Level of expertise?
Would it be desirable and fair if there were a way to indicate on any particular Hub that the writer has a level of expertise/credential in what they are writing about? For example, I'd rather read an article about why I should get a root canal from a dentist than a househusband trying to write to make a few extra bucks.
I think you can use the standard byline at the end of the article which sometimes includes, degrees, credentials, your title, location, etc. I think I've used it before on a couple of hubs. It shouldn't interfere with the HP hub tool copyright. I agree that if you're presenting your expertise, credentials should be included.
While I agree with this in principle, I also think that the reader can usually evaluate the advice or information from the quality of the Hub. I do know a lot of experts who are biased in a certain direction, or simply are not very good at writing clearly. As a person who teaches research writing, I'm also very aware of having to steer my students away from experts who write in too narrow a vein. Those sorts of articles are not useful if you are looking for information for a general audience unfamiliar with that particular topic. Finally, I'd have to say that as a copywriter, I've learned how to research and write clearly on subjects that I actually have no personal expertise in, such as life insurance and plumbing. I've written the websites of many different companies because my copy is clearer and easier to understand and read than something that might have been written by the person performing the service. How do I know? They pay me to do it!
Totally understandable as the Web is full of information that is disproven and downright false. Apart from an expert writing in their field, a true journalist will be able to find valid resources which may include articles and/or interviews to back up the information they write about. The interview/information should be by experts in the field to provide credibility. This is done all the time in journalism, but I am sure it isn't done all the time on Hubpages.
This is an interesting idea, although I can't say I wholeheartedly agree. For advice of a medical nature or scientific nature, then it would be good to know that the person giving advice is qualified, although I am not sure that is necessarily the purpose of Hubpages.
In terms of whether I would trust someone more or less depending on whether they have a qualification, the answer is that it would not make a difference to me at all. There are a lot of people who are extremely passionate and knowledgeable about their specific areas of interest. It would be unfair to dismiss or diminish their work, simply because they are not qualified.
I think this depends largely on how the article is written. I'm no expert at many health related topics and like others I am always searching for home remedies to common ailments, but I know people like to know what others have tried and they would be interested with what I have to tell them just by being an observer.
We might indicate our credentials, memberships, and research experience when necessary 1) at the bottom or top of any Hub or 2) in our HubPages Profiles. Either would work well, I think. In fact, I always look at HP Profiles for credentials when reading Hubs in topics like medicine, dentistry, and psychology, other sciences, and some other subjects.
Journalists can perform a meta-analysis of the existing work in a topic, just as research scientists can accomplish, and write conclusions and opinions about applications and impact for the future. My concern is with any article that presents false, harmful, or old-wive's-tale information as medical/dental or psychological/psychiatric truth; and with any article that constitutes practice of medicine/psychology without a license - including veterinary medicine. My medical/psych training makes me cringe at all this.
Firsthand accounts of diagnoses, treatments, and their outcomes by people undergoing those treatments or by those watching their loved ones manage these conditions - and even by reporters doing in depth interviews - are good to see.
Other articles everywhere online are not very good - particularly articles written today that copy information from the APA's old DSM-IV-TR, with the writers not realizing that the DSM-5 has been active for months, then misusing, misinterpreting, or misapplying the copied information further than it's being outdated. Unfortunately, some non-credentialed pop-psych writers have set a bad precedent by completely making up additional disease titles and of trying to diagnose people. Then a portion of readers accept these writers' articles as truth and attempt to diagnose family, friends, and acquaintances - or treat themselves, with bad results. This phenomenon could make a good sit-com if people weren't being hurt by it. .
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