On 09/21/10 12:10 AM, Peter Damian wrote:
Various grammatical/stylistic errors, laundry list,
1066 style, etc. I brought it up because Johnson was insisting that someone
without formal training in the humanities could write an article just as
well as someone with formal training.
Of course his statement is correct. Grammar and style are matters of
form, not content.
The risk is that the amateur will fall into common errors and traps, and
will lack overall perspective. The risk for the expert is that he stops
questioning the assumptions that underpin his opinions.
I agree that the demand for quotes is often excessive. Editors have too
often felt the need to defend the accuracy of Wikipedia, so much so that
they themselves are insecure about the whole project. They end up
striving for an impossible perfection.— a common ailment of geeks and
Yes, every subject area has its canon of orthodox texts to which the
reader can be directed if he wants further information. Concepts that
are consistently treated across a number of such texts should not need
detailed identification. Listing several such texts in a bibliography
allows the reader to choose the reference work that is most available to
Precise references are more important when a claim deviates from or adds
to the standard text.
The problem of access to old obscure works and journals remains. The
challenge then is to make the obscure material more available to keep
people from falling into recentism.