Content Assessment Systems

I have been invited to create some materials and impart a workshop on content assessment systems. The idea is comparing the traditional academic system of double blind peer review with other systems emerging on the Information Society to assess content in online communities, like the ones used in Wikipedia, Slashdot or Digg. But without using computers: everything off-line, analogue.

A project within the framework of the Bank of Common Knowledge, the idea is to help communities — online or offline, whatever — to evaluate their incoming content in order to assess its suitability for their purposes. To do so, we created a workshop were the rudiments of several systems (three, so far) were explained, compared and practiced in simulations of situations where such content had to be evaluated — in no more than an hour.

Adapting online systems for offline use — no computers used — has been quite a challenge and, of course, not all features of online systems could be included, for both reasons of time or feasibility. One of this (sadly) missing features is all the karma system which, in some way, is the core reputation system — explicit or implicit — of many online communities, the problem being that karma is cumulative along time and requires lots of interaction, direct or indirect voting on the user and his contributions, etc., something the workshop just cannot aim at achieving. In other words: content and reputation of the user creating or promoting this content are becoming, as time passes, two sides of the same coin, something that not necessarily has been this was in analogue systems like the scientific peer review, where double blindness is usually a must.

After a beta testing that took place in February, the last version of the workshop will be officially presented today at 20:00 at the Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona [Center for Contemporary Culture], as an scheduled activity at the NOW – Meetings in the Present Continuous biennial platform.

I’m in terrible debt with the Platoniq collective (especially Olivier Schulbaum and Susana Noguero) for inviting me (and putting up together such a terrific project like the Bank of Common Knowledge), the beta testers that provided much valuable feedback unselfishly, and Pau Alsina for his networking aptitudes.

More info

If you need to cite this article in a formal way (i.e. for bibliographical purposes) I dare suggest:

Peña-López, I. (2008) “Content Assessment Systems” In ICTlogy, #55, April 2008. Barcelona: ICTlogy.
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