Motivations for crowdsourcing


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Looking at the best examples of crowsourcing campaings (http://www.gottaquirk.com/2011/05/13/fact-box-10-of-the-best-crowdsourcing-campaigns-in-the-past-year/) I started to wonder about users‘ behavior. Some users are active for a long period of time whereas others stop participating after a few submissions. There is not a lot of research done to analyse this behavior, therefore I would like to summarise two research papers/ articles which found some interesting conclusions and tips for companies using crowdsourcing platforms which want to increase the participation rates. Also, I include the practical examples which help to understand the theory.

  1. Scholars made a natural field experiment exploring the relationship between the meaningfulness of a task and worker effort using Amazon’s Mechanical Turk platform. Their main finding was that when a task was framed more meaningfully (i.e. the task is meaningful when: a) is recognised, and b) contains a clear point or purpose) workers were more likely to participate. The meaningful condition seems to increase quantity without a corresponding increase in quality and the shredded treatment decreases quality without a corresponding decrease in quantity.

Source: Dana Chandlera, Adam Kapelnerb Breaking Monotony with Meaning: Motivation in Crowdsourcing MarketsWorking paper October 4, 2012

Practical example: http://worldchanging.com/archives/003437.html

 It is much easier to attract crowd to participate once you indicate a clear reason for their participation however it could not affect the quality at all. Katrina PeopleFinder Project is a good example how they are attracting participants including a kind reason for their participation.

  1. Researchers analyzed a massive data set from YouTube and wanted to explore if the attention measured by the number of downloads has an impact on productivity. They found that contributing volunteers become more active once their work exceeds the average and they receive more attention. Once the attention is decreased they reduce their participation. This is a very interesing study where non-paid initiative is analysed and the importance of ensuring the attention for participants is examined. Firms must encourage the interactions between users in order to maintain the particular amount of attention.

Source: Bernardo A. Huberman, Daniel M. Romero and Fang Wu “Crowdsourcing, attention and productivity” Journal of Information Science, 35 (6) 2009, pp. 758–765

Practical example: http://dailycrowdsource.com/crowdsourcing/company-reviews/81-threadless-uses-crowdsourced-design-ideas-for-t-shirt-success

Threadless is the most successful example where users‘ submissions get ranked by others thus ensuring the most active participants receive enough attention. The largest contributors of this site are mostly receiving the best and biggest amount of comments and rankings. Therefore we can confirm that attention is highly important for volunteers in crowdsourcing initiatives.

To sum up, more research is needed to help companies attract participants and know their needs.

Agne Nainyte (371323)

One thought on “Motivations for crowdsourcing”

  1. Thank you very much for the post Agne! I saw very interesting points and this search could be a startup of a nice thesis topic. As far as the second paper (Huberman et al., 2009) is concerned, one can easily see their point in blogs. In other words, when indivuduals post or comment attention is much more likely and as a result users are more keen to participate.

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