07/17/2009

How Collaborative Social Networking is being used – AP and Sotomayor Nomination

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MixedInk. and AP put up site where anyone could weigh-in on the case for Sotomayor and the case against Sotomayor. As with all MixedInk collaborative projects, it has a start, write until, and rate until day. These were July 12, July 17th, and July 17th at midnite, respectively.

So, starting on July 12th, users were free to post their cases. MixedInk makes it easy to edit right on the Internet. You can add text, copy/paste from the posts of others, and revise other people’s posts, to come up with the best word and idea mix you can fabricate. While these cases are being posted, anyone can vote and rate each one up or down. I believe there is an algortihm they use they works to move extraneous or abusive or irrelevant posts to the bottom of the list, where they eventually fall into obscurity.

The Sotomayor cases are closed now. You can read the best case for and the best case agains for yourself. For my part, I am more interested in the mechanics of this kind of collaboration application, than I am in the particular content. It is likely that the judge will be confirmed today, so the issue of her qualifications is probably moot.

For the case for Sotomayor: 49 contributed to 36 versions, that produced 68 ratings. For the case against Sotomayor, 155 contributed to 110 versions, that yielded 264 ratings. Note: any user can make multiple ratings and versions, but I think the number of contributors is unique. I’m waiting for clarification on this, and will add it to the post later.

From Vanessa Scanfeld, Founder, MixedInk

Contributors is the number of participants, including anyone who has submitted, rated, and/or commented. It indicates unique contributors, so someone is not counted twice if they both submit and comment. The number of versions is just a count of submissions, even if there are multiple versions by the same person. Anyone who rates is counted in the number of contributors, and contributors can rate as many versions as they want.

This is the tool behind the various similar kind of collective writing and rating efforts that the government is putting online. I’m interested in what the factors that make this tool work are, and what factors interfere with a good collective content creation experience.