The Granville incident

Earlier this morning, there was some commotion on the allstat mailing list (if you don’t know what it is, that’s a UK-based discussion list specifically focussed on statistics; it’s been active for quite some time and usually you get useful information on mostly, but not exclusively academic vacancies, conferences, etc).

Vincent Granville is a self-described “visionary data scientist” who often sends emails to the list $-$ most of which the list does not seem to receive with pleasure… [NB I believe that for today, Granville has sought and received more than his fair share of publicity, so I won’t link to his webpage $-$ you can google him if you’re interested] _ _Anyway, in his email today, Granville has openly offered a 250 dollars reward to write a review of his book on the Amazon page. In fact, he said he would reward the four “best” reviews (it is not clear what “best” means in this case $-$ I suspect it’s to do with how enthusiastic they are…).

This has of course unleashed a reaction of anger and indignation among the users of the list (although Michael Bretscher from Imperial College noticed that “ironically, if all corrupt activities were communicated so transparently, the world might be a better place…__").

I agree with the general sentiment and I think that Granville is coming from a very, very different place than basically everybody else who’s active on the list. Some people has suggested banning him altogether, which I can sympathise with. But even more simply, is this not a classic situation in which your spam filter becomes your best friend?…

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