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If you are aware of an interesting new academic paper (that has been published in a peer-reviewed journal or has appeared on the arXiv), a conference talk (at an official professional scientific meeting), an external blog post (by a professional scientist) or a news item (in the mainstream news media), which you think might make an interesting topic for an FQXi blog post, then please contact us at forums@fqxi.org with a link to the original source and a sentence about why you think that the work is worthy of discussion. Please note that we receive many such suggestions and while we endeavour to respond to them, we may not be able to reply to all suggestions.

Please also note that we do not accept unsolicited posts and we cannot review, or open new threads for, unsolicited articles or papers. Requests to review or post such materials will not be answered. If you have your own novel physics theory or model, which you would like to post for further discussion among then FQXi community, then please add them directly to the "Alternative Models of Reality" thread, or to the "Alternative Models of Cosmology" thread. Thank you.

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FQXi BLOGS
September 22, 2020

CATEGORY: Blog [back]
TOPIC: Undecidability, Uncomputability, and Unpredictability - FQXi's New Essay Contest [refresh]
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FQXi Administrator David Sloan wrote on Dec. 24, 2019 @ 22:34 GMT
Update (added 12 March 2020): We understand many in the FQXi community are dealing with disruptions due to COVID-19. We want to relieve a bit of this pressure by extending the essay contest deadline to April 24, 2020. If anyone has submitted an essay already and has issues with this extension or feels disadvantaged, please email, essay_contestATfqxi.org, and to discuss submitting an updated essay.

This will push back the remaining schedule as follows:

Community and Public ratings deadline - May 18, 2020.

Notification of winning essays on or around July 31, 2020.


At FQXi we're excited to launch our latest essay contest, with generous support from the Fetzer Franklin Fund and the Peter and Patricia Gruber Foundation. The topic for this contest is: Undecidability, Uncomputability, and Unpredictability.

For a brief time in history, it was possible to imagine that a sufficiently advanced intellect could, given sufficient time and resources, in principle understand how to mathematically prove everything that was true. They could discern what math corresponds to physical laws, and use those laws to predict anything that happens before it happens. That time has passed. Gödel’s undecidability results (the incompleteness theorems), Turing’s proof of non-computable values, the formulation of quantum theory, chaos, and other developments over the past century have shown that there are rigorous arguments limiting what we can prove, compute, and predict. While some connections between these results have come to light, many remain obscure, and the implications are unclear. Are there, for example, real consequences for physics — including quantum mechanics — of undecidability and non-computability? Are there implications for our understanding of the relations between agency, intelligence, mind, and the physical world?

In this essay contest, we open the floor for investigations of such connections, implications, and speculations. We invite rigorous but bold and open-minded investigation of the meaning of these impossibilities for reality, and for us, its residents. The contest is open now, and we will be accepting entries until March 16th.

Note: Despite a slight slip on the contest page, we aren't looking at time travel for essay entries! The real timeline is available which might be more helpful to those who don't have access to a flux capacitor.

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Georgina Woodward wrote on Dec. 26, 2019 @ 00:48 GMT
Good topic choice.

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John R. Cox replied on Dec. 28, 2019 @ 18:10 GMT
Happy New Year, Georgina,

and I think you'll probably like the most recently listed call for proposals; Consciousness in the Physical World. best jrc

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Rick Lockyer wrote on Dec. 28, 2019 @ 15:58 GMT
A suggestion this time around: no anonymous voting.

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John R. Cox replied on Dec. 28, 2019 @ 18:14 GMT
I'll second that! Rick. Politics is one thing and a secret ballot is essential to democratic due process of law, but science is not the place for politics. jrc

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sherman loran jenkins wrote on Jan. 6, 2020 @ 04:05 GMT
In a galaxy not so very far away, on a water planet in near orbit around a yellow dwarf star; as the beings there became conscious that the vacuum was not a great void but was clear crystalline mass; mysteries of science and life began to disappear.

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Lorraine Ford wrote on Jan. 15, 2020 @ 22:02 GMT
Re "I tend to speed-read then review before scoring after reading a good number (so may comment again)", Peter Jackson's comment on Madonna-Megara Morgana-Helena Holloway's essay, https://fqxi.org/community/forum/topic/3364 :

I don't think it is appropriate to mention scoring an essay AT ALL.

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John R. Cox wrote on Feb. 3, 2020 @ 15:56 GMT
Dear FQXi,

good idea! I just realized that there is no notice being given as to how essays are being scored by readers. That should cut down a bit on the number of torpedoes launched by inventors of the wheel. :-) jrc

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FQXi Administrator David Sloan wrote on Feb. 5, 2020 @ 12:31 GMT
Quick note: I have removed a post from this topic which is in discussion of one of the applicants. This topic is for the announcement of the essay contest. As such I believe it appropriate to have discussions on how the contest is conducted, voting processes etc. Discussions of essays submitted should be conducted on the applicants' topics, and kept on topic. The community discussion forums are the place to address other ideas.

I will continue to remove personal attacks.

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Lorraine Ford wrote on Mar. 11, 2020 @ 05:40 GMT
David Sloan,

I am not getting email notifications when my essay has a new post. But I have not unsubscribed from getting the email notifications. I don't know if anyone else is getting this problem.

I want to receive these email notifications. Can you please arrange for this to be fixed?

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FQXi Administrator David Sloan replied on Mar. 11, 2020 @ 11:57 GMT
Dear Lorraine,

We are aware of the problem and our tech people are working on it. I hope it will be fixed shortly.

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Lorraine Ford replied on Mar. 11, 2020 @ 21:57 GMT
Thanks David,

I am now receiving the email notifications.

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Elana Lee wrote on Mar. 12, 2020 @ 10:09 GMT
Dear Professor Sloan,

In view of the current situation regarding the pandemic, would it be possible to extend the deadline for the essay contest? Many of our schedules have been very disrupted due to school closings, setting up telework, as well as stocking up on supplies and other preparations. I tried posting this last week but the system was not letting me create an account until today. I'm not just asking for myself, but concerned for the community at large. I've also been in touch with others who as well were delayed and attempted to contact you. Thank you.

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FQXi Administrator Zeeya Merali replied on Mar. 12, 2020 @ 12:09 GMT
Dear Elana,

Thank you for your thoughts. We agree that this is a difficult time for the FQXi community, so we have extended the deadline to 24 April 2020.

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FQXi Administrator Zeeya Merali wrote on Mar. 12, 2020 @ 11:59 GMT
Update: Essay Contest Deadline Extended: April 24, 2020

We understand many in the FQXi community are dealing with disruptions due to COVID-19. We want to relieve a bit of this pressure by extending the essay contest deadline. If anyone has submitted an essay already and has issues with this extension or feels disadvantaged, please email, essay_contestATfqxi.org, and to discuss submitting an updated essay.

This will push back the remaining schedule as follows:

Community and Public ratings deadline - May 18, 2020.

Notification of winning essays on or around July 31, 2020

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Dale Carl Gillman wrote on Mar. 15, 2020 @ 17:03 GMT
To whom it may concern,

I have resubmitted an essay and would like to delete my old entry. Any assistance would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you,

Dale C. Gillman

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FQXi Administrator David Sloan wrote on Mar. 15, 2020 @ 18:54 GMT
A quick update: I know a lot of you will be keen to update your essays and make replacements. We are working out a mechanism to allow you to do this. I will update this as soon as this mechanism is in place. For now, please hold off on submitting replacements as new essays or emailing them to us.

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Georgina Woodward replied on Mar. 15, 2020 @ 23:28 GMT
David, how will this work? Will revised essays retain comments and votes already placed or will all revised essays be treated as new essays, like the replacements?

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Lorraine Ford wrote on Mar. 16, 2020 @ 20:13 GMT
Re COVID-19:

Talk about the world being undecidable, uncomputable, and unpredictable !!!

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FQXi Administrator David Sloan wrote on Mar. 19, 2020 @ 20:33 GMT
The mechanism to allow updates to essays has now gone live. Each author has the opportunity to upload a replacement essay. You may make exactly ONE such replacement, so please be careful and make all your corrections at once.

To update your essay, go to the essay contest forum thread. On your initial post there will be a box outlined in green with a button to choose a replacement file. Once you have uploaded your new file, the pdf linked on your forum page will be replaced, and a note added, but all previous comments will stand.

Thanks for your patience in waiting for this. Our technical staff have worked hard to make this possible at a time when many of us have a lot of work to do.

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Shawn Halayka replied on Mar. 19, 2020 @ 22:24 GMT
Dear David,

Sorry to be a pest, but what if I changed the name of the paper and the abstract? Is there a way to update those on my essay page?

https://fqxi.org/community/forum/topic/3430

Thanks for the second chance. :)

- Shawn

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FQXi Administrator David Sloan replied on Mar. 19, 2020 @ 22:38 GMT
In that case, please add the updates in a new post on your thread. They will not update on the forum thread.

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Shawn Halayka replied on Mar. 20, 2020 @ 00:48 GMT
Roger that. Thanks again.

- Shawn

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Jochen Szangolies wrote on Mar. 22, 2020 @ 07:29 GMT
Hi there,

I'm not sure it's such a good idea to make current votes visible now, after they weren't before. People who've so far abstained from voting will now have access to different information than those who've already voted, putting the two sets of votes on very different footing, yet counting them as equivalent. That's not going to produce a very fair, consistent picture, I'm afraid.

Might I ask why it was decided to make the votes visible now? Or was it just an automatic thing with the expiry of the old deadline? I notice that deadline is still visible in some places, e. g. on the Contests Home-page.

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Janko Kokosar wrote on Mar. 28, 2020 @ 06:35 GMT
I propose a simple addition for more honest voting. These steps can help after the end of voting:

1. FQXi finds a voter who gave the largest number of 1's. (Let us say that the number of such essays is 41.)

2. Among these 41 essays, FQXi reads the essay which has the highest score.

3. If this essay is significantly better than for 1, FQXi checks further whether voting of this voter is honest.

4. If this voting is not honest, FQXi makes some measures for this voter and does some corrections of the scores.

5. This operation can be repeated and/or improved, but even to locate one of crooks can reduce others.

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Lorraine Ford replied on Apr. 10, 2020 @ 23:54 GMT
FQXi could very easily list, next to the essay author's name, the number of essays that the author has rated. This number represents significant information about behaviour. Behind the scenes, FQXi already knows this information, or can easily access this information via a slight change to their computer programs.

I have not rated any essays in the current contest, and I never rate many essays anyway in these contests, and I am quite happy to have numbers placed next to my name.

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Steve Dufourny wrote on Apr. 8, 2020 @ 08:54 GMT
Hi FQXi, it is totally not neutral the comportment of one or two members inside the community, because Del Santo was First with 13 or 14 votes with 8,4 and now with one or 2 votes he is at 7,9 , What is this stoty, if members prefer the bad competition instead to be neutral and rational so we understand why this planet does not turn logically, this kind of comportment shows that this member is not a real universal generalist, I don t understand how it is possible inside a Community of conscious and intelliegnt persons, it is a shame because the member has probably put a 0 or 1, see in your algorythms this member because he does not merit to be in your team, simply lets name a cat a cat,Friendly

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Steve Dufourny replied on Apr. 8, 2020 @ 09:16 GMT
Frankly let s consider the human conportements and the Vanity because it is totally sad. These comportments prove that the person having made this is nor a generalist nor a universalist, maybe just a simple intelligent for some details prefering the competion and strategies without really understanding the real meaning of the theory of Game. For me this comportment does not merit to be a member inside the FQXi Community and maybe you could change the algorythms to have a pure transparence , like that we can see who are the real universalists, just, logic , neutral and the others forgetting the basis. Even If I had a problem with a searcher, never I d make this, I d be neutral and just. We know why this planet is in this state, just due to these comportments at big scale for decisions. Can we accept this , is it democratic, no I don t Think, these persons decrease the velocity of evolution and they just satisfy their Vanity.

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Steve Dufourny replied on Apr. 8, 2020 @ 09:59 GMT
Discussion on Facebook about this,

Ulla Mattfolk Where are the voting community members listed? It should not be possible to both take part in the contest and be a voting member.

Supprimer ou masquer ceci

J’aime

· Répondre · 24 min

Masquer 16 réponses

Steve Dufourny it is Always the same problem and in all communities and societies, Always this...

view entire post


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Teri Velari wrote on Apr. 17, 2020 @ 06:42 GMT
Hello Professor Sloan and FQXI, I definitely appreciate the extension of deadline and attempt to make this experience accessible amidst the pandemic and emergency sheltering. However, although April 24 was a reasonable hope at the time, it appears we are still locked down and as a result my very altered schedule has not allowed me any time to seriously complete my essay. One of the things that concerns me is when crises separate us by demographics. For example, someone retired with adult children may find the current situation affords them enough time to finish their essay. But for someone like me who is mid-career and with young children constantly at home, the situation has been untenable. I wanted to propose, could we wait until the majority of lockdowns have ended and then add a couple weeks? I think that may be the fairest situation so far. It seems as though lockdowns will most likely be lifted within a month, based on news reports. In the long run these incremental extensions will not seem much compared to the length between essay contests, but at this moment such an extension would help many of us I'm sure. Please extend this a bit more. Thanks.

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FQXi Administrator David Sloan replied on Apr. 17, 2020 @ 22:05 GMT
Dear Teri,

We sympathise with people who have been impacted by recent events. For this reason we did extend the contest as far as we reasonably could. However it would be unfair to the review panel to further extend the deadline.

At the point that the contest closes, it will have been open for entries for four months. Winners will be finally notified seven months after the contest opened. Together with planning, preparation and assesment for future improvements, this is about the longest period over which we can operate if we aim to have one contest most years.

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Alan M. Kadin wrote on Apr. 26, 2020 @ 18:14 GMT
Voting on essays seems to have been disabled, although I thought that was going to continue through May 18.

Was this intentional?

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Yutaka Shikano replied on Apr. 27, 2020 @ 05:22 GMT
I have the same problem. This seems to be international. Would the FQXi administrators change the status?

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FQXi Administrator David Sloan replied on Apr. 27, 2020 @ 19:24 GMT
Voting should still be open - we're looking in to the problem, as some people seem able to vote still.

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adel sadeq replied on May. 6, 2020 @ 23:34 GMT
I seem to have lost the new thread box.

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James Lee Hoover wrote on May. 12, 2020 @ 17:27 GMT
FQXi,

Seems to be much more ambushing of essays rather than reading this time. Hope judges can decipher merit of essays and not put as much weight on community scoring. At this late date, in my judgment, many superior essays haven't gotten fair treatment so far. Wonder if pandemic and political climate spurred more angst, mistrust and deception?

Jim Hoover

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Member Tejinder Pal Singh wrote on May. 16, 2020 @ 14:49 GMT
Dear contest participants,

I am in this unenviable situation that all the comments on my essay are glowing and positive, but my score is going down and down. A participant just gave me a 4.0

Whereas all the essays I have rated thus far, I have rated in the range 7-10. Strange are the ways of some participants :-) Sometimes I wonder if an Indian participant in the midst of many Western brothers and sisters comes in for special treatment, despite being an FQXi member?! May truth speak for itself, no matter which part of the world it comes from.

I and my coauthor have presented a new deterministic theory that underlies quantum indeterminism.

Thank you, and best wishes to all participants for success in this contest,

Tejinder

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Peter Jackson replied on May. 16, 2020 @ 21:06 GMT
Tejinder,

I sympathise, but be assured you're not alone. I'm an average white man but mine is similar; All positive comments yet now ~6 scores of 1.0! I know your work is good, have downloaded it and promise to read & score it in the short time left.

& Lorraine;

I see no problem mentioning scoring policy, i.e. some have said they'd score at the end, useful if an essay gets a 1 score at the same time! Of course 'deals' are out, but the BIG problem is the trolling with 1's. It's not beyond the wit of man to firmly discourage it as I suggested last year. I hope David may now act.

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Member Tejinder Pal Singh replied on May. 17, 2020 @ 18:19 GMT
Thanks Peter, for your post. I am sorry to know that you got so many 1s. That is simply horrible and unacceptable.

Tejinder

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FQXi Administrator David Sloan wrote on May. 18, 2020 @ 12:07 GMT
Admin note: I've moved a post to the Alternative Models of Reality forum. That is the correct place to discuss new ideas.

Also please note that I am aware of the issues that are raised here. I keep a close watch over voting, and will attempt to remove any block downvoting, but will not remove anything that represents an opinion.

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Peter Jackson replied on May. 20, 2020 @ 10:01 GMT
David,

I commend your action, & suggest adding it to the 'terms'. Mine seemed to get maybe 6 tactical '1' scores. I didn't give any. I'm sure many are similar. A threat of tactical 1's being moved to the scorers total may discourage it permanently!

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James Lee Hoover wrote on May. 19, 2020 @ 14:33 GMT
FQXi,

I noticed an attack rating posted well after the deadline. How was this possible?

Jim Hoover

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Georgina Woodward replied on May. 19, 2020 @ 23:41 GMT
I voted for an essay after the deadline. I'm at a different timezone and just assumed I would not be able to vote after the deadline. I shouldn't have assumed that. I have only now done a time conversion. It wasn't an 'attack' but a high score for an essay I had only just got around to reading.

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Jonathan J. Dickau wrote on May. 19, 2020 @ 16:52 GMT
I'm glad FQXi is being a diligent watchdog...

There were definitely changes to the ranking after midnight EDT. I might fare well if the rankings are unchanged, and squeak into the final round. But if others were like myself getting pushed down by people leaving no comment; perhaps their scores should all be pushed up and other participants redressed until a level playing field is found.

Good luck to all who rated essays fairly.

All the Best,

Jonathan

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Jonathan J. Dickau wrote on May. 21, 2020 @ 15:31 GMT
Now I have mixed feelings...

The reason why is the main incentive for me to enter these contests is knowing with certainty that my work will be reviewed by professional scientists. Any accolades or prize money are secondary. But the re-shuffling of ratings and the auto-induction of members has put that possibility out of reach.

For this year's essay; I chose to champion ideas that I imagine to be difficult or impossible to disprove. I wanted a few more serious scientists to see that some parts of my work are iron-clad certainties, one could beat one's head against and never find a fault.

However; I know that it is anathema to discuss the applicability of the Mandelbrot Set to problems in Physics. Aside from Christian Beck in the UK and Romera and colleagues in Madrid; nobody has gone near it but me. And yet; with recent proofs by Giulio Tiozzo extending the last work of Thurston; it is a done deal.

The applicability of these results to Physics is unavoidable. But if the fact the Mandelbrot Set displays Cartan's rolling ball analogy for Lie group G2, when extended into higher dimensions; it provides a direct geometric route to collapsing the String Theory landscape. I hope Ilive long enough to say "I told you so."

All the Best,

Jonathan

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Jonathan J. Dickau replied on May. 21, 2020 @ 15:46 GMT
I should add this...

In correspondence with Ed Klingman and with some of the other participants; I heard tales of what appears to be a deliberate avoidance on the part of FQXi members and other pros in the contest for edgy essays, especially by non-scientists or Physics and Engineering retirees. This is both sad and shameful for an organization like FQXi whose established purpose is to promote open-minded thinking about thorny topics.

I know my ideas will eventually get out there. I intend to continue making presentations at Physics and Cosmology conferences, so long as my health allows. And I'll compare note with Math folks too. As Phil Gibbs pointed out; it's much easier to make distinct progress in pure Maths and receive recognition for your efforts than in Physics. So if John Baez comes up with a proof, my Mandlebrot-G2 conjecture will automatically get some weight.

However; there appears to be a lot of rear guard action in FQXi and in the Physics community at large. So I have concerns when I see scientists avoid engaging people with supportable claims whose ideas are off the map. Worse still; is when claims are dismissed out of hand, in part because even some very well-trained scientists have not learned to think certain things through for themselves, to an extent where they can point out the flaws without resorting to dogma.

George F.R. Ellis did a marvelous job in a prior contest of fielding comments from all comers, but such efforts are rare.

All the Best,

Jonathan

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Jonathan J. Dickau replied on May. 21, 2020 @ 15:53 GMT
I guess I am saying as well...

I think my essay would have fared better, and done extremely well, if more of the members and professionals had read it. And I hereby throw down the gauntlet and invite others to pick it apart, now the the voting has ended. I don't think you will find many unsupportable claims, and I might surprise you by turning your thinking around on some ideas where you have preconceptions.

To quote 'Uncle' Al Schwartz "Somebody should look."

Warm regards,

Jonathan

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Jonathan J. Dickau replied on May. 21, 2020 @ 17:25 GMT
Oh well,

I just read it again and found a fairly major-minor flub. As Lawrence Crowell pointed out I wrote the Mandelbrot formula z --> z^2 + z, and the last term should be z_0 - for the location of the point being calculated. I even glossed over it when it was pointed out, and I did not avail myself of the opportunity to offer a corrected paper. So in terms of my absolute accuracy; I failed using my own criteria.

I wish I could better express what I know to be true.

Best to all,

Jonathan

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Alan M. Kadin wrote on May. 21, 2020 @ 20:31 GMT
Dear FQXi Administrator Sloan,

In reviewing the latest revised Community Ratings, as compared with the prior Community Ratings, I was disturbed to find that virtually all of the essays that I had rated highly went down, while virtually all of the essays that I had rated poorly went up. It looks as if all my ratings were discarded.

This seems quite inappropriate. Can you check to see if this is the case?

I carefully read and evaluated all the essays, and I rated them on the scale from 1 to 10, covering the entire range. I made a copy of the earlier ratings list, and I also have a spreadsheet with all of my ratings and comments on all of the essays. I completed my ratings on May 17th.

I was formerly a college professor, and I do not accept grade inflation. Some of the essays here are excellent, while some are incoherent nonsense. I graded accordingly.

I have been participating in the FQXi essay contest since 2012, and my essay in 2017 was selected as a winner.

Thank you for your assistance.

Alan Kadin

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FQXi Administrator David Sloan replied on May. 21, 2020 @ 22:52 GMT
Dear Alan,

I will not disclose the names of anyone whose ratings were removed, nor will I confirm the name of anyone whose ratings were not. There are two reasons for this: First it would be a breach of privacy. We take the anonymity of the voting process seriously, and will not reveal publicly the votes given by, or removal of votes of, any of our participants, even at their own request. Second, to avoid any possible bias, we identified suspicious voting patterns using anonymised records only. I have avoided directly finding the names of those who were removed.

I do not intend to reveal details of the statistical analysis we used, but will say that more than one person had to be independently confident of a significant deviation from expected patterns for a candidate to be considered for removal, and these candidates were discussed (referring to their anonymised identifiers) between us at length before we removed any votes.

I will say that if you had voted as you state here (I have not checked this, again, preferring to look at anonymised identifiers) there is almost zero proability that your votes would have been removed.

David Sloan

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Alan M. Kadin replied on May. 22, 2020 @ 02:49 GMT
Dear David,

Thank you for your quick response.

Your use of the terms “suspicious voting patterns” and “expected patterns” leads me to believe that your analysis was done using a neural network pattern recognition system trained on a particular data set.

It is well known in the field of neural network pattern recognition that these systems can often make surprising errors, particularly if they are fed data that is substantially different from the training data.

For example, I rated all 205 essays. Was the neural network trained using vectors this large?

As I mentioned earlier, I have the “before” and “after” data, and it is clear from my personal pattern analysis that my votes were removed from the average ratings. I could present specific examples, but perhaps this is not the place to do so.

Your systems analyst really needs feedback on how well your pattern recognition routine is working, or not working, on real data. Please forward my email, amkadin@alumni.princeton.edu, to him/her.

Finally, you really need to have a system of due process, when dealing with questions of this sort. “I refuse to look into it” is not an acceptable response.

Thank you again, and I hope that we can resolve this issue, perhaps offline.

Alan Kadin

Email amkadin@alumni.princeton.edu

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Stefan Weckbach replied on May. 22, 2020 @ 08:12 GMT
Dear Alan Kadin,

“In reviewing the latest revised Community Ratings, as compared with the prior Community Ratings, I was disturbed to find that virtually all of the essays that I had rated highly went down, while virtually all of the essays that I had rated poorly went up. It looks as if all my ratings were discarded.”

I guess it only looks that all your ratings are discarded....

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Jonathan J. Dickau wrote on May. 22, 2020 @ 12:55 GMT
I agree with almost all the comments by Alan and Stefan...

But I greatly appreciate the efforts by FQXi to assure fairness. My thought is that using an algorithmic identifier to pull out erroneous ratings merely duplicates the technique some of the cheats likely used - to figure out which essays it would be advantageous to target. That is; once community ranking scores are announced, a grid of nearest neighbors and a bubble sort algorithm can be employed to push specific entries up or down in increments.

So it is indeed true that 'tactical' voting can create an unfair advantage for those who view FQXi contests as a kind of game, where the goal is to game the system without arousing suspicion. This motivates Stefan's suggestion that the scores be hidden until the end. Another solution would be to disallow down voting without leaving a comment. Perhaps both signed or anonymous comments would count, in this case. But voting 'blind' would exclude algorithmic push by participants.

On the flip side; I see Dr. Kadin has openly identified himself as part of the problem. Since I've already stated that the main value of these contests for me is to receive feedback from professional scientists; I will reiterate that I think it is rude and should be disallowed that someone downgrade another participants work without any reason given. In FQXi's grant program; every participant whose application is chosen for full review receives a detailed report listing Strengths and Weaknesses of the proposal. This has real value!

All the Best,

Jonathan

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Jonathan J. Dickau wrote on May. 22, 2020 @ 13:45 GMT
On a darker note...

I have often wondered just how clever some people might try to be, in order to get around restrictions that assure fair voting. On the other hand; I know full well that there are now groups of friends on the FQXi forum, there are people from competing schools (both of thought and institutions) in the contest, and there is a definite push from FQXi for members to read and comment the work of other members. So there are teams already in place, before a contest begins.

But would it be fair, for example, if an adult 'drafted' their niece or nephew to write a short paper, for which they can reply to comments, but leaving the rating of other essays to the adult? This would obviously give that person the power to vote 2 or 3 times, instead of just once, and would be difficult to detect. For a more technical hack; I can think of ways someone might peek at the traffic on one's own essay page to determine if a rating and a comment were left by the same person.

And lastly; I have seen evidence of plenty of predatory action on the part of some participants, or of lurking to cast blame elsewhere. For example; if I left a critical comment on someone's essay; I might want to see how they defend their thesis before rating their essay. Maybe their arguments would win me over and earn them a extra point, because they can aptly explain something I simply didn't understand. But if someone sees my comment and swiftly but silently gives that essay a 2 rating; it makes me look like the culprit.

I was called out by Paul Schroeder for making a mild criticism and then giving him a failing grade. And yet; I didn't actually rate his essay until 2 weeks later.

Go figure,

Jonathan

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H.H.J. Luediger wrote on May. 24, 2020 @ 10:31 GMT
Even darker....

one can not easily downrate a racehorse to a donkey, but uprating is different....

Heinz

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