Get It Off Your Chest

Crowdsourcing Fail: Help or get the Fuck out of the way

Sometimes in my Facebook Feed, I see someone asking their friends a question or a plea for help and all the helpful responses touch me.  I’m also saddened that I don’t seem to have normal healthy well-adjusted friends like that.

Crowdsourcing, for those who don’t know, is when you are saying “Dear World, I know that I could research this myself.  But I’m wagering more than one of you already has and if I could simply learn from your effort we’d both benefit: I’d save me time and you’d get that attaboy feeling of Flourishing Returns.”

In fact, I’m pretty sure Crowdsourcing is derived from some ancient dead language term that means help or gets the fuck out of the way.

From time to time I post a Crowdsourcing Question (CSQ) on Facebook and find that the majority of the responses are my friends practicing their stand-up routines.  Usually, there are some helpful nuggets in between the snarky comments and it makes for a fun afternoon.

The other day I posted a CSQ and I didn’t expect much help because it was a very narrow request that only a small number of people could help me with.  But the instructions were very simple.

I asked if anyone could help, please DM me.  I didn’t want to discuss all the morbid juicy detail on my public feed.  The implication being that If you cannot help me, feel free to skip to the next status update about cute kitten videos or what someone had for lunch at Trendy Resto of the Week.


Luckily I did have one friend who not only followed the simple instructions but was able to help me find what I needed.  and for that I’m thankful.  Yet the responses I got fell into the following categories:

  • Clarification questions posted on my status.  Okay, I can allow those since it is easier to type where you see than to make the effort to bang out a DM. because life is hard for people who can afford $600 smartphones.
  • A request for me to DM the other person because Chicks just cannot message a guy even in a non-romantic scenario.
  • The classic doofus who wants credit for helping out without actually lifting a finger to do anything.

This last animal is the one that really gets my goat.  Some people really enjoy the rush of helping someone out.  Some people merely enjoy the appearance of being the person who helps out everyone without actually providing any tangible help.  Sometimes it’s because they chose the one type of help that doesn’t require them to get off the sofa.

Other times it is because some people want to get the credit for helping out without doing any of the actual work.  Even when the level of effort to help out is far less than the effort of looking like you’re helping out.


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