In a bilingual paper entitled 'Bibliometrics as weapons of mass citation--La bibliométrie comme arme de citation massive', recently translated into English, we have argued that the current fashion of ranking people, papers and journals is anything but harmless. The point was forcefully supported by Richard Ernst in a post-face entitled 'The Follies of Citation Indices and Academic Ranking Lists. We received a surprising number of passionate responses, such as 'It's written out of my heart' (TH); 'Je soutiens cette entreprise courageuse de tout coeur' (VT); 'Impact Faktoren sind ein Marktinstrument gewisser Verlage (FS); 'II y a un combat à mener' (SB). Some thoughtful responses have been incorporated into this Essay, albeit in attenuated form. We suggest that the 'fertility' of individual scientists be appreciated in terms of kinship rather than through personalized indices.