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The Atlantic: Why Are Gamers So Much Better Than Scientists at Catching Fraud, 2021, by Stuart Ritchie

Discussion in 'Research methodology news and research' started by ME/CFS Skeptic, Jul 3, 2021.

  1. ME/CFS Skeptic

    ME/CFS Skeptic Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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  2. ME/CFS Skeptic

    ME/CFS Skeptic Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Quote from the article:

    "If unpaid Minecraft mods can produce a 29-page mathematical analysis of Dream’s contested run, then scientists and editors can find the time to treat plausible fraud allegations with the seriousness they deserve."​
     
  3. rvallee

    rvallee Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    That actually made me laugh when I saw it because absolutely speed runners are 100x more rigorous in their methodology than almost anything done in medical research, at least wherever technology can't be used (i.e. everything psychosocial). They genuinely care about accuracy and validity in ways that you simply don't find in most medical research and is nowhere to be found wherever BPS stuff creeps in. Hell I've seen gamers make detailed analyses, with stats and numbers, of popular games that are above and beyond almost everything produced in BPS land. And other people check their work, the peer review is on substance, data, not just style.

    Problem is cheating is rampant in research and especially in medicine, it just makes everything easier. So there are few incentives to denounce it, similar to why political parties have no incentive to change an electoral system that got them elected. In gaming people care deeply and cheaters are vilified. In medicine cheaters are too often awarded and praised, the determination is almost completely arbitrary. Just look at how Cochrane's shoddy work was handled. It entirely depends who you cheated.

    The issue really is caring. Gamers care. Too much. In medicine there are no personal stakes other than in success, real or not, no skin in the game. Whatever happens as a result almost never affects the researchers, other than in the form of being richly rewarded when they do pull off cheating. They are simply too detached from what happens.

    I'm sure this started out as tongue-in-cheek but it's a simple truth.
     
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  4. DokaGirl

    DokaGirl Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Some observations, and some speculation as to why gamers are better than scientists at catching fraud:

    - post secondary institutions encourage connections among related disciplines
    - these connections may later help one's career, business, research funding etc.
    -there is more at stake for scientist whistle blowers
    - there seems to be the belief that professionals are ethical, above reproach, doing the best in their field for patients, and society
    - scientists may be more conservative, reluctant to rock the boat

    There are probably many other reasons.
     
  5. strategist

    strategist Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    It seems to me that a part of the problem is that scientists are seen as noble human beings that can do no wrong, or would like to be seen as such. The suggestion that one of them might have behaved badly is a transgression of social norms. This invites fraud and other bad behaviour.

    A more realistic view is that are fallible humans who need some oversight.
     
  6. TiredSam

    TiredSam Moderator Staff Member

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    Reminds me of the online poker boom when various cheats and even casinos were caught out by dedicated players who got the data and knew what to do with it. Also online chess sites are good at catching cheats. For some reason it really matters to gamers. Those who don't follow the rules and play fair incite outrage.

    That ship seems to have sailed long ago in scientific research, where various devices to portray results favourably seem commonplace and are met with a glumly amused world weary shrug. Such behaviour has become part of the game, rather than an outrageous rule breach. Perhaps because the whole system of publishing and building scientific careers promotes it, leading to an attitude of, "well, how else are you supposed to get on in science?" I wonder if scientists are reluctant to call each other out because they think "there but for the grace of God ..."

    Also, when a gamer is caught cheating, it's the gaming community against an individual, and applying the laws of probability to the individual's results to demonstrate they are impossible isn't that complicated. When a scientist is caught cheating, it's often a whole community of educational establishments, publishers, insurance companies and government policy makers against the individual crying foul, who then has to prove complicated points of methodology which few lay people understand or are interested in whilst the whole community launches a PR machine against them.

    Not really, sorry. Depressing and wrong certainly, but not particularly odd.

    Love it. Didn't we do that for the PACE Trial? But for years we just couldn't find anyone who was interested, and the PR machine made sure we weren't heard.

    I keep coming across Stuart Ritchie and have just downloaded his book "Science Fictions" to audible. I might become a fan.
     
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  7. shak8

    shak8 Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    My impression (a year of working as a clinical research coordinator for a cardiologist in the USA) is that MDs who commit fraud are lightly punished. Some squeak by with only a few years of not being able to do a clinical trial. Few are banned for life.

    Physicians are god-like (if no longer to the public, they are to themselves and the clinical research corporations) so their sins are not taken seriously.
     
  8. DokaGirl

    DokaGirl Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Sins not taken seriously - absolutely, @shak8

    Not just doctors, but others higher up in the health care hierarchy. It may take many, many years, and a trail of harm before some are brought to any kind of justice, such as it is. And, after a bit of a slap on the wrist they can go back to practice. :wtf: :banghead: :(
     
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