Thursday, 8 March 2007


Peter writes ...

Continuing the Wikipedia theme from Paul's posting below, yesterday the on-line encyclopedia was caught in a "Fake Professor" scandal. Two observations:

1. That Wikipedia is becoming increasingly organised with structures of various sorts (some ad-hoc, some organised by the foundation itself, e.g. the role of experts as arbitrators).
2. The real question, surely, is whether the imposter's postings were any good. In an ocean of anonymous and near-anonymous contributions, does it matter whether or not the professor title is genuine? Perhaps we might find a parallel of the Nature study of Wikipedia versus Britannica: that under scrutiny it is found that the quality of the fake professor's entries are equivalent to those of a real professor.



Minty Cheese said...

Perhaps controversial for a blogsite published by academics, but maybe the experts of the future will not be those with letters after their name. As the market changes and starts to demand the sort of skills which are being developed through social computing networks, maybe the currency of a degree will also fall in parallel.

We can already see in entertainment that the old ethics of working hard to get up the ladder have been replaced by spin and glitter, why wouldn't bypassing start to happen in more mainstream careers. More that one way to become an respected expert.

Peter said...

Indeed ... don't disagree that these are credible possibilities.