Comments on Wilkinson's and Farb's Official Statements About Hill's 9/7/18 Quillette Article:

https://math.uchicago.edu/~wilkinso/Statement.html (accessed 9/13/18)
https://www.math.uchicago.edu/~farb/statement (accessed 9/13/18)

Allegations that Wilkinson does not deny in her statement:

1. Wilkinson asked her father to write to the Intelligencer criticizing the paper.
2. Wilkinson falsely blamed divulgence of her name on the Intelligencer.
3. Hill wrote a polite email (copied below) to Wilkinson that she never answered even though she claims she had "scientific criticisms" of the article.
4. Hill wrote a longer rebuttal to Wilkinson's father asking for more discussion. He also did not reply to Hill.
5. Even after the Intelligencer article was rescinded, Wilkinson "continued to trash both the journal and the editor-in-chief on social media".
6. Wilkinson falsely announced on Facebook that a substantially different paper had been accepted..
7. Even after the NYJM article was deleted, Wilkinson "was threatening Facebook friends with 'unfriending' unless they severed social media ties with" [Igor Rivin, the editor who had solicited the paper].

Farb claims

1. His statement

"I believe that the editor-in-chief should have added a statement about why this was done, but he did not"

is deliberately misleading. I asked him and his coeditors to do so, and there is no evidence that Farb indicated his agreement with my written request, or his attempt to bring it to an editorial vote. See the last paragraph of the second email below, to which Farb never replied.

2. His statement

"I appreciate those who have taken the time to examine the record, including the University of Chicago"

is also deliberately misleading. The University of Chicago never asked me for any details or proof of any of my allegations during more than two months of their inquiry, nor did they provide me with any counterclaims by Farb or Wilkinson.

Fact Check #1

In his push to pull Hill's NYJM paper, Farb had told his co-editors his "famous" father-in law had "already poked many holes in the ridiculous paper". In fact, his father-in-law had criticized a very different Hill-Tabachnikov paper with different title and essentially no mathematics. (Farb also did not tell his co-editors that Hill had sent a rebuttal to his father-in-law asking for further discussion, that his father-in-law had called the result "novel", nor that his father-in-law had refused to participate in a GMVH Round Table.) See second email below.

Fact Check #2

Wilkinson's official statement says:

"I had no involvement in any editorial decisions concerning Hill's revised version of this paper in The New York Journal of Mathematics"

and Farb's official statement says:

"Amie Wilkinson played no role in any deliberation of Hill's or any paper at NYJM."

There is no claim that Wilkinson participated as a formal member of the editorial board. However, it was Wilkinson's father's critique to the Intelligencer that Farb cited in order to convince his co-editors to immediately pull the substantially different Hill NYJM paper. Do Wilkinson and her husband Farb really claim that they did not discuss the deliberations on this paper?


Hill email to Amie Wilkinson

Subject: Fw: Hill and Tabachnik
From: "Hill, Theodore P" <theodore.hill@math.gatech.edu>
Date: Sun, Sep 24, 2017 2:25 pm
To: [Amie Wilkinson]
Cc :[Amie Wilkinson]

Dear Amie (if I may),

It is my understanding based on the email below that you communicated with the Editor-in-Chief of the Mathematical Intelligencer who had accepted an article of mine for publication. As you know, after receiving your (and others') input, she rescinded acceptance of our paper, not based on any substantive issues, but solely on the complaints of you and others. We could easily have revised the paper before publication, but were not given that consideration.

In the future, I would request that you contact me directly if you have any concerns about work of mine.

In particular, if you have any concrete suggestions about the substance or tone of the current version of the paper on https://arxiv.org/pdf/1703.04184.pdf , please let me know.

Thank you.

Sincerely
Ted Hill

P.S. I see that you also asked your father to write the Editor-in-Chief with criticisms of our paper (from the perspective of someone whose graduate degrees are in psychology and theology?). I will soon send my rebuttal to your father about his reasoning, and will copy you. The Editor also told me that she invited your father to defend his arguments in person at a round table discussion, but he declined. However, since you have endorsed his arguments, perhaps you will agree to present them in a public forum.


Hill Letter to NYJM Editorial Board

Subject: Note to NYJM Editorial Board
From: "Hill, Theodore P" <theodore.hill@math.gatech.edu>
Date: Thu, Mar 15, 2018 2:14 pm
To: [ NYJM Editorial Board, including Benson Farb]
Attach: NYJM.pdf

Dear NYJM Editors,

As you may know, three days after the formal publication of my article on the variability hypothesis (NYJM Vol 23, p 1641-1645) last November 6, my article was expunged from the journal's official scientific record and later replaced with a different paper at the exact same location. I understand that you members of the NYJM editorial board have now voted to approve that action, which as far as I know is unprecedented.

If an electronic journal can be retroactively altered (e.g., as in this case by a simple majority vote of the current editors), that will do significant damage to NYJM and all other electronic journals. Our colleagues worried about that 20 years ago, and it didn't come to pass, but now it has. (That and the threat that the site could be destroyed altogether.) The permanent damage to free speech and academic freedom would be irreparable, and certainly more than any damage one little article could cause. Please note that I am NOT advocating that NYJM re-publish my article, but merely pointing out the harm to our profession if it remains deleted.

Here are some facts I think you should know:

First, my article was solicited by NYJM (not vice versa), was refereed, checked by at least two editors, revised, and formally published.

If some of you had simply written to me directly at the time the controversy started and complained that it did not look like a good fit for NYJM, I might well have agreed (it was solicited, recall), and I might have found some compromise to revise it substantially or might have requested it be removed for submission elsewhere.

Instead, one of you, behind my back, sent out email to other editors attacking my paper and calling it a "pseudo-science...piece of crap". That editor claimed that his "famous" father-in-law (a psychometrician) had "already poked many holes in the ridiculous paper".

The truth is your co-editor knew that his father-in-law had criticized a different paper on the same topic, a paper with different authors, different title, different exposition, and essentially no mathematics. That paper had been accepted by the Mathematical Intelligencer for publication in their Viewpoint section, which explicitly welcomes controversy. I'm guessing that your co-editor also failed to tell you that his father-in-law had even conceded that the main result was "novel".

Nor did your co-editor tell you his father-in-law had refused the Intelligencer editor-in- chief's cordial invitation to defend his arguments in a public forum. When I received those criticisms of that different article, I sent polite emails to the father-in-law with rebuttals of each of his points. I told him (and your co-editor's wife, who had already successfully conspired to have the Intelligencer paper rescinded and was also conspiring to rescind the NYJM paper) that I was revising the paper for submission elsewhere, and I asked for their suggestions or criticisms or responses to my counter-arguments. Neither ever replied to me.

I am surprised and disappointed that your board did not allow an opportunity for me, the author, to provide any input at all. Is that the way you would like to be treated? Is due process in our beloved mathematics going the same direction it is in the greater arena of social media and national politics?

I feel that my professional reputation is in jeopardy. The greater mathematical community will naturally assume that my article was removed because I could not defend its contents scientifically, or worse yet, for reasons of priority and/or plagiarism. I want my name to be cleared among the greater academic community, and this should include published explanations and apologies at the very least by your co-editor and the NYJM editor-in-chief.

Thank you for your time and understanding.

Ted Hill


NOTE: Comprehensive supporting documents related to Hill's Quillette article will be posted online soon.