On 08/29/2010 10:25 AM, Peter Damian wrote:
Do you mean the problem of experts being generally discouraged? I was
talking about the problem of there being serious errors in articles,
particularly in the humanities. I agree with David that when it comes to
facts and figures, Wikipedia is pretty good. For many of the hard sciences,
also good. But it's a disaster zone in the humanities. That's the problem I
am referring to.
Purely my personal take, but I've noticed problems on both the expert
and non-expert sides in the humanities more than in science-related
articles. On the one hand, people seem to more naturally understand that
they need good sources in science, that a newspaper article needs to be
used carefully (and weighted relative to better sources), etc. People
don't always seem to sufficiently realize that, say, philosophy or
sociology should also be treated similarly.
On the other hand, though, I've noticed science and especially math
experts to be generally more friendly in working with non-experts,
though there are plenty of exceptions. I've *very* rarely seen a math
professor resort to credentialism or looking down on inexpert
contributors, even though we have some very well-credentialed
mathematicians. Some have nearly saintly patience in explaining their
edits and why the article should be changed in the manner they propose.
But I've noticed depressingly many "ugh, as a PhD in [thing], I can't
believe I have to argue with these idiots" elitist huffs from humanities
professors and grad students.