[Citizendium-l] Citizendium-l] CZ is not for experts only!

K. Kay Shearin ks24 at georgetown.edu
Sat Nov 11 15:43:54 EST 2006

Hi, y'all:

I've been following some of the discussion about experts and want to
make a few observations before I stop spending my time philosophizing
about CZ and start spending it writing and editing:

Much of what has been said it true, and much of what appears inconsistent
is more semantically than logically at odds.  In other words, you may
all be right and still disagree.  (And as a Libertarian, I love this
kind of discussion.)

1)  My brother once told me this, and I've tested it, and it's worked,
and I think it applies here:     When you find yourself in a group that
is suffering from a lack of leadership, and you know what needs to be
done, step up and take charge.  As soon as they're squared-away enough
to get on with the mission, they will organize some formal leadership
structure and let you know your services are no longer required, and
then you can revert to being just one of the workers.

2)  Some of the semantic difficulties stem from the terms "expert" and
"editor":  Think of a professional journal (like the "Journal of the
National Medical Association," for which I have edited some papers,
altho I have no medical degree, and neither do the other freelance
professional editors for that journal that I know).  The "editor" is
the one who checks the grammar and spelling and footnotes and makes sure
what it says is expressed clearly enough, but the peer "reviewer" is
the expert on whether the content is acceptable for publication, either
because it reflects what practitioners in that field believe now or
because it suggests some new development that they believe may be
possible.  I'm not saying an editor *can't* be an expert in the
subject, I'm saying an editor *need not* be an expert.  (When I was a
full-time Tax Law Editor at B.N.A., editing tax-law publications, I was
both, because I had a doctorate in law and a post-doctoral degree in tax

3)  There has to be a chain of command.  It may be a formal hierarchy,
such as the I.R.S. requires for any entity to get §501(c)(3) status, or
it may be a practical one, because whoever controls the computer it's
on effectively controls CZ.  ("He who pays the piper calls the tune.")
 One way people have tried throughout recorded history to make a
governing structure democratic is to rotate the authority (that's what
trial jurors are, temporary authorities who make legal rulings based on
the advice of judge who's a legal expert), and that's a possibility
here:  For example, if CZ had a list of editors in the field
"mathematics."  We could randomly select three of them at a time to
serve for a week/fortnight/month as the authority to resolve
disagreements between individual editors over articles about math
topics.  (We could, of course, select a single person to be the math
czar for the term, instead of a panel of three.  Or we could have a
larger committee than three.)  Or we could use 3-person panels of whom
two were math editors and the third an editor from any other field.  Or
one math editor, one other-list editor, and one non-editor author (or
constable).  Or . . . 

Thanks for listening, and if there's anything you want to ask me, please
post it to my User talk page, and I'll reply there.

k kay shearin

K. Kay Shearin

More information about the Citizendium-l mailing list