In this question, How to withdraw an under review manuscript from a journal when you decide you want to submit to another journal with a higher impact factor?, the asker is told pretty clearly—in multiple ways—that it's totally unacceptable to withdraw your paper for this reason. Indeed, some might think the answer apparent, but the OP obviously didn't, and came to the Academia Stack Exchange to seek some help.

One of the responses' fist paragraph was the following:

Editors are reading these sites too. Like me and the editor who posted this link on a large editor list serve I'm included in. I'll be keeping an eye out for your papers (as will they) and save you the trouble of wasting me and my reviewers' time by desk rejecting your papers as they come in.

Is this type of thing... allowed?

If so, why? I think this sets a pretty crappy precedent.

(There are also some good points mentioned in the comments to that response that I won't replicate here; I flagged the post, but will [reluctantly!] unflag it if the consensus is that this is allowed, and ok.)

  • 3
    Note that the issue was a now deleted answer that is now only visible to 10k+ rep users.
    – StrongBad
    Commented Jun 17, 2017 at 13:13
  • 2
    This is pretty blatant doxxing / blackballing. I feel like something more serious then just deleting the answer needs to be done about this.
    – Magisch
    Commented Jun 19, 2017 at 8:53
  • @Magisch if the OP wants something more done, although I am not sure what that could be, they can get in touch with the SE team with the contact us link.
    – StrongBad
    Commented Jun 19, 2017 at 17:48
  • @StrongBad I would not be against something more being done—but I'm also not sure what it could be (and I'm not a very frequent Academia SE user, much less its Meta). The offender's account looks new, too, so even if something more could be done I get the feeling he made the account exclusively for that post. Commented Jun 20, 2017 at 0:39
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    @StrongBad We can probably assume that OP (who it seems made this account to ask the question) has been scared off academia SE for good now. The problem is with what this represents. OP asked an unethical (ignorantly so though) question a beginner might have and got thoroughly shafted for it, especially since they used their real name. IMO SE needs to heavily crack down on this to avoid it happening ever again - This kind of stuff is what makes people afraid to ask questions.
    – Magisch
    Commented Jun 20, 2017 at 6:08
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    I'm slightly guilty of this, in that I said something similar in a not-quite-so-threatening way: as an editor/reviewer, I really hope that this person doesn't submit to my publications, because I would worry I would end up wasting my time. (This led to a lot of back-and-forth with another member arguing that journals take advantage of authors so there's nothing wrong with authors taking advantage of journals. I disagree.) But to the extent that I expected OP to be able to reason that it might be wasting people's time, rather than ask, I may have been overly snide, and regret it. Commented Jun 20, 2017 at 22:50

2 Answers 2


I do not consider this answer acceptable because it violates be nice, in particular:

  • Be welcoming, be patient, and assume good intentions.

  • Don't be a jerk. These are just a few examples. If you see them, flag them: […] Harassment and bullying. If you see a hostile interaction, flag it.

Threatening or scaring users, in particular with consequences outside of this site, clearly violates this. This answer should be deleted as soon as possible.

Is allowing it, in effect, discouraging questions?

Sure, but there are far better reasons to delete this post.

  • So what if they would not have had referred to themselves in their answer, but would have written it in a more "Imagine someone posts this in an editors mailing list. Some of them might be inclined to not accept your future submissions anymore." Then it would have been okay?
    – skymningen
    Commented Jun 19, 2017 at 8:29
  • @skymningen: Assuming that they are not obviously being hypothetical only to avoid making explicit threats (“Nice restaurant; shame if anything happened to it.”), yes, that would not be violating be nice anymore. I would not consider this part necessarily good though, as it is overly pessimistic and not addressing the question.
    – Wrzlprmft Mod
    Commented Jun 19, 2017 at 8:46
  • If they are just masking the fact that it actually happened with a more nice/polite formulation I can't see how that is overly pessimistic. (They are only being hypothetical to avoid being impolite. Actually, it could be seen as a polite move to inform the OP, that their question actually was posted on the mailinglist.)
    – skymningen
    Commented Jun 19, 2017 at 8:49
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    @skymningen: I am not talking about masking reality; I am talking about masking a threat/bullying. If the question was actually linked on some mailing list and somebody on that mailing list announced that they were blacklisting the asker (which strongly I doubt, by the way), this information could have been communicated in a neutral manner. By contrast the author of the answer in question endorsed those actions and claimed to take part in them. There’s a long way between “be careful, bad things may happen to you” and “bad things should happen to you; I took steps to make it more likely”.
    – Wrzlprmft Mod
    Commented Jun 19, 2017 at 8:59

The threats were inappropriate and definitely a violation of our be nice policy. I have deleted the answer. If a 10k+ user thinks they can salvage the answer, please edit and flag for attention so it can be undeleted.

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