I've come across a couple of posts this week on different blogs that illustrate the pluses and minuses of self-publishing in biblical studies or ancient languages.
First, James McGrath is contemplating self-publishing a book he's written. I'm sure his work is thought-provoking and well-researched, reflecting his training and experience in biblical studies. Self-publishing seems to be a way that he could get something in print and in the hands of select people quickly.
Second, Jay has tactfully commented on the self-published work of a certifiable self-taught crackpot whose books curiously enjoy prominent placement in Amazon searches and recommendations.
The second example makes me appreciate the process that editors and publishing houses have put in place that ensure a quality publication (usually), just like academic journals subject articles to peer-review. They screen out the crazies and crackpots (usually-I offer anything written by Graham Phillips as evidence that they don't always). Self-publishing is too easy. Anyone can do it if they want to pay for it and it doesn't matter if what they've written is quality or not.
On the other hand, blogging is a form of self-publishing - unregulated and lacking peer-review. We have no standards, no organization that gives us an official stamp of approval (unless you count biblioblogs.com). I guess the comments feature can keep us honest, accountable, and in dialogue, but unless I know the commenter, I don't know if he has the training to critique my work or not (like Jay I'm not trying to sound elitist - but I've had a bit more training in this field than your average person who reads the Bible in English for fun or faith or whatever).
I wonder how much Jay's question about what to do about self-published crackpots in print ("how can we rid the popular culture of such stains on linguistics, sound methodology, the study of Hebrew Bible, and common sense?") should be extended to also include the blogosphere. I know you're out there - bloggers with conspiracy theories about Jesus who think the DaVinci Code was non-fiction and that the Bible Code really works.