The Complete Mystery of Madeleine McCann™
Hello!

A very warm welcome to The Complete Mystery of Madeleine McCann™️ forum.

Please log in, or register to view all the forums, then settle in and help us get to the truth about what really happened to Madeleine Beth McCann. Please note that your username should be different from your email address!

When posting please be mindful that this forum is primarily about the death of a three year old girl.

(Please note: if you register with the sole intention of disrupting or spamming, please don't expect to be a member for too long.)

Many thanks,

Jill Havern
Forum owner

A complaint to the Academic Ethics Committee of Huddersfield University (and others) about a research paper by Dr John Synnott on ‘Anti-McCann Trolls’

Page 1 of 2 1, 2  Next

View previous topic View next topic Go down

A complaint to the Academic Ethics Committee of Huddersfield University (and others) about a research paper by Dr John Synnott on ‘Anti-McCann Trolls’

Post by Get'emGonçalo on 21.03.17 13:07

A complaint to the Academic Ethics Committee of Huddersfield University (and others) about a research paper by Dr John Synnott on ‘Anti-McCann Trolls’

I have sent a detailed letter, on behalf of members of CMOMM, to the Huddersfield University Ethics Committee about the flawed research project of Dr John Synnott, discussed on this thread:
 

I have also sent it to the following publishers of the research: Nature, and Elsevier B.V. (publishers of ‘Computers in Human Behaviour’, where the full research article was published).

The letter has also been sent to the Chairman of the Ethics Committee of the British Psychological Society and the International Academy of Investigative Professionals, to whom Dr Synnott belongs.

The research was seriously flawed, yet was written up in one of the world’s premier scientific journals, Nature, and in several newspapers including one of the world’s leading newspapers, the Washington Post. For these and other reasons, a strong protest needs to be registered and heard.

Thank you Tony for raising this issue in the first place, and many thanks to every other member who has helped to compile what is a long letter.

I won’t reproduce all of it, just the Executive Summary and the bit about ‘Our Interest’ i.e. why we’re making a big fuss about this research. I’ll just give the headings for the rest of the letter.

I’ll keep you all posted with any replies

Jill

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

From: Jill Havern and members of ‘The Complete Mystery of Madeleine McCann’

Monday, 20 March 2017

Dear Professor Philllps, Dr Synnott and all other recipients,

The conduct of Dr John Synnott and his co-researchers in their research project on ‘Anti-McCann Trolls’ – Multiple Breaches of Academic Standards and Ethics

I write on behalf of my forum and my members to express serious concern about the conduct of two of your researchers, Dr John Synott and Dr Maria Ioannou, and a student researcher at Portsmouth University, Andrea Coulais, in the way they carried out a research project titled: “Online trolling: The case of Madeleine McCann”.

Executive Summary

This letter has been composed by and is sent by several members of ‘The Complete Mystery of Madeleine McCann’, the leading Madeleine McCann discussion forum on the internet, currently with over 7,100 members. Some of the contributors to this letter have substantial academic experience. The forum as a whole doubts the McCanns’ version of events, along with dozens of other Madeleine discussion forum, blogs and websites, for very good reasons. At the same time, any abuse or hate towards the McCanns is not tolerated on our site, and on the rare occasions where such abuse has crept in, members were promptly expelled. Forum members include professionals such as police officers and experts in statement analysis and other forensic disciplines such as DNA and photography.


Dr J Synnott’s research project is seriously flawed for the following reasons, which are explained in more detail below.
 
1 The entire project is founded on the false claim that the McCanns have been declared, or may assumed to be, ‘innocent’. That was never the case. When the Portuguese police shelved the case in July 2008 they specifically declared that no-one was being prosecuted because there was insufficient evidence of either (a) abduction or (b) hiding Madeleine’s body. More recently, in January this year, the Portuguese Supreme Court, in deciding that the McCanns had lost their long-running libel case against the original investigation co-ordinator, Dr Gonçalo Amaral, declared that the McCanns were incorrect in claiming that the police had ‘cleared’ them.

2 The researchers wrongly assumed that there were no valid reasons for doubting the McCanns’ account of how Madeleine disappeared. 

3 The value of the research project was thus fatally undermined by a theme running throughout the research project, viz.: The McCann-doubters (‘anti-McCanns’) are wrong, and therefore not motivated by seeking the truth, and are bad people, while the McCann-supporters (‘pro-McCanns’) are right, have pure motives and are good people.
 
4 One of the researchers, Andrea Coulias, who became a member of the #McCann hashtag on Twitter for six weeks to interact with the ‘anti-McCanns’, grossly misled the entire hashtag by falsely representing that one particular research project (Lasseter) showed that cadaver and blood dogs were ’unreliable’. She had absolutely no basis for saying that.

5 Moreover, the cadaver dog evidence in the Madeleine McCann case consisted of 17 separate alerts to either corpse scent or blood in the following locations associated with the McCanns; their apartment (lounge, master bedroom, veranda and garden); their hired car; three of their clothes, and personal items. These were carried out by a top British dog handler, Martin Grime, who was recommended by the top agency for British policing, the National Crime Agency, whose cadaver dogs did have a 100% track record of success in trials, contrary to Ms Coulias’ misinformation, and who was headhunted by the FBI in the U.S. and now works for them.
 
6 For these and other reasons set out below, the three researchers (and those who peer-reviewed this work) have brought the University of Huddersfield and the science of forensic psychology into disrepute.
 
7 In addition, on several occasions, Andrea Coulias was guilty of the very conduct she was supposed to be investigating e.g. mocking, belittling and goading the anti-McCanns.
 
8 Andria Coulais’ conduct undermined many of the assertions she made about the anti-McCanns’ conduct, which she grossly misrepresented.
 
9 Several examples of clear researcher bias are noted.
 
10 The researchers did not use or even mention dictionary definitions of trolls, and in any event didn’t define anywhere what they meant by a ‘troll’, once again undermining the entire research project.
 
11 Numerous assertions were made without any substantiation for them.
 
12 The entire research report is littered with tendentious subjective assessments.
 
13 The report is so bad that it must be withdrawn as soon as practicable.
 
14 The University will need to contact any and all media who published details of this seriously flawed research project and seek an appropriate correction
 
15 A formal apology should be made via the #McCann hashtag in respect of the misinformation she introduced on that hashtag, namely falsely accusing McCann-doubters of ‘rejecting science’.


Our interest

By way of background, let me explain our interest in that research project. I am the owner of an internet forum, the Complete Mystery of Madeleine McCann. I founded it in November 2009 and it has had steady growth since then. We now have over 7,100 members. I can say without fear of contradiction that it is the most popular and most-read internet forum covering the Madeleine McCann case.

Its main purpose is to search for the truth about what really happened to Madeleine McCann, by bringing together researchers who pool their information and analyses of the evidence. Our forum takes a sceptical view of the McCanns’ and the British police’s view of the case. None of my members can fairly be described, by any stretch of the precise meaning of the word, as ‘trolls’. Indeed, were I to become aware that any of my members have indulged in what might be termed ’trolling‘ behaviour, I would ban them and, on occasions, have done so. Whilst members may have robust views on certain matters and may be critical of the McCanns and their advisers and backers, it does not indulge in anything that could be described as ’hate’ or ‘abuse’. Bad language of any kind is not tolerated.

I will also add that some of my most active members are those with professional or academic qualifications who use their expertise to analyse the case in depth. They include forensics experts, photographic experts, former police officers and solicitors.

We are also part of an international effort to seek the truth about Madeleine McCann, which is concentrated in Britain and Portugal but extends to forums and internet sites in many other countries, including the U.S., Germany and the Netherlands.

Another of our concerns is what has amounted to a form of hysteria generated on occasions by constant references to ‘anti-McCann trolls’. This reached its zenith in August and September 2014, just before your researchers carried out their work in 2015. References were made at the time to a ‘dossier’ of nasty tweets and internet messages by ‘anti-McCann trolls’. The media referred to the dossier as having been compiled by a ‘McCann supporter’. The dossier was handed to the Metropolitan Police, who made public pronouncements on the dossier (I should add that, later, the police publicly acknowledged that the dossier did not contain any messages that could be drafted as constituting a criminal offence).

The media at the time (August 2014) quoted Madeleine’s father, Gerry McCann - who had been active in the ‘Hacked Off’ campaign which aimed to suppress freedom of the press - as saying that such internet trolls must be severely punished. He publicly called for prosecutions of trolls who ‘should be made an example of’.

What followed shortly after his remarks, and the news about the above ‘dossier’, was the door-stepping - by SKY News Crime Correspondent, Martin Brunt - of a 60-year-old Leicestershire divorcee, Brenda Leyland, who had been active on the #McCann hashtag on Twitter, the very area of the internet chosen by your researchers to examine, just months later. This door-stepping took place on Tuesday 30 September.

It would be right to say that some of Brenda Leyland’s tweets were abusive about the McCanns, and a few contained bad language. However, so far as I am aware, she did not contact the McCanns via Twitter or otherwise, nor make any threats against them. She was also very knowledgeable about the details of the case. She was on the #McCann hashtag exchanging views robustly with those like her who did not believe the McCanns’ account of events, and with many others who were fervent supporters of the McCanns and would brook no criticism of them. There was a degree of abuse and bad language on both sides and it would be difficult to say that either ‘side’ was worse than the other. McCann-doubters who engage on Twitter are a tiny minority of the thousands on the internet who post doubts about the McCanns’ account of events and are not representative of them

On that day (30 September 2014), Brunt having door-stepped Brenda Leyland and later interviewed her in her own home, she confided in him that she felt suicidal at being exposed as a ‘troll’. Despite this, and knowing that Brenda Leyland was a vulnerable divorcee living alone, Martin Brunt and the editors of SKY News transmitted the doorstepping episode of her every 15 minutes throughout the following day. She fled from her home the day after, staying at the Marriott Hotel, Enderby, Leicestershire, just next to Leicestershire Constabulary headquarters where, on Saturday 4 October - just two days later - she was found dead, having - according to the subsequent Inquest - killed herself with an overdose of helium gas.

So we have already had one death as a result of a hysteria about ’anti-McCann trolls’. Your research project has been featured in the scientific journal Nature and published in many newspapers in Britain and in the U.S. We do not want one more ‘Brenda Leyland’. That is one of the reasons why we on our forum require you to carry out an immediate and rigorous examination of the conduct and contents of this research. .

My other concern is that the publicity generated by your research project feeds the myth that anyone who doubts the abduction narrative promoted by the McCanns, the British police and the media, must be some kind of nasty, abusive troll. Please look at my forum and you will discover a huge volume of high quality information, research and analysis that would force any neutral individual to consider the possibility that Madeleine McCann died in her parents’ holiday apartment and that her body was hidden.

Many professionals believe that Madeleine McCann died in her holiday apartment.

I would first of all draw your attention to a lengthy article by one of the most eminent forensic psychologists in Germany, Dr Christian Ludke. In a forensic science journal, he suggested there were ‘numerous indications’ that the McCanns were guilty of covering up the death of Madeleine. Likewise, Daniela Prousa, German psychiatrist and author, wrote: Analyse des Vermisstenfalles Madeleine McCann (An analysis of the case of missing Madeleine McCann). Using what she described as ‘Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis’, she also concluded from her analysis that Madeleine McCann died in her parents’ apartment.

Another Forensic Psychologist who states that Madeleine died in her parents’ holiday apartment is Dr Paulo Sargento, a University Professor, Forensic Psychologist and author in Portugal. He has published numerous articles suggesting that the McCanns are not telling the truth about what happened to Madeleine.

You will also be aware that the original co-ordinator of the Portuguese criminal investigation into Madeleine’s disappearance, Dr Gonçalo Amaral, wrote a book, ‘The Truth about a Lie’, setting out in detail the conclusions of himself and his colleagues that Madeleine died in her holiday apartment.

A noted Criminal Profiler in the U.S., Pat Brown, has published a book in the U.S. setting out the same conclusion. Another U.S. book, ‘Faked Abduction’, by Brian Johnson, sets out in 400 pages why the evidence points to Madeleine McCann having died in the McCanns’ apartment.

Many other prominent figures have also suggested that the McCanns have not told the truth about what happened to Madeleine. Here are a few examples:

John Redwood MP: “The McCanns’ theory that the girl was abducted needs evidence to support it…”

John Stalker, well-known, retired, police detective: “The McCanns are hiding a big secret”.

Wendy Murphy, former U.S. prosecutor and child protection expert: “I’m not buying it. You hire the nation’s biggest defence attorneys, PR firms, yet refuse to answer police questions?”

Christopher Friend, well-known U.S. commentator and writer: “The McCanns need to come clean now”. [ http://freindlyfirezone.com/home/item/19-mccanns-needs-to-come-clean-now ] .


Key criticisms of Dr Synnott’s research

C1 The genesis of the article and the peer review process

C2 Was Madeleine McCann abducted? – the central assumption that undermines the entirely validity of this research project

C3 The researchers’ basis for saying that Madeleine was abducted

C4 Our response to the researchers’ basis for saying that Madeleine was abducted

C5 The Lasseter Report

C6 Challenges to the research paper’s claims about the unreliability of cadaver dogs
C6a. Evidence of the reliability of cadaver dogs:
C6b. Academic links and general references:
C6c. “Incredibly Unreliable”
C6d. Author’s observations (PeterMac’)

C7 What was Lasseter’s study all about, and how should it be interpreted?


C8 What definition of the word ‘troll’ was used by the researchers?

C9 Is ‘trolling’ illegal?

C10 The ‘anti-McCann trolls’ reactions to the researcher

C11 Bias

C12 ‘Doing harm’ – Breach of the researchers’ Code of Ethics

C13 Sampling of tweets to be studied

C14 ‘Disassociation from group’: Part 3.5.1.2. & Social Indicators: Part 3.6

C15 The definition of ‘good parenting’

C16 ‘Unfounded allegations that the McCanns themselves formed part of a paedophile ring’


C17 The researchers’ interpretations

C18 ‘Unsubtantiated’ news reports implicating the McCanns in Madeleine’s disappearance

C19 Were the McCanns too controlled in their response to Madeleine’s disappearance?

C20 Uncanny echoes about ‘trolls causing damage’ of Gerry McCann’s attacks on internet trolls in 2014

C21 Pro-McCann Trolls – why were they not investigated?
 
C22 How the University of Huddersfield research paper has been reported in the media

C22a The Nature article, 15 February 2017
C22b. The article in Phys.org, 15 February 2017
C22c. The article on the Science Direct website
C22d Newspaper and internet reports of the research: Appendices 4 to 9

C23. Was there an agenda?


Attached: Appendices 1 to 11

Appendix 1: The article in Nature:
Appendix 2: The article in Phys.org
Appendix 3: The article in Science Direct
Appendix 4: The article at
http://www.fudzilla.com/news/42890-internet-trolls-cannot-be-cured
Appendix 5: Washington Post, 2 Mar 2017
Appendix 6: Daily Mirror, 3 March, 2017
Appendix 7: Sun, 4 March 2017
Appendix 8: University of Huddersfield
Appendix 9: Huddersfield Daily Examiner, 6 March, 2017
Appendix 10: The full article in Computers in Human Behaviour
Appendix 11: Tweets on a Forum of Pro-McCanns, August 2014
avatar
Get'emGonçalo


Posts : 10151
Reputation : 5118
Join date : 2009-11-25
Location : parallel universe

http://gerrymccan-abuseofpower-humanrights.blogspot.co.uk/

Back to top Go down

Re: A complaint to the Academic Ethics Committee of Huddersfield University (and others) about a research paper by Dr John Synnott on ‘Anti-McCann Trolls’

Post by Keitei on 21.03.17 16:09

Perfect, just perfect. Thank you Get'emGonçalo! thumbsup

____________________
Those who play games do not see as clearly as those who watch. 
avatar
Keitei
Researcher/Moderator

Posts : 873
Reputation : 250
Join date : 2015-10-12

Back to top Go down

Re: A complaint to the Academic Ethics Committee of Huddersfield University (and others) about a research paper by Dr John Synnott on ‘Anti-McCann Trolls’

Post by ChippyM on 21.03.17 16:44

Well done for all the hard work and making it so thorough.

 I think they will try and dismiss any complaint on the basis of it being peer reviewed. So many people consider peer review as infallible. 
   It's hard to believe they would try and get away with such a biased excuse for a study thats true purpose seems to be to discredit the dogs finding in one particular case - and point out one particular group of 'trolls' need to be silenced. At least now that has been put to them officially.



NOTE from GEG: Extract from my letter:

re: "I think they will try and dismiss any complaint on the basis of it being peer reviewed. So many people consider peer review as infallible", I wrote: 

"We therefore have concerns about several issues. Why was this particular research project devised? Out of all the countless threads on Twitter where internet trolls tend to operate, why was this particular hashtag suggested? Was any approach made by anyone representing the McCanns to carry out this project? Was any payment made to facilitate this research, if so by whom and why?

"Further, why was this article selected for publication by Nature? Did the researchers approach Nature? When was this article accepted by Nature for publication? What was the ‘peer review’ process for this article? Who were the peer reviewers? - and did any of them enter any note of caution about the academic standards in the article?"

ChippyM

Posts : 1281
Reputation : 421
Join date : 2013-06-15

Back to top Go down

Re: A complaint to the Academic Ethics Committee of Huddersfield University (and others) about a research paper by Dr John Synnott on ‘Anti-McCann Trolls’

Post by Mirage on 21.03.17 16:54

The above letter is an example of rigorous research and exposition that Synnott could usefully learn from. I've never come across anything  so banal masquerading as research as his codswallop.

Thank you, Jill et al.

Mirage

Posts : 1904
Reputation : 757
Join date : 2013-02-01

Back to top Go down

Re: A complaint to the Academic Ethics Committee of Huddersfield University (and others) about a research paper by Dr John Synnott on ‘Anti-McCann Trolls’

Post by sallypelt on 21.03.17 17:49

A fantastic piece of writing clapping clapping
Well done, Jill, and everyone else who contributed to this scholarly article.
  It makes me proud to be a member of this forum, and only of this forum.

bravo

sallypelt

Posts : 3652
Reputation : 809
Join date : 2012-11-10

Back to top Go down

Re: A complaint to the Academic Ethics Committee of Huddersfield University (and others) about a research paper by Dr John Synnott on ‘Anti-McCann Trolls’

Post by Judex on 21.03.17 17:59

sallypelt wrote:A fantastic piece of writing clapping clapping
Well done, Jill, and everyone else who contributed to this scholarly article.
  It makes me proud to be a member of this forum, and only of this forum.

bravo

Hear hear! Well done to all concerned. That insult to genuine academic standards of research (and methods) could not go unchallenged.

Judex

Posts : 88
Reputation : 85
Join date : 2014-04-30

Back to top Go down

Re: A complaint to the Academic Ethics Committee of Huddersfield University (and others) about a research paper by Dr John Synnott on ‘Anti-McCann Trolls’

Post by whatsupdoc on 21.03.17 18:57

An excellent letter, Jill. clapping1

____________________
All in my opinion.
avatar
whatsupdoc

Posts : 601
Reputation : 320
Join date : 2011-08-04

Back to top Go down

Re: A complaint to the Academic Ethics Committee of Huddersfield University (and others) about a research paper by Dr John Synnott on ‘Anti-McCann Trolls’

Post by plebgate on 21.03.17 20:24

Well done Jill, Tony and everyone else.


It's great to be able to come and visit and post on this site where the majority of posters seem to be fair minded, intelligent people.

A site like this gives hope after reading all that is going wrong in UK and the world in general.

Bravo.   clapping

____________________
Judge Judy to shifty  witnesses   -    LOOK AT ME  -   Um is not an answer.

If I forget to add it to a post everything is In My Opinion and I don't know anything for sure.
Rolling Eyes

plebgate

Posts : 6105
Reputation : 1766
Join date : 2013-02-01

Back to top Go down

Re: A complaint to the Academic Ethics Committee of Huddersfield University (and others) about a research paper by Dr John Synnott on ‘Anti-McCann Trolls’

Post by Judex on 21.03.17 20:37

plebgate wrote:Well done Jill, Tony and everyone else.


It's great to be able to come and visit and post on this site where the majority of posters seem to be fair minded, intelligent people.

A site like this gives hope after reading all that is going wrong in UK and the world in general.

Bravo.   clapping

A couple of important points which may not have been addressed in the full version of Jill and Tony's letter...

From where, and from whom, did the initial request or decision come to undertake this Huddersfield 'research.'

Was any 'research' funding sought/offered or given/accepted? If so, from where precisely did it come?

Judex

Posts : 88
Reputation : 85
Join date : 2014-04-30

Back to top Go down

Re: A complaint to the Academic Ethics Committee of Huddersfield University (and others) about a research paper by Dr John Synnott on ‘Anti-McCann Trolls’

Post by JohnyT on 21.03.17 20:42

Judex wrote:
plebgate wrote:Well done Jill, Tony and everyone else.


It's great to be able to come and visit and post on this site where the majority of posters seem to be fair minded, intelligent people.

A site like this gives hope after reading all that is going wrong in UK and the world in general.

Bravo.   clapping

A couple of important points which may not have been addressed...

From where, and from whom, did the initial request or decision come to undertake this 'research.'

Was any 'research' funding sought/offered or given/accepted? If so, from where precisely did it come?
A couple of good questions there.......

JohnyT

Posts : 191
Reputation : 89
Join date : 2014-06-01

Back to top Go down

Re: A complaint to the Academic Ethics Committee of Huddersfield University (and others) about a research paper by Dr John Synnott on ‘Anti-McCann Trolls’

Post by JulieC on 21.03.17 20:46

Congratulations to all involved with the letter. 

So well written and researched.  clapping
avatar
JulieC

Posts : 79
Reputation : 74
Join date : 2017-03-10
Age : 53

Back to top Go down

Re: A complaint to the Academic Ethics Committee of Huddersfield University (and others) about a research paper by Dr John Synnott on ‘Anti-McCann Trolls’

Post by sandancer on 21.03.17 21:03

Superb , thank you to all concerned​ 

It's​ great to be​ a small​ part​ of this​ amazing forum 

Tonight I'm raising​ a glass​ to all of you , to Goncalo Amaral and to Madeleine      thanks clapping1

____________________
Be humble for you​ are made​ of earth . Be noble for you​ are made of stars .
avatar
sandancer

Posts : 510
Reputation : 763
Join date : 2016-02-18
Age : 64
Location : Tyneside

Back to top Go down

Re: A complaint to the Academic Ethics Committee of Huddersfield University (and others) about a research paper by Dr John Synnott on ‘Anti-McCann Trolls’

Post by Rogue-a-Tory on 21.03.17 22:40

Has the funder of this shoddy piece of research been established? Apologies if this has been covered elsewhere.




================

Answering you and also Judex, who wrote:

"A couple of important points which may not have been addressed in the full version of Jill and Tony's letter... From where, and from whom, did the initial request or decision come to undertake this Huddersfield 'research.' Was any 'research' funding sought/offered or given/accepted? If so, from where precisely did it come?"

These matters were raised in Section C1 of the letter:

"We therefore have concerns about several issues. Why was this particular research project devised? Out of all the countless threads on Twitter where internet trolls tend to operate, why was this particular hashtag suggested? Was any approach made by anyone representing the McCanns to carry out this project? Was any payment made to facilitate this research, if so by whom and why?

"Further, why was this article selected for publication by Nature? Did the researchers approach Nature? When was this article accepted by Nature for publication? What was the ‘peer review’ process for this article? Who were the peer reviewers? - and did any of them enter any note of caution about the academic standards in the article?"

And Section C23 raised these issues; but whether all these reasonable questions will be answered remains to be seen:

Was there an agenda?

"A major question for the academic board of reference to examine in this case is whether or not the researchers had a preconceived agenda that biased and flawed their research. I think there are several indications that this is the case, and these are:
1 The possible connection between Andria Coulias and Dr Sharon Leal, both of the University of Portsmouth. Dr Leal on the TV documentary ‘The Lying Game - Crimes that Fooled Britain’, was promoted as an expert in lying on that programme and stated that in her opinion the McCanns were ‘100% innocent’. She did not evidence that assertion. She did not say that she had read all the evidence in the Portuguese  police files or discussed elsewhere on the internet. She dif not say whether or not she had read Dr Goncalo Amaral’s book, for example. What was her basis for making that assertion? I suggest that if Dr Leal feels she can make such an unsubstantiated assertion on national television that it is possible that any research student at Portsmouth might also be emboldened to also make unsubstantiated claims, as clearly Andria Coulias did with her false claim that the evidence of Martin Grime’s two cadaver dogs was ‘unreliable’ just because - she asserted – it was ‘too hot’ in Portugal for the dogs.

2 As the TV progamme ‘The Lying Game’ was produced by those (Shine TV) close to the McCans and their advisers, and since Dr Leal was so prominently featured on the programme, was there any prior connection between Dr leal and Shine TV or members of the McCann Team?

3 There are indications that before Dr Synnott set out on his research, he was determined that he would use the results to promote (a) censorship of the internet and (b) legislation to ban Twitter users from using anonymous ‘usernames’. That view is strengthened when you consider that the results of this research, limited to examining 400 tweets, do not come near to making a case for internet censorship of making Twitter users reveal their identity. There may well be a case for such legal changes. But it is not made out by this research project".          

We may publish the full letter later, after the University of Huddersfield Ethics Committee has had a reasonable period of time to investigate and reply. 

 


 



 

Was there an agenda?
 

A major question for the academic board of reference to examine in this case is whether or not the researchers had a preconceived agenda that biased and flowed their research. I think there are several indications that this is the case, and these are:
 

[list="list-style-type: lower-alpha; direction: ltr;"]
[*]
The possible connection between Andria Coulias and Dr Sharon Leal, both of the University of Portsmouth. Dr Leal on the TV documentary ‘The Lying Game - Crimes that Fooled Britain’, was promoted as an expert in lying on that programme and stated that in her opinion the McCanns were ‘100% innocent’. She did not evidence that assertion. She did not say that she had read all the evidence in the Portuguese  police files or discussed elsewhere on the internet. She dif not say whether or not she had read Dr Goncalo Amaral’s book, for example. What was her basis for making that assertion? I suggest that if Dr Leal feels she can make such an unsubstantiated assertion on national television that it is possible that any research student at Portsmouth might also be emboldened to also make unsubstantiated claims, as clearly Andria Coulias did with her false claim that the evidence of Martin Grime’s two cadaver dogs was ‘unreliable’ just because - she asserted – it was ‘too hot’ in Portugal for the dogs.

[*]
As the TV progamme ‘The Lying Game’ was produced by those (Shine TV) close to the McCans and their advisers, and since Dr Leal was so prominently featured on the programme, was there any prior connection between Dr leal and Shine TV or members of the McCann Team?

[*]
There are indications that before Dr Synnott set out on his research, he was determined that he would use the results to promote (a) censorship of the internet and (b) legislation to ban Twitter users from using anonymous ‘usernames’. That view is strengthened when you consider that the results of this research, limited to examining 400 tweets, do not come near to making a case for internet censorship of making Twitter users reveal their identity. There may well be a case for such legal changes. But it is not made out by this research project.          
 

[/list]
avatar
Rogue-a-Tory

Posts : 524
Reputation : 377
Join date : 2014-09-10

Back to top Go down

Re: A complaint to the Academic Ethics Committee of Huddersfield University (and others) about a research paper by Dr John Synnott on ‘Anti-McCann Trolls’

Post by Rogue-a-Tory on 21.03.17 23:41

OK. The modus operandi of university research is for the funder to put out calls on the themes the organisation is interested in via organisations such as Research Research or in the case of large research funders, on their own web pages. Therefore what call was out there that could possibly invite a proposal to undertake research into McCann Trolls and to agree to fund the cost of the academics in question to undertake that research?

It's highly unusual for a research led organisation to approach academics directly to do a piece of research. It's all done through the call process, effectively a kind of open tender. The decision to award a particular research bid is made by a peer review panel convened by the funder. Consequently if the funder can be identified, numerous question could be answered as to the motives for the research.

There is a second possibility over research funding. The the University of Huddersfield funded the research itself via the QR grant funding it receives annually from the university funding council in England, HEFCE. Huddersfield isn't a research intensive and it's unlikely to receive much QR income. The total HEFCE grant for 2014/15 was only £15million, that includes its QR money. Therefore I  would expect that it wouldn't fritter its precious QR income on frivolous research such as this.

So to conclude, I would expect that this research is externally not internally funded. If the sponsor can be identified, which you'd normally expect to be transparent, then the motives for procuring it can be explored. Those motives will explain much.
avatar
Rogue-a-Tory

Posts : 524
Reputation : 377
Join date : 2014-09-10

Back to top Go down

Re: A complaint to the Academic Ethics Committee of Huddersfield University (and others) about a research paper by Dr John Synnott on ‘Anti-McCann Trolls’

Post by Verdi on 22.03.17 0:11

Exemplary wordcraft pure and simple thumbup .

I'm wondering if this Huddersfield university 'research' (I use the word with reservation) was triggered by or has some connection with Alan Pike - he of The Centre for Crisis Psychology, seconded to Praia da Luz within hours of Madeleine's alleged disappearance - he who tried to pass himself of as a psychologist qualified to comment on Kate McCann's mental state, during the McCann v. Amaral Lisbon court hearing.  After being pressurized, forced to admit he was/is nothing more than a social worker.


Alan 'don't tell them' Pike, hails from Skipton, Yorkshire - the same haunt as Kate McCann's cousin and her husband Michael Wright, who was so hands-on in Praia da Luz during the summer of 2007.  Co-driver of the Renault Scenic and since, commander in chief of the McCanns internet trolls watchdog.


Huddersfield is only about 30 miles south of Skipton, not saying that signifies but it is yet another of the many coincidences surrounding this mystery.



===========================

COMPLAINT MADE TO THE EDITOR OF THE PRESITGIOUS SCIENTIFIC JOURNAL, NATURE

[ @Verdi - The connection between one of the researchers, Andria Coulias, and Dr Sharon 'The- McCanns-are-100%-innocent' Leal at Portsmouth University is probably far more significant

A complaint has now been registered with the Editor of Nature, as follows:

--------



To the Editor of Nature News

We wish to enter a complaint against the content of the recent article in Nature: "The Dark Side of Social Media" (15 February) - see full article reproduced below.

The research study in question was carried out by Dr John Synnott of the University of Huddersfield. He studied a Twitter hashtag where individuals were debating the disappearance of Madeleine McCann.

Your journal being a scientific journal, the most serious criticism of the article from your point of view is the false claim that the McCann-doubters on  the hashtag 'rejected good science'.
The very reverse is true.

On five days in August 2007, Britain's top police dog handler, Martin Grime, took two cadaver dogs, Eddie & Keela, to Praia da Luz, to examine the McCanns' apartment and possessions. Eddie was trained to alert to human corpse scent. Keela was trained to alert to blood. Eddie alerted to the scent of a corpse in 12 places. Keela was employed on a separate occasion and alerted to blood and body fluids which are likely to have been Madeleine's in 5 of those places. There were 17 alerts in all: in the McCanns' apartment, in their hired car, on their clothes, on the clothes of one of their children, and on other items. No-one else had died in this apartment.

Martin Grime's dogs had an impeccable history of successful detection of corpse and blood scent. Such is Grime's expertise that in 2009, he was recruited by the F.B.I. in the United States, where he now works. No-one can seriously argue against the fact that sniffer dogs, in the hands of an expert trainer, have established an incredible degree of accuracy in being able to alert to an ever-increasing range of scents; different kinds of drugs, chemical, explosives and even medical conditions within a human body.

In the survey organised by Dr Synnott, and reported in your scientific journal, an action researcher, Andria Coulias, informed Twitter users on the #McCann twitter hashtag that no reliance could be placed on the accuracy of Martin Grime's dogs because of a single, 2003. study by A.E. Lasseter et al 'Cadaver dog and handler team capabilities in the recovery of buried human remains in the southeastern United States', Journal of Forensic Sciences, 48 (3) (2003), p. 2002296 http://dx.doi.org/10.1520/jfs2002296.


All that that study found was that in very hot weather in S.E. United States, a blood dog missed some traces of blood. If that study was relevant at all to the 17 alerts by Mr Grime's dogs, then all that Lasseter might mean is that he missed some alerts! Moreover, there was no attempt by Coulias or Dr Synnott to ask Mr Grime whether it was 'very hot' when he carried out his work in Portugal. Coulias's false claims amounted to a direct attack on the professional judgment, experience and integrity of Mr Grime. Moreover, Coulias and Synnott grossly misused the Lasseter study, falsely using it to proclaim that McCann-doubts on the #McCann hashtag were 'rejecting science'. 

Further details of how this error arose and the deliberate deception of the researchers is given in our letter and Appendix, both attached.

If anything, the Nature article made this situation far worse, by broadcasting to all its many readers that the McCann-doubters were 'rejecting science' (see bolded bits of your article below). Your article claimed that Synnott's team, referred to by you as 'the scientists', "tried to introduce some science into the debate". In reality, they used one study, irrelevant to the cadaver dogs' search of the McCanns' apartment, to proclaim the general notion that trained sniffer dogs, in the hands of a highly experienced sniffer dog handler, were 'unreliable'. We have asked the University of Huddersfield and the British Psychological Society to urgently review the many academic flaws in this research and examine the multiple breaches of ethics involved.   

There is also this highly tendentious statement in the Nature article:             
       
"…people on the Internet still swap 100 messages or so an hour about the case. Many of these accuse and insult her traumatized parents, celebrating their daughter’s disappearance and gloating over their misery. Such people are among the basest and most antisocial Internet trolls..."

There are dozens of places on the internet where the mysterious disappearance of Madeleine McCann is discussed in detail. Thousands are involved in these discussions. There is clearly room for doubt about what really happened to Madeleine McCann, as the Portuguese Supreme Court recently clarified in their 28 January 2017 judgment that the McCanns had not been cleared by the Portuguese investigation.


Moreover, after the McCanns' 8-year long battle to stop the publication of the book 'The Truth about a Lie' by the original investigation co-ordinator, Dr Goncalo Amaral, that same court ruled that his book can be published, and the McCanns have been ordered to pay him hundreds of thousands of pounds court costs. Whilst we fully agree that the minority of people who 'celebrate Madeleine's disappearance and gloat over their misery are a disgrace, they are a miniscule number out of the many thousands who discuss and research this case daily. Your article was false in claiming that there are 'many' gloaters; there are not. You have presumably based this sentence on false claims made by Dr Synnott.

Nature's reputation for publishing good science will suffer unless you investigate this article in details and publish an appropriate set of corrections.  We also believe that you should formally withdraw the article with an accompanying explanation about its serious academic failings and unscientific basis.

-------------------


NATURE ARTICLE: ‘THE DARK SIDE OF SOCIAL MEDIA’


 

Psychologists find that Internet trolls seem impervious to any efforts to change their behaviour.

15 February 2017

http://www.nature.com/news/the-dark-side-of-social-media-1.21478

This May, it will be a full ten years since the abduction of three-year-old Madeleine McCann from her family’s holiday villa in Portugal and the worldwide coverage that followed. Yet, a decade later, people on the Internet still swap 100 messages or so an hour about the case. Many of these accuse and insult her traumatized parents, celebrating their daughter’s disappearance and gloating over their misery.

Such people are among the basest and most antisocial Internet trolls, and in a paper in Computers in Human Behaviour, psychologists describe how they tried to engage with this troll community, to study their attitudes and behaviour, and to work out what makes them tick (J. Synnott et al. Comput. Hum. Behav. 71, 70–78; 2017). Their research put them in the cross-hairs for several weeks, and the trolls did not disappoint. Once the goal of their study was exposed by others in the anti-McCann community, “you need better English to do a PHD luv!” was among the more polite messages sent in response to questions from “the psychology student studying trolls”.

Things got heated when the scientists tried to introduce some science into the debate. Much of the suspicion towards the McCann family was generated by a claim from the Portuguese police that sniffer dogs had found evidence of a cadaver in their holiday apartment (no charges were brought). When one of the psychologists posted a reference to an academic paper showing that such dogs made frequent mistakes in hot weather, and invited discussion, the trolls were more interested in insults and attacks on the researcher’s motive, labelling them a “shill” and blocking them when they tried to steer conversations back to the findings.

____________________
The secret of life is honesty and fair dealing. If you can fake that, you've got it made" - Groucho Marx
avatar
Verdi
Researcher/Moderator

Posts : 6396
Reputation : 3499
Join date : 2015-02-02

Back to top Go down

Re: A complaint to the Academic Ethics Committee of Huddersfield University (and others) about a research paper by Dr John Synnott on ‘Anti-McCann Trolls’

Post by Rogue-a-Tory on 22.03.17 10:14

Get'emGonçalo wrote:

https://twitter.com/jplsynnott


HRH Duke of York is the University of Huddersfield Chancellor, Patrick Stewart the Chancellor Emeritus. Maybe the should be tagged too for awareness of the shocking quality of research by their university.
avatar
Rogue-a-Tory

Posts : 524
Reputation : 377
Join date : 2014-09-10

Back to top Go down

Re: A complaint to the Academic Ethics Committee of Huddersfield University (and others) about a research paper by Dr John Synnott on ‘Anti-McCann Trolls’

Post by Get'emGonçalo on 22.03.17 10:15

HRH Duke of York that is/was chums with a paedophile...that HRH Duke of York you mean?
avatar
Get'emGonçalo


Posts : 10151
Reputation : 5118
Join date : 2009-11-25
Location : parallel universe

http://gerrymccan-abuseofpower-humanrights.blogspot.co.uk/

Back to top Go down

Re: A complaint to the Academic Ethics Committee of Huddersfield University (and others) about a research paper by Dr John Synnott on ‘Anti-McCann Trolls’

Post by Libra on 22.03.17 10:33

It would be good if Katie Hopkins or Jodie Marsh could tweet it as well

Libra

Posts : 16
Reputation : 10
Join date : 2015-10-19

Back to top Go down

Re: A complaint to the Academic Ethics Committee of Huddersfield University (and others) about a research paper by Dr John Synnott on ‘Anti-McCann Trolls’

Post by Rogue-a-Tory on 22.03.17 11:06

Get'emGonçalo wrote:Patrick Stewart no longer Chancellor Emeritus


http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-leeds-32086234
He was given the title of Chancellor Emeritus when he stepped down as Chancellor a couple of years ago. Patrick Stewart was an unusually active Chancellor during his tenure as a Hudderfield guy is very proud of the uni.

Fair point about the Duke of York, hadn't thought about that.
avatar
Rogue-a-Tory

Posts : 524
Reputation : 377
Join date : 2014-09-10

Back to top Go down

Re: A complaint to the Academic Ethics Committee of Huddersfield University (and others) about a research paper by Dr John Synnott on ‘Anti-McCann Trolls’

Post by Tony Bennett on 22.03.17 11:39

Get'emGonçalo wrote:

https://twitter.com/jplsynnott



So, Dr John Synnott is gleefully triumphant about his grubby, seriously flawed research project being published in the Washington Post.

As well he might be.

He and Dr Maria Ioannou were the ones who joyfully demonised McCann-doubters on the #McCann hashtag, and told them all how wrong Martin Grime's dogs were, because, well, maybe it was just too hot for them to work properly.

Actually, the finding in the single (Lasseter et al) study showed that the dogs missed alerts in the heat, not that they made false alerts. So, if the Lasseter study is relevant at all in the McCann case, it would mean that Eddie and Keela might have alerted even more than 17 times!

But now the very same two 'Investigative' and 'Forensic' Psychologists are not just talking to the BBC but already recording for a future programme. Putting 2 + 2  together, I suggest it's very likely that the BBC are cooking up a programme which might well feature 'anti-McCann trolls'.

And just in time for the climax of the 10th anniversary media-fest.

The programme might be on theTV or on the radio. It might be a science programme, or a psychology programme, or maybe a programme specifically about internet censorship and 'trolls' and how to 'deal with them' (to quote Synnott), or perhaps yet another BBC McCann Special'?

Does anyone know more about it, or how we can find out?

Surely after the serious flaws in their research paper have now been exposed, the BBC can no longer use them in any programme? How can any of their research possibly be trusted?

To date, tens of thousands may have read their biased 'Anti-McCann troll' propaganda in Nature, the Washington Post, the Sun and the Mirror and so forth.

But if our guess about what the BBC is doing right now with Drs Synnott and Ioannou is correct, then their flawed research could soon be viewed by millions

____________________

"This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners" - Paul's first letter to his disciple Timothy,  1 Timothy 1 v 15

avatar
Tony Bennett

Posts : 14700
Reputation : 2831
Join date : 2009-11-25
Age : 70
Location : Shropshire

Back to top Go down

Page 1 of 2 1, 2  Next

View previous topic View next topic Back to top


 
Permissions in this forum:
You cannot reply to topics in this forum