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Produsers and Produsage

The concept of produsage highlights that within the communities which engage in the collaborative creation and extension of information and knowledge that we examine on this site, the role of consumer and even that of end user have long disappeared, and the distinctions between producers and users of content have faded into comparative insignificance. In many of the spaces we encounter here, users are always already necessarily also producers of the shared knowledge base, regardless of whether they are aware of this role - they have become a new, hybrid, produser.

Four key principles apply across all produsage environments, regardless of the specific object of their collaborative efforts:

  1. Open Participation, Communal Evaluation
  2. Fluid Heterarchy, Ad Hoc Meritocracy
  3. Unfinished Artefacts, Continuing Process
  4. Common Property, Individual Rewards

These principles, the necessary preconditions for produsage, and the implications of the rise of produsage models, are further explored in the book Blogs, Wikipedia, Second Life and Beyond: From Production to Produsage , and on the accompanying Website Key examples for produsage, examined in the book, include open source software development, citizen journalism, the Wikipedia, and Second Life, alongside a wide range of other sites of collaborative content creation. Many other articles and presentations about produsage are also available on this site.

The terms produser and produsage were first introduced in my study of news production processes in collaborative online news Websites (published as Gatewatching: Collaborative Online News Production), but produsage happens well beyond this area. Indeed, it is possible that produsage need neither be online, nor concerned with the development of 'content' in a narrow sense.

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