The question of expertise in any given field. Something that’s come up in a number of areas recently. The Sleepless Phoenix Comics Anthology that I backed the other day, for example (91% funded at the time of writing, good work), is a project that looks pretty amazing – especially given that everyone involved would probably have the prefix ‘aspiring’ attached to their chosen line of creative work. Though we are nowhere near as far advanced as that ourselves, the Steampunk Fables project is also the culmination of the work of a number of non-professionals.
Essentially, I just want to put the question out there: When does a person become a professional whatever? Or perhaps even more specifially, when does a person become an expert? Factors that would certainly come into play would be whether a person has a prolonged exposure in their field, and becomes a recognised and reliable source of new material and of valuable commentary on things already established. In the creative fields, who do you count or value as your peers (indeed, are they even the ones who eventually determine whether you are a expert, a professional, or however you want to describe the point where one becomes a major player?).
In a similar vein, Barrett started a blog over here and is detailing some of the work he has been doing for his 1:72 (or thereabouts) scale WWII tabletop wargame. It’s worth a read, if anything for his… uhm, at times slightly caustic writing style.