WinterMilestone 1 Pilani

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The Milestone 1 WikiPage for Team Pilani

Experience the life of a Worker on Mechanical Turk

We worked on the MTurk Sandbox, and tried out various HIT's earning around $0.8 within 15-20 minutes of optimized "HIT scheduling"

Good Features

1. Option for sorting the HIT's according to worker's preference.

2. Transparent Management of accounts. 3. Qualification Level of a worker is articulately defined, so as to ensure high quality for requesters.

Not-so-good Features

1. Not a very intuitive website layout, outdated UI/UX standards

2. All tasks are not regularly monitored, some of our work is still pending with the requester.

3. Apparent disconnect between Amazon and the Requester

Bad Features

1. No Recommendation Engine to engage the worker on a better level.

2. Certain pay-rates were astonishingly low for the quality of work demanded.

3. A lot of power lies within the hands of the requester.

Experience the life of a Requester on Mechanical Turk

  • We tried to post a task on the Mechanical Turk sandbox which required me to upload a pdf for cleaning but no such facility was provide by MTurk.
  • It seems that one has to give links for tasks involving multimedia.
  • Also while we trying to create the interface for the task, it looked like an 8th grade HTML exercise.
  • Mechanical Turk doesn't give enough freedom while designing the HITs. It already assumes that an hit will fall into one of the 10 categories defined by it.

Explore alternative crowd-labor markets

  • Other markets like Odesk are way more focused on people with expertise or atleast experience in some field.
  • This makes it very difficult for new workers to get their first job at these markets.



  • What do you like about the system / what are its strengths?

The best thing about this system is the freedom which the workers in choosing the time or place when they want to do their work. Mobile connectivity has improved drastically in India over the past few years and a mobile platform like this one can full advantage of the situation. Strength include a very low setup cost. One doesn't need to have a full fledged workstation, a simple mobile with a modest internet connection will do.

  • What do you think can be improved about the system?

If the system can be made offline ie. workers download their tasks everyday in the morning and solve it during the course of the day and after they return to their homes in the evening, upload their results. Such a system can be helpful as one won't need 27x7 connectivity of internet.


  • What do you like about the system / what are its strengths?

When I used various crowd markets working as a requester and a worker, I felt that trust was an important factor and that it could hinder the growth of such a market. Daemo has focused a lot on this and has come up with feedback systems to counter this.

Flash Teams

  • What do you like about the system / what are its strengths?

1. Flash Teams is very ambitious idea and it is a very nice way of organizing the development progress using a degree of modularity between teams.

2. The concept of DRI's to avoid diffusion of responsibility is ingenious.

3. The requester gets a high level meta view of the project without bothering the lower level details of the teams. This high degree of abstraction can very useful co-ordinate a workflow.

  • What do you think can be improved about the system?

1. Flash Teams has made an implicit assumption that different people are company neutral ie. they don't mind who they are working with, just like cogs in an engine. But human beings are not impersonal robotic entities. We have a sense of team spirit and a rapport which grows with time. Frequent influx and outflux of experts from the crowd can disrupt the flow of the team

2. Wage calculation can be a complex task if the teams are elastic ie. growing and shrinking.

3. If the workers are from different timezones then certain features of Flash Teams can suffer eg. pipelining. Also managing the team in general can be more difficult.

Milestone Contributors

@shubh24, @shivin9, @psdh.