Reddit and Crowdsourcing: Valuable or Problematic?
In the mad scramble to figure out who was behind the Boston Marathon bombings, there’s been a lot of praise and scorn heaped upon Reddit — and crowdsourcing in general — for its attempts to play detective.
Reddit is deserving of both. While the social news site did unearth some useful information, such as a photo of one of the suspects that originally appeared on Facebook, it also named the wrong man as a suspect and later apologized.
This may seem like an incredibly wobbly stance to take (Reddit is good! It’s also bad!) but the reality is that crowdsourcing is valuable for certain things, and problematic for others. As we follow along with major news events, readers and news organizations alike need to be mindful of what Reddit’s strengths and weaknesses are so we can stay informed while steering clear of bad info.