Lecture 3 Slide Deck

This week we're going to focus on what it is like to be a participant in online studies. First, we're going to do a bit of work online ourselves to get a sense of the type of tasks people have available and how your experiment might compare. Second, we will talk about the communities that online workers have developed to exchange information about tasks and people requesting work. Finally, we'll dive into the ethics of online experientation including labor rates, issues of fairness, and possible legal issues involved in work-for-hire.

Video 3.1

Wherein your humble professor attempts to increase his salary by doing online experiments for one hour. He also tries out worker tools that give information on requesters. He offers his first proverb of online data collection: "pay generously, have good quality/instruction checks, and disappear quickly"

Video 3.2

How to fork and clone a project on github.

Video 3.3

Basic introduction to Javascript in the browser and the built-in tools.


  1. Spend 30 minutes-1 hour on Mechanical Turk as a worker trying out various tasks. Please note your thoughs and experiences and share them in class next time.
  2. Please try to fork and clone a copy of my demo project as explained in video 3.2.
  3. Play around with the built-in browser development tools (see video 3.3).
  4. Be ready to discuss the content of the videos and the readings below for class

Assigned Readings

Fort, K., Adda, G., Cohen, K.B. (2011). Amazon Mechanical Turk: Gold Mine or Coal Mine? Computational Linguistics. 37(2)
Martin, D., Hanrahan, B.V., O'Neil, J. and Gupta, N. (2014). Being a Turker CSCW 2014 Feb. 15-19, 2014, Baltimore, Maryland. [movie version]
Marvit, M.Z. (2014). How crowdworkers become the ghosts in the digital machine. The Nation

Additional References and Links

Turkopticon - a browser plugin that works with the AMT Hit page to give you rating on requesters
Turker Nation - another popular forum for Amazon Mechanical Turk workers. This one has special features that are only available if you actively contribute to the site including tips on how to maximize revenue.
Turkalert - A service that emails you when your favorite requester posts HITs
mturkgrind - a popular forum for Amazon Mechanical Turk workers
Amazon's Mechanical Turk worker FAQ - Answers to "How do I complete a HIT?", etc...
mturk Tracker - a website that crawls AMT and monitors activity/rewards/etc...