Milestone 1 Opera

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Experience the life of a Worker on Mechanical Turk

Since Mechanical Turk does not allow workers from India, following observations are done on Mechanical Turk sandbox:

  1. We cannot filter HITs by well known categories like - Survey, Data Collection etc. These are the same categories which you see while creating HIT as requester.
  2. We cannot see how many people currently working (or watching) given HIT group in parallel, so that we can see which HITs are hot. Also we can sort HIT by this statistic.
  3. Requestor’s past performance: How many HIT he accepted and rejected. Rating given by the workers to requesters, then feature to sort HIT by requesters rating.
  4. Adjustment of HIT’s “Time Allotted” according to how much time it took on average to earlier worker working on HIT in same group.
  5. Responsive design and better search engine.
  6. Mechanical Turk or any crowdsourcing platform if available as an Android/iPhone App and interface optimised for small screen interaction will improve workers experience. currently smartphone are powerful enough to support task such as audio/video transcoding.
  7. We in India could not register to Mechanical Turk, whereas earlier people could, which means there is no surety that the platform will always be available to me for usage , so I would want a platform that is global and not governed by laws of a single nation alone, else it’s not a fair division of market.

Experience the life of a Requester on Mechanical Turk

  1. Every work needs to have some funding, it might not be feasible to test the waters without some financial impact. While Mechanical Turk does allow to post HITs without any rewards, but as per https://requester.mturk.com/tour/how_it_works, the requester is supposed to pay Mechanical Turk some amount.
  2. The registration is not a quick process and as a requester I don’t want to spend time on it.
  3. These are the requester tools available: https://requester.mturk.com/tour/choose_the_right_tool From there it appears that email is the only means of communication with the worker, which is inefficient. Fast communication medium such as IM (Instant Messaging) would have been better option to communicate timely and efficiently.
  4. Currently requester can be from United States only. The platform should be open to everybody.
  5. CSV file containing HIT results are not attached since Mechanical Turk didn't allow people from India to register.
  6. Sandbox mode is tried but is accessible only to US citizens.

Explore alternative crowd-labor markets

oDesk

  • The profile creation covers a wide rage of topics, so the requester can know the skill set of worker and also past experience. It also covers experience level so gives more for requester to gauge the payment/potential.
  • There is a search option for jobs and also for freelancers, whereas in Mechanical Turk it's only the HITs.
  • oDesk also has in addition to HITs, something like a job posting - where the requesters can even ask the workers to send resume; It acts as a single point of contact to hire people. Mechanical Turk only has HITs.
  • One can give rating to the requester and also give comments which are publicly visible.
  • The matching job according to one's interests shows up automatically and one does not have to scramble for it like in Mechanical Turk.
  • The minimum wage is $3/hr, which is better than HITs on Mechanical Turk. Mechanical Turk can have tasks with no wages also.

Readings

MobileWorks

  • What do you like about the system / what are its strengths?
    • Internet connection is not necessary and people with low end mobile phones can also contribute, which can help lower income groups
    • Easy to contribute at workers convenience (whenever he/she has free time)
    • Cost effective from requester's perspective
  • What do you think can be improved about the system?
    • Since smartphones are becoming more affordable, it might not be much relevant in future hence something similar needs to be done for smartphones which can incorporate better visual and data experience
    • Different kind of work can be offered not just OCR, something like surveys.

mClerk

  • What do you like about the system / what are its strengths?
    • Internet connection is not necessary and people with low end mobile phones can also contribute, which can help lower income groups
    • Easy to contribute at any free time
  • What do you think can be improved about the system?
    • Since smart phones are becoming more affordable, it might not be much relevant in future hence something similar needs to be done for smart phones which can incorporate better visual and data experience
    • There can be more kind of work added, like surveys (how much traffic you see on EatStreet now ? )
    • Some kind of qualification assessment of the worker must be done so that there lesser need to tally the results and we know that the person submitting the answers is qualified enough

Flash Teams

  • What do you like about the system / what are its strengths?
    • From requesters perspective, can track one whole work unit end-to-end
    • The requester can have an elastic workforce on an as need basis , so it offers better use of resources/money
  • What do you think can be improved about the system?
    • Some accountability is required until the whole workflow ends – to avoid a situation where work done by team of previous block is causing issues to team of current block , so if people from previous block’s team leave then it’s difficult to re-work
    • There is no way to verify that the block creation and time limit allocation is indeed correct (in case it’s done automatically)
    • To be able to have work review by other crowdsourcing members, like a peer review