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Help Write “Take Control of Crowd Sourcing”

As you may have noticed, we have a bit of a problem with Take Control, and he has a name: Joe Kissell. Don’t get me wrong, as problems go, Joe is about the best possible problem you could have. But as much as Joe is a dream writer from both the editor and publisher perspectives, there’s only one of him, and as good as he is, even he can do only so much.

From a business standpoint, then, we started thinking about how we could find more new authors to fill in when the rest of our stable of writers is otherwise unavailable. Honestly, it’s been hit and miss. Many people think they can write a book because they know a subject well, but the best of authorial intentions can run afoul of having too many irons in the fire to finish in a reasonable amount of time or not being sufficiently experienced with the kind of long-form, highly structured writing necessary for a book project.

So, with a push from our own Glenn Fleishman, who’s just a wee bit obsessed with the topic, we’re trying something new, something that we’ve talked about doing over the years but never brought to fruition — a crowdsourced book that would be written and edited not by just one or two people, but by lots of contributors. Wikipedia has shown that this sort of a model can work, and while we’re not proposing anything nearly as ambitious as Wikipedia, it seemed only fitting that the test title for this new approach be called “Take Control of Crowdsourcing.” Go ahead, click that link, but be prepared to do some writing!

After all, crowdsourcing is hot, hip, and largely misunderstood. What can be done? What should be done? How do you find a crowd? How do you get your crowd excited about doing your work for you? How do you fund your project? These and many more questions are what we’re hoping you — our crowd — will both ask and answer in “Take Control of Crowdsourcing.”

Rest assured that we’re not simply playing Tom Sawyer here. If this project is a success and we come out the far end with a real book that we can sell, we’ll donate all our profits to the Wikimedia Foundation to support Wikipedia and other crowdsourced projects.


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Comments about Help Write “Take Control of Crowd Sourcing”
(Comments are closed.)

Not about your crowdsourcing project itself, but about you introductory comments re Joe Kissell. His Take Control books have guided me through numerous software installations and troubleshooting routines, etc. over the years. I find the way he communicates easy to understand, explaining technical matters in ways that this power-but-not-always-term-savvy user can get his head around. Furthermore when I have emailed him for specific help, his responses have been insightful to my problem and helpful in possible solutions. In my book he deserves the Take Control top award.
Adam Engst  An apple icon for a TidBITS Staffer 2013-04-01 15:52
I couldn't agree more, Bill, and thank you for saying so. Joe does fantastic work, and we enjoy working with him immensely.
Brian D Vesley  An apple icon for a TidBITS Contributor 2013-04-01 18:05
This is a very intriguing concept.
The moderator/editor choice would seem to be a critical component. A consistent style and approach to the topic will require strong but not stifling guidance.

I believe it will take more work than a single author work but could be much more understandable and interesting.
Jean Roy  2013-04-04 08:45
Your most brilliant April 1st concept. Use the crowd to write a book about crowd sourcing! Yeah, that's the ticket. I expect that lots of folks fell for this one hook, line and sinker. The other comments are strong evidence.
Tonya Engst  An apple icon for a TidBITS Staffer 2013-04-10 14:36
As Take Control editor in chief, I do feel that although the article was an April Fool's joke, if it turned out that we ended up with a reasonable manuscript, we would find a way to publish it!
Tonya Engst  An apple icon for a TidBITS Staffer 2013-04-10 14:39
I see that we have gotten some interesting content in the document, including some apt poetry and an image of a cat.
Brian D Vesley  An apple icon for a TidBITS Contributor 2013-04-10 17:26
As one great big sucker for the spoof, I am glad I missed the joke. There is a brilliant possibility here if you could figure out how to make it work. At one time crowd developed software would have been scoffed at in Microsoft's halls. A volunteer developed encyclopedia must have made the folks at Britannica offices howl. A giggle now, but the joke could be on us if we do not see any potential. Did you hear the one about the Dick Tracy watch?