Introducing Crowd Research Initiative and Recap

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Welcome, summer program researchers!

Congratulations! you've been accepted to participate in one of the most ambitious projects in the research area of human-computer interaction. Together, we're building the next generation crowdsourcing platform - 300+ of us. As you know, we've been exploring this space for a while, so this page will serve to get you onboard quickly and on pace with the rest of us. Let's start, shall we?

What is crowdsourcing?

Crowdsourcing is the process of obtaining needed services, ideas, or content by soliciting contributions from a large group of people, and especially from an online community, rather than from traditional employees or suppliers. A great example of crowdsourcing is Wikipedia - a website we all use to learn about specific topics. The wikipedia is built by people like us (crowd), who have spent their knowledge and time to create the world's largest encyclopedia. None of these contributors were traditionally hired, but the entire effort was crowdsourced. Remember, crowd is us, it can be anyone willing to make contributions for a given task or goal. Watch this quick video to learn more or read about research in this space post slide 33.

What is a crowdsourcing platform?

In order to harness crowd potential, we need to reach to crowd. A crowdsourcing platform is an internet marketplace, that enables individuals and businesses (known as requesters) to coordinate the use of human intelligence to perform needful tasks. The crowd is often termed as workers in such platforms. Platforms like UpWork caters to larger projects like website development, while platforms like Amazon Mechanical Turk helps in getting micro tasks done like labeling images or filling in surveys.

Why do we need a new platform?

Today’s platforms are notoriously bad at ensuring high-quality results, producing fair wages and respect for workers, and making it easy to author effective tasks. What might we create if we knew that our children would become crowd workers? Our goal is to reconsider the design of the crowdsourcing platforms (and train you to become awesome researchers while we do that). We want to design a new future, a future following a user-centered research trajectory:

  • Empathy and needfinding
  • Brainstorming and ideation
  • Rapid prototyping and implementation
  • Launch
  • Evaluation

What is the plan of action?

As part of this program, we want to create a new marketplace that we’re all proud to support and use. Its a chance for you to learn with us as we experiment with new forms of research at scale. Later, we plan to submit a research paper at top-tier academic venues, with you as a coauthor. You can also request a recommendation letter from Prof. Michael Bernstein of Stanford CS. In short, we want you to own this project and work together to achieve this ambitious goal.

General format: we will work in teams toward weekly milestones of your choice, give feedback on each others’ milestones, and take the best ideas to move forward. Each week, we will use the results from our efforts so far to decide on a milestone that we’ll pursue for the next week.