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Crowdsourcing: A Definition

  • I like to use two definitions for crowdsourcing:

    The White Paper Version: Crowdsourcing is the act of taking a job traditionally performed by a designated agent (usually an employee) and outsourcing it to an undefined, generally large group of people in the form of an open call.

    The Soundbyte Version: The application of Open Source principles to fields outside of software.

The Rise of Crowdsourcing

  • Read the original article about crowdsourcing, published in the June, 2006 issue of Wired Magazine.
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November 03, 2006

Comments

Alan

What with Wuffie and all that social capitol implies, the next step one might imagine, would be computers moving into realms that anticipate Intelligence. And you are right. Only humans, who appear to have a very limited social/historical memory, would fall, as in Eden, for the obvious when offering to become “click-slaves.” Even the dumbest of what might be offered by a future generation of whatever it is that will store and process information would even consider such a relationship! Whilst drones slave on and the few who can even imagine a future that sparkles, there are always going to be the those Mephistophelestic forces, that will endlessly enslave, especially those who are too greedy, destined to be rich, enslaved by their own wealth and a desire for material possessions with little interest in the ethical questions that arise out of a phenomena like crowdsourcing! Alan.

tien

I was surprised to see your comment in CSM the other day; "depressing" is a little strong, no? When I lived in Shanghai, I visited a factory where hundreds of young women (same haircut, same clothes, same grim expressions) sat in perfect rows inches away from each other, assembling tiny circuit boards under buzzing fluorescent lights. 10 hour shifts, 6 days a week. Now THAT's depressing.

Sitting at home, doing surveys for (a little) cash while watching TV? Hardly :)

Jeff Howe

I'm going to try to have my cake and eat it too.
@Alan, I thought that was terribly well put, and strikes right at the heart of what worries me about not just what's happening on Mechanical Turk (to be clear, I don't fault MT itself, which I do think is rather brilliant, just the way in which it's being used) but in other crowdsourcing plays that have begun to emerge and seem to be attempting a piecemeal-work model. Now, that said:
@Tien. Who can possibly deny the truth of your statement, and I echoed it recently in a discussion about crowdsourcing at horsepigcow.com. To clarify, I find "piecemeal crowdsourcing" (my term for MT-style menial CS labor) depressing in the context of all the exciting ways one could take advantage of the new form of production. It just seems the least imaginative use. But it pales against not just Chinese sweatshops but true iniquities of all kinds. Thanks for comments!

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Does it cost money to publish a HIT on Mechanical Turk?
I am wanting to post a HIT on Mechanical Turk, but I don't know if I have to pay Amazon any money for this service. Ant help would be much appreciated. The site says you have to prepay your account for those who accept your HITs, but I am already aware of that concept. Thank you for your help.

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I participate in mechanical turk both as a requester and a worker. You do have to pay amazon a fee to publish a hit but it's not very much. The hit I published I was paying 2 cent to every person who accepted my HIT and I wanted three hundred people to be able to do my HIT so that was 6 dollars I had to prepay for that part and an additional $1.50 to publish my HIT. All together I only had to prepay $7.50 That wasn't too much at all.

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I do think is rather brilliant, just the way in which it's being used) but in other crowdsourcing plays that have begun to emerge and seem to be attempting a piecemeal-work model. Now, that said:
@Tien. Who can possibly deny the truth of your statement, and I echoed it recently in a discussion about crowdsourcing at horsepigcow.com

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"But unlike Yahoo, Amazon isn't offering much in the way of whuffie. I mean, does anyone really want to be an expert in filling out marketing research surveys? Yech. As far as hobbies go, Mechanical Turk makes rolling pennies sound like a heart-pounding thrillride." Love this.

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Thanks for this post! I am wanting to post a HIT on Mechanical Turk, but I don't know if I have to pay Amazon any money for this service. Ant help would be much appreciated. The site says you have to prepay your account for those who accept your HITs, but I am already aware of that concept. Thank you for your help.

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I searched for this theme! I was surprised to see your comment in CSM the other day; "depressing" is a little strong, no? When I lived in Shanghai, I visited a factory where hundreds of young women (same haircut, same clothes, same grim expressions) sat in perfect rows inches away from each other, assembling tiny circuit boards under buzzing fluorescent lights. 10 hour shifts, 6 days a week. Now THAT's depressing.

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