Literary analysis, and literature in general, is prone to a lot of cliquish cross-subject sniping and condescension. Bardolatry and the Authorship Question, the validity/dignity of [romance novels/YA lit/ebooks/whatever], One True Wayism with regard to critical lenses, self-publication and vanity presses, it can get vicious.

Similarly, the Stack Exchange doesn't put stock in appeals to authority as a substitute for demonstrating expertise through explanation and example--but sometimes folks throw around "I graduated college so who are you to tell me I'm not writing my question clearly" or "I played D&D for thirty years so why aren't I an expert on a totally different game?" I anticipate a lot of "I'm a lit doctorate so be quiet" to crop up on lit.se, and that's just not gonna fly.

Folks have a tendency to take what they like and equate it with who they are, making these kinds of things all the more emotionally fraught and increasing the difficulty of keeping an even keel on discussions: when my opinions are a mainstay of my identity, it can be hard to tell the difference between disrespecting me and disagreeing with me. (To borrow from RPG.SE, if I'm a powergamer and you don't like powergaming, that means you don't like me; compare if I powergame and you don't like powergaming, then you just dislike something I do.)

On RPG.SE we've had to explicitly affirm that we actively value diverse views and styles, and it still gets dicey sometimes. And that's for a subject that very few people have invested their entire professional careers in.

What will we do to defuse these minefields as much as possible beforehand, through community culture? When they do inevitably blow up sometimes, will we be ready to deal with it?

Proposal: Literature

  • 1
    Hang on to your question until the site is actually launched. I can appreciate your enthusiasm for getting started on the broader administrative challenges of running this site, but it is best to save these questions for the folks who are going to be actively using this site in actual practice. Area 51 is for questions about getting the proposal launched. Sorry about the confusion. Jan 12, 2017 at 6:10
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    Great question, I hope you'll ask it in the private beta. I just would like to say that in my experience, the people who go around claiming "I'm a lit doctorate so be quiet" online usually don't actually have a lit doctorate. The behaviour that you're describing is more of a reflection of communities like reddit than actual academia.
    – user36412
    Jan 12, 2017 at 6:46
  • Also, you might be interested in these two questions on area51: discuss.area51.stackexchange.com/q/26002/36412 and discuss.area51.stackexchange.com/q/25964/36412
    – user36412
    Jan 12, 2017 at 6:49


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