A Conversation for The Nearly but Not Quite 'Official' Peer Review Discussion Forum

Is there a shortage of 'experts' in PR?

Post 1

Skankyrich [?]

I was taking my occasional perambulation through PR this evening, when I found this:


Much of it didn't ring true, so I did a fairly hefty amount of research and found that much of it was not backed up by medical views. I came up with the following review:


However, it did strike me that not so long ago there would have been a number of medically-minded reviewers who would have been able to put the writer straight more quickly and easily than I. This entry has been in review for three months, and I'm the first one to have seriously challenged some of the less credible claims.

My worry is that a piece such as this could quite easily have gone through PR and been accepted into the EG with some seriously major flaws, and this brings the integrity of the Guide into question. We claim to be more accurate in general than Wikipedia because of our Peer Review process, but if we don't have 'peers' - and by that I mean knowledgeable people who can scrutinise complex subject matter on any subject - isn't there a serious possibility that we could be publishing all sorts of factually-inaccurate articles?

Is there a shortage of 'experts' in PR?

Post 2

kea ~ Far out in the uncharted backwaters of the unfashionable end of the western spiral arm of the Galaxy lies a small, unregarded but very well read blue and white website

One thing that strikes me is that none of the bibliography links are readable (either broken or not in English), and that no-one in PR picked that up.

This isn't particularly a criticism of people in PR at the moment. I'm not there much so am grateful for whoever is.

But maybe looking at PR needs to be part of the h2g2 redesign smiley - winkeye

At the risk of getting myself into trouble, I did comment on one of the medical entries a while back. I was refused back up for what was being said in the discussion, and got alot of analysis about my attitude instead of looking at the issues I was raising. I accept that there is a certain amount of rough and tumble in PR, and I'm not exactly a wall flower, but I basically can't be bothered at the moment if that sort of sh*t is going to go on. We don't want just experts in the field. We want a range of people who can take an interest and who have research skills.

You don't have to be a doctor or a scientist to critique the red wine entry. You need to be able to understand how to critique medical and scientific research though, or at least how to raise the issues.

I don't think we have a big enough pool of researchers on h2g2 to get an 'expert' on each entry, let alone ones who are willing to persevere with PR. I know this is a perennial theme for these discussions, but we should be encouraging people into PR and having a supportive culture for people to remain there.

Is there a shortage of 'experts' in PR?

Post 3

Galaxy Babe - eclectic editor

There is a shortage all over the site, people are moving on, and not being replaced. For all that the BBC has granted us more time, I fear the Edited Guide is dying a slow death through lack of writers, reviewers and sub-eds.

smiley - 2cents
smiley - galaxysmiley - diva

Is there a shortage of 'experts' in PR?

Post 4

Sho - employed again!

I don't get much time for PR and almost no time for entry writing these days and I'm guessing I'm far from alone in that.

When I do go to PR it still irritates me that the first comments are more likely to be regarding the GuideML (you have put before...) or "you don't need a comma there it should be a semi-colon followed by an "

And I know I shouldn't be put off by that, but it does put me off.

How much of the lack of entries/comment in PR nowadays is due to people not wanting to invest their time in a site that may or may not be here in 2 months time? (or not here in a form recognisable to the old lags?)

Is there a shortage of 'experts' in PR?

Post 5

Lanzababy - Guide Editor

Well - as a relative newcomer, and also a new Scout - I feel less pessimism than the some of the above.

There has been an announcement on the Front Page for the past few days asking for new Scouts - but there have been no requests to join.

Change is in the air, and I am confident that there will be better times ahead and believe the future of h2g2 is assured.

Is there a shortage of 'experts' in PR?

Post 6

Sho - employed again!

I didn't particularly enjoy myself as a Scout. Part of my worry about h2g2 is that so many people do so many things, ACE, Scout, Sub-Ed etc etc that it can seem cliquey from the outside.

It's not a criticism - I know how things work and I know that if you are a volunteer you're likely to volunteer in more than one area (in RL as well as here) and that if you want something done you should ask a busy person.

I'll try to get a look in at PR and make some comments this week.

Is there a shortage of 'experts' in PR?

Post 7

Lanzababy - Guide Editor

>>>isn't there a serious possibility that we could be publishing all sorts of factually-inaccurate articles?

In reply to Rich and the red wine entry in particular - even before I was a scout I was against this entry being recommended. I have now asked for it to be sent back to the author. ( I need another scout to agree)

and yes, whilst we only have Sam at the helm, PR needs to be absolutely clear about the accuracies of the articles being recommended. There is no way that one person could verify everything.

Is there a shortage of 'experts' in PR?

Post 8

Sho - employed again!

OK, I just read that whole PR thread and I'm going to shove my smiley - 2cents in here.

Don't get me wrong, I think it was right to challenge the claims. However, I do think that other commentators in that thread show perfectly what I think is wrong with PR.

Almost the first comment mentioned GuideML (then Gnomon made a great point: better to leave it and let the SubEd handle it)

Then people started telling the author that the article should be "balanced" and state the negative aspects of alcohol (with equal prominence?).

The title of the article was "the health benefits of red wine" - that is what the article was about. There is a need, of course, to make the point that alcohol can be extremely bad, but in such an article it is more of something to put at the end with a few links. It's not about alcohol abuse.

That's what worries me about the PR process sometimes. The entry is changed beyond what the writer originally intended. Clearly there is sometimes a need for that, but in this case I feel it was wide of the mark.

And now I've read that thread, it's put me off going into others.

But that's just me. smiley - smiley

However, definitely there is a need to focus more on content than appearance in PR. And since most people are not experts and lack either time or inclination to check the facts I think it isn't going to change.

Is there a shortage of 'experts' in PR?

Post 9

lil ~ Auntie Giggles with added login ~ returned

Lanzababy, I have agreed with the BTE request for the Red Wine Entry. Now all you need to do is notify the Eds via the Scout forum smiley - winkeye

Sho, please don't be put off by what you read in the PR threads, we need all the constructive critism we can possibly get smiley - smiley

That particular Entry was started by an Austrian researcher who joined the site with a number of other, in fact this person was just one of a few who responded to us in any way. The others just posted their Entries and elvis'd.

We are not at all cliquey, honestly! We only appear that way when we reply to these sort of threads smiley - smiley

Please join us smiley - hug

lil xx

Is there a shortage of 'experts' in PR?

Post 10

Lanzababy - Guide Editor

Sho - you are right about the 'perception' of a clique. I am of the firm opinion that there is no such thing, but this criticism has been bandied about. You are correct in saying that quite often there are those who rise to the challenge of volunteering in more than one area and that these are people who are generous with their time, and can see where a job needs doing and are prepared to help out. This 'myth' of a clique needs to be redressed, by having a wider pool of active members in PR - but how to attract them?

I do hope to see *you* in the PR threads!

Is there a shortage of 'experts' in PR?

Post 11

Sho - employed again!

don't worry Lil, if I have time I'll get over. I know about the Austrian researchers and I worry that they were put off by PR when (rightly so) a lot of people got cheesed off with the idea that they were using h2g2 as a way to practice their English or something.

Lazenbaby - it's exactly the "perception" of cliqueyness that is the problem - not that any of the groups are a clique at all.

Of course Scouts (ACEs, Sub-Eds etc) do form groups - they have to in order to discuss what's going on. And they are more than generous with their time - which is something I can only wonder at and admire.

However, without entries, the Scouts won't have anything to pick. And how to get entries on when PR can still feel like a pool of pirinahs (sp? blimey, how the heck can I find out?)

Is there a shortage of 'experts' in PR?

Post 12

lil ~ Auntie Giggles with added login ~ returned

pirana, or piranha smiley - winkeye

I use wordweb: http://wordweb.info/

Good Lord, does it still feel that snappy in there?smiley - doh

Most think it's gone too fluffy smiley - erm

Sorry, must go offline for a while. My sister is on her way over... smiley - run

Is there a shortage of 'experts' in PR?

Post 13

Sho - employed again!

I just have this aversion to PR since I'm not there that much it could be like falling into a roomfull of Tribbles now...

I still think there is (on the rare occasion that I do make it in there) too much emphasis on GuideML/Spelling/grammar too early on.

Is there a shortage of 'experts' in PR?

Post 14

Malabarista - now with added pony

That's very true - but I still think that's in part the authors' fault. Everyone tends to take criticism *personally* in there - I've seen people kicked off other peoples' friends list for saying something needs work. smiley - erm That tends to be the case especially among the better-established authors, unfortunately. They're not expecting any resistance when they submit something.

Spelling and grammar is just a "safe" area, because it's objective.

Is there a shortage of 'experts' in PR?

Post 15

Malabarista - now with added pony

(Though of course there are a lot of new authors who take exception to having to work on things, too, of course.)

Is there a shortage of 'experts' in PR?

Post 16

Malabarista - now with added pony

smiley - cdouble Ok, I'm officially not awake, delete one "of course" of your choice.

Is there a shortage of 'experts' in PR?

Post 17

Lanzababy - Guide Editor

smiley - rofl It does vary - either piranhas or tribbles! smiley - rofl

The only way to make it less like a 'pat on the back club' or being thrown to the sharks is for people (like you Shosmiley - smiley) to wander in now and again when you see something that takes your eye.

Can I suggest that if anyone knows another member ( or even a non-member) who is an expert to ask them to read through an article in PR that is relevant to their expertise? eg A50845287 which is about motorbike safety. This author has disappeared, and it is another languishing entry which could do with a decision as to its future. Bikers comments needed in particular.

It is easy to remark on the spelling/typos/grammar when it would be impossible to comment on the content or subject matter, due to lack of knowledge.

Is there a shortage of 'experts' in PR?

Post 18

kea ~ Far out in the uncharted backwaters of the unfashionable end of the western spiral arm of the Galaxy lies a small, unregarded but very well read blue and white website

I agree about asking other researchers, and it'd be a good opportunity to engage the wider community. eg go to nationality pages when country specific entries are in PR, and ask people to join in with feedback. I'm sure that could happen with other topics as well.

Is there a shortage of 'experts' in PR?

Post 19


One thing that has changed is the internet itself, and the people on it. Perhaps people expect different things, speed being one of them.

smiley - fairy

Is there a shortage of 'experts' in PR?

Post 20

Sho - employed again!

Oh and don't get me wrong - I don't mind being thrown into the pirahna bowl that is PR. One of my middle names is Rhinocerous-hide.

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