Wednesday, April 24, 2013

crowdsourcing; ya gotta do it right!

"That proposition may be true. But Reddit’s failure isn’t evidence for it. To begin with, it’s a bit facile to frame this story as a competition between'the crowd' and 'the experts,' since the official investigation wasn’t relying on a couple of experts, but rather had its own crowd at work, one made up, in Bilton’s words, of 'thousands of local and federal officials.' More important is that the Redditors faced a simple, but insuperable, obstacle when it came to identifying the Tsarnaevs, namely that the two brothers were not, as far as I can tell, in any of the photographs that were widely available before Thursday morning. The footage that convinced investigators that the Tsarnaevs were prime suspects was the footage from the Lord & Taylor surveillance cameras, which hadn’t (and still hasn’t) been released to the public. This is an obvious point, but one that’s been overlooked: Reddit had no real chance of identifying the right suspects because it didn’t have access to the information that mattered."

There are many good points in this article. It's not that Redditors shouldn't have been crowdsourcing looking for the bombers, it's that they went about it in a haphazard way.  Crowdsourcing requires a bit of organizing to get things right.

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