Use Crowdsourcing to Solve Your Relationship Problems

With Sidetaker, Outsiders Are Your Arbiters

By Published on .

Mat Zucker
Mat Zucker is my favorite new community site harnessing the power of like-minded strangers.

For me, it displaces as my favorite the writers community (where I got my first story published) and (a site for people with all sorts of health conditions to share virtual hugs and non-medical support).

At SideTaker, people with different points of view (usually couples) post for anonymous voting and commentary things that they can't agree on; the site lets the community take sides and vote whose fault the conflict is. You also can add commentary as to why. The intention, reads the official blurb, is to help address non-critical disputes that too often plague relationships.

SideTaker creates a black-and-white world, a pluralistic Judge Judy, so it's admittedly overly simplistic and some might find it a bit crass -- but the site certainly helps us see how common our problems are. It's also hilarious fun with which to engage.

You, the reader, are in a position of power. Immediately, the site puts you on the spot to take a side and you might be surprised by what you do. I've already taken sides I didn't even expect on entries such as: His Unemployed Ass Drives the Newer Car, Never Flushes the Toilet (Not Lazy -- Cheap), This Is OUR Day, Not Our DOG'S Day. I'm a pet lover and would probably want my dog in my own wedding, but I was less sympathetic to the bride who wanted the same things. Her reasons seemed flawed and the groom seemed right.

You can subscribe to topics through your Twitter feed, and there are plenty of contextual advertisements to relationship services, articles and, of course, weight-loss products.

SideTaker is run by Justin Marinos in Pittsburgh. According to Justin, it is inspired by a personal experience dating a girl and how he and she believed they over-reacted and their friends took the obvious sides. Justin wanted an impartial, unbiased opinion of who was right and wrong. Perhaps anonymity would bring more fairness and more candor. He pointed out that friends shouldn't be told of the posting lest it ruin the anonymity and disproportionately sway the outsider viewpoints.

Crowdsourcing, of course, is already being used for innovation briefs, design problems, freelance help and the arts.

Now it lets strangers into your bedroom and bathroom. ;-)
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