August 6, 2009

Four crowdsourcing lessons from the Guardian (via Michael Andersen)

I had skimmed this article, on crowd-sourcing, by Michael Andersen few weeks ago and has been looking forward to reading and blogging about it.

Andersen interviewed the key developer from Guardian of London to understand how they got 20,000 plus Brit's to help uncover the biggest political scandal to hit British shores in decades.

Andersen interviewed the developer, Simon Willison, for tips about deadline-driven software and crowdsourcing. Here are the 4 major tips to successfully engage a crowd for crowdsourcing.
  1. Remember your workers are unpaid, so make it fun. They used a four-panel interface to categorize information. (See the image above)
  2. Because public (your workers') attention is fickle, launch immediately.
  3. Speed is mandatory, so use a framework for development. Wilson's team relied on Django, a high-level Python Web framework that encourages rapid development and clean, pragmatic design.
  4. Participation will come in one big burst, so have servers ready. Along with Django, they used EC2, the Amazon contract-hosting service for the first time.