Milestone 1 Betzy

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Experience the life of a Worker on Mechanical Turk

Reflect on your experience as a worker on Mechanical Turk. What did you like? What did you dislike? The community seems to be huge. The platform itself seems pretty old, we think it needs a better/new design. There is no worker protection, as a worker you could finish a job correctly and not get rewarded. New workers might experience "starvation" if the HITs require qualifications. It lacks a quick and easy to use communication system between requester and worker.

Experience the life of a Requester on Mechanical Turk

Reflect on your experience as a requester on Mechanical Turk. What did you like? What did you dislike? Also attach the CSV file generated when you download the HIT results.

CSV file generated when you download the HIT results. Good thing is that you always find people who will work on your HITs, bad thing is that you always need to review the work to ensure good quality. The requester doesn't have many options when choosing sets of workers, there should be many options, like being able to distribute amounts of hits to specific users/groups.

Explore alternative crowd-labor markets

Compare and contrast the crowd-labor market you just explored (TaskRabbit/oDesk/GalaxyZoo) to Mechanical Turk.

Mobile Works


oDesk convinces with an updated, clean, and clear user interface. Upon sine-up, users are asked to complete a profile in which they can describe their skills, education level, and strengths. Freelancers post their hourly rate and work under real world conditions by choosing a project they work on from start to finish rather than completing just a part or task of an entire project. Joining oDesk isn’t instantaneous like on mClerk, which could deter potential users looking to join a crowdsourcing platform quickly and easily. To me it makes this platform seem more reliable for me as a freelancer and someone looking for a freelancer. The “this seems too good to be true” comment by one of the mClerk user seems to correspond with this . Depending on ones personal preference, this is where AMT is easier for users who have a full time job and are looking for short, easy work to complete during their idle time rather than full scope projects that require several hours.

=== GalaxyZoo ===

MTurk awards workers with money for the work they do, GalaxyZoo on the other hand it's completely voluntary work. It's one big project about classifying galaxies, the requirements(questions) are the same all the time, whereas in MTurk you can post any kind of project, the requirements differ from task to task. GalaxyZoo seems to be a very interesting project that attracts many people, and the results seem to have a really big importance for research, but I guess it would be better if they added a little award for the people who do all the work.



  • What do you like about the system / what are its strengths?
  • What do you think can be improved about the system?


mClerk is a crowdsourcing program that allows projects to be delegated to remote regions of developing countries and reach a capable work force otherwise unavailable due to insufficient access to internet through computers or smart phones. The trial run was conducted in rural regions near Bangalore where the local language of Kannada was to be digitized using crowdsourcing methods. Although internet is not readily available in this region, most of the general population owns a SMS capable mobile phone. Using a bitmap algorithm, images of written text were transmitted to participants via SMS who then responded in kind with the transliteration of the word.

  • What do you like about the system / what are its strengths?

Crowdsourcing platforms are mainly beneficial to workers earning minimum or below minimum wage. Laborers have the opportunity to increase their salary by participating in crowdsourcing programs during their idle time like transit, breaks, or other “unproductive” time. mClerk enables companies to delegate menial tasks to workers lacking specialty qualifications in remote locations. This eliminates the concern that crowdsourcing platforms allow unqualified amateurs to underbid professionals with a market comparable hourly rates. While the SMS technology at the core of this idea is the optimal tool to contact this target group, it also poses the biggest threat. While the algorithm allows low resolution images to be transferred, the types of projects are limited to display dimensions of only a few pixels. More complex projects and tasks require longer descriptions and possibly more detailed images requiring better technology and language skills on the user end.

The benefits of this platform vs. Amazon Mechanical Turk include the quick sign up via phone call, the low-tech approach, and the simple user experience. AMT sports an outdated user interface that is very complicated in its setup. The requester publishing a project, has the ability to narrow the field of participants completing “HITs” by setting various qualifications needed, but is then forced to evaluate the validity of each answer after the HITs have been completed. At numbers of several hundred to thousands of HITs per project, this task alone allows for erroneous anwers to “slip through the cracks”. mClerk’s algorithm that automatically checks for congruency between answers given by different users, already proves a 91% accuracy and could be improved with future testing.

  • What do you think can be improved about the system?

Flash Teams

  • What do you like about the system / what are its strengths?

It allows you to quickly create teams, and the best features are elasticity and pipelining. You can get a project done within few hours, the implemented workflows are great which make the requester's job easier.

  • What do you think can be improved about the system?

Maybe allowing parallel runs for the same project within the same workflow would be a good idea, which means trying different approaches, in case one of them fails.