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06 November 2013 @ 01:01 pm
What are you an expert in?

What does it mean to you to be an expert in general or in that thing?
I'm feeling: curiouscurious
ceelove on November 6th, 2013 06:35 pm (UTC)
Therapeutic touch.

It means that I can tell from a few seconds of touching someone, sometimes from a few seconds of looking at them, what their body needs (non-sexually) from me.
The Great Laurenhatsbylaurenhat on November 6th, 2013 06:40 pm (UTC)
I think I am currently the world's leading expert in the statistics of fanfiction (analyzing what people are reading and writing). Also expert at how language influences thought, and how people learn words. Somewhat expert at crowdsourcing, and at getting startup funding from government sources.

I have trouble calling myself an expert at most things, though, even though there are many areas where I have a lot of skill and knowledge -- expertise, even. I think of of being considered an expert as something that is graded on a curve, and in most things I can think of, there are lots of people who specialize in that area and know way more about it than I do.

How about you?
Jonathan Woodwardwoodwardiocom on November 6th, 2013 06:49 pm (UTC)
An embarrassing percentage of my self-worth is caught up in being expert about stuff. (Not that this is pandemic among my male geek friends, or anything.)

Annoyingly, while I'm probably an expert in both science fiction and software engineering, I'm a lot more secure in the former, which doesn't pay the rent...
Mizarchivist: Dragonmizarchivist on November 6th, 2013 06:53 pm (UTC)
Making surfaces massively more interesting with an application of polymer clay. I feel both hugely egotistical about it and the opposite of egotistical much of the time.
veek on November 6th, 2013 07:05 pm (UTC)
Off the top of my head: cooking; open access issues; noticing minute details of interpersonal interactions (that one is definitely double-edged); Roland; teaching 101-level knowledge in many areas to people for whom these areas are foreign.

What it means: having almost all of the basic answers/skills required, and being able to acquire new ones quickly and relatively easily.
Ellen: at workkeyne on November 6th, 2013 08:19 pm (UTC)
Off the top of my head: cooking; ... teaching 101-level knowledge in many areas to people for whom these areas are foreign.

Yep, these are my top two, probably in reverse order. :)

... noticing minute details of interpersonal interactions (that one is definitely double-edged) ...

And this one's probably in my top ten.

I do consider myself an expert in my professional fields -- pregnancy and childbirth, and editing and writing -- as well as in genealogy. I also have a fairly deep knowledge of several other areas, but I wouldn't apply the word "expert" to them. In general, I prefer being a generalist!
funner'n a sack a weaselsmoominmolly on November 6th, 2013 07:16 pm (UTC)
Once I was an expert in the state of Breton language use and decline in Brittany, but not really anymore.

What I'm an expert in depends on the circle I am in at the time I'm saying it. Sometimes I'm an expert on bicycles, or photography, or emotions, or writing, or - it depends who's asking!
evolution, and some other stuff: cloud and skyjacflash on November 6th, 2013 07:32 pm (UTC)
Nothing. I am paid quite handsomely to be an "expert" in a particular field, and held out in public as one, but most days I feel like a novice who maybe pays a little more attention than most.
harimad on November 6th, 2013 08:18 pm (UTC)
I think expertise means having knowledge and underlying understanding - i.e., knowing the whys and wherefores - that you can adapt when someone throws you a curve.

Laurenhat wrote something I really agree with, about others in the field knowing so much more than I do, how can I call myself an expert? But I shall try.

Cooking, food, ingredients, methologies.
I know what to cook and how, and why "this" method is a good one but "that" method is not. I can walk into any kithen and use what I find to make something to eat, usually without needing a recipe. When I screw up, I can accomodate and make it work. (Such as this weekend's banana bread, when I added 3 eggs instead of 2.) I know how to buy decent food cheaply and what pricy food is worthwhile. Room for improvement: Indian, spicy, and some Southeast Asian foods; I'm a spice wimp and don't like coconut milk.

I know how a material will act under various circumstances of crafting, washing, light, type of stitch. I know why there is no such thing as a mistake and how to fix them when they happen. I know what material is good for ribbing, or for sheen, and why wool felts but cotton does not. I know how to adapt a pattern to suit my needs, or change it because I'm using a different yarn. Room for improvement: my own designs, often they don't work out quite as I intended.

Organizing and storing.
I'm really good at storage tetris, and at doing so the objects are stored logically (owner's definition of logical, not mine) and so you can find everything.

ETA: Notwithstanding the above, professionally I've specialized in being a jack of all trades.

Edited at 2013-11-07 02:39 am (UTC)
Chance: sushi paintsmiss_chance on November 6th, 2013 08:34 pm (UTC)
I am an expert in color. I have spent most of my life manipulating and studying the effects of color in fine art as well as designed spaces, materials, and objects. It's my combination of learning-by-doing and learning-by-studying that makes me feel (more or less) comfortable calling myself an "expert." I know a lot about color, and I also do a lot with color.

What this means in most cases is almost nothing, really. :)
It's certainly not something that I have turned into fame, glory, or wealth, and only on a few rare occasions have I gotten called to rescue someone having a color-emergency. Still, it's a source of pleasure in my life.
Elizabeth Hunterlillibet on November 6th, 2013 09:43 pm (UTC)
A lot of things that I might consider myself an expert in, I feel as though I am only an expert in how I do it--I'm definitely an expert at me-parenting-Alice, but it's pretty clear to me that much of what I do wouldn't work for a different parent/child team; I'm certainly the world's living expert on running T@F and building a theatre community in Davis Square, and while I think that many other groups could learn from me, I am not at all certain that what I've done would translate wholesale to anyone else trying to do it in any other place; and I'm the expert on being married to Jason and I think that many relationships could benefit from applying our techniques, but I am not arrogant enough to think that I know anything about any other couple trying this at home. So perhaps in the end I'm just an expert at being me and doing well the things that I like to do.
Renata Piper: gotbrainlyonesse on November 6th, 2013 09:54 pm (UTC)
brains and substances effective thereunto.

it is a source of endless fascination, endless new learning, and occasionally money.
phi: defaulttotient on November 6th, 2013 10:02 pm (UTC)
I am an expert in the Malcolm Gladwell 10,000 hours sense in C++ programming, running science fiction conventions, and riding a bicycle.
tickles, the angry lemurclara_girl on November 6th, 2013 10:50 pm (UTC)
I'm a pretty good teacher.

It means I spend a lot of time being open to other teachers, to being keyed-in to my students and being willing to alter my plan at any time to better suit the class I have (not the class I imagined I have).

I'm also pretty good at bikes, collective living, rigging, and aerials.

It means I know a lot about these things, and I explain what information I have in ways that the listener will hear (this is sometimes highly important, particularly in rigging. I really need other non-aerial riggers to hear what I have to say, and the words I choose are not the same words I'd choose to use with, say, the person hiring me who has nothing to do with carabiners or weight-bearing structures).

Expert? I'm an expert friend. I've been doing it a long time.

I think being an expert ANYthing means being aware, willing, open, and flexible.

None of us should ever, ever stop learning.
porpurina: tequilarinabloodstones on November 6th, 2013 11:54 pm (UTC)
There is a definition of expert that involves getting to a skill level where the activity is automated (and interestingly, novices screw up when they don't think about what they're doing, experts screw up when they do). By that definition I'm an expert at driving. I know all the studies that show everyone thinks they're an above average driver, despite the statistical impossibility of that. While not everyone can be above average I would argue that everyone who drives regularly is an expert at that task because it would be nothing but terrifying accidents all the time if the majority of drivers weren't experts.

Also: homesign, atypical language development, quilting, money management, having awesome workouts/being aware of my body's needs and limitations. ETA: Oh! Also I am an expert at drawing my webcomic. No one else does that.

Edited at 2013-11-06 11:57 pm (UTC)
Randomnessr_ness on November 9th, 2013 06:55 pm (UTC)
While not everyone can be above average I would argue that everyone who drives regularly is an expert at that task because it would be nothing but terrifying accidents all the time if the majority of drivers weren't experts.

This is disturbingly true.

I think of myself as a very average driver with lots of experience, which sounds like it may fit what you're saying.

P. S. This is an odd place to tell you this but if I don't take the chance now I'll forget: the last time contrariety was in town she left something for me to give you; remind me to bring it along next time we meet up.
porpurina: road tripbloodstones on November 10th, 2013 02:09 pm (UTC)
I agree about the driving. I TA-ed a Decision Making class where the prof asked everyone whether or not people considered themselves an above average driver compared to the rest of the people in the room (making the point that people's perception of things often defied statistical probability) and it's the one time when I felt confident about being an above average driver because I had 10 years more driving experience than almost everyone in the room and have both regular commuting and long distance driving experience when most of the students probably had neither. Other than that I'm really happy being an average driver. I really want everyone on the road to be at least as good at it as I am.

As for the other thing, I have a suggestion for the hanging out ~ I'll email you in a minute.
funner'n a sack a weaselsmoominmolly on November 7th, 2013 12:54 am (UTC)
Oh! Wait. I'm pretty objectively excellent with numbers and with space-fitting (rotation, sizing, etc).
Madame Blue aka Pygment: Yin Yangsweetmmeblue on November 7th, 2013 01:58 am (UTC)
I do not think I'm an expert in anything. Well, ok, to expand. I'm an expert in the field of constantly wanting to expand the knowledge of what I do know, and see what new things I can learn. Otherwise I see myself as a person who collects eclectic knowledge in order to find a good combination that works in different situations.
maebethmaebeth on November 7th, 2013 04:24 am (UTC)
I'm struggling with the difference of being superb at something and being an expert.

I think that an expert can explain it to someone else! Is that true? I'm not googling my answer....

So for example, I'm a superb preacher, but I don't know how to teach it to you, so I'd say not an expert?

And I'm a average, not superb, anti-racist, but I'm an expert anti-racism trainer. (And very excited to have just been hired to develop a curriculum fort this. Its nice when someone ELSE things you are an expert, don't you think?)

People ask me management questions, and I always have definitive answers. Not sure if that means i'm an expert or that I shoot from the hip.
Stephghislaine on November 7th, 2013 04:35 am (UTC)
- Understanding complex sets of rules that intertwine and compete with one another and being able to determine the best course through them, or using them, or avoiding them.

- Dealing with psychotic people

- Driving (most of the time)

- MassHealth and Commonwealth Care enrollment navigation (which is an area of expertise I'm about to lose with the ACA implementation and changes this coming January!)

- SSI/SSDI/Medicaid/Medicare eligibility rules

- Making biscuits
phoenixamber_phoenix on November 7th, 2013 01:52 pm (UTC)
I've been pondering this one. My first level response to what an expert is is someone who holds a deep level of knowledge in a particular field. As such it's fairly easy to have been an expert in something but have that expertise fade. In that sense I have been an expert in United States marital law and in varietal coffees and the brewing thereof. My second level response, which comes up before I can decide what I'm an expert in, is that an expert holds a higher level of knowledge in a field than most people. Given this, I can't honestly claim that I am an expert in cooking, for example.

I am highly skilled and practiced in a number of things: home cooking, pastry (particularly short pastries and cakes), customer service theory and analysis, management theory, customer service and management themselves

I am an expert at being me, living in my body and doing my best to embody my ethics.
drwexdrwex on November 7th, 2013 05:19 pm (UTC)
I am an expert in me
Everything else, I'm either not good, or good enough to know people who are way the hell better at it than I.

I know a staggeringly silly amount about finance, both personal and market. But most of what I know is buy-side equities and high-frequency.

I know a lot about cognition, and how people perceive things. I know a lot about interactions between people and things, and somewhat less about people and people interactions. I know a fair bit about why people find things (particularly computerized things) frustrating and how to make those things less frustrating.

I know a lot about teaching people, and a good amount about listening and facilitating. I am remarkably good at helping people solve their problems when they bring those problems to me.
mr_privacy on November 8th, 2013 03:31 pm (UTC)
interesting question!
To me expertise is that you consciously possess and perhaps advance the models, norms, or practices of the area in which you are an expert. An expert can apply those to new situations and rapidly provide what non-experts see as insight (perhaps even helpful insight).

Experts should have enough to say that they can write something longer than an article or blog post, and that stuff is of interest to those who have spent time in the field.

by which definition, I can claim expertise in information security.
Cos: frff-profilecos on November 8th, 2013 09:32 pm (UTC)
Expertise may be about whether other people who know something about the subject can go to you for help in understand, and you're in a position to significantly contribute. Or maybe it's something objective that exists entirely apart from whether other people can gain understanding from you, but in that case, it's a much harder question to answer. If you know a lot about something, you're more aware of how little you know / how much you don't yet understand, and of those people who *do* know more than you, so it's hard to feel like an expert until you've reached near the top. When you see that the other "expects" on the topic are mostly not more expertful than you are, then it's clear... but chances are, you've been an expert for a long while already on the way to that point. So being able to help others understand and answer their questions is the best identifier of expertise I can think of.