[SIGCIS-Members] A response to a SIGCIS Command Line panel session presentation on PLATO

Nathan Ensmenger nensmeng at indiana.edu
Tue May 23 13:22:16 PDT 2017

On 23 May 2017, at 1:14, Nabeel Siddiqui wrote:

> Conference talks are places to showcase ideas, get feedback on works 
> in progress, and form community.

I am late to this discussion, but it seems to me that Nabeel has 
identified what is most troublesome about this incident.  For 
historians, conference talks are *not* publications, and should not be 
treated as such.  The time to criticize publicly the work of another 
historian is after publication, not based on one’s personal 
recollection of a conference talk that was never meant to be treated as 
a finished and fully-cited article.  I would be appalled if one of my 
conference talks were subjected to this degree of public criticism — 
much less dismissed as the product of “misunderstandings, historical 
errors, omissions, and confirmation bias”— and would regard such 
criticism as a deeply hostile and unprofessional act. I certainly would 
never attend that conference again.  I hope that Joy does not feel that 
way.  Not only do I value her and her work, but I found her talk to be 
thoughtful, thought-provoking, and not at all deserving of this kind of 


Nathan Ensmenger
Associate Professor of Informatics
School of Informatics and Computing
Indiana University, Bloomington

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