Guillame DeCugis: "This is a very interesting piece by Erin Griffith (again!) on the potential scalability issues of content curation. You can pass quickly on her first part where she easily bashes the usual concerns about the curation word being overhyped and over used.
She makes a really good point on her second part, building on the experience of Behance, the platform to publish one's creative work: using a mix of algorithms and human curation is a part of the answer to this scale issue.
But another way to scale curation is to add a topic-centric layer. In the problem she describes (which is typically Behance's problem), scaling up is tough because curation is being applied to sort out the best content on a unique dimension: a home page that's the same for everyone.
"Behance’s front page could no longer display what algorithms determined was the most popular art within [the] site’s community. Because of boobs. They are universally the most popular thing on the Web, and not even a tasteful, creative site like Behance is safe when the “wisdom of the crowd” is involved.
To be clear — boobs are welcome on Behance, but the site skews toward commercially viable work. A porn pit may entice creative directors but not in the way Behance wants to entice them." she funnily writes.
If you added topics to that, you can solve the problem by having people follow whichever topics they want.
And I'm not talking about the usual 10-20 categories you find on any content sites. I'm talking about long-tail, user-created topics that any user can opt in to follow or unfollow. Boobs fans can then follow dozens of Boobs topics curated by other fellow users without having to pollute the experience for everyone else.
By mixing a topic-centric model with curation, you apply it to as many dimensions as your users will decide to curate. That's the model we've been using at Scoop.it and so far, it scales pretty well, doesn't it?"
Robin Good: For the record you may want to check this video of Gabe Rivera from Techmeme at LeWeb 2008 already discussing this issue and arriving at the same conclusions: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T4Zi_U6iZxU there's no way to build a perfect news or aggregation engine. The best solution is indeed a mix of aggregation and filtering tools matched by a topic-expert curator.
Via Guillaume Decugis, Heiko Idensen