Who is the crowd and why do they participate in crowdsourced policymaking? This article, published in the Journal of Information, Communication, and Society examines the demographic characteristics, motivations, and expectations of participants in a crowdsourced off-road traffic law reform in Finland. We found that the participants were mainly educated, full-time working professional males with a strong interest in off-road traffic.
Though a minority, the women participating in the process produced more ideas than the men. The crowd was motivated by a mix of intrinsic and extrinsic factors. Intrinsic motivations included fulfilling civic duty, affecting the law for sociotropic reasons, to deliberate with and learn from peers. Extrinsic motivations included changing the law for financial gain or other benefits. Participation in crowdsourced policy-making was an act of grassroots advocacy, whether to pursue one’s own interest or more altruistic goals, such as protecting nature. The motivations driving the participation were in part similar to those observed in traditional democratic processes, such as elections as well as other online collaborations such as crowdsourced journalism and citizen science. The crowds’ behavior was, however, paradoxical. They participated despite the fact that they did not expect that their contributions would affect the law. You can find the article below.