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I have been noticing more and more of a split between what the target audience of Skeptics.SE is. I am under the impression that Stack Exchange sites are built around the idea of attracting experts on a given subject. In the case of Skeptics.SE, who are those experts? What do they look like? What about our site draws them in and keeps them here?

The reason I ask is to recalibrate my expectations to match with the expectations and goals of the community and the site.

  • Not sure I should actually answer this, so here's a comment... my take is that "experts" may simply be those who know how to find the information necessary to answer a question. This site doesn't seem to want original research, and thus "experts" are only experts when they can skillfully call together pertinent information in an applicable, [hopefully] unbiased, articulate, and helpful manner. Would you agree? My reputation rose quite quickly; I'm not sure I'm an "expert" -- I just have always liked hunting down info and communicating it to others. – Hendy Jun 21 '11 at 15:28
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    @Hendy: I think you've certainly noticed something key. This site and its structure plays toward the strengths of people like you. Which is good, certainly. :) – MrHen Jun 21 '11 at 15:42
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It is somewhat generic, but it is the intersection of:

  • those who are good writers and communicators

  • those who are skilled internet researchers

… which, honestly, can be a rather potent combination.

I'm more concerned about the lack of discipline around questions here, more so than the audience of the answerers. Questions need to be credible and based on actual beliefs held by some significant party, not just "I heard my friend once say.."

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    +1 for the communication aspect - I'm a PhD student in evolutionary genetics (so that's my real expertise) and I enjoy providing answers her because it's a great way to develop a clear and succinct writing style – david w Jun 22 '11 at 3:06

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