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wundayatta's avatar

Do you think of yourself as an expert? Why?

Asked by wundayatta (58596points) March 20th, 2010

Someone just asked a question in which they suggested that fluther had experts on tap 24/7. It is not my sense that there are many, if any experts here. Only one comes to mind off the top of my head. Mostly it seems like people here are generalists—very intelligent and somewhat knowledgeable generalists. But, maybe my impression is misguided.

Are you an expert? Why do you think so? What is your expertise?

For extra points, who gets to call themselves an expert?

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

65 Answers

dpworkin's avatar

Yes. I know more than you do. I have a Masters Degree. In Science!

Cruiser's avatar

My expertise is finding an answer to questions I don’t have an answer to. I like to find out the why in life! ;)

CMaz's avatar

I have my Doctorate from the school of hard knocks.

Dr_C's avatar

I have an MD. I’m an expert in the field of medicine.

As far as anything else I have a great many interests and hobbies but I don’t think i’d consider myself an expert. A fan, a student of, and enthusiast, maybe even a connoisseur… but not an expert.

Coloma's avatar

Jill of all trades, master of some! lol

rebbel's avatar

….they suggested that fluther had experts on tap 24/7.
Suggestion being the key word there.

janbb's avatar

Bill Nye is here again?

KatawaGrey's avatar

I think it seriously depends on how you define expert. In a group of people in my age bracket and with my level of education, I’m an expert on dogs. However, next to my mother, I know very little about dogs.

Expert is a purely relative word. All it takes to be true is the right group of people.

TheBot's avatar

I guess it’s hard for someone to be called an expert, because it gives you the idea that the person is a definitive source of knowledge, which is most likely untrue. Some people do have more knowledge than others in a field though, so I would say the notion of expertise is relative.

dpworkin's avatar

There are a lot of people on Fluther who have expertise in many different fields. They just don’t talk about it that much. I think most everyone acts as a generalist, but there are some people to whom I would always turn for certain questions.

slick44's avatar

I am an expert at not being an expert. Like i said “is anyone really an expert at anything” NOT!

janbb's avatar

@wundayatta I am arguing with you on the other thread so I don’t need to whack the mole twice. I was being somewhat facetious about the 24/7 but I was thinking of people like mattbrowne, zen-again and fyrius in other parts of the world who answer questions expertly at other times of the day. And as I said there, there are a number of people here who are experts in their fields and whose knowledge I would trust implicitly. Most of the questions here are opinion or general knowledge questions to which most of come with our generalist brains, but there is a solid core of expertise here, too.

anartist's avatar

I actually buy into the Fluther philosophy that everyone’s a little bit of an expert about something. Only I think it is more fragmented than may be supposed. One might not be a historian, but one may have happened to note when researching WWII U.S. Navy archives that messages that were top secret often had a bright pink copy [probably so it would stand out on someone’s desk] and take note of that fact because it amused. Some day someone may want to know that. Or what restaurant lauded Clive Cussler for finding the Hunley on their signage out front . . . at the very least most people harbor some useful trivia . . . and that’s just at the very least.

snowberry's avatar

There are also a number of people who are experts in one field and who consider themselves experts in fields that have nothing to do with their training. There are also a number of people who are willing to bully anyone who doesn’t agree with them. So it makes for a very uneven playing field.

janbb's avatar

@snowberry But we have fun, don’t we?

escapedone7's avatar

Oh I think we have experts here. If I have a medical question, I wait and hope rarebear shows up. If I’m curious about a sex question I am probably going to PM just_justine. (Girl, you’ve just been awarded the honor of being Fluther’s sexpert!) If I have a question about legal matters I kind of hope thrifty_maid is around. Yes, we have people that know their doo doo here. Then you have people like me that are just experts at being annoying.

dpworkin's avatar

If someone answers a substantive question in a demonstrably incorrect way I think the community will issue a corrective immediately. A lot of the questions we are asked here have to do with opinions.

escapedone7's avatar

…not to mention some people just have a lot of plain old common sense.
I’m jealous.

snowberry's avatar

Eh, I now avoid some questions if I see certain people are posting there. I am not afraid of confrontation, but the bullying is stupid.

anartist's avatar

@snowberry You are whining!

dpworkin's avatar

hardly anyone is as cute as you, though, @escapedone7

Adagio's avatar

I would only ever consider myself expert about my own life.

janbb's avatar

@anartist Is that an expert opinion?

snowberry's avatar

It’s a fact. edit: It’s a fact that I avoid bullies. They’re too much work.

escapedone7's avatar

@dpworkin aww shucks. Thank you kindly! Blush!

anartist's avatar

@dpworkin Your comment about the community correction is interesting. This is the way the Wikipedia editorial process was refined to the point of making Wikipedia a reliable source. Does anyone here edit on Wikipedia?

janbb's avatar

@anartist Some of our “corrections” are done with a sledge-hammer! And by the way, has anyone welcomed you to Fluther yet? You seem to have arrived just fine.

shego's avatar

I am a professional playing the bassoon. I am part of a volunteer orchestra that helps out with elementary and middle school plays, and musicals.
But I am mainly an expert at being myself and not you.

lillycoyote's avatar

No, I’m not an expert on anything, not anything at all. Fluther says: “We’re all Experts. Everyone is an expert at something.” I disagree. But I never actually claimed to be an expert at or on anything. Fluther just seems to make the assumption, but doesn’t require that you provide them with any sort of credentials or a CV or anything. Fluther doesn’t have a licensing board or anything like that so I just snuck in here, using a fake name… yes, I confess, lillycoyote, is not my real name. So… well, now you know.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

I am a current pert. When I retire from the position then we can say that I’m an expert. But for now, this is the way it is.

anartist's avatar

@janbb you just did! :-) thank you. I’ve been here a week—came to get some geek advice and stayed for the party.

dpworkin's avatar

Welcome aboard. Long may you wave.

anartist's avatar

Hey @lillycoyote what is one ibnteresting thing about something that you know ande no one else does?

anartist's avatar

@dpworkin thank you. I bugged you first.

dpworkin's avatar

@anartist You chose wisely.

anartist's avatar

@rebbel who are you and why are you quoting from my latest question?

Arisztid's avatar

I do not think that “expert” is a description a person can logically give themselves.

I list two things as “expert” fields here because I do not know of anyone more knowledgeable than myself on them on this website, nor on most. That is on this website, on others it is different. On most websites I am the one people go to with questions about these topics.

lillycoyote's avatar

@anartist Let’s see… well, I have met two entirely unrelated people, two people who don’t know each, have never met, who have both given mouth-to-mouth resuscitation to chickens.

Coloma's avatar

Hmmm…well to me, ‘expert’ signifies some sort of credentials.
So, I would call myself ‘knowledgeable’ but perhaps, not expert.

Other than my work, I should say.

Even that is subjective..I can design your home with MY eyes, and your INPUT! lolol

Even so…I will call myself ‘knowledgeable’ in many areas, from nature, wildlife, animals, psychology, gardening, philosophy, etc.

Oh..and BTW…make that 3 that have given mouth to mouth to a chicken..( and a kitten ) :-)

I have also gavaged a goose and saved a horse from strangulation. lol

janbb's avatar

@Coloma What’s “gavaging a goose”? That’‘s new to me!

Coloma's avatar

Tube feeding. She was recovering from a spinal cord injury and was unable to coordinate feeding herself. ;-)

janbb's avatar


anartist's avatar

@lillycoyote prognosis for the chickens?

anartist's avatar

@Arisztid your expertise is the Rromani? BTW why 2 Rs?

Coloma's avatar

Chickens are amazingly cool and they are incredible healers…their bodies heal very quickly, that is IF, they get away from whatever wants to eat them, which is everything. lol

Arisztid's avatar

@anartist Because I am one and, even though not raised in the traditions, I know more than most folks. Unless there is another here raised in the traditions, I know more than other members. Two “r“s because the language is not standardized and the two “r” spelling is one of many, I use this spelling to reflect the rolling “r” and separate the word from “Romania.” I just say “Rromani Gypsy” to avoid this

Jeruba's avatar

I do think we have many experts, not across the board but in their own areas of specialty. We also have some wonderful generalists and a few Renaissance men like Harp. At the same time we have some who are forthcoming with views that really aren’t backed up by sound knowledge or experience. What we have in abundance is opinions.

I don’t think it’s fluther’s aim to have experts on tap 24/7, a consulting service to the world in all fields day or night. Someone else suggested that it’s fluther’s aim to amass an encyclopedic compilation of questions and answers so that no matter what someone googles, the answer is here. That’s WikiAnswers’s aim (in my opinion misguided) but not fluther’s Maybe I’m grossly mistaken, but I think fluther’s aim is to be what it is right now.

lillycoyote's avatar

@anartist Prognosis for the chickens? Not good, not good at all. Both chickens died, but not for lack of valiant, may I say selfless, attempts at life saving on these part of these two brave humans.

wundayatta's avatar

Expert seems like a rather prestigious title. It suggests that people should go to you when they need to know something about whatever it is you are an expert in. But it also suggests credentials, as well.

I have a credential in one subject, but I’ve never worked in that area, nor used that knowledge. It was more than a quarter century ago, too, so it’s all out of date by now. So I don’t think that credential entitles me to be an expert.

I think I’ve kind of wanted to be an expert, but since I can’t claim an expertise in anything, so much for that. So I’m a generalist. I always wanted to be a generalist because I thought it would be cool to make connections and synthesize new ideas from a little bit of a lot of other fields of knowledge. But that hasn’t worked out the way I was hoping it would, either.

But it’s nice to know there are other people out there who have confidence that, whether due to expertise, or due to brute research, fluther gets useful answers out.

escapedone7's avatar

@wundayatta , I value life experience as well as credentials. I also see that some people, have certain gifts (interpersonal skills, observation, the ability to remain objective, business sense, blah blah).

If I have a question about , say, schizophrenia… I think I might learn a lot from social workers and psychologists. However, I think I could also learn a lot from a person with schizophrenia telling me what it is like for him or her.

I know what you are saying. The word “expert” might be thrown around too lightly. However I do believe that there is something I can learn from every person here. I try to keep my eyes, mind and heart open to that.

anartist's avatar

@escapedone7 how would you recognize information from a person diagnosed as schizophrenic, borderline, biPolar or other? Most people wouldn’t [I should think] casually disclose what they probably seek to conceal in their working/living environment.

jerv's avatar

I am an expert on a wide variety of things, mostly technical. I can rebuild a computer or a carburetor, and happen to have led an interesting life that forced me to pick up a diverse set of other skills.

However, what I talk about the most is stuff where there really are no experts; religion, economics, and politics. Sure, there are people who have degrees in some of those things, but the ability to pay for a piece of paper doesn’t always mean that you actually know anything ;P

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

Yes there are experts here. But there are also a few Ninjas.

anartist's avatar

@RealEyesRealizeRealLies and it’s hard to tell the players without a program.

lilikoi's avatar

An expert according to the law is someone that knows more than an average lay person – You don’t have to know everything to be considered an expert. So yes, there are some things that I am confident I know more about than the average lay person.

wildflower's avatar

I think everyone here has their expertise to varying degrees and in very different subjects…....I wouldn’t claim to be an expert medicine, treatment of depression, diagnosis or psychological problems, etc – but I know others on here know a lot about these subjects!
Now, if you were to ask about fabulous shoes or anything related to Bon Jovi, I will jump in and claim to be an expert :)
I might also be able to offer some insights on less fun topics like people management, performance management, project management, etc.

XOIIO's avatar

Because Fluther told me I was one.

janbb's avatar

@anartist You will be surprised by how much people reveal of themselves and their conditions here. Also, to find out more about people’s professional backgrounds or areas of – I hesitate to say – expertise, you can check out their profiles to see how they self-identify.

I do see more where you’re coming from @wundayatta and I agree that we generally answer with our life experience and general knowledge, but there are people here with professional knowledge as well as wisdom. It is in the area of professional or scholarly knowledge that I identify some people as experts and take those answers with a higher level of respect (shilolo being a prime example.)

Silhouette's avatar

I’m a lowly student in all things. Still learning.

dpworkin's avatar

Nothing lowly about being a student.

anartist's avatar

@janbb I do that the first time I am intrigued or impressed by an answer {as opposed to simply enjoying it enormously]

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

@lillycoyote Haha!

Better to be a Nunja than a Nonja

mattbrowne's avatar

Many years of hard work combined with a commitment to lifelong learning and professional development.

wundayatta's avatar

If you’re not an expert, then you have to prove everything you say or else you have little credibility. If you are known as an expert, then people give you the benefit of the doubt, and accept what you say as probably true, simply because of your reputation.

I’m not sure it’s ever a good idea to accept something anyone says without verifying it. Even if it is from an expert. Well, maybe there are some circumstances. Like when I don’t want to take the time to verify the advice and if the advice is wrong, it wouldn’t be that big a deal.

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