"Crowdflower" entries

Channeling crowdsourcing into distributed work

How crowdsourcing affects government, research and the workforce.

In a brief Q&A, CrowdFlower founder Lukas Biewald looks at crowdsourcing's growing influence and its impact — both positive and negative — on the workforce.

Comments: 2
Four short links: 30 August 2010

Four short links: 30 August 2010

H.264 Patents, Pakistan Flood Crowdsourcing, YouTube to MP3, Bloom Filter Tips

  1. Free as in Smokescreen (Mike Shaver) — H.264, one of the ways video can be delivered in HTML5, is covered by patents. This prevents Mozilla from shipping an H.264 player, which fragments web video. The MPEG LA group who manage the patents for H.264 did a great piece of PR bullshit, saying “this will be permanently royalty-free to consumers”. This, in turn, triggered a wave of gleeful “yay, now we can use H.264!” around the web. Mike Shaver from Mozilla points out that the problem was never that users might be charged, but rather that the software producer would be charged. The situation today is just as it was last week: open source can’t touch H.264 without inviting a patent lawsuit.
  2. Crowdsourcing for Pakistan Flood Relief — Crowdflower are geocoding and translating news reports from the ground, building a map of real-time data so aid workers know where help is needed.
  3. Dirpy — extract MP3 from YouTube. Very nice interface. (via holovaty on Delicious)
  4. Three Rules of Thumb for Bloom Filters — Bloom filters are used in caches and other situations where you need fast lookup and can withstand the occasional false positive. 1: One byte per item in the input set gives about a 2% false positive rate. For more on Bloom Filters, see Maciej Ceglowski’s introduction. (via Hacker News)
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Thousands of workers are standing by

Thousands of workers are standing by

CrowdFlower's Lukas Biewald on crowdsourced work and the state of human-machine relations.

The definition of work has changed dramatically in recently years. Where jobs used to be defined by place and time, now many types of work can be tackled by anyone, anywhere. Lukas Biewald, CEO of labor-on-demand company CrowdFlower and a speaker at next month's Web 2.0 Expo in New York, is at the center of the labor shift. He discusses the pros and cons of crowdsourced labor in the following Q&A.

Comments: 5
Four short links: 1 June 2010

Four short links: 1 June 2010

Legal XML, Big Social Data, Crowdsourcing Tips, Copyright Balkanization

  1. XML in Legislature/Parliament Environments (Sean McGrath) — quite detailed background on the use of XML in legislation drafting systems, and the problems caused by convention in that world–page/line number citations, in particular. (Quick gloat: NZ’s legislature management system is kick-ass, and soon we’ll switch from print authoritative to digital authoritative)
  2. Large-Scale Social Media Analysis with HadoopIn this tutorial we will discuss the use of Hadoop for processing large-scale social data sets. We will first cover the map/reduce paradigm in general and subsequently discuss the particulars of Hadoop’s implementation. We will then present several use cases for Hadoop in analyzing example data sets, examining the design and implementation of various algorithms with an emphasis on social network analysis. Accompanying data sets and code will be made available. (via atlamp on Delicious)
  3. Breaking Monotony with Meaning; Motivation in Crowdsourcing Markets (Crowdflower) — This finding has important implications for those who employ labor in crowdsourcing markets. Companies and intermediaries should develop an understanding of what motivates the people who work on tasks. Employers must think beyond monetary incentives and consider how they can reward workers through non-monetary incentives such as by changing how workers perceive their task. Alienated workers are less likely to do work if they don’t know the context of the work they are doing and employers may find they can get more work done for the same wages simply by telling turkers why they are working.
  4. Balkanizing the WebThe very absurdity of the global digital system is revealing itself. It created all the instruments for global access and, then, turned around and arbitrarily restricted its commercial use, paving the way for piracy. Think about it: our broadband networks now allow seamless streaming of films, TV shows, music and, soon, of a variety of multimedia products; we have created sophisticated transaction systems; we are getting extraordinary devices to enjoy all this; there is a growing English-speaking population that, for a significant part of it, is solvent and eager to buy this globalized culture and information. But guess what? Instead of a well-crafted, smoothly flowing distribution (and payment) system, we have these Cupertino, Seattle or Los Angeles-engineered restrictions. The U.S. insists on exporting harsh copyright penalties and restrictions, while not exporting license agreements and Fair Use, so the rest of the world gets very grumpy.
Comments: 6
Crowdsourcing and the challenge of payment

Crowdsourcing and the challenge of payment

How can you set up crowdsourcing where most people work for free but some are paid, and present it to participants in a way that makes it seem fair? This situation arises all the time, with paid participants such as application developers and community managers, but there's a lot of scary literature about "crowding out" and other dangers. One basic challenge is choosing what work to reward monetarily. I can think of several dividing lines, each with potential problems.

Comments: 10