End6, Maneno, and Crowd Awesomosity

The term Crowdsourcing has been around with us for about three years or so now. As a theory, it’s great stuff in that you work with a large group to spread out a task and see it to completion. Usually everyone works without payment on it as they believe in the project. It’s one of the backbones of Linux as well as a huge slew of other technologies that make the web run. You’re probably using something that was “crowdsourced” on your computer right now and you don’t even know it. Of course, marketing types had to dig their grubby little fingers in to the whole thing and use it as a code word to try and get [trick] people in to working for free by working their wicked marketing ways.
I still believe in it though and for the projects that I’m working on, it’s worked well. This probably stems from the fact that I’m not getting paid to work on these projects and I let them speak for themselves. Sure, there is the pitch for help if people want to contribute, but I let people make up their own minds if they think that what they see is worth their time. This can be a slow process to get going in the first place, but once momentum is gained, you can have a legion of fans who show that any project truly work its salt needs no marketing department. Happy contributors and users are your marketing.
I bring this up because the End6 project is a little something that I’ve been working on to try and rid the world of Explorer 6. It’s a simple popup that gets in peoples’ faces when they visit a website and are using Internet Explorer 6. The reason for this is that IE6 is dead. It’s insecure. It’s now two versions old and most importantly, it’s a broken piece of crap to develop websites for. That last piece is what really make me take on this project. It’s grown slowly. I’ve had detractors. I’ve had people who even copied the whole thing, trying to merchandise it, but then disappearing because you can’t make money on something like this.
The site was redesigned a few months ago to be a bit more visually appealing, but what has remained is invaluable content from people who were fans. All the translations of the source were from people who were fans. Each language allowed it to grow in to another market and attract new fans.
Today, a fellow named Willian Molinari wrote to me, letting me know that he created a WordPress plugin called, anti-IE6-army. This is super cool. It spreads out visibility to even more people and will hopefully work to get IE6 outta here faster. The other cool part, is that Willian put the other alternatives in there as well. I love that he gave people a choice. I would never tout my creation as the best. It is quite a simple thing really, but what’s important is what’s important to these other projects as well and the fact that they’re all tied together for WordPress users is really, really cool. The End6 crowd is cool.
Of course, as I’m prepping for a talk on Maneno at the Creative Commons Salon (if you’re around, come out), I am looking at Maneno and can’t be more pleased at how the crowd has made this site grow from the base that this Hudin site is running on to a full-fledged blogging platform. People have given great feedback and pushed it in a good direction to be a system that really is for Sub-Saharan African bloggers and not just a WordPress installation hacked to work for them. But most importantly are all the language translations. Whether it be Bambara, French, Swahili, Portuguese, or the forthcoming Fula and Lingala translations, this work could simply have not have happened without a massive injection of work and support by those who believe in what Maneno is trying to achieve. This is cool. This is great and I look forward to more of it.
Long live the crowd.
End6, Maneno, and Crowd Awesomosity