Thursday, April 18, 2013

crowd sourcing, where do we start

Whenever any mentions crowd sourcing, don't ask me why, I think of the immortal Monty Python scene outside Brian's mothers apartment and the scene in the sewers under the castle where the 2 groups of 'terrorists' meet and end up fighting over who came up with the plan first.

DEADLY DIRK: Campaign for Free Galilee.
FRANCIS: Oh. Uh, People's Front of Judea. Officials.
FRANCIS: What's your group doing here?
DEADLY DIRK: We're going to kidnap Pilate's wife, take her back, issue demands.
FRANCIS: So are we.
FRANCIS: That's our plan!
DEADLY DIRK: We were here first!
FRANCIS: What do you mean?!
DEADLY DIRK: We thought of it first!
WARRIS: Oh, yeah?
DEADLY DIRK: Yes, a couple of years ago!
P.F.J.: Ha. Heh. Ha ha.
FRANCIS: Okay, c-- co-- come on. You got all your demands worked out, then?
DEADLY DIRK: 'Course we have.
FRANCIS: What are they?
DEADLY DIRK: Well, I'm not telling you.
P.F.J.: Aghhh...
FRANCIS: Oh, come on. Pull the other one.
P.F.J.: Shh!
DEADLY DIRK: That's not the point! We thought of it before you!
WARRIS: Did not.
FRANCIS: You didn't.
C.F.G.: We bloody did!
BRIAN: Shhhh!
P.F.J.: Shhhhh! Shh.
DEADLY DIRK: You bastards! We've been planning this for months.
FRANCIS: Well, tough titty for you, Fish Face. Oh! Oh.
RANDOM: All right.
WARRIS: Clever. You sly...
BRIAN: Brothers! Brothers! We should be struggling together!
FRANCIS: We are! Ohh.
BRIAN: We mustn't fight each other! Surely we should be united against the common enemy!
EVERYONE: The Judean People's Front?!
BRIAN: No, no! The Romans!
EVERYONE: Oh, yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yes.

Both scenes are a great fun poking exercise into how we think and act when in a crowd, the power of the people and all those other cliches come to mind as well.
The sewer scene is a good reminder that sometimes we need to make sure we are all working on the same problem in the same direction, fighting the common enemy.

Crowds can go bad
This is where crowd sourcing could fall apart, I mean if everyone who joins the 'crowd' is in it for different reasons, or the same end goal but have different motives for getting there, it would be easy for the crowd to get steered away from the original goal.

Personally I love the idea of crowd sourcing, the dev4good events and every other hack event around the planet are in essence crowd sourcing events. People who are interested in an idea, come together to work on it with other people with different skills.
So maybe 'skill pooling' is more apt name but not one that would ever take off I guess?
The difference to these hack events to the sewer scene (other than it being in a sewer and under a palace) is it is an open forum for discussion, debate. No one person has control over any part of the group, if people in the group don't like the 'plan' they are encouraged to start their own group (and yes we do call these people 'splitters') and see what happens.
Sometimes this works, other times it doesn't, that is part of the game.

The online training system I am co-founding ( is at its heart a place for people interested in learning and/or teaching to meet and share their knowledge (and in the process make some money if they want to).

The way I see it everybody is an expert in their own world, shed, castle, boat, whatever. Most of us never part with this knowledge and will take it with us when we leave. When we look around skills, languages, cultures are being lost because people simply don't share like they used. Before the advent of TV and the internet, people spent more time together talking, passing on information. Nowadays, this happens less as people 'interact' more in a virtual way and the conversations have gone from 'Dad how do you change a washer?' to 'Nom eating dinna'.

What we have tried to do with the My learning worx platform is to make it as easy as possible for anyone with some information to share it (and make money if they want).
This knowledge transfer can take place anywhere, anytime and just about on any device, meaning there is no reason why we cannot do it.

Feel free to take a look around the new platform and let me know what you think!

No comments: