Liquid Media's Apps

Distributed Proofreaders

The O'Reilly Radar recently pointed to the Project Gutenberg Distributed Proofpreaders project. This has crossed my desk before, but I looked at it today again with renewed interest. They're solving the same kind of problem we're trying to solve with the Media Volunteer project. At the time of this writing, they've had some remarkable successes:

  • 666 active users in the past 24 hours
  • 1,506 active users in the past 7 days
  • 3,125 active users in the past 30 days
  • 10,454 completed ebooks
  • 1,232 in progress
  • 1,026 in proofreading

This is pretty impressive. It's not a huge amount of users, but it's enough to [obviously] do some significant work. I think the key thing is that their number of 24-hour active users is really high, considering that proof-reading a page takes more than a few minutes. DP's users are making a pretty significant time investment in their work. In the Media Volunteer project we hope to lower the time invest (12 mins./day) in order to get a significant number of people to buy in and do work on a regular basis.

We have an advantage in that we can mechanize our aggregation of results much more easily than they can. DP requires a human proofreader to make sure is no abuse or incompetence, whereas we hope to distribute that task out to volunteers as well. A key difference, I suppose, is that their approach is proven, whereas ours is at-yet unproven.

It is really encouraging to see a distributed volunteer system at work. It shows me that there is a pool of people who are interested in doing volunteering over the internet. We know this at a gut level, but it's good to see it in action.

Tagged distributed volunteering, media volunteer, and project gutenberg.
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