Milestone 1 Akali

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Welcome Folks !! This is team Akali,

We are a group of five Undergraduate Students doing our Major in Computer Science from Guru Nanak Institutions, India. We are new to the concept of Crowd Sourcing and our experience till now has been awesome. We are looking forward to be more involved in this and improve our skills based on the Project.

Experience the life of a Worker on Microworkers

Overview of the Website

Microworkers is another crowdsource site(Since Amazon Mechanical Turk was not accessible by us), where you undertake basic tasks (known as “jobs” in this case) such as liking someone’s YouTube video, writing a short article, or clicking on webpages, and in return you receive payment. It's a relatively easy way of making money online. Though we were not allowed to do jobs on MTurk, we were allowed o browse the HIT's and could get a certain amount of knowledge about What are the typical types of HIT's given to workers? Amount of money rewarded to a worker and other stuff.

The basic principle of Microworkers is the same as with Amazon Mechanical Turk, although instead of getting your reward in the form of Amazon giftcards, or having cash paid directly into your bank account, you get your Microworkers earnings paid into your PayPal account.

Initial Experience

Since we did not have any access to MTurk, we opted for this site. It has a simple and understandable interface (Unlike Mturk). But the jobs here are mainly spams. We have competed HITs like installing an android application and reviewing it, and few others like posting a comment on one YouTube video, Visiting new websites and signing up for them. These tasks were too easy, but the problem here was the evaluation of these tasks took longer than average. Some were done in a day or two, but most of them needed minimum of 7 days to be evaluated. This reduced the jobs which we could have done (because of the deadline), but still we managed to earn more than 3$, which was actually good, considering that we used it for the first time. The experience was rather good, the thing that the site only offers jobs which involve spamming was a little bit annoying (No one wants their Mail to be flooded with junk).

Likes

1. The Microworkers site has a professional and attractive layout and it’s easy to navigate. It definitely made a positive impression on us when we first visited and we found it easy to browse through the Microworkers jobs.

2. Some of the Microworkers jobs and the Microworkers site pay better than on other sites. For instance, liking someone’s YouTube video will often pay 30 or 40 cents on Microworkers, in our experience, whereas you may get as little as 2 cents on Amazon Mechanical Turk. Making money with Microworkers jobs is certainly easier in some areas.

3. When you look at the list of Microworkers jobs available on the Microworkers site, they tell you what proportion of workers who’ve done a job previously have been successful. This is a really useful tool if you want to make money, as it can help you to decide if you want to take that job, or not.

4. Microworkers payments go into your PayPal account, where you can either spend your money directly at PayPal friendly websites, such as eBay, or link it to your bank account and get it transferred there. This is convenient and useful and if you haven’t already got a PayPal account, you can open one for free.

Dislkes

1. There aren’t that many Microworkers jobs available on Microworkers site in our experience. Typically, there are just a few hundred available at any one time. Compare that with MTurk where there can be over a 100,000 hits on offer. That means that making money online on Microworkers is usually not a fast way to make money and can be much slower than with MTurk. Also, because of the scarcity of jobs on the Microworkers site, you quite often see the same old requests hanging around for days on end, when browsing through the list of available jobs.

2. Unfortunately, the problem with scams aimed at workers appears possibly even worse at Microworkers than that at MTurk. Giving out your personal details to anyone advertising jobs on any of these websites, including the Microworkers site would not be suggested. You run the risk of getting scammed or suffering identity theft. The fact that that these sort of jobs are advertised gives the site a slightly seedy quality, though there was no doubts about the honesty of the site owners.

3. On top of all the scams aimed at workers, there seem to far too many “dodgy” Microworker jobs on offer that are aimed at the general public. At best these sort of jobs effectively involve spamming other websites and forums with hyperlinks and adverts etc. on behalf of the job requester. At worst, some of these Microworker jobs may well just be scams and nobody wants to run the risk of perpetrating some sort of scam on an innocent member of the public!

4. There aren’t a lot of medium paid Microworker jobs ($1 or $2) where you just have to fill out a survey, or write a short article on the Microworkers site.

5. You can’t access any of your earnings until you reach the minimum withdrawal rate, which is $10. This didn’t seem to be too bad at first, especially when you consider that some other casual earning sites like, say, Inbox Dollars, have minimum payouts of $30. However, given the scarcity of Microworkers jobs on offer, making money can be relatively slow on the Microworkers site, in our experience, which can make the $10 minimum seem like a mountain to climb.

6. Getting your money transferred to your PayPal account can take weeks. This is not a major problem, if you are aware of it, but can be very frustrating if you are in need of the money and not expecting it. (Firstly we had a problem creating PayPal, was a bit of hassle because of Bank's criteria here. But eventually we got hold of it.)

Experience the life of a Requester on Mechanical Turk

Initial Experience

Unfortunately, we did not have any access to MTurk requester because of the region limit (Which is only accessible in USA). But somehow a slight change in your address (Or giving a fake address, LOL!) can give you access to the requester site and that is only on sandbox not on the original site. We faced some anomalies here because of having no prior experiences towards this; we slowly got to know what actually is going on, on the site (Thanks to Rajan and my colleagues on Slack). Our first hit was a small survey, a very small one. Here the task was done on the sandbox worker page by our team mates. Since that was the initial one, we didn't have any expectations about how it can turn out. But that is where we learn about it. At first there was some required qualification that was set by default (I think Masters were only qualified for the job). Due to this we could not accept the HIT but later after changing the default settings we completed the task. The second one was Transcription of an Image, we had taken a handwritten image and the HIT was to type the text given in the image. Two of my team mates have successfully done the task and we have generated the results.

Likes

1. Here we can easily access a larger pool of potential workers simultaneously. This makes it easier to construct a viable work frame which can be efficiently distributed among workers by providing multiple HIT’s.

2. The cost of obtaining inputs from the workers is substantially low when compared to similar crowd sourcing platforms.

3. Since it is cost efficient we can allow more workers to work on a particular HIT, this can provide various types of results and the scope of improvement of the task can also be high.

Dislikes

1. No good resources are available to the requesters the guidance is also a bit scarce. If you are new to this system of work then you can face difficulties in creating HITs. Even if you are successful in creating a well portrayed HIT it will be a tedious task to maintain it.

2. Interface design for requesters is quite complicated when compared to worker interface. Many settings which can have adverse effect on a simple HIT are made to default. Here Qualification of Masters is set to default and it is not even easily visible so that we can change it.

3. Quality service from the workers cannot be expected since the cost is low and everyone is in the race to complete the job as fast as they can.

4. When many workers submit their task on one particular HIT, then it is not that easy to segregate or filter the participants based on their expertise or professional traits.

Results of HITs

1. Survey Results

2. Transcription of Image Results

Alternative crowd-labor market ' oDesk '

What oDesk Offers ?

oDesk connects freelancers to employers, offering freelancers various employment options and offering employers a variety of employee options. Their goal is to provide a place where employers and freelancers can connect and do business remotely.

How oDesk Works ?

oDesk For Freelancers

Let’s say you are a graphic designer looking for some extra freelance work. With oDesk, you sign up for free, create a profile, set your hourly rate, and then begin searching for jobs that fit your expertise. If you find a job that interests you, you apply for the job. If you are selected for an interview and eventually hired, then you log your hours worked into oDesk’s time management app (guaranteed payment) and are paid around 10 days after each work weekends. If the job is a fixed wage, you are paid 6 days after oDesk is paid (no guaranteed payment).

oDesk For Employers

If you are an employer looking to hire a freelancer, it is fairly simple. You create a profile and then create a job listing (specifying things like estimated hourly payments, timeline, etc). Once your job listing is created, you can either just wait for offers to come in (which normally doesn’t take very long) or do some searches and actually offer the job to specific freelancers you select. Then you interview the candidates and pick the one that you feel is a good fit. oDesk’s time management app takes screenshots every 10 minutes so you can occasionally check up on your employee’s progress to make sure things are getting done.

oDesk Pros

1. Free Membership

2. Has a variety of employment/employee options

3. Allows you to do freelance work from home/remotely

4. Can be a good way to make some extra cash/ work full-time

5. Large number of freelancers for employers to choose from

oDesk Cons

1. Employers/Freelancers can be cheap/unprofessional

2. Have to wade through lots of employers/employees to find good ones

3. Have to bid against a lot of people per job, many of which are vastly underselling you

4. Risk not-getting paid, if employer doesn’t pay Odesk (fixed rate)

5. Account could be suspended without good reason (employer or freelancer)

6. They charge a 10% commission on every job

How is oDesk different from MTurk?

oDesk when compared to MTurk, has not that broad range of services. Being a freelancing platform, the professionals or skilled folk, who have some time to spare else having some other mode of operation which can be considered as a part time or working from home, can fulfill their prerequisites based on their personal preferences. The process here is completing the task which is offered by a company in stipulated time frame and after that we can move on with the next job. On oDesk the required amount of expertise is more than that of MTurk, here specialized tasks are given only to those individuals who can actually work on them or who signed up for that particular task. Rewards here are also slighter higher on range when compared to MTurk.

Readings

MobileWorks

Strengths of the System

1. The mobile works platform being an application is very useful as it becomes very easy for the workers to perform their tasks as majority of the people out there have access to either a smart phone or a feature phone with some kind of internet availability.

2. It becomes easy for the workers to complete their tasks in their free time by just logging in into their account and start doing their tasks. There are no further steps after logging in and that saves a lot of time which allows completing approximately twice the number of tasks that people were usually, by using a Desktop PC and thus get paid more.

3. The amount of accuracy obtained by using this mobile based platform is also more than that of the accuracy of the desktop workers.

4. One of the features of mobile works is that it provides optical character recognition, and the mobile based platform is very crucial part of this as it craves the way to portability, so that people can use it under a similar environment.

5. The tasks which are available on mobile works are maintained by using the multiple entries which results in delivering of the most apt answer to the task requester.

Improvements that can be made in the System

1. The tasks should be sorted based on the smart phone and feature phone users so that it becomes easy for the workers to choose their tasks based on their device and work on it.

2. Here the tasks to be done by workers should be prioritized so that they can be benefited in all aspects and by doing this the workload can also be managed efficiently.

3. The mobile based platform should be made available in various other local languages as many people from the bottom of the Economic Pyramid do not have a good command over English, but by providing a platform in the language understandable by larger part of workers becomes easier for them to perform their related tasks.

4. The other alternative to it is the addition of translators to the application. This is much more convenient and the range of languages that can be provided here is more compared to the previous one.

mClerk

Strengths of the System

1. mClerk is another crowd sourcing is available over mobile platform, so any individual having connectivity to Internet can access it and do their assigned works.

2. The option of partnering is very beneficial for almost all of the workers as this helps to get along with the local business which helps in solving the problem of auto payment. Though this is not the most preferred method for ideal money flow but this is one on which we can rely on when there are auto payment crisis.

3. This technique also comes in use when the essential technology for the auto payment of tasks is not available; partnering comes to our rescue this helps in payment of the workers on their regular basis.

4. The user diffusion network is also very effective and also those similar plans work great in many countries including India.

Improvements that can be made in the System

1. The problem with the mClerk is that only a limited number of SMS can be sent, particularly in India (I think 100 messages is the limit for one day which was set by our Government). This ultimately leads to the reduction of number of tasks that can be done by the workers of India.

2. If many workers give the same response for a task then that tasks should be properly validated and checked so as to improve the efficiency and accuracy of the system. This can be done by proving validation functions or algorithms which effectively perform their task.

3. Instead of using SMS, Internet can be used as the alternative to keep in touch with the workers. Because some countries like India have a limit on sending messages which leads deterioration in the works magnitude.

4. As many people all across the world now a days have easy access to Internet with the help of their smart phones this becomes quite easy and the problem of the limitation on SMS can be overcome. The idea of earning money through the Internet will motivate the workers to get more Internet plans on their mobile phones and this will also in turn help in solving the payment crisis.

Flash Teams

Strengths of the System

1. Flash Teams uses elastic recruiting techniques that allow teams to grow and shrink on-demand and pipelining to accelerate completion times by beginning the next stage of a workflow as soon as the previous stage has sufficient preliminary outputs.

2. Foundry allows users to author modular tasks, and then manages teams through hand-offs of intermediate work which makes it even faster to work on.

3. Flash teams exhibit distributed leadership where the user may be coordinating with different workers in each block. To avoid a diffusion of responsibility, for each block, the project requester specifies a Directly Responsible Individual (DRI), who takes on a temporary management position for the duration of that task.

4. Most coordination between team members occurs through input or output hand-offs but Foundry focuses the user on explicitly marking hand-offs through arrows that connect tasks and which in turn helps making dependencies visible to user.

5. Pipelining scenarios allow team members to work productively in parallel manner and it also helps in encouraging synchronous feedback between team members.

6. In particular, flash teams afford dynamic recruitment and coordination of on-demand expertise that is extremely difficult in offline scenarios.

Improvements that can be made in the System

1. We should strongly take part in organizational behavior research that suggests even temporary groups can coordinate complex work effectively, if they have an enabling team structure to encode then it’s easy to know who is working together and who is responsible for which tasks.

2. Frame expert crowd work around sequences of linked tasks can hypothesize that these chains of focused work could maintain the coordinating strength of lightweight team structures while providing a representation that interactive systems can leverage to support collaboration, create new teams automatically, grow and shrink teams on demand, and combine teams into larger organizations.

3. To accelerate team creation, and based on an observation that many teams share some components, Foundry makes available a library of all blocks that previous teams have used for drag-and-drop rather than repeating again and again.

4. Blocks are modular and have clear boundaries, flash teams can be combined to create larger organizations. Entire teams can be abstracted into a block.