login    register


Edited some 'undefined' requester names

Thu Aug 21 2014 21:50 UTC

six (admin)

I've edited the reviews where the requester name was 'undefined' and there were other reviews of that requester, so I could see what the requester name actually was.

Unfortunately there are a few single-review requesters with 'undefined' requester names. If anyone knows what the names of the requesters are, please comment here, email us, or post to the appropriate thread on TN.

A2RUY7E8YEXNRT [review]
A2AC3FE9LS9PYK [review]
A122MMTTIUJHCI [review]
A1EN0EWVI7XAPK [review]
A2B19E5ZIA2Y4Q [review]
A30ABHRB9SV [review]
A39NXEQV5BSIY8 [review]


Review IDs changed:

Report.find(166128).update_attributes(:amzn_requester_name => "Morgan Dixon")
Report.find(166064).update_attributes(:amzn_requester_name => "AZZY")
Report.find(165956).update_attributes(:amzn_requester_name => "AZZY")


Actually, some of these are a couple years old, so probably only the recent ones are from the recent weirdness.


Edited requester names of reviews with "<span class=\"requesterIdentity\">"

Thu Aug 21 2014 20:32 UTC

six (admin)

Because of the recent change to AMT, the old version of the TO add-on and user script led some people to post reviews with requester names like:

<span class=\"requesterIdentity\">Research Project</span>

I've now changed these.

For the record, the review IDs and exact changes made are below.
rids = [165945, 166070, 165918, 165851, 165866, 166272, 165879, 165973, 166056, 165943, 166061, 165897, 165954, 166138, 165882, 166081, 166050, 165888, 165896]
rr = rids.map{|i| Report.find(i)}
rr.each{|r| r.update_attributes(:amzn_requester_name => r.amzn_requester_name.split(">")[1].split("<")[0])}


Change log

Thu Aug 21 2014 19:20 UTC

six (admin)

We've had a couple requests for a 'change log' (thanks, Tribune!).

I think this is a good idea.

I'm going to start using this very neglected blog for this purpose.


Parentheses now ignored in display names

Fri Feb 15 2013 12:41 UTC

six (admin)

If you put parentheses — "(" or ")" — in your display name, they will now be ignored.

So if you set your display name to

boop (de) (doop)

it will be

boop de doop

This is to save confusion when non-moderators put "(moderator)" in their display name.

Now, when you see "(moderator)" or "(admin)" in somebody's display name, you know they are a moderator or admin.


Censoring some profanity

Fri Feb 15 2013 12:36 UTC

six (admin)

As you know if you've been around a while, one of the tasks of the moderators is to hide reviews with profanity.

We're lightening the load for them a little bit by automatically censoring some profanity.

You can see an example of this in action in the first comment on this review.

The text in the database is unedited. The words filetered are filtered on display only.


Duplicate Requester objects removed

Mon Feb 11 2013 21:35 UTC

six (admin)

We recently found some duplicate Requester objects in our database.

The following requesters had two entries:

A2YC4ECK3MFH4R Channel Intelligence
A3L7VSWJJOA1QL Alan Clifford
A1QSP86SFX46T4 Avondale Ventures
A2TK2OLLBSHJO8 Dan Gardner
A24WF0OHNU9XLN Word of Mouth
AW8LX7H3UHWRM cbresearchlab
A23TPH9Z1JCVOV Kellogg Research
A21DV43XGLBCPK Code White US
A1TAVTO2GT98KU James Wilkie
A1KJ2H70M4S7O2 John Clark
A3MABFR8LK5G4 eMarketing Lab
A2A5SB7NENZHLK techlist
A2KA7BZY7DG74B Sharad C Goel
A3MX44TDYCA6JW Obsidian
A1229TOOGAB24Y Tagcow
A38IEX49P7FZUN Elie Bursztein
A1B1XRJFXRBQ0D Michael Flaxman
AN4IFJUZCJMUC TCK Market Research Inc.
A38EU43R8VO9SI Gaylon Polatti
A3CNRTV5RN1YEV Social Media Research
A36VFBTZVWPE0R AWS & Mturk Account

The entries have now been deduplicated. These requesters' ratings may have changed. These changes result from including reviews not previously included in the average rating.

The duplicate entries arise from a bug in our code. We're not sure how to fix it yet. For now a script will remove duplicate entries weekly.


Turkopticon Forum on Turker Nation > Comment on upcoming changes

Tue Jun 07 2011 21:48 UTC

lilly (admin)

We're working on some improvements to Turkopticon and are publishing our proposals to the community for feedback before we code up the changes and roll them out.

The first of these changes is a civility policy. See that discussion here.

Also, Turkopticon now has its own dedicated subforum on Turker Nation where you can talk about Turkopticon more generally.

PS: We would be happy to have a subforum in mturk forum too. We just don't know how to do it.


Improving Turkopticon with your experience

Wed Mar 18 2009 00:04 UTC

lilly (admin)

Turkopticon user Max C Turk suggested that it would be useful to be able to go from a well reviewed requester to all of their Amazon HITs. So Six whipped up the feature which you can see on the Requester Reviews page:

One thing to watch out for is that not all requesters have HITs up at all times so we'll see if we can offer an indication of that before you click without slowing down your web browsing experience.


How did you find us?

Wed Mar 11 2009 08:19 UTC

lilly (admin)

For those of you who are coming to this site, how did you hear about us? And do you know other people who turk or are turkers mostly doing HITs apart from other turkers?


What's the best way to spread the word about AMT?

Sun Feb 08 2009 18:31 UTC

lilly (admin)

Turkers, what is the best way to spread the word about Turkopticon? We posted to Turkernation and somebody recommended us on MTurkForum (which is great!). Dolores Labs posted about us but I wonder if turk workers read that blog.

Is the only way to to get in touch with a lot of Turkers to put a task on turk?


Tweaking Technocapitalism

Fri Jan 30 2009 21:36 UTC

lilly (admin)

Cross-posted to
I've posted about
Turkopticon here before. Well, it's up, it has undergone a rev, and it has some users we don't know who seem to like us. I wanted to talk a little bit about what is at stake in it.

For a long time, I've been thining about infrastructure and technology design and, in particular, how certain designs (in certain contexts) end up giving certain people the crap end of the stick. As of late, my friend Six and I have been spending our spare nerd cycles on a particular case of this: Amazon Mechanical Turk, which lets workers do cognitive piecework usually averaging a dollar or two an hour. The low wages, the lack of health protections in a "work environment" (the computer) that has caused my arms and wrists much pain over the years, and the exuberant excitement many have for getting the faceless "crowd" to do work so cheaply were my initial cause for concern. As I started to survey Turk workers about their experiences, workers reported little protection from employers who don't pay and low wages as big problems. I heard from workers who did Turk after their main jobs to make food and rent when gas prices were high. While I don't have the power to regulate AMT or radically shift market dynamics at the moment, Six and I put our heads to the first problem of employers who take people's work and then don't pay.

So we made Turkopticon, a Firefox extension workers can use to access ratings and commentary of employers/requesters as they browse for HITs ("human intelligence tasks" and an unfortunate acronym). Turkopticon isn't revolution -- it's not going to fix the fact that jobs are increasingly contingent, that health care costs are insane, and people have fewer good choices about how to make their livelihoods. But it's a start at drawing attention to an information imbalance that has been letting some requesters abuse people. It's something that can make us ask why Amazon didn't design these informational safeguards in to begin with. And lest we think the traditional lines of employer v worker are simply drawn, Dolores Labs provided critical support and feedback. We started off as an empty database asking workers to install our extension, but there wasn't much for workers to see. Dolores Labs put up a survey for us and got a hundred or so reviews of requesters that formed the seed of the database, motivated in part by their desire to resist Turk being spoiled by crappy employers. (I'll probably post most about this in future posts.)

Is it just about Mechanical Turk for me? Not really. I see AMT as an dystopian extreme case of a the increasingly contingent, low paid labor I've been seeing creeping up for years.

Jobs aren't a great way to make a living these days. A few trends that disturb me. The practice of hiring temp workers on a mostly permanent basis so that they can be denied health benefits and other perks took Microsoft to court and even got its own neologism: permatemps. The largest employer in 2/3 of US states, Walmart, pays barely enough for a full-timer to make ends meet, claiming to only provide "supplemental income." About half of a those filing for bankruptcy in a 2005 study cited medical debts as a main cause [pdf source]. Livelihoods are precarious for a lot of hard working people.

People frequently argue that those working for these low wages have a choice. As one person I corresponded with explained, "I realize I have a choice to work or not work on AMT, but that means I would also not need to make the choice to eat or not eat, pay bills or not pay bills, etc." The thing we need to worry about is not only what choices people make, but what choices people have. Not all jobs are available everywhere. Not all people are equally able to move. Not everyone can afford a solid educational foundation. Not everyone even gets their knowledge and wisdom equally recognized and respected. People do have choices, but some have more choices than others.

Turkopticon is just a little Firefox extension, but for Six and I, it's also forcing us to think about a lot of issues in labor and politics that we just don't know enough about, but which have consequences around us every day.

Thanks to Dolores Labs, the 67 turkers who shared their experiences, and those who have been using Turkopticon and reviewing already.


Keeping an eye on the employers

Fri Jan 23 2009 00:41 UTC

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.