Dodgy trackback policies

Peter Woit over at Not Even Wrong has long complained about the fact that arXiv.org do not log trackbacks from his blog. Backtracks are automatically generated whenever a blog links to an abstract page on arXiv.org and are normally listed on the site. However, some bloggers such as Woit have long suspected that trackbacks from blogs that are against string theory are filtered out in some unknown process of censorship that backtracks the trackbacks, so to speak. (Of course it could be that they have some variant censorship policy that merely correlates to ignoring trackbacks that are against string theory)

Woit decided to test his hypothesis by creating an anti-Woit who loves to hype string theory on his blog. It’s link to this random paper  was quickly accepted as a trackback, thus proving the point. The link from his usual stomping ground presumably will not be accepted in the same way. I hope he continues to maintain this excellent new blog in the spirit it set out with. It has some good content so far.

In case you are wondering, yes, we also accept trackbacks on viXra.org but since blog providers are not likely to implement automated trackbacks for us, it is a manual process. It goes without saying that no censorship will be applied here. If you know of a suitable trackback to an abstract on viXra.org that we missed just drop us a note.

Update: CIP has also taken up the story

Adendum: I have been catching up on some of the old trackbackgate history that I was not following at the time. It becomes clear that Woit’s trick really puts the lie to what was claimed from the arXiv administrators at the time. They had said that some people were excluded from trackbacks because the policy was to include only those from active researchers who use arXiv. They said Woit did not come in that category even though he had submitted to arXiv occasionally. That they accepted the trackbacks from the stringtheoryfan blog shows that it is really only the content that counts and the criterion of active research was most likely made up just to justify excluding Woit.

Of course the trackback from here was not accepted either, that is no surprise, although I have had some trackbacks accepted from other blogs I ran in the past. I am usually pro-string theory except where the hype get too heavy!

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