Wired.com experiments with ‘crowd-sourcing’

Speaking of e-collaboration, Wired.com and some partners have created a project called Assignment Zero by which they can experiment with the concept of peer production of media content. Through a website, hundreds of global contributors will be assigned small parts of a very large topic, then professional editors will mash it all together.

For the first story they have chosen to explore (wait for it)  – the scope and nature of peer production of media content. Well I guess that’s a logical starting point, but wouldn’t it be great to eventually see a ‘crowd-sourced’ story on Iraq or corporate corruption emerge for example?

Anyway, it will be a bit like a self-validating journalistic Wiki. That’s the part I still worry about when I wonder where Web 2.0 is going. How much is truth, how much is useful knowledge and how much will be urban myth or just plain lies? Under the ‘crowd-sourcing’ model it seems like if enough people validate a claim then it becomes socially acceptable. But that in itself does not guarantee truth. Some critics have also complained that employing an editorial board will skew the outcome according to whatever agenda Wired wishes to promote.

A project like this tests traditional models of ownership and verifiability for sure. But on the other hand it’s a step towards far greater democratisation of the media. Creating a formal framework for a creative, collaborative endeavour is a vast improvement on having no guidelines at all. The Internet is still very much a ‘Wild West’ scenario, so any improvement has to be a step forward. Doesn’t it?
[tags]e-collaboration, crowd sourcing, culture, knowledge[/tags]

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