The New England Journal of Medicine Offers User “Josh95” a Chance to Revise His Comment On Their Blog.
BY SETH FRIED
[Originally published January 23, 2013.]
The New England Journal of Medicine would like to thank you for posting a comment on our blog. We here at NEJM are enthusiastic about new media as a means to interact with our readers, and we appreciate your eagerness to participate in this exciting new form of scholarly discourse.
However, the peer reviewer we assigned to your comment has expressed some concerns. Since the blog entry you commented on was an original research article dealing with medical oncology, we have assigned a reviewer with a similar expertise to your comment. You will find a copy of the reviewer’s remarks below.
While we cannot accept your post in its current form, we would like to give you the option of re-submitting a revised version. Should you decide to resubmit, please include a rebuttal letter with an itemized list of all changes made in response to the reviewer’s suggestions.
Josh95’s main assertion is that the blog entry in question “sucks” because it is “stupid.” However, this claim goes largely unsubstantiated in what seems to be an incredibly problematic addition to the comments section. According to the Flesch-Kincaid Index, the writing in this blog post rates within the highest possible level of complexity, so the evidence available actually points to it being the diametrical opposite of stupid. Unless Josh95 can provide a different and more reliable standard of measurement, his position that the blog post sucks because it is stupid remains untenable. These two assertions must therefore be seen as separate iterations of an identical sentiment and not as possessing a cause and effect relationship. What’s more, Josh95 should be prepared to support both of these assertions by establishing objectively verifiable criteria in which this blog post is deficient.
I should also point out that Josh95’s use of emoticons is, in a word, excessive. Many of them are so overtly angry and sexual that I am afraid they may be upsetting to NEJM’s normal readership. I suggest eliminating them from the text. N.B., this might require a significant amount of revision, since many of the sentences in this post cease to make grammatical sense once the emoticons have been removed.
Additionally, I would be remiss if I failed to mention that the song lyrics included in this comment were not cited correctly or, in many instances, at all. Josh95’s statement that the researchers responsible for this article are “a bunch of squares like a mother [expletive] grid” is therefore vulnerable to accusations of plagiarism. In order to avoid this, he should cite the aforementioned lyrics (as well as all other lyrics included in the post) using Harvard style:
Lil Wayne et al. (2010) “I Am Not A Human Being.” New York City: Universal Music Group .
To his credit, most of the lyrics were separated from the main text and typed in all caps. However, some proper citation is still an absolute necessity.
In paragraph four, he does make an interesting point in which he identifies some key regulators in tumor formation and progression. But after a few sentences it becomes apparent that this paragraph has just been copied and pasted from the blog entry that he is commenting on, the only difference being sporadic instances of the word “fart.”
There is another initially promising passage in which he references an article on oncology that he feels is superior to the one posted by NEJM. Unfortunately, the link he provided actually redirects the reader to a video of two cats having sex with each other. The video in question is over 14 minutes long, and I can say with confidence that none of the footage supports the author’s claim or even seems to pertain to medical oncology. If this video was included in error, a corrected link should be submitted. Otherwise, he should be prepared to explain in detail the relevance of this video.
Ultimately, I cannot recommend this comment for publication in the comments section of the NEJM blog. Josh95 should be encouraged to revise and resubmit, though his willingness to do so is doubtful. Without wanting to subject him to undue criticism, this post forces me to question both his expertise and interest in the subject at hand. Nevertheless, I still think it would be a mistake to reject this comment straight-out; of all the comments this blog has received in the past few months, this one is by far the most constructive.
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