Guild Clearing House (Milestone 4)
Many in the cohort have expressed interest in Guilds, as organizational design, how they potentially connect with Skills matching tools, Pricing Engines, Learning Communities or as negotiating platforms, etc. Wether you want to collaborate, flesh out an idea, see who has a similar/shared idea, look for inspiration, this page is intended to be a clearing house for ideas/problems/solutions. One of the joys of this project has been the sharing of ideas and collaboration...So, use the page respectfully, just use it :) The idea of Guilds is not new, they were established many years ago, so no one in this century owns the guild idea :)...However, this cohort can certainly be the steward of the guild concept in the digital economy
Guilds have seen a renewed interest in the context of Massively Multi-Player Online Games (MMPOG). Players have been encouraged to regroup in so-called guilds in order to share experience and cooperate in game session. Participating in a guild has become a large part of the game experience.
The overall idea is to add a "social infrastructure" element into crowdworking.
Can Guilds address the following problems:
- 1. Cold Start for workers
- 2. Expertise and Competency expectation/standardization (Reputation/Trust). Can guilds solve the ironic relationship between pricing and skill exhibited in Mturk (http://www.inthecrowd.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/pi_mkt_power.pdf)
- 3. Voice for workers: grievence and programatic. (Balance of Power)
- 4. Universal pricing (See @Seko's Clustering solution...)
- 5. Upward mobility/skills acquisition
- 6. Improve communication amongst workers
- 7. Improve the depth of the crowd. Right now 10% of the workers in the crowd do 90% of the work. Can Guilds flatten out the crowd?
- 8. Can Guilds be dropped into MTurk and fix problems or are they part of an integrated solution....Or, do Guilds only work in new holistic open systems.
- Guilds have a long history in the pre-digital world as skilled craftsmen organized to protect and preserve a way of life, a craft/trade. With such a concentration of skills, Guilds held considerable negotiationing power in engaging with employers brought uniform quality to craftwork while protecting skilled tradesmen, improved or at least standardized wages and instituted robust training and apprentice programs that ensured quality and helped with cold start challenges. These conditions normalized relations between workers and employers by establishing and introducing standards, expectations and bureaucracy into economic transactions. Employers came to trust guilds as experts in their chosen field and workers found value in their annual dues.
As Trust and Power collide over issues of accountability, responsibility and competency, digital communities must address the basic premise of expertise and how that is defined. In a pre-digital world the acceptance of expertise was shaped by, but not limited to: educational pedigree, pre-ordained social status, cloistered/rural communities, etc. But, as universal education (and grade inflation J), post war social mobility and improved transportation systems radically changed our world, so did our idea of the expert. In a digital world in which we have access to more information than ever before, Experience and Experiences format a new social contract; especially when anonymity is factored into the assessment.
In a digital world, standards, the fundamental building blocks of a community can be captured, measured and used for the forces of collective good (Not the facebook kind J) to establish the definition of expertise, beyond reputation and perception. Once expertise/competency has been defined (as a quality quotient?) by converting actions, anecdotes and behaviors into quantitative metrics Balance, Symmetry, and Harmony, the natural state of efficient systems can be achieved. Just because an idea is old, doesn't mean it cannot be innovative....Hence, the digital Guild.
- By introducing Guilds into Daemo, workers through the tenants of collective action, get a powerful voice in the transaction. Leveraging a cohesive membership group to define wages, standards and expectations in the digital world are no different than their antiquated brethren. For Guilds to do so, they establish criteria for entry, embody an ethic of expertise and create and reinforce the bonds of trust by delivering on their claims. Guilds must internally self regulate or risk losing prestige, standing, reputation. Yet, Requestors also benefit in that instead of having to trust (and go through the vetting process individually) they can place it with an organization, as inclusion in a guild requires entrance exams, apprenticeships or other processes that establish competency and expertise be it transactional and/or subject matter oriented. They can have a single point of contact which can lead to repetitive interaction which has comforting as well as transactional benefits (familiarity), be able to establish expectation as to time and quality.
- Guild Organization/Framework
- rank and file
- committees (Grievence/Pricing/Training/Vision&Development)
Needs Addressed by a Guild Structure
- Workers need to feel they are being fairly compensated for their work.
- 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 feel they belong to a group. The "relatedness" factor has been proven to be extremely important in the happiness and commitment of individuals whether it be workers in a company in which they enjoy belonging, or students in a school. Guild structure is answering to the issues of crowdworker loneliness seen in Week 3 testimonials.
- 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 find "qualitative workers" quickly and efficiently. A guild is akin to a "seal of quality" on top of potentially dozens of workers.
Solutions and Outcomes
- 1. Establish a Culture of Skill. Organizations are moving from low cost to high skill labor
- 2. Leverage ground truths to serve as a universal skills baseline...Consistency and predictability (Reliable)
- 3. Guilds can scale and are reliable
- 4. They embody Trust and the symmetrical distribution of Power
- 5. Flat organizations work, because they are comprised of like minded folks, that share a similar mental model of 'reasonable"
- 6. By establishing Norms...can create a matrix association of skills to wage.
- 7. These norms can also provide the foundation for pricing engine.
- 8. Economies of scale and relationship with MOOCs
- 9. Create a certification process. (Digital and non Digital)
- 10. Collaboration and Collective Intelligence
Guilds help manage workers at scale, which on a global level is important. It also helps focus activity and bring a singular voice and a universal standard to grievance management, skills development, wage negotiation, cold start of newbies, etc. Opportunity for entrepreneurs
- Where does the evolution of Guilds go? Develop into Unions, Co-ops or evolve into companies?
- Can Guilds go out into the market and secure business...yes?
- At what point does a guild get too big...is there a tipping point when the community fractures because (Divergence of interests, agendas, politics)?
- How does the crowd absorb competing guilds
- Can they structure in a way to provide benefits?
- If a crowd has an effective pricing engine, does the system need guilds.
- At the individual point of view, what type of behaviour is allowed ? Should multiple identities and participation in several groups at the same time be permitted ?
Guilds should be free to organize as they want. They will be nonetheless influenced by the tools that are made available by the platform for them to function. A guild can certainly makes use of additional external systems but if the Daemo provides efficient mechanisms, these would shape the organizational structure of guilds. The offered functionalities will contribute to grant power to leaders in the group. For example, introducing pooling of jobs between members of the group (directly or indirectly) ultimately makes leaders in position to control revenues of these members.
Human nature being constant, groups of people will trend to the whole range of possible organizations and governance. While in the real world, localization has made people dependent of existing ruling groups, it is not necessarily the same in the virtual world where participation in a group can hardly been enforced. However we must take into account the possibilities of cyberbullying, especially in a context where reputation will have a direct impact on the capacity of someone to apply for a job. Mechanisms (and monitoring) must be in place to prevent deviant behaviour and make sure that fair competition remains prevalent. This is certainly of major importance for the adoption of the platform and its sustained success in the long run.
In terms of research foundations to help our understanding, we must certainly found interesting matters in social studies and game theory regarding group dynamics in a quite well defined context. Current state of affairs in MMPOG is another useful information source. Guilds in MMORPGs like World of Warcraft or even more massive (Dark Age of Camelot, etC.) are a demonstration of a virtual structure, a frame, making possible that a group of up to hundreds of diverse players from across the globe complete complex tasks (like killing boss in raids) together. Interactions with pricing and skill recognition are also quite certain as exemplified by the functioning of historical guilds in the Middle-Ages. These must be understood and utilized to skew globally the system towards a meritocratic community. The following paper gives an interesting and quantitative analysis of the social dynamics of the World of Warcraft platform:
- Nicolas Ducheneaut, Nicholas Yee, Eric Nickell, and Robert J. Moore. 2006. "Alone together?": exploring the social dynamics of massively multiplayer online games. In Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI '06), Rebecca Grinter, Thomas Rodden, Paul Aoki, Ed Cutrell, Robin Jeffries, and Gary Olson (Eds.). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 407-416.
Of particular interest, the article reveals that guilds bring inherently very loose tights between players with very low interactions between members. Additionally, sizes of guilds remain surprisingly limited: in the period of the study, the median size of guilds was 9 and most of them (90th percentile) count less than 35 people. Guilds appear then to be very unstable groups with an estimated 25% death rates by month and a large churn rate in striving ones. Of course, we are considering a game that could hardly be considered as the main activity of users and we can expect more involvement when dealing with people that make a leaving out a constant presence in a platform. The analysis stresses the importance of building an audience to one successes in game in games like WoW as well as the actual difficulty to manage large scale guilds with the game tooling set.
Possible / Necessary Features of a Guild-friendly Environment
- Dedicated forum creation
- Dedicated IRC channels
- Personal page profile (multi-sided ?) -> see identity management in the platform
- Task management environment
- Ranking (ladder-board) and badges attribution capacity. Possible gamification (akin to guilds in MMORPGs).
- Distributed administration capacity of dedicated tools
- Anonymous voting mechanisms
- Joining and leaving mechanisms
- Mediation capacity in relations between guild representatives and requesters
- creation of sub-guilds/sub-groups dedicated to certain fields. See the example of Wikistrat, where the thousands of analysts are a part of expertise sub-groups.