Photo by Chris Blakely on Flickr.
This week at the Dish conference in Rotterdam I gave a presentation about all the do’s and don’ts, tips and tricks, lessons and hands-on advice about crowdsourcing from my experience at the Museum of National History. Well… that’s quite a lot to talk about. All in all I came up with some 25-30 little notes, which the audience of my presentation – in a little participatory trick – had to label as do’s or don’ts.
Here’s the full list, now all as do’s, with some additional ideas that didn’t fit in the presentation. Use it to your benefit and please add your thoughts when you feel I’ve missed some.
- Ask your potential participants a clear question or a clear task. A clear question is never ambiguous, unless you’re looking for (and only looking for) different ways to look at its ambiguity.
- Run a couple of real-life test sessions with your question. Even if it’s an online project, ask people in the street your question and see how they respond. Change the question all the time. Once people only respond with the answers you’re looking for, you’ve found your question.
- Ask a question that is meaningful to people. Questions that might be labelled emotional or highly personal are good. Not everybody will answer them, but the answers you’ll get will be so much more valuable.
- Pinpoint very specific groups of people you’d like to reach with your project. Design to meet their demands and answer to their needs. Preferably, involve this target group in the design of your project.
- That said: don’t exclude anyone from participating if they really want to.
- Be extremely clear about your limits to what people can contribute, and keep these as limited as possible. Racism, hate, advertising and unlawful things are usually enough to exclude.
- Accept all other contributions, regardless of they way in which you perceive their quality. Every time a person took the trouble to contribute to your project, this contribution is valuable (you can use peer reviewing to maintain overall high quality). Read the rest of this entry »