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Criticism of crowdsourcing

MyWikiBiz, Author Your Legacy — Thursday April 25, 2019
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Consider that Wikipedia Review is now, according to a number of participants there, suffering from various problems of anonymous management and community composition (an influx of Wikipedia apologists). Now may be an opportune time to establish a new forum for research and discussion of similar matters as posed by Wikipedia Review, but with various improvements.

Let this page serve as a discussion place for this new possibility.

Announcement

As the owner of this website, and as the primary agent for a new forum for research and discussion of information management on the Internet, I would like to announce that I am about 90% resolved to move forward in the following way:

Let's move away from this form of governance.
  • The new forum will begin as a closed, "team edited" blog, open to comment by the general public. One new blog post will appear every Monday. Comments may be censored only by a majority vote of the management.
  • I will invite four other real-name people to form a set of Five Founders. Each of these men or women will have the opportunity to opt into or out of legal ownership of the domain, through a short partnership contract.
  • Each Founder will be responsible for drafting one blog post, on a rotating basis, such that Founder A will write the Week 1 post, Founder B will write the Week 2 post, and so on. The first draft of the post will be submitted on Thursdays, and the rest of the Founders may touch up and improve copy on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday; but the Monday publication will carry the byline of the drafting author/Founder.
  • Each Founder will be allowed one "rain check" per year (to miss one every-five-weeks blog posting), but a second missed posting will result in the Founder losing contractual partnership.
  • Every three months, the Founders will discuss and vote on the addition of new members (New Partners) who will be inserted into the rotating blog production cycle. After a quarterly probation period, they will also be given the opportunity to opt into or out of legal ownership of the domain.
  • In this way, the body of authors will grow, and the duty cycle of each member will decrease over time. If the duty cycle becomes too sporadic for the partners' taste, then we could vote to double the frequency of the blog, with new posts being published on Mondays and Thursdays.

At this time, I would like interested Founder candidates to reach out to me by private e-mail (ResearchBiz <at> gmail.com). As stated above, real-names matching to authenticated bios will be required, at least to be shared within the private partnership contract, but not necessarily to the public at large. Recommendations for other Founders are welcome, as well. I urge private correspondence on this founding process, as I don't want this site to turn into a public discussion of real-name qualities and drawbacks. -- MyWikiBiz 06:10, 12 October 2008 (PDT) (Gregory Kohs)

Founding principles

  1. Our forum will respectfully feature thoughtful, substantiated, objective criticism of unethical, unprofessional characteristics of certain types of information management on the Internet. Participants will use ethical journalistic practice and demeanor in order to describe documented situations involving these issues. Fueling of "drama" and interpersonal conflicts will be discouraged where possible. However, it may be necessary to discuss individual participants on particular websites in specific situations, such as to exemplify "conflict of interest" problems or to scrutinize the character of a website's leadership.
  2. Both the ownership and administrative management of the new forum shall all be self-identifying persons with legitimate biographies that map to real-world authenticity.
  3. The target audience of the forum will be journalists who publish and broadcast in the areas of technology and information, academics whose research touches these subjects, and the general public. Some of those in the targeted audience will not have an intimate understanding of the inner workings and jargon of subject site policies (e.g., Wikipedia has an extremely complex rule set), so our forum will attempt to address such intricacies by spelling them out in layman's terms.
  4. Topical discussions will not be limited to Wikipedia. Other Internet sites for examination may include Google Knol, Citizendium, Encyclopedia Britannica, Wikia, Biographicon, Veropedia, Encyclopedia Dramatica, etc. We can discuss all matter of social, political, commercial, and academic consequences of any of the following:
    • User-generated content
    • Free licenses, the "Free culture movement", and copyright violations
    • Wikis
    • Section 230 considerations
    • Anonymity and privacy on the Internet
  5. Participants in the discussion may elect to do so from behind a pseudonymous cloak, but they will be advised that their opinions and status as participants shall carry less "cachet" (clout, gravitas, etc.) than those who self-identify and participate transparently.

Format

Which format would be most suitable for this new forum? Would it be possible to have both formats? If so, what would be more appropriate to have as the site's major format?

Message board

Pros
Fluid discussions between members
More directly participative than a wiki, as each party may express their side without having to include the concepts already presented.
Cons
Derailment of threads
Appears amateur
More likely to cause conflict, especially between "problem" users
Do you vote for this?

Wiki

Pros
Output is inherently more "polished" and "reasoned" than a message board
There is a clear division between content and discussion thereof.
The content is more immediately usable for journalists, academics and media professionals.
Cons
Discussion between parties gets lost in "consensus" of page
Using the same format as that of the subject that one is trying to describe may not be a valid way of producing analysis, especially if the same core principles (ie NPOV, "consensus") are used. It's perhaps important to "think outside the of box".
Do you vote for this?
I think this is the way I'm leaning, but I reserve the right to change my mind. -- MyWikiBiz 20:59, 10 October 2008 (PDT)
I do. A wiki can work perfectly well if participation is restricted and the management exercises diligence over its contents. -- Signed by User:Proabivouac00:58, October 11, 2008

Combination of Message Board/Wiki

Pros
Is already the "setup" at the WR, with the message board and the "blog". That part of the WR model seems to work quite well.
Separation of proven information made by identified editors and hypothesis/opinion made by either known editors or pseudonyms might prove to be practical and also prudent from a legal standpoint. The information contained on the Wiki should be sourced, provable and thoroughly investigated before it is posted. This would seem to indicate that only known editors should be allowed to have access to that section. If access to the "wiki" is reserved for named individuals, then the pseudonyms can still provide information or evidence on the message board, which can later be sourced and investigated. This allows separation of "theories" and "hypothesis'" from actual sourced and investigated pieces of information. This might also be useful from a legal standpoint if a disclaimer is given on the message board concerning the validity of statements made there, as opposed to the wiki. If this possibility seems to be interesting, perhaps this should be split off into another section?
Cons
Some information may get lost in the process of sifting through the posts made to the message board.
Using a separate system with the message board being the only area accessible to pseudonymous contributors might make the area attractive to vandals and other attention-seeking individuals.
Do you vote for this?
Absolutely this is the way to go, although, as stated elsewhere, I think that a wiki can only work properly with controlled articles, where individual articles are controlled by someone who is an expert on the topic. Closed membership of everything is essential too. Invite only or approved by existing members/moderators Blissyu2 20:04, 11 October 2008 (PDT)

Blog, with "closed" team of editors

Pros
Continuity and quality of message
"Outsiders" can participate through lively Comment fields
Cons
Seems "closed" to collaboration
Limited set of creative thoughts and opinions
Linear display arranged by post date
Do you vote for this?
Suddenly leaning a lot more toward this, at least as a fresh beginning. If a wiki is spawned later in the process, that's fine, too. -- MyWikiBiz 08:57, 11 October 2008 (PDT)
Given recent developments and some other factors, I'm inclined to go this way right now as well.Paul Wehage 16:25, 11 October 2008 (PDT)
I think that a blog works too. Indeed, I think that all 3 of wiki, blog and forum can work in coordination happily. A blog can act like news. Maybe even a mailing list too to talk about important issues. Blissyu2 20:06, 11 October 2008 (PDT)

Mailing list

Pros
Wide reach for participation.
If the list subscribes to a newsreader service like Gmane, then members can turn off their email delivery and use the newsreader instead. That way, readers download only the headers into their reader boxes, picking and choosing which posts they wish to read. Readers can use the web interface to interact, and the list owner can set whether responses are allowed from anyone or just members only. Utilities are provided for blocking spammers and hecklers.
Cons
Moderating rules could be challenging
Is the content history fully searchable?
Very limited format possibilities
Fills up participants' inboxes
Do you vote for this?
As stated above, "all of the above" works well. If a mailing list was used simply as a daily or even weekly summary of what has happened, it could work well. Blissyu2 20:11, 11 October 2008 (PDT)

Name ideas

What might we call this site?

  • Criticism of Crowdsourcing
  • Wrongs of the Internet
  • Rethinking Free Culture
  • Wikipedia Analysis (attn: the term "Wikipedia" is trademarked. Can we use this name?) or WikiAnalysis
  • WikiReader (Americans will remember the "Weekly Reader" from Grade school … although this might not work for an international audience)
  • Center for Internet Criticism
  • Internet Ethics Report
  • Internet Concerns
  • The Folly of Crowds
  • CyberCulture Review
  • Leaving Pseudopia
  • Desperately Seeking Sanity
  • blows against the e-pyre
  • crapsourcing.con
  • The Wales Street Journal

One of the reasons that "The Wikipedia Review" has been so successful as a concept is that the name is precise, yet neutral. A successful name will most likely have a neutral, objective(perhaps scientific), element which will not necessarily be seen as being negative towards the subject. It is perhaps more effective to try to remain objective in our criticism, as to let the objective evidence speak for itself.

Conversely, even a forum with a lousy name like "Wikback.com" was quite successful for the brief time before its owner began to censor content in haphazard and unethical ways.

Comments on suggested names:

It doesn't really matter what name you choose, as people will eventually get used to it. Criticism of Crowdsourcing, the name of this article, seems good enough to me. Otherwise, WikiReader is probably a good one. I had liked WikipediaCritics too, but that domain name is now taken. Blissyu2 22:57, 11 October 2008 (PDT)
I disagree on the importance and significance of nomenclature. Names should be as succinct, unambiguous, descriptive, distinctive, and memorable as possible so that people can reliably recognize the name and easily find the proper referent to it. —Moulton 06:16, 12 October 2008 (PDT)
I'm warming up to "Internet Ethics Report" which I think sums it up pretty well. Paul Wehage 12:25, 12 October 2008 (PDT)
I quite like Centre for Internet Criticism. Angela Kennedy 23:52, 12 October 2008 (PDT)

Reserved domain names

  • WikipediaMustDie.com
  • GregoryKohs.com
  • MimboJimbo.com
  • MyWikiBiz.com

Comments on domain names:

Ideally, I think that a domain name that is related to whatever is the chosen name would be ideal. The domain name can be shortened in some ways though. Blissyu2 23:35, 11 October 2008 (PDT)