On 11 September 2012 16:23, Nathan <nawrich(a)gmail.com> wrote:
That comment sounds like it was written by Peter
Damian. Not everyone,
even Wikipedians, recognize or keep in mind the fact that there is a
subversive principle (or really, many) underlying the Wikipedia model.
It intentionally does not offer deference to editors with credentials
in the fields they might choose to edit. There are obvious practical
reasons for this, but there's also an element of democratizing
information and the curation of knowledge.
This strikes many self-defined experts as wrongheaded; they expect to
be treated as authorities, and are often upset when they are not.
While unfortunate, that doesn't turn this feature of Wikipedia into a
bug. If anything it suggests we need to do a better job educating
potential editors and readers about the principles of the
The anti-expert idea is not really related to "democratizing information
and the curation of knowledge." Especially as Wikipedia specifically
identifies as *not a democracy*!
The point in not deferring to experts is a hack to get around the problem
that on the internet you could claim to be just about anyone. Who knows if
you truly are an expert in theology (*cough* Essjay *cough*).
However; it's a bad hack because in many fields you need to be an expert to
be able to properly write about the subject.
I have a deep interest in religious history; you couldn't call me an
expert, but I have studied the subject to undergraduate level in my spare
time. I look at the editors working on religious history topics on
Wikipedia and they are, often, incapable of scholarly authorship, or driven
by their own viewpoints.
This is just one data point.
The "all editors created equal" thing is a misnomer; being an admin people
*do* defer to me, even though I try to avoid it. I see many admins using
So perhaps it is time to allow experts to be seen as such.