Milestone 4 NotMathMajors

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Write a short paragraph for each theme, discussing the similarities, differences, and axes inspired by the listed ideas.


How might we build empathy between workers and requesters?


Crowd Beers Ideas:

  • Be brought face to face with the fact that requesters/workers are humans
  • Dating (Really?)
  • Informal Talks and Presentations
  • Drinks
  • Play games together that foster communication

Role-playing Ideas:

  • Occasionally forces requesters into workers roles and vice versa
  • Displays interactive visualizations to show the needs of the each party
  • Visualizations promote similarities between the parties
  • Understanding each other promotes empathy

Surprise Gifts Ideas:

  • Giving and receiving gifts is a human desire
  • Materialistically reward workers for good work
  • Encourage human interaction between requesters and workers
  • Gifts are valued more than monetary compensation
  • Trust and relationships are built due to rewards
  • Workers feel more human than like an API call

Bonus Payment Pool Ideas:

  • Bonus pool is created for tasks out of a portion of the requesters costs
  • Workers can tap into the bonus pool by performing higher quality work than required
  • Workers marked as high quality will receive an equal portion of the bonus
  • Workers are rewarded monetarily for good work (Empathy..?)

User Profile Ideas:

  • Pictures of people makes them seem more human on the internet
  • Removing anonymity creates human connections
  • Pictures could be of anything related to the person
  • Profile pages like a social network to share information about themselves
  • Allows requesters to share advertisements of tasks and brands as well as provide information regarding their tasks
  • Workers can use it much like a resume or CV

Design Axes For Empathy


Studying these ideas led to the discovery of two axes that can be used to chart the ideas: the physical nature of communication, and the physical nature of the rewards for communication. The ideas all commonly deal with rewarding the individuals that partake in them, be that materially or intrinsically. For instance, Crowd Beers straddles the line of intrinsic/material rewards because it not only provides talks that share insight, but also provides the material rewards of drinks and beer. Thus, we charted the ideas and found that there was an absence of ideas in the area that was dedicated to promoting physical communication and materialistic rewards. However, an idea in such a category might not truly fit under the theme of "Empathy."

Empathy Idea: Workathons

Based on the chart of the ideas discussed within the theme of Empathy, we decided upon the idea of system-sponsored meetings for workers and requesters where the goal is to make as much money as possible within 24 hours. The meetings, or "Workathons" could take place in a physical location where the workers and requesters gather, or simply take place online within the system. There would be rewards for top performers, on top of the money that was already made. The Workathons could either be sponsored by specific requesters and feature only their tasks, or be run by a group of requesters who sponsor it. The incentive for the requesters being that they will be guaranteed to have their tasks completed quickly, and they can promote a good image of their brand in the eyes of the workers that participate.


The primary commonality found underneath the "Transparency" theme is the focus on set wages these ideas would primarily benefit workers and they also question the plausibility of being able to set these higher wages. The implementation of these dark horse ideas would attempt to normalize crowdsourcing and bring it closer to what you would see in real world employment. The last idea; however, strays from the pack hoping to help both requesters and workers by exposing tasks and rewarding workers who immediately hop on board.

Qualified Requestors

In response to the ideas presented in the transparency I again propose the idea of a modified Master's equivalent for requestors. This will be based on meeting certain criteria we (the platform) deem fair and acceptable. A minimum pay rate and understandable tasks are required to receive this qualification. Users will be able to flag the requestors they believe fit this role, a certain discrepancy between positive and negative flags will result in being qualified or not qualified. This idea addresses the minimum wage implementation, but doesn’t limit our platform from the possible use of crowdsourcing work outside of monetary gain and simply being an mTurk competitor. There’s the plausibility that a researcher or some humanitarian effort could be in need of a large workforce with an idea that could generate interest aside from payment and if they’re incapable of paying a minimum wage they should not be barred from our platform. Think about Galaxyzoo and the task it is accomplishing using crowdsourcing.

Peer Review

To answer the question of transparency in regards to quality of work, I propose a peer-review system on each batch of HITs. You do a HIT, our platform follows up with briefly presenting another user’s work that you check off a few generalized questions of. This adds another performance indicator that could further benefit workers and requestors aside from mTurk’s primary use of rejection percentage.