In order for crowdsourcing project to be successful, it requires honest and productive collaboration amongst its users. Crowdsourcing offers the opportunity for people to freely update a project in order to theoretically improve the lives of those the project was created for. Therefore, one of the benefits of a crowdsourcing project is that multitudes of people are constantly contributing and updating a site. For instance, Mapswipe has its users help locate where people live in underdeveloped parts of the world, like Madagascar. This site allows for there to be cross-referencing between users because if users are given the same map and their “clicks” match up, it is more likely that people are in fact living in those respective locations. If there is a humanitarian crisis, rescue teams are able to know where the people in need are located. One of the drawbacks of crowdsourcing however, is the difficulty in incentivizing users to contribute to the site. It is incredibly difficult to get people to work for free. Also, the amount of people that have extra time to give to free work are only those people that are financially stable in the developed world. Mapswipe succeeds at incentivizing users because not only is the App designed like a game, but it also panders to the humane side of its users. In other words, users can feel good about “playing a game”, while also potentially saving people’s’ lives. One of the other drawbacks is the possibility that people will purposefully contribute false information. In a time where internet trolling is so popular, it is easy for people to undo much of the hard work that is accomplished on crowdsourcing projects.
Harris Pollack & Matt Golding