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Crowdsourcing: A Definition

  • I like to use two definitions for crowdsourcing:

    The White Paper Version: Crowdsourcing is the act of taking a job traditionally performed by a designated agent (usually an employee) and outsourcing it to an undefined, generally large group of people in the form of an open call.

    The Soundbyte Version: The application of Open Source principles to fields outside of software.

The Rise of Crowdsourcing

  • Read the original article about crowdsourcing, published in the June, 2006 issue of Wired Magazine.
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July 18, 2007

Comments

Derek Powazek

All social media systems can be played like games. The trick, I think, is to design the game so that playing it creates a better site, not a worse one. One of the most fascinating things "Ragnar" said in our interview is that Digg could shut them down tomorrow by simply making invisible who's Dugg each story. So social media system creators need to design their sites with these games in mind.

Jeff Howe

I couldn't agree more, Derek. In fact I think we'll see that naturally evolve. That l quote of Ragnar caught my eye, too. Though part of the intrigue was that I didn't understand why that would be a case. Because I'm dumb, any chance you (or someone else that understand the relationship between Digg and how anonymity would render it impervious to Subversion?

Ragnar Danneskjold

Jeff,

We have to verify that each user is actually voting for the stories we assign them on Digg and StumbleUpon in order to pay them.

The Ayn Rand shot was cheap. I am not a Randroid, or an "Objectivist." I just like the book, and Ragnar Danneskjold is, as I told Derek, the badass of all subversive icons. Implying that I'm a sociopath is poor form.

We are not going to turn these sites into link farms, simply because it would be bad for our business in the long run (and we believe we have a good chance of sticking around to see the long run). We hope to keep a low profile to avoid encouraging the innovation you'd like social media sites to develop.

Feel free to contact me with any questions.

Thanks,
Ragnar

Daren C. Brabham

Ragnar,

I'm intrigued by what you and your organization do in the world of social media. While I think the presence of organizations like yours in the fray is unavoidable and *can* spur the innovation of better systems in positive ways, it's largely unfortunate, I think, that you do exist. Oh well.

Call it a cheap shot, but Ayn Rand is not a well-loved figure. New media scholar Langdon Winner has much criticism of so-called cyberlibertarian rhetoric on the Web. A paper he wrote way back in 1997 critiques the selfishness and ruthlessness of Rand--and in extension, of guys like you. It also spells out how I largely feel about the Web: https://www.langdonwinner.org/Cyberlib.html

If you read Winner's essay, you'll find he was not too fond of Wired either, who he saw as a proponent of the cyberlibertarian philosophy. An interesting read, whether you like it or not.

db

Alan

Very interesting piece that’s worthy of close examination Daren!

There can be no question that as our world evolves the dramatic changes taking place on the cyber/technological fronts are forcing societal and cultural shifts that bode poorly for the warp and weft of the fabric that defines traditional communities and culture.

As much as one might want to react with disdain against Ragnars activities, shouldn’t one be shedding more light upon those who have already created both technological and business practices that are as much if not far more insidious.

Ragnars practices pail against those of the super large industries and institutions who are not only morally defunct but appear to work with abandon/compulsion against any inner voice to be responsible.

The greater challenge of our materialistic age is surely to bring consciousness and change to those practices that are far more devastating than the gaming of social networks!

I play devils advocate because I believe, as I have intimated before, each of us “will” carry the burden or indeed the exultation of our practices within the context of our personal or professional biographies.

Ragnar is a small fish in an ocean of deceit and lies and there is no escape from what Winner states in the last paragraph.

“even the most seemingly inconsequential applications and uses of innovations in networked computing be scrutinized and judged in the light of what could be important moral and political consequences.”

Morality is one way of defining an intangible but all to real relationship between the choices we make and what we can expect to have to endure or benefit, both as individuals and communities, because of those choices.

Jeff’s use of the word sociopath would appear to be warranted by a minimum of association. Is Ragnar hostile to or disruptive of the established social order? Is he engaging in behavior that violates accepted norms?

Ragnars behaviors point to the fact that the existence of a moral compass, according to traditional norms, is lacking. So many appear to have moved in that direction and that presents a quandary. Who decides where the base lines should be and how hard should one be fighting back?

Cheers, Alan.

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Ragnar is a small fish in an ocean of deceit and lies and there is no escape from what Winner states in the last paragraph.

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