Saturday, March 24, 2012

Law Blogs - Is scholarship a victim?

This is not about the WTO. Found this old, interesting piece titled 'Why blogs are bad for legal scholarship" in the Yale Law Journal Online on the standard of law blogs in the blogosphere. Brian Leiter is rather critical of the proliferation of law blogs and their impact on legal scholarship:
"The best legal scholarship is increasingly interdisciplinary in nature, and its successful production, evaluation, and distribution generally requires multi-disciplinary expertise at a reasonably high level. Unfortunately, the Internet in general, and blogs in particular, eviscerate and obscure expertise because the Internet’s most distinctive feature is the elimination of mediating boundaries: of distance, experience, education, and intelligence. While the elimination of the first is an advantage, the elimination of the others poses problems for serious scholarship."
Referring to the "availability casacade" he says:
"Any second-rate scholar can have an opinion, however ignorant or confused, about the merits of someone’s work, and express that opinion in an e-mail to a colleague elsewhere. Now imagine that same ignorant or confused opinion broadcast to thousands: that is what blogs make possible. Indeed, blogs do more than that: they make possible the repeated and systematic broadcast of non-expert opinions, opinions that can then be picked up and amplified by other non-expert blogs."
While agreeing with the point that the standard of legal blogs might vastly differ and have an impact o the quality of legal scholarship, there is no doubt that the internet in general and blogs in particular has been a leveller of sorts bringing together a proliferation of ideas. Distances and intermediaries have been challenged. Atleast, I have found it extremely empowering!

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