NewScientist Moves the Goal Posts

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NewScientist Moves the Goal Posts

Unread postby davesmith_au » Sat Sep 19, 2009 9:30 am

Callenge to "terms of use" forces change
September 19, 2009 ~ Dave Smith.

For a long time now many people have alleged NewScientist hides behind it's "terms of use" to censor out comments which pose serious challenges to it's regular commentators. Not only has this been found to be accurate, a recent challenge caused NewScientist to make significant changes to it's "terms of use" so that it's editors could continue their censorship in the secure knowledge that future challenges will not see the light of day. ... [More...]
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NewScientist moves the Goalposts

Unread postby jjohnson » Sat Sep 19, 2009 10:23 am

I don't bother to read NewScientist for this very reason - scary directions are simply electronically redacted via their lame explanatory text. New Scientist is merely furthering the same mind set (designed to limit exposure to innovative thinking which might be at odds with dogmatic preconceptions) that affected Galileo, Arp, and in general today, anyone who dares to consider the EU and plasma cosmology.

If it weren't too far off topic, I'd suggest that they change their masthead to read, "OldScientist".

Jim
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Re: NewScientist Moves the Goal Posts

Unread postby mharratsc » Sun Sep 20, 2009 12:49 pm

Dave wrote:
"However I have no intention of allowing this sleeping dog to lie, and am in the (slow) process of creating a new website which will "out" many of the internet's "Closet Inquisitors" who deserve to be shamed."


You go, Dave!! :D

I think the articles that NewScientist run are superb... except for the Space sciences garbage. I've ready many great medical- and technology-breakthrough articles in their publication, and actually learned some from them.

However... :oops:

I also sent them a letter requesting that they discontinue my subscription because of said Space sciences garbage! Of course, they still billed me last week... :x Have to call them on Monday it seems... :x

Go get em, Dave! These guys need to be knocked around some, and I bet yer the guy to do it! ;)

Mike H.
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Re: NewScientist Moves the Goal Posts

Unread postby markwark » Tue Sep 22, 2009 6:28 am

Dave -
I'm sure your contact with New Scientist will focus on the censorship issue at large, but meanwhile, there may be a topic, or topics rather, that would allow posts you might make. They would at least be good places to test the waters.
An article currently in the "most read" section, "13 things that do not make sense,"
http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg18524911.600-13-things-that-do-not-make-sense.html
seems to invite speculative answers (not to qualify yours as such, but they probably would), since inside-the-box thinking is going nowhere. Many, if not most of the 13 topics could be explained by you, er ... EU. Ditto for the follow up article, "13 more things..." Good luck!
- Mark
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Re: NewScientist Moves the Goal Posts

Unread postby davesmith_au » Tue Sep 22, 2009 8:36 am

Thanks for the input Mark, and Jim and Mike too, it's nice to see some support for my position on this. I've had a quick look at the thread on newscientist you referenced Mark, and I remember having a look at it once before. The only problem with responding on a story like that is, that it's now at 358 comments. Who's going to read them all? Who's going to read mine? Who's going to give a rat's arse what I think, or you think, among hundreds of inanae and anal posts which are likely to turn off all but the most die-hard readers of such things, and frankly I've better things to do with my time.

That's not to say that I don't appreciate what you're saying, but having dabbled in a number of "comments" sections of so-called science sites over the last year or two, I think it mostly is a waste of one's time, or something to do when one has run out of other things to take care of. My reason for delving into this topic was an email from someone I don't know, who in all innocense posted EU related material to NewScientist, and had almost everything he posted deleted.

It was only once I started copying posts and then going back and seeing they had been deleted, but the most inane ones left behind, that I realized he had a very valid point, and so I thought it best to proceed with a more thorough investigation of the matter. It was then that NewScientist "moved the goal posts", after I had enquired after copies of their "Editorial Guidelines" they referred to in their "House Rules" or "terms of use". Instead of supplying the guidelines (which I suspect either do not exist or are not for public consumption due to the censoring nature of same) they changed the rules, then directed enquiries to their "updated terms of use". Extraordinary behavior under the circumstances, and one they deserve to be called out on.

Here's their response to another enquiry J.P. made, their own bold but my highlights:


NewScientist wrote:Dear [J.P. - edited for privacy, DS.]

Thank you for your enquiry. We value and appreciate your interest in the articles which we publish, and that you wish you express your own view point about them.

New Scientist reserves the right to remove any comment made online, for any reason: please refer to our updated house rules (http://www.newscientist.com/info/in153).

We understand that sometimes it may not immediately be clear why such a decision has been made, however, the suitability of comments is ultimately up to the discretion of the editor and their decision is final. Unfortunately, due to the extremely large volume of comments that we have to deal with, we are unable respond to individual enquiries into the reasons behind these decisions.

Our editors work hard to ensure that everyone has their say on NewScientist.com, as they are aware that our content is greatly augmented by the informative contributions of our readers. Please be assured that your feedback has been passed on to the appropriate editor.

Kind regards,

New Scientist Enquiries


It is obvious that anyone enquiring about their posts will now receive the same "pro-forma" reply.

I find it laughable that they can say everyone will have their say when clearly this is not the case, and even more laughable that they think their "content is greatly augmented by the informative contributions of our readers" when they censor pertinent on-topic posts in favor of leaving up the inane and downright insulting.

What is even more laughable (if it wasn't so serious) than both of these observations, is that back when I made the first enquiry which prompted the moving of the goalposts, I also "Reported " a post due to it containing a direct link to pornography, right under the user's name. It's obvious to me that they thought I must be "some EU nut" and didn't even read my report, or that they don't mind links to pornography but talking EU is a no-no.

The pornography post is still there! http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20327233.700-tevatron-tightens-up-the-race-for-the-higgs.html (I won't direct our readers right to the post, but you won't need to be a rocket scientist to find it.) Not only have they left it there for several weeks since I reported it, it's one of the inane posts I've been talking about. I mean, how is their content "greatly augmented" by that? Is it augmented by their readership being shown the way directly to a pornography site, especially when they no-doubt attract a younger than 18 (or 21 or whatever) audience? I think not, however in ignoring my report, they obviously do. I wonder how long it will last there?

Cheers, Dave.
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Re: NewScientist Moves the Goal Posts

Unread postby mharratsc » Tue Sep 22, 2009 11:31 am

I've had a subscription going with them for about 2 years now, and I'm pretty familiar with their content. Human & Medical sciences run neck and neck with technologies for the bulk of it... but you can tell that Astronomy, Astrophysics, & Particle Physics are their bread & butter articles.

Point of note- they have not even posted any decent purely observational articles that I can even recently remember!!

All of it has been String Theory, Black Holes in the Backyard, and other Einsteinian rubbish! Their Astronomy editor has probably been directed to make only the most outlandish of the stories hit the cover on that magazine, for the biggest sensationalist draw that they can muster! :evil:

I swear- you could probably get them to put an article on how winged, unicorn bunny leprechauns poot Dark Matter at the center of the galaxy without even half-trying! They've become the National Enquirer of the science periodicals... :oops:


Mike H.
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Re: NewScientist Moves the Goal Posts

Unread postby davesmith_au » Tue Sep 22, 2009 3:36 pm

Mike H wrote:... directed to make only the most outlandish of the stories hit the cover on that magazine, for the biggest sensationalist draw that they can muster!


That's the crux of it right there. Sensasionalist headlines draw in the crowd, and as long as they're clicking on our stupid ads and taking out subscriptions, what do we care?...

As my Dad used to say (tongue-in-cheek), "Never let the truth get in the way of a good yarn..."

Cheers, Dave.
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Re: NewScientist Moves the Goal Posts

Unread postby Plasmadoo » Wed Sep 23, 2009 4:07 pm

Perhaps we need some kind of new rating system in the media. Watchdog commentators test a media with testing comments, monitor their response and then publish the results. Rather challenging to do objectively i guess, but now that we have progressed to instantaneous internet interaction, carrying on with the old print,radio,tv editorial partisan practices has becomes conspicuous - it can no longer be easily hidden without any risk of comeback.
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