In “The ‘Dumbness of Crowds,'” Kathy Sierra points out that the notion of the Wisdom of Crowds has been poorly understood, especially as it concerns creative endeavors.
She draws a distinction between “Collective Intelligence” properly controlled and leverage and “The Dumbness of Crowds”:
“Collective intelligence” is a pile of people writing Amazon book reviews.
“Dumbness of Crowds” is a pile of people collaborating on a wiki to collectively author a book. . . .
“Collective Intelligence” is about the community on Threadless, voting and discussing t-shirts designed by individuals.
“Dumbness of Crowds” would be expecting the Threadless community to actually design the t-shirts together as a group.
She’s absolutely right, especially when talking in terms of creative work: “Art isn’t made by committee.”
Her post helped me understand what I love so much about JPG Magazine. They’re also leveraging the collective intelligence and user contributions of Flickr, but with a beautiful, clean design and an editorial vision which guides that community.
At first they published through Lulu, but now they use traditional offset printing.
To truly do the magazine justice, subscribe to the print edition. To get a taste of what it is like, you can get a (10+ MB) PDF of Issue 7.