long ago ideas

“When we are tired, we are attacked by ideas we conquered long ago." - Friedrich Nietzsche. Long ago, Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery conquered false claims that the Book of Mormon was fiction or that it came through a stone in a hat. But these old claims have resurfaced in recent years. To conquer them again, we have to return to what Joseph and Oliver taught.

Thursday, September 3, 2020

The M2C citation cartel endures

Apparently some of the members of the M2C citation cartel continue to read this blog. They consider the acronym "M2C" pejorative, and they think the term "citation cartel" invokes images of drug cartels in Latin America.

Such paranoia is a good example of how members (and employees) of a citation cartel think and operate. The credentialed class all too often take personal offense to differences of opinion, resort to academic bullying, and employ censorship to protect their intellectual cartels.

I personally like every LDS scholar I've met, regardless of any disagreements I have with them over specific issues. They're all great people. I don't take such disagreements personally and I'm always eager to change my mind when presented with better, more complete facts and logical arguments.

Furthermore, I respect everyone who engages in discussions about LDS issues, regardless of their point of view or agenda.

My objection to the M2C citation cartel is based on their ongoing censorship of alternative ideas, perspectives, and approaches to the issues. Their censorship represents an intellectual elitism that I consider indefensible and counterproductive, but it is hardly unique to M2C (see below). And, more importantly, that doesn't mean the members of the cartel are not smart, faithful, thoughtful, and awesome people. 

M2C is merely descriptive. I coined the acronym M2C to avoid having to retype the term "Mesoamerican/Two-Cumorahs" every time I refer to the theory that the events of the Book of Mormon in the New World took place within a "limited geography" confined to Mesoamerica, with the Hill Cumorah of Mormon 6:6 found somewhere in Southern Mexico.

M2C is not pejorative unless the Mesoamerican/Two-Cumorahs theory itself is problematic. 

And notice: the acronym is M2C, not M. Some of my critics are confused by this. I've always said Mesoamerica is on the table; it's the 2C (2 Cumorahs) that I don't consider viable. While I think it is difficult to justify a limited Mesoamerican geography, I don't say it is impossible.

For branding, M2C is important to help readers know the editorial bias of a particular publication or article.

No one who reads BYU Studies, for example, should be unaware of the editors' bias in favor of M2C. Only readers who understand the M2C bias can make a fair assessment of the credibility and reliability of the publication.

It's the same with the Saints books. Readers who are unaware of the bias of the editors in favor of accommodating M2C will not recognize, let alone understand, the censorship of references to Cumorah.

Everyone who reads or donates to Book of Mormon Central also needs to understand the M2C bias. The organization is a subsidiary of Book of Mormon Archaeological Forum, a long-time advocate of M2C.

As I often say, these and other members of the M2C citation cartel provide high-quality, useful materials. I refer to them often and encourage others to do so as well. The sad reality, though, is that they are all controlled by an interlocking network of M2C advocates who continue to censor alternative ideas.

Which leads to the meaning of "citation cartel."

I didn't coin the term "citation cartel." It is a common term for a well-known tendency in academic publications.

The term "cartel" has a simple definition. "A cartel is a group of independent market participants who collude with each other in order to improve their profits and dominate the market. Cartels are usually associations in the same sphere of business, and thus an alliance of rivals. Most jurisdictions consider it anti-competitive behavior."

If there's a better term to describe the interlocked LDS publications and web sites I've identified as part of the M2C citation cartel, I'd be happy to adopt it.

Here are some examples of the application of the term outside of the M2C context.

"These so-called citation cartels have been around for decades, as the publishing consultant Phil Davis has pointed out. Thomson Reuters, which until recently owned the Impact Factor for ranking journals, has even sanctioned periodicals for evidence of cartel behavior.... For authors, the payoff is clear: The more citations your articles generate, the more influential they appear. And journals have similar incentives: Encourage authors to cite papers that appear in your pages and you’ve created the illusion that your journal is highly influential."


Here's an explanation that I think applies directly to the M2C citation cartel:

In our experience, a citation cartel differs from the ordinary in that it usually involves one or more or all of the following: i) a small number, often just two or three, journals are involved; ii) similarly, the diversity of authors involved is small, i.e., smaller as one would expect for a healthy research community; iii) often there is a large overlap of editors in the journals that sustain a particular cartel.

One more example. 

"In this perspective, our goal is to present and elucidate a thus far largely overlooked problem that is arising in scientific publishing, namely the identification and discovery of citation cartels in citation networks. Taking from the well-known definition of a community in the realm of network science, namely that people within a community share significantly more links with each other as they do outside of this community, we propose that citation cartels are defined as groups of authors that cite each other disproportionately more than they do other groups of authors that work on the same subject." 


1 comment:

  1. They probably have no idea how many people feel the way you do. I didn't go to BYU, maybe that's why.