Archive for June, 2012

The following email was sent to Ronald Altmann on 17 May 2012 regarding one of the qualification requirements for his Polymathiq Society.

While I would have been surprised to actually receive a substantive reply, there has been no acknowledgement that my message has been received, or even a Foxtrot Oscar type response.

The two most likely inferences are that the Society is defunct, and Ronald Altmann probably never was a real person but a screen alias of one of the members.

This was what I wrote in the email:

I think this is a very interesting project you’ve got going here, if indeed it is still up and running.
I would ask that you humour me in answering my question. On the page cited below, you request that prospective members submit “Five examples of original theories…”
I work in the field of intellectual property law, and my colleagues could have a field day if asked to define exactly what constitutes an “original theory”, and adjudicating whether a particular piece of writing constitutes an original theory.
How original is original? A patent attorney colleague and a trade mark lawyer colleague could not give a definitive answer, as it depends greatly upon what exactly the work in question is and the jurisdiction in which it is being submitted for publication. An engineering professor said he uses the “5% guideline”, i.e. “original” is if the concept is at least 5% removed from any other invention. A publisher stated that a work can be considered original if it is the author’s own work, i.e. no copypasting that could get either author or publisher sued later on!
There are clearly a lot of subjective opinions about what constitutes original work.
Supposing an author wrote a thesis on what he/she believed to be an original topic, but then later discovered that the same ideas had been discussed in another’s work? Where does one sensibly draw the line?
I would be most interested in how you would define “original theory” so that it clarifies the term to the satisfaction of myself and my legal beagle friends.
If you don’t answer I’ll have to assume Polymathiq Society is defunct.
Kind regards,
[my real name]

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