Milestone 6 sanjosespartans

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This is the template for Milestone 6 Research Proposal. If your team did Milestone 6 Code Infrastructure, see Milestone 6 Code Infrastructure Template

You will propose your platform in the form of an introduction to a mock research paper. Essentially, imagine you have built your system, incorporating in all the ideas that you wanted to have in it, have run your user studies and evaluations, and everything has gone as planned. How do you convince other researchers that you have built a platform that is novel and that it is more effective at addressing problems than any existing ideas that have been attempted in the past?

An introduction of a research paper summarizes the main contributions of the research. It is generally roughly 1 page (roughly 1000 words), and consists of the following components:

Power to the workers: Building a worker-centric job platform

Research papers should have titles which summarize, in one line, the primary research contribution (see below).


This research proposal will focus on workers’ power and needs. A worker that is compensated and treated fairly is a happy, fulfilled worker. A fulfilled and motivated worker, in turn, performs better. This situation invariably leads to improved worker performance and better client satisfaction. This paper attempts to realize a job platform that is worker-centric: meritocratic and democratic, rather than autocratic. This would become a jobs platform that upholds impartiality, respect, and charity; a platform innumerable global workers and clients would readily associate with pride, enthusiasm, and optimism.

Each of the following sections should be one to two paragraphs each. Paper introductions are brief and impactfull.


What is the problem that you are solving, and why is it important?

  • Think about the needs we synthesized from Milestone 2 - ie, trust and power - when thinking about which problems you want to solve.
  • This should be a specific problem! Not just “crowdsourcing”. More like how trust and power are broken.

Workers have been neglected by online job platforms on many fronts for many years. Workers should be able to wield power, largely as a respected, collective voice in the platform they are working on. Workers’ feedback should be met by prompt and/or positive response from the platform, thereby helping create an overall better platform. Workers should find ease in finding relevant tasks, and any strong work performance should receive appropriate recognition from the platform and clients. In addition, workers have an immediate need to be compensated fairly, treated respectfully, and heard constantly. We believe workers’ needs and power are valued highly by workers across platforms. Currently, there is a dearth of genuine attention to these fronts. The issues facing workers need to be addressed in order to create the ultimate job platform: a platform that is efficient and impartial to workers and clients alike.

Related Work

What are the existing attempts to solve this problem that have been attempted in prior research papers and real-world systems? Why are their solutions unsatisfactory?

  • You may want to search around Google Scholar to find existing work that is related to the ideas your system proposes.

Crowdsourcing platform giants like Amazon Mechanical Turk (AMT), oDesk, and Elance (recently merged with oDesk) have been unable to address many worker-related issues. Workers encounter several pressing issues: workers are scammed or never paid for approved work; workers don’t get treated fairly (mainly in terms of wages and communication/respect); workers don’t have efficient and regular access to relevant tasks; workers’ complaints and feedback about platform-related issues are often disregarded or outright neglected.


This section should lay out this the foundational idea(s). These big ideas are the things that you'll be known for, and what other platforms would want to replicate. Explain: Why/how are they novel and better than anything that has been attempted in the past?

Clients want to pay for efficiency and results. Workers want fairness and respect, a good stream of jobs to work on, and client satisfaction. These two fronts can be addressed harmoniously and simultaneously by keeping workers happy: addressing workers’ needs and requirement for a collective voice (power). A worker-centric platform would fulfill these and disrupt the job marketplace, whether online or offline.


The insight above should explain the high level idea (e.g., "All workers are paid in chocolate"). Here, you explain how it works in specifics. (e.g., "We built a crowdsourcing platform called Chococrowd that mails dark chocolate candies to workers at the conclusion of each month. Requesters choose the quality of the dark chocolate based on the quality of the work.")

Addressing the two foundational ideas (needs and power) involves approaches that are receptive to both needs. In other words, approaches for one need may likely address (or be related to) the other need as well.

1. Worker-task matching system: Workers need to find suitable tasks. An automated system will facilitate worker-task matching. The current worker possesses a diversity of skills, hence the system will be liberal (unlike some current platforms) in terms of number of skills and categories that workers can choose to participate in. Workers will define these skills and skill categories and based on this selection, the automated system will provide a RSS feed-like list of relevant tasks. This liberal approach will help improve the number of opportunities available for workers. This auto-matching system will serve as one of a few possible tools in task finding (the other is a flexible Search tool). Over time, this system will learn to offer better-suited tasks to each worker.

2. Task clarity to help find suitable tasks more efficiently: All tasks will undergo a review system where a group of qualified workers reviews a client’s task details (including price and instructions). Qualified workers are those that have relevant skills. (see Enrichers below)

3. Information dissemination for better and fair task pricing: Workers would be supplied with a general pricelist for a category, skill, or task they work on. We would also consider setting a minimum price floor for certain fixed price or hourly tasks, with the intention of creating a fair wage environment for everyone and reducing instances of exploitation of workers. Clients already make a substantial amount of savings by utilizing job platforms and tapping global workers; they should be prohibited from achieving cost efficiency to the detriment of workers.

4. Roll call and education: The platform will have a regularly updated list of top workers and top clients. This list would be publicly viewable, and give workers ideas about good worker and client profiles.

5. Bigger picture: Workers would be able to rate clients separately for unsuccessful/incomplete tasks. This public rating would provide a different yet more accurate picture of the client profile, reducing the chances of workers getting scammed or wasting time with unresponsive/inconsistent clients. In turn, clients would be more attentive and proactive, and scammers would think twice in posting fake tasks to the platform. This in turn helps maintain a cleaner and leaner platform.

6. Disciplinary actions: Punish clients and workers that act to the detriment of platform’s policies and goals. For example, charge clients who don't hire or hire but don’t pay, or treat workers badly. The platform could also impose disciplinary actions (monetary or otherwise) to freelancers who apply for jobs beyond their skillset or perform poorly on their tasks. This is another approach that improves the quantity and quality of tasks posted (and worker applications) and the overall quality of the platform environment.

7. Workers earn more: Rather than charging workers more (like paying for higher platform fees etc), the platform can derive income from other means (advertisements, etc) and this would help pay for the platform’s expenses.

8. Help find more work: Create a favorite client list w/c each freelancer can view privately. An alert feature informs the worker whenever a favorite client opens a new task or task is offered.

9. Help find more work: If a client makes a hire, auto-ask him (via a pop-up) if he/she still wants to hire another worker, if not he/she should take action, either by closing the job post, or leaving the job post open (within a set timeframe of 1-2 days or so) or the system will auto-close the job post after a set timeframe. This reduces waste of time on the part of workers who are looking for a job or waiting for the client’s response. Workers may be auto-alerted accordingly so they can take appropriate actions (wait for client’s response, withdraw application, and/or apply for another task).

10. Help provide more job opportunities to more people: Find a way for the platform to accept persons with disabilities (PWDs). Give incentives to deaf-mute/PWD workers and their clients. For instance, the platform may charge PWD workers less, and PWD-supportive clients get a special badge ("Proud PWD supporter")

11. Consistency and clarity: Task prices must be in $, or foreigners can use an auto-conversion tool for other currencies.

12. Interaction: Workers are encouraged to post and express their ideas on the platform’s forum and blog. The forum (and to a lesser extent, the platform’s blog) will serve as an avenue where workers, clients, and the platform company can interact and discuss issues, suggestions and platform improvements. The platform will strive to address all issues and suggestions, upholding the worker-centric policy to the best of its abilities.

13. Fair mediation: workers will undergo a fair and impartial mediation process whenever they encounter problems with clients. A body of workers (called Enrichers, see below) will help mediate. Workers and clients involved will be anonymous so Enrichers can stay impartial and critical.

14. To highlight our intent for a better and worker-centric platform and address workers’ power and needs, we also offer platform enrichment features.

A. A worker can help build a better platform by becoming a Platform Enricher. An Enricher is a highly skilled and impartial platform worker (best of the best) who voluntarily takes a big step further in upholding a worker-centric platform that seeks client satisfaction. An Enricher is a facilitator and contributor. An Enricher helps in task clarity (task details, design, and pricing), addresses worker concerns (forum and chat support; flagging scammers and spammers; and task mediation, among others), and even check worker submissions. An Enricher helps in task clarity (task details, design, and pricing), addresses worker concerns (forum and chat support; flagging scammers and spammers; among others), or even check workers’ submissions (task mediation). An Enricher will receive a variety of benefits: learning more about various tasks related to their skills, getting a chance to work on the task themselves, access to advanced or better-paying tasks, and getting points that accumulate in favor of a Performance Badge.

B. A Performance Badge (PB) will motivate workers toward excellence, and in turn, client satisfaction. A PB is made up of an umbrella of features comprising public and private feedback from clients, task-specific performance ratings (star ratings). A PB will comprise different levels that are action and metric based (performance, among other metrics), and offer benefits to high-performing workers (discounts, etc.). Being an Enricher is one of several criteria in receiving a PB.


Once the platform you propose has been implemented, how will you determine whether your system actually solves the problem you wanted to solve? What are the results you hope you can realistically achieve? Why do these results show that you have solved the problem?

To evaluate the success of our platform, we expect to see a number of things during the first two to five years. We expect to see a significant improvement in worker and client profiles; that is, workers get more work and get paid better, while clients get their tasks done with improved efficiency (price and/or performance). We envisage an influx of workers and clients to our platform (word of mouth marketing). We also expect an antithetical response to that seen in current platforms: numerous accolades and decreasing/reduced number of criticisms within the platform’s communication channels (forum and chat support) and across other avenues (third-party forums, blogs, review sites, etc.). Finally, we visualize future job platforms, online and offline, to replicate our platforms’ rich set of features and policies, and build upon them to achieve greater success.


The reference section is where you cite prior work that you build upon. If you are aware of existing related research papers, list them here. We also encourage you to borrow ideas from the past submissions (see the meteor links above). Please list the links of the ideas you used to create this proposal (there's no restriction in terms of number of ideas or whether its yours or others'). You can use the following template:

  • [Foundation Idea] Link...
  • [Feature Idea] Link...
  • [Foundation Idea] on, and so forth...

There are no specific references but we are extremely certain that similar ideas have been suggested and implemented–separately or diffusely–throughout the recent months and years.