# “Original research” - multiplying 15 by 30?

My answer to Do cheetahs die after sprinting for 30 seconds? was downvoted because "This answer is based on original data analysis or non-verifiable data". The answer cites a published paper, pulls figures out of it, and the only "original research" involved was multiplying two numbers together to get a time out of measures of speed and distance.

Is this seriously considered to be "original research"?

• How do you know that the cheetah that sprinted for 559 meters didn't have an above average speed or above average top speed? 559 meters in 30s requires an average speed of 18.6 m/s. Taking your reported 14.9 m/s +- 3.4 standard deviation would mean that about 1% of runs might have had top speeds greater than 25.1 m/s. I don't see how you have ruled out the possibility that the 559m run was performed with a top speed of 25.1 m/s and an average speed of greater than 18.6 m/s. These are the kind of assumptions that you can't make without the answer being considered original research. – user30557 Mar 8 '16 at 0:17
• I like that research paper though :) – user30557 Mar 8 '16 at 0:18
• I know that because it says in the paper. I am just bewildered, and deeply disappointed, in the response to this completely specific and pragmatic answer. I can't tell whether it's a deep anti-intellectual attitude that automatically rejects anything more complex than kindergarten math, or a purely cliquish rejection, but I'm certainly not going to waste any more time with this group. – iayork Mar 8 '16 at 13:09
• I domt know why either. Its just the rules. I guess that means its cliquish, but I didn't vote or anything on your answer. Just explaining. – user30557 Mar 8 '16 at 15:14
• It's neither an anti-intellectual attitude nor a clique. It's an objective criticism of your answer based on our established rules. Can you spend some time trying to understand why they are in place before assuming intentions? – Sklivvz Mar 8 '16 at 16:35
• I understand why the rules are ostensibly in place. It's ridiculous to claim that my answer is "original research", and the way the tag was instantly slapped on it, and the stubborn clinging to it, makes it clear that the rules are simply used as a tool to support the usual group of self-congratulatory insiders. – iayork Mar 8 '16 at 17:59
• Your answer was labeled as OR because of the use of a back of the envelope calculation without a supporting reference. Can you provide it? You claim that missing references are the basis of rejecting papers here: academia.stackexchange.com/a/63001/7079. Could you extend us the courtesy of referencing your answer as requested, instead of accusing us of being unfair? – Sklivvz Mar 9 '16 at 1:36
• @Sklivvz: But if the "established rules" are just plain stupid, as they are in this case (as in many others), why not change them? – jamesqf Mar 14 '16 at 5:43
• @jamesqf I welcome a separate discussion on that, but in this case the rules were appropriate and effective, since the reasoning in the answer is wrong, as pointed out by others, and the post is therefore very low quality. – Sklivvz Mar 14 '16 at 10:56
• @Sklivvz: But the reason that the answer was wrong (if it was - I take no position on that) is that it was wrong, not that doing math on published data is "original research". It would be as if I multiplied 15 * 30, and said the answer was 350. – jamesqf Mar 15 '16 at 19:08
• No, it would be as if you multiplied 15 * 30, said the answer was 450, but were not a member of the original clique who define acceptable answers as "Answers that we give". You can see that he has already shifted the goalposts multiple times; it is obvious that the downvote (applied within 30 seconds of the answer, so obviously not even looking at the data or links) was done for cliquish reasons, and the sullen clinging to his answer while changing his rationale repeatedly makes it even more clear. – iayork Mar 15 '16 at 19:23
• Is it possible to block notifications for comments in this particular SE without blocking them for others? Obviously I have no interest in contributing here, but I'm being constantly notified about the comments in this thread. – iayork Mar 15 '16 at 19:24
• @jamesqf not really: the answer is, correctly, that cheetah brains don't explode if they run for more than 30s. However, the reasoning is completely wrong. Anyways, since the author clearly stated he doesn't want to fix it, I'll remove the answer now. – Sklivvz Mar 15 '16 at 19:36
• @iayork Quora is more peaceful. But it has its own issues as you know. Hence quora.com/… ... I have by and large stopped answering questions on SE and Quora. – Franck Dernoncourt Mar 20 '16 at 20:00

This issue comes up enough that we have an FAQ question about it.

Multiplying two numbers together is not Original Research.

Deciding that multiplication of those two numbers is the most appropriate statistical model of a complex real-world problem is Original Research.

let's use 15 m/sec anyway

That is Original Research.

• s/original research/theoretical answer – Sklivvz Mar 8 '16 at 0:43
• what does that mean – user30557 Mar 8 '16 at 1:40
• Programmerese for replace "original research" with the other. If you look up the faq you'll see that a statement such as this answer's is part of the theoretical answers faq and not original research as stated. – Sklivvz Mar 8 '16 at 1:55
• That's a weird way to say it :p – user30557 Mar 8 '16 at 15:13
• @Dawn Programmers are weird. – JasonR Apr 21 '16 at 12:44