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Rethinking Professionalism: The Meta-Expert (synaptify.com)
12 points by dominiek 1924 days ago | 6 comments



I hope I don't come off as pedantic but, presuming I understand you properly, I wouldn't describe these people as meta-experts. Unless I'm mistake, the prefix meta- means, from Wikipedia, "about (its own category)". If this is right, a meta-expert would be an expert about experts, or an expert on experts.

Thus, it's my opinion that calling these people meta-experts could imply something different than what you intend, particularly to people who don't read the article fully, and if it takes off as an Interblag "term", it could cause some confusion (although it could be that I'm just crazy).

Perhaps I could interest you in neo-expert?

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Neo? Doesn't that mean "new"? Wouldn't a neo-expert be an expert on new things? Or a just a new expert?

It isn't the prefix that needs adjustment, it's the word "expert" that needs replacement.

And there is already a term for these sorts of people. Polymath

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A neo expert is a "new expert". It could be thought of as describing the type of people he is talking about as a "new breed of expert", unless I am sorely mistaken.

However, I agree that the word "expert" itself is rather disingenuous. Just like the term "hacker", it (as stated in other comments) is not generally considered a description one could apply to oneself, and (still just like "hacker") it means many different things based on context and user.

A good decision, in my opinion, would be to phase out use of "expert" except in instances where you want to imply that a person has a lot of experience in a particular area (so "he is an expert computer scientist" == "he has a lot of experience with computer science"). The term "professional" could be only used to label people who are what we currently call a "consummate professional": someone who is skilled in many areas relating to their field of expertise and to business and people skills in general.

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"In my own experience, I’ve had more negative than positive transactions with experts and professionals that advertise themselves as such."

Great point. The terms expert and guru (maybe professional too) are a lot like nicknames. I can call you those things, but if you call yourself that, I can't help but think the opposite.

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It's easy to build up an expert reputation and then depend on it. It's easy to become your group/company expert on such-and-such topic, and then have people defer to you even as your skills deteriorate. What's hard is to actually retain a real level of expertise. You have to continually challenge yourself, question assumptions, and test the limits of what you know.

If you find yourself justifying your answers with "because I'm an expert" on a regular basis, it may be time to reevaluate.

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Perhaps the old distinction between the wise man and the pedant is what you are after.

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