Dialogue between Expert Panels and Networked Collective Intelligence
I should qualify my biases before saying anything <smile> --
I am an educator and I believe that the fundamental purpose of education is to share knowledge freely. Consequently, I am of the opinion that all teaching materials should be released as part of the intellectual commons -- especially those materials which are indirectly funded by public money. Digital "knowledge" is infinitely scalable -- if you share a little of your knowedge with me, you still have it for yourself to use.
I have seen that open authoring approaches (like wikis) can produce very high quality materials and in WikiEducator we support open authoring approaches. I think all content is enriched by expert mediation where democratic processes and rules of engagement derived from consensus formulation produce high quality materials. I don't see that processes of expert mediation are at odds with open democratic authoring. Transparency is key -- i.e. transparency in the processes and consensus decisions we take on the rules of engagement.
I think we start treading on dangerous ground when we try to define who is "expert" and then restrict participation by those who don't meet our specified criteria of "expert". For example, I am by no means an expert on governance. I have had no formal training in the area of Governance, but have experienced governance as a layperson. I think I'm in a position to make valuable contributions to the governance discourse -- bu my contributions must be validated, for instance "rules" of substantiation and justification of the argument.
So I don't think open authoring approaches exclude expert mediation -- in fact I think they are encouraged in these environment, with the added advantage of creating opportunities for "experts" we may not have imagined participating. The counter argument in open authoring ecosystems is the fact that it's not in the interests of sustainable communities to develop poor quality content. From an evolutionary perspective -- communities producing questionable content would not sustain themselves.
For me, quality is not a binary argument between closed and open systems. I think quality is a process and has multiple perspectives.