« Home | RFID at Prada » | Sustainable Development International Institute F... » | Stars of C.C.T.V. Monday, October 09, 2006 You T... » | Japanese commercial, DoCoMo ... » | SHOT CODES » | QR CODES » | QR CODES and WINDOWS LIVE BARCODES » | 2.0 WEB FORMATION » | social networking sites » | Session 8 - VoIP »

The Value of User-Generated Content

There is an increased prevalence of user-generated content (UGC) — discussion groups, blogs, wikis — on the Internet

What is User-Generated Content?

Engineered Content is created by established knowledge experts and content owners who are part of an official intranet team. Engineered content is usually expert edited, meaning it's passed from the content provider to an authority on the subject matter — a sort of quality control stage where the content is verified and edited by an expert if necessary — before it's posted onto the intranet. Since this type of content has a high level of oversight, many users consider it more reliable and credible.

UGC, on the other hand, is created by users themselves. It can be in the form of posts on discussion groups, personal or departmental blogs, or wikis. UGC can come from many of sources — and in much greater numbers than engineered content — with varying degrees of content oversight. Unfortunately, UGC is also more likely to contain biased information, blurring the line between fact and interpretation. In this respect, UGC can end up telling readers more about the author than on the subject matter. Users might view UGC as being less reliable in their decision making process.

User-Generated vs. Engineered Content

If an intranet populated with engineered content is like the 60 Minutes news show, where stories are worked on by veteran reporters and producers, then UGC is a call-in program where viewers themselves provide much of the content — in the form of opinions and questions — for the show. But the differences between user-generated and engineered content extend beyond the issue of who's providing it. There are issues of:

Ownership: Engineered content — commissioned by official intranet teams — is clearly intellectual property belonging to the organization, but who owns UGC? When users provide commentary using corporate resources, will the company or the author own the intellectual property?

Quality and Relevance: Since any user can create UGC, via multiple points of entry, it's more difficult to control the quality and relevance of the content being input.

Structure: Depending on the medium used, it might be difficult to structure, classify, and index (for search engines) free-form UGC.

Credibility:Since all users can become potential content providers, little is known about the credibility of the person and the content being posted

Oversight: If anyone is allowed to create intranet content, how will submissions be governed and moderated (if at all).

Listed below are some of the pros and cons of User Generated Content:


  • Many more methods of content entry, making it less restrictive
  • A wider content provider base means more areas of knowledge can be covered
  • Provides knowledge experts who aren't part of the intranet team with a medium in which to share their knowledge
  • Allows all users the choice of becoming intranet participants rather than just spectators

  • Might cause content overlap or duplication
  • The credibility of the source and the content might not always be apparent
  • The easy availability of content submission media might cause less-than-helpful users to post biased or questionable content
  • Very difficult to organize and structure free-form UGC

Moderating User-Generated Content

  1. Pre-production moderation: Content is submitted (or edited) by users but isn't made available in the production environment until it's reviewed and verified by a knowledge expert. If they deem that the content is relevant and will be useful to users, the content is made live. Pre-production moderation will ensure the highest level of quality, but there's a delay between the time content is written and when it's made live.

  2. Post-production moderation: Content is submitted (or edited) by users and is immediately live, viewable by everyone the moment it's posted. Knowledge experts review the live content and make necessary changes (or delete entire entries). Post-production moderation makes content availability much quicker but may contain more errors or irrelevant submissions. The integrity of the intranet will depend on how quickly questionable or irrelevant content is caught.

  3. Peer-based moderation: Content is submitted (or edited) by users, is immediately live, and is not moderated by official knowledge experts. Users basically govern other users' submissions. If they notice errors or questionable content, they report it to official intranet owners for action. This community driven editing process relies on the conscientiousness of users to ensure the integrity of the content. UGC can also be rated (e.g., on a scale of 1 to 5) by other users to give readers an indication as to the quality of the content.