This work contributes to just and pro-social treatment of digital pieceworkers (“crowd collaborators”) by reforming the handling of crowd-sourced labor in academic venues. With the rise in automation, crowd collaborators treatment requires special consideration, as the system often dehumanizes crowd collaborators as components of the “crowd” [1]. Building off efforts to (proxy-)unionize crowd workers and facilitate employment protections on digital piecework platforms, we focus on employers: academic requesters sourcing machine learning (ML) training data. We propose a cover sheet to accompany submission of work that engages crowd collaborators for sourcing (or labeling) ML training data. The guidelines are based on existing calls from worker organizations (e.g., Dynamo [2]); professional data workers in an alternative digital piecework organization; and lived experience as requesters and workers on digital piecework platforms. We seek feedback on the cover sheet from the ACM community.

[1] Irani, L. C., & Silberman, M. S. (2016). Stories We Tell About Labor: Turkopticon and the Trouble with “Design.” Proceedings of the 2016 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, 4573–4586. https://doi.org/10.1145/2858036.2858592

[2] Salehi, N., Irani, L. C., Bernstein, M. S., Alkhatib, A., Ogbe, E., Milland, K., & Clickhappier. (2015). We Are Dynamo: Overcoming Stalling and Friction in Collective Action for Crowd Workers. Proceedings of the 33rd Annual ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, 1621–1630. https://doi.org/10.1145/2702123.2702508


  1. A blank version of the cover sheet with labels matching the article accepted to alt.chi 2022.
  2. An example filled-out version of the cover sheet.
  3. A translation of the Fig 1 image that renders the comments from the data workers in plain text.
  4. The final version of the paper is here.
  5. Link to slides from presentation at alt.chi ‘22 (file is large due to embedded video clips).

To submit feedback

  1. GitHub project link: GitHub project link.
  2. Google Form link: Google Docs link.
  3. Email the corresponding author: contact info

You may also be interested in the “End the harm of mass rejections” campaign launched by Turkopticon recently.