I Never Received About 15% Of Your Emails

I Never Received About 15% Of Your Emails

I first describe a bug at the blog, a blog bug, and then show us a few emails we missed.

WordPress Bug & Emails

I was cleaning up the blog on a slow week, and noticed the spam building up in “feedback”. This is the section where Contact page emails go, which are sorted into spam and genuine.

The spam was fine: I mean, the emails identified as spam looked like spam. But the genuine emails that were supposed to be forwarded to my email sometimes did not get forwarded.

Yet a quick glance seemed to indicate that all was well here, too. The top emails cataloged did indeed show up in my inbox.

But then, alas, came several that did not. Because they were not at the top, I missed them. I do not know why they were never sent: this in inexplicable. Some WordPress bug, maybe, or something do with my host (which just raised rates $5 a month). I don’t know. These emails should have been forwarded to me, the indication was that they were, but they never reached me.

Point is, I’ve missed a good chunk of your emails.

Some were from colleagues, others from long-time blog supporters, others asking great questions. I never saw any of these until yesterday.

I am most sorry about this. Please forgive me. I know I’m perpetually behind in answering emails (I get many, many). But this would seem like I was blowing people off, which is terrible.

Since this bug, or glitch, or whatever it is, appears only sporadically, I’d have to wade through six years, ten-emails-per-page at a time, to see all I missed. Unfortunately, I don’t have time to do this.

I’ll get through some of the missed emails, but not all of them. And I’ll check the catalog more often to ensure I don’t miss more in the future.

Meanwhile, if you see this post, and you recall sending an important email for which you’ve never received a response, please email directly: matt@wmbriggs.com.

And, once again, my apologies.

Select Questions/Tips

Here are only a couple of questions and tips from the large number of emails I missed. I’ll leave everybody Anon, since I didn’t have a chance to ask to use names.

  • Anon says: “I thought this was a good, easy to understand breakdown of the Ukraine mess”.
  • Anon gives us good summary of chance: “Often people talk of chance as though it is some causal force, as in, ‘This or that was the result of chance.’ In fact, the best and simplest definition I have seen is this one by statistician Matt Briggs [‘Random, and its synonym chance, only means unknown. As in unknown cause. That’s it, nothing more,’…] In this context, chance simply refers to many unknown causative factors that are currently, and perhaps forever, unknowable. In other words, uncertainty will always be a fact of life for the researcher and for the clinician. Statistics is a tool that helps us quantify the extent of uncertainty but adds no new truth.”
  • Anon asks if we heard of this (we haven’t): “Are you familiat with the Tiny Blue Dot project? I’m on the fringes of the ‘happiness studies’ crowd, and apparently $9 million in grants is being offered for ‘rigorous studies’ in ‘expanding our perceptual box.’ One can only shy in justified phobia at the fearful models, means, and conclusions it will generate.” Link 1, link 2. “
  • Anon asks, “Do you expect your book on Uncertainty to drop in price?” I wish. Springer sets the price. I’m ignorant of all the terms, but I’d like the book to be around the 20 buck mark. Not sure how long I’m married to Springer. The paperback is about $50 right now.
  • Anon comments, “Dear William, I have been reading some of your book on uncertainty. It’s very good – I seem to agree on most or all of the main points. It is pleasing to find someone who has also read Stove’s work in depth and appreciated it. Personally, my views on probability, uncertainty, and so on are similar to Henry Kyburg’s, with a few differences e.g. I am not a conventionalist about scientific theories. Currently, I am working on comparative decisions theoretic simulations of approaches to probability, with a long-run eye towards AI applications…Iam looking forward to reading more of your work!”
  • Anon makes a good joke: “So I looked at this study, and I wondered if the authors were Viagra salesmen, or was the p really that small.”
  • Anon wants to know about my speaking availability: “Dear Dr Briggs, I am [a professional] in UK and have had a rough time of it, being a natural sceptic and wanting autonomy for my patients and myself. I am always in need of education, but also confirmation in my scepticism, which is sometimes an unhappily lonely state of being. Do you ever come to UK to give seminars and such like? I should like to come and hear you and perhaps shake you by the hand.” It’s been a while, since the panic crushed travel, but perhaps something next year can be arranged.

Only a bare sample. I will try to get to some of the other emails I missed soon. Once again, my apologies.

Buy my new book and learn to argue against the regime: Everything You Believe Is Wrong.

Subscribe or donate to support this site and its wholly independent host using credit card click here. For Zelle, use my email: matt@wmbriggs.com, and please include yours so I know who to thank.


  1. Hagfish Bagpipe

    The best way to contact Briggs is to leave a stupid comment, here. See?

  2. john b()

    About 15 % ? 1 in 6 ? (Sounds like the throw of a die)

    What model did you use to arrive at that number ?

    Is it all by chance?


  3. Kip Hansen

    Readers ==> UNCERTAINTY “I’d like the book to be around the 20 buck mark. Not sure how long I’m married to Springer. The paperback is about $50 right now.”

    Worth every penny of it too.

  4. Kip Hansen

    It is an odd thing that in the present we actually expect email to be fool-proof — as in delivered faithfully and rapidly without fail.

    I worked with IBM’s first website endeavor and had one of the first dozen real internet email addresses in the company (the first IBM Webmaster — who created the email system for the corporation, was a personal friend). We knew then and I know now just how fallible the system can be.

    That said, the world’s email system is a modern miracle. But — the internet pixies, gremlins and jokesters do have their fun occasionally.

  5. John B()

    Re: ” internet pixies, gremlins and jokesters …”

    Briggs’ Enemies

  6. Cary Cotterman

    Ukraine: The more I know, the more I believe the U.S. should stay out of it. Wow, when I think what I could have done with $110,000,000.00! Total restoration of my old pickup truck, to begin with.

    Tiny Blue Dot: Just look at those two scrubbed, happy looking people in their beautiful headquarters. I get a real cult vibe reading about this. A new Scientology?

    Sildenafil: So, there’s a silver lining to reaching an age where I needed a little help. Not only do I get to continue pleasing my wife, but maybe my brain will be less likely to go all Biden on me.

  7. John B()

    Did you catch the joke in the Related Articles of the Sildenafil study?

    “Resurrection of sildenafil: potential for Huntington’s Disease, too?” (too subtle?)

    What about the joke about Cialis’ generic name: tadalafil

    Perhaps John Cleese in a Fish Called Wanda dancing in his shorts and socks speaking Russian and ending with “TA DA”

    Does The Blue Dot Researcher get points for saying “Bayesian filters”

    Feel free to moderate me this week

  8. John B()


    Think of that 110 Billion … ONLY 1 percent of that went back into the Democrat’s coffers courtesy of SBF’s FTX!

  9. Johnno

    This also released today… Coincidence?

    We all need to get off Gmail. They read every email and can prevent us from receiving emails.

    Next thing you know will turn out to be that your cell phone provider is deliberately giving a busy signal to the “wrong” kinds of callers and friends… However, telemarketers & spammers & official pollsters will still mysteriously be able to reach you no matter what…

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