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Monday, October 23, 2006

The Rumor Mill

Over the weekend, I heard a rumor about myself.  Here's the story I heard:

"When Leib was on the job market, he tried to sink another of his advisor's students by accusing him/her of plagiarism on the blog.  In particular, he charged another candidate's paper with stealing his own ideas without attribution.  Ultimately, Leib got a call from his advisor, who demanded that he remove the post." 

This is juicy stuff -- and is a very serious cautionary tale for those of you considering blogging.  As it turns out, once you put yourself out there, all sorts of bizarre stuff gets said about you. 

On the other hand, I have the ability to set the record straight here too.  Almost nothing about the rumor I heard about myself is true.  As some of you will recall, about a year ago (I already had a job, of course) I authored a post titled "On the Pain of Not Being Cited."  It promoted a paper by a former student of one of my advisors -- and recommended the work.  I also expressed dismay at not being cited because it seemed  to me at the time that there was no way to wade into the literature the paper drew upon without coming across my work on the subject. [I now have a much more benign view of the affair; at the time, I acted rashly and I regret having detracted from a valuable piece of scholarship.]  In any event, a few hours after I posted the complaint I took it down because I thought I was being small-minded and petty.  I did so under no pressure from anyone.  Here was the exchange from 10.22.05:

Prof. Leib,
Why did you "disappear" your post on another scholar's failure to cite your work?
Just curious ...

Posted by: Probatio Viva | Oct 22, 2005 4:18:47 PM

After acknowledging that it was a small-minded sort of thing to worry about, I thought: "Why exactly would I want to be so small-minded so publicly and so permanently?" Daily readers saw it; I made my point; but I decided that it was better to take it down.

Posted by: Ethan Leib | Oct 22, 2005 4:57:36 PM

If you have comments, concerns, or questions, please write to me privately.

UPDATE:  I have clarified some things in the post to make it clear that the point of this post is not to revisit the claims in the original post, which I regret.

Posted by Ethan Leib on October 23, 2006 at 10:26 AM in Blogging | Permalink


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