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Accept that a countdown mechanism is to be introduced, where a modification is accepted by default if there are no objections within a 90-day period following its publication.

The modification was suggested to Scientonomy community by Hakob Barseghyan and Jamie Shaw on 22 December 2019.1 This modification is incompatible with Sciento-2019-0007. The discussion was closed on 18 October 2022 and the modification was not accepted.


The current scientonomic workflow has no proper closure mechanism, for it is ambiguous as to how verdicts on suggested modifications are to be achieved. Specifically, it is unclear as to what constitutes a consensus. It is implicit in the current practice that consensus is understood as a lack of explicit objection, i.e. if nobody objects to a suggested modification then even a handful of positive comments are sufficient to make the modification accepted. However, there are problems with this approach. Specifically, people may not want to accept the modification, but may not want to object to it explicitly for a variety of reasons. For instance, some people may not wish to be seen as impeding the modification's acceptance. If a modification is proposed or supported by a senior member of the community, then many - especially junior scholars - may feel uncomfortable criticizing it. It is also the case that different members of the community may have different “tenacity” when debating proposed modifications: some people may withdraw from a debate because they grow tired of arguing rather than because they are convinced. In addition, the current workflow imposes no time limits on when objections can be raised by. This creates two issues: in some cases suggested modifications are accepted too quickly before dissent has a chance to emerge, while in other cases suggested modifications are not accepted for a long time despite the lack of dissent. In short, without a proper closure mechanism or a time limit in place, suggested modifications can be accepted either prematurely or become abandoned. Thus, a solution is needed to ensure that the workflow has a proper closure mechanism and a time limit.


Theories To Accept

Questions Answered

This modification attempts to answer the following question(s):

  • Workflow - Closure Mechanism: How should verdicts on suggested modifications be achieved? If modifications are accepted as a result of a communal consensus, then what constitutes such a consensus?


The discussion was closed on 18 October 2022 and the modification was not accepted. It has been agreed that the idea of accepting a modification by default after a fixed time period might have several negative consequences. First, it may lead to the automatic acceptance of an otherwise unacceptable modification that just happened to be suggested at a time when most researchers interested in the topic were exceptionally busy.c1 It was emphasized that if we were to allow for modifications to become accepted simply "because no one said anything" we would be giving "undue power to the mechanism of what gets accepted".c2 This might "allow some modifications to garner more discussion than others depending on when they are published and lead to an incorrect understanding of the Scientonomic community’s evaluation of a particular modification", so we might end up with a mosaic that is not representative of the communal views.c3 It was also agreed that acceptance by default fails to address the concern that some members of the community may be reluctant to object to a modification for a variety of reasons. It is unlikely that “having time limits, even if they are apparent and made known within our community, will incentivize explicit objection”.c4 It was suggested that "researchers may be even more reluctant to “impede the modification’s acceptance” now that it would be an automatic process”.c5 Finally, it was mentioned that "the implementation of this modification may result in yet another unwanted consequence: some researchers may end up submitting a negative comment simply for the sake of preventing the automatic acceptance of the modification and stopping the countdown".c6

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  1. ^  Shaw, Jamie and Barseghyan, Hakob. (2019) Problems and Prospects with the Scientonomic Workflow. Scientonomy 3, 1-14. Retrieved from