Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Proposed statement decrying quotemining.

This is a draft. I'd like advice on the wording. Is it too long? Does it leave out important behaviors? Does it misdefine quotemining? Do I put too many requirements on signers? Too few?

I want something so clear that anyone who refuses to sign it can be shamed by asking why they wouldn't agree to it. That means it can't be too stringent. But it needs to cover all the ground. I'd also like it to have the community pressure aspect as an enforcement mechanism.

I'd like, for instance, Bill Dembski to be compelled to either retract his mined quotes or face reprimand from other DI people. If they would do that, it would raise their credibility, and if he'd apologize and make a retraction, he'd get more respect.

Here goes:

Quotemining is a practice which is abhorrent to all writers and other intellectual workers. It is common and accepted practice to state views with which we disagree, specifically in order to respond to those views and to critique them. When those statements are taken out of the context of the author's argument and presented as if they supported an opposing viewpoint, it degrades the harmonious exchange of ideas.

The author's thoughts should be treated with the same respect given to the author's literal words.

The undersigned agree that we will not engage in quotemining as described above, nor will we misrepresent a quote, intentionally misquote by altering a quote or truncating it, quote without relevant context, abuse ellipses or in any other way edit, modify or present quotes in a way which changes the authors' meaning.

We furthermore pledge that we will never knowingly work as co-authors, co-editors, or other co-equal contributors to a work with anyone who engages in such behavior. If we are editing or reviewing a work and detect these behaviors, we will insist that the author repair the defect or we will refuse to publish it. If the author(s) signed this pledge, we will ask them to review it again and recommit themselves to its principles.

If our work will appear beside that of contributors with a history of quotemining, we will seek assurances from the editor(s) that those authors will be subject to the heightened scrutiny we would employ on such work. We will also invite editors who have not signed this pledge and committed themselves to these principles of fairness to do so immediately.

If we see a colleague engaging in or defending quotemining or other behaviors described here in any foum, whether in a formal or informal paper, a blog or any other written form, or in a speech to any number of people, we will immediately call attention to the misbehavior and insist that they retract the statement and correct the record. We will encourage our colleague to review and sign this pledge. Until they correct the record, we will take efforts to minimize our interactions with the quoteminer and use appropriate means to encourage them to conform to these standards of acceptable conduct.