Bad Reviews — Part II

Yesterday I posted part I of my bad conference review war stories. Today, I’m posting part II — and, hopefully, last! This was the first incident I experienced with bad reviews, and it illustrates the phenomenon much better.

This incident happened back in 2007 on a technical paper we submitted to the International Conference on Software Engineering. The paper was rejected. The first review was negative but quite reasonable and very helpful for improving the paper, which we decided to submit to, and was eventually published in, the journal of Data Mining and Knowledge Discovery. The second review was positive. The third review, the one that probably killed the paper, was negative and appallingly bad. It read like a caricature of a review, as if someone at The Onion might have produced it.  I was beyond mad with this 3rd review; I was embarrassed — my co-author is a colleague who had never published in Software Engineering venues (he’s a Statistician / Bioinformatician); how could I possibly represent the Software Engineering research community given a review like that?

So I did what any hacker would do. I demonstrated the ridicule of that review, and others like it, by writing a little tool that automatically generates a review like that one, for any CS paper.

Here it is: The Incredible C Software Engineering Review Generator.
Come on, throw one of your papers at it, and get an insta- Reject!


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