Love your Crowd

Crowd Saucing Crowdsourcing

As much as I love Christmas, I am reminded of the frustration I have with large crowds – where do these people magically appear from? All at once for 4-6 weeks everyday chores become almost impossible, supermarkets burst at the seams, car parks are non-existent, footpaths become labyrinths and even my quiet local pub needs a reservation for lunch! Now as I was reflecting about crowds, whilst enjoying my pub lunch this afternoon – I couldn’t help but notice how my ‘local’ was somewhat quieter today… thinking too hard on a Friday is dangerous and my white shirt paid the price when my burger self-exploded as I took a bite… so did I technically get “crowd sauced”? Which brings me to my topic of discussion… When does “the crowd” go from being something to shun… to something to embrace?

First an overview…

Crowdsourcing originates from the Latin terms “caterva” and “sollicito” which means… nah just kidding it’s not as cool as that – it’s just  a combination of “crowd” and “outsourcing” and a couple of geeks thought it was clever so it caught on!

What is crowdsourcing?

Outsourcing is great when you don’t want to do something repetitive and monotonous … and as my mother use to say “many hands make light work”, so large crowds are pretty handy when it comes to doing small chunks of large boring work! So… crowdsourcing is when you outsource small chunks of work to a large crowd of people who take less time to complete it simultaneously!

When are Crowds Bad?

  • Only 1 checkout operator at the supermarket
  • Only 1 vacant car park left in car park building
  • Only 1 chef on lunch duty at Pub over Christmas… Grrr!

When are Crowds Awesome!

  • Many people cropping several thousand images simultaneously
  • Many people transcribing several thousand documents simultaneously
  • Many people double-checking several thousand OCR pages simultaneously
So instead of a single person doing 100% of the work over a long time period… Crowds should be embraced to allow many people to each do 1% of the work simultaneously over a shorter period of time!

Where do I get my crowd from?

Growing up in my house with 4 siblings in NZ, we use to chew thru Wattie’s tomato sauce like it was going out of fashion… so one day mum bought a big red, cheap, nasty jug of sauce… it was bitter and left a burning sensation in the corners of your mouth… but because it lasted longer and was cheaper, the objective was met … anyway, when selecting your crowd always remember… cheap & nasty may achieve your objective, but may not always be the best option… sometimes quality is better than quantity! Your crowd can be local or halfway around the world, and have as many or as few people in it as necessary. Passionate volunteers make great crowdsource members as they tend to take pride and ownership over their contributions… but anything from paid labour who receives training, to massive foreign cubicle farms with no special knowledge required, also work well. Paid workers & passionate volunteers are great for detailed work that requires accuracy and some technical ability. Mass, cheap/free labour is great for large simple tasks like data entry with accuracy that can be easily checked. (It’s not just for digital projects – there are some innovative crowdsourcing projects around WW100 commemorations – for example National Army Museum’s ‘Call to Yarn’).

What can Recollect do for your crowdsourcing project?

Recollect has the ability to develop a bespoke solution specific for your crowdsourcing projects For example:
  • Allow approved people to crop images and take ownership of their work.
  • Allow volunteers to transcribe text and be approved by automatic “double entry” checking.
  • Allow anyone from the general public (visitors to the site) plot missing geotags to maps, and be approved by admin
For less of my jibber-jabber and more information about how Recollect can help with your crowdsource project, contact the Recollect team.