arXiv Trackbacks

As discussed here, here, here, and here, the arXiv is now putting on each abstract page a link to trackbacks from weblogs which contain a link to the paper in question. This is an interesting mechanism for integrating the discussion of various papers on weblogs with the arXiv site.

I remember more than ten years ago Paul Ginsparg talking about the idea of setting up a mechanism for having commentary on papers on the arXiv, but this idea seems to have not gotten off the ground at the time. Part of the idea was that the author of the paper would be able to delete any posted commentary he or she didn’t like. When asked about whether this would stop people from being able to use the commentary section to point out that a paper was wrong, Ginsparg noted that if there was no commentary on a specific paper, did you really care whether it was because the author had deleted the comments, or because no one thought the paper was worth commenting on?

My latest posting from earlier this evening contained a couple links to arXiv papers (I didn’t know about this trackback business at the time). Jacques Distler explains that one’s weblog has to be on a list of “serious physicist-bloggers” in order for one’s trackbacks to appear. So far mine haven’t, so I guess I’m not a “serious physicist-blogger” by the standards of Jacques (or whoever is managing this thing).

Update: The trackbacks are there now, as pointed out by Sean Carroll. Not sure when this happened, partly because there seems to be a bug in their system. The abstract page for the Mickelsson paper I linked to counts only one trackback, when there really are two (the other, from Urs Schreiber was there yesterday).

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10 Responses to arXiv Trackbacks

  1. Jacques Distler explains that one’s weblog has to be on a list of “serious physicist-bloggers? in order for one’s trackbacks to appear. So far mine haven’t, so I guess I’m not a “serious physicist-blogger? by the standards of Jacques (or whoever is managing this thing).

    In my experience, WordPress doesn’t support trackback autodiscovery, so a casual link to an abstract isn’t enough: I have to deliberately ping the http://arxiv.org/trackback/… address. I’ve verified this in experiments from my own page with arxiv. Manual trackbacks register (after a short delay), but simple links don’t. Of course, we’re using different versions of WordPress.

  2. woit says:

    Thanks Steve. But I’m still confused. Notices of trackback pings from me appear in other weblogs when I post something with links to them, even if I don’t put the trackback in manually. I just tried putting in the two arXiv link trackbacks manually, but it looks to me like I’m getting a message that these were “already pinged”. Anyway, I’ll check after a while to see if the manual trackbacks had any effect.

  3. Suresh says:

    the trackback mechanism is semi-reviewed, in that it has to go thru some processing before the trackbacks are registered. this is probably why you haven’t seen it yet.

  4. Sean says:

    Looks like your trackbacks are there now.

  5. woit says:

    Thanks Sean,

    I’d checked earlier this morning, but the fact that their trackback counter doesn’t seem to be working may have kept me from realizing that mine was there.

  6. The page headers at arxiv aren’t being set correctly with a new “modified” date when the trackback counter changes, so you are pulling the page with your cache with an old value. Force a refresh (shift-reload in firefox) and the counter will be correct. This caught me last night.

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