WinterMilestone 4 yashovardhan Open Governance

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Introduction

My suggestion for an Open Governance System will follow a Systems approach, i.e, a software solution or a platform, will be suggested for solving the problem of governance of crowdsourcing platforms, specifically Daemo in this case.

The Problem Being Solved

The basic problem with any crowdsourcing platform that exists today, is the clash of opinions between workers and requesters, on a variety of issues such as compensation, reliability, quality of work, rejection of work etc.

The fundamental problem behind these issues, which is abundantly clear to me, is the fact that the community is run by the workers and requesters, whereas the rules and regulations are laid down by the people who own the platform, and not those who actively contribute to it. This leads to clear gap in the expectations of the community from the platform, and the actual policies that are implemented on it.

The concept of Open Governance would help bridge several of these issues, and possibly help the community run in a smoother and more efficient manner. Specifically, the Open Governance System would try and tackle the issues of :

  • Lack of trust between Workers and Requesters
  • Skewed power balance in favour of Requesters
  • Fair compensation for work

Related Work

In this paper, the author tries to examine the governance mechanisms implemented in three different crowdsourcing initiatives and their impact on the outcome of the initiative. The end result of her findings indicated that governance mechanisms were indeed conducive of better functioning of the platform as a whole. While the author's findings prove that governance systems like the one we're trying to build, do indeed work and improve the quality of the platform, the author does not suggest any mechanisms which could be used for this purpose.

This Introduction to Open Governance aims to be an extension of the author's work, by creating an Open Governance System that would lead to the kind of positive impact that the author talks about in her findings.

What's the High-Level Insight?

The basic idea is to create representative groups of various members of the community, that have some actual power to influence change on the Daemo platform. This concept is referred to as "Guilds" in most of the Stanford Crowd Researchers Collective, but I will refrain from using the term because the term "guild" bring with itself a lot historical baggage, which in my opinion is unnecessary for the kind of system we're trying to create today.

These groups would be an abstraction of the collective voices and opinions of the users of the platform (be it Workers or Requesters). This abstraction is very beneficial since :

  • Most decisions can be made in a more timely owing to the lessening in the number of parties involved.
  • They can focus on the bigger picture, instead of being bogged down with the individualistic details of a policy.
  • Collaboration with other groups becomes significantly easier (e.g.. Negotiations between Workers and Requesters for fair compensation. Representative groups from both sides, each containing a limited number of people, would find it much easier to find common ground and agree on some fundamentals, as compared to entire communities of workers and requesters).
  • Arbitration in case of conflict becomes possible within the community. Resolving issues will also be hassle free since a decision is guaranteed,and is actually enforceable.

Additionally, it is worthwhile to point out that such a system is not limited to Daemo. Daemo may certainly hold the edge by becoming the first platform to implement such a system, but other platforms could very well incorporate the properties of this system into their existing platform instances.

What's the System?

The Open Governance System would essentially compromise of creating Representative Groups of users, each with a broad focus that it should be concentrate on.

An example could be groups such as :

  • Worker Group : Responsible for catering to the needs of the workers in the community. The representatives of the group would be directly elected by the workers themselves, and hence the representatives would be directly responsible for the welfare of the people that elected them. They would focus on getting better compensation for workers, more representation in the community etc.
  • Requester Group : A group that would cater to the needs of the Requesters. It would try and ensure that requesters do not face any problems while using the Daemo platform, such as finding good workers, getting wilily results etc. Representatives for this group would also be directly elected by the requesters in the community.
  • Arbitration Group : A group of indirectly elected individuals from both Worker and Requester communities. Their primary goal would be to make decisions in cases where the opinions of the Worker Group and the Requester Group are clashing. This group's members would be elected by the members of the Worker Group and the Requester Group, making them indirectly responsible for the community they represent.

With a simple 3-Group system like the one mentioned above, massive problems like "Lack of trust", "Skewed power balance" and "Fair compensation" would be solved (or at least be in the process to be solved) within a remarkably short period of time. With the advent of more groups, with more detailed focus areas, all kinds of problems could be solved and possibly, prevented from happening in the first place.

This would be one of the most revolutionary breakthroughs in the crowdsourcing community, since community related issues could be discussed and resolved within the community, that too in a given span of time. What this means is that, both Workers and Requesters would have to worry less about their problems, and could instead devote that time to working in a constructive manner on the platform and increase their productivity.

Contributors

@yashovardhan : Yashovardhan Sharma