Thursday, August 18, 2005 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Crackpot grand prize raised

The Reference Frame decided to raise the grand prize from $3 to $13.08. It is the prize for the first person who will be able to submit a 1-star review under McCutcheon's book "The Final Theory" as explained in

We mentioned some early attempts to submit a non-5-star review here. Some recent reviews had survived for two days or so. However, Josh Lapan has pointed out that they disappeared once again and the average rating of the crackpot's book - one that even denies the existence of the universal gravitational force that operates both terrestrially as well as celestially - returned to 5 stars. One week seems unbeatable so far despite tens of attempts and several complaints that physics professors from many universities have sent to amazon.com.

If the first 1-star review survives one week provably as a result of an article about the scandal or another influence, the reader of this blog who initiated the article will share the prize with the first reviewer. If no winner appears for a few more weeks, we will increase the grand prize significantly and ask sponsors for their support. If you want to raise the prize immediately, please choose an amount of the format ??.?8 USD (eight cents modulo ten cents), for a better identification, and use this button:


Don't be afraid to click the button; the payment only occurs after one more window where you must fill your paypal.com username and password. Please don't contribute less than $2 or more than $20 at this moment. Thanks, Tobias Sander, for the first donation.

Add to del.icio.us Digg this Add to reddit

snail feedback (11) :


reader Orendon said...

Thanks for the excellent Blog site you've provided.
Here's Advise And Informatiom About Auto Warranty.
I though you might be interested in knowing about Auto Warranty


reader Quantoken said...

I failed to put in a one star rating, too.

My theory is that Amazon has become aware that there was an active campaign launched by Lubos to try to put a one star rating in for that particular book. Therefore any one who first read on this blog and then go to Amazon would not be able to submit a review for that book.

And very likely most of the reviews are not erase by human operator, but gets eliminated by the machine, using a statistical model, which, based on the statistics of existing reviews (of all 5 stars), rules that any one star review is a > 3*sigma experimental error, and must be eliminated.

All it takes for that automatic process to kick in, is for the author himself click the "report this" button, and the machine takes care the rest.

Too bad no one can claim Lubos's reward.


reader Lumo said...

Dear Quantoken,

if there were a routine that removes reviews that differ from the previous ones, it would probably be even more serious than an ad hoc censorship of the reviews by one unscientific author.

Moreover, it is not a viable theory because the routine would definitely not need several days to decide how many sigmas there are.

If you believe your other conspiratory theory that the reason why the reviews disappear is that amazon.com recognizes that the author of the review reads my blog (which I find ludicrous), then you can still try to create a new amazon.com account and write the reviews that won't be able to reveal that you had ever seen my blog.

Unless, of course, you believe that amazon.com knows all websites that their visitors have ever visited (perhaps from the aliens). ;-)

Don't be silly. The reviews are eliminated, and have always been eliminated (much before this challenge started), because the author or another fan of crackpot theories has the power and tools to remove inconvenient reviews.

Best
Lubos


reader P.P. Cook said...

It's worth noting that amazon.co.uk have taken a different stance to amazon.com and currently there are four one-star reviews of this misleading book, some of which have been around for much longer than a week. So if there is any consistent amazon corporate policy on the wording of acceptable reviews, look here for potential hints about how to get $10 off Lubos. Otherwise you're fighting some specific amazon.com prejudice.


reader P.P. Cook said...

Oops, i just repeated what Andre said a while ago in the fast comments...sorry.


reader Leucipo said...

Hmm the network of customers of this book makes a good task for a network visualizar. Enable java, go to
http://www.touchgraph.com/TGAmazonBrowser.html
and use as ASIN the ISBN of the book, 1581126018

It seems that the book does not adhere to a cluster. About one half of his links come from the ZPE cluster, a couple ones from the holistic "interaction science" (and indirectly to the books on physics spirituality), but the majority comes from buyers of real physics (or at least divulgation of real physics).

The number of links, although, is very low. Check against your favorite books for comparison.


reader Alex Hamilton said...

Notice that there is now a 1 star review on amazon which has survived since August 14th (it is now the 22nd, so it's gone the full week!). The review is Anthony Karmis. It sounds to me like the main reason amazon doesn't like any of the 1 star reviews is because it doesn't care if a) the author is an idiot with no understanding of science or b) the material is totally and provably wrong but only if the book is badly written (assuming that there exists a WELL written book on a completely false topic by a complete idiot). Fair enough that that's important, but don't you think potential readers might care that the book is plainly wrong?

-Alex Hamilton


reader Brian Powell said...

Please note, the reviewer to whom Alex refers has not really had his review up for 10 consecutive days. This review was one of the three that were reported removed by Josh Lapan on August 18. I have no idea where it went, or why it's back.

Brian Powell


reader Brian Powell said...

Please note, the reviewer to whom Alex refers has not really had his review up for 10 consecutive days. This review was one of the three that were reported removed by Josh Lapan on August 18. I have no idea where it went, or why it's back.

Brian Powell


reader Brian Powell said...

Please note, the reviewer to whom Alex refers has not really had his review up for 10 consecutive days. This review was one of the three that were reported removed by Josh Lapan on August 18. I have no idea where it went, or why it's back.

Brian Powell


reader Atraxani said...

Is this contest still alive? I wrote a 450 word review of "The final theory" close to three weeks ago, and was able to convince Amazon to keep the review, after several rewrites and email exchanges. As of today, it's still there.