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Tags autoethnography , peer review , retraction , social science

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Old 15th August 2022, 12:14 PM   #1
d4m10n
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Wanky research pulled off website

https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10....87941221096600

Thought about sharing this one in the science and tech forum, but then I don't think this paper advances the state of human knowledge in any meaningful way.

Here is a preview of the article back when it was still on the website:
Screenshot 2022-08-15 14.13.33.jpg
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Old 15th August 2022, 12:19 PM   #2
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"Find a job you love, and you'll never work a day in your life. What I love is spanking it to shotacon. What about you?"

-The author of this paper, probably
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Old 15th August 2022, 12:45 PM   #3
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NSF discussion of the paper at Vice:

Quote:
A nearly 4,000 word, first-person essay about a man’s experiences masturbating to Japanese comics of underage boys was published to the peer-reviewed journal Qualitative Research—and is now under investigation after sociologists on Twitter demanded to know how it passed academic review.

Karl Andersson, a PhD student at the School of Arts, Languages and Cultures at The University of Manchester, wrote the paper titled “I am not alone – we are all alone: Using masturbation as an ethnographic method in research on shota subculture in Japan.” Shota is an illustrated Japanese comic genre that depicts young, underage boys in sexualized ways or in sexually explicit scenarios.
Apparently the article was published in April, but became a cause celebre when a Tory politician tweeted about it a week ago. Initially a few academics tried to circle the wagons, tweeting in defense of the "research", but most pretty quickly realized it was beyond the pale.

Turns out the "researcher" has a long history of sexualizing adolescent boys:

Quote:
He published Destroyer Magazine from 2006-2010, a publication with the stated purpose of bringing back "the adolescent boy as one of the ideals of gay culture" and featured boys as young as 13.
It will be interesting to see whose heads roll over this one.
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Old 16th August 2022, 04:59 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Brainster View Post
Initially a few academics tried to circle the wagons, tweeting in defense of the "research", but most pretty quickly realized it was beyond the pale.
I'm generally in favor of airing even the most marginal ideas, but an autoethnographic wank journal strikes me as an edge case at best. Whenever I find myself asking whether Pluckrose actually wrote the article as satire, well, you get the idea.

Originally Posted by Brainster View Post
Initially a few academics tried to circle the wagons, tweeting in defense of the "research", but most pretty quickly realized it was beyond the pale.
Goes to show that even some academics don't actually read a paper before tweeting about it. Thankfully that sort of thing never happens on a skeptic forum.
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Old 16th August 2022, 11:30 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by d4m10n View Post
I'm generally in favor of airing even the most marginal ideas, but an autoethnographic wank journal strikes me as an edge case at best.
The entire concept of autoethnography is garbage. It's just a fancy word for "I'm going to talk about myself because I'm too lazy to do any actual research". This specific case highlights the absurdity pretty well, but unfortunately the extreme nature of it also means that the focus will be on the sexual aspects, and autoethnography in general will largely escape the criticism it deserves.
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Old 16th August 2022, 11:32 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by d4m10n View Post
Wanky research pulled off website
I saw the thread title and thought, did he mean "wonky"?

No. No you did not.
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Old 16th August 2022, 11:46 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Ziggurat View Post
I saw the thread title and thought, did he mean "wonky"?

No. No you did not.
I thought it was going to be about some jerk off with lame research. Little did I know how on point I was.
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Old 16th August 2022, 12:01 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Ziggurat View Post
The entire concept of autoethnography is garbage.
Sexy garbage, though.
Quote:
Rather than abstracting my experience in a way that neatly summarizes or prepackages our encounter, I prefer to extend an invitation to you to join me on this auto(erotic)ethnographic journey. I must warn, however, that moving forward with this story requires that you take a risk, to interact with me, to engage in conversation, and to jump into the process with your body, heart, and mind so that we can create spaces to tell our sexual stories – stories that need to be told, autoethnographically – auto(erotic)ethnographically, regardless of how masturbatory they are, may be, or might become.
https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs...urnalCode=sexa

Okay, that's cheating. I picked a journal about sexuality.

I do find myself wondering why purportedly scientific journals are basically publishing LiveJournal / Tumblr posts, though. If I wanted to get inside someone's head, there's no lack of volunteers on the www.
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Old 16th August 2022, 12:09 PM   #9
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Glorious thread title. Wish I'd thought of it.
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Old 16th August 2022, 12:10 PM   #10
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Reminds me of Nancy Friday's "scholarly" collections of sex fantasies, published in the early 90s. After school, I'd hop on my bike, ride over to the mall, head into B. Dalton's, and quickly skim a story or two for later "academic review".
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Old 16th August 2022, 12:16 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by d4m10n View Post
https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10....87941221096600

Thought about sharing this one in the science and tech forum, but then I don't think this paper advances the state of human knowledge in any meaningful way.

Here is a preview of the article back when it was still on the website:
Attachment 47067
You could have posted it as another stellar example of Cancel Culture IRL...
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Old 16th August 2022, 12:28 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by d4m10n View Post
I do find myself wondering why purportedly scientific journals are basically publishing LiveJournal / Tumblr posts, though.
In fairness, the journal doesn't describe itself as "scientific", but merely as "scholarly". And the distinction matters, because fields like literature and history can be quite scholarly without being scientific.

Nevertheless, I don't think autoethnography qualifies as legitimately scholarly either, and your description is accurate. And in fact, one of the articles in their journal is basically just ripped right out of reddit:
https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/ful...63460720961300
In fact, browsing their article titles is an education in and of itself.

As to why... well, professors need to publish to get tenure, and if that means resorting to autoethnography or trawling Reddit, well, some publishers are going to meet the demand.
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Old 16th August 2022, 12:41 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by wareyin View Post
You could have posted it as another stellar example of Cancel Culture IRL...
You remain free to do so. The usual elements of viral denunciation followed by institutional deplatforming appear to be in place, although the "IRL" element seems to be missing since no one involved encountered each other in meatspace.
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Old 16th August 2022, 12:57 PM   #14
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Ugh. Seems like this research is a stain on the underpants of academics.
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Old 16th August 2022, 01:01 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by d4m10n View Post
https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10....87941221096600

Thought about sharing this one in the science and tech forum, but then I don't think this paper advances the state of human knowledge in any meaningful way.

Here is a preview of the article back when it was still on the website:
Attachment 47067
I suppose it was a good idea to pull it.
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Old 16th August 2022, 03:49 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by Elaedith View Post
I suppose it was a good idea to pull it.
Probably productive to do so.
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Old 17th August 2022, 12:10 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by Ziggurat View Post
The entire concept of autoethnography is garbage. It's just a fancy word for "I'm going to talk about myself because I'm too lazy to do any actual research". This specific case highlights the absurdity pretty well, but unfortunately the extreme nature of it also means that the focus will be on the sexual aspects, and autoethnography in general will largely escape the criticism it deserves.
Autoethnography sounds like a ten dollar word for "TED Talk" or "One Man Show".
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Old 17th August 2022, 01:20 AM   #18
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I only read scientific research for the articles.
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Old 17th August 2022, 05:19 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by d4m10n View Post
You remain free to do so. The usual elements of viral denunciation followed by institutional deplatforming appear to be in place, although the "IRL" element seems to be missing since no one involved encountered each other in meatspace.
Which ironically enough actually applies to all of the examples you've been posting in that thread as well!

So I've helpfully posted it, but attributed the finding to you.
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Old 17th August 2022, 06:22 AM   #20
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TBH, seein' as the guy seems to be an anthropology student, this autoethnography exercise strikes me more as the kind of pranking your professor that only seems to make sense when you're a student and drunk. I mean, like when (way back) I wrote my philosophy paper about Murphy's Law after the disk on which I had written the original paper went corrupt, and I absolutely couldn't be arsed to do all that effort again. This one seems to have been either a lot more drunk or a lot more stupid.
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Old 17th August 2022, 07:28 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by Elaedith View Post
I suppose it was a good idea to pull it.
Pulling it is how this whole thing started.


Originally Posted by d4m10n View Post
Probably productive to do so.
Well, we know it's not reproductive to do so.
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Old 17th August 2022, 07:41 AM   #22
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If they don't stop publishing this sort of thing they will go blind.
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Old 17th August 2022, 07:47 AM   #23
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Originally Posted by Doubt View Post
If they don't stop publishing this sort of thing they will go blind.
He would ask to keep doing it until he needs glasses, but um, that particular ship has already sailed.
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Old 17th August 2022, 10:01 AM   #24
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I really don't want to do a search so I'll ask in the hope that someone here will know the answer. Surely "Shota" - described in the Vice article as "...an illustrated Japanese comic genre that depicts young, underage boys in sexualized ways or in sexually explicitscenarios surely that is in the UK going to be consider pornography and therefore illegal?
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Old 17th August 2022, 10:14 AM   #25
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I'm not Googling the details at work, obvs, but in the US I know there's been court cases where the argument was is simulated or drawn child porn is child porn (or the same level of child porn or whatever).
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Old 17th August 2022, 10:28 AM   #26
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Originally Posted by JoeMorgue View Post
I'm not Googling the details at work, obvs, but in the US I know there's been court cases where the argument was is simulated or drawn child porn is child porn (or the same level of child porn or whatever).
I thought that was the case in the UK as well, that's why I was surprised as the definition in the Vice article.
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Old 17th August 2022, 10:34 AM   #27
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Originally Posted by Darat View Post
I really don't want to do a search so I'll ask in the hope that someone here will know the answer. Surely "Shota" - described in the Vice article as "...an illustrated Japanese comic genre that depicts young, underage boys in sexualized ways or in sexually explicitscenarios surely that is in the UK going to be consider pornography and therefore illegal?
It sucks that this is even a question we have to ask. Pornography laws should be readily scrutable to any reasonable person. Nobody should ever be in any doubt about whether indulging a particular taste in erotica is a crime.
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Old 17th August 2022, 10:43 AM   #28
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Originally Posted by JoeMorgue View Post
I'm not Googling the details at work, obvs, but in the US I know there's been court cases where the argument was is simulated or drawn child porn is child porn (or the same level of child porn or whatever).
This is one of those subjects that get decided by a court, then reversed on appeal, then reversed again on the next appeal. I used to track this particular question, but lost interest, and I've forgotten where the pendulum has swung right now. It's one way or the other.
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Old 17th August 2022, 10:45 AM   #29
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In theory, just as depictions of completely legal sexual scenarios can still be pornographic, depictions of illegal sexual scenarios are not necessarily pornographic. I wouldn't want to have to test that theory in court, but for example if the drawings don't include visible genitalia, it might be difficult to prosecute as pornographic even when it's clearly implied, or explicitly stated in words, that illegal sex takes place in the fictional scenario.
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Old 17th August 2022, 11:23 AM   #30
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
It sucks that this is even a question we have to ask. Pornography laws should be readily scrutable to any reasonable person. Nobody should ever be in any doubt about whether indulging a particular taste in erotica is a crime.
The problem you are leaving out is the producers. Between the people trying to make pornography illegal for moral reasons and people consuming pornography for prurient interests, the people who actually produce the stuff are constantly making adjustments to their product to stay ahead of the law. This forces people to make further changes in the law, leading to more adjustments from producers.

A one-liner like, "I am your step-mother/brother/uncle/whatever", solves a lot of legal problems for producers, and is easy for consumers to tune out.
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Old 17th August 2022, 11:29 AM   #31
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
Nobody should ever be in any doubt about whether indulging a particular taste in erotica is a crime.
UK law is relatively clear on this; the autoethnographer in question picked the wrong jurisdiction to conduct this sort of research.
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Old 17th August 2022, 01:43 PM   #32
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TBH, even leaving the legal aspect aside, I'm kinda dismayed that this even got published in the first place. I mean:

Anthropology in the 20'th century: I lived for a year among the jungle tribes of Bumscrewistan to understand their customs

Anthropology in the 21'st century: I'll just write about how I feel about my masturbating to comics. (Or in the case of that Cat Pause fellow, "about how I feel about being asked to actually produce research if I want research money.")

Like, fer fork's sake, find a proper statistically significant group of other wankers and produce a proper study

Or maybe it's just nostalgia on my part. But then again, even nostalgia no longer is what it used to be
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Old 17th August 2022, 01:52 PM   #33
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
TBH, even leaving the legal aspect aside, I'm kinda dismayed that this even got published in the first place. I mean:

Anthropology in the 20'th century: I lived for a year among the jungle tribes of Bumscrewistan to understand their customs

Anthropology in the 21'st century: I'll just write about how I feel about my masturbating to comics. (Or in the case of that Cat Pause fellow, "about how I feel about being asked to actually produce research if I want research money.")

Like, fer fork's sake, find a proper statistically significant group of other wankers and produce a proper study

Or maybe it's just nostalgia on my part. But then again, even nostalgia no longer is what it used to be
How it got published is a genuine mystery. I saw that it was released in April and thought it might be a badly conceived prank, but it looks like it was published on the 26th of April, not the 1st.

If it was not an April Fools prank, then the editor of Qualitative Research needs to be fired.
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Old 17th August 2022, 05:01 PM   #34
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TBH, I'm not that fond of April's fool's articles and videos from otherwise respectable sources anyway. It's a pain in the butt to deal with people who misunderstood the serious articles, no need to give them that kind of extra ammo. You just know that they'll take it seriously if it supports their cognitive dissonance.

But yeah, this one doesn't seem to even have that excuse.
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Which part of "Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn" don't you understand?
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Old 17th August 2022, 05:27 PM   #35
theprestige
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Originally Posted by Random View Post
How it got published is a genuine mystery.
I'm not sure it's that mysterious. Once a process is established as authoritative and valuable, it's going to attract all sorts of carpetbaggers, grifters, and cargo cultists looking to leverage the perceived legitimacy of the process to gain legitimacy for themselves without actually qualifying. "Peer review" is, I think, at this point in its life cycle as an institution. There's lot of journals out there pretending to be reputable. There's lots of reviewers going through the motions as a sinecure. There's lots of dishonest "researchers" looking for holes in the enforcement of standards, into which they can shove... Well, you get the idea.

Peer review is still a good principle. And there are still plenty of journals that do it right. But there are also plenty of journals that are jackassery masquerading as science. I don't think this has been a mystery since at least the Sokal affair.
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Old 17th August 2022, 05:30 PM   #36
d4m10n
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
I don't think this has been a mystery since at least the Sokal affair.
I've seen worse.
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Old 17th August 2022, 06:21 PM   #37
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Originally Posted by d4m10n View Post
I've seen worse.
That one was also a fake, akin to Sokal.
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Old 17th August 2022, 06:28 PM   #38
theprestige
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Originally Posted by d4m10n View Post
I've seen worse.
I referred to the Sokal affair because it was one of the first to demystify the failure modes of commodity peer review, not because it was one of the worst.
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Old 18th August 2022, 05:29 AM   #39
d4m10n
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Originally Posted by Ziggurat View Post
That one was also a fake, akin to Sokal.
Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
I referred to the Sokal affair because it was one of the first to demystify the failure modes of commodity peer review, not because it was one of the worst.
Jeez you guys, I know.

Just wanted to link to the infamous dog park paper.

ETA: I wonder whether if the horny doggy paper did more to advance the state of human knowledge than the dodgy wanky paper.
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Old 18th August 2022, 05:51 AM   #40
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I think people who love to bring up the Sokal Paper miss two important things:

1. It was published in a journal that did NOT (yet) do any peer review, and did NOT ask any expert's opinion before publishing it, so it really doesn't prove much. It's like saying I could self publish something written by my simple Markov Chains program on Amazon. Yes, I could. So what exactly does it prove about anything else?

I mean, it's not a whole lot different than posting it on this site, which as the link above proves, I jolly well could. Just that nobody stopped me from posting it in the religion and philosophy forum here, doesn't really say anything about the state of philosophy (or religion) anywhere else.

2. It was in a journal of postmodernist twaddle, and frankly, it wasn't all even that ill-fitting there. I would assume that even after being told it's a hoax, a lot of post-modern philosophy professors were left scratching their heads as to how could you tell it apart from a genuine one. Or would be, if they did any honest introspection But at any rate, I don't expect they actually had anyone qualified in Physics in their staff, nor I suspect were they interested in how the Physics part checks out, as long as it does the right kind of navel gazing.


Basically a lot of people seem to imagine it shows some profound and lamentable stuff about the state of peer-reviewed technical journals, when the whole point is that it wasn't either. If anything Sokal just showed what happens when you DON'T do peer review.
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Which part of "Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn" don't you understand?

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