Academic negging

Negging” is a tactic pickup artists use to get women’s attention. It’s basically the opposite of a compliment: you tell someone something negative about them, comment on a less-than-ideal quality, etc. The idea is that it undermines the recipient’s confidence and puts the giver in control, in a position of power relative to the receiver, who now is supposedly desperate for her insulter’s approval. It’s a total power play, and totally creepy.

I realized the other day that I had been philosophically negged. I wrote an article, and tweeted a link to it. Someone tweeted back what I later realized was a neg. It’s a neg and not a criticism because it’s a power play. The neg went something like this: “I liked your article but you used the method everyone agrees is wrong; I couldn’t find the right method anywhere in it.” This person then tweeted several more comments and questions at me.

It struck me as a neg and not a genuine comment because I never mentioned either method in the piece. I never said I was committed to either method, let alone that I’d agree one was right and the other wrong, or even that I cared about either method. This tweet was meant to establish that the piece was flawed and that I messed up, to undermine my confidence just like a trad neg would. It’s a power play on the author’s part, goading me into further discussion, a discussion where they’re in the driver’s seat and I have to apologize for my article and its supposed flaws.

So, I realized I was academically negged in this one instance. And I’m sure it’s happened before, especially in philosophy contexts. Do y’all have other examples of academic negging? Philosophers, do we do this a lot?