Amazon’s mechanical workers have had enough

Each new task uploaded to Daemo triggers a new discussion thread on its forum, where employees can suggest improvements to the task’s setup, ask questions if they are confused, and add flags whether they think their pay is unfair. If enough people flag a certain task, that task is deleted. On MTurk, those trivial tasks last – and always be someone willing to work for a penny.

Daemo takes fair pay so seriously that its administrators will only allow me to talk to employees on the platform if I set my interviews as “duty” and pay people. labor on their time. Out of a desire to find out if the employee liked the platform as much as its creator had hoped for – and with the consent of the editorial board – I agreed to pay 10 dollars to any employee. do talk to me for up to an hour (total is 21.34 dollars). I noticed those who raised their hands were measured by their compliments of Daemo. They are happy for their well-paid and open communication; One staff happily noted that when he made suggestions on how Daemo could improve its look and feel, the update would be updated within a few days. However, they are unsure that Daemo will be able to boost its steady supply of jobs enough to lure large numbers of critical Turks away from Amazon.

“It has to scale huge – but I certainly hope it will,” said Gina Bixby, who Bernstein recruited into Daemo from MTurk. “In Turk, I am purely a number, and if I don’t work, they know that one number will be different. Who does it doesn’t matter to them. I really feel it makes a difference to Daemo. “

Daemo’s creators don’t hesitate to admit that it’s a work in progress. More than 300 workers completed a few thousand tasks on the platform – and as Daemo got closer to a public launch, the frequency of posting new tasks increased – but it didn’t equal the size of the Mechanical Turk Usually only half a million missions are available per day. Daemo may also never be able to attract what Whiting calls “solitary workers” who are not interested in a community-oriented approach and choose crowd work specifically because of its communal nature. its assembly. Meanwhile, Milland, the TurkerNation community manager, is skeptical of Daemo’s educational background, and wants to see a fully worker-owned and operated MTurk competitor – something the community is working on. build.

It is still unclear how Daemo’s transparent model and collective governance will expand. At its present scale, it is significantly manageable: The workers are selected by hand and Bernstein can talk to most people asking for and explain the size of the land. When I wasn’t sure if I was properly organizing my interviewing duties, Bernstein quickly debugged me via email; When my assignment came into action, he immediately introduced me to the community and confirmed my legitimacy.

That level of participation and interest is what makes Daemo so appealing – but what can hold it back. Bernstein admits that: “The real test will come when I can no longer make phone calls to people who want to use the platform. Then the standards must be passed on to those who are new to the community. “

Daemo offers an intriguing case study to address the tough challenges posed by performing work. In its short time of existence, the platform began to prove what labor advocates had long known to be true: The Daemo observed that higher pay and clearer communications lead to higher quality of work and more reliable performance – and that employers, or in this case, demanders, seem are willing to pay a premium for a better job. Daemo also found, through surveying hundreds of workers, that nearly all of them would be willing to switch to an alternative platform with better salaries and communication – as long as there are enough jobs there for everyone. . Milland, skeptical though she could be Daemo’s own, noticed the same thing.

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