Wednesday, May 22, 2013

I Believe I Have Now Seen It All. From Amelia in Abilene.

Context: I ran a research paper competition for our basketweaving academic/professional association annual meeting. We have a gradflake paper competition and a proffie competition. I get this in my e-mail from a gradflake.
Dear Dr. Amelia,
I have been looking at the reviews on my paper "Things I Don't Really Understand about Baskets." I disagree with the reviewers. I also think there should be more, and more detailed written feedback. How can I get a re-grade?
Sally Snow
Would anyone like to help me answer this one?


  1. The only correct answer is a cricket bat to the head.

  2. Enter the paper next year. Reviewers will regrade it.

  3. Rip her a new one. What's the use of a professional society if you can't suggest that people be professional?
    I've entered paper competitions and have never gotten feedback as a non-winner, so you and your reviewers are already going above and beyond if you ask me.

  4. Okay, that is rather beyond the pale. But it's an opportunity to fill g-flake in on the academic culture. Something like:

    "One of the main professional activities of professional basket weavers is submitting papers for publication. Often, such papers are returned with comments, but they don't have to be. When a reviewer takes the time to comment on a paper, it means they have taken the time to help you improve it. They're under no obligation to do so. Also, this is not a situation in which the paper is 'graded.' It is accepted or rejected for publication. Sometimes, with an academic journal, if you make the changes suggested by reviewers, they might reconsider it, but since this is a contest in which we select the best paper, that is not an option. Do feel free to enter again next year."

  5. Did they *seriously* refer to it as a "re-grade"??

  6. Dear Sally,

    Perhaps graduate school is not your calling.


    Dr. Amelia

  7. Oh, I think Stella should take this one.

  8. Yes please. Stella's posts of late responding to all manner of ridiiculous queries, have been beyond brilliant.

  9. Yes please. Stella's posts of late responding to all manner of ridiiculous queries, have been beyond brilliant.

  10. Dear Ms. Snow,

    With regards to your query, I regret to inform you that our referee's reports are final. There are no provisions in our competition's rules either to ask for clarification or for a "re-grade". In light of the reports received, no other decision was possible.

    We wish you success in your endeavors and look forward to your future submissions.

    (There's a special pleasure in killing dreams in bland, detached Academese...)

  11. Here's how I would respond:

    1. First (and probably last) authentic chuckle of the day.

  12. I just realized that I don't even care enough to complain about these little snots anymore.

  13. I'm voting for Stella to handle this one, too, but if it were me, I'd tell her that to get specialized feedback, a consultation fee of $150 is warranted.