Crowd Sourcing Loses Steam – Newsweek – how to keep the pressure up?

Yelp has more than 40 “community managers” scattered around the world, who throw parties for prolific reviewers. (At one recent event for the “Elite Squad,” for instance, the snacks included squid-ink risotto.) And comment-driven news and aggregation sites like Gawker and The Huffington Post, where part of the fun is reading what the peanut gallery has to say, have decided to show the peanut gallery more love: mostly in the form of badges, stars, and special privileges. Even YouTube has added inducements, giving users the chance to play at Carnegie Hall—with a music contest—and partnering with the Guggenheim Museum to help them show off their art.

So far it seems to be working. After Gawker introduced its Star system, which gave preference to the work of “Starred” commentators, participation on the comment boards rose to a new high. The Huffington Post, which offers its best users digital merit badges and special rights (like the ability to delete other people’s posts), boasts the most active commenters of any news site.

So recognise the contributors in your community to keep them involved?

One thought on “Crowd Sourcing Loses Steam – Newsweek – how to keep the pressure up?

  1. For the most part, all this recognition seems a good thing. I wonder, however, about some of the intended consequences. HuffPo, for instance, has a Community Moderator Badge that is earned by people who have "flagged at least 100 comments that we deleted and has a very high ratio of good flags to mistaken flags", so they are "trusted to delete inappropriate comments from the site." They go on to say that members with this badge can "maintain the ability to delete inappropriate comments by handling it responsibly."I have yet to see a comment I would consider worthy of actual removal, yet I encounter dozens of users who are Community Moderators. This seems a bit excessive to me. What are people saying that’s so offensive I’m not allowed to see it and, since I’m not allowed to see it, it means I must trust those I can only call censors at HuffPo to be more qualified to determine how and when my sensibilities will be offended. Furthermore, I’d love to know where the responsibly and appropriateness lines are drawn, but I am blind to the process. Is it political? Foul language? Bad manners? I have had comments I didn’t think terribly offensive not make it past the first line of moderation at HuffPo, so I’m a bit concerned all this is develoving into a form of odious prior restraint, rather than the innocent, badge-earning activity it sounds like. I’d love to hear what others think. Am I too sensitive?

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