Drawing on the enthusiasm of crowds is critical to the success of open source projects. However, Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales — no stranger to the virtues of collaborative enterprises — reminds us that there are limits to how far this can be taken.
Picture from Wikimedia Commons
At APC, I’ve reported on a recent presentation by Wales in which he discussed the phenomenon of businesses trying to take advantage of “crowdsourcing” without recognising the importance of engaging users:
I think that crowdsourcing is a very misleading and a very demeaning term. That’s a really daft way of looking at what’s going on. You have to realise that nobody works for free. If it feels like work, I have to get paid for it. In the consumer space, people aren’t going to do it for strategic business reasons, they’re going to do it because it’s fun.
Got your own examples of attempted crowdsourcing that feels more like forced labour? Share them in the comments.