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Suggestion for Fine-tuning "Pro" Criteria
Having an article in one of the monitored journals ought to be enough for professional status. It shouldn't have to be one on the 'most popular' list.

If PhilPapers had been around last century, Saul Kripke's pathbreaking papers in modal logic would have been hidden by the current criteria until well into the Sixties, for all his early publications were in the Journal of Symbolic Logic, which is not on the 'most popular' list. Surely this is a reductio ad absurdum of the current criteria.

A separate suggestion: make the 'professional authors only' box unticked by default. As far as I can tell, this wouldn't clog the default listings too much, and people can always tick it. (I suspect many people see it ticked and leave it ticked out of inertia without realizing, or thinking much about, what they might be missing out on.)

Suggestion for Fine-tuning "Pro" Criteria
Reply to Tristan Haze
hi tristan -- sorry, i missed this before. 

i think you have false beliefs about how the "pro" filter works.  kripke's JSL papers would certainly have been displayed.  every paper harvested from a journal is automatically considered "pro" and included in search results even if the "pro" filter is on.

the issue of who is a "pro user" applies to a special subclass of papers -- those directly submitted to philpapers or harvested from web archives.  in those cases we don't automatically display everything by default, as there is a lot by people with no qualifications in philosophy.  to deal with the problem we draw a distinction on the basis of whether/where an author has published.

to sum up the algorithm: when pro filter is turned on (as it is by default), only pro works are displayed in most contexts.  a pro work is either (i) a work not directly submitted or harvested from archives or (ii) a work by a pro author.  a pro author is either (i) a philpapers user with a phd in philosophy or (ii) an author with a paper published in one of the most popular journals.

of course the criteria are rough and we're open to refining them.  i don't think that having published a single article in a monitored journal should be sufficient, though.  many of these journals (including JSL) are highly interdisciplinary, and some of the journals have much lower standards than others. the result is that we'd be displaying large numbers of articles by nonphilosophers who have published one article in a low-standard journal or in an interdisciplinary journal that includes some philosophy.

we're also reluctant to display non-pro articles by default.  the effect would be to significantly dilute results.  keep in mind that if we did this, we would probably get a lot more submissions from the relevant non-pros.  the quality of these is variable enough that we think the best path is to give users who want to see these papers the option of doing so.  that said, we could probably do more to make the option more prominent.

Suggestion for Fine-tuning "Pro" Criteria

Hi David,

Thanks very much, and you're right that I didn't know that the pro filter worked that way. That's better than I thought.

'(iii) i don't really see the relevant difference between (which i admire) and philpapers here.'

One thing which seems to distinguish on this front is that people browsing in subject areas will see all relevant papers, whereas on PhilPapers the results are restricted by default to pro. I take the point that changing this may encourage more low-quality submissions, so maybe it's best to keep it this way. But as a result, for now it seems like works better at dissemination for people in my position.