Agency

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Question

How might we create a system that utilizes advocates/mediators to support worker and requester needs/concerns instead of a reputaton system?


Agency Model

Instead of a reputation system, the Agency model repositions power to a third party that holds the vested interest of both entities (i.e. requester and workers alike) as well as the continued success of the system at heart. Correlates in the digital and non digital world are found in real estate, recruiting/staffing, Union Mediation, Ombudsmen, etc. Not wanting to kill the goose that lays the golden eggs in an exploitive manner, is a positive metaphor for rational self interest, which is the efficient mind set of the broker in this system. Workers want to make money and Requestors want value for their investment, the Broker ensures both happens. In sharing Power with the Broker, trust is the currency of economic success. Requestors will only want to work with Brokers that can deliver on their claims of expediancey, cost effectiveness, management of complex HITS, etc, whatever the brokers unique niche or differentiator may be.


On the flip side, those brokers need to have honest and transparent relationships with workers to deliver on those stated claims. As there are no contracts to bind the parties, the harmony the agency system can create is brought about by the checks and balances each arm of the triad render upon each other. The guarantees of the Broker bring balance to the system; as such they become trustees. In a negative interpretation the analogy to Cold War MAD philosophy is germaine; the threat to destroy the others reputation, while distasteful is an effective way to minimize ethical/moral transgressions. In a more positive reaffirming light, the distribution of power makes it clear that as a shared system, each party has a vested interest in the continued economic success of the other. Invariably each party will begin to gravitate towards themes/silos/areas of concern that create remediation pathways within the system. As such, Brokers become mediators in collective action and must advocate for collaboration and communication for the system to thrive.


This framework allows for:

  • Worker anonimity can be protected
  • In commercial endeavours IP can be better protected
  • Deadline project work can be executed
  • More sophisticated HITS can be brought into the market
  • Pricing can become more competitive

Typical Workflow

  1. Requester send HITS to Agent
  2. Agent vets HITS and clarifies, refines or returns HITS
  3. Agent matches HITS with workers associated with the Agent
  4. Workers receive HITS
  5. Workers clarify any questions on the HIT with the Agent
  6. Workers complete and return HITS to Agent
  7. Agent reviews HITS for quality, completeness etc.
  8. Agent submits HITS to Requester
  9. Requester pays Agent
  10. Agent pays worker

Potential Challenges/Considerations

Requires an additional layer of technology. Does this produce a new power challenge? How do you keep the agents from being too powerful? How do you guarantee that the workers will be fairly compensated? Will the requesters pay more to cover the commission to Agents? Will workers be comfortable making a little less in order to work with an Agent?

Needs Addressed

  • Workers need to feel they are being fairly compensated for their work.
  • Workers need to be able to quickly find tasks they'd want to work on
  • Workers need to feel like they are treated fairly and respectfully, and have a voice in the platform
  • Workers need to be able to expose their skills so they can get work they are qualified for and advance their skills
  • Workers need to be confident that they understand the goal of the task, and quickly
  • Requesters need to get their HITs completed (quickly / correctly)
  • Requesters need to be able to trust the results they get
  • Requesters need to have workers who have the appropriate skills and demographics do their tasks
  • Requesters need to be able to easily generate good tasks
  • Requesters need to price their tasks appropriately