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First the link to this week’s complete list as HTML and as PDF.
The real null-hypothesis Iliev et al. are testing against is, that words and texts are nothing but meaningless random noise. If there is a content, and if this content or its distribution is determined by external circumstances, then their tests 2 to 4 are meaningless and prove nothing. This is not the case for the linear trend in test 1 but here too they failed to take an important point into account. Language is a social construct and learnt. There is an observable trend towards more restrained and muted language, which still conveys the full range of meaning to those initiated to it, and words used to conveigh strong feelings years ago may today be understood as ironic. So a downward trend in wording need not mean a downward trend in conveyed and subjectively understood meaning.
For newspapers it is well established that they predominantly report bad things in the world. So if their wording significantly and consistently leans to the positive, there is something there to be explained and Iliev et al. have not done it.
The DGUF, a German archaeological professional society, have placed all their publications under the least restrictive CC licence CC-BY . Of course what they do is their choice, although as an individual member I have a tiny say in it, but what they write about it is factual nonsense:
This means author and DGUF allow third parties the free use of content, as long as all use credits the originator and names the source and its license – exactly the same as what is long established in German science as the right to quote and its associated obligations.[Translation and emphasis FAB]
If this were the case, what use would the license be and why the need for it? At least two misuses spring to mind:
“edited by Malicious E. Forger”in tiny ones. To prevent this, use CC-BY-ND . As stated above, this does not limit the generally accepted uses of quotes in any way.
Whatever the DGUF and its individual authors decide to do, their statement above is factually wrong and highly misleading and should be redrawn and reworded as soon as possible.
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