My friend Shana Carp has a laudatory post about me (which I, in no way deserve), discussing my recent back and forth with Dr. David Friedman. What particularly impressed Shana was the fact that the internet could afford the opportunity for me, a not very sociable lay person, to talk to a leading economist.
It is a situation that can happen to anyone, with enough effort. Expertise seems to be slowly shifting to those who will open themselves up as both being open to learn, open to criticism, and open to creating real resources for scholarship. Further, it will both make scholarship communities both smaller (IE, Dr. Friedman and BZ talking about sci-fi) and larger (IE BZ is now connected, even if only peripherally, to mainstream Economics scholarship). It means that the production of scholarly material will be produced by a mixture of experts, amateurs, and in betweeners, with a lot more community sorting taking place.