Friday, February 4, 2011


John Regehr of Embedded in Academia has a great post about Cryptocontributions in writing:
Even when interesting and unexpected results make it into a paper (as opposed to being dismissed outright either by the PI or by a student doing the work) the discussion of them is often buried deep in some subsection of the the paper. When this happens — and the interesting development is not even mentioned in the abstract or conclusion — I call it a “cryptocontribution.” Sometimes these hidden gems are the most interesting parts of what are otherwise pretty predictable pieces of work. When authors are too focused on getting the thing submitted, it’s really easy to shove interesting findings under the rug. Certainly I’ve done it, though I try hard not to.
I like that in his post, there is a little bit of a cryptocontribution, and that is - by being so conference deadline-driven, Computer Science is, as a Science, still a bit immature. If I have time I'll write more about this topic next week, because it's an idea I've been pondering for awhile.

PS - A note to John and other bloggers who run WordPress type-things - I seem to be unable to leave IP-anonymous comments on your blogs via Tor. I try, and try, and try, and am thwarted. So I've given up! But do know I'd love to comment if I could. Maybe this summer if I have some free time I'll write a Tor browser plugin that works with WordPress.


  1. Re. Tor and Wordpress, I didn't even know there was an issue, thanks for bringing it up! I have to say the main good thing about WP is I don't need to mess with it, but if there was an easy plugin on the WP side I'd certainly install it.

  2. I just updated my version of Tor and got the browser bundle, and tried a test comment on your most recent post. Mostly it just spun in a circle. So my guess is either noscript is preventing the comment from going through, or I ended up in a spam queue?

  3. Aha, you did end up in the spam queue, hopefully un-spamming you once will cause my WP spam plugin to do better next time, though I'm not at all sure that the feedback loop is that tight.

    I left a comment on my blog from Tor and it didn't get marked as spam, which is odd. But probably the email address I made up just happened to not trip the filter.