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Elementary Particles, Part J-3 - The Preonic Wars: Deletion from Wikipedia
In this series of PRs I am focusing on a question that has intrigued mankind for millennia, and that question is "What is the World Made Of?" In Parts A and B we looked at the history of proposed answers to this question, eventually arriving at the present theory of quarks, leptons and force carriers, which combined is known as "The Standard Model". In Parts C and D we saw how a new particle model - the ABC Preon Model - can model nature's particles in a way that is different from the Standard Model. In part E we looked at neutrinos, quarks and weak interactions in the ABC Preon Model, in part F we looked at preonic masses, and in Part G we investigated additional high energy physics (HEP) experiments. In part H we compared the ABC Preon Model to its competition, and in part I we summarized and put a perspective on the previous parts. In part J we're taking a look at some of the difficulties I have had with getting the word out concerning the ABC Preon Model.
With all the trouble I had trying to get a serious review of my ABC Preon model (discussed in a previous PR), I thought it might be a good idea to post it on Wikipedia, which led to a Quora post that impugned my work. (See my previous PR).
After the negative comments were posted on Quora, a reader there pointed out that the comments didn't actually point out any real flaw. To which, the researcher replied: "As an example that even a high school student shouldn't make: they have a force being mediated by a single neutrino exchange. That problem is that if you have particle emit a neutrino, it changes from a fermion to a boson or vice versa since the neutrino is a fermion. The page is littered with fundamental errors of that sort. On top of it, there is no theory known as the ABC preon model." This again employed typical "review" tactics: 1) gross exaggeration written from a presumed position of "authority". High school students knowing about the rules for neutrino exchange? What world do these guys live in? Even if it is meant as some sort of snarky joke it is nuts. 2) Point out one problem and then say it is just one of many. But the problem indicated isn't even a real problem. 3) Close with an assertion that is obviously false - that the ABC Preon Model does not exist. I refer to the published work, and the model is what is being discussed! Clearly, it exists. I wanted to spend some time on my Quora experience because it is emblematic of how scientific review is done these days. It's really just a matter of shouting down any idea that isn't presently held and then strutting around demonstrating superior knowledge of science. It really is like playing chess with a pigeon.
While the Quora commentary was a nuisance, more significant flak was being taken on Wikipedia itself. The talk page associated with the article began to get some posts suggesting that the article should be deleted. Eventually, one of the posters went forward with a deletion request. I did my best to maintain the page, but in the end I was outnumbered. There were seven votes to delete the page and two to keep it. Toward the end of the debate the editor who originally supported the page became a turncoat and recommended for deletion. I suspected (and still do) that the person who pushed for deletion contacted the original editor to lobby for deletion. I wrote to the original editor and said it was probably relevant to the decision if this was the case, but the original editor declined further comment. The deletion process ended with a decision to delete the article.
The Wikipedia battle was enlightening on a couple of fronts. First, they have an odd policy that things are deleted not on the basis of right or wrong, but rather on notability. I found it very odd that an article based on a reviewed paper in the scientific press would not be publishable unless it had secondary sources referring to it. It would seem to me that the review process should be a better vetting than if someone wrote some newspaper articles about it. A second eye opener was how few people it takes to enforce the censorship. The final vote was seven to two. And really it was probably more like two to two, since I believe two censors probably rounded up a few supporters to get the page removed. There were only two that were really hammering away at it, and one editor who I did not know came to my defense. I also learned that the way these things work is that you can go out and recruit other editors during such decisions. I don't think it is an approved tactic, but I understand it happens all the time. It's really an ugly world where a few self-appointed experts can act as censors to keep different thoughts out of the public eye.
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