CHAPTER 7 – CROWDS | POETS | SHAKESPEARE
Harvard historian Robert Darnton wrote an entire book about “The Affair of the Fourteen.” It’s a work of impressive scholarship that also happens to be highly entertaining: Poetry and the Police: Communication Networks in Eighteenth-Century Paris (Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2010).
For more information on the chronometer competition—called the Longitude Prize—visit the National Museum of the Royal Navy. DesignCrowd also created an infographic about crowdsourcing throughout history that can be viewed here. The group rightly points out that even reality TV shows like American Idol are, in essence, crowdsourced contests.
The Guardian reported about the slowdown and breakpoint of Wikipedia with some of the stats used in this chapter in the November 25, 2009 article by Jack Schofield “Have You Stopped Editing Wikipedia? And If So, Is It Doomed?” No surprise, but the best information on Wikipedia is on Wikipedia: You can read more about Wikipedia’s current size and past growth in its article “Wikipedia: Size of Wikipedia.” Wikipedia’s strategic plan is available for review here. For an interesting discussion of Wikipedia’s future, see the Wall Street Journal article from November 2009, “Volunteers Log Off as Wikipedia Ages” by Julia Angwin and Geoffrey A. Fowler.
Stats on the Encyclopedia Britannica, as compared to Wikipedia, come from “Wikipedia: Size Comparisons” from Wikipedia. The graph data comes from “Wikipedia: Modelling Wikipedia’s Growth” from Wikipedia.” On that page can be found more information about the various ways to graph Wikipedia’s growth.
Quote from the Encyclopedia Britannica CEO comes from the New York Times March 14, 2012, article by Julie Bosman entitled “MEDIA DECODER; Britannica Is Reduced to a Click.”
Quotes from Wikipedia board member Mathias Schinder and Carnegie Mellon professor Aniket Kittur come from the aforementioned January 2010 Wall Street Journal article by Julia Angwin and Geoffrey A. Fowler titled “What’s Wrong With Wikipedia?”
For more information about Jorge Cauz and his transformation of Encyclopaedia Britannica for the internet age, see the article he wrote for the March 2013 issue of Harvard Business Review entitled “Encyclopaedia Britannica’s President on Killing Off a 244-Year-Old Product.”
The story of James Murray and his role in the creation of the Oxford English Dictionary is available in—where else?—the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography and also in a January 13, 2011, Wired Magazine article by Nate Lanxon titled “How the Oxford English Dictionary started out like Wikipedia.” For a more nuanced account, see Simon Winchester’s The Professor and the Madman: A Tale of Murder, Insanity, and the Making of the Oxford English Dictionary (New York: Harper Perennial, 2005)*. The quote about the idea behind the Oxford English Dictionary is found in the preface to volume 1.
James Surowiecki’s The Wisdom of Crowds (New York: Anchor Books, 2004) is a fascinating look into the ways in which crowds are better than experts.
ODesk facts and figures can be found on the company’s website. Both GE and Netflix have extensive materials on their respective websites about the crowdsourced prizes they offer.
The details and results of Karen Klein’s bullying crowdsourcing campaign can be seen in the Huffington Post in “Karen Klein Donations: Indiegogo Campaign Ended Friday with $703,873,” published on July 20, 2012.
David Carr wrote an article on political crowdsourcing and social media titled “How Obama Tapped into Social Networks’ Power” for the New York Times on November 9, 2008.
In its December 2012 article “Crowdfunding Will Make 2013 the Year of the Gold Rush,”
Forbes Magazine predicts that crowdfunding in the United States, which raised nearly $3 billion in 2012, will skyrocket in 2013, likely hitting the $6 billion mark by the end of the year.
Kickstarter reported on its website that Amanda Palmer was the first musician to raise over $1,000,000.
The crowdsourced novel was covered by Time magazine on April 29, 2012, in the article “Would You Read a Crowdsourced Novel?” by Heba Hasan.