Daily Illuminator

March 15, 2011: Crowdsourcing

GURPS Fantasy II: The Mad Lands Pundits talk about how the internet has changed the world, but rarely is the ridiculous level of interconnectivity put on display more clearly than with crowdsourcing.

Crowdsourcing can be defined as "delegating a task to a large diffuse group." It can be as simple as asking your Twitter followers for restaurant recommendations, as I did last week in preparation for our trip to PAX East (follow us at @sjgames!), or as complex as a Kickstarter project to finance a film. A documentary on the creation and development of Minecraft by 2 Player Productions (the guys behind the first season of "Penny Arcade: The Series") is going this route.

One of the more interesting examples of crowdsourcing in our hobby is Robin Laws' Korad, a setting he's designing using public polling on his LiveJournal page. Robin concocts a set of options, and presents it to his wide world of readers to choose one. He started with "Which map?" and is currently asking "Where do ideas come from?" (Those familiar with Laws' work will realize that the source of ideas has some very intriguing implications for the world he's designing.)

As technology continues to advance, we monkeys will continue to find new and unusual ways of playing with it. What will we think of next?

-- Paul Chapman

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