Oneness of requester and worker

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In a system such as this, there could exist a person who has a worker account, but can also post tasks as a requester and vice versa. Usually, in crowdsourcing systems, there is a difference between a worker and a requester, and that difference is enforced pretty strictly. In this particular system, even though there is a difference, the roles that a worker and a requester play can be easily interchanged.

Motivation

In most of the systems that we have explored in the two weeks of doing this project, most of them are not very friendly to newcomers. They have to depend a lot on luck to be able to build their own reputation on the system. If they get accepted by requesters who are generous enough to accept them despite the fact that they are nothing more than novices, then they are lucky and they will be able to get work. However, if the workers are unable to locate generous requesters - as is the case majority of the time - then that leads to negative consequences for the workers. It could cause them to lose motivation, resulting in an inability to rise through no fault of theirs, but because of the fact that the system is flawed.

A potential solution

In order to address the problem of newcomers rising through the ranks in order to compete with the veteran crowd-workers, we propose a system that decreases the difference between the requester and the worker. A platform like Amazon Mechanical Turk requires there to be a separate account for both the requesters and the workers, both of which they approve separately. However, in this system, the user merely needs to have one common account, and through that account, that particular user can both do the tasks posted by others, and post a task himself and complete the task he posted. In the latter case, the user does not gain any monetary profit. However, since he is working both as a requester and a worker, he gains reputation points for being a requester as well as being a worker. These reputation points can later translate into monetary earnings, thus benefitting the user in the long term.

Consequences of such a system

If one were to implement such a system where the workers can play the role of the requesters, then it would be possible for someone who usually spends his time on the site as a worker to post a task and do it himself, and thus potentially gain reputation points both as a worker and as a requester, boosting his reputation. Such a system would be extremely useful for the people who are new to the world of crowdsourcing. They could simply assign themselves work over and over again, and once their reputation is high enough, they could compete with the veteran crowd-workers on the system, leading to a more level field as opposed to the other existing places where most of the times, the veterans have a clear advantage over the newcomers.

One of the features of the system that we are designing is the incorporation of streaks. If a worker contributes on successive days, those contributions add to his ongoing daily streak. For a system where the worker is working on a project that he has assigned himself, the idea of a streak can fit in very well, because it goes well with a model in which a requester (or a worker) works on self-assigned projects. The streaks would be exclusive for self-assigned projects. Thus, the length of a worker streak would indicate the amount of initiative taken by a user. This would be useful for requesters in choosing the workers fit for their project - a worker with a 35 day streak in self - assigned project clearly displays more initiative than someone who has a 0-day streak to his name. As a result, the former is likely to be a better worker in general than the latter. Since streaks are exclusive to self-assigned projects, it makes sense for the workers to give themselves work and rise up the metaphorical crowd-source ladder. This adds to the reliability of the system and dispels some of the trust issues that may have been caused in the absence of such a system.

Why this is a dark horse idea

In the world of crowdsourcing, people are generally accustomed to the fact that requesters and workers are fundamentally different groups of people. This assumption could be very difficult to surmount, as we are proposing a change in the way crowd-workers are perceived. A system like this could mean that a worker for one task could have a bunch of people working on another task when he is fulfilling his role as a requester on some other task. In this way, a system like this could also help the workers gain the respect of the requesters. Lastly, a system like this ensures that the requesters do not bully or scam the workers into doing something like making them work and then rejecting their work for no apparent reason, because they know that the person they are bullying is also a part of the requester clique.