I couldn't have said it better.
Many people, for reasons of privacy and common sense, put aside their real-world credentials and instead argue on the basis of evidence that they can easily dig up due to the knowledge that earned them those credentials. It's a harder path, but if you want to argue from evidence, not authority, this is the way to go. It's not so much anti-expert as it is an acknowledgement that expertise is more important than experthood.
Now, I'm not against those who admit to their credentials, so long as they still argue from the evidence, instead of expecting us to trust them just because they really ought
to know. The "just trust me" approach disturbs me because, in fact, people can be trusted least
when they know their claims can't be checked. What gives the opinions of academics weight in the real world is that we can be sure that other academics are keeping them honest, but no such checks and balances exist here.
It would be bad enough that Jordan took that approach, but the fact that the credentials themselves were fake just underscores what's wrong with it. The truth is that experts can be biased, incompetent or simply mistaken, and that's assuming they're not simply frauds. Just as Jordan was star-struck by Jimbo, too many editors are equally befuddled by claims of advanced degrees or even by the raw power of the sysop bit, which people seem to assume grants admins super-human judgement.
It's not just Jordan, either. Recently, Proabivouac took advantage of the open secret that he is the sock puppet of linguist Timothy Usher to, ironically, get some people thrown off as sock puppets. He claimed to match new users to banned ones with certainty based on similarities in their writing style. Of course, that's not how linguistics works. It's based on analyzing large bodies of text written by groups of people to find relationships (not identity) between dialects, tracing the origins of words and other changes in language. Applying it forensically is, at the very least, dubious.
As it happens, I know for a fact that, in at least one case and probably others, Proabivouac was wrong or just plain lied. In doing so, his methodology for proving identity was obviously flawed and would have been ripped to shreds in any environment where academic rigor is enforced by peer review. SOPHIA, whose background in physics gives her a solid grasp of statistics and the scientific method, tore this moron a new asshole in her analysis
, but that's being soundly ignored so far as I can tell. Note that she didn't just wave her degrees around and say that was reason enough to trust her, she showed all her work and defended her methodology without appealing to authority.
Whether Proabivoac is merely overwhelmed by his own hubris or knows he's blowing smoke up people's asses is an open question, and I welcome his answer here. Regardless of the basis of his false accusations, real people are being hurt. Add to this the hypocrisy of a sock puppet pretending to out others for sock puppetry and you get... well, business as usual at Wikipedia.
To which I say: Fuck Wikipedia and anyone who supports it.