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janbb's avatar

Are we all "experts" here?

Asked by janbb (58582points) 1 month ago

The premise of Fluther when it was founded was that certain people had expertise in certain areas and that the algorithms would funnel questions “Just for you” based on your identified topics.

Now Fluther has shrunk and most of us read most of the questions and the “Just for You” doesn’t work and is largely irrelevant.

So – have you identified people in your own mind that you consider have expertise in particular areas? Or do you let the answers of everyone wash over you? Are we just swimming in a sea of opinion givers?

I’m not asking for specific names here; that would be counter-productive. I’m more asking how you filter out the signal from the noise. Or do you not feel the need to?

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31 Answers

KNOWITALL's avatar

I have mental file cards on all of you listing your expertise and interests that I’m aware of. I’ve always loved seeing from all perspectives so filtering is still fun for me. Even snark has value when facts are rather obvious.

canidmajor's avatar

I have been here long enough that it feels more like a large family dinner, now. More opinion than expertise seems to be out there (yes, I am guilty of that, too) and the signal to noise ratio seems to be bizarrely skewed. I rarely read through the long-winded posts of people who believe that any link is an absolute, or those of people who have zero experience and training in certain areas upon which they expound with great confidence.

I have some here that I believe have some expertise, and others that make me roll my eyes.

I tend to trust that people are who they say they are, and have been saddened by the elaborate lies some have told.

I trust you, @janbb, on all things Librarian and Penguin related. :-)

LuckyGuy's avatar

I’m with @canidmajor. There are a few people I consider experts and immediately respect their input. You are on that list by the way.) But I don’t often need expert advice. Rather, I am looking for suggestions or another opinion.
I actually appreciate seeing the opinions of others. Sometimes another pair of eyes is helpful.

I even enjoy seeing an answer that I personally think is totally crazy and opposite from science and data. It gives me an idea of the person and helps me prepare for the instance when I run into that situation in real life.

Demosthenes's avatar

I have identified some and expect answers from certain people when I ask about topics that I know they are more knowledgeable in. I’m sure some of you have noticed I know a lot about grammar and linguistics. Unfortunately questions about those topics are few and far between but when they show up I like to go all in. :)

Otherwise, due to the small user base, our familiarity with each other, and the lack of technical questions, I’m not surprised that “expertise” is less relevant on this site than it once was. I don’t necessarily think it’s a bad thing. That’s why there’s a “social” section where the questions are less technical and opinions are more likely to be shared. I’m okay with more social, personal, opinionated questions. At the same time, we’re all pretty used to each other’s opinions and with such a small user base I don’t feel that a lot of new territory is explored here.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@Demosthenes Yes, If we get many more newbies, we may have to have a ‘get to know you’ thread and perhaps a ‘picture’ day (we all use a real picture on our profile.)

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

It’s always a surprise when something pops up that I’m actually knowledgeable about and can give an authoritative answer to. It happens rarely these days, but it’s nice when it happens. That has more to do with our small user base than it does anything else.

There are many opinion based questions these days due to our small numbers and lack of broad knowledge, but I still see questions that need good information to back up what’s stated, and our users rise to the occasion. That’s the wonder of the internet. We can find so much. One person may simply have more luck putting in the right search term to get the best information.

I’m heartened by the new users who have found us in the past month or so. I hope it continues.

I’ll go ahead and add that there are quite a few questions I don’t even open. Often it’s due to the asker, but sometimes it’s the title question that just looks ridiculous. I don’t spend any time begrudging the asker these questions. I have better things to spend my time on.

flutherother's avatar

There are few people here who I would consider experts and I usually address my questions to Google or YouTube rather than Fluther. That said there are contributors here who are worth their weight in gold and it is always a pleasure and sometimes an education to read their posts. .

JLoon's avatar

I’m a late comer here so it’s difficult for me to judge anything for sure. But my impression is that several things about Fluther have changed, and some long time members feel regret & occasional resentment toward newbies who don’t color inside the old lines.

We’re all “experts” at something (just ask me. When it comes to nonsense. I’m brilliant). But the truth is expertise is overrated for most of daily life, and it’s not what I’m here for anyway.

Facts are useful but subject to change. Opinions can be interesting but also ridiculous. Seeing an honest person reason out a complicated issue with common sense, curiousity, and humor can be more illuminating than having some jerkwad bludgeon you with “authority”.

janbb's avatar

@JLoon Good points. And of course, this place was never designed to be solely experts answering questions. This wasn’t really a grumble about how “things were much better in the good old days” just an exploration.

On the other hand, as a librarian, I think there is validity to developing critical thinking skills as regards to information and the internet. For example, I prefer to listen to what the ICU doctor on here has to say about Covid and vaccination rather than someone else’s internet misinformation.

But of course, there are numerous questions where a variety of opinions are worth hearing. (Like this one.)

kritiper's avatar

Yes I am. In certain areas, of course. (Same as everyone else, I suppose…)
“General” is specific.
“Social” can be a crap shoot.

You can’t have your cake and eat it, too. Not even here.
Read my profile.

chyna's avatar

I don’t know that I’m an expert at anything, but I’ve gone through a lot of experiences in my lifetime that perhaps I can share and hopefully help a few people along the way. I have opinions that not everyone will agree with. I do try to keep my ramblings to a minimum, as more than a paragraph usually loses an audience.
I do have people in mind at times that when I ask a question, I hope they will answer.
There are some jellies that are no longer here (through death) that I counted on for computer answers or flower answers.
I love this little community and I hope it stays for many more years.

Jonsblonde's avatar

I want LuckyGuy to answer all my questions.

LuckyGuy's avatar

<- Blushing.

kritiper's avatar

@Jonsblonde Bypass the rest of us by PMing him directly. And thank you!

stanleybmanly's avatar

Funny, but rather than an assembly of experts, I always considered this more a gathering of folks around a table engaged in conversations. The beauty of it being that we can ignore the conversations in which we have no interest without being rude. It’s a sea of opinions minus the necessity of superficial airs and inanities were we all physically confined face to face in the same place. We’re an eclectic bunch, extremely unlikely to actually have an opportunity to otherwise gather to bounce ideas off one another, and this grants me perspective on issues which I would almost certainly not obtain from the herd to which I am locally attached. It seems useful diversion from the tedium of routine living.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@stanleybmanly I value your opinion and still have no clue what career you retired from, nor your expertise. I suspect it has something to do with writing as your linguistics are always interesting. :)

stanleybmanly's avatar

I’m reluctant to share that information. I’ve noticed what happens to people who abandon their anonymity online.

janbb's avatar

@stanleybmanly I don’t see that sharing what your work was is abandoning your anonymity, but maybe that’s just me.

stanleybmanly's avatar

Perhaps I’m just ashamed of my parasitic profession.

cookieman's avatar

I completely agree with @JLoon.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@stanleybmanly Batman? I’ve heard of sea caves out there. Just added up the clues. ;)

RedDeerGuy1's avatar

I think one member might be a bot. I’m not going to name names.

stanleybmanly's avatar

I think Batman inhabits some Eastern city and is depressingly heroic. From what I remember Gotham was one of those gritty towns with men wearing suits with accompanying hats; the kind of a place where the bat signal is deformed and barely visible in perpetually smog laden skies. And believe me, there’s nothing goodie 2 shoes to my employment history.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@stanleybmanly Well I took my shot, so disappointing though. :)

stanleybmanly's avatar

Again, just a hopelessly incurable romantic, immune to rescue from the thorns, nettles and wild pigs of the hinterlands. Tragic waste.

Response moderated (Spam)
JLeslie's avatar

Everyone is an expert in something. I consider you to be an expert in library science.

We absolutely have some jellies who have expertise in subjects that take a significant amount of formal education and there are not many people with their expertise. @LuckyGuy is definitely one of those jellies. Also, our resident doctor jelly would be another example. We have literary experts, mathematicians, knowledgeable cooks, computer savvy jellies, and the list goes on.

Mostly, jellies give opinions though. It just really depends on the topic.

sorry's avatar

there seems to be a few folks here who are very happy to speak out of their bottom. Simply repeating strongly held opinions as if they are facts. Trying to hold themselves up as ‘experts’ because they read (but clearly don’t understand) open source papers. So, sure, there might be some folks with expertise here, but the frequent posting of drivel makes it difficult to see. Too many weeds to flowers ratio, you might say.

kritiper's avatar

This place requires a certain amount of mental weed wacking as a gimme.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

I am so grateful I matured and learned not to take myself or life too seriously. Some people here knew me when…

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