After more than three months of effort to try and get an answer about this, I’ve finally heard officially from the arXiv that trackbacks to my weblog are currently not being allowed by the moderators. I’m sending the following message protesting this to members of the arXiv advisory board.
To the arXiv advisory board:
I was informed two days ago by Jean Poland of the Cornell library that the arXiv moderators will not allow posting of any of the trackbacks to entries in my weblog that I requested more than three months ago. I would like to protest this decision and ask that it be overturned by the arXiv advisory board.
For background on the history of my weblog, my dealings with the arXiv moderators and the arXiv in general over this issue, you can consult the following web-page:
This is a complicated story, and involves a question not of the greatest importance, so you may quite reasonably not want to take the time to get involved in this, but I urge you to consider the two following issues:
1. It has taken me three months of effort to get a simple yes or no answer to the question of whether placement of these links on the arXiv will be allowed. This has wasted a great deal of my time, as well as that of those people who have been kind enough to try and help me get an answer. This is not a professional way of doing business and I urge you to ensure that it not continue to be the way that the arXiv operates.
2. The rejection of all trackback requests by me, requests that refer to postings of very different natures about both mathematics and physics make it clear that the moderators’ policy is to not allow any trackbacks to my weblog. I have not been given any reasons for this policy, and can only guess what these reasons are. Given the history outlined in the web-page mentioned above, it seems clear to me that this censorship is primarily driven by the moderators’ desire to paint as intellectually illegitimate and suppress commentary that is critical of string/M-theory research. This kind of suppression of dissent, accomplished using arguments that I have not been allowed to see or answer, is scientifically unethical and deserves to be condemned. The arXiv is an exceptionally important resource for the physics and mathematics community, and it is important that it operate according to high standards of scientific ethics.
Department of Mathematics
Update: Sean Carroll’s posting about this has finally shaken loose some indication of what argument was used to disallow links to my blog at the arXiv. For details, see the comment section of his posting.
Update: Lubos Motl has really outdone himself with his latest lunatic ranting about this blog. Note that, besides the blogs run by arXiv moderator Jacques Distler, Lubos’s is one of only a couple particle theory related blogs that the arXiv moderators allow trackbacks to. That trackbacks to this blog are censored, but allowed to Lubos’s (and almost no others not belonging to an arXiv moderator) should be more evidence than anyone needs that there is a serious problem with the arXiv moderation system, and it is due to the string fanaticism of the moderators.
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