Curation – Tips ‘n Tricks: How to Curate Crowdsourced Content

So how do you curate content sourced from your community?

In more blunt terms, how do you reject people’s suggestions without feeling bad and without offending anyone?

Sometimes people will post spammy, self-promoting content, so you have to reject it

Some people will submit multiple suggestions that you just don’t like. That’s Ok.

So how do you deal with this?

The simple answer to the question lies in expectations. Be upfront. Be clear. Keep it simple.

There are several options in Listly that help with this too.

eg Switch on the moderation queue

switch on moderation

eg Consider going premium (and make the moderation queue hidden).

hide moderation queue

Most of all you should set expectations

Tell people you will reject spammy items, self-promoting content and off topic suggestions.

Tell people if you want original content or if you are looking for links and abstracts.

Tell people if you want the original authors to submit their own content (ie no submitting for on other people’s behalf).

If you have any doubt, give examples.

You should tell people what you are looking for and how you will evaluate content.

I’ve been in that situation many times and wondered if I should delete someone’s suggestion. You always feel bad.

It’s much easier to delete or reject content if you have been clear up front. This is a harsh lesson I’ve learned over multiple experiments and projects.

Being upfront gets easier with practice. You will become more exhaustive in detailing your expectations.

Lack of upfront clarify always results in deferring heartache. You simply can’t offend someone if you were upfront. If we weren’t clear, then offending them is almost inevitable.

In our experience its always best to ask. Be clear what you want and generally ask for one thing.

Generally there are three things you can ask for:

  • Create – ie original content
  • Curate – ie suggestions for existing content
  • Feedback – focusing on aggregating opinion  and ranking the available options.

I cover these three options in a prior post

In our experience it’s best to ask for one. People who are curious will figure they can do other things too. People can always vote (unless you turn it off), they can always embed your list.

If your goal is to have people embed your list, then ask and tell them why.

You always need to think and express your ideas so that people can relate to “What’s in it for them”.

Perhaps you only want one suggestion per person

Perhaps you will let people submit multiple items, but only pick the best.

If you want people to suggest from other than their own site, that’s valid too

It’s your list and you set the rules

So be clear.

Tell people all they need to know and you will avoid any subsequent anxiety (for you and them).

Great Examples

1. Crowdsourcing speakers

I love this example by Chris Dancy. They initially made a video to explain how this process was going to work. they also went out of their way to explain Listly.

With any new technology you need to explain the concept and the expectations.

I’ve seen this approach on many blogs. You need to be consistent and in adopting any technology you need to communicate what you expect from your audience.

They subsequently went on to add the video to the list and tag that item as a featured item, so it always appears at the top of the list


2. Crowdsourcing Top Movies

I also love this example by in which they tell people what to do, then give them an option if they choose not to participate in Listly.

Adoption of software is a funny old process. Some people will try stuff early (your classic early adopter) and some won’t. You need to declare your intentions and then other people follow suit if they are ready to do so.


3. Top Design Blogs

In this example Modenus simply told people when the voting process is closed and switched of the option to add to the list (via premium Listly). It was all about setting expecations.


I think just about anything works if you tell people up front.



NIck Kellet (130 Posts)

Nick’s ventures range from a visual segmentation tool sold to SAP, to an award winning board game. Today, Nick is co-founder of Listly, raising the profile of lists to be on par with Slideshare & YouTube.