Competitive Meritocracy: Collective Sense
One of the greatest things that the web and computers can do for philosophy is enabling a more fluent form of quality control: one that combines quality with openness. Thus not appointing a board of experts, and then expecting them to be the sole and almighty gatekeepers (quality control, but no openness), nor letting everyone post whatever they want without any control or filtering (total openness, but no quality control), but rather having a self-organizing meritocratic quality control system which bridges the gap between openness and quality. Thus on LogiLogi we put faith in collective judgements and give experts gradually a bigger vote, but never anything like an absolute vote. Now it might seem bold to suggest such a democratic system for philosophy, because if anything would be remote from majority rule, it would be philosophical truth. But even many philosophers think that truth does not exist in itself, independent from anything, or at the very least that it can never be reached directly.
First of all Kant argued that our perception and our thinking are determined by the categories of our minds: without our concepts we are blind. And even if we have concepts, we never can reach the 'dingen an sich'. So first of all we have only access to human, conceptual truths. And more recently Wittgenstein II argued that concepts have no meaning separately from how they are used by the groups which use them: they are only meaningful within the 'life forms' in which they function. Thus we only have collective, human, conceptual truths. This does not mean that 'anything goes' of course, but what it does mean is that the best people to ask what their concepts mean and how to use them, or which new concepts would work well, are the people/philosophers using them. Also this is why LogiLogi avoids imposing logic modelling: its free form texts stay close to the language already used by many philosophers.
There is another factor behind having meritocratic quality control after publication, and it is that the only thing that is naturally scarce now that we have the web and ubiquitous computers, is the attention of scholars, not space in journals. Thus we should use a method that distributes attention most efficiently. One in which what articles are seen most, is determined by the small decisions of many individuals (such as writing, voting and linking), instead of by the decisions of a small clique. Then these choices will - in general - be better, can be made quicker, and will no longer be binary yes/no decisions that can keep valuable ideas hidden. Also, because it allows reviewing to be an ongoing process, ideas can be phased out more explicitly, so theories which have been proven dubious, are less likely to get a new following in other disciplines (such as Freudianism). In addition, decisions reached through a meritocracy will be more transparent and more neutral, especially if the formula is simple, and (non-negative) ratings are made public. This because just like in the free market, aggregating over the small decisions of many different individuals limits opportunities for corruption and favouritism.
In a sense, the rating and ranking system proposed, is very much like a market. To speak with the words of sociologer Niklas Luhmann again, it provides a symbolically generalized medium (SGM) for representing philosophical value. Current examples are money, votes, military ranks, clerical roles and academic titles. The easier they are to count and to put trust in, the more effective such media are. Not surprisingly in current day society by far the most developed of these is money. The others, such as academic titles, are relatively crude in comparison, and thus less central to our increasingly globalised society. It is particularly because of this that, after the theocracy of the middle-ages, and the nationalism of the early 20th century, now economism abounds and money talks loudest (ever more is calculated in terms of money, and economic discourse dominates even universities). A way to offset this imbalance could be creating more granular and powerful generalized media for the other values - among which foremostly truth - so they can play their proper role again. Thus the web, and the meritocratic quality control it can enable, might soon allow us to have an invisible brain at work in society, next to the invisible hand.