(… continues y concludes the “Ethics issues of crowdsourcing – part 1 (Final Round)” post)
3. When both previous situations come together: the reward is not fair and not everyone receive it
One case where these two situations appear together, according to some designers and authors, are the challenges in creative crowdsourcing platforms. You can read a previous post to make you a little idea of the conflict that currently exists between designers and such platforms.
In some of the platforms I have consulted that prices to design a logo, for example, range from 200-300 € (mostly) to 1,200 € (just a couple). With regard to the number of participants, the larger the reward, the greater the number of participants (500 for example for a logo), and, obviously, more work is discarded.
This situation causes some users to reuse logos: If their logo is discarded in a challenge, they modify it slightly for presentation to another challenge.
However, it is important to note that in another crowdContest platforms, such as InnoCentive, this problem does not exist (or at least the scientific community is not up in arms as many designers have done). I understand that one of the main reasons are the rewards, which are for example of $ 2,000, $ 10,000, $ 20,000 or even $ 160,000. Although it is true that the task is more complex (without diminishing the difficulty of making a logo / video / web design that fits what a customer requests … sometimes a mystery).
4. When the main goal isn’t to innovate, but save money at any cost
Quoting Wexler (2011)
[The companies] want to distance themselves from experts and professional bodies who they see as opposing change and simultaneously imposing high costs upon them
As Wexler argues, the problem is not to try to get away from the experts for the crowd, looking for innovation, but that they use the crowd in a strategic way to distance themselves from those professionals looking to profit from them. In this case, the crowd becomes just a tool to be used, when is much more than that.
It is true that using creative crowdsourcing involves a series of problems or difficulties. To deny it is absurd.
From my point of view, in this situation the crowdsourcer plays a very important role. He is who sets the rewards that come to be a reflection of the value that he gives the work requested. It’s normal to want to save costs, but he also must be fair to the reward.
After all, part of the problem lies on how crowdsourcing is understood: as a way of using people or as a way to get a mutual benefit, having access to other people’s knowledge and skills.
With respect to the amount of work discarded, this is an inevitable condition in this kind of platforms. Creative crowdsourcing platforms are classified within crowdContest crowdsourcing initiatives. As in any contest, there is always a winner, what implies that the rest of the people lost.
While it is true that it is a reality that exists in other areas, such as public contests (architecture contests for instance), it is also true that the public contests don’t ask for a finished work, and creative crowdsourcing platforms do it.
- Wexler, M. N. (2011) “Reconfiguring the sociology of the crowd: exploring crowdsourcing”, International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, Vol. 31 Iss: 1/2, pp.6 – 20