Feminist Philosophers

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The Unwritten Rules of the Game February 18, 2013

Filed under: academia,education,improving the climate — Lady Day @ 6:48 pm

I’ve been chatting lately with a junior colleague at another university (let’s call her Barb), and with grad students in the Pro Seminar I’m currently teaching, about all of the unwritten rules of the discipline — e.g., give the same paper at two conferences if you wish, but don’t submit it to two journals at the same time. Some supervisors and programs are good at teaching young philosophers these rules; others — not so much. And, in some places the “rules” are informally taught over rounds of beer or golf games, a practice that tends to exclude whomever’s not invited for beer or golf. (Y’all know who that is, right?) There’s pretty clearly an equity issue here. As with other etiquette conventions, such implicit rules can serve to subtly cue who’s on the inside and who’s on the outside.

To that end, Barb suggests that readers post in the comments below any of those unwritten rules of the game that they’ve learned over the years, or any questions they might have about such rules. Let’s shine a little light on Philosophy’s dimmer corners!

 

64 Responses to “The Unwritten Rules of the Game”

  1. Matt Drabek Says:

    This thread is a great idea. On commenting on papers:

    – Be nice, and be charitable! (I’ve been lucky in that I’ve had excellent comments on my own papers, but I’ve heard some foolishness at other talks…)

    – Send your comments to the presenter well in advance of the conference! I think at least a week is a pretty standard time frame. You should apologize (I think?) if you can’t get your comments out at least a week in advance.

    – Do not make large, substantive changes to your paper after the commenter sends you his/her comments! You don’t want to make your commenter look/sound off-topic.

  2. swallerstein Says:

    Philosophers play golf?

    There goes my last illusion about them.

  3. Jender Says:

    It’s perfectly normal to base your course on someone else’s syllabus, and doesn’t count as plagiarism.

  4. Landon Says:

    Apparently it’s fine to go over the time limit set for your talk if you have tenure, since it’s likely a lowly grad student chairing the session anyway. I think this is a rule that needs to go away, though the fact of it seems undeniable.

  5. This thread is a great idea and is now in my bookmarks. It is in fact such a great idea that, if it gets a good response, it should be given a prominent, permanent position somewhere.

    It should be noted of course that going by the rules is not always the best way. Surely one rule is don’t talk shop 24/7; but one of my best friends, whom I respect incredibly highly, I love and respect in large part because he is oblivious to this rule, and ignores it when reminded.

  6. Lisa Says:

    Do not cross boundaries of discourse communities too much. If you happen to know that there is a great French postmodern thinker who has written exactly on the topic the speaker is struggling to develop in the language of analytic philosophy, be *very* careful in how you phrase this. On the other hand, for writing in certain journals, it seems legitimate, even an advantage, not to mention any literature that is older than 30 years, non-English, or for some other reason not known in the debate….

  7. Matt Says:

    One worry I have here is that some people will post “rules” that are, at best, of highly local validity, but will be taken to be much more widely valid. Lisa’s comment, for example, strikes me as being only true, if at all, at a small number of places, and even there, for a small number of people. I might re-phrase it as “not everyone is going to think that historical work, or work outside of their narrow approach, is likely to be relevant, though many, perhaps most people will. It can sometimes be useful to know who you are talking with because of this, but it’s even better to be prepared, generally, to show why work outside of a particular tradition is relevant to a topic, as most people will listen to that.”

    I would second Jender’s suggestion about syllabi above, and perhaps put it even more strongly by saying that the first time you teach a class, it’s a very good idea to at least start from the syllabus of someone who has taught a successful version of the class in the past.

  8. LisaS Says:

    I was recently surprised that some junior faculty are unaware that letter writers for tenure need to be at arms length, ie not one’s dissertation supervisor or committee members (or even from the department where one received one’s PhD)

  9. Philosophin Says:

    What *ought* to be a rule: senior faculty members make an effort to introduce junior faculty members/ PhD candidates to “big” visiting speakers/ guests. Further, they should make an effort to introduce themselves to new incoming junior faculty/ PhDs/ Postdocs. Where I am, this *as a rule* doesn’t happen. (Perhaps it happens on the golf course – just wouldn’t know…) Thus, the important and established speakers/ guests/ faculty tend to ignore all but the other senior and established people – after all, since you don’t know the junior people and don’t get introduced to them, they are not worth knowing, right!

    With this in mind, I’d like to remind the junior people of another “rule”: when this happens, it’s not your fault or because you are not worthy!

  10. Philosophin Says:

    sorry, meant to *emphasize* the last rule, not question it!

  11. Mark Says:

    LisaS, at my university not *all* tenure letters have to come from writers at arm’s length, as long as enough (I think it’s eight( do.

    So, good point, Matt@7. One problem with unwritten rules is their clubiness, but another is their unreliability.

  12. Helen Says:

    It is OK to send your book proposal to multiple publishers, but not OK to send your full manuscript to several publishers (assuming more than one publisher reacted favorably to the proposal).

  13. Helen Says:

    Although some journals promise referee reports in as little as 8 weeks, you need to wait at least 4 months, and probably more something like 6 months to send a gentle inquiry to the editor to ask them about a decision on your manuscript.

  14. Kris McDaniel Says:

    Totally disagree with the last one. Don’t wait six months to send a gentle reminder. Don’t wait longer than two months!

  15. Rebecca Kukla Says:

    This thread would be more helpful if people would distinguish between their sarcastic gripes with the profession and their actual tips on the normative practices that make it up. Can we put the sarcastic gripes in another thread please?

  16. Kris McDaniel Says:

    (I think Helen is right though that often it will take very long for reviews to go through — things seem backed up in a lot of places. But often the editors are overwhelmed with submissions, so it is actually a bit helpful to send gentle reminders.)

  17. Helen Says:

    Asking for letters of rec is always a bit awkward for junior faculty, but it is essential to get good and timely letters. I found that letter writers find the following things helpful:
    1. Give your reference letter writers a recent CV, even if they are your supervisor or department chair. It makes writing the letter easier.
    2. Give them actual job description for each job you apply for
    3. For each job, you can even briefly say for which aspects it would be helpful for them to comment on (e.g., “they find teaching very important at this school, so please could you say something about your observations of me as a teacher”).
    4. Don’t spring the request for LoRs at writers at the very last moment, shortly before the deadline.

  18. Helen Says:

    Kris: thanks for the feedback. They are unwritten rules, and perhaps I wait too long (2 months just seems so short, even for fast journals). How long do you reckon one can wait to ask a publisher about one’s full monograph (80,000-100,000 words)?

  19. Kris McDaniel Says:

    Hi Helen,

    no clue about book manuscripts … this is something that would be good for me to find out too, as I am in the process of finishing one myself.

    Re waiting for journals: two months was always the advice I was given, starting back in 1999…. I wonder if 2 months seems short now because average response time has gotten longer? But in any event, I doubt that it hurts your chances of being published in a venue to ask at the 2 month period, and it might speed things along too.

    Weird side note. I have never had a paper straight-out accepted when the referees took longer than three months. And every paper that the referees have taken longer than six months to review has just been flat out rejected. I think at this stage in my career I have submitted some where around 40ish papers for review? I don’t know why this would be, but it’s led me to think that my own chances of the paper being accepted drop quite a lot after the three month period, which for me has been extra motivation not to wait longer than that to pester the editor.

    Other good advice that I am bad about following is not giving up after getting rejected. I have maybe six papers on my hard drive that I still think are very good but I have a hard time sending off for judgment. This is a state that would be better not to end up in. So I somewhat hypocritically say “just send the paper off after it has been rejected. Don’t sit and stew.”

  20. Helen Says:

    Kris: thanks for the clarification. Fwiw, I’ve had papers under review for +6 months that got accepted (eventually) in that venue. Response times must have increased.
    A related form of advice I found useful: Try to send off the paper that has been rejected within 2 weeks tops. Make a list of journals in descending order of fit, desirability etc. If you have a rejection and no comments (frustratingly often happens, even if the paper is not desk rejected), you can send it to the next journal in the list immediately. If you have comments, try implementing the ones you like (you can be less scrupulous than if it were a revise & resubmit, and just cherry pick the comments that are useful) and send the paper on to a next journal as soon as that’s done.

  21. Kris McDaniel Says:

    Helen, that’s good advice. Just to clarify, I have had papers accepted after six months total, provided after a round of revise-and-resubmits. But I’ve never had a paper whose initial verdict was acceptance after a six-month wait. Always a reject or an rnr.

  22. Helen Says:

    While I’m at it: journals vary greatly in prestige – not just publishing matters, but the venue where you publish matters. This may seem like completely obvious, but it took me some years to figure this out. As a rule, I’ve found that selective general journals (e.g., Nous, PhilReview, PhilStudies, PPR, JP) are valued more highly than selective specialist journals, but that some selective specialist journals (e.g., Ethics, Hypatia, Philosophy of Science) are perceived as better venues than less selective general journals.

  23. Dan Hicks Says:

    I think this is a good and valuable thread — I’m the first Ph.D. in my family, so I had a lot to learn about the culture of higher ed.

    * If you’re working on a paper in which you discuss someone’s work, it’s acceptable to email them a draft with a *polite* request for comments. This is the case even if you’ve never met them in person, you criticize their work, and they’re a Very Important Philosopher [VIPh] and you’re a Lowly Grad Student [LGS].

    * If you’re going to be at the same place as a VIPh who works in your area, it’s acceptable to email them and ask for a chance to get some coffee and chat, even if you’ve never met them in person. (Exception: If the VIPh is coming for a department event and an admin is running their schedule.)

    * A few days after meeting a VIPh, send them a “nice meeting you” email. But don’t assume that they’ll remember you when you run into them 18 months later.

    * After you defend your dissertation, it’s customary to give your advisor a bottle of good alcohol. Fancy pastries or cookies would probably work for advisors who don’t drink.

    * It’s perfectly acceptable to knit at colloquia and talks, especially if you’re Knitting While Male. You might get some odd looks if you knit in seminars and meetings.

    * The purpose of conferences is to cultivate and maintain friendships with other scholars. Cultivating and maintaining friendships is not the same thing as networking.

    * You’re not expected to attend every talk (for smaller conferences) or every session (for larger conferences) of the conference. You can go off and play tourist for a while, sit quietly, check out the book display, etc.

    * A rule that probably should be better understood: After speaking for an hour and answering questions for an hour, the department guest will probably need a few minutes’ quiet, a stop in the bathroom, and something to drink. Wait ten minutes before you approach them to explain your devastating objection.

  24. Katy Abramson Says:

    Well, since this is after all the feminist philosophers page, perhaps our unwritten rules should include some of the unwritten rules-of-thumb about dealing with sexism & other forms of discrimination?
    Here’s the most general, and most helpful, unwritten rule about dealing with bigotry that I was ever offered: leave as little as possible unwritten. Document everything. Every way of which you can think. Keep the records. Maybe it’ll all be fine (as undoubtedly some are assuring you), and you won’t need to have done this. Or maybe your lawyers will thank you, as they grin and roll up their sleeves…

  25. Lewis Powell Says:

    In regards to Dan’s comment on knitting: I think it might be advisable to use wooden knitting needles if you are knitting in a colloquium session, because the clicking/tapping of metal needles can distract some people (and grate on others).

  26. Amy Says:

    Sorry if this turns into a discussion on knitting, but I’ve always found it really distracting. Even quiet knitting and crocheting involve a lot of movement that makes it pretty hard to concentrate.

  27. Anon Grad Student Says:

    @Dan Hicks. These suggestions all seem quite reasonable to me. I’ve learned several of them the hard way myself. Might I request a clarification or two on gift giving to one’s adviser?

    What if your adviser neither drinks alcohol nor eats pastries?

    I have heard several faculty members say that they thought gift giving from students to faculty is unacceptable in all forms. I’ve heard rumors of particular gifts being returned (even ones given by students that have already graduated and found employment). I come from a culture where the “thank you gift” is quite common (and in some instances more or less required), so it would feel quite natural to me to send gifts to essential members of my dissertation committee. However, I fear breaching protocol or burning bridges. Any advice?

  28. LisaS Says:

    It is not acceptable to change your conference paper in light of the commentors comments, which you received in advance.It is acceptable to respond to comments after they are presented with remarks about how you would change your view in light of comments.

    Katy’s advice about documenting sexism, harassment, other problematic behaviour is spot on.

  29. M Says:

    It is not acceptable to change your comments in any nontrivial way after you have given them to the author. If it is unclear whether a change that you’re thinking of making is trivial, count it as nontrivial.

  30. Matt Says:

    “However, I fear breaching protocol or burning bridges. Any advice?”

    Ask some of the “older” grad students in the department what has most typically been done, and/or watch just after a dissertation defense and see what people do. Do something similar. (This seems to me to be good advice in general, applicable to many topics.)

  31. Kris McDaniel Says:

    I’d rather my dissertation students not give me any sort of gift. A thank you card is fine, I guess, but anything more expensive than that would make me very uncomfortable. I have a job, my students might not, etc.

    On the knitting stuff: I might feel a little put off if someone was knitting during a talk. Maybe I shouldn’t feel that way — I don’t know how attention-demanding knitting is — but it seems sort of rude to me to be doing something like that in front of a speaker, since it suggests that you aren’t giving the speaker your full attention — kind of like a student texting in class.

  32. Matt Drabek Says:

    Regarding knitting and Kris’s comment (31): it depends heavily on skill-level. I’m closer to a beginner when it comes to knitting, and I wouldn’t knit at a talk because the knitting would require a bit too much of my attention.

    But expert knitters can easily knit and pay full attention to the speaker. I once presented a paper where the best audience question came from someone who was knitting straight through my talk.

  33. NJM Says:

    On journals: http://www.andrewcullison.com/journal-surveys/ examines journal response times (user-submitted data). It is worth telling postgrads and younger academics about, as publications are important enough that you don’t want to send anything to the journal that averages 18 month turnaround (regardless of how good it is).

  34. This isn’t really a thing that everybody knows, but it’s a cool thing that I’ve discovered.

    People like having visiting speakers come through and give talks at their department. Top departments often have tons of people wanting to do that. But once you’re talking about departments not on the Leiter rankings (and especially with geographically isolated departments) they’ll take who they can get, and you don’t need particularly amazing credentials — they’ll probably be happy to book junior faculty who have a nice publication or two. You might have to foot the bill for travel / accommodations, because they don’t have money, but there’s a better-than-even chance they’ll take you out for dinner and generally be excited to see you. If you’re the sort of philosophical extrovert who likes meeting new philosophers at conferences and chatting with them about what they do and what you do, this will be fun.

    If this sounds nice to you, and if you’re passing through Boise or Little Rock or Richmond or Portland and someone at these departments looks like someone you’d like to interact with, send an email to that person at Boise State or UALR or VCU or University of Portland. (I have fond memories of all these places.) If you can give a clear, undergraduate-accessible talk at places like these, that’ll be great. By the way, if you’re passing through Singapore, let me know and I’ll set you up to give a talk at NUS!

    I’m currently in my 5th year as an Assistant Professor, and I’ve given about 100 talks in my career, in part by doing a whole bunch of this. It’s been tremendous fun.

  35. KC Says:

    Dan, regarding your “cultivation of friendship” vs “networking” distinction – could you elaborate on it?

    Any advice on cultivating and maintaining friendships at conference events (and the etiquette involved)?

  36. Here are 3, all related to the APA.

    1. I booked my trip for the APA-Central when the dates were announced (and my paper was accepted), but before the schedule was finalized. So I knew the dates, but none of the times. So I arrive on the 19th (the day before the conference) only to learn that it starts *late* on the 20th, so I could have traveled a day later and saved a hotel night. I’m told, “Well, everyone knows that it doesn’t start until….” Well, I didn’t know!

    2. I’m giving a paper at the APA-C, and I hadn’t received my commentary still 2 weeks out. I know that it’s normal for people to send comments later than they ought to, but the worry was whether the author had received the paper. For the APA-P, commentators are expected (*expected*!) to find the paper themselves when they’re posted with the program. The papers aren’t typically posted with the APA-C program, so as a speaker, should I send my paper to the commentator? I’m sure “Everybody knows…” applies here too.

    3. What are the norms for contacting (very busy, overworked) program chairs about these issues? Again, I’m sure “Everybody knows…” but new people to the club don’t know.

    Basic rule of thumb: if you find yourself thinking, “We don’t need to announce x, because everybody knows…” stop right there. Everybody doesn’t know.

  37. Anonymous Says:

    What’s the protocol for getting invited to invitation-only conferences? When I was a graduate student I emailed my advisor to ask if I could attend an invitation-only conference that the advisor was attending — I noticed other graduate students were going too. I never heard back and I was too mortified to ever bring it up. (I later learned that the advisor assumed I was going, but had never bothered to reply to my email. And no prizes for guessing — I am a member of a minority.)

  38. B Says:

    Rachel, you should not hesitate to contact a session chair for an APA conference to get such information, or to even nudge slow commentators to send along a copy of the comments on your paper. There is a good chance that the commentator and the session chair are getting money from their home institution to cover part of their travel costs BECAUSE they are a commentator or session chair (hence, on the program). So they have YOU to thank for affording them the opportunity to be at the APA conference.

    Just be courteous, but do not hesitate to be FIRM.

  39. Professor Plum Says:

    Before you send a paper to a journal, it is a very good idea to present it at a refereed conference, like the APA or the PSA biennial (Philosophy of Science Association). Editors and referees (me, for example) hate to read really under-developed papers. But if your paper can make it on a competitive conference program, then it is at least in the ballpark of being a paper worth publishing. Also, at such conferences you will usually get feedback from experts in the field, which will help make the paper even better.

  40. B Says:

    Anonymous #37 – The best way to “get invited” to attend an invitation only conference is to contact the conference organizers and ask them if you may attend. If you write a nice clear respectful e-mail, explaining your relationship to the topic of the conference (“I am currently writing a dissertation on …”) they will most likely welcome you to attend. But you MAY find that meals are by invitation only, so do not take offense if you are not included in the meals. It may be that the conference organizers have a budget to cover the presenters’ meals only.

  41. Anonymous Says:

    When one initially submits to a paper to a journal, Is it necessary to format a paper according to the instructions for authors of a journal? (this can be quite time consuming, and not worth it, if one does not even get comments back on a rejection).

  42. Anonymous Says:

    “Before you send a paper to a journal, it is a very good idea to present it at a refereed conference, like the APA or the PSA biennial (Philosophy of Science Association). Editors and referees (me, for example) hate to read really under-developed papers. But if your paper can make it on a competitive conference program, then it is at least in the ballpark of being a paper worth publishing. Also, at such conferences you will usually get feedback from experts in the field, which will help make the paper even better.”

    This way of thinking, while it seems to make total sense, might not be ultimately beneficial. In a thread on NewApps, it was made clear (to me anyway) that, if you are a minority, a woman, or a junior member of the profession, presenting a paper at conferences might undermine your chances of publication. Apparently reviewers often Google the title or phrases from the paper in order to find out who the author is. If you’ve presented the paper at several conferences, the title will likely be found. Then, once the reviewer knows who you are and that you’re not someone worth reading, the implicit biases kick in. Evidently this happens all the time.

  43. Anonymous Says:

    “There is a good chance that the commentator and the session chair are getting money from their home institution to cover part of their travel costs BECAUSE they are a commentator or session chair (hence, on the program.”

    Do people still get funding for chairing sessions?

  44. Anonymous Says:

    In response to 41, I don’t think it’s worth formatting a paper according to the instructors for authors of a journal beyond simple stuff like double spacing. Nobody’s going to check the format of the bibliography unless and until the paper is accepted.

  45. Helen Says:

    In response to #42, if you are concerned referees will google your title, just submit the paper under a different title than the one you gave it for the conference. Before I adopted this policy, I frequently got nasty comments from anonymous reviewers about my use of English (it’s my first language, but my surname sounds foreign) – this has now ceased.

  46. 41: It’s a flat-out “No.” Don’t waste your time. I went quite awhile before someone gave me this inside information! Don’t worry about formatting your references, etc. etc. I double-space my submissions, but I’ve reviewed papers that were single-spaced.

    Building on Helen’s 45, I also submit papers to journals under a different title from the title under which I presented it at conferences. There are so many great reasons for doing this, and Helen picks up on at least one of them: it triggers implicit (and explicit) biases when referees inevitably try to discern the author’s identity (which you SHOULD NOT DO — that’s another unwritten rule!).

    So, Don’t try to find out the identity of the author of a paper you’ve been asked to referee.

  47. Professor Plum Says:

    Anonomous #42 you misunderstood the discussion at NewsApps. You will end your career before it even starts if you do not try to present your papers at refereed conferences. Few young scholars are going to write papers worth publishing that have not been presented at conferences first. Many departments hiring would have a very difficult time shortlisting you for a job if you do not have refereed presentations on your c.v.

  48. John Turri Says:

    Anonymous #47 wrote: “You will end your career before it even starts if you do not try to present your papers at refereed conferences. Few young scholars are going to write papers worth publishing that have not been presented at conferences first. Many departments hiring would have a very difficult time shortlisting you for a job if you do not have refereed presentations on your c.v”

    I call hyperbole on all three points. Lots of people do just fine in their careers, publish many excellent papers, and get jobs with few if any refereed presentations. And, honestly, when evaluating a job application, I simply don’t care how many refereed presentations are on the CV.

    It’s not an unwritten rule of the profession, but it probably should be, that when evaluating others, we should keep firmly in mind that conferencing is extremely burdensome for people with high teaching loads, small-to-nonexistent research account, and parental (or other weighty familial) responsibilities.

  49. John Turri Says:

    Just co-signing something Rachel said:

    *Definitely* don’t waste time conforming to any journal’s house style (unless your paper has been accepted at that journal!). Save yourself the time and hassle. Any consistent and commonsensical formatting scheme is fine for reviewing purposes.

  50. Brad Weslake Says:

    I’d like to second some advice from Dan Hicks: if you have written a paper that engages with the work of other philosophers, send it to them. The worst outcome is that they don’t reply. But I have found that far more frequently, the best outcome happens: they send you detailed and helpful comments. So your work gets better, and you establish connections with other people in your field. The only downside I can think of is that you also thereby remove the most qualified people from the pool of potential referees.

  51. Matt Drabek Says:

    Another point regarding anonymity and journals:

    If you’re submitting a paper for review, for God’s sake, delete your name from the file properties! If you don’t do this, you’re simply making an unforced error. I can’t even begin to tell you how many times I’ve reviewed a paper for a conference or journal and the file properties have the person’s name and university affiliation in them. If you don’t know how to do this, in Microsoft Word you click ‘file’ and then ‘properties.’

    Make a habit of doing this for all Word documents.

  52. Amy_L Says:

    As a junior faculty member, you will likely be asked to do more service work than you should do. This isn’t necessarily intentional — you’ll just get requests from a bunch of different people within and outside your department, and each person will be unaware of what else you’re already doing. So you have to say no to some requests. However, if you say no to too many things, you’ll be seen as unhelpful. I’ve never seen someone denied tenure for not doing enough service work, but I have seen people excluded from important socializing because others resented their lack of helpfulness. My recommendation is to ask more senior people which service activities are most and least rewarding, and try to take on the ones that you’ll enjoy or that will give you something valuable. Say no to everything else as politely as you can.

  53. Anonymous Says:

    In response to Professor Plum’s charge that I misread the NewApps post and the suggestion made by Helen, I reproduce part of the original post at NewApps:

    <>

    I am not saying that it’s not a good practice to get lots of feedback on your papers before submitting them to journals. I am only saying that with the current apparently widespread practice of reviewers choosing not to review blindly, you may be doing yourself a disservice by getting said feedback at conferences.

  54. Anonymous Says:

    Don’t worry! I do not reveal your identity when I send your paper out for refereeing. Journal editors don’t normally do that. But reviewers often feel the need to search for the identity of the author. It’s so tempting to plug the title into the Google search engine. The unconscious inside the referee goes: “Ah! A Mr. Nobody or a minority person! They are not all that smart. Let’s get that paper rejected.” I know it. You know it, too. If you don’t, go take the Harvard Implicit Association Test. It will show you that you do have those biases.

    “But,” you may ask, “is it really true that referees google papers before making decisions?”

    Yep. It’s true. I know. I know because people tell me. They are not shy about it either. They say that that’s what they do. They don’t think it will cause them to make biased decisions. They just want to know whose paper they are wasting their time on.

    You have a quick comeback: “There is a way to avoid the Google phenomenon. Don’t upload your paper to your website until it’s forthcoming in a journal. That takes care of the problem, right?”

    Not really. If you are prudent, you don’t submit your papers until your ideas have been vetted at conferences. So when people google your paper’s title, they will find it, because it was listed at those conferences.

    “But,” you think, “I am cleverer than the googling referee. I will just change the title of my paper before submitting. So when the referees google it, the paper won’t come up.”

    Not so fast. Referees have told me time and time again that if they don’t find the title on Google, they may google phrases (slightly unusual ones) or first lines or arbitrary lines. So even if you change the paper’s title, the referees may still figure out who you are.

  55. Anonymous Says:

    The comment at 54 is the reproduced New Apps post referred to in 53.

  56. Professor Plum Says:

    I referee about 12-20 papers a year, and I do not have the time or the inclination to search for the authors’ identities. I have an average turn around time of about 2 days; that is one reason I am asked to referee as much as I am asked. I have many other responsibilities as well. I do not doubt that others seek to determine the identity of the authors of the papers they review. Such behaviour is a moral failing. But if you are too cynical about the “system” you will be miserable and miss out in the fun of an academic career.

  57. Incidentally, there’s a community/blog thing (like this one) at http://academics-anon.livejournal.com/ – “Academics Anonymous” – which is an excellent place to go if at any point one is unsure about academic protocols of any sort. It’s very active, and there’re lots of people there with plenty of experience. The only disadvantages are (1) you’ll need a (free) LiveJournal account and (2) the site is academia-wide, so you might have trouble finding philosophy-specific help.

  58. John (#50): I find it hilarious that you’re co-signing that tidbit…because I learned it from you!! :)

  59. Anonymous Says:

    I’m curious whether others think that Lauren (#46) is on target with the “rule” about how many children one has. Sad if true.

  60. Anonymous Says:

    Ok, so it’s normal to “base” your syllabus on somebody else’s. What about handouts? How closely can they be “based” on somebody else’s work? Should I throw in a sentence acknowledging that I’ve borrowed the way I’m presenting the material?

  61. #60: “Good teachers borrow, great teachers steal.” Of course, there’s a line, but you could *copy* someone else’s syllabus and reading list, and that’s perfectly fine. I also don’t have much of a problem with people taking my handouts, but people’s views on that may differ. It never hurts to have a footnote giving credit.

  62. Matt Says:

    Following up on Matt Drabek at 51, it’s also important for referees who wish to actually be anonymous to delete their names from the file properties of any comments they send, assuming they are sent as a document and not pasted into a comment box. I have seen referees “out” themselves this way, unintentionally, I assume.

  63. Lady Day Says:

    Re: borrowing others’ handouts — Courtesy demands that you ask the author if it’s ok. Good pedagogy demands that you cite the source. After all, our students model their behaviour on ours (or, at least, they should). Appropriately crediting materials that didn’t originate with you makes clear to students that this one of the expectations of the discipline.


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