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A number of questions here on meta are geared toward refining the site to get expert-level participation. I think that is a great goal, but I'm not sure it is the right one. Doubly so if it leads to removing a lot of beginner-level questions (though I understand doing that during beta).

The reason that I question the goal is simply that I believe a large portion of the experts we would be targeting will be definably reticent to participate. They already have their group of expert players with whom they discuss the game; I suspect they will be doubtful that much benefit will come to them from participation here. By contrast, by freely sharing insights, they do stand to lose something. Many, like myself and the few that I have invited here, are involved in training sites, and may seek to keep their disclosure of tips to an audience that will pay for the knowledge. (Since my site is small, I am confident that any loss of business would be quickly offset by the added exposure gained through participation here). Others may intentionally wish to keep the field in-the-dark, so to speak to avoid needlessly improving their opponents. Still others may fear that discussing their game openly in public will create a resource for opponents to gain information about them, leading to tougher games against their skilled opponents.

Thus I ask: Are we really targeting the experts? Is that the right move to make?

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The topic has come up in a few other threads that I posted in, and I believe it relates closely to the subjective/objective discussion about the type and technical depth of questions that will be useful here.

Poker is, to my mind, best learnt through exploration. There are so very many points of view about strategic and tactical applications of the theory that, perhaps not having the best of experts here, and instead having a more active base of enthusiastic yet highly skilled amateurs will generate a better environment for learning the complexities than just one or three experts pitching in definitive answers that shut out quality discussion, comments, or other points of view. Not that that's undesirable of course!

Targeting experts in that sense may well not be best to help the site grow, just like you highlight. It's a good point. That said, poor answers are given short shrift and high level expert discussion will get the participation it deserves and I'd think would be a positive draw for the expert audience, in comparison to traditional fora, despite your concerns.

There is a real issue that the dispersal of high quality information has the effect of increasing the average difficulty of play but at the same time, practically ALL the information an expert needs for poker is already out there in the public domain. For free!. The truth is, most players aren't inclined to truly challenge themselves to the extent that's needed to master it. The most enticing aspect of paid-for poker communities is the opportunity to practice, theoretically or physically, with other people. This site may improve the noise-to-signal ratio, but I can't imagine it would diminish the strength of a paid service. Quite the opposite IMO. It would compel those that put the effort in to take it to the next logical step...paid coaching.

As for discussing their game, there is a counter strategy for everything in poker. I could tell you my whole game plan and still adjust effectively to your strategies. Most poker talk is conceptual anyway so it's indirect and not attributable to any time or singular player. I feel that the reward of discussing poker theory and it's application far outweighs the risk in exposing that information as the uptake of that knowledge is sporadic and not necessarily properly applied in the medium term. By then, the game itself has moved on, no?

As for garnering expert participation, I don't see it as much of a concern. I'd say that the higher the participation, the better, regardless of the skill level. Users paying attention will soon realise the nature of the forum and will continue to post, or will leave due to the responses they get. The SE software does the hard part of engaging the right members for us, whoever we target. Let the system decide.

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