Justice by Slavery? The meanings of crowdsourcing  8.12.09

There are several concepts, partly overlapping, partly different, that are used to describe phenomena that seem to be somewhat similar if not the same: social production, peer production, crowdsourcing, or collaboration. As so often with buzzwords, theses concepts are, if at all, vaguely defined. Take crowdsourcing. Columnists and researchers use it it such different ways, that the definitions in certain aspects are diametric.

Dan Woods had an intersting column on the “Myth of Crowdsourcing” on Forbes online the other day. Best quotes:

Crowdsourcing of political investigation? The problem of web-based ad-hoc collaboration  2.12.09

A couple of days ago, I mentioned Wikileaks‘ scoop of leaking the apparently horrid contracts between the Federal Republic of Germany and Toll Collect, a joint-venture of Daimler-Chrysler, Deutsche Telekom and Cofiroute.

When Germany’s leading webpolitics site netzpolitik.org brought the message (“Toll Collect wird offen”), its leading brain Markus Beckedahl asked his broad and usually helpful audience how, with which tools and techniques some 10,000 pages of contract papers could collaboratively be analyzed to quickly find the rascalities that everyone was expecting to find there. I was split on whether this could work out or not, whether such a task is suited for social ad-hoc collaboration or not.

Back in 2004, I was working with a