Wednesday, August 15 , 2018, 8:28 pm | Fair 72º


She Said, Z Said: Edging into Crowdsourcing Is a Plea for Help

We view knowledge as a gift and are open to your advice

She: I think we should crowdsource this week’s column.

Z: That sounds hard and made-up. Is it?

She: It’s like what our friend A does before he does anything. He asks everyone what he should do, first.

Z: Like, “Should I have a party? What time should my party be? Who should I invite to my party? What kind of food should I have? Would I like presents at my party? What presents would I like?”

She: Yes. Only we will do it with less annoying questions.

Z: And then completely ignore all the advice, like A does? I’m not sure how this is good.

She: Forget A. I’m sorry I brought that up. We’ll be like this guy, Mark Horowitz, who turned following the advice of strangers into fame and fortune.

Z: Really?

She: Well, he turned it into fame anyway.

Z: A regular household name

She: He’s a comedian who went on YouTube and told the world that he’d let them make decisions for him for an entire month.

Z: What if people told him that crowdsourcing was a stupid idea?

She: They didn’t. He called the project “The Advice of Strangers” and polled cyberspace about things like what he should wear to the airport when he went to Miami, who he should hire to be his intern, and what he should talk to his psychiatrist about.

Z: These are not hard questions. You ask your wife what to wear, and hire the cutest intern.

She: Which is what some in the crowd might vote, if they were idiots.

Z: And he should talk to his shrink about his need to crowdsource mundane, everyday decisions. Did people actually vote on this stuff?

She: They did. Though obviously some questions pulled more participation than others.

Z: If he’d asked whether to hang toilet paper with the lead end coming over the top or under the bottom, he might have crashed his server.

She: One of the most popular questions was about how to handle it when his neighbor, Tina, asked if he would have a fashion show on her front lawn.

Z: Of course. Something we all deal with regularly in the suburbs.

She: What he should do with his facial hair also got a lot of responses.

Z: Yosemite Sam is a good look.

She: One of my favorites was he was going to write, produce and perform a live play and asked people what it should be about.

Z: What did they say?

She: It was pretty evenly divided between his childhood stories, his experience crowdsourcing his life for a month, writing something with his mom, and my personal favorite ...

Z: Porn?

She: Close. Hamburger Patrol versus Pickle People.

Z: So the choice was a kid’s story, a crowdsourcing story, or a mom story? Crowds are morons.

She: Maybe, but they get you grants, and art magazines write about you like you’re taking a serious sociological look at the world today.

Z: Art magazine-sourcing may not be the best thing, either.

She: So what should we have our readers vote on?

Z: I’m not so sure I love the wisdom of crowds. Dancing with the Stars is one of TV’s most popular shows, and George W. Bush got elected twice.

She: We’re not looking for big decisions here, just some fun little things. What should we crowdsource?

Z: Seriously, have we met? I’m not saying I’m a stubborn individualist, but can you think of any one time in my life when I’ve taken advice from anyone?

She: Uh ...

Z: Now picture me taking advice from an entire crowd.

She: Sigh. Fine. Maybe I’ll just crowdsource what people think I should replace your ugly, new, Costco jacket with.

Z: Yes, dear.

— OK, crowd, She and Z want to source you. E-mail .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) with your ideas for Zak’s wardrobe, good deals on a used car and especially dinner invitations.

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