Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Apologies

On behalf of the M-Phi contributors, I want to sincerely apologize to our readers for the misguided and inappropriate post that was online at M-Phi for four days (now taken down, as well as all other posts referencing the Oxford events). The moderation structure of the blog was such that none of us could do anything to take it down, except for pleading with the author to do so.

[UPDATE (Sep. 12th): It has been brought to my attention that we owe an apology not only for the most recent post, but also for at least some of the content of the other posts pertaining to the Oxford events, which had been posted a few months ago (now also deleted). So, for those too, our apologies. We are also looking into additional ways to make amends with the people negatively affected.]

The structure and moderation of the blog will change completely now; Jeffrey Ketland will no longer be a contributor (of his own initiative). The exact details still need to be discussed, but we hope to come back with something more concrete within a week or so.

Again, our apologies, to our readers and to those who were negatively affected by the post.

(And thank you Jeff, for all your otherwise very good work here at M-Phi over the years.)

UPDATE: the opinions of those who felt negatively affected by the posts are most welcome in comments below (or in private to me by email).

7 comments:

  1. It worries me that you (plural) are able to still say 'And thank you Jeff, for all your otherwise very good work here at M-Phi over the years.' As if this is somehow separable from that.

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  2. Do none of you consider that as well as that incredible post re the 'Oxford lynch mob' that Ketland posted, his previous post - still present - is recommending the work of Peter Smith - the sex offender and convicted paedophile. I mean - REALLY? What the hell is going on here.

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    1. Thanks for the input. I actually think one can separate a person's intellectual achievements from their missteps in other spheres. In fact, I continue to cite Smith's work in my work, as I think his work on (philosophy of) logic is often very good. But given the situation, I think it might be better to take that post down too.

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    2. Frege was a vile antisemitic, and supported the Nazis. Do you intend to stop referring people to Frege's work?

      Teichmuller joined the Wermacht and died in the eastern front, are we going to stop referring to his work?

      Von Neumann was pro-nuclear strikes, pre-emptive strikes. Wipe out the Ruskies before they wipe us! Will you stop using computers now, or doing anything really, because he had so much impact on modern science and modern technology.

      Heimlich killed innocent people, trying to figure out that famous maneuver. That thing which saved so many people. Yeah, now we should all stop doing that, and let people choke on food.

      So many people are so crazy out there, sometimes outright batcrap madness in the name of science. But they contributed a lot to science, to mathematics, and to our lives. I don't see why we need to carry that personal baggage for them.

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    3. This post reminds me of the calls to remove Jews from math departments in Germany back in the 1930's. "We don't want their Jewish mathematics!" they said.

      Shame. And it's a shame that a blog like this bows to silly public pressure like this. Good mathematics is good. Period. If someone can't separate mathematical contributions from personal quirks, then they should probably stay away from mathematicians and philosophers anyway, and have little to do in a place like this.

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  3. As a member of the blog (until yesterday) I wanted to echo the sentiments of the post, and in addition offer my personal apologies for failing to keep track of what was being posted in a group I was a member of.

    I'd also like to thank Catarina for stepping into the breach to coordinate the response to this once she became aware of the post.

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  4. As a regular contributor to this blog, I would also like to echo and endorse Catarina's post. We will be considering over the coming weeks what went wrong here, how we might make amends, and how we can prevent anything like this happening in the future. In the meantime, I would like to offer my deepest apologies to everyone who was affected by this.

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