Musings By Joschik
Christian Braun obsesses over collectibles, antiques and toys more than the average person, but (he believes) in a productive way. Documenting collectibles has been a passion since working on a book about his favorite childhood toys from Timpo 38 years ago.
Those websites were following the Gatekeeper methodology, meaning generally one person, sometimes a small team would add information. Often others can suggest but nothing passes unless it is allowed. These sites normally have a high level of quality and the information is generally homogenous. But the Gatekeeper cannot and does not want to document everything and their decisions are final. For example, they might not like a series produced by a brand or cut-off their effort at a certain date. Their sites are also in danger to be closed overnight; either because the gatekeeper is no more, has lost interest or is just enraged by ingratitude by their users, a hack of their site or another of potentially millions of reasons.
But crowd-sourcing the information has its own issues, this article is addressing the most important one – how to build a reliable course of information. Misinformation comes principally in three forms –
- Malicious (including pranks)
- Furthering a Business Interest
hobbyDB is not the first crowd-sourced project and was able to learn from many that came before it, in particular from Wikipedia and also the 10 collector forums I managed in a past life. Here is our plan to ensure that information on hobbyDB is correct –
- Information can only be added by registered users that have undergone a test (the test is new, initially everybody could add information and is part of our effort to make the information more consistent). These users are called Contributors.
- We have about 300 Curators that are responsible for individual subjects or catalog entries. Their Avatar shows on the pages that they manage and they can be contacted for information. We are working on a notification system that alerts these users on any changes on their pages.
- Contributors and Curators that do an excellent job are invited to become Champions. Champions control larger sections of the sites.
- Database entries already have a rudimentary Revision History and more is coming here and on Subject pages, eventually showing every change and its creator. There will be the ability to revert changes and block bad actors.
- Any user on the site can flag any page including every price in our price list for any reason with Curators, Champions and Admins dealing with those flags and resolving any high-lighted issue.
- We are also working on a more Granular Permission System allowing Contributors and Champions to only make changes in their areas of expertise.
We are constantly reviewing our approach and are open to more or different ideas and approaches, please use the Comment section to start a discussion!