Expert-Citizen Engineering: "Crowdsourcing" Skilled Citizens
Citizen Engineering (CE) is a concept that engages a cohort of physically dispersed citizens connected by the Internet to collaboratively solve real-world problems through massive cooperation. With advances in information technology, we can build transformative cyber-infrastructures to effectively leverage the ''wisdom of crowds''. Regarding the citizen engineers who function as main contributors, there is a wide spectrum of human resources that crowd sourcing system designers can harness - from amateurs/hobbyists, lacking practical experience, to experts/licensed engineers, with years of professional training. As such, we are encouraged to investigate proper approaches to design CEs that can sufficiently engage and support expert citizens who have unique needs that may be different from those of amateur citizen engineers. In this study, we focused on a system designed for engaging high-end users - expert citizens. Our experiment is based on a web site -- ''Expert Citizen Engineering Experiment'' developed to fulfill a sophisticated civil engineering task. The conclusions generated from this experiment provide guidance for future CE project designs, where skilled users are the main contributors. Based on our observations and post-experiment interviews, we believe that expert citizen engineers have higher expectations on computation platform capacity and system stability compared to average citizen engineers. Meanwhile, it should be acknowledged that in the domain of civil engineering, high reliability and trustworthiness are particularly emphasized.
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