What happened was that Gerard Henderson from The Sydney Institute decided to trawl through Gans’ blog in an attempt to cherry pick items that would question the credibility of Gans’ work.
Unfortunately for him, Henderson picked a humorous item in which Gans linked to a Randall Munroe blog post on ‘Urinal Protocol Vulnerability’. Munroe, for those of you who don’t know, is the author of the brilliant xkcd webcomic. For some inexplicable reason, Henderson believed this study to be (a) trivial and (b) carried out by Gans himself.
Henderson wrote in his Media Watch Dog article:
Here’s hoping that Mr Holmes and his Media Watch team will publish much more of Joshua Gans’ ground-breaking research in future editions of the program. MWD is particularly impressed by his work on, er, male urinals. Gans’ paper “Urinal protocol vulnerability” attempts to answer one of the key questions of our time. Namely: “When a guy goes to the bathroom, which urinal does he pick?” Good question, don’t you think?
Gans, in reply, suggests that maybe Henderson needs to brush up on his Internet researching skills:
Mr Henderson mis-attributes various amusing quotes written by Randal Monroe to me. He then invites Media Watch to take a closer look at “my research.” I’d invite them to take a closer look at Mr Henderson’s posts. How can someone purporting to watch the media not understand the point of hyperlinks? That said, his post doesn’t seem to contain any itself so this web-stuff might not be his thing.
I couldn’t have said it better myself.
Update: Check out Andrew Leigh's exchange with Gerard Henderson on this topic.