My Commitment to Intellectual Integrity

My Commitment to Intellectual Integrity

23 Sep 2023
Meta, Academics

I got a strange email the other day. Here it is, with parts redacted:

Hi there,

My name is G—, I am the main editor at —————.

While browsing your site, I noticed you have an amazing article from this page:

Link to an extremely old post of mine

My team actually just published a comprehensive article on “Semi-related title” which I think your visitors would truly appreciate and add value to your awesome article.

You can check it out here: ———————

If you were willing to add our link to that page, I would be more than happy to share it to more than a thousand of our social followers to help you gain some visibility in exchange.

Let me know what you think and thank you for your consideration!


G— ———

My mail program correctly marked it as spam, which I appreciate. (Besides the spammy feel of the text, the article of mine they reference is an “amazing” >300 word blurb about a one-day project I did in 2017. Sheesh…) I was a little shocked that someone would ask me to engage in the kind of social-metrics-engineering which I feel has contributed directly to many of the social problems plaguing us today.

I decided to make a public promise that I would hold myself to. Here it is:

I am a scholar. As such, I have a sacred duty to uphold truth at all times and to share knowledge freely. I will never do anything that might compromise my ability to do such. If there is anything beautiful, truthful, or honorable, I will promote it. I will never accept bribery or engage in influence peddling; I find it intellectually and morally repugnant to use my station as an academic for personal gain.

I’ll make mistakes—and I won’t stop talking about tools and services that I think genuinely serve my desires for greater knowledge, understanding, and freedom—but I will never do this in exchange for money, social clout, or whatever. If I attain any fame, it will not be because it was my end goal.

So, G—, here is what I think of your offer: get lost—your proposal disgusts me.