April 15, 2005

Fight Spam with Academic Gibberish!

This article is everywhere today--the MIT hoax paper that was accepted to a scholarly conference despite being nothing but computer-generated gibberish.

The best part, though, is the students' explanations for why they did what they did:

Stribling said the trio targeted WMSCI because it is notorious within the field of computer science for sending copious e-mails that solicit admissions to the conference.


"We were tired of the spam," Stribling told Reuters in a telephone interview, adding that his team wanted to challenge the standards of the conference's peer review process.

I'm sure there's an English paper in here somewhere about the subjective reality of meaning, sliding signifiers, post-modern parody/pastiche, and Bakhtin's carnivalesque. This fact does not give me any comfort, however, nor does my continued ability to come up with such paper topics on the fly.

Sigh.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at April 15, 2005 11:40 AM
Comments

Sounds like an in-house Sokal Hoax.

Posted by: John at April 15, 2005 02:32 PM

"This fact does not give me any comfort, however, nor does my continued ability to come up with such paper topics on the fly."

Courage. Read Mencken on Veblen and you'll see that academic fatuity is nothing new.

Posted by: PersonFromPorlock at April 15, 2005 08:15 PM

The advent of computer typesetting opened the field. Once something has the right format, it sneaks by.

/usr/games/festoon in 1980 produced gibberish memos acceptable enough so somebody would walk in, pick it up off the table, and ask incredulously, ``They _pay_ people to write this crap?'' Evidently it was not out of the question. Since then, festoon has received a powerpoint upgrade and does fairly nice conceptual memos as well. It wound up being used as a stress test for word processing software.

Posted by: Ron Hardin at April 16, 2005 11:43 AM