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At most, I'll infer that someone is well-networked and seeks a lot of feedback on their papers, which doesn't affect my overall opinion of their abilities either way.


"For that reason my acknowledgements section in my papers is usually pretty long—now that I think about it, probably considerably longer than most papers I read."

Even if you only read Analysis/Thought papers, your acknowledgements sections are much too long! ;)

Peace Osopher

I've only ever seen one paper where the acknowledgements were ridiculously long. I thought the author was trying to show off. It looked pretty narcissistic, since most of the names were pretty big names and the paper was in a specialist, narrow-field journal. Odd at best—cringey at worst. So I made no opinion on this person's abilities, but I couldn't help make a fairly significant judgment on them as a person.


It's never occurred to me to think that a paper might be 'crowdsourced' because of long acknowledgements. I always thank people who read it or discussed it with me at length. The exception is if I presented it at a seminar, I will usually thank the participants rather than every person who asked a question. That being said, if a person was a discussant or we had a particularly helpful exchange that improved the paper, I'd probably name them specifically.


I would have to agree with the UK postdoc's comment. Likely the only person putting any thought into your acknowledgments at all is you, and perhaps any friends or colleagues who helped with the paper in some way. This is just my impression of course, but I think it's helpful to keep in mind that almost all articles will have few readers (I doubt even most of the people who contributed to the article will read it, tbh), and fewer readers still will bother reading the acknowledgements, and I would be surprised if many, if any, of those readers gave a much thought to the length of your acknowledgments. Personally, my only concern when writing acknowledgements is not leaving out someone who helped in some way. For me, the potential danger of offending or not expressing gratitude to someone who spent the time to contribute outweighs any concern about coming across as "crowd-sourcing."


Thank whomever helped you because it’s the right thing to do. Then stop thinking there.


“…& everyone else who provided feedback” just say that.

Dan Weiskopf

I agree that you should simply thank anyone who helped you in a significant way. This is both honest and generous. More importantly, it helps to counter the myth that thinking is a purely solitary act, and philosophical writing an efflorescence of brilliant, isolated minds. All thought is crowdsourced. That's its strength, not an intellectual or moral weakness.


I generally only thank people for specifically identifiable contributions, or if they took the time to _read_ and comment on the paper (even if I didn't end up using much from their comments). But not usually for casual chats or questions from a conference presentation (though I might occasionally make some exceptions).

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