Everyone begins on A Place to Study as a visitor. The place is an open city inviting you to study through it. As a visitor, you can go where you like — A Place to Study has no private spaces. There's a lot to take in to really know your way around. The place is a place to study in the virtual world, and the actual world doesn't offer too many places to study these days to clue us in about finding our way on our own.
A first-time visitor may see A Place to Study as big city without all the people, strangely deserted with nothing taking place within it. The life of a city, and of A Place to Study, begins to emerge as one starts doing things in it. As in a city, on A Place to Study visitors have a more circumscribed range of interaction than residents, but visitors can they can do a lot by using the means available to all, thoughtfully commenting wherever they see an Add comment link.
Don't be bashful. A Place to Study exists as a place for persons to develop and express their thinking, not to proclaim their ready-made opinions, choosing one from A to D, or rejoining the old Roman populace giving a thumbs up of thumbs down. Speak as you think, not as social convention suggests. Yeah, flip and plain dumb comments will quickly disappear. But thoughtful, genuine ones, expressed in the spirit of open-ended study, will last as contributions to the work of the place.
We value questions, naïve ones and sophisticated ones. We think admitting ignorance, sharing doubts, and understanding disagreements help to spur fruitful study. We are still a long way from the condition in which everyone, everywhere has immediate access, anytime, anyplace, to the whole of human culture to support their life-long study. But the development of digital communications brings very large numbers of persons significantly closer to a reasonable approximation of it. Visitors participate in that emerging world.
In this historically unprecedented juncture, the idea that we should follow a more or less single, more or less sequential path in a life of learning makes no sense. Beginners and experts all find their own paths, crossing frequently, and wouldn't you know it — beginners in one thing are experts in another, and vice versa. Let each share their questions and share what they think. We are all ignorant; we all doubt putative certainties; and we all must live together despite countless disagreements. These are realities in the midst of which we begin each day. In the midst of that, all of us must exercise our judgment as best we can. In study, we continually use our judgment to form our judgment. The stakes in it are high, the opportunity for it at hand.