Posted by Joel Martinsen on Friday, July 3, 2009 at 10:52 PM
Academic Criticism (学术批评网) is a useful website founded in 2001 by Yang Yusheng (杨玉圣), a historian and critic.
The website aggregates commentary by and about academics: newspaper op-eds, book reviews, forewords to anthologies, and other similar material. It's a way to find a wide variety of opinion in one convenient place.
Yang is also known as an "academic janitor" who takes out the trash of scholarly dishonesty and academic malpractice, including the plagiarism cases that crop up so frequently nowadays.
Did he make some enemies? Academic Criticism used to be located at acriticism.com, but late last month, it was the target of a DDOS attack that left the website paralyzed, forcing it to move to criticism.cn.
Sayre's Law says that academic politics are so vicious because the stakes are so low, but in many of these cases, the stakes are quite high indeed. A recent letter posted to the site demanded the resignation of Lu Jierong, a professor at Liaoning University who was listed as coauthor of a student's paper that later turned out to be plagiarized. And although faculty and administration frequently resist taking action against plagiarizing professors, occasionally one will be dismissed in disgrace.
Earlier this year a blogger in China was stabbed by someone who took offense at the charges one post leveled against a friend of his. Who's to say an aggrieved academic wouldn't hire a botnet to take down an unfriendly website?
Related only by the topic of website inaccessibility, Danwei's server in Texas has been generally unreachable from mainland China since around 4pm Friday afternoon. A targeted block? An unfortunate side effect of recent upgrades made to improve the efficiency of filtering unwholesome material? A giant mass hallucination?
It's impossible to tell at this point. So spend the weekend outside and we'll see if we can't get things turned around by Monday.
Update (2009.07.04): Well, a new IP address has made the server reachable again, but the connection invariably gets reset. Not the best possible situation to be in, I'm afraid.
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From the Vault
Classic Danwei posts
+ Culture and corporate propaganda in Soho Xiaobao (2007.11): Mid-2007 issues of Soho Xiaobao (SOHO小报), illustrating the complicated identity of in-house magazines run by real estate companies.
+ Internet executives complain about excessive Net censorship (2010.03): Internet executives complain about excessive Net censorship at an officially sanctioned meeting in Shenzhen.
+ Crowd-sourced cheating on the 2010 gaokao (2010.06): A student in Sichuan seeks help with the ancient Chinese section of this year's college entrance exam -- while the test is going on!