You may have noticed that the Wikipedia, one of the most visible results of “content co-creation”, is running a fund raising campaign. What you may not be aware of are the reasons that make Wikipedia averse to using more conventional financing means such as advertising. They are explained here, complete with a brief mention of the crisis it sparked five years ago.
The wikipedia is peculiar in many ways, and some of the members that help run it and scrub it clean (as opposed to contributors who write that relevant content) stray a bit out of orbit, IMHO. As we say in Spanish, they can be much more Papist than the Pope himself, and I’ve got a couple of scars to thank them for :-). But the issue stands that the people who are willing to persistently volunteer time to building and upkeeping such a resource… are very sensitive to the uses it is put to.
Anecdotes apart, it is a very illustrative example of the entitlement that comes with co-creation, especially when it implies more than casually uploading a couple of videos. When you care, and you work with dedication, you usually do it out of a strong opinion of what you’re doing it for. When you come to believe you are key to the common effort, you want it to stay faithful to the vision you bought, or even to listen to your point of view. And you can get very emotional about it.
A couple of days ago I commented about the case of a person who was ready to (attempt to) sink a whole system of online communities, of which he was no longer a member, just because he felt his legacy was badly treated. Witness too the Digg rebellion. Or the wikipedia example. Or the way Joomla has to tread with licensing issues to keep their developers committed.
Co-creation is an emotional minefield. When you base a project on it, you’re paying something different than money: something that is often much more personal and relevant, not to say valuable. Handle with care.