Networked expertise in the Era of many-to-many Communication: On Wikipedia and invention

Damien Smith Pfister

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


This essay extends the observations made in E. Johanna Hartelius' The rhetoric of expertise about the nature of expertise in digital contexts. I argue that digital media introduce a scale of communication-many-to-many-that reshapes how the invention of knowledge occurs. By examining how knowledge production on Wikipedia occurs, I illustrate how many-to-many communication introduces a new model of "participatory expertise." This model of participatory expertise challenges traditional information routines by elevating procedural expertise over subject matter expertise and opening up knowledge production to the many. Additionally, by hosting multiperspectival conversations on Wikipedia, the participatory model of expertise introduces epistemic turbulence into traditionally tranquil encyclopedia culture.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)217-231
Number of pages15
JournalSocial Epistemology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2011


  • Epistemic turbulence
  • Expertise
  • Invention
  • Many-to-many communication
  • Multiperspectivalism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Philosophy
  • General Social Sciences


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