Learning From The Wisdom Of The Crowd

Michael Peckham writing on the Digital Landfill blog considers 8 methods for learning from the wisdom of crowds (if you subscribe to this theory):

  1. Learn to Tolerate Some Chaos, Within Reason.
  2. Mine your Data.
  3. Periodically Take Stock of the Best Organic, Ad Hoc Ways of Organizing and “Graduate” Them into Formal Methods.
  4. Listen Carefully to Feedback and Complaints, but Don’t React in Haste.
  5. Talk to Users About What They’re Doing Outside of the System.
  6. Give Users Tools that Let Collective Wisdom Cumulate.
  7. Provide Venues for Users to Share Their Techniques.
  8. Learn from What Doesn’t Work, and Don’t be Afraid to Cull Dead-Ends.

Instead of treating users’ behavior as a collection of bad habits to be trained away, another approach is to learn from them: let your users’ self-organizing behaviors teach you about what is meaningful to them, what their semantic cues are, how they really think about their content. When users find ways to work around structures you’ve provided for them, they are saying it doesn’t work for them. How you respond will depend on your organization, the rigidity of your rules and regulations, and your willingness to let the crowd help to steer the ship.” [Read More]

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