The links keep on coming.
For those confused by my recent failk
, here's an executive survey of "PervySurveyFail" (so dubbed by someone ithiliana can't remember
Ogi Ogas and Sai Gaddam have landed a lucrative book contract (publishing grapevine says US$250,000); as part of that project, they designed a survey to find out more about slash and fandom. The survey, their handling of it, their interaction with fans and critics has been both stupid and offensive in multiple ways.
There are, essentially, two lines of outrage in this whole thing. There's the political outrage at the horribly sexist, heteronormative, transphobic attitudes of Ogas and Gaddam in their survey and their interactions. And there's the outrage about the horribly bad science
—the lack of clear methodology, patently biased questions, an ignorance of previous research in the area, etc.
The political outrage has played out in form much like other BlankFails. Which is not to say, again, that it is unimportant or uninteresting. rm
has pointed out
some very good threads
about the harmful assumptions Ogas and Gaddam have been making about transsexuals and people who otherwise fall outside of the male/female sex/gender binary. Earlier today, Ogas and Gaddam (apparently in response to objections to their construction of "transsexual" in their work and the use of the word "tranny" in discussions) "corrected" their FAQ to replace "transsexual" with "shemale."
As rm said
, "You have not yet begun to see wrath, although the cat macros are now out to play." And in apparent response to the escalation of failout, Ogas has now locked all of the posts that were originally intended for feedback and discussion of the project (thus rendering over a thousand comments invisible).
But because of the ostensibly scientific and academic roots of the survey and the project, many fans who are also academics soon began taking issue with the incredibly shoddy "research" being conducted. Objections were raised that there was no control preventing minors from participating, there did not seem to be adequate safeguards protecting respondents, that questions were being changed while the survey was still continuing. (Sadly, most of these discussions that I know about them are currently unavailable, because they were made in Ogas's journal.)
Eventually, the Institutional Review Board of Boston University was reached. (Ogas identified himself as "a cognitive neuroscientist at Boston University" in his initial approach to eruthros
.) The IRB is responsible for maintaining ethical standards when researching human subjects (including when that research involves social, not medical, science). In the words of deadlychameleon
, they responded that Ogas "is no longer in any way affiliated with Boston University, except as a recent graduate. They have asked him to stop using his official Boston University email address in connection with this project, or his website. He is officially on his own, and this project is NOT IRB APPROVED."
Deadly Chameleon continues:
The problem with this is threefold:
1. The researcher has no expertise in the area he is researching, nor has he recruited anyone to give him guidance.
2. The researcher has substantial profit motivation to produce work in this area (book contract with Penguin) which may lead to unethical conduct/a tendency to misrepresent his results.
3. The research is in no way overseen by any external body which can examine it for potential unethical conduct.
In addition to all of these, the researchers have now alienated their participant population, who are now very likely to become unreliable participants.
This explains much. Many people, myself included, wondered how two scientists or academics could behave so unprofessionally. Our error was in assuming that "scientist" or "academic" was their actual profession. It is clear that they are not. But if their profession is "hucksters peddling junk science for profit," it really would be unprofessional of them not
to act the way they have.
Finally, this has been a surprisingly creative -fail. In addition to my own offering, there have been macros
, parody surveys
, Ogi Ogas/Sai Gaddam slash fic
Other key posts:
- "please don't take the fanfiction survey," eruthros. This is the post that brought the issue to most people's attention.
- "don't take the fanfiction survey," thingswithwings. Shorter Ogas (sadly the links do not currently lead to actual discussion).
- "Ten Steps to a Perfect Fanstorm," Hoyden about Town. An early summary of the Fail, and one of the first mentions outside of LJ/DW.
- Screencaps of ogi_ogas. This includes some screenshots of the threads on individual questions of the original survey. The original posts on Ogas's journal received over a thousand comments before he locked down the entries, removing the criticism from public discourse.
- "Wearing the Juice: A Case Study in Research Implosion," N Pepperell. Asks whether Ogas and Gaddam are simply too incompetent to realize how badly they're doing.
- "Why Ogi Ogas and Sai Gaddam Are Phrenologists," neededalj. Examining the fine line between good and bad science in the field of neuroscience, and how Ogas and Gaddam are far, far away from the line where you can even see the line between good and bad science.
- "Fandom to researchers: We are not your lab rats," FeministSF, The Blog. Summarizes Ogas and Gaddam's interactions with fan academics in the month before the survey was posted.