January 4, 2013
Friday Fun: Info Antics, Not Metrics; When Counting Mickey Mouse Clicks Trump Content Analysis
Recently, fatally flawed number crunching antics that appears to be unique to tax profs when they venture outside of their realm of expertise have been in the law prof blogosphere spotlight. For example, Chicago Law prof Brian Leiter comments on the latest release in Paul Caron's ritual of publishing law prof blog traffic rankings :
Breaking Development: Actual Law Blog Makes the "Top 5" in Traffic Rankings... ...of blogs by law professors. The honor goes to a blog on patent law, no less! Meanwhile, the key to having a popular blog remains simple: be a right-wing crazy or blog about philosophy.
In other words, only one of the so-called "Top 5" ranked blogs based on Caron's info antics has anything to do with publishing legal content and analysis by law profs. Just being a "law prof" is good enough. Let's add that studies have shown that about 50% of web traffic, including blogs, can be attributed to robots, etc. Meaning only about one-half of logged traffic can be attributed to humans.
Then there is Caron's latest mouse click counts for his SSRN download ranking for tax profs. Paul Campos spots the problem when raw data trumps content analysis:
[Being a tax prof] Seto's high ranking is solely a product of the fact that three quarters of his SSRN downloads come from three papers that have nothing to do with tax law (this fact is significant in this context because tax papers are written for a highly specialized audience).
Law professorial ego being what it is, Mickey Mouse info antics such as the above examples do drive traffic to TaxProf Blog for hot diggity dog faculty lounge fodder. No doubt there will be more in 2013.
I didn’t make this list of the 25 most influential people in legal education. That pisses me off. I’m going to start writing about how people shouldn’t trust legal educators because law schools are only interested in profits and not the employment outcomes of their students. That’ll show ‘em!
Yup, One has to take the risk of ego-brusing by stating an original opinion about something to be influential in any way, shape or form. Good luck trying to find that in TaxProf Blog posts or SSRN "scholarship" in either tax or legal education authored by the "Blog Emperor".[JH]