Jay Rosen of NewAssignment.net is talking about some of the lessons learned from their first networked journalism experiment with Wired News, which focused on trends in crowdsourcing. He said there were six lessons, but he threw in a seventh for good measure.
1. Division of labor is key in distributed reporting projects. You need to think about what task, and what size of task, you expect people to do.
2. You have to get the motivations right. If you don’t understand participants’ motivations, you can’t figure out how to define the work.
3. Watch for rising coordination costs. More users=more costs, ie answering questions, giving out instructions, etc. You can get your project run into the ground by succeeding with lots of people.
4. If I go off and do something for you, now I have to come back and give you that data. When this happens, people need to see how their contribution fits into the puzzle.
5. Share background knowledge. The more background they have, the easier it’ll be to find data that’s significant.
6. Existing communities already know how to interact and work. They’re better than starting from scratch.
7. The one percent rule – only about one percent of users will actively get involved in creating content, while 10 percent might be involved in peripheral activities like commenting.