[e2e] double bland reviewing

Mark Allman mallman at icir.org
Wed May 12 09:49:27 PDT 2004

> Allman in his reviewer plea (http://www.icir.org/mallman/plea.txt)
> makes it clear: If [the reviewer] cannot understand the paper [s/he]
> will recommend rejecting it. Very typical of the human nature: destroy
> what you cannot comprehend. Is it possible that uninitiated, untrained
> reviewers are in the loop (and, no, I do not mean Mark ;)?

Note that I did not intend to be quite that crass in my assessment and
the above is a little out of context.  The above comment is not to say
that reviewers do not strive to understand new and interesting concepts.
The above is to say that if your paper is so horribly written and
presented that I cannot possibly understand the new concept you're
trying to impart then I'll recommend the paper be rejected (e.g., some
plots in papers I review are utterly unreadable -- what am I to do to
get the results the plots purport to present?  should I give the authors
the benefit of the doubt and let the paper slide through?  that seems to
me to not be doing my job as a reviewer).  I am not trying to "destroy
what I cannot comprehend".  I am trying to remind authors that the point
in publishing *should* be to impart new insights on the world.  And, if
you cannot do so in a clear way then your paper is useless to the

> Maybe it's time for an author's plea.

I could write that, too, BTW (and, have thought about it on occasion).
(I was once told one of my papers was "boring" in a review!  Imagine my


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