Welcome to your Turkopticon Newsletter
We have had a busy year so far and with your help, we can carry on trying to make turking better for us all.
To leave reviews please visit our homepage turkopticon.net.
Have you been affected by a mass rejection? We’d love to hear your story. Please contact us.
See the bottom of the newsletter for how you can submit short articles.
Our Next Open Forum
If you have thoughts on Turkopticon’s mass rejection campaign or any other issues facing turkers, we would like to invite you to our open community forum on Thursday, October 6th. Turkers can stop by between the hours of 1-3 pm EST. As always, we will try to answer questions about the platform itself, turker tools and forums, how to get started on AMT, and more. Please fill out the registration form at the link below and we will provide the Zoom link. Camera use is optional. Feel free to come for 2 minutes or the full 2 hours. We look forward to chatting with you all next week!
Signup at https://turkopticon.net/open-
If you want to learn more or have questions, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Amazon, We Have a Problem
If you had not heard of AI Insights, you likely have now. In case you’ve been away for a bit, AI Insights is a newer requester that popped onto the platform about five to six weeks ago during the midst of the “slow time.” Summertime, while beloved by most people in the northern hemisphere, also means less work as universities run slimmed-down semesters and graduate students take a much-needed break.
When AI Insights showed up with a batch of HITs numbering greater than 70,000 and a 99% approval rating, workers jumped at the chance to do work on something other than surveys. The tasks were easy enough, just a click or two. This was the kind of batch that was great for newer workers to use to raise their approval rating as well. The “new batch excitement” was short-lived, however. Soon, workers began to notice all of their submissions had been rejected by the requester.
It was not long before lengthy conversations showed up on Turker forums, Reddit, and worker-run groups on social media. Turkers had emailed AI Insights asking why tasks were rejected, to find out if the rejections could be overturned, and some explained what this mass rejection meant for their approval rating. Every email was met with silence. Turkers then turned to Amazon.
It makes sense to contact Amazon. If a person looks at other marketplaces, there is recourse for poor behavior. Another popular crowdsourcing platform has an easy-to-locate informational section where workers can go to help resolve problems. Under the heading “I Don’t Believe My Rejection Was Fair,” workers can read that after a requester has been noncommunicative for a week or has not helped to resolve the issue, workers are encouraged to send a message to the platform to receive help. The platform lists what things may help them decide the next steps, such as screenshots, and they provide a contact button to easily begin the message. It stands to reason that Amazon would surely step in and help the countless workers who received a mass rejection from a requester whom they approved to be listing work on their platform, right?
You read that correctly. The time period for reversal of rejections has come and gone without any help from AMT. They received emails from frustrated workers, some of whom cannot find much work on the platform now because of the damage done to their approval rating by this scam. Some workers were given the typical Amazon response of “we don’t get involved in disputes between workers and requesters” while some workers did not receive a response at all. More than a few workers reached out to Turkopticon for help. We contacted Amazon about this issue. They DO know about it. They DID approve this requester to work on the platform. After this batch, they STILL allowed the requester to be on the platform as several workers picked up HITs, different from the large batch, within the last couple of weeks.
This doesn’t just hurt workers. When workers are being overly cautious, honest requesters have their work completed more slowly. Workers will do only a couple of HITs and wait until they approve or reject them before deciding to do more. This directly affects the product that Amazon offers, which is a quick turnaround on tasks from quality workers. So what now?
The advice we can offer isn’t anything groundbreaking. Always check a requester’s approval rating but take it with a grain of salt. Read the reviews on turkopticon.net or on Turkerview. Sadly even the most cautious worker can be affected by mass rejections and AI Insights just proved that. The system currently in place doesn’t work. Perhaps it is time for AMT to take another look at the petition delivered to them that so many of you signed. It is also time for the good requesters to demand change.
The question remains – if stepping in and reversing these rejections helps both workers and requesters, why isn’t Amazon doing anything?
Turkopticon is looking for suggestions!
Do you have suggestions for how to make Turkopticon better and would like to share them with us?
Please email email@example.com and someone will be in contact to further hear about your suggestions and see how we all can work together to make Turk better for all of us.
Even if you think your ideas are ones we should know please don’t be afraid to send them our way because we listen to all suggestions and want everyone to be heard!