Should-Read: Noah Smith: Vast Literatures as Mud Moats: “My solution to this problem is what I call the Two Paper Rule… http://noahpinionblog.blogspot.com/2017/05/vast-literatures-as-mud-moats.html

…If you want me to read the vast literature, cite me two papers that are exemplars and paragons…. Foundational papers, key recent innovations…. Just two. I will read them.  If these two papers are full of mistakes and bad reasoning, I will feel free to skip the rest of the vast literature. Because if that’s the best you can do, I’ve seen enough.If these two papers… merely link to other papers, I will also feel free to skip the rest of the vast literature…. And if you can’t cite two papers… it means that the knowledge contained in that vast literature must be very diffuse and sparse. Which means it has a high likelihood of being a mud moat. The Two Paper Rule is therefore an effective counter to the mud moat defense…