Recently, MIT Technology Review posted an article, titled ‘The hipster effect: Why anti-conformists always end up looking the same.’ And in an incredibly ironic turn of events, it almost instantly proved itself right.

The article was an analysis of recent research by Brandeis University mathematician Jonathan Touboul on “the hipster style effect,” specifically how “the population of hipsters initially act randomly but then undergo a phase transition into a synchronized state.”

However, it was the inclusion of a Getty Images stock photo of a bearded man that prompted one reader to contact the magazine. “Your lack of basic journalistic ethics in both how you ‘reported’ this uncredited nonsense, and the abusive, unnecessary use of my picture without permission demands a response, and I am, of course, pursuing legal action,” the angry person wrote.

MIT Technology Review Editor-in-Chief Gideon Lichfield explained everything in detail on Twitter.

Image credits: glichfield

Image credits: glichfield

“We haven’t received a similar claim that I’m aware of in the time I’ve been editor (but that’s only 15 months),” Lichfield told Bored Panda. “[And] that was the only communication we had with him.”

“I looked at what his accusation was, and I said, he seems to be accusing us of implying that he’s following hipster fashion. I’m pretty sure that can’t be prosecuted for slander,” Lichfield said. “My second thought was, you know, I’m sure that we used this photo following the license and we got it from a reputable agency, so there shouldn’t be a problem with using it even if the photo model in the picture doesn’t like the implication.”

“So I forwarded the email to our art department …, and their response was, “Yes, we have the right license. But, you know, we can take the picture down anyway if he’s annoyed. But our creative director said no, this was an image that we used with permission and perfectly under our rights. We shouldn’t take it down just get somebody doesn’t like it.”

Image credits: glichfield

Image credits: istock/PeopleImages

Image credits: glichfield

Image credits: glichfield

And that’s how a 34-page study got proven in a brief round of email ping pong. “They wrote to him and … said, ‘We don’t think this stock photo model is you.’ And he replied, ‘Oh, I guess you’re right, it’s not,'” Lichfield explained. “No apology, but, you know, I’m happy that it’s resolved.”

However, he’s not saying that the reader was crazy to convince himself that was indeed his photo. “I mean, you know, the picture is in profile. He’s wearing a hat, so it covers his hair. And, you know, as a no-longer-in-his-30s white man with a beard, I know that a lot of white men in their 30s with beards look kind of similar. So I guess it doesn’t surprise me that much.”

People had a lot to say about the whole ordeal

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