A long time ago, I wasted an afternoon or two reading the stories of the Bastard Operator From Hell, who does everything he can to not help. There is for example a whole list of excuses. Some of my favorites:

  • Parallel processors running perpendicular today
  • Firewall needs cooling
  • What you are experiencing is not a problem; it is an undocumented feature.
  • ...

We liked this so much that we decided to do the Bastard Reviewer From Hell page. The element listed here are from two categories: some of them are brain-dead remarks we received by people reviewing our works while the other are stuff we would have loved to write in a review without daring (well. some of us definitely dare write them, but not me -- I promise ;)

This thus can be seen as the place where to unwind for both frustrated authors who got their good paper rejected and frustrated reviewers who got another dozen of stupid paper to refer. If you feel like you need to contribute something, feel free to drop me a mail.

(some serious thoughts about it can be found at the bottom of this page)

List of Bastard Reviewer From Hell excuses

  • There is no experimental demonstration of your theorem.
  • My name only appears in the Acknowledgements section where I could have signed this paper.
  • I am convinced that this paper does not met the usual quality standard, but I still recommand its acceptation since I'm marked as a co-author, sorry.
  • I wish I wasn't a co-author of this paper, I could have say what I really think of its quality.
  • You shoudl let a native english speaker reads the paper to checking the ortographe and gramar of the paper.
  • Your contribution is so trivial that somebody must have published this somewhere already.
  • I may have accepted your paper, but I had better things to do so I didn't read it.
  • I had a headache just by looking at the data structures of your linear-time optimal algorithm. No doubt an exhaustive algorithm would be more efficient in practice.
  • Reject: Figure 3 is unclear.
  • Your research agenda is so outdated that your results are on a Wikipedia page already.
  • Being 37% better than a complete moron does not make you a genius.
  • This article does not deserve the paper and ink used to print it.
  • In the future, don't waste your time writing articles manually. Use a generator such as http://pdos.csail.mit.edu/scigen/ to ensure they are gramatically correct, if not instructive.
  • I can't believe the authors took the time to present, analyze and prove an algorithm for this middle-school problem.
  • Honnestly, I really wonder whether this article is a joke or not. Anyway, I can assure you it gave me a good laugh and put me in a good mood for the rest of the day.
  • The used notations are unclear and confusing. Since clear writing leads to clear thinking, I doubt that the authors really understood their own article.
  • The only merit of this paper is to demonstrate all what you have to not do when writing an article.
  • The practical effectiveness of the algorithm may be somewhat overstated since the experimental results prove its inability to fulfill its goals.
  • Strengths: What are the major reasons to accept the paper? [Be brief.]
    I did not find strengths; I stopped reading the paper on page 12, so I may have missed something.

  • This paper is original, well written and fully matches the topic, but its subject is so boring that I strongly recommend its rejection.
  • Some Monthy Python sketches are far more logical than this paper.
  • This paper needs a major rewrite to fix the English, make it more concise, explain clearly what exactly is the performance evaluation methodology, and how it is different from the obvious. (this one was seen for real as I was PC member...)

BRFH at PhD comics

Here is a great PhD comic related to the BRFH

BRFH on tweeter

The #overlyhonestreviews hash tag gather things that would be well received in our list, such as:

  • This reviewer clearly spent more time reviewing the paper than the authors did writing it.
  • The authors should perform additional control experiments to buy time for my grad student to scoop them.
  • Please fix grammar throughout, typos on pages 1,3,4,5 and 7, delete figure 1 and table 3. I'll reject the next revision.
  • This is a great idea- it was even better when it was first published in 1968.
  • Editor just reminded me the deadline. So here is what I can say from the title, figures and reference section.
  • Your paper is now worse since you made reviewer 1's changes but ignored mine.
  • To maximize relevance for a global audience, we have extensively re-written the title of the paper.
  • Had you considered maybe reading some papers in the field before writing one?
  • Your attempts to flatter me by citing my work would have been more successful if you had not misrepresented my views.
  • I think the second bottle of white wine is helping me make sense of your overuse of complicated maths.
  • This paper is inconsequential and the results are insignificant, but one of only four submitted for this month's issue. Accept.
  • An interesting & original paper; but the interesting bits are not original, and the original bits are not interesting.
  • A comprehensive list of the flaws in this paper would require a review longer than the paper itself.
  • Your own figures make it clear that either statement X is a lie, or that you are incompetent. Most likely both.
  • I forgot the deadline was today and your introduction seemed OK. Accept.
  • Recommend accepting this paper as it's not noticeably worse than other papers published by your journal.
  • Thank you for the revision. However, now that I can understand what you did, your methods are clearly flawed. Reject.
  • I know your advisor wants you to submit papers, but you still need to do some decent research first.
  • The correlation you get from plotting x/y against x is not as meaningful as you seem to think.

BRFH elsewhere on the net

Serious takes of that problem