When Crowdsourcing Lets Down the Crowd

crowd·sourc·ing
noun ?kraud-?sor-si?
Definition of CROWDSOURCING : the practice of obtaining needed services, ideas, or content by soliciting contributions from a large group of people and especially from the online community rather than from traditional employees or suppliers – Merriam-Webster

One of the joys of reaching the expected middle section of a mans life, is the nightly stagger through a dark house to the “Thinking room”, also known as the toilet. Job done, I glanced at the phone on my bedside table. The little notification LED was blazing away like a electronic rainbow. This basically means I have email, Twitter DMs, forum messages and Facebook notifications. Hmm, it is 3am, what the hell. Instead of crawling back in to a warm bed, I wander back out to the computer and try and figure out what the hell is going on. Has Lance announced he is back and Pat has granted him a single rider wild card for the Tour de France?

Email first. I have two messages from blokes I consider mates that live overseas. Right, day time in the US and Europe. I have a read and both are telling me the Paul Kimmage Defense Fund has disappeared. Why had I recommended they back a shonky deal like this? Oh Oh. A quick FaceBook chat with my good Scottish mate and PODcast guru John Galloway to confirm it is actually happening. Bugger.

This is to a big a deal to tackle when I am half asleep. Back to bed I go. This morning, Twitter and cycling forums are trying to figure out what is going on.

This article from CyclingNews.com seems to have kicked it off. There have been whispers on Twitter and cycling forums the past few weeks wondering what was happening with the Defense Fund.

Setup up by Cyclismas and nyvelocity, neither site has any comment on the cyclingnews.com article as yet. Paul Kimmage had this to say on Twitter earlier today.

If you read the cyclingnews article above, it looks like it could get nasty.

This isn’t the first time a crowdsourcing venture has left me with a bitter taste. In February 2012, I posted an article about The Commentator. This from their Kickstarter page.

What is the project?

In 1976 Danish Filmmaker Jorgen Leth made the legendary sports and cycling film, A Sunday in Hell, about the Paris Roubaix cycling race. It defined a genre and helped put the Paris-Roubaix on the global sporting map. Leth now comments on the race for television.

We plan to follow Leth as he prepares for and comments on the race. We’ll be with him from his hotel in Paris until the end of the race at the Roubaix Velodrome. Along the way our team of photographers and filmmakers will shoot footage of the race, crowds and Leth himself caught up in the excitement of sport. We’ll capture the intense effort of contemporary pro racers, and will be sure to include stars from cycling’s past.

The Commentator will screen all over the world as part of the Bicycle Film Festival programming.

This sounded like a great project, so I and 530 others jumped on board. Due to be finished August 2012, we are still waiting. Another Paris Roubaix has passed by and still nothing. As can be seen in the last comment, they are still working on it. In November 2012, Brendt Barbur said he would update the backers monthly. The next post was April 2013. It doesn’t inspire confidence.

So, what does it all mean? Well, I am reluctant to back anything like this at the moment. At the moment I don’t know what has happened with the money for the Kimmage Defense Fund and the Commentator project, well who knows what is happening there.

Lets hope they are both sorted out quickly and with a positive outcome for the crowd that sourced these projects.

Update : There is a good read at VeloNews about the Kimmage defense fund situation.

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