Our recent experience on crowdsourcing (plus the precious advice we got from the authority himself, Patrick Meier), as we were setting up our newest project, What the walls are saying, has taught us the value of taking the time to understand the social infrastructure within which you want to unleash a new technological tool.
Setting up an Ushahidi platform these days is the easy part, and indeed we did it in a day! Thinking about the complex interrelations of values, motivations, sensitivities, as well as obstacles that prompt (or hinder) citizens to contribute to a crowdsourcing project is the real challenge.
All the more so in our case, since we are trying to engage citizens in the challenging and controversial task of measuring reconciliation in the complex context of Cyprus, an island which is divided in more ways than one (btw, we would love your feedback on our project).
What you see above is a picture of the ad that appeared in major national newspapers this week to encourage people to contribute to the project.
We resorted to this approach because we were finding it difficult to divert traffic to a crowdsourcing site, probably because the concept is still new on the island.
We are also planning to conduct tutorials for our project partners and for potential contributors (watch this space for future updates).
We will also be on the lookout for other tactics to build and consolidate the social infrastructure for the project, but we’d like to think that mapping graffiti is a good starting point, a nice proxy for the level of tolerance or intolerance on the island.
What are your experiences of the “social side” of crowdsourcing?
Any examples that we can look into? (particularly in the context of peacebuilding and reconciliation)
Any ideas of how to attract the attention of potential contributors?