I've recently been reading (re-reading in fact), Crystal Dragon by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller. The book is about the founding of Clan Korval; principals of which play leading roles in their Liaden Universe series of Science Fiction love stories. In the book, there is a sequence in which the leading characters must infiltrate a culture of academics to retrieve something of importance. In this particular culture, one advances in stature by proving ones work. The notion of proof however, is nothing more than a knife fight, held with razor sharp "truth blades". When one's proof is challenged, the prover and the challenger fight in a battle to the death, slicing each other to ribbons in the process. The winner's work recieves acclaim, and the loser's work is subsequently erased from history.
While this is a work of fiction, I have to wonder, had either of the authors ever attended a standards meeting?