Talk:Bogdanov affair

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Former featured article candidate Bogdanov affair is a former featured article candidate. Please view the links under Article milestones below to see why the nomination failed. For older candidates, please check the archive.
Article milestones
Date Process Result
September 3, 2006 WikiProject peer review Reviewed
December 12, 2006 Featured article candidate Not promoted
July 22, 2009 Good article nominee Not listed
Current status: Former featured article candidate
This article has been mentioned by a media organisation:


  • Archive 1 From 04 August 2005 to 28 August 2005 (128 kb)
  • Archive 2 From 01 September 2005 to 25 September 2005 (205 kb)
  • Archive 3 From 24 September 2005 to 01 October 2005 (206 kb)
  • Archive 4 From 01 October 2005 to 07 October 2005 (159 kb)
  • Archive 5 From 07 October 2005 to 12 October 2005 (141 kb)
  • Archive 6 From 12 October 2005 to 17 November 2005 (122 kb)
  • Archive 7 From 17 November 2005 to 21 December 2005 (123 kb)
  • Archive 8 From 22 December 2005 to 13 September 2006 (74 kb)
  • Archive 9 From 13 September 2006 to end of 2008 —Preceding unsigned comment added by Afteread (talkcontribs) 14:22, 14 December 2009 (UTC)

Brothers' Background[edit]

This section is almost unreadable due to the amount of information in parentheses. Can someone with more knowledge of this case clean it up? I am unsure if the family background included here is even necessary for the understanding of the Bogdanov Affair. Chris902 (talk) 15:10, 18 April 2009 (UTC)

"Their mother was the bastard daughter of Roland Wiltse Hayes" = Please change "bastard" to "illegitimate". Bastard carries negative connotations and is a heavy, crude term.

This paragraph contains unnecessarily condensed phrases which are consequentially opaque. Please unpack the sentences into coherent understandable phrases. The complexity of the information that the author is attempting to transmit in the paragraph requires shorter, more intelligible phrases. It isn't necessary to included the places and birth and death of such distant relatives. There are too many dates and placenames included in a non narrative context.

Suggested alternative : Their mother was the illegitimate daughter of Roland Wiltse Hayes, a noted African American lyric tenor born in Curryville, Gordon County, Georgia, (June 3, 1887). He was the son of William Hayes (Georgia - ca. 1898) and wife Fanny. William Hayes had an affair with a married Czech-Austrian noblewoman, Bertha Henriette Katharina Nadine Gräfin von Kolowrat-Krakowský (June 21, 1890 - January 29, 1982), whose marriage to Hieronymus Graf von Colloredo-Mannsfeld ended in divorce.

1. Question: How can Roland Wiltse Hayes be the son of William Hayes and his wife, while at the same time being the illegitimate child of Willaim Hayes and Bertha Henriette? 2. We don't need to know the names of the parents of Bertha Henriette. Nor do we need to know the name of her grandparents. So I have omitted that information. 3. Please change date format to the month-day-year format used by English speakers. Thanks. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:32, 11 May 2009 (UTC)

Grichka Bogdanoff's PhD[edit]

The article states that Grichka Bogdanoff was granted a PhD by the École Polytechnique. As far as I know, this is incorrect. If I remember the events correctly, Mr Bogdanoff was granted a degree by the University of Burgundy (located in Dijon), but for some reason defended it in a room at the École Polytechnique.

This is actually fairly easy to check: the centralized catalogue of the French university libraries, the SUDOC, lists Grichka Bogdanoff's 1999 thesis as from the University of Dijon. David.Monniaux (talk) 22:15, 15 August 2009 (UTC)


This article was semiprotected 31 March 2007 by Centrx (talk · contribs · blocks · protections · deletions · page moves · rights · RfA). The protecting sysop emphasized the attempts by external entities to manipulate the content of the article and also referenced Wikipedia:Requests for arbitration/Regarding The Bogdanov Affair, an arbitration case dating to November 2005.

I'd like to review that semiprotection now. In the opinion of the current editors, are there still ongoing attempts to manipulate article content? I'll also contact the protecting admin to see what he thinks. --TS 00:36, 5 September 2009 (UTC)

It seems to have been completely clear of any such attempts for quite a few months, as far as I can make out. Olaf Davis (talk) 19:12, 6 September 2009 (UTC)


I'd just like to point out that that quotes from Luboš Motl and Robert Oeckl at the end of Bogdanov Affair#Scientific content, which the surrounding text characterizes as contrasting, are really saying the same thing. The only difference is that Motl is reaching to find something of value in, if nothing else, the questions raised, while Oeckl doesn't feel the need to so trouble himself. (talk) 02:37, 15 September 2009 (UTC)

Regarding the section "Brothers' background[edit]

Please remove the "brackground" section or heavily edit it for readability and appropriateness.

A genealogy of Bogdanov brothers, even if correct, does not belong in this article.

It is mis-titled, since "background" in an article about science or pseudoscience naturally invokes "academic background."

It is garbled beyond recognition and seems to contain omissions.

Also, uses the term "bastard" for their mother which according to the Concise Oxford English Dictionary is "archaic or derogatory" when used to denote offspring of an unregistered couple, i.e. illegitimate children. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:17, 29 May 2009 (UTC)

Hi! I am not interested in the affair, neither am I a specialist in the field of cosmology. But happening to have gone through this page, I would like to make a comment. First, I agree with the remarks made above. Second, the article has not a neutral tone enough for it to be taken as seriously as it pretends to prove the brothers' incompetence and spiteful hoax. It is too close, in a neutral opinion point of vue, to the vendicative litigant of the dispute. Especially, no article in wikipedia should give the impression of casting opprobrium on anyone! It is not admissible for an encyclopedia. Guillaume A. Paris —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:31, 29 October 2009 (UTC)

All of peer review?[edit]

This affair spread out from the initial question ("What the PhD and physics work of either or both of the Bogdanov brothers substandard?") to a much wider dialog about professional peer review in the highly speculative area of theoretical physics. As the article currently stands, the latter part is a bit fluffy and overrepresented in this article. Except for those facts that are reported as "this or that university/journal/etc. made such and such changes in response to the affair", the rest is fluff and we should treat it briefly and avoid quoting the kibitzers with their generalities. There are a few other articles that are in this spectrum:

I think that the pseudophyics was intended for people like McTaggart, not for serious efforts that are simply in the realm of "science by press release". In a related vein: I think that stuff on arXchiv, especially hep-th should be referred to as "released" rather than "published". In terms of "knowledge" that might be "fact", it is more like software than like science.--Afteread (talk) 16:09, 15 December 2009 (UTC)

Removal of pseudonym claims[edit]

Afteread has recently removed almost all of the information on "pseudonymous acdtivity". In particular, the primary example of an alleged pseudonym (Prof. Yang) no longer appears in the article. I can certainly agree that too much space was spent on this section previously, but surely this is a noteworthy part of the affair.

To Afteread: your removal of the information claimed it was "obsolete". What on earth does that mean in this context? Phiwum (talk) 20:03, 15 December 2009 (UTC)

In the sense that all such theories have their "15 minutes of fame" because anybody allowed them to be published, but then there were rarely or never cited again in the literature. It happens a lot in theoretical physics. IMO, the category of "pseudophyics" should be reserved for charlatans like Lynne McTaggart. I think that even the Bogdanovs would agree that their work was sloppy, but I tend to agree with others that they displayed a near-acceptable level of accomplishment and creativity. I could not come up with another category will "irrelevant, failed theories" by otherwise qualified people, so I picked "obsolete". As far as the lead paragraph I added: I tend to rely on Paragraph#Body paragraph for what our paragraphs should look like. In particular, I think that the lead sentence of each paragraph should avoid citations and instead introduce the reader to rest of the paragraph. That lead sentence I added was an attempt to implement a proper lead sentence, but you reverted (maybe because you thought it was POV or something) and I will just let it alone for now.--Afteread (talk) 20:46, 15 December 2009 (UTC)
I think that the problem all along has been that this article requires some BLP-ish information. The whole Prof. Yang thing, even if it is true, is a side-show to the issue of whether the work of the Bogdanovs is authentic nonsense at the level of Sokal. This is never demonstrated. If the brothers stooped to creating Yang, then it is about as notable as "they edited their Wikipedia biography." I put it into their BLP-ish section. That way, the separation is clean: the quality of their papers is the main focus of this article and anything stupid they did after that is just a part of their pseudo-BLP.--Afteread (talk) 13:43, 19 December 2009 (UTC)
I don't know what "BLP-ish" is supposed to mean. Seems to me that the information previously included was verifiable (right?) and interesting and part of the "Bogdanov affair". The article is not just about the articles themselves, but also about the discussions thereafter. I don't see that BLP requires that we remain silent on something like the fact that "Professor Yang" was a vocal but non-existent supporter of the brothers. Phiwum (talk) 15:56, 19 December 2009 (UTC)
I think that the article should remained focused on its starting point, which is Baez's Usenet posting about their papers. The two things that splay out wildly after that is what the brothers did before and after. They have also responded to "the affair" directly (which should be briefly included in the main body of the article). But beyond that, they have written books. They are celebrating the 30th anniversary of their TV show this year. They have sued people. I think that gathering all that stuff into *one* *section* will help to keep the rest of the article properly focused.--Afteread (talk) 16:39, 19 December 2009 (UTC)
With due respect, the result appears to be a less interesting (and less entertaining) article. It's a bit odd to put off all discussion of the Bogdanovs themselves until the very end of the article. Better to present an overview, followed by a discussion of the timeline: the Bogdanovs before the publication, the publication and later controversy, and activities thereafter. All of that is, to my mind, part of the so-called affair. Postponing a brief biographical description of the brothers until its own section following the affair makes the article less readable, in mine own humble opinion. Phiwum (talk) 19:16, 19 December 2009 (UTC)
I agree with this assessment of the resulting article. It would have been better if the editor Afteread had discussed proposed changes here first, rather than unilaterally changing the organization of a mature article. — Myasuda (talk) 02:01, 20 December 2009 (UTC)

In looking around for info about Andrew Wray, I came across this quote: "There are several ethical issues at hand. First, though I have not yet mentioned it as one, is the behavior of those who spread the initial rumors of a hoax if, as it turns out, there was no intended hoax at all. Such rumors can have the effect of destroying the reputation of its subjects. If reputations are to be destroyed here, let it be by the brothers themselves through the very quality, or lack thereof, of their work. And even if such work slips through the cracks during the refereeing process, the question of its merit will play itself out with time. Those who find these papers of merit will cite them; the others won't. History will have its own way of dealing with the matter." --Afteread (talk) 16:58, 19 December 2009 (UTC)

I find it interesting that John Baez, Peter Woit, Jacques Distler and Luboš Motl and Perimeter Institute show up in this and other physics controversies.--Afteread (talk) 18:31, 19 December 2009 (UTC)

I don't know what other controversies you have in mind, but perhaps these folk get their hackles up when they see published examples of bad science. Calling attention to bad situations in one's field is a boon to the field, isn't it? I am more sympathetic to Baez's position than Wray's — whose comments in the matter are not disinterested, since he's editor of a journal that published Bogdanov papers. Phiwum (talk) 19:16, 19 December 2009 (UTC)
I apologize that I did not make my last post clear. That quote is by this physics librarian. I assume he is a neutral enough party who is concerned about sorting out the jewels of knowledge from the slagheap of hype in these "science by press release" episodes. I am thinking of Cold Fusion, An Exceptionally Simple Theory of Everything and even Jan Hendrik Schön. Each was a problem and you can compare/contrast how each of these were handled. The hype does not help and it tends to lead to things like that 2005 ArbCom thing. I think that the current format is just better-organized in that you have the body of the article focusing on the Affair and then the last section being BLP-like. It makes much more sense and it makes it easier to find this-or-that factoid in the article.--Afteread (talk) 20:36, 19 December 2009 (UTC)

Notice at the top of this talk page[edit]

I would suggest that this notice appear in comments at the top of the main article, as new editors are unlikely to check an article's talk page before editing. - (talk) 17:11, 24 March 2010 (UTC)

When I reverted its recent addition (in plaintext form) to the page itself I hadn't realised that the Arbcom ruling actually mandated its presence. A better-formatted version of it was present until removed by Jac16888 (talk · contribs) just over two years ago on the grounds of its age. It seems to me personally that we could leave it off since the people in question seem to be leaving the article alone now, but it's not my decision to make. I'll reinstate it for now, and maybe hunt down an Arb to rail at angrily make a suggestion in favour of its removal. Olaf Davis (talk) 20:36, 24 March 2010 (UTC)

BLP section?[edit]

It seems to me that all of the incidental info about the brothers should be collected into its own section. It seems natural to split the material into the "Affair" (what the dissertations were about, why they sucked, the internet flare-up and the internet hunt for internet shenanigans) and the BLP. If we can craft such a split, I would think that how they wrote their dissertations and how they were awarded their PhD's should primarily be handled in such a BLP section. The Affair does not invalidate or disown them of their PhD's, and the "affair" sections can deal with why they sucked. Because of the structure of how BLP's are managed, I would expect that such a BLP section might eventually become a separate article.--Monkeytext (talk) 16:20, 9 April 2010 (UTC)

Is it coincidental that your suggestion and approach are remarkably similar to edits by evidently banned user User:Afteread? (By remarkably similar, I guess I mean identical, according to this diff.) Phiwum (talk) 17:23, 9 April 2010 (UTC)
I think that Afteread's approach is valid: what is needed is a distinct "BLP" section so that the rest of the article is not bogged down in all of the BLP details. It is simply matter of organization and clarity.--Monkeytext (talk) 05:25, 11 April 2010 (UTC)
Well spotted Phiwum; Monkeytext is Afteread. Thanks for the note on my user talk, and sorry for taking so long to act on it. John Vandenberg (chat) 11:29, 27 April 2010 (UTC)
Re potential material for BLP section, the twins made news earlier this year (2010) in relation to appearance changing plastic surgery (particularly at a Chopard party). There are numerous references available from a google search, though mostly lightweight standard. Clovis Sangrail (talk) 12:51, 16 July 2010 (UTC)

Citation rate of articles[edit]

"Similarly, Richard Monastersky, writing in The Chronicle of Higher Education, observed, "There is one way...for physicists to measure the importance of the Bogdanovs' work. If researchers find merit in the twins' ideas, those thoughts will echo in the references of scientific papers for years to come."[4] As of July 2009, the Bogdanovs' six published papers had been cited four times in SPIRES, a database of particle physics articles.[14] For comparison, a somewhat controversial cosmological model known as the "ekpyrotic universe" was published in 2001 and had been cited 569 times by July 2009.[56]"

On average, 22% of hard science articles do not receive any citations as mentioned in the Usenet discussion, so the citation rate of their articles is by no means unusual. (talk) 04:52, 18 May 2011 (UTC)

True. It's an evidence of absence / absence of evidence thing. A paper can be published in too obscure a journal, a journal with the "wrong" specialized readership, be too hard to comprehend except by very specialized ppl (of which there are only a handful for any such topic), be overlooked due to some clerical error in a journal database entry (spelling error, missing/erroneous keywords), etc. doi:10.1080/08912960600641224 is a case in point - for almost 10 years the single most important paper on that topic, but barely one citation per year (as per GScholar). Clearly not in any proportion to its significance. Had it been published in Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology and/or not been missed by the dinosaur people (it discusses a probable caenagnathid dino fossil misidentified as a "Mesozoic parrot"), its citations would likely be almost an order of magnitude higher.
It is true that large numbers of citations generally signify an important paper, while lack of citations does not automatically signify an unimportant one. But even so, Meyer's little ID piece was and still is extensively cited - so a high number of citations for a dubious/pseudoscience paper is entirely possible.
BUT: where the metric does hold true, and in both ways, is as a value-less estimate of the extent to which the paper is received by the community. A paper with 100s of cites has been read (and discussed) by very many of researchers, whereas one with only a few has almost certainly not received a lot of professional attention ("professional" meaning here: in the context of further research).
Thus: while many citations usually (but not always) signify the paper contains important and robust results, few or no citations signify very little if anything at all. But many citations almost always signify the community is actively aware of the paper's results, while few or none signify widespread ignorance (for any conceivable reason, intentional or not). (talk) 21:27, 24 September 2015 (UTC)


Why is this article at Bogdanov Affair, i.e. with the second word capitalized? As far as I know, this isn't a proper noun. Shouldn't the article be moved to Bogdanov affair as per WP:NCCAPS? Bensci54 (talk) 23:29, 14 January 2013 (UTC)

First paragraph weasel word[edit]

There is a weasel word mark in the first paragraph of the article over "notable" for which i think is obsolete, since in further reading of text becomes very clear to whom it is reffered to as notable. It should be removed because reader could be led into thinkig that whole article is written without solid sources right from the begining, while in fact it is the other way arround. Clearly this can not be characterised as weasel word.Olovka (talk) 22:33, 7 June 2014 (UTC)


In the lede there is a link to the Usenet wiki page. The strange thing is that there is a space between the 'U' and the 's'. I would fix it but I don't know how to! Can someone else fix this please? FillsHerTease (talk) 07:21, 30 September 2014 (UTC)