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Rules of thumb to differentiate potential public intellectuals from blowhards


Above is a Sinhala article in Raavaya which addresses the following questions:

What rules of thumb or filters may an editor or equivalent apply to choose between different intellectuals seeking opportunities to communicate to the public? The public’s attention is limited; and so is the “speaking time” that could be offered. Giving time on TV/radio or space in an online or print publication necessarily involves judgment. One putative intellectual gets the opportunity; another does not. How should that judgment be exercised?

The easiest rule, or the first filter, is to see whether the intellectual is basing his or her contribution on some kind of evidence. Many of those who are permitted to make demands on the public’s limited attention do so on the basis of who they are, and not on what they have to say.

The English version is here.

Part 1 in English is here.


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