I am writing to ask for the community's advice in both reacting (regulating my own thoughts) and responding (whether worth the time to respond at all) to situations involving questionable publications.
I mentor high school students to work on computer science projects, and one of my students wanted to explore an image classification project. To evaluate their performance, I went to Google Scholar and found the first few results papers for their data benchmark. I was surprised to see the paper reporting 99% accuracy in their conclusions - this is remarkable for the task. Upon further examination, they were reporting only training accuracy -- those near ML know this to be a cardinal sin, as any model can be overfit to perfectly learn data. The publication had further oddities, such as a far-too-simple CNN structure to be published in 2020, given that any commonly-adopted CNN (ResNet, AlexNet, etc.) would readily exceed performance of their simple, tutorial-level architecture.
"Ok", I tell myself, "Someone took their 1-week class project, and turned it into a predatory conference to be 'published'. No big deal, this happens all the time." (This was SAI Intelligent Systems and Applications 2021, just to alert others.)
But here's where I became perplexed; the article was cited by another article published in a highly respected conference proceedings for our field. This conference is on the top-10 list from Google Scholar for its category. I went to the citing paper, and read the line - it was a clearly generic statement to which the cited paper had no relevance or strength.
Clearly, reviewers for the conference made a (reasonable, trusting) oversight (no one has time to check every reference), and perhaps even the cited paper was not refereed.
I find myself feeling frustrated to see how quickly articles like this become part of our academic digital clutter, especially when these artifacts are used as metrics for our "worth" as scholars on the job market, up for tenure, etc.
Is there something productive that can be done with this energy? Is it best to let things like this go? Does this happen often?
Thank you in advance for advice from others in the academic community.