A Scholar Restricted Category?

Continuing the discussion from Soliciting Advice on Forum Setup:

I’m curious the forums thoughts on this. The scholars category, if created, would be visible to everyone, but only scholars could post in. Scholars would be anyone who has made scholarly contributions in this area, and is not anonymous. There has been value in exchanges like this that do not have random posters jumping in. We would only use this this protected category sparingly. I expect that this might increase the utilization of the forum by scholars, and ultimately be of more value to everyone.

At the same token, some of these restrictions may not be desirable to some people. Remember, we can always have side-comment threads to discuss things further.

What are your thoughts?

I’m all for it. I would like to see a forum where prominent figures have discussions between themselves without us plebes getting in the way. It would also be helpful if the threads were focused and posts were fewer in number while being higher in quality.

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I think it is a good idea. However, it might be appropriate to have side-comments threads to accompany scholar threads.

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The new moderators are trying to figure how to do this to keep threads focused without being too disruptive. A little bit of wander can promote discussion, but chopping it into too many pieces can kill it. Ideally members will start new threads whenever needed, or summon a mod to do this for them. We need to educate members about this, at least.

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I think this is tricky:

  • it may not be clear what “this area” is that qualifies a scholar
  • it may come off as elitist

However, I do agree with @T_aquaticus that fewer threads of higher quality is always nice. Right now it is hard for my brain to bounce around from topic to topic and thread to thread. I think having the new categories could help.

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I think it works if this is the exception rather than the rule. Also, you’ll need to define who qualifies as “scholar.” There are those out there without PhDs in a given field but have earned the right to speak at an advanced level on a given subject. Conversely, a PhD does not guarantee one is fit to speak on a specific issue.

My question is: do you have evidence that more of the top players in this discussion would join in more if this tactic is taken?

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I echo the concerns of being viewed as elitist. Also, what gives the right for a physicist, for example, to speak on a “Scholars” thread about NT studies more than anyone else? I think the format where there are a few threads restricted to dialogue between specific people already serves this purpose.

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It depends on where you want to go with this forum.

I expect that this might increase the utilization of the forum by scholars, and ultimately be of more value to everyone.

This depends on two things -

  1. “Scholars” become more willing to actively participate in such scenario.
  2. People ascribe value to what the scholars say.

1 might be feasible… 2 is doubtful. If as you say, trust is important in how information is recieved… I doubt such a move will improve trust.
In which case, we go back to the first point…
-Where do you want to go with the forum?