The Expertise Involved in Deciding which HITs are Worth Doing on Amazon Mechanical Turk

Crowdworkers depend on Amazon Mechanical Turk (AMT) as an important source of income and it is left to workers to determine which tasks on AMT are fair and worth completing. While there are existing tools that assist workers in making these decisions, workers still spend significant amounts of time finding fair labor. Difficulties in this process may be a contributing factor in the imbalance between the median hourly earnings ($2.00/hour) and what the average requester pays ($11.00/hour). In this paper, we study how novices and experts select what tasks are worth doing. We argue that differences between the two populations likely lead to the wage imbalances. For this purpose, we first look at workers' comments in TurkOpticon (a tool where workers share their experience with requesters on AMT). We use this study to start to unravel what fair labor means for workers. In particular, we identify the characteristics of labor that workers consider is of "good quality'' and labor that is of "poor quality'' (e.g., work that pays too little.) Armed with this knowledge, we then conduct an experiment to study how experts and novices rate tasks that are of both good and poor quality. Through our research we uncover that experts and novices both treat good quality labor in the same way. However, there are significant differences in how experts and novices rate poor quality labor, and whether they believe the poor quality labor is worth doing. This points to several future directions, including machine learning models that support workers in detecting poor quality labor, and paths for educating novice workers on how to make better labor decisions on AMT.
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