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Keeping an eye on the employers

Thu Jan 22 2009 16:41 PST

lilly (admin)

Six and I (Lilly) made Turkopticon because we're a little bothered by how Amazon gets to advertise an "On Demand Workforce" but the workers get no minimum wage and little or difficult access to protection from shady employers. The employers are usually pretty excited because they get good work for very, very little cost. We can't solve the overall problem of getting better wages and protections for workers all in one shot, but we can make Turkopticon to balance the power just a little bit.

We'll use this blog to keep you up to date on changes to the extension and what we're thinking about directions the tool might take. We welcome your feedback, comments, and questions.

If you're interested in guest posting something that has been on your mind, drop us a comment and let us know.

Re: Keeping an eye on the employers

Sun Jan 25 2009 11:26 PST


I love the idea and have submitted on ones I have done. Thank you for this great idea!

I was wondering if you could make the list:

1) Searchable - as I imagine the database will grow quite large and it would be easier if I could look up a particular requestor rather then look through all the names. I also noticed not all reports for the same requestor even when ID matched were in same report, and a search capability would make it possible that I see all listings on a requestor. I think it had to do with the way the requestor used capitals or not.

2) that it could be made to fall in an order that is best to worst requestors. So when I log in to see the requestor reviews. The best are at the top, and the worst at the bottom. Maybe it could be made to work in both directions, like in a web email, you click on the link and it changes the order around. Presently, they don't seem to have any particular order.

Thanks again. And thanks for giving consideration to my ideas.

Re: Keeping an eye on the employers

Mon Jan 26 2009 11:08 PST

lilly (admin)

Laura -

These are great ideas. Thanks! I need to talk to Six, but I bet these are both things we will add to our next set of improvements.


Re: Keeping an eye on the employers

Wed Feb 04 2009 22:31 PST

six (admin)

Hi Laura!

[1] Thanks so much for the feedback, and my apologies for the lengthy delay.

[2] I have implemented your second suggestion, with little red triangle link things in each column header on the 'requester reviews' page (turkopticon.differenceengines.com/requesters). See what you think; let me know if this is what you had in mind.

[3] I'm going to punt on search for now (things are a little crazy this week). My guess is that the alphabetical sort-by functionality (click either of the red arrows next to the "Requester Name" header) combined with your browser's search-on-page (Ctrl+F on Windows, Cmd+F on Mac; you can also hit "/" and start typing in newer versions of Firefox) should address the problem you noticed with differently-identified requesters. If it doesn't, feel free to let us know and I will try to get search set up in the next week or two. You're definitely right that in the long run we're going to want it as the database grows and it becomes impractical (and slow) to list *all* of the requesters on one page.

Thanks again!


Re: Keeping an eye on the employers

Sat Jul 25 2009 02:49 PDT


There are worse and I mean much worse sites to try to earn a penny from then mturk. Has any one heard of shorttask? DOH....!!!! {mumbling...] You have to slave at the grind stone and you don't even see a penny of your labor till you supposedly rack up $50.00 in work paid.I suggest selling bone marrow you self extract before trying that site.

Re: Keeping an eye on the employers

Sun Feb 07 2010 19:10 PST


I might be skinned alive for this but...

As much as I think the workers have the obvious short end of the stick in this deal, it might be worth posting at least one blog post from some of the (legitimate) requester point of view. For me, 1 out of every 19 submitted HITs is actually of the quality I need. Most of those are people looking for quick money who try to cheat. Many skip steps in the work, and thus don't give the finished data that they need to deliver. These are all common tasks that make the average wages get lower, and the "Reject" button that much easier to click.

Again, the workers need MUCH more protection, but the blame can somewhat be thrown both ways.

In the end, Amazon needs to get kicked in arse for not doing something about the scammers who are taking over the system.

Re: Keeping an eye on the employers

Tue Sep 21 2010 14:34 PDT


All I know is Amazon Mechanical Turk has became a joke I found this a few years ago and actually made about 500 a month then all of a sudden out of the blue after a 2 year run got suspended. I have been trying to turk under different names and locating using family members name and address and in the last 6 months I have got 7 accounts suspended with no reason explained to me the answer I got was very shady and short with no in depth reason. I just want to say also the last few accounts I have only done images that you moderate to see if there was more issues at hand. I believe it goes deeper and there is a shady person in the Amazon turk team that is screwing people this needs to be looked at more closly.

Re: Keeping an eye on the employers

Fri Nov 26 2010 19:45 PST

Humpty Dumpty

rety makes a very good point. perhaps the requestors should have a way of rating the Turkers.

It would be great if one could push Amazon into dealing with the unfair practices of some of the requestors. I've complained and been told that it's between me and the requestor. Perhaps there might be a way to embarrass Bezos into fixing these problems.

Re: Keeping an eye on the employers

Sun Feb 05 2012 01:40 PST


I just found out about this website from a blog someone written, word needs to go out because its the best thing out there for mturk.

Re: Keeping an eye on the employers

Sun Mar 31 2013 05:58 PDT


hello all,

Love this Mechanical Turk to earn extra cash as a transcriptionist. I started here about two weeks ago and my first requests for quals ran into some serious problems due to my ignorance of the MT website to be sure. However, In the meantime I have tried and tried to get a response from the requester where I had made some errors and I have yet to receive a response from them. The requester I am talking about is Speechink. Does anyone else know how to contact them and get an answer? I definitely want to work with this requester but it seems as if my e-mails disappear into thin air.
any suggestions would be very helpful indeed.
Happy Easter all

Re: Keeping an eye on the employers

Fri Dec 13 2013 21:00 PST


I love wine, it makes me happy all the time. Even though beer makes me cheer, it's wine that makes everything devine.

This survey rocked!