Milestone 2 ams

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Attend a Panel to Hear from Workers and Requesters

For a full-time Turker, finding the right HIT itself is a full-time work. A lot of tools, scripts have been created to workers aid. Forums like MTurklist,crowd worker, crowd alert. There are tools like hitscraper listed all the HITS that appear real-time and meet a certain criteria. The full-time Turkers go much beyond casual browsing for HITs, to the extent of having multiple screens to be able to track all the HITs. For most of the Turkers the basic incentive to Turk is money. But the community there allows Turkers to stick around and help others, share HITs, provide support. "You become a part of a community. The ability to have people who understand what you are going through allows you to stick on with Turking". The requester-worker relationship is much beyond task completion and can email them. Further, they suggested ways to frame a better request. Turkers helped the requester from start to finish, even with handling APIs and everything because Amazon doesn't have that detailed support.

Reading Others' Insights

Worker perspective: Being a Turker

  • A great amount of stress has been laid down on the requester-worker relation that comes into account while the requester requests for work. At the onset of the request the worker being a human has a certain amount of expectations that come into consideration in regards to the requester. Few posts show that the requesters who are open, non-judgmental and maintain a good communication are highly valued, thus taking into account the social aspect of humans.
  • A number of concerns are present amongst the requesters:

- Unfair rejection - There are many a cases when the worker rejects the work without giving any proper reasoning and since according to the Rules and Procedures mentioned, the work that has been performed by the worker is a copyright of the requester and is stripped of any rights to that particular work.

- Low Wages- For a person whose only source of income is through crowd-sourcing, low wages is a huge parameter.

- Slow responses - Another problem that is faced by many workers is a requester's failure to communicate in fluid and efficient manner.

  • The workers have a lot of reasons to offer their services in the labour, prime being money. A few of them do it for educational purposes keeping in mind the fact that they will benefit a lot from the work as they get to learn something new while a few to merely pass their time and for recreational purposes.
  • It also lays out in details as to why mass collaborations between the workers do not happen owing to a vast availability of workers that are present. A few workers are also against the journalists who try to bring out the injustice that exists on such platforms and explained that such articles would get the government involved and ultimately lead to closing of such platforms.

Worker perspective: Turkopticon

  • Giving a detailed insight in the background, it tells us as to how the workers choose their tasks, how the tasks are priced and dynamics involved post choosing one.
  • Proper legal definitions have been defined by Amazon in context to the workers and the rights of the work post submission to the requester.
  • The entire design of the AMT is so built to support the requesters. These rqeuesters tend to increase the HITs on AMT by creating web based forms that specify an input task and allow workers to input response. The requester has the ultimate right to define the criteria for a worker to work on the given project. This approach leads to availability of thousands of workers within a few hours.
  • Having seen the problems and doing an adequate amount of research, a watchdog platform was created in order to look out for the interests of the workers who were being exploited many a times. This platform allows workers to make their relationships with employers visible and call those employers to account and help build up up a relationship together with other contributors.
  • The platform so designed keeps in mind the latest advancements that happen on the browsers and an adequate amount of work of maintenance and upgrading is done in order to keep this platform up and running.

Requester perspective: Crowdsourcing User Studies with Mechanical Turk

1) What observations about workers can you draw from the readings? Include any that may be are strongly implied but not explicit.

Although Mechanical Turks has become a very popular crowdsourcer, there is always that element of money attached with it which inevitably invites malicious practices. In the experiment 1, where the requester put straight forward and simple one word answer questions so as to make is as easy as possible for a worker, the workers took unethical advantage of it by wrongfully submitting their jobs in search for quick money. The experiment 2, although lengthy and subjective produced better results. Let's be honest, surveys are meant to carry personal opinion, hence no answer is right or wrong. It's an opinion. Basically, you can't hold it against the worker. And there lies the loophole. The worker fills in the survey, submits it and good bye. Job done. Money in his pocket.

2) What observations about requesters can you draw from the readings? Include any that may be are strongly implied but not explicit.

The requester has to be extra smart; think two steps ahead of an unfaithful worker. The experiment 1, although worker friendly produced unusable statistics. The experiment 2, which was extensive, not worker friendly, turned out to be better for the requester. To use the crowd as a source, you need to eliminate the unwanted from the crowd. It's okay to make it a little difficult for the worker as long as the task is achievable and worth the money being offered.

Requester perspective: The Need for Standardization in Crowdsourcing

1) What observations about workers can you draw from the readings? Include any that may be are strongly implied but not explicit.

The method of standardization could well turn out to be a block for beginners looking for opportunities in the Crowdsoursing sector. The more the number of restrictions (let's be honest, standardizing is restricting) the more the worker will think before setting up his profile as a crowdsourcer. The process should be clean, smooth and open.

Hence, where standardization is being thought to improve work and payment standards of the workers, it may well backfire, defeating its entire purpose.

2) What observations about requesters can you draw from the readings? Include any that may be are strongly implied but not explicit.

For the requesters, yes I agree standardization will bring more sophistication into the system. The jobs will be clearly segregated. The payments will be better handled. Agreed. But then again, for a beginner requester, who wouldn't know how to categorize his job so as to bring in more workers, this system is too much of a hassle. A very likely scenario is that the requester who didn't standardize his job well (he's new to the system, mistakes will be made) ended up getting very few workers and was forced to increase the pay so as to attract more workers, which he didn't need to in the first place.

Both perspectives: A Plea to Amazon: Fix Mechanical Turk

1) What observations about workers can you draw from the readings? Include any that may be are strongly implied but not explicit.

  • Since the pay of a HIT, or even multiple HITs, do not amount to much, workers would prefer to move on rather than pursuing a complaint of the requester.
  • Workers aim to improve their 'rating' by working on very small low paying HITs which are a walk in the park. This makes them appear more eligible to higher paying tasks, completely disregarding the account whether they are actually skilled for the task or not.
  • A productive worker cannot differentiate himself from the rest of the crowd and ends up being paid less.
  • Experienced workers usually gauge the trustworthiness of a new requester by only completing a small number of HITs for them.
  • Workers who work legitimately on a large batch of HITs for a requester and get rejected unjustly, do not only lose the opportunity to earn the money but also lose reputation.
  • Workers search for work based on most recent HITs, instead of searching for work which matches their skill set.

2) What observations about requesters can you draw from the readings? Include any that may be are strongly implied but not explicit.

  • Requesters have the ultimate power to misuse their responsibility.
  • Requesters are stuck with using a complicated and technologically outdated platform.
  • The web platform, and the complex API, do very little in reducing the time and costs involved in requesting HITs, thus moving the break-even point further away from the requester.
  • If a requester has followed the approach of building their own interface in an HTML iframe, it becomes easier for them to expose non-MTurk people to their HITs with simple HTML urls, thus leaking the work from an ecosystem which was supposed to be self sufficient enough to contain itself.
  • The flexible nature of the MTurk platform is beneficial for requesters who want to design and represent their HITs as they please.
  • A newly joined requester is unaware of the market dynamics and might get discouraged to continue with the crowd sourcing platform if he/she encounters inexperienced workers in his/her early stages of involvement with the platform.

Do Needfinding by Browsing MTurk-related forums, blogs, Reddit, etc


  • Requesters are trying to mediate their own verification methods and their trust level for mTurkers seems low since they are trying to filter out mTurkers.

  • A classic case of technical malfunction where the system 'accidentally' rejected a turkers work. The turker seems infuriated by this issue although seemed to have consoled once he/she received a support reply from the requester.

mTurk Forum

  • The forum has an abundance of posts by requesters who are providing incentives and bonuses in search for good turkers. Starting a thread also allows the requesters to interact with the workers and gain knowledge about the workers and their experience.
  • New users, workers and especially requesters, are wary of the mTurk platform. It shows that either these users are completely new to the concept of crowdsourcing platforms, or they have come across negative reviews about the platform.