Sunday, January 27, 2013

Now, here's how to respond to a comment!

Timothy McSweeney's Internet Tendency presents the story of a recent comment to the New England Journal of Medicine.  Excerpts:

Dear Josh95,

The New England Journal of Medicine would like to thank you for posting a comment on our blog. However, the peer reviewer we assigned to your comment has expressed some concerns. While we cannot accept your post in its current form, we would like to give you the option of re-submitting a revised version.

The Editors 

Reviewer Suggestions:

Josh95’s main assertion is that the blog entry in question “sucks” because it is “stupid.” However, this claim goes largely unsubstantiated in what seems to be an incredibly problematic addition to the comments section. According to the Flesch-Kincaid Index, the writing in this blog post rates within the highest possible level of complexity, so the evidence available actually points to it being the diametrical opposite of stupid. Unless Josh95 can provide a different and more reliable standard of measurement, his position that the blog post sucks because it is stupid remains untenable.

I should also point out that Josh95’s use of emoticons is, in a word, excessive. Many of them are so overtly angry and sexual that I am afraid they may be upsetting to NEJM’s normal readership.

In paragraph four, he does make an interesting point in which he identifies some key regulators in tumor formation and progression. But after a few sentences it becomes apparent that this paragraph has just been copied and pasted from the blog entry that he is commenting on, the only difference being sporadic instances of the word “fart.”

There is another initially promising passage in which he references an article on oncology that he feels is superior to the one posted by NEJM. Unfortunately, the link he provided actually redirects the reader to a video of two cats having sex with each other. The video in question is over 14 minutes long, and I can say with confidence that none of the footage supports the author’s claim or even seems to pertain to medical oncology.

Ultimately, I cannot recommend this comment for publication in the comments section of the NEJM blog. Josh95 should be encouraged to revise and resubmit, though his willingness to do so is doubtful.

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