« Paralyzed Over Iran | Main | Optimists Club »

Where Have All The Experts Gone

It hasn't taken Ed Kilgore very long to catch the navel-gazing bug, but he's right. One thing I thought was sort of unfortunate about Klam's article -- though I understand why he did it -- is that it left out the most boring, but probably most valuable, sub-sector of blogging. Namely, the expert blogger. The folks who do this well are creating some extremely useful stuff, especially for those of us whose business it is to be semi-informed about a wide range of things. And, in my opinion, we don't have nearly enough of them. Juan Cole is great, but why don't we have two, three, four Juan Coles. Only in the field of law, or so it seems to me, are there a sufficient number of expert bloggers that one can count on a critical mass of posts emerging when something important (a big Supreme Court case, usually) comes up that let readers follow the back and forth of debate and really learn something. A related -- and expanding -- blogospheric niche is the DC wonk blog, as seen by the efforts of Rotherham, Kilgore, Clemons, and Schmitt (sporadically). This, I think, holds a great deal of promise.

Academics have real jobs and will only perform the great public service of blogging about what they know if they happen to be egomaniacs. Think tankers and other such people one encounters here in DC, on the other hand, really are just being paid to disseminate ideas throughout the world. And blogs are probably a more cost-effective way of doing that than most efforts at print publication.

UPDATE: Touchy, touchy. I intended a bit of ironic self-deprecation in the whole bloggers-as-egomaniacs thing.

September 28, 2004 | Permalink

TrackBack

TrackBack URL for this entry:
http://www.typepad.com/services/trackback/6a00d8345160fd69e200d83456d85069e2

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Where Have All The Experts Gone:

» I'll take Matthew's bait from Daniel W. Drezner
Matthew Yglesias is a bright young man, so I have to assume he doesn't really mean what he's saying in this post: One thing I thought was sort of unfortunate about Klam's article -- though I understand why he did... [Read More]

Tracked on Sep 28, 2004 1:01:17 PM

» Matthew Yglesias Finds Me Out! from Brad DeLong's Semi-Daily Journal: A Weblog
Matthew Yglesias writes: "Academics have real jobs and will only perform the great public service of blogging about what they know if they happen to be egomaniacs." He's certainly got me nailed. :-) Matthew Yglesias: Where Have All The Experts Gone: It... [Read More]

Tracked on Sep 28, 2004 2:07:27 PM

» Blog motives: ranting recreationally from Majikthise
I see Matt's point about the relative dearth of exerpt bloggers. I subscribe to a kind of "drive reduction" model of blogging. Alicublog is another proponent of this model. Real experts probably just have less pent-up expertise to discharge into the bl... [Read More]

Tracked on Sep 28, 2004 5:37:55 PM

» Let's all jump on Matthew Yglesias! from Pharyngula
A few people have expressed mild alarm at Yglesias's comment about us egomaniacs: Academics have real jobs and will only perform the great public service of blogging about what they know if they happen to be egomaniacs. Yeah, eponymous bloggers ge... [Read More]

Tracked on Sep 28, 2004 9:03:33 PM

» I am the world's expert from Preposterous Universe
I'm in no condition to comment on the mild kerfluffle that has broken out, ironically immediately after the announcement of 411blog, in response to Matthew Yglesias' lament that there aren't enough expert bloggers. [Read More]

Tracked on Sep 29, 2004 12:42:20 AM

» blogs by experts from Peter Levine's blog
Matthew Yglesias bemoans the lack of blogs by specialists. Most bloggers who cover social issues and policy are generalists with opinions, not people with expertise (whether formal or informal) or new information to share. Of course, there are exceptio... [Read More]

Tracked on Sep 29, 2004 4:31:49 PM

» Expert farming from Majikthise
I'm not an expert, but I make 'em. Seriously. In the comments, someone asked me what I do for a living. I'm a medical writer--at least until I get into a philosophy PhD program. You might also call me an [Read More]

Tracked on Sep 29, 2004 8:25:44 PM

» Expert: Anyone from out of town from Ernie's 3D Pancakes
Matthew Yglesias says, with tongue firmly implanted in cheek: Academics have real jobs and will only perform the great public service of blogging about what they know if they happen to be egomaniacs. Think tankers and other such people one [Read More]

Tracked on Sep 30, 2004 1:42:21 PM

» What's the value-added of think tanks? from Daniel W. Drezner
There's another international relations blogger out there -- R.J. Rummel, one of the godfathers of quantitative research in international relations. Rummel is also a persistent and oft-published voice arguing for the monadic version of the democratic p... [Read More]

Tracked on Sep 13, 2005 1:11:18 AM

» ¿Acabarán los blogs con los think tanks? from Juan Freire
EEUU es la tierra prometida de los think tanks. Los hay de todo tipo y condición. Ahora, algunos bloggers de referencia americanos han discutido la relevancia y necesidad de los think tanks. Por hacer una síntesis rápida, las opiniones oscilan [Read More]

Tracked on Sep 19, 2005 7:44:20 PM

» ¿Acabarán los blogs con los think tanks? from Juan Freire
EEUU es la tierra prometida de los think tanks. Los hay de todo tipo y condición. Ahora, algunos bloggers de referencia americanos han discutido la relevancia y necesidad de los think tanks. Por hacer una síntesis rápida, las opiniones oscilan [Read More]

Tracked on Sep 19, 2005 8:26:13 PM

» Gift Basket from Tom Jamme's Blog
Sweet Blessings, a new Christian-based online shop featuring cookie bouquets, candy bouquets and gift baskets, opens with a campaign to donate a portion of all profits to Habitat For Humanity. The devastation of hurricanes Katrina and Rita, while not a... [Read More]

Tracked on Oct 7, 2005 4:02:07 AM

Comments

Yes, Klam should have mentioned the expert blogs, but no, theren't only a few of them.

There are many good expert blogs on evolution, phramacology/chemistry, music, philosophy, etc.

There are fewer in the public policy area, but that may be because experts there view the information they generate as proprietary.

Posted by: otey | Sep 28, 2004 10:14:00 AM

"Academics have real jobs and will only perform the great public service of blogging about what they know if they happen to be egomaniacs"

Are you suggesting Juan Cole is an egomaniac? Maybe he is, perhaps you've met him. However, if you find what he produces useful, it might be better not to insult him.

Posted by: dc | Sep 28, 2004 10:17:28 AM

Well, there's the Aardvark, of course. By the way, I thought Kilgore was supposed to be anonymous.

Posted by: JP | Sep 28, 2004 10:34:02 AM

"Rotherham, Kilgore"

Who?

Anyway, do Martin Kramer and Daniel Pipes count as "Juan Coles?" What about As'ad Abu Khalil? Abu Aardvark?

Posted by: praktike | Sep 28, 2004 10:38:26 AM

Aha. Kilgore is the New Donkey. But who's Rotherham?

Posted by: praktike | Sep 28, 2004 10:39:38 AM

"Juan Cole is great, but why don't we have two, three, four Juan Coles."

The Global Guerrillas site is not another Juan Cole (i.e., daily focus on Iraq) but it covers the scope of global terrorism as good as any I've seen.

http://globalguerrillas.typepad.com/globalguerrillas/

It's usually updated a couple of times a week.

Posted by: JJF | Sep 28, 2004 10:44:53 AM

. . . who's Rotherham?

Eduwonk. [1, 2, 3]

Posted by: Abu Frank | Sep 28, 2004 10:58:30 AM

Matthew,
Perhaps you could update this post to ask readers to send you their nominations for the best expert blogs (to a one-off Yahoo mailbox) and collect those for posting.

Cranky

Posted by: Cranky Observer | Sep 28, 2004 11:11:26 AM

I have respect for Martin Kramer, though I almost always disagree with him and occasionally question his presentation of evidence. Daniel Pipes is a hack. Abu Aardvark is reliable, if anonymous. What about Daniel Drezner?

Posted by: Brian Ulrich | Sep 28, 2004 11:20:04 AM

Arnold California, a former clerk for a federal judge, writes some excellent legal commentaries for the blog Demagogue -- and what he writes is not so predictably partisan. Here is one example: http://demagogue.blogspot.com/archives/2004_09_26_demagogue_archive.html#109636348904933371

Posted by: Matt | Sep 28, 2004 11:23:29 AM

Links to Rotherham etc. please. Or at least more information for a google search.

Posted by: Beggar | Sep 28, 2004 11:34:18 AM

You'd better hope Brad Delong doesn't read this.

Posted by: Ian Dew-Becker | Sep 28, 2004 11:53:17 AM

Don't forget there are tons of expert blogs on technology especially software development. In fact I would think these types of blogs were the first out...

Posted by: Tiparillo | Sep 28, 2004 11:56:29 AM

JJF- Thanks for the referral to Global Guerillas. Just spent some time over there and you're right, good stuff!

Posted by: TomF | Sep 28, 2004 12:22:24 PM

Here's a major expert blog: Thomas Barnett.

Posted by: praktike | Sep 28, 2004 12:25:47 PM

You'd better hope Brad Delong doesn't read this.


You'd better hope Mark Kleiman doesn't read this either.

Posted by: Al | Sep 28, 2004 12:36:12 PM

Oh, and the less "experts" (sneer quotes intended) like Juan Cole the better. Real experts aren't supposed to be complete partisan hacks. Thank you very much.

Posted by: Al | Sep 28, 2004 12:37:36 PM

I find Brad DeLong and "MaxSpeak" to be interesting.

If Michael Berube isn't an expert, I don't know who is. Of course, his experertise is sarcasm, so he isn't that informative, but he is certainly an expert.

Posted by: Njorl | Sep 28, 2004 1:01:02 PM

Military Affairs-- Belmont Club and Intel Dump. And between the two of them you get a fairly comprehensive picture of various sides of an argument.

And military affairs/military history seems like an especially pertinent topic right now.

Posted by: Sebastian Holsclaw | Sep 28, 2004 1:14:58 PM

Medical Research/Medical Issues

Derek Lowe's In the Pipeline, Medical Rants, and MedPundit.

Economics

Brad DeLong, Deinonychus antirrhopus , Arnold Kling, Daniel Drezner , Marginal Revolution, and when he isn't completely off the deep end, D-Squared at Crooked Timber.

And now that I've given away most of my bloglist I'm not likely to have anything to write about that you guys haven't already noticed.

Posted by: Sebastian Holsclaw | Sep 28, 2004 1:24:04 PM

My ego isn't that big...;)

Posted by: Scott Lemieux | Sep 28, 2004 1:42:57 PM

I thought the article did a good job outlining the different reasons WHY people blog:

1) to try to set the agenda: Sullivan, Insta-whatever,

2) seeking an outlet for views: DailyKos, Atrios, Brad Delong

3) to get rich and famous: Wonkette

Posted by: daudder | Sep 28, 2004 1:52:19 PM

I thought the article did a good job outlining the different reasons WHY people blog:

1) to try to set the agenda: Sullivan, Insta-whatever,

2) seeking an outlet for views: DailyKos, Atrios, Brad Delong

3) to get rich and famous: Wonkette

Posted by: daudder | Sep 28, 2004 1:52:45 PM

Dan Drezner has gotten insulted by the "egomaniacs" line - although I think Matt meant this a bit tongue in cheek. I'm assuming that what was meant was simply academic bloggers have to have an "extra helping" of chutzpah...

Posted by: JC | Sep 28, 2004 2:03:10 PM

"Academics have real jobs and will only perform the great public service of blogging about what they know if they happen to be egomaniacs"

I totally disagree. Academics, based on my college experience and on friends and family in academia, have lots of ideas that don't immediately turn into papers or books. Sticking half-baked ideas on a web site can inspire others to follow up, and the small feedback the author gets can inspire further work.

Even more often, academics want to respond to things written by others. When the State Department puts out a report on terrorism worldwide or something, your friendly neighborhood professor of International Relations likely has an observation that, while of real value, doesn't merit publishing a whole paper.

Posted by: digamma | Sep 28, 2004 2:15:58 PM

The comments to this entry are closed.