This website covers topics on knowledge management, personal effectiveness, theory of constraints, amongst other topics. Opinions expressed here are strictly those of the owner, Jack Vinson, and those of the commenters.

Wisdom of crowds in USA Today

Last week's technology column by Kevin Maney in USA Today discussed Wisdom of Crowds as an idea and the book: Techies hot on concept of 'wisdom of crowds,' but it has some pitfalls

[T]he concept of "the wisdom of crowds" — the title of a popular 2004 book by James Surowiecki — is particularly hot among tech companies right now. Yet in the past week, the concept has run into a couple of potholes. One is a rhubarb at Internet darling Digg.com; the other, the U.K. government's case of the hijacked wiki.

Both have people wondering if crowds are really all that wise, and what conditions have to exist to make them wise. Why is it that some crowds seem smart, while others turn into ugly mobs?

The article seemed fairly well-balanced to me.  The idea behind Wisdom of Crowds is that people as a collective can be very smart.  The danger is that the collective can also be very dumb (mob mentality).  Unfortunately, Maney didn't answer the big question: when can you expect to get wisdom and when an unruly mob?

I'd wager that when the collective behavior turns from being rewarded in goodwill to when it moves towards measurement and compensation.

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