AAAI Publications, Workshops at the Twenty-Sixth AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence

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Towards Social Norm Design for Crowdsourcing Markets
Chien-Ju Ho, Yu Zhang, Jennifer Wortman Vaughan, Mihaela van der Schaar

Last modified: 2012-07-15


Crowdsourcing markets, such as Amazon Mechanical Turk, provide a platform for matching prospective workers around the world with tasks. However, they are often plagued by workers who attempt to exert as little effort as possible, and requesters who deny workers payment for their labor. For crowdsourcing markets to succeed, it is essential to discourage such behavior. With this in mind, we propose a framework for the design and analysis of incentive mechanisms based on social norms, which consist of a set of rules that participants are expected to follow, and a mechanism for updating participants’ public reputations based on whether or not they do. We start by considering the most basic version of our model, which contains only homogeneous participants and randomly matches workers with tasks. The optimal social norm in this setting turns out to be a simple, easily comprehensible incentive mechanism in which market participants are encouraged to play a tit-for-tat-like strategy. This simple mechanism is optimal even when the set of market participants changes dynamically over time, or when some fraction of the participants may be irrational. In addition to the basic model, we demonstrate how this framework can be applied to situations in which there are heterogeneous users by giving several illustrating examples. This work is a first step towards a complete theory of incentive design for crowdsourcing systems. We hope to build upon this framework and explore more interesting and practical aspects of real online labor markets in our future work.

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