Sleazy sock puppet can’t stop spamming our discussion of compressed sensing and promoting the work of Xiteng Liu

Some asshole who has a bug up his ass about compressed sensing is spamming our comments with a bunch of sock puppets. All from the same IP address: “George Stoneriver,” Scott Wolfe,” and just plain “Paul,” all saying pretty much the same thing in the same sort of broken English (except for Paul, whose post was too short to do a dialect analysis). “Scott Wolfe” is a generic sort of name, but a quick google search reveals nothing related to this topic. “George Stoneriver” seems to have no internet presence at all (besides the comments at this blog). As for “Paul,” I don’t know, maybe the spammer was too lazy to invent a last name?

Our spammer spends about half his time slamming the field of compressed sensing and the other half pumping up the work of someone named Xiteng Liu. There’s no excuse for this behavior. It’s horrible, a true abuse of our scholarly community.

If Scott Adams wants to use a sock puppet, fine, the guy’s an artist and we should cut him some slack. If that’s what it takes for him to get his creative juices flowing, I’ll accept it. But to use sock puppets to try to trash legitimate scientific work, that’s not cool.

I can only assume that Xiteng Liu would not appreciate that someone is spamming websites on his behalf. It’s not good for someone’s reputation to be associated with a sock puppet. I know that if someone were spamming on behalf of my research, I’d be really annoyed.

P.S. I realized I used “ass” twice in my first sentence above. That’s bad writing. Feel free to switch in some other expletive to make the sentence flow better.

P.P.S. Further discussion here from Igor Carron.

16 thoughts on “Sleazy sock puppet can’t stop spamming our discussion of compressed sensing and promoting the work of Xiteng Liu

  1. I find non – English expressions more apropos and ‘colorful’. My bubbe is one of the most foul mouthed people I know (well, I might rival her at times, even at her still young age of 94). But I find her Yiddish and Turkish usage far more expressive, the former being an unfortunately diminishing patois.

    I’ve seen this same behavior on Stackoverflow, Cross Validated and elsewhere. However the moderation is usually pretty strict and squelching common to control it, rapidly. There is some good and bad to this as some folks are simply futzing around and others are perhaps just neurotic in promoting a thought, or research paper. At the very least, putting such things on a pike is good for comedic cannon fodder, we all need it in our lines of work.

    I say, let there be flame! :)

      • Igor,

        And that would be the bad….but the comments are a riot.

        I’m going off topic here, but this is an interesting area to me – that is the navigation of entities like discussion forums to elicit possible solutions to questions. It’s quite arguable that ‘ease of navigation’ can be quite daunting, even for the most seasoned of us. And there are some interesting assumptions regarding rules of conduct – ie ‘all who enter’ are, or should be, on equal footing with respect to a very stringent set of rules – namely those designed to prevent ‘free-riding’ (for example, using the ‘newbie’ card to elicit gentler handling of a post that was never researched beforehand, or disguising one’s homework as some other problem). My guess would be that both the application and gaming of these rules varies by, among other things, subject matter domain. Of course the usual dose of power play is not unusual for any moderated…..well…..anything.

        In thinking about this problem (I wish to restrict this to the ‘q/a’ or ‘problem/solution’ type of forums), within the mix of moderators, contributors, and askers, certainly there must exist substrata within each particular camp. Take for example the ‘askers’. I can think of many possible priors which can describe the likelihood of someone to post (ie domain of interest, level of skill in domain, context in which a solution is required [business, academic, personal, etc], complexity of problem, level of immediacy) as well as those that can describe the likelihood of the post to be answered, answered correctly, or closed for some undesirable reason (ability of poster to clearly present the question, demeanor of audience and moderator, etc etc).

        Within all of this is how well an asker, by various measures, gets from problem to solution within this medium. Do these forum-like constructions increase the complexity of doing what they intend, or simplify it?

        AFAIK, nothing is contained within stack, or similar sites that can provide sufficient recommendations, or something preemptive for the user to examine prior to posting. For those ‘engines’ that do exist, I would be interested in how robust they are, and how well they can be determined to ease navigation, reduce server and site (moderator actions) overhead, etc. In the end for the user, it boils down to relevance, correctness, and time-to-resolve.

        This would seem to me a really complex text mining type of problem.

    • The best forums were USENET. Rude, to the point, no nonsense. But that keeps a high signal to noise ratio. No annoying homework questions etc.

      The basic point is that catering to the lowest common denominator doesn’t mix well with attracting the best experts.

    • I suspect this is less about complaining and more about disincentivizing the behavior in question by putting the terms “sleazy” and “spamming” in close proximity to the name Xiteng Liu in the title of the post.

    • Dismalist:

      The trouble with this particular spam is that it was not merely an attempt to insert a meaningless comment in order to get a Google link (which is, the usual reason for our comment spam). Rather, it was an active attempt to derail the discussion in our comment thread. I don’t like that.

      When someone sneaks into my garage and plugs in an extension cord to steal some electricity, that’s annoying. But when they come into my living room and start a fire, that’s actively disruptive.

  2. I agree there’s something fishy here, but one should be careful in judging Xiteng Liu’s fault on all this… Did you try contacting him about the matter?

  3. Andrew,

    I have encountered this Xiteng Liu before. He is a crackpot with a persecution complex and a lot of time on his hands. Unless you find this sort of thing entertaining (which I admit, I occasionally do), you would do best to remove/ban/terminate anything related to him with extreme prejudice.

  4. I understand the outrage of the sock puppetting on the comments, but this post simply made me read a whole bunch of crackpot comments from some puppets/trolls/whatever you call them.

    Don’t get me wrong, I understand it’s on me to could stop, but this post made me interested to see what they said. Just confuses if someone did something annoying, potentially trying to just spam with commercial links, why point back to it?

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