understood. One problem I’ve seen sometimes in utilitarian analysis is in omitting some class or classes of consequences, such as (in this case) the internal ones.
                                                                    – David Thornley
                                                                    Dec 26 ’18 at 22:42

                                                                    They also differ in the consequences to the person saying something, in that that person has the experience of having lied or of having told the truth as understood. One problem I’ve seen sometimes in utilitarian analysis is in omitting some class or classes of consequences, such as (in this case) the internal ones.
                                                                    – David Thornley
                                                                    Dec 26 ’18 at 22:42

                                                                    2

                                                                    The definition of “lie” and “mistake” differ only in their intent, but that does not mean that the set of lies differs from the set of mistakes only in their intent. Given a particular lie, and a particular mistake, it would fallacious to say: “This lie is no worse than this mistake, because the lie differs only in its intent”. Lies tend to be worse than mistakes. At the very least, a lie results in a person knowing that they lied, while a mistake does not. Lies are also more likely to result in another person coming to believe that they were lied to.

                                                                    Furthermore, morality refers to a criterion by which we decide between courses of action. If we know that something is a lie, then it (generally) follows that we should not do it. If we do not know that something is a mistake, then we will not consider the morality of performing mistakes when deciding whether to do it, so our moral judgment of mistakes is irrelevant. And knowing it is a mistake is incoherent: if we know that it is wrong, then it’s not a mistake; it’s a lie. If a claim is false, then we will consider the claim being false in our decision whether to make the claim only when we know that the claim is false. “Being a mistake” is not an attribute for which it is coherent to include in one’s decision-making (although of course “likely to be a mistake” is).

                                                                    share|improve this answer

                                                                    • @PedroA: Note that you can suggest corrections to such obvious mistakes yourself, which is more efficient that leaving a comment (and also gives you reputation).
                                                                      – Wrzlprmft
                                                                      Dec 27 ’18 at 11:55

                                                                    2

                                                                    The definition of “lie” and “mistake” differ only in their intent, but that does not mean that the set of lies differs from the set of mistakes only in their intent. Given a particular lie, and a particular mistake, it would fallacious to say: “This lie is no worse than this mistake, because the lie differs only in its intent”. Lies tend to be worse than mistakes. At the very least, a lie results in a person knowing that they lied, while a mistake does not. Lies are also more likely to result in another person coming to believe that they were lied to.

                                                                    Furthermore, morality refers to a criterion by which we decide between courses of action. If we know that something is a lie, then it (generally) follows that we should not do it. If we do not know that something is a mistake, then we will not consider the morality of performing mistakes when deciding whether to do it, so our moral judgment of mistakes is irrelevant. And knowing it is a mistake is incoherent: if we know that it is wrong, then it’s not a mistake; it’s a lie. If a claim is false, then we will consider the claim being false in our decision whether to make the claim only when we know that the claim is false. “Being a mistake” is not an attribute for which it is coherent to include in one’s decision-making (although of course “likely to be a mistake” is).

                                                                    share|improve this answer

                                                                    • @PedroA: Note that you can suggest corrections to such obvious mistakes yourself, which is more efficient that leaving a comment (and also gives you reputation).
                                                                      – Wrzlprmft
                                                                      Dec 27 ’18 at 11:55

                                                                    2

                                                                    2

                                                                    2

                                                                    The definition of “lie” and “mistake” differ only in their intent, but that does not mean that the set of lies differs from the set of mistakes only in their intent. Given a particular lie, and a particular mistake, it would fallacious to say: “This lie is no worse than this mistake, because the lie differs only in its intent”. Lies tend to be worse than mistakes. At the very least, a lie results in a person knowing that they lied, while a mistake does not. Lies are also more likely to result in another person coming to believe that they were lied to.

                                                                    Furthermore, morality refers to a criterion by which we decide between courses of action. If we know that something is a lie, then it (generally) follows that we should not do it. If we do not know that something is a mistake, then we will not consider the morality of performing mistakes when deciding whether to do it, so our moral judgment of mistakes is irrelevant. And knowing it is a mistake is incoherent: if we know that it is wrong, then it’s not a mistake; it’s a lie. If a claim is false, then we will consider the claim being false in our decision whether to make the claim only when we know that the claim is false. “Being a mistake” is not an attribute for which it is coherent to include in one’s decision-making (although of course “likely to be a mistake” is).

                                                                    share|improve this answer

                                                                    The definition of “lie” and “mistake” differ only in their intent, but that does not mean that the set of lies differs from the set of mistakes only in their intent. Given a particular lie, and a particular mistake, it would fallacious to say: “This lie is no worse than this mistake, because the lie differs only in its intent”. Lies tend to be worse than mistakes. At the very least, a lie results in a person knowing that they lied, while a mistake does not. Lies are also more likely to result in another person coming to believe that they were lied to.

                                                                    Furthermore, morality refers to a criterion by which we decide between courses of action. If we know that something is a lie, then it (generally) follows that we should not do it. If we do not know that something is a mistake, then we will not consider the morality of performing mistakes when deciding whether to do it, so our moral judgment of mistakes is irrelevant. And knowing it is a mistake is incoherent: if we know that it is wrong, then it’s not a mistake; it’s a lie. If a claim is false, then we will consider the claim being false in our decision whether to make the claim only when we know that the claim is false. “Being a mistake” is not an attribute for which it is coherent to include in one’s decision-making (although of course “likely to be a mistake” is).

                                                                    share|improve this answer

                                                                    share|improve this answer

                                                                    share|improve this answer

                                                                    edited Dec 27 ’18 at 14:26

                                                                    Wrzlprmft

                                                                    1054

                                                                    1054

                                                                    answered Dec 26 ’18 at 22:25

                                                                    Acccumulation

                                                                    57218

                                                                    57218

                                                                    • @PedroA: Note that you can suggest corrections to such obvious mistakes yourself, which is more efficient that leaving a comment (and also gives you reputation).
                                                                      – Wrzlprmft
                                                                      Dec 27 ’18 at 11:55

                                                                    • @PedroA: Note that you can suggest corrections to such obvious mistakes yourself, which is more efficient that leaving a comment (and also gives you reputation).
                                                                      – Wrzlprmft
                                                                      Dec 27 ’18 at 11:55

                                                                    @PedroA: Note that you can suggest corrections to such obvious mistakes yourself, which is more efficient that leaving a comment (and also gives you reputation).
                                                                    – Wrzlprmft
                                                                    Dec 27 ’18 at 11:55

                                                                    @PedroA: Note that you can suggest corrections to such obvious mistakes yourself, which is more efficient that leaving a comment (and also gives you reputation).
                                                                    – Wrzlprmft
                                                                    Dec 27 ’18 at 11:55

                                                                    0

                                                                    Depends on what you mean by “moral equivalence”. If you mean that the consequences are equivalent, then yes, they are the same, but this is independent of utilitarianism. If you mean “both are bad”, then they are not equivalent — to an actor with imperfect information, what in hindsight is shown to be a mistake may have been a perfectly rational, ethical decision when it was made with the information then available to the actor.

                                                                    share|improve this answer

                                                                      0

                                                                      Depends on what you mean by “moral equivalence”. If you mean that the consequences are equivalent, then yes, they are the same, but this is independent of utilitarianism. If you mean “both are bad”, then they are not equivalent — to an actor with imperfect information, what in hindsight is shown to be a mistake may have been a perfectly rational, ethical decision when it was made with the information then available to the actor.

                                                                      share|improve this answer

                                                                        0

                                                                        0

                                                                        0

                                                                        Depends on what you mean by “moral equivalence”. If you mean that the consequences are equivalent, then yes, they are the same, but this is independent of utilitarianism. If you mean “both are bad”, then they are not equivalent — to an actor with imperfect information, what in hindsight is shown to be a mistake may have been a perfectly rational, ethical decision when it was made with the information then available to the actor.

                                                                        share|improve this answer

                                                                        Depends on what you mean by “moral equivalence”. If you mean that the consequences are equivalent, then yes, they are the same, but this is independent of utilitarianism. If you mean “both are bad”, then they are not equivalent — to an actor with imperfect information, what in hindsight is shown to be a mistake may have been a perfectly rational, ethical decision when it was made with the information then available to the actor.

                                                                        share|improve this answer

                                                                        share|improve this answer

                                                                        share|improve this answer

                                                                        answered Dec 26 ’18 at 4:44

                                                                        Abhimanyu Pallavi Sudhir

                                                                        1368

                                                                        1368

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                                                                            Is it unethical to surf the web if I am idle? [duplicate]

                                                                            The name of the pictureThe name of the pictureThe name of the pictureClash Royale CLAN TAG#URR8PPP

                                                                            8

                                                                            This question already has an answer here:

                                                                            • Surfing Internet & Reading Book is OK when there’s nothing to do? [duplicate]

                                                                              1 answer
                                                                            • How can I “kill” time at work when there is no work for me to do?

                                                                              12 answers

                                                                            I recently joined a new company. The problem is that they have a release coming up this month end and don’t have the time to loop me into the work-flow.

                                                                            I have asked for work to get to know the code base better and have done it and have a fair idea of what I will be doing.

                                                                            Now, in my idle time (till 31st I’m guessing), I am free of any tasks. So, I tend to surf the web on my mobile. While I don’t thing anyone minds, and yes it might not give the best impression; what I wonder is if it is considered unethical?

                                                                            @gnat:
                                                                            The question is not a duplicate. Unlike the aforementioned question / topic, I have tried to talk to my colleagues about it. They indicated that I should wait till the release. I already have a project assigned, the code for which I have gone through. I can’t comment on the get to know your colleagues part simply because social interaction doesn’t come exactly naturally to me. In my defense I have tried to befriend people who sit around me, but its a steep slope…..

                                                                            share|improve this question

                                                                            marked as duplicate by gnat, Twyxz, scaaahu, IDrinkandIKnowThings, dwizum Dec 21 ’18 at 20:31

                                                                            This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

                                                                            • Personally, as long as they do their job, I wouldn’t care if a coworker surf unrelated stuff on their time. However, as a new joiner, you would have a lot of things to do, you can familiarise yourself with the code, you can try to refactor code that looks nasty. Don’t wait until people loop you in, try to onboard yourself; don’t wait until you’re assigned tasks, rather find a task for yourself. Improve the onboarding documentations if things are missing there that you spent hours trying to figure out. Play around with the product, make notes of where things could be improved.
                                                                              – Lie Ryan
                                                                              Dec 22 ’18 at 2:54

                                                                            • Improve your tools, maybe research that text editor/IDE shortcuts or configuration that you’ve never managed to figure out in crunch. Research a bit about the company’s environment (regulations that apply, competitors, industry standards, future directions, etc). In a typical software project size, I’d be very surprised if you managed to figure out what things does what in a code base in less than a six months.
                                                                              – Lie Ryan
                                                                              Dec 22 ’18 at 2:56

                                                                            • I’d usually recommended to give new joiners some space, instead of putting them to task immediately, for the reason that there are so many things for a new joiners to need to figure out rather than doing work tasks immediately. It’s counter productive in the long run to try to cram new joiners with tasks immediately after joining in most cases.
                                                                              – Lie Ryan
                                                                              Dec 22 ’18 at 3:04

                                                                            8

                                                                            This question already has an answer here:

                                                                            • Surfing Internet & Reading Book is OK when there’s nothing to do? [duplicate]

                                                                              1 answer
                                                                            • How can I “kill” time at work when there is no work for me to do?

                                                                              12 answers

                                                                            I recently joined a new company. The problem is that they have a release coming up this month end and don’t have the time to loop me into the work-flow.

                                                                            I have asked for work to get to know the code base better and have done it and have a fair idea of what I will be doing.

                                                                            Now, in my idle time (till 31st I’m guessing), I am free of any tasks. So, I tend to surf the web on my mobile. While I don’t thing anyone minds, and yes it might not give the best impression; what I wonder is if it is considered unethical?

                                                                            @gnat:
                                                                            The question is not a duplicate. Unlike the aforementioned question / topic, I have tried to talk to my colleagues about it. They indicated that I should wait till the release. I already have a project assigned, the code for which I have gone through. I can’t comment on the get to know your colleagues part simply because social interaction doesn’t come exactly naturally to me. In my defense I have tried to befriend people who sit around me, but its a steep slope…..

                                                                            share|improve this question

                                                                            marked as duplicate by gnat, Twyxz, scaaahu, IDrinkandIKnowThings, dwizum Dec 21 ’18 at 20:31

                                                                            This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

                                                                            • Personally, as long as they do their job, I wouldn’t care if a coworker surf unrelated stuff on their time. However, as a new joiner, you would have a lot of things to do, you can familiarise yourself with the code, you can try to refactor code that looks nasty. Don’t wait until people loop you in, try to onboard yourself; don’t wait until you’re assigned tasks, rather find a task for yourself. Improve the onboarding documentations if things are missing there that you spent hours trying to figure out. Play around with the product, make notes of where things could be improved.
                                                                              – Lie Ryan
                                                                              Dec 22 ’18 at 2:54

                                                                            • Improve your tools, maybe research that text editor/IDE shortcuts or configuration that you’ve never managed to figure out in crunch. Research a bit about the company’s environment (regulations that apply, competitors, industry standards, future directions, etc). In a typical software project size, I’d be very surprised if you managed to figure out what things does what in a code base in less than a six months.
                                                                              – Lie Ryan
                                                                              Dec 22 ’18 at 2:56

                                                                            • I’d usually recommended to give new joiners some space, instead of putting them to task immediately, for the reason that there are so many things for a new joiners to need to figure out rather than doing work tasks immediately. It’s counter productive in the long run to try to cram new joiners with tasks immediately after joining in most cases.
                                                                              – Lie Ryan
                                                                              Dec 22 ’18 at 3:04

                                                                            8

                                                                            8

                                                                            8

                                                                            This question already has an answer here:

                                                                            • Surfing Internet & Reading Book is OK when there’s nothing to do? [duplicate]

                                                                              1 answer
                                                                            • How can I “kill” time at work when there is no work for me to do?

                                                                              12 answers

                                                                            I recently joined a new company. The problem is that they have a release coming up this month end and don’t have the time to loop me into the work-flow.

                                                                            I have asked for work to get to know the code base better and have done it and have a fair idea of what I will be doing.

                                                                            Now, in my idle time (till 31st I’m guessing), I am free of any tasks. So, I tend to surf the web on my mobile. While I don’t thing anyone minds, and yes it might not give the best impression; what I wonder is if it is considered unethical?

                                                                            @gnat:
                                                                            The question is not a duplicate. Unlike the aforementioned question / topic, I have tried to talk to my colleagues about it. They indicated that I should wait till the release. I already have a project assigned, the code for which I have gone through. I can’t comment on the get to know your colleagues part simply because social interaction doesn’t come exactly naturally to me. In my defense I have tried to befriend people who sit around me, but its a steep slope…..

                                                                            share|improve this question

                                                                            This question already has an answer here:

                                                                            • Surfing Internet & Reading Book is OK when there’s nothing to do? [duplicate]

                                                                              1 answer
                                                                            • How can I “kill” time at work when there is no work for me to do?

                                                                              12 answers

                                                                            I recently joined a new company. The problem is that they have a release coming up this month end and don’t have the time to loop me into the work-flow.

                                                                            I have asked for work to get to know the code base better and have done it and have a fair idea of what I will be doing.

                                                                            Now, in my idle time (till 31st I’m guessing), I am free of any tasks. So, I tend to surf the web on my mobile. While I don’t thing anyone minds, and yes it might not give the best impression; what I wonder is if it is considered unethical?

                                                                            @gnat:
                                                                            The question is not a duplicate. Unlike the aforementioned question / topic, I have tried to talk to my colleagues about it. They indicated that I should wait till the release. I already have a project assigned, the code for which I have gone through. I can’t comment on the get to know your colleagues part simply because social interaction doesn’t come exactly naturally to me. In my defense I have tried to befriend people who sit around me, but its a steep slope…..

                                                                            This question already has an answer here:

                                                                            • Surfing Internet & Reading Book is OK when there’s nothing to do? [duplicate]

                                                                              1 answer
                                                                            • How can I “kill” time at work when there is no work for me to do?

                                                                              12 answers

                                                                            ethics

                                                                            share|improve this question

                                                                            share|improve this question

                                                                            share|improve this question

                                                                            share|improve this question

                                                                            edited Dec 21 ’18 at 9:35

                                                                            asked Dec 21 ’18 at 7:11

                                                                            Bhoot

                                                                            845

                                                                            845

                                                                            marked as duplicate by gnat, Twyxz, scaaahu, IDrinkandIKnowThings, dwizum Dec 21 ’18 at 20:31

                                                                            This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

                                                                            marked as duplicate by gnat, Twyxz, scaaahu, IDrinkandIKnowThings, dwizum Dec 21 ’18 at 20:31

                                                                            This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

                                                                            • Personally, as long as they do their job, I wouldn’t care if a coworker surf unrelated stuff on their time. However, as a new joiner, you would have a lot of things to do, you can familiarise yourself with the code, you can try to refactor code that looks nasty. Don’t wait until people loop you in, try to onboard yourself; don’t wait until you’re assigned tasks, rather find a task for yourself. Improve the onboarding documentations if things are missing there that you spent hours trying to figure out. Play around with the product, make notes of where things could be improved.
                                                                              – Lie Ryan
                                                                              Dec 22 ’18 at 2:54

                                                                            • Improve your tools, maybe research that text editor/IDE shortcuts or configuration that you’ve never managed to figure out in crunch. Research a bit about the company’s environment (regulations that apply, competitors, industry standards, future directions, etc). In a typical software project size, I’d be very surprised if you managed to figure out what things does what in a code base in less than a six months.
                                                                              – Lie Ryan
                                                                              Dec 22 ’18 at 2:56

                                                                            • I’d usually recommended to give new joiners some space, instead of putting them to task immediately, for the reason that there are so many things for a new joiners to need to figure out rather than doing work tasks immediately. It’s counter productive in the long run to try to cram new joiners with tasks immediately after joining in most cases.
                                                                              – Lie Ryan
                                                                              Dec 22 ’18 at 3:04

                                                                            • Personally, as long as they do their job, I wouldn’t care if a coworker surf unrelated stuff on their time. However, as a new joiner, you would have a lot of things to do, you can familiarise yourself with the code, you can try to refactor code that looks nasty. Don’t wait until people loop you in, try to onboard yourself; don’t wait until you’re assigned tasks, rather find a task for yourself. Improve the onboarding documentations if things are missing there that you spent hours trying to figure out. Play around with the product, make notes of where things could be improved.
                                                                              – Lie Ryan
                                                                              Dec 22 ’18 at 2:54

                                                                            • Improve your tools, maybe research that text editor/IDE shortcuts or configuration that you’ve never managed to figure out in crunch. Research a bit about the company’s environment (regulations that apply, competitors, industry standards, future directions, etc). In a typical software project size, I’d be very surprised if you managed to figure out what things does what in a code base in less than a six months.
                                                                              – Lie Ryan
                                                                              Dec 22 ’18 at 2:56

                                                                            • I’d usually recommended to give new joiners some space, instead of putting them to task immediately, for the reason that there are so many things for a new joiners to need to figure out rather than doing work tasks immediately. It’s counter productive in the long run to try to cram new joiners with tasks immediately after joining in most cases.
                                                                              – Lie Ryan
                                                                              Dec 22 ’18 at 3:04

                                                                            Personally, as long as they do their job, I wouldn’t care if a coworker surf unrelated stuff on their time. However, as a new joiner, you would have a lot of things to do, you can familiarise yourself with the code, you can try to refactor code that looks nasty. Don’t wait until people loop you in, try to onboard yourself; don’t wait until you’re assigned tasks, rather find a task for yourself. Improve the onboarding documentations if things are missing there that you spent hours trying to figure out. Play around with the product, make notes of where things could be improved.
                                                                            – Lie Ryan
                                                                            Dec 22 ’18 at 2:54

                                                                            Personally, as long as they do their job, I wouldn’t care if a coworker surf unrelated stuff on their time. However, as a new joiner, you would have a lot of things to do, you can familiarise yourself with the code, you can try to refactor code that looks nasty. Don’t wait until people loop you in, try to onboard yourself; don’t wait until you’re assigned tasks, rather find a task for yourself. Improve the onboarding documentations if things are missing there that you spent hours trying to figure out. Play around with the product, make notes of where things could be improved.
                                                                            – Lie Ryan
                                                                            Dec 22 ’18 at 2:54

                                                                            Improve your tools, maybe research that text editor/IDE shortcuts or configuration that you’ve never managed to figure out in crunch. Research a bit about the company’s environment (regulations that apply, competitors, industry standards, future directions, etc). In a typical software project size, I’d be very surprised if you managed to figure out what things does what in a code base in less than a six months.
                                                                            – Lie Ryan
                                                                            Dec 22 ’18 at 2:56

                                                                            Improve your tools, maybe research that text editor/IDE shortcuts or configuration that you’ve never managed to figure out in crunch. Research a bit about the company’s environment (regulations that apply, competitors, industry standards, future directions, etc). In a typical software project size, I’d be very surprised if you managed to figure out what things does what in a code base in less than a six months.
                                                                            – Lie Ryan
                                                                            Dec 22 ’18 at 2:56

                                                                            I’d usually recommended to give new joiners some space, instead of putting them to task immediately, for the reason that there are so many things for a new joiners to need to figure out rather than doing work tasks immediately. It’s counter productive in the long run to try to cram new joiners with tasks immediately after joining in most cases.
                                                                            – Lie Ryan
                                                                            Dec 22 ’18 at 3:04

                                                                            I’d usually recommended to give new joiners some space, instead of putting them to task immediately, for the reason that there are so many things for a new joiners to need to figure out rather than doing work tasks immediately. It’s counter productive in the long run to try to cram new joiners with tasks immediately after joining in most cases.
                                                                            – Lie Ryan
                                                                            Dec 22 ’18 at 3:04

                                                                            3 Answers
                                                                            3

                                                                            active

                                                                            oldest

                                                                            votes

                                                                            18

                                                                            I understand boredom, and I surf a lot, all year round, just to give me a break from coding & clear my head. However, I don’t do it surreptitiously on my ‘phone.

                                                                            I surf openly on my desktop PC, where anyone passing can see.

                                                                            I also make sure that everything I am looking at is, in some way, work related.

                                                                            If I am looking at Stack Overflow, I could be looking for something to help me solve a problem. Otherwise, I look for tools to improve my productivity (a bonus if they will also help my hobby projects – wink 😉

                                                                            You could also brush up on your programming language. That’s not much use when I am coding in C, but C++ is always evolving. Still, there are lots of tips & tricks for C, and every other language.

                                                                            Just try to anticipate the job you will do soon, and read up on as much as you can about it. You can also ask your teammates what they recommend you research.

                                                                            If you already have access to the code, then give it a thorough review. Running DoxyGen over the codebase is always the first thing that I do. It gives a great amount of information, even when there are no Doxygen comments.

                                                                            Have a look at the unit tests. Are they complete?

                                                                            If the code produces debug logs, one of the first things that I do is to code a tool to convert the debug trace to message sequence charts.

                                                                            Find something job-related to keep you busy, and let everyone see you doing it, rather than having them thing you are sending a week on FaceTweet or even pr0n on your ‘phone. Do it publicly, and make a good impression before you even start.

                                                                            share|improve this answer

                                                                            • 1

                                                                              Thanks for that. Never realized I could try those things.
                                                                              – Bhoot
                                                                              Dec 21 ’18 at 8:25

                                                                            • 1

                                                                              You might even offer your boss or teammates a list of possible activities and ask which they recommend. As long as you are not disturbing your colleagues by asking questions they will surely be happy if you can contribute even a little to the project
                                                                              – Mawg
                                                                              Dec 21 ’18 at 9:12

                                                                            4

                                                                            what I wonder is if it is considered unethical?

                                                                            To be honest I find other answers a bit unbelievable. In a given 8 hours work day, a typical programmer probably spends 3-4 hours doing useful work. It’s the nature of the beast, so to speak. On average, a programmer writes maybe 20-100 lines of code per day and the rest is spent doing non-programming things. The way people make it out here is that in a given work day, they spend the entire day attempting to find or do something for the company. In my own personal experience, this ends up being rather annoying to your coworkers and boss(es). And it becomes rather mentally taxing to you as you’re constantly trying to find “something” but not really anything useful for the company. Are you prepared if an emergency is coming in both physically and mentally to perform the work 100%? If not, then you need to step back and take it easy.

                                                                            In my opinion, if you cannot refactor code, work on bugs, or go to a meeting to get future requirements, then you should spend the day doing what you can to prepare for the next task. It’s more benefiting to the company that you are mentally prepared for the next task and not exhausted by tiring yourself out with useless stuff.

                                                                            share|improve this answer

                                                                            • 1

                                                                              Is that your experience as a programmer?
                                                                              – Randy Zeitman
                                                                              Dec 21 ’18 at 20:52

                                                                            3

                                                                            There is always something more useful to do than just killing time on company dime.
                                                                            It will reflect much better on your WORK ETHIC !

                                                                            Pick one or more of the following list and ask your supervisor if it is OK to do that while you wait for assignments.

                                                                            • familiarize yourself with the company workflow using intranet pages or other documents they may have
                                                                            • offer beta testing for the current project or simply play with the software as a user would
                                                                            • extend your knowledge regarding the coding environment in use
                                                                            • browse through code or documentation (project bible?) of the current project
                                                                            • do online tutorials of code snippets directly related to the companys portfolio or future projects you might be assigned to
                                                                            • offer to do some sandbox work on an unfinished R&D project or pipeline tool that is on low priority
                                                                            • offer general R&D for future projects

                                                                            …get creative and extend this list to your liking…

                                                                            ONLY if all of these alternatives are not approved ask if you can or if they flat out tell you to just surf the web should you do that!

                                                                            share|improve this answer

                                                                            • 1

                                                                              +1 for suggesting “beta testing”. Since everyone else is busy preparing a release, an extra pair of eyes could be helpful, especially as OP is new and might notice problems their colleagues would overlook due to their familiarity with the project.
                                                                              – Llewellyn
                                                                              Dec 21 ’18 at 15:45

                                                                            3 Answers
                                                                            3

                                                                            active

                                                                            oldest

                                                                            votes

                                                                            3 Answers
                                                                            3

                                                                            active

                                                                            oldest

                                                                            votes

                                                                            active

                                                                            oldest

                                                                            votes

                                                                            active

                                                                            oldest

                                                                            votes

                                                                            18

                                                                            I understand boredom, and I surf a lot, all year round, just to give me a break from coding & clear my head. However, I don’t do it surreptitiously on my ‘phone.

                                                                            I surf openly on my desktop PC, where anyone passing can see.

                                                                            I also make sure that everything I am looking at is, in some way, work related.

                                                                            If I am looking at Stack Overflow, I could be looking for something to help me solve a problem. Otherwise, I look for tools to improve my productivity (a bonus if they will also help my hobby projects – wink 😉

                                                                            You could also brush up on your programming language. That’s not much use when I am coding in C, but C++ is always evolving. Still, there are lots of tips & tricks for C, and every other language.

                                                                            Just try to anticipate the job you will do soon, and read up on as much as you can about it. You can also ask your teammates what they recommend you research.

                                                                            If you already have access to the code, then give it a thorough review. Running DoxyGen over the codebase is always the first thing that I do. It gives a great amount of information, even when there are no Doxygen comments.

                                                                            Have a look at the unit tests. Are they complete?

                                                                            If the code produces debug logs, one of the first things that I do is to code a tool to convert the debug trace to message sequence charts.

                                                                            Find something job-related to keep you busy, and let everyone see you doing it, rather than having them thing you are sending a week on FaceTweet or even pr0n on your ‘phone. Do it publicly, and make a good impression before you even start.

                                                                            share|improve this answer

                                                                            • 1

                                                                              Thanks for that. Never realized I could try those things.
                                                                              – Bhoot
                                                                              Dec 21 ’18 at 8:25

                                                                            • 1

                                                                              You might even offer your boss or teammates a list of possible activities and ask which they recommend. As long as you are not disturbing your colleagues by asking questions they will surely be happy if you can contribute even a little to the project
                                                                              – Mawg
                                                                              Dec 21 ’18 at 9:12

                                                                            18

                                                                            I understand boredom, and I surf a lot, all year round, just to give me a break from coding & clear my head. However, I don’t do it surreptitiously on my ‘phone.

                                                                            I surf openly on my desktop PC, where anyone passing can see.

                                                                            I also make sure that everything I am looking at is, in some way, work related.

                                                                            If I am looking at Stack Overflow, I could be looking for something to help me solve a problem. Otherwise, I look for tools to improve my productivity (a bonus if they will also help my hobby projects – wink 😉

                                                                            You could also brush up on your programming language. That’s not much use when I am coding in C, but C++ is always evolving. Still, there are lots of tips & tricks for C, and every other language.

                                                                            Just try to anticipate the job you will do soon, and read up on as much as you can about it. You can also ask your teammates what they recommend you research.

                                                                            If you already have access to the code, then give it a thorough review. Running DoxyGen over the codebase is always the first thing that I do. It gives a great amount of information, even when there are no Doxygen comments.

                                                                            Have a look at the unit tests. Are they complete?

                                                                            If the code produces debug logs, one of the first things that I do is to code a tool to convert the debug trace to message sequence charts.

                                                                            Find something job-related to keep you busy, and let everyone see you doing it, rather than having them thing you are sending a week on FaceTweet or even pr0n on your ‘phone. Do it publicly, and make a good impression before you even start.

                                                                            share|improve this answer

                                                                            • 1

                                                                              Thanks for that. Never realized I could try those things.
                                                                              – Bhoot
                                                                              Dec 21 ’18 at 8:25

                                                                            • 1

                                                                              You might even offer your boss or teammates a list of possible activities and ask which they recommend. As long as you are not disturbing your colleagues by asking questions they will surely be happy if you can contribute even a little to the project
                                                                              – Mawg
                                                                              Dec 21 ’18 at 9:12

                                                                            18

                                                                            18

                                                                            18

                                                                            I understand boredom, and I surf a lot, all year round, just to give me a break from coding & clear my head. However, I don’t do it surreptitiously on my ‘phone.

                                                                            I surf openly on my desktop PC, where anyone passing can see.

                                                                            I also make sure that everything I am looking at is, in some way, work related.

                                                                            If I am looking at Stack Overflow, I could be looking for something to help me solve a problem. Otherwise, I look for tools to improve my productivity (a bonus if they will also help my hobby projects – wink 😉

                                                                            You could also brush up on your programming language. That’s not much use when I am coding in C, but C++ is always evolving. Still, there are lots of tips & tricks for C, and every other language.

                                                                            Just try to anticipate the job you will do soon, and read up on as much as you can about it. You can also ask your teammates what they recommend you research.

                                                                            If you already have access to the code, then give it a thorough review. Running DoxyGen over the codebase is always the first thing that I do. It gives a great amount of information, even when there are no Doxygen comments.

                                                                            Have a look at the unit tests. Are they complete?

                                                                            If the code produces debug logs, one of the first things that I do is to code a tool to convert the debug trace to message sequence charts.

                                                                            Find something job-related to keep you busy, and let everyone see you doing it, rather than having them thing you are sending a week on FaceTweet or even pr0n on your ‘phone. Do it publicly, and make a good impression before you even start.

                                                                            share|improve this answer

                                                                            I understand boredom, and I surf a lot, all year round, just to give me a break from coding & clear my head. However, I don’t do it surreptitiously on my ‘phone.

                                                                            I surf openly on my desktop PC, where anyone passing can see.

                                                                            I also make sure that everything I am looking at is, in some way, work related.

                                                                            If I am looking at Stack Overflow, I could be looking for something to help me solve a problem. Otherwise, I look for tools to improve my productivity (a bonus if they will also help my hobby projects – wink 😉

                                                                            You could also brush up on your programming language. That’s not much use when I am coding in C, but C++ is always evolving. Still, there are lots of tips & tricks for C, and every other language.

                                                                            Just try to anticipate the job you will do soon, and read up on as much as you can about it. You can also ask your teammates what they recommend you research.

                                                                            If you already have access to the code, then give it a thorough review. Running DoxyGen over the codebase is always the first thing that I do. It gives a great amount of information, even when there are no Doxygen comments.

                                                                            Have a look at the unit tests. Are they complete?

                                                                            If the code produces debug logs, one of the first things that I do is to code a tool to convert the debug trace to message sequence charts.

                                                                            Find something job-related to keep you busy, and let everyone see you doing it, rather than having them thing you are sending a week on FaceTweet or even pr0n on your ‘phone. Do it publicly, and make a good impression before you even start.

                                                                            share|improve this answer

                                                                            share|improve this answer

                                                                            share|improve this answer

                                                                            answered Dec 21 ’18 at 7:32

                                                                            Mawg

                                                                            4,33411135

                                                                            4,33411135

                                                                            • 1

                                                                              Thanks for that. Never realized I could try those things.
                                                                              – Bhoot
                                                                              Dec 21 ’18 at 8:25

                                                                            • 1

                                                                              You might even offer your boss or teammates a list of possible activities and ask which they recommend. As long as you are not disturbing your colleagues by asking questions they will surely be happy if you can contribute even a little to the project
                                                                              – Mawg
                                                                              Dec 21 ’18 at 9:12

                                                                            • 1

                                                                              Thanks for that. Never realized I could try those things.
                                                                              – Bhoot
                                                                              Dec 21 ’18 at 8:25

                                                                            • 1

                                                                              You might even offer your boss or teammates a list of possible activities and ask which they recommend. As long as you are not disturbing your colleagues by asking questions they will surely be happy if you can contribute even a little to the project
                                                                              – Mawg
                                                                              Dec 21 ’18 at 9:12

                                                                            1

                                                                            1

                                                                            Thanks for that. Never realized I could try those things.
                                                                            – Bhoot
                                                                            Dec 21 ’18 at 8:25

                                                                            Thanks for that. Never realized I could try those things.
                                                                            – Bhoot
                                                                            Dec 21 ’18 at 8:25

                                                                            1

                                                                            1

                                                                            You might even offer your boss or teammates a list of possible activities and ask which they recommend. As long as you are not disturbing your colleagues by asking questions they will surely be happy if you can contribute even a little to the project
                                                                            – Mawg
                                                                            Dec 21 ’18 at 9:12

                                                                            You might even offer your boss or teammates a list of possible activities and ask which they recommend. As long as you are not disturbing your colleagues by asking questions they will surely be happy if you can contribute even a little to the project
                                                                            – Mawg
                                                                            Dec 21 ’18 at 9:12

                                                                            4

                                                                            what I wonder is if it is considered unethical?

                                                                            To be honest I find other answers a bit unbelievable. In a given 8 hours work day, a typical programmer probably spends 3-4 hours doing useful work. It’s the nature of the beast, so to speak. On average, a programmer writes maybe 20-100 lines of code per day and the rest is spent doing non-programming things. The way people make it out here is that in a given work day, they spend the entire day attempting to find or do something for the company. In my own personal experience, this ends up being rather annoying to your coworkers and boss(es). And it becomes rather mentally taxing to you as you’re constantly trying to find “something” but not really anything useful for the company. Are you prepared if an emergency is coming in both physically and mentally to perform the work 100%? If not, then you need to step back and take it easy.

                                                                            In my opinion, if you cannot refactor code, work on bugs, or go to a meeting to get future requirements, then you should spend the day doing what you can to prepare for the next task. It’s more benefiting to the company that you are mentally prepared for the next task and not exhausted by tiring yourself out with useless stuff.

                                                                            share|improve this answer

                                                                            • 1

                                                                              Is that your experience as a programmer?
                                                                              – Randy Zeitman
                                                                              Dec 21 ’18 at 20:52

                                                                            4

                                                                            what I wonder is if it is considered unethical?

                                                                            To be honest I find other answers a bit unbelievable. In a given 8 hours work day, a typical programmer probably spends 3-4 hours doing useful work. It’s the nature of the beast, so to speak. On average, a programmer writes maybe 20-100 lines of code per day and the rest is spent doing non-programming things. The way people make it out here is that in a given work day, they spend the entire day attempting to find or do something for the company. In my own personal experience, this ends up being rather annoying to your coworkers and boss(es). And it becomes rather mentally taxing to you as you’re constantly trying to find “something” but not really anything useful for the company. Are you prepared if an emergency is coming in both physically and mentally to perform the work 100%? If not, then you need to step back and take it easy.

                                                                            In my opinion, if you cannot refactor code, work on bugs, or go to a meeting to get future requirements, then you should spend the day doing what you can to prepare for the next task. It’s more benefiting to the company that you are mentally prepared for the next task and not exhausted by tiring yourself out with useless stuff.

                                                                            share|improve this answer

                                                                            • 1

                                                                              Is that your experience as a programmer?
                                                                              – Randy Zeitman
                                                                              Dec 21 ’18 at 20:52

                                                                            4

                                                                            4

                                                                            4

                                                                            what I wonder is if it is considered unethical?

                                                                            To be honest I find other answers a bit unbelievable. In a given 8 hours work day, a typical programmer probably spends 3-4 hours doing useful work. It’s the nature of the beast, so to speak. On average, a programmer writes maybe 20-100 lines of code per day and the rest is spent doing non-programming things. The way people make it out here is that in a given work day, they spend the entire day attempting to find or do something for the company. In my own personal experience, this ends up being rather annoying to your coworkers and boss(es). And it becomes rather mentally taxing to you as you’re constantly trying to find “something” but not really anything useful for the company. Are you prepared if an emergency is coming in both physically and mentally to perform the work 100%? If not, then you need to step back and take it easy.

                                                                            In my opinion, if you cannot refactor code, work on bugs, or go to a meeting to get future requirements, then you should spend the day doing what you can to prepare for the next task. It’s more benefiting to the company that you are mentally prepared for the next task and not exhausted by tiring yourself out with useless stuff.

                                                                            share|improve this answer

                                                                            what I wonder is if it is considered unethical?

                                                                            To be honest I find other answers a bit unbelievable. In a given 8 hours work day, a typical programmer probably spends 3-4 hours doing useful work. It’s the nature of the beast, so to speak. On average, a programmer writes maybe 20-100 lines of code per day and the rest is spent doing non-programming things. The way people make it out here is that in a given work day, they spend the entire day attempting to find or do something for the company. In my own personal experience, this ends up being rather annoying to your coworkers and boss(es). And it becomes rather mentally taxing to you as you’re constantly trying to find “something” but not really anything useful for the company. Are you prepared if an emergency is coming in both physically and mentally to perform the work 100%? If not, then you need to step back and take it easy.

                                                                            In my opinion, if you cannot refactor code, work on bugs, or go to a meeting to get future requirements, then you should spend the day doing what you can to prepare for the next task. It’s more benefiting to the company that you are mentally prepared for the next task and not exhausted by tiring yourself out with useless stuff.

                                                                            share|improve this answer

                                                                            share|improve this answer

                                                                            share|improve this answer

                                                                            answered Dec 21 ’18 at 18:50

                                                                            Dan

                                                                            7,02221325

                                                                            7,02221325

                                                                            • 1

                                                                              Is that your experience as a programmer?
                                                                              – Randy Zeitman
                                                                              Dec 21 ’18 at 20:52

                                                                            • 1

                                                                              Is that your experience as a programmer?
                                                                              – Randy Zeitman
                                                                              Dec 21 ’18 at 20:52

                                                                            1

                                                                            1

                                                                            Is that your experience as a programmer?
                                                                            – Randy Zeitman
                                                                            Dec 21 ’18 at 20:52

                                                                            Is that your experience as a programmer?
                                                                            – Randy Zeitman
                                                                            Dec 21 ’18 at 20:52

                                                                            3

                                                                            There is always something more useful to do than just killing time on company dime.
                                                                            It will reflect much better on your WORK ETHIC !

                                                                            Pick one or more of the following list and ask your supervisor if it is OK to do that while you wait for assignments.

                                                                            • familiarize yourself with the company workflow using intranet pages or other documents they may have
                                                                            • offer beta testing for the current project or simply play with the software as a user would
                                                                            • extend your knowledge regarding the coding environment in use
                                                                            • browse through code or documentation (project bible?) of the current project
                                                                            • do online tutorials of code snippets directly related to the companys portfolio or future projects you might be assigned to
                                                                            • offer to do some sandbox work on an unfinished R&D project or pipeline tool that is on low priority
                                                                            • offer general R&D for future projects

                                                                            …get creative and extend this list to your liking…

                                                                            ONLY if all of these alternatives are not approved ask if you can or if they flat out tell you to just surf the web should you do that!

                                                                            share|improve this answer

                                                                            • 1

                                                                              +1 for suggesting “beta testing”. Since everyone else is busy preparing a release, an extra pair of eyes could be helpful, especially as OP is new and might notice problems their colleagues would overlook due to their familiarity with the project.
                                                                              – Llewellyn
                                                                              Dec 21 ’18 at 15:45

                                                                            3

                                                                            There is always something more useful to do than just killing time on company dime.
                                                                            It will reflect much better on your WORK ETHIC !

                                                                            Pick one or more of the following list and ask your supervisor if it is OK to do that while you wait for assignments.

                                                                            • familiarize yourself with the company workflow using intranet pages or other documents they may have
                                                                            • offer beta testing for the current project or simply play with the software as a user would
                                                                            • extend your knowledge regarding the coding environment in use
                                                                            • browse through code or documentation (project bible?) of the current project
                                                                            • do online tutorials of code snippets directly related to the companys portfolio or future projects you might be assigned to
                                                                            • offer to do some sandbox work on an unfinished R&D project or pipeline tool that is on low priority
                                                                            • offer general R&D for future projects

                                                                            …get creative and extend this list to your liking…

                                                                            ONLY if all of these alternatives are not approved ask if you can or if they flat out tell you to just surf the web should you do that!

                                                                            share|improve this answer

                                                                            • 1

                                                                              +1 for suggesting “beta testing”. Since everyone else is busy preparing a release, an extra pair of eyes could be helpful, especially as OP is new and might notice problems their colleagues would overlook due to their familiarity with the project.
                                                                              – Llewellyn
                                                                              Dec 21 ’18 at 15:45

                                                                            3

                                                                            3

                                                                            3

                                                                            There is always something more useful to do than just killing time on company dime.
                                                                            It will reflect much better on your WORK ETHIC !

                                                                            Pick one or more of the following list and ask your supervisor if it is OK to do that while you wait for assignments.

                                                                            • familiarize yourself with the company workflow using intranet pages or other documents they may have
                                                                            • offer beta testing for the current project or simply play with the software as a user would
                                                                            • extend your knowledge regarding the coding environment in use
                                                                            • browse through code or documentation (project bible?) of the current project
                                                                            • do online tutorials of code snippets directly related to the companys portfolio or future projects you might be assigned to
                                                                            • offer to do some sandbox work on an unfinished R&D project or pipeline tool that is on low priority
                                                                            • offer general R&D for future projects

                                                                            …get creative and extend this list to your liking…

                                                                            ONLY if all of these alternatives are not approved ask if you can or if they flat out tell you to just surf the web should you do that!

                                                                            share|improve this answer

                                                                            There is always something more useful to do than just killing time on company dime.
                                                                            It will reflect much better on your WORK ETHIC !

                                                                            Pick one or more of the following list and ask your supervisor if it is OK to do that while you wait for assignments.

                                                                            • familiarize yourself with the company workflow using intranet pages or other documents they may have
                                                                            • offer beta testing for the current project or simply play with the software as a user would
                                                                            • extend your knowledge regarding the coding environment in use
                                                                            • browse through code or documentation (project bible?) of the current project
                                                                            • do online tutorials of code snippets directly related to the companys portfolio or future projects you might be assigned to
                                                                            • offer to do some sandbox work on an unfinished R&D project or pipeline tool that is on low priority
                                                                            • offer general R&D for future projects

                                                                            …get creative and extend this list to your liking…

                                                                            ONLY if all of these alternatives are not approved ask if you can or if they flat out tell you to just surf the web should you do that!

                                                                            share|improve this answer

                                                                            share|improve this answer

                                                                            share|improve this answer

                                                                            answered Dec 21 ’18 at 10:00

                                                                            DigitalBlade969

                                                                            4,8651420

                                                                            4,8651420

                                                                            • 1

                                                                              +1 for suggesting “beta testing”. Since everyone else is busy preparing a release, an extra pair of eyes could be helpful, especially as OP is new and might notice problems their colleagues would overlook due to their familiarity with the project.
                                                                              – Llewellyn
                                                                              Dec 21 ’18 at 15:45

                                                                            • 1

                                                                              +1 for suggesting “beta testing”. Since everyone else is busy preparing a release, an extra pair of eyes could be helpful, especially as OP is new and might notice problems their colleagues would overlook due to their familiarity with the project.
                                                                              – Llewellyn
                                                                              Dec 21 ’18 at 15:45

                                                                            1

                                                                            1

                                                                            +1 for suggesting “beta testing”. Since everyone else is busy preparing a release, an extra pair of eyes could be helpful, especially as OP is new and might notice problems their colleagues would overlook due to their familiarity with the project.
                                                                            – Llewellyn
                                                                            Dec 21 ’18 at 15:45

                                                                            +1 for suggesting “beta testing”. Since everyone else is busy preparing a release, an extra pair of eyes could be helpful, especially as OP is new and might notice problems their colleagues would overlook due to their familiarity with the project.
                                                                            – Llewellyn
                                                                            Dec 21 ’18 at 15:45

                                                                            I’ve found what appears to be a fake paper in a non predatory journal

                                                                            The name of the pictureThe name of the pictureThe name of the pictureClash Royale CLAN TAG#URR8PPP

                                                                            35

                                                                            I received a paper for review from MathReviews (so, not an actual peer review).

                                                                            It is from a journal with Q2 classification according to Scimago, so I expect it to not be a predatory journal, although the statistics show a decline over time of the journal.

                                                                            The title of the paper caught my attention, as it talks about a result on a well-known operator R in my community, but once inside the paper, the author goes on and defines R with the definition of another well-known operator H. The author even gives references for such a definition (citing previous classical work) and these references clearly state that the operator is named as H, not R.

                                                                            Ok, I thought it could be just a naming mistake, that shouldn’t change the actual results (it would just make the paper uncitable, as no one looking for results for H would find this one that calls it R).

                                                                            Afterward, I checked the next definition, but it is written in a mathematically wrong fashion (basically, it makes no sense).

                                                                            Then I go to the first paragraph in the introduction and check the first 3 references, typically these are to justify why it is relevant to study the subject of the paper. These 3 references are completely unrelated neither to operator H or R and don’t correspond to what the author describes them to be.

                                                                            So for me, it is clear this is a fake paper (I think I would call it like that, I don’t have a proper name for this).

                                                                            What to do now?

                                                                            I first thought to just review accordingly in MathReviews (i.e. estate that the paper is a fake one), but now I’m wondering if I should go straight to the Journal’s chief editor to denounce this. I cannot even fathom how such a paper even passed through peer review.

                                                                            This question is related to the one in here
                                                                            What should I do when images in a publication appear to have been faked?
                                                                            Albeit, I feel that in this case there is nothing to discuss with the author. Furthermore, given the (possibly intentional) operator naming mistake, this paper most likely won’t ever be cited by anyone… not at least someone writing real work; therefore, it wouldn’t have the negative impact of a scientific paper from some reputable institution or scientists that employs fake data.


                                                                            Just as an addition:

                                                                            I skimmed through some of the cited papers, and they give me also the impression to be rambling nonsense (and they are published in the same journal). I have not actually deeply scrutinized them (takes time), but I’m starting to get the impression this could be something “bigger”. I’ve tried to google this author and I cannot find him, similarly, I tried to look for one of the sketchy authors that was cited several times and I also cannot find him; my best guess is that probably they have a personal webpage in a foreign language.

                                                                            share|improve this question

                                                                            • 6

                                                                              What kind of a review are you doing on this paper, if not a peer review?
                                                                              – David Z
                                                                              Dec 20 ’18 at 23:17

                                                                            • 7

                                                                              I may be biased, but this is exactly the situation for an Exceptional MathReview 🙂
                                                                              – Kimball
                                                                              Dec 21 ’18 at 2:25

                                                                            • 8

                                                                              @DavidZ: MathReviews and zbMath publish a short summary of almost every math paper published as part of their bibliographic database of math papers. These are post-publication.
                                                                              – Alexander Woo
                                                                              Dec 21 ’18 at 6:07

                                                                            • 2

                                                                              When/if you find out more, could you please come back and tell us about is?
                                                                              – Ivana
                                                                              Dec 21 ’18 at 15:15

                                                                            • 1

                                                                              Have the cited papers already been reviewed in Math Reviews? If so, what did the reviewers say about them?
                                                                              – Andreas Blass
                                                                              Dec 22 ’18 at 1:13

                                                                            35

                                                                            I received a paper for review from MathReviews (so, not an actual peer review).

                                                                            It is from a journal with Q2 classification according to Scimago, so I expect it to not be a predatory journal, although the statistics show a decline over time of the journal.

                                                                            The title of the paper caught my attention, as it talks about a result on a well-known operator R in my community, but once inside the paper, the author goes on and defines R with the definition of another well-known operator H. The author even gives references for such a definition (citing previous classical work) and these references clearly state that the operator is named as H, not R.

                                                                            Ok, I thought it could be just a naming mistake, that shouldn’t change the actual results (it would just make the paper uncitable, as no one looking for results for H would find this one that calls it R).

                                                                            Afterward, I checked the next definition, but it is written in a mathematically wrong fashion (basically, it makes no sense).

                                                                            Then I go to the first paragraph in the introduction and check the first 3 references, typically these are to justify why it is relevant to study the subject of the paper. These 3 references are completely unrelated neither to operator H or R and don’t correspond to what the author describes them to be.

                                                                            So for me, it is clear this is a fake paper (I think I would call it like that, I don’t have a proper name for this).

                                                                            What to do now?

                                                                            I first thought to just review accordingly in MathReviews (i.e. estate that the paper is a fake one), but now I’m wondering if I should go straight to the Journal’s chief editor to denounce this. I cannot even fathom how such a paper even passed through peer review.

                                                                            This question is related to the one in here
                                                                            What should I do when images in a publication appear to have been faked?
                                                                            Albeit, I feel that in this case there is nothing to discuss with the author. Furthermore, given the (possibly intentional) operator naming mistake, this paper most likely won’t ever be cited by anyone… not at least someone writing real work; therefore, it wouldn’t have the negative impact of a scientific paper from some reputable institution or scientists that employs fake data.


                                                                            Just as an addition:

                                                                            I skimmed through some of the cited papers, and they give me also the impression to be rambling nonsense (and they are published in the same journal). I have not actually deeply scrutinized them (takes time), but I’m starting to get the impression this could be something “bigger”. I’ve tried to google this author and I cannot find him, similarly, I tried to look for one of the sketchy authors that was cited several times and I also cannot find him; my best guess is that probably they have a personal webpage in a foreign language.

                                                                            share|improve this question

                                                                            • 6

                                                                              What kind of a review are you doing on this paper, if not a peer review?
                                                                              – David Z
                                                                              Dec 20 ’18 at 23:17

                                                                            • 7

                                                                              I may be biased, but this is exactly the situation for an Exceptional MathReview 🙂
                                                                              – Kimball
                                                                              Dec 21 ’18 at 2:25

                                                                            • 8

                                                                              @DavidZ: MathReviews and zbMath publish a short summary of almost every math paper published as part of their bibliographic database of math papers. These are post-publication.
                                                                              – Alexander Woo
                                                                              Dec 21 ’18 at 6:07

                                                                            • 2

                                                                              When/if you find out more, could you please come back and tell us about is?
                                                                              – Ivana
                                                                              Dec 21 ’18 at 15:15

                                                                            • 1

                                                                              Have the cited papers already been reviewed in Math Reviews? If so, what did the reviewers say about them?
                                                                              – Andreas Blass
                                                                              Dec 22 ’18 at 1:13

                                                                            35

                                                                            35

                                                                            35

                                                                            4

                                                                            I received a paper for review from MathReviews (so, not an actual peer review).

                                                                            It is from a journal with Q2 classification according to Scimago, so I expect it to not be a predatory journal, although the statistics show a decline over time of the journal.

                                                                            The title of the paper caught my attention, as it talks about a result on a well-known operator R in my community, but once inside the paper, the author goes on and defines R with the definition of another well-known operator H. The author even gives references for such a definition (citing previous classical work) and these references clearly state that the operator is named as H, not R.

                                                                            Ok, I thought it could be just a naming mistake, that shouldn’t change the actual results (it would just make the paper uncitable, as no one looking for results for H would find this one that calls it R).

                                                                            Afterward, I checked the next definition, but it is written in a mathematically wrong fashion (basically, it makes no sense).

                                                                            Then I go to the first paragraph in the introduction and check the first 3 references, typically these are to justify why it is relevant to study the subject of the paper. These 3 references are completely unrelated neither to operator H or R and don’t correspond to what the author describes them to be.

                                                                            So for me, it is clear this is a fake paper (I think I would call it like that, I don’t have a proper name for this).

                                                                            What to do now?

                                                                            I first thought to just review accordingly in MathReviews (i.e. estate that the paper is a fake one), but now I’m wondering if I should go straight to the Journal’s chief editor to denounce this. I cannot even fathom how such a paper even passed through peer review.

                                                                            This question is related to the one in here
                                                                            What should I do when images in a publication appear to have been faked?
                                                                            Albeit, I feel that in this case there is nothing to discuss with the author. Furthermore, given the (possibly intentional) operator naming mistake, this paper most likely won’t ever be cited by anyone… not at least someone writing real work; therefore, it wouldn’t have the negative impact of a scientific paper from some reputable institution or scientists that employs fake data.


                                                                            Just as an addition:

                                                                            I skimmed through some of the cited papers, and they give me also the impression to be rambling nonsense (and they are published in the same journal). I have not actually deeply scrutinized them (takes time), but I’m starting to get the impression this could be something “bigger”. I’ve tried to google this author and I cannot find him, similarly, I tried to look for one of the sketchy authors that was cited several times and I also cannot find him; my best guess is that probably they have a personal webpage in a foreign language.

                                                                            share|improve this question

                                                                            I received a paper for review from MathReviews (so, not an actual peer review).

                                                                            It is from a journal with Q2 classification according to Scimago, so I expect it to not be a predatory journal, although the statistics show a decline over time of the journal.

                                                                            The title of the paper caught my attention, as it talks about a result on a well-known operator R in my community, but once inside the paper, the author goes on and defines R with the definition of another well-known operator H. The author even gives references for such a definition (citing previous classical work) and these references clearly state that the operator is named as H, not R.

                                                                            Ok, I thought it could be just a naming mistake, that shouldn’t change the actual results (it would just make the paper uncitable, as no one looking for results for H would find this one that calls it R).

                                                                            Afterward, I checked the next definition, but it is written in a mathematically wrong fashion (basically, it makes no sense).

                                                                            Then I go to the first paragraph in the introduction and check the first 3 references, typically these are to justify why it is relevant to study the subject of the paper. These 3 references are completely unrelated neither to operator H or R and don’t correspond to what the author describes them to be.

                                                                            So for me, it is clear this is a fake paper (I think I would call it like that, I don’t have a proper name for this).

                                                                            What to do now?

                                                                            I first thought to just review accordingly in MathReviews (i.e. estate that the paper is a fake one), but now I’m wondering if I should go straight to the Journal’s chief editor to denounce this. I cannot even fathom how such a paper even passed through peer review.

                                                                            This question is related to the one in here
                                                                            What should I do when images in a publication appear to have been faked?
                                                                            Albeit, I feel that in this case there is nothing to discuss with the author. Furthermore, given the (possibly intentional) operator naming mistake, this paper most likely won’t ever be cited by anyone… not at least someone writing real work; therefore, it wouldn’t have the negative impact of a scientific paper from some reputable institution or scientists that employs fake data.


                                                                            Just as an addition:

                                                                            I skimmed through some of the cited papers, and they give me also the impression to be rambling nonsense (and they are published in the same journal). I have not actually deeply scrutinized them (takes time), but I’m starting to get the impression this could be something “bigger”. I’ve tried to google this author and I cannot find him, similarly, I tried to look for one of the sketchy authors that was cited several times and I also cannot find him; my best guess is that probably they have a personal webpage in a foreign language.

                                                                            mathematics peer-review ethics research-misconduct

                                                                            share|improve this question

                                                                            share|improve this question

                                                                            share|improve this question

                                                                            share|improve this question

                                                                            asked Dec 20 ’18 at 21:51

                                                                            pancho

                                                                            655514

                                                                            655514

                                                                            • 6

                                                                              What kind of a review are you doing on this paper, if not a peer review?
                                                                              – David Z
                                                                              Dec 20 ’18 at 23:17

                                                                            • 7

                                                                              I may be biased, but this is exactly the situation for an Exceptional MathReview 🙂
                                                                              – Kimball
                                                                              Dec 21 ’18 at 2:25

                                                                            • 8

                                                                              @DavidZ: MathReviews and zbMath publish a short summary of almost every math paper published as part of their bibliographic database of math papers. These are post-publication.
                                                                              – Alexander Woo
                                                                              Dec 21 ’18 at 6:07

                                                                            • 2

                                                                              When/if you find out more, could you please come back and tell us about is?
                                                                              – Ivana
                                                                              Dec 21 ’18 at 15:15

                                                                            • 1

                                                                              Have the cited papers already been reviewed in Math Reviews? If so, what did the reviewers say about them?
                                                                              – Andreas Blass
                                                                              Dec 22 ’18 at 1:13

                                                                            • 6

                                                                              What kind of a review are you doing on this paper, if not a peer review?
                                                                              – David Z
                                                                              Dec 20 ’18 at 23:17

                                                                            • 7

                                                                              I may be biased, but this is exactly the situation for an Exceptional MathReview 🙂
                                                                              – Kimball
                                                                              Dec 21 ’18 at 2:25

                                                                            • 8

                                                                              @DavidZ: MathReviews and zbMath publish a short summary of almost every math paper published as part of their bibliographic database of math papers. These are post-publication.
                                                                              – Alexander Woo
                                                                              Dec 21 ’18 at 6:07

                                                                            • 2

                                                                              When/if you find out more, could you please come back and tell us about is?
                                                                              – Ivana
                                                                              Dec 21 ’18 at 15:15

                                                                            • 1

                                                                              Have the cited papers already been reviewed in Math Reviews? If so, what did the reviewers say about them?
                                                                              – Andreas Blass
                                                                              Dec 22 ’18 at 1:13

                                                                            6

                                                                            6

                                                                            What kind of a review are you doing on this paper, if not a peer review?
                                                                            – David Z
                                                                            Dec 20 ’18 at 23:17

                                                                            What kind of a review are you doing on this paper, if not a peer review?
                                                                            – David Z
                                                                            Dec 20 ’18 at 23:17

                                                                            7

                                                                            7

                                                                            I may be biased, but this is exactly the situation for an Exceptional MathReview 🙂
                                                                            – Kimball
                                                                            Dec 21 ’18 at 2:25

                                                                            I may be biased, but this is exactly the situation for an Exceptional MathReview 🙂
                                                                            – Kimball
                                                                            Dec 21 ’18 at 2:25

                                                                            8

                                                                            8

                                                                            @DavidZ: MathReviews and zbMath publish a short summary of almost every math paper published as part of their bibliographic database of math papers. These are post-publication.
                                                                            – Alexander Woo
                                                                            Dec 21 ’18 at 6:07

                                                                            @DavidZ: MathReviews and zbMath publish a short summary of almost every math paper published as part of their bibliographic database of math papers. These are post-publication.
                                                                            – Alexander Woo
                                                                            Dec 21 ’18 at 6:07

                                                                            2

                                                                            2

                                                                            When/if you find out more, could you please come back and tell us about is?
                                                                            – Ivana
                                                                            Dec 21 ’18 at 15:15

                                                                            When/if you find out more, could you please come back and tell us about is?
                                                                            – Ivana
                                                                            Dec 21 ’18 at 15:15

                                                                            1

                                                                            1

                                                                            Have the cited papers already been reviewed in Math Reviews? If so, what did the reviewers say about them?
                                                                            – Andreas Blass
                                                                            Dec 22 ’18 at 1:13

                                                                            Have the cited papers already been reviewed in Math Reviews? If so, what did the reviewers say about them?
                                                                            – Andreas Blass
                                                                            Dec 22 ’18 at 1:13

                                                                            1 Answer
                                                                            1

                                                                            active

                                                                            oldest

                                                                            votes

                                                                            54

                                                                            The first thing to do is to contact the editor at math reviews and express your doubts about the paper without making accusations of impropriety. Describe what you have found using neutral language. Suggest that others be enlisted to check further into the provenance and accuracy of the paper.

                                                                            If you are in your early career, it is especially important not to assert misconduct.

                                                                            You could also contact the editor of the journal in which the paper was published, saying you have serious doubts about the validity of the paper and, perhaps, that you aren’t able to follow the citations.

                                                                            It is hopefully enough to shake the tree and wait to see what falls out. But do it in such a way that you can’t be retaliated against, unless you have enough reputation to sustain you.

                                                                            Of course, it goes without saying that you need to be clear in your objections and to have carefully considered alternative explanations.

                                                                            share|improve this answer

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                                                                              54

                                                                              The first thing to do is to contact the editor at math reviews and express your doubts about the paper without making accusations of impropriety. Describe what you have found using neutral language. Suggest that others be enlisted to check further into the provenance and accuracy of the paper.

                                                                              If you are in your early career, it is especially important not to assert misconduct.

                                                                              You could also contact the editor of the journal in which the paper was published, saying you have serious doubts about the validity of the paper and, perhaps, that you aren’t able to follow the citations.

                                                                              It is hopefully enough to shake the tree and wait to see what falls out. But do it in such a way that you can’t be retaliated against, unless you have enough reputation to sustain you.

                                                                              Of course, it goes without saying that you need to be clear in your objections and to have carefully considered alternative explanations.

                                                                              share|improve this answer

                                                                                54

                                                                                The first thing to do is to contact the editor at math reviews and express your doubts about the paper without making accusations of impropriety. Describe what you have found using neutral language. Suggest that others be enlisted to check further into the provenance and accuracy of the paper.

                                                                                If you are in your early career, it is especially important not to assert misconduct.

                                                                                You could also contact the editor of the journal in which the paper was published, saying you have serious doubts about the validity of the paper and, perhaps, that you aren’t able to follow the citations.

                                                                                It is hopefully enough to shake the tree and wait to see what falls out. But do it in such a way that you can’t be retaliated against, unless you have enough reputation to sustain you.

                                                                                Of course, it goes without saying that you need to be clear in your objections and to have carefully considered alternative explanations.

                                                                                share|improve this answer

                                                                                  54

                                                                                  54

                                                                                  54

                                                                                  The first thing to do is to contact the editor at math reviews and express your doubts about the paper without making accusations of impropriety. Describe what you have found using neutral language. Suggest that others be enlisted to check further into the provenance and accuracy of the paper.

                                                                                  If you are in your early career, it is especially important not to assert misconduct.

                                                                                  You could also contact the editor of the journal in which the paper was published, saying you have serious doubts about the validity of the paper and, perhaps, that you aren’t able to follow the citations.

                                                                                  It is hopefully enough to shake the tree and wait to see what falls out. But do it in such a way that you can’t be retaliated against, unless you have enough reputation to sustain you.

                                                                                  Of course, it goes without saying that you need to be clear in your objections and to have carefully considered alternative explanations.

                                                                                  share|improve this answer

                                                                                  The first thing to do is to contact the editor at math reviews and express your doubts about the paper without making accusations of impropriety. Describe what you have found using neutral language. Suggest that others be enlisted to check further into the provenance and accuracy of the paper.

                                                                                  If you are in your early career, it is especially important not to assert misconduct.

                                                                                  You could also contact the editor of the journal in which the paper was published, saying you have serious doubts about the validity of the paper and, perhaps, that you aren’t able to follow the citations.

                                                                                  It is hopefully enough to shake the tree and wait to see what falls out. But do it in such a way that you can’t be retaliated against, unless you have enough reputation to sustain you.

                                                                                  Of course, it goes without saying that you need to be clear in your objections and to have carefully considered alternative explanations.

                                                                                  share|improve this answer

                                                                                  share|improve this answer

                                                                                  share|improve this answer

                                                                                  answered Dec 20 ’18 at 22:02

                                                                                  Buffy

                                                                                  37.6k7121194

                                                                                  37.6k7121194

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                                                                                      Dignity

                                                                                      The right of a person to be valued and respected for their own sake

                                                                                      Dignity is the right of a person to be valued and respected for their own sake, and to be treated ethically. It is of significance in morality, ethics, law and politics as an extension of the Enlightenment-era concepts of inherent, inalienable rights. The term may also be used to describe personal conduct, as in “behaving with dignity”.

                                                                                      Contents

                                                                                      • 1 Etymology
                                                                                      • 2 Modern use
                                                                                      • 3 Violations

                                                                                        • 3.1 Categories
                                                                                        • 3.2 Examples
                                                                                      • 4 Philosophical history

                                                                                        • 4.1 Pico della Mirandola
                                                                                        • 4.2 Kant
                                                                                        • 4.3 Mortimer Adler and Alan Gewirth
                                                                                        • 4.4 Others
                                                                                      • 5 Religion
                                                                                      • 6 United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights
                                                                                      • 7 Medicine

                                                                                        • 7.1 International bodies
                                                                                        • 7.2 Canada
                                                                                        • 7.3 Denmark
                                                                                        • 7.4 France
                                                                                        • 7.5 Portugal
                                                                                        • 7.6 Sweden
                                                                                        • 7.7 United States
                                                                                      • 8 Law

                                                                                        • 8.1 Canada
                                                                                        • 8.2 European Union
                                                                                        • 8.3 France
                                                                                        • 8.4 Germany
                                                                                        • 8.5 Iran
                                                                                        • 8.6 South Africa
                                                                                        • 8.7 Switzerland
                                                                                      • 9 See also
                                                                                      • 10 References
                                                                                      • 11 Further reading
                                                                                      • 12 External links

                                                                                      Etymology

                                                                                      The English word “dignity”, attested from the early 13th century, comes from Latin dignitas (worthiness)[1]
                                                                                      by way of French dignité.[2]

                                                                                      Modern use

                                                                                      English-speakers often use the word “dignity” in proscriptive and cautionary ways: for example, in politics it can be used to critique the treatment of oppressed and vulnerable groups and peoples, but it has also been applied to cultures and sub-cultures, to religious beliefs and ideals, and even to animals used for food or research.

                                                                                      “Dignity” also has descriptive meanings pertaining to the worth of human beings. In general, the term has various functions and meanings depending on how the term is used and on the context.[3]

                                                                                      In ordinary modern usage, the word denotes “respect” and “status”, and it is often used to suggest that someone is not receiving a proper degree of respect, or even that they are failing to treat themselves with proper self-respect. There is also a long history of special philosophical use of this term. However, it is rarely defined outright in political, legal, and scientific discussions. International proclamations have thus far left dignity undefined,[4][5]
                                                                                      and scientific commentators, such as those arguing against genetic research and algeny, cite dignity as a reason but are ambiguous about its application.[6]

                                                                                      Violations

                                                                                      Categories

                                                                                      Human dignity can be violated in multiple ways. The main categories of violations are:[7]

                                                                                      • Humiliation

                                                                                      Violations of human dignity in terms of humiliation refer to acts that humiliate or diminish the self-worth of a person or a group. Acts of humiliation are context dependent but we normally have an intuitive understanding where such a violation occurs. As Schachter noted, “it has been generally assumed that a violation of human dignity can be recognized even if the abstract term cannot be defined. ‘I know it when I see it even if I cannot tell you what it is’”.[8] More generally, etymology of the word “humiliation” has a universal characteristic in the sense that in all languages the word involves “downward spatial orientation” in which “something or someone is pushed down and forcefully held there”.[9] This approach is common in judicial decisions where judges refer to violations of human dignity as injuries to people’s self-worth or their self-esteem.[10]

                                                                                      • Instrumentalization or objectification

                                                                                      This aspect refers to treating a person as an instrument or as means to achieve some other goal. This approach builds on Immanuel Kant’s moral imperative stipulating that we should treat people as ends or goals in themselves, namely as having ultimate moral worth which should not be instrumentalized.

                                                                                      • Degradation

                                                                                      Violations of human dignity as degradation refer to acts that degrade the value of human beings. These are acts that, even if done by consent, convey a message that diminishes the importance or value of all human beings. They consist of practices that human beings should not be subjected to, regardless of whether subjective humiliation is involved, such as selling oneself to slavery, or when a state authority deliberately puts prisoners in inhuman living conditions.

                                                                                      • Dehumanization

                                                                                      These are acts that strip a person or a group of their human characteristics. It may involve describing or treating them as animals or as a lower type of human beings. This has occurred in genocides such as the Holocaust and in Rwanda where the minority were compared to insects.

                                                                                      Examples

                                                                                      Some of the practices that violate human dignity include torture, rape, social exclusion, labor exploitation, bonded labor, and slavery.[7]

                                                                                      Both absolute and relative poverty are violations of human dignity, although they also have other significant dimensions, such as social injustice.[7]Absolute poverty is associated with overt exploitation and connected to humiliation (for example, being forced to eat food from other people’s garbage), but being dependent upon others to stay alive is a violation of dignity even in the absence of more direct violations. Relative poverty, on the other hand, is a violation because the cumulative experience of not being able to afford the same clothes, entertainment, social events, education, or other features of typical life in that society results in subtle humiliation; social rejection; marginalization; and consequently, a diminished self-respect.

                                                                                      Another example of violation of human dignity, especially for women in developing countries, is lack of sanitation. Having no access to toilets leaves currently about 1 billion people of the world with no choice other than to defecation in the open, which has been declared by the Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations as an affront to personal dignity.[11] Human dignity is also violated by the practice of employing people in India for “manual scavenging” of human excreta from unsanitary toilets – usually by people of a lower caste, and more often by women than men.[12]

                                                                                      A further example of violation of human dignity, affecting women mainly in developing countries, is female genital mutilation (FGM).

                                                                                      The movie The Magic Christian depicts a wealthy man (Peter Sellers) and his son (Ringo Starr) who test the limits of dignity by forcing people to perform self-degrading acts for money. The Simpsons episode “Homer vs. Dignity” has a similar plot.

                                                                                      Philosophical history

                                                                                      Statue Depicting Dignity

                                                                                      Woodcut from Cesare Ripa’s Iconologia depicting the Allegory of Dignity

                                                                                      Pico della Mirandola

                                                                                      A philosopher of the Renaissance, Pico della Mirandola, granted dignity to ideas and to beings. In his “Oration on the Dignity of Man”, he told hostile clerics about the dignity of the liberal arts and about the dignity and the glory of angels. His comments implied the dignity of philosophers.[13] This oration is commonly seen as one of the central texts of the Renaissance, intimately tied with the growth of humanist philosophies.[14][15]

                                                                                      Kant

                                                                                      A philosopher of the Age of Enlightenment (18th century), Immanuel Kant held that there were things that should not be discussed in terms of value, and that these things could be said to have dignity. ‘Value’ is necessarily relative, because the value of something depends on a particular observer’s judgment of that thing. Things that are not relative – that are “ends in themselves”, in Kant’s terminology – are by extension beyond all value, and a thing is an end in itself only if it has a moral dimension; if it represents a choice between right and wrong. In Kant’s words: “Morality, and humanity as capable of it, is that which alone has dignity.”[16] Specifically with respect to human dignity, which his writings brought from relative obscurity in Western philosophy into a focal point for philosophers, Kant held that “free will” is essential; human dignity is related to human agency, the ability of humans to choose their own actions.[17]

                                                                                      Mortimer Adler and Alan Gewirth

                                                                                      Philosophers of the late 20th century who have written significant works on the subject of dignity include Mortimer Adler and Alan Gewirth.[17] Gewirth’s views on human dignity are typically compared and contrasted with Kant’s, for like Kant he theorizes that human dignity arises from agency.[18][19] But while sharing Kant’s view that rights arise from dignity, Gewirth focused far more than Kant on the positive obligations that dignity imposed on humans, the moral requirement not only to avoid harming but to actively assist one another in achieving and maintaining a state of “well being”.[18]

                                                                                      Among other topics, including the dignity of labor,[20] Adler extensively explored the question of human equality and equal right to dignity.[21] According to Adler, the question of whether humans have equal right to dignity is intrinsically bound in the question of whether human beings are truly equal, which itself is bound in the question of whether human beings are a distinct class from all things, including animals, or vary from other things only by degree. Adler wrote that the only sense in which it is true that all human beings are equal is that they are equally distinct from animals.[22] “The dignity of man,” he said, “is the dignity of the human being as a person—a dignity that is not possessed by things.”[23] To Adler, failure to recognize the distinction challenged the right of humans to equal dignity and equal treatment.[24][25]

                                                                                      Others

                                                                                      Dan Egonsson, followed by Roger Wertheimer, argued that while it is conventional for people to equate dignity with ‘being human’ (Egonsson’s ‘Standard Attitude’, Wertheimer’s ‘Standard Belief’), people generally also import something other than mere humanness to their idea of dignity.[26][27] Egonsson suggested that an entity must be both human and alive to merit an ascription of dignity, while Wertheimer states “it is not a definitional truth that human beings have human status.”

                                                                                      According to Arthur Schopenhauer, dignity is opinion of others about our worth and subjective definition of dignity is our fear from this opinion of others.[28]

                                                                                      More recently, Philippe-André Rodriguez has argued that human dignity is best understood as an essentially contested concept. As he argues, “it seems that it is this very nature of the concept that has allowed, on the one hand, human rights to receive such international acceptance as a theoretical enterprise and, on the other hand, has led the concept to be constantly challenged by different cultures worldwide.”[29]

                                                                                      Religion

                                                                                      Human dignity is a central consideration of Christian philosophy[17][30][31] The Catechism of the Catholic Church insists the “dignity of the human person is rooted in his or her creation in the image and likeness of God.” “All human beings,” says the Church, “in as much as they are created in the image of God, have the dignity of a person.” The catechism says, “The right to the exercise of freedom belongs to everyone because it is inseparable from his or her dignity as a human person.”[32] The Catholic Church’s view of human dignity is like Kant’s insofar as it springs from human agency and free will,[18] with the further understanding that free will in turn springs from human creation in the image of God.[33]

                                                                                      Human dignity, or kevod ha-beriyot, is also a central consideration of Judaism.[34]Talmud cautions against giving charity publicly rather than in private to avoid offending the dignity of the recipient.[35] Medieval Jewish philosopher Maimonides in his codification of Halakha cautioned judges to preserve the self-respect of people who came before them: “Let not human dignity be light in his eyes; for the respect due to man supersedes a negative rabbinical command”.[35]

                                                                                      An Islamic view of dignity is crystallized in the Quran through the selected biographies of Noah, Abraham, Joseph, David, Moses, Mary, Jesus and others (differing from the narratives in the Bible, which the Quran claims were corrupted). Individuals such as these are presented as role-models of dignity because they did not abandon their self-respect by bowing to social pressures. When faced with the fear of disapproval, poverty, hunger, death etc. these individuals held firm in their sense of right and wrong, which was in-line with Divine ordinances. “The right course is that on which one keeps his attitudes, ambitions and requirements subjected to the Divine Laws; and in this way leads a balanced and graceful life. Such a person has grasped the most trustworthy support which will never fail him” (Quran 31:22)[36] Such individuals are given the title of Muhsineen, who faced immense pressures but held firm in their positive actions. God awarded these individuals with authority and status in the land, and this reward is open to anyone who proves themselves worthy: “We bestow such honour and position on all those who lead their lives according to Our Laws.” (Quran 37:80)[37] Those who fall into this category are also afforded Divine protection from their mistakes: “Therefore We have saved you and your son from this. We have done so because We keep those who lead their lives according to Divine guidance safe from such mishaps.” (37:104-105)[37] The Quranic State that Muhammad began in Medinah sought to protect human dignity, since in a Quranic Welfare State individuals are free to work and live without the pressures faced by the threat of poverty, and thus can obey God’s Laws as free individuals, contributing as part of a unified brotherhood working towards achieving humanity’s full potential. Elaborations on dignity have been made by many scholars of Islam, such as Mohammad-Ali Taskhiri, head of the Islamic Culture and Communications Organization in Iran, in 1994. According to Taskhiri, dignity is a state to which all humans have equal potential, but which can only be actualized by living a life pleasing to the eyes of God.[38] This is in keeping with the 1990 Cairo Declaration on Human Rights in Islam, which states that “True faith is the guarantee for enhancing such [basic human] dignity along the path to human perfection”.[39]

                                                                                      Human dignity is considered as Buddhahood in Mahayana Buddhism in which it is rooted in the idea that we are able to choose the path of self-perfection as a human being.[40]

                                                                                      United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights

                                                                                      .mw-parser-output .templatequote{overflow:hidden;margin:1em 0;padding:0 40px}.mw-parser-output .templatequote .templatequotecite{line-height:1.5em;text-align:left;padding-left:1.6em;margin-top:0}

                                                                                      1. All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.
                                                                                      2. Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.
                                                                                        — Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Articles 1 and 2

                                                                                      Medicine

                                                                                      In the 20th century, dignity became an issue for physicians and medical researchers. It has been invoked in questions of the bioethics of human genetic engineering, human cloning, and end-of-life care (particularly in such situations as the Terri Schiavo case, a controversial situation in which life support was withdrawn from a woman diagnosed in a persistent vegetative state).[41]

                                                                                      International bodies

                                                                                      In June 1964, the World Medical Association issued the Declaration of Helsinki. The Declaration says at article 11, “It is the duty of physicians who participate in medical research to protect the life, health, dignity, integrity, right to self-determination, privacy, and confidentiality of personal information of research subjects.”[42]

                                                                                      The Council of Europe invoked dignity in its effort to govern the progress of biology and medicine. On 4 April 1997, the Council, at Oviedo, approved the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Dignity of the Human Being with regard to the Application of Biology and Medicine. The convention’s preamble contains these statements, among others:

                                                                                      Conscious of the accelerating developments in biology and medicine;

                                                                                      Convinced of the need to respect the human being both as an individual and as a member of the human species and recognising the importance of ensuring the dignity of the human being;

                                                                                      Conscious that the misuse of biology and medicine may lead to acts endangering human dignity;

                                                                                      Resolving to take such measures as are necessary to safeguard human dignity and the fundamental rights and freedoms of the individual with regard to the application of biology and medicine.

                                                                                      The Convention states, “Parties to this Convention shall protect the dignity and identity of all human beings and guarantee everyone, without discrimination, respect for their integrity and other rights and fundamental freedoms with regard to the application of biology and medicine.”

                                                                                      In 1998, the United Nations mentioned dignity in the UNESCO Declaration on the Human Genome and Human Rights. At Article 2, the declaration states, “Everyone has a right to respect for their dignity.” At Article 24, the declaration warns that treating a person to remove a genetic defect “could be contrary to human dignity.” The Commentary that accompanies the declaration says that, as a consequence of the possibility of germ-line treatment, “it is the very dignity of the human race which is at stake.”

                                                                                      Canada

                                                                                      In 1996, the Government of Canada issued a report entitled New Reproductive and Genetic Technologies. The report used “the principles of respect for human life and dignity” as its reason for recommending that various activities associated with genetic research and human reproduction be prohibited. The report said the prohibited activities were “contrary to Canadian values of equality and respect for human life and dignity.”[43]

                                                                                      Denmark

                                                                                      The Ministry of Health enacted the Danish Council Act 1988, which established the Danish Council of Ethics. The Council advises the Ministry on matters of medicine and genetic research on humans. In 2001, the Council condemned “reproductive cloning because it would violate human dignity, because it could have adverse consequences for the cloned person and because permitting research on reproductive cloning would reflect a disregard for the respect due to the moral status of embryos.”[44]

                                                                                      France

                                                                                      In 1984, France set up the National Consultative Committee for Ethics in the Life and Health Sciences (CCNE) to advise the government about the regulation of medical practices and research. In 1986, the CCNE said, “Respect for human dignity must guide both the development of knowledge and the limits or
                                                                                      rules to be observed by research.” The CCNE said that research on human embryos must be subject to “the rule of reason” and must have regard for “undefined dignity in its practical consequences.”[45] The CCNE insisted that, in research on human embryos, the ethical principles that should apply are “respecting human dignity” and respecting “the dignity of science.”[45]

                                                                                      Portugal

                                                                                      The National Council of Ethics of Portugal published its Opinion on the Ethical Implications of Cloning in 1997. The opinion states, “the cloning of human beings, because of the problems it raises concerning the dignity of the human person, the equilibrium of the human species and life in society, is ethically unacceptable and must be prohibited.”[46]

                                                                                      Sweden

                                                                                      Sweden’s The Genetic Integrity Act (2006:351), The Biobanks in Medical Care Act (2002:297), Health and Medical Services (Professional Activities) Act (1998:531), and The Health and Medical Services Act (1982:763) all express concern for “the integrity of the individual” or “human dignity.”[47]

                                                                                      United States

                                                                                      In 2008, The President’s Council on Bioethics tried to arrive at a consensus about what dignity meant but failed. Edmund D. Pellegrino, M.D., the Council’s Chairman, says in the Letter of Transmittal to the President of The United States, “… there is no universal agreement on the meaning of the term, human dignity.”[48]

                                                                                      Law

                                                                                      McDougal, Lasswell, and Chen studied dignity as a basis for international law.[49] They said that using dignity as the basis for laws was a “natural law approach.”[50] The natural law approach, they said, depends upon “exercises of faith.”[51] McDougal, Lasswell, and Chen observed:[52]

                                                                                      The abiding difficulty with the natural law approach is that its assumptions, intellectual procedures, and modalities of justification can be employed equally by the proponents of human dignity and the proponents of human indignity in support of diametrically opposed empirical specifications of rights . . . .

                                                                                      Canada

                                                                                      In 2004, Canada enacted the Assisted Human Reproduction Act.[53] Section 2(b) of the Act states, “the benefits of assisted human reproductive technologies and related research for individuals, for families and for society in general can be most effectively secured by taking appropriate measures for the protection and promotion of human health, safety, dignity and rights in the use of these technologies and in related research.” The Act prescribes a fine not exceeding $500,000 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding ten years, or both, if someone undertakes a proscribed activity such as the creation of a chimera.

                                                                                      European Union

                                                                                      Article 1 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union affirms the inviolability of human dignity.

                                                                                      France

                                                                                      In 1997, the National Consultative Committee for Ethics in the Life and Health Sciences, as well as other observers, noted that France’s dignity-based laws on bio-medical research were paradoxical. The law prohibited the willful destruction of human embryos but directed that human embryos could be destroyed if they were more than five years old.[54] The law prohibited research on human embryos created in France but permitted research on human embryos brought to France.[54] The law prohibited researchers from creating embryos for research but allowed researchers to experiment with embryos that were superfluous after in vitro fertilization.[55]

                                                                                      Germany

                                                                                      Human dignity is the fundamental principle of the German constitution. Article 1, paragraph 1 reads: “Human dignity is inviolable. To respect and protect it is the duty of all state authority.” Human dignity is thus mentioned even before the right to life. This has a significant impact on German law-making and jurisdiction in both serious and trivial items:

                                                                                      • Human dignity is the basis of § 131 StGB, which prohibits the depiction of cruelty against humans in an approving way. § 131 has been used to confiscate horror movies and to ban video games like Manhunt and the Mortal Kombat series.
                                                                                      • A decision[56] by the German Federal Constitutional Court in 1977 said life imprisonment without the possibility of parole is unconstitutional as a violation of human dignity (and the Rechtsstaat principle). Today, a prisoner serving a life term can be granted parole on good behavior as early as 15 years after being incarcerated, provided that his release is held to constitute little danger to the public. Note that persons deemed still dangerous can be incarcerated indefinitely on a life term, if this judgment is regularly reaffirmed.
                                                                                      • § 14(3) of the Luftsicherheitsgesetz, which would have allowed the Bundeswehr to shoot down airliners if they are used as weapons by terrorists, was declared unconstitutional mainly on the grounds of human dignity: killing a small number of innocent people to save a large number cannot be legalized since it treats dignity as if it were a measurable and limited quantity.
                                                                                      • A Benetton advertisement showing human buttocks with an “H.I.V. positive” stamp was declared a violation of human dignity by some courts, but in the end found legal.[57][58]
                                                                                      • The first German law legalizing abortion in 1975 was declared unconstitutional because the court held that embryos had human dignity.[59] A new law on abortion was developed in the 1990s. This law makes all abortions de jure illegal, except if preceded by counseling (§ 219 I GERMAN CRIMINAL CODE).
                                                                                      • In a decision from 1981-12-15, the Bundesverwaltungsgericht declared that peep shows violated the human dignity of the performer, regardless of her feelings. The decision was later revised. Peep shows where the performer cannot see the persons who are watching her remain prohibited as a matter of dignity.

                                                                                      Iran

                                                                                      The need to respect human dignity has been written in the Iranian constitution law. Article 2 of the Iranian Constitution Law mentions six principles and infrastructures as basic to the governing system which in Article 1 is called the Islamic Republic of Iran. The sixth principle of this Article concerns human dignity and stipulates that “the Islamic Republic of Iran is a system founded on faith in ….6) Human dignity and high value and his/her freedom as well as his responsibility before God”[3]. Besides, in the prelude to the Constitution, human dignity is referred to concerning the mass media.[60]

                                                                                      South Africa

                                                                                      The Constitution of South Africa lists “human dignity, the achievement of equality and the advancement of human rights and freedoms” as one of the founding values of the South African state, and the Bill of Rights is described as affirming the “democratic values of human dignity, equality and freedom”. Section 10 of the Constitution explicitly states that “Everyone has inherent dignity and the right to have their dignity respected and protected.” In jurisprudence, the right to dignity is often seen as underlying more specific rights, such as equality, security of the person or privacy, but it has been directly applied in a number of cases relating to criminal punishment, the law of defamation, and the right to marriage and family life.[61]

                                                                                      Switzerland

                                                                                      The Swiss Federal Constitution provides in article 7 that “Human dignity must be respected and protected.”[62] It also provides, in art. 120, that the state must “take account of the dignity of living beings as well as the safety of human beings, animals and the environment” when legislating on the use of reproductive and genetic material;[63] consequently the Federal Ethics Commission on Non-Human Biotechnology (ECNH) issued, in 2008, a publication entitled “The dignity of living beings with regard to plants”.[64]

                                                                                      See also

                                                                                      • Admiration
                                                                                      • Anger
                                                                                      • Beyond Freedom and Dignity
                                                                                      • Dignity of risk
                                                                                      • Human rights
                                                                                      • Justice
                                                                                      • Quality of life
                                                                                      • Respect
                                                                                      • Righteous indignation
                                                                                      • Right to life with dignity
                                                                                      • Self-concept
                                                                                      • Self-esteem
                                                                                      • Self-respect

                                                                                      References

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                                                                                      40. ^ “Buddhism and Human Dignity”. sgi.org.
                                                                                      41. ^ Gelernter, David (April 2008). “The Irreducably Religious Character of Human Dignity”. In Bernan. Human Dignity and Bioethics: Essays Commissioned by the President’s Council on Bioethics. Government Printing Office. p. 388. ISBN 978-0-16-080071-9.
                                                                                      42. ^ Declaration of Helsinki by World Medical Association Archived 2009-02-20 at the Wayback Machine.
                                                                                      43. ^ “House Government Bill – C-47, Second Reading (35-2)”. parl.gc.ca.
                                                                                      44. ^ Gratton, Brigitte. Survey on the National Regulations in the European Union regarding Research on Human Embryos (July 2002), 16.
                                                                                      45. ^ ab CCNE Opinion no. 8. Archived 2008-11-13 at the Wayback Machine.
                                                                                      46. ^ Gratton, Brigitte. Survey on the National Regulations in the European Union regarding Research on Human Embryos (July 2002), 53.
                                                                                      47. ^ Swedish statutes. Archived 2010-08-18 at the Wayback Machine.
                                                                                      48. ^ “Home Page – Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues”. bioethics.gov. Archived from the original on 2008-09-16.
                                                                                      49. ^ Myres S. McDougal, Harold D. Lasswell, and Lung-chu Chen, Human Rights and World Public Order: The Basic Policies of an International Law of Human Dignity (New Haven: Yale UP, 1980).
                                                                                      50. ^ McDougal et al, note, at 70.
                                                                                      51. ^ McDougal et al, note, at 69.
                                                                                      52. ^ McDougal et al, note, at 71.
                                                                                      53. ^ “Page not Found – Page non trouvé”. archive.org. 5 June 2011. Archived from the original on 5 June 2011. Retrieved 22 October 2017.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
                                                                                      54. ^ ab CCNE Opinion no. 053. Archived 2008-11-13 at the Wayback Machine.
                                                                                      55. ^ Cazeau, Bernard. (in French) Senat.fr Retrieved 2009-04-11.
                                                                                      56. ^ “DFR – BVerfGE 45, 187 – Lebenslange Freiheitsstrafe”. unibe.ch.
                                                                                      57. ^ “Bundesverfassungsgericht”. bverfg.de.
                                                                                      58. ^ Stern.de Archived 2009-02-02 at the Wayback Machine.
                                                                                      59. ^ German law about abortion. Archived 2009-02-02 at the Wayback Machine.
                                                                                      60. ^ Salehi, Hamid Reza. Human Dignity From the Viewpoint of Iranian Law, Journal of Bioethical Inquiry, Volume 10, Issue 2, June 2013, 135-136. DOI:10.1007/s11673-013-9437-8.
                                                                                      61. ^ Currie, Iain; de Waal, Johan (2005). “Chapter Ten: Human dignity”. The Bill of Rights Handbook (5th ed.). Cape Town: Juta. pp. 272–279. ISBN 978-0-7021-5923-7.
                                                                                      62. ^ Official translation of art. 7.
                                                                                      63. ^ Official translation of art. 120.
                                                                                      64. ^ “English language publication” (PDF). admin.ch. Retrieved 22 October 2017.

                                                                                      Further reading

                                                                                      • El Bernoussi, Zaynab (2014). “The postcolonial politics of dignity: From the 1956 Suez nationalization to the 2011 Revolution in Egypt”. International Sociology. 30 (4): 367–382. doi:10.1177/0268580914537848.
                                                                                      • Andorno, Roberto. Human dignity and human rights as a common ground for a global bioethics. Journal of Medicine and Philosophy, 2009, 34(3):223-40.
                                                                                      • Saccà, Luigi. A Biophilosophical Model of Human Dignity: The Argument from Development in a Four-Dimensionalist Perspective. International Journal of Applied Philosophy, 2013, 27(2):175-94. DOI: 10.5840/ijap20131221
                                                                                      • Folot, Eric. “Human Dignity (Part 1): Its Critics” http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2354171 and http://www.legavox.fr/blog/ethos/dignite-humaine-partie-detracteurs-12702.htm
                                                                                      • Thomas De Koninck, De la dignité humaine, Paris, Quadrige/PUF, 1995, 2nd ed. in 2002 (Award “La Bruyère” of the Académie française, 1996).
                                                                                      • Thomas De Koninck, “Protecting Human Dignity in Research Involving Humans”, Journal of Academic Ethics, vol. 7, issue 1-2, 2009, p. 17-25.
                                                                                      • Pele, Antonio. (in Spanish) Una aproximación al concepto de dignidad humana Universitas. Revista de filosofía, derecho y política (Spain), Nº. 1, 2004 2005, p. 9-13.
                                                                                      • Sweet, William. [1]. ‘Whose Dignity is it Anyway? Lecture presented as part of the ‘Breakfast on the Hill’ series, Parliament Hill, Ottawa, Canada, May 2007.
                                                                                      • Dignity Spiritualwiki
                                                                                      • Dilley, Stephen and Nathan Palpant (eds.), Human Dignity in Bioethics. From Worldviews to the Public Square. New York: Routledge, 2013.[2]
                                                                                      • Hein, David. Christianity and Honor in: The Living Church, August 18, 2013, pp. 8–10.
                                                                                      • Spiegel, Alix: For The Dying, A Chance To Rewrite Life, Radio Feature about dignity therapy, an end-of-life treatment created Harvey Chochinov, NPR, 12. September 2011 (link checked 15. Octobre 2014).
                                                                                      • Salehi, Hamid Reza. Human Dignity From the Viewpoint of Iranian Law, Journal of Bioethical Inquiry, Volume 10, Issue 2, June 2013, 135-136. DOI:10.1007/s11673-013-9437-8.

                                                                                      External links

                                                                                      • “Human Dignity”. Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy.


                                                                                      How can you humanize infanticide of the evil-tainted?

                                                                                      The name of the pictureThe name of the pictureThe name of the pictureClash Royale CLAN TAG#URR8PPP

                                                                                      7

                                                                                      The world is surrounded by an alternate realm called the spirit world. Humans existed as separate physical entities, but maintain an attachment to the spirit realm due to their connection with god. When a child is ready to be born, it must pass through the spirit world into the physical.

                                                                                      There are malevolent spirits in the other world that seek to corrupt the child while it is developing. Runes are placed on the mother to act as a barrier of protection to prevent this. However, runes must be reapplied periodically and are not foolproof. Therefore, it is possible for a fetus to be affected by these spirits and develop deformities (extra eyes, tentacles for arms, horns, etc). These children can be born prematurely, and risk killing the mother.

                                                                                      These children are not born evil, but are treated with suspicion by the world due to their “impure” taint. In the few places they are tolerated, they exist on the fringes and often become a self fulfilling prophecy. In many other places, such as this democratic nation, they are simply killed after being examined.

                                                                                      Killing children is a taboo, and people reading it may say “author thinks we should kill deformed kids because reasons”. How can you portray this in a less negative or at least sympathetic, light to avoid this?

                                                                                      share|improve this question

                                                                                      • 5

                                                                                        This is a difficult question to answer, the more I think about it the more it echoes current bigotries; like racism, homophobia, anti-semitism, anti-islam or anti-arab or anti-immigrant and real-life demonization of those that look, sound, or believe differently, as an excuse to exclude them or go to war with them. I think the risk is more than “killing deformed kids because reasons”, I think the risk of writing this in the current political climate is the author can be vilified for metaphorically endorsing violence and ostracization for all kinds of “not like us” bigotries “for reasons”.
                                                                                        – Amadeus
                                                                                        Dec 12 at 12:27

                                                                                      • 4

                                                                                        In fact, there are tribes in Central Africa (don’t remember more specific details) who kill children whose lower teeth grow before their upper teeth. Those children are considered “demon children” who “bring bad luck to all the village”. It’s just as horrendous as it sounds – nothing sympathetic about it. There’s a recent initiative to take those children away instead, but there’s already been attacks on those who try this route – just having the children alive somewhere is considered potential for “bad luck” for the whole tribe.
                                                                                        – Galastel
                                                                                        Dec 12 at 12:32

                                                                                      • 19

                                                                                        There’s a really crucial distinction to make here: do you want readers to be on-board with the practice, or do you want them going omg that’s awful, although I do understand these people are misguided rather than evil? Those are two vastly different reactions.
                                                                                        – Standback
                                                                                        Dec 12 at 13:06

                                                                                      • 3

                                                                                        I’m voting to close this question as off-topic because it belongs on Worldbuilding.SE
                                                                                        – user57423
                                                                                        Dec 12 at 16:58

                                                                                      • 3

                                                                                        @user57423 I disagree. This question is asking how to humanize, not how to rationalize the killings, so it clearly has some writing aspect.
                                                                                        – Alexander
                                                                                        Dec 12 at 18:50

                                                                                      7

                                                                                      The world is surrounded by an alternate realm called the spirit world. Humans existed as separate physical entities, but maintain an attachment to the spirit realm due to their connection with god. When a child is ready to be born, it must pass through the spirit world into the physical.

                                                                                      There are malevolent spirits in the other world that seek to corrupt the child while it is developing. Runes are placed on the mother to act as a barrier of protection to prevent this. However, runes must be reapplied periodically and are not foolproof. Therefore, it is possible for a fetus to be affected by these spirits and develop deformities (extra eyes, tentacles for arms, horns, etc). These children can be born prematurely, and risk killing the mother.

                                                                                      These children are not born evil, but are treated with suspicion by the world due to their “impure” taint. In the few places they are tolerated, they exist on the fringes and often become a self fulfilling prophecy. In many other places, such as this democratic nation, they are simply killed after being examined.

                                                                                      Killing children is a taboo, and people reading it may say “author thinks we should kill deformed kids because reasons”. How can you portray this in a less negative or at least sympathetic, light to avoid this?

                                                                                      share|improve this question

                                                                                      • 5

                                                                                        This is a difficult question to answer, the more I think about it the more it echoes current bigotries; like racism, homophobia, anti-semitism, anti-islam or anti-arab or anti-immigrant and real-life demonization of those that look, sound, or believe differently, as an excuse to exclude them or go to war with them. I think the risk is more than “killing deformed kids because reasons”, I think the risk of writing this in the current political climate is the author can be vilified for metaphorically endorsing violence and ostracization for all kinds of “not like us” bigotries “for reasons”.
                                                                                        – Amadeus
                                                                                        Dec 12 at 12:27

                                                                                      • 4

                                                                                        In fact, there are tribes in Central Africa (don’t remember more specific details) who kill children whose lower teeth grow before their upper teeth. Those children are considered “demon children” who “bring bad luck to all the village”. It’s just as horrendous as it sounds – nothing sympathetic about it. There’s a recent initiative to take those children away instead, but there’s already been attacks on those who try this route – just having the children alive somewhere is considered potential for “bad luck” for the whole tribe.
                                                                                        – Galastel
                                                                                        Dec 12 at 12:32

                                                                                      • 19

                                                                                        There’s a really crucial distinction to make here: do you want readers to be on-board with the practice, or do you want them going omg that’s awful, although I do understand these people are misguided rather than evil? Those are two vastly different reactions.
                                                                                        – Standback
                                                                                        Dec 12 at 13:06

                                                                                      • 3

                                                                                        I’m voting to close this question as off-topic because it belongs on Worldbuilding.SE
                                                                                        – user57423
                                                                                        Dec 12 at 16:58

                                                                                      • 3

                                                                                        @user57423 I disagree. This question is asking how to humanize, not how to rationalize the killings, so it clearly has some writing aspect.
                                                                                        – Alexander
                                                                                        Dec 12 at 18:50

                                                                                      7

                                                                                      7

                                                                                      7

                                                                                      1

                                                                                      The world is surrounded by an alternate realm called the spirit world. Humans existed as separate physical entities, but maintain an attachment to the spirit realm due to their connection with god. When a child is ready to be bor