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The unpaid power user and the highly paid expert

The defining threshold which sets the entry line between the unpaid labour of the power user and the highly paid services of the knowledge expert, is no longer entirely constructed by the traditional institutions of knowledge production, such
as the university.

The global network itself became the educational environment for those without direct access to the institutions. The involvement in free and open projects, from where the power user not only builds up a reputation, but also gains crucial skills, can easily equal the value of an academic degree.

This type of distributed expert knowledge is of a more pragmatic and immanent kind, more webbed into social fabrics, trial and error and thick description, than the one describable in handbooks and how-to guides. While the quality of of.cial education is suffering pressure from the mass production of academic experts, the massive self-education of power users creates a new and growing class of google intellectuals, who can only know as much as is available in the open, establishing a new economy of words from the bottom up.

What power users also produce is the negativity of demand: missing links, feature requests,
unreacheable goals and unrealised ideas. Power users form a ghost army of pricelessness, in a last big battle of the copywars, where academic science might become dependent on them.

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