I’m interested in ideas or perhaps features for encouraging expert contributions on a forum.
In my field—early Buddhist texts, especially in Pali—I’m an expert. And I enjoy sharing my knowledge on our Discourse instance, where I learn all kinds of things from other users. But it’s sometimes frustrating when a topic goes on, with inexperienced people proposing all kinds of ideas that are just silly. And we’ve had feedback that this is discouraging for users.
Of course this is part of the education process, people should be comfortable to ask about or argue for silly ideas. But on the web, it’s almost impossible to keep the context in mind. I’m sure you’ve all seen the tweets where someone tells the Pope to read the bible, or tells the author to read the paper that they wrote. Even if it’s not so egregious, it still happens that well-meaning questions or comments can easily drag a topic aside.
But it really depends on what kind of topic it is. Sometimes it’s fine to just shoot the breeze and see where it takes you. Other times you want to keep it focused.
And one of the problems is that it can discourage experts from posting. No-one wants to study a subject for decades, only to be told at length how you’re wrong by Random Internet Person #274, who just watched a Youtube on the topic.
So I’m wondering whether there could be something like an Expert Mode . This would assigned as a badge or something. For example, a doctor on a medical forum, or a qualified mechanic on a car forum. It would grant the holder the right to apply an “Expert Mode” on posts.
Perhaps that would work something like this. By default, all replies would have to be pre-moderated by the Expert. If something is off the point, low quality, or ill-informed, they can reply by PM to the poster, but it’s not part of the topic. The point here isn’t to discourage less-informed users! If they really want to pursue their idea, they can do it in another topic.
Exceptions would be other Experts, who could post as normal. In addition, the Expert could add a pre-approved list of posters.