Add one line of code, and Fair Work will ensure that your Mechanical Turk workers are paid at least minimum wage. To start, get the code snippet for your Mechanical Turk account.

How do I use it?

  1. Register your API keys with the Fair Work server.
  2. Put the JavaScript link that the server gives you into the HTML of your HIT. The JavaScript will look something like:
    <script src="https://fairwork.stanford.edu/fairwork.js?aws_account=12345"></script>
    The account number at the end identifies your HITs to the server.

How does it work?

Fair Work adds a question to the bottom of your HIT asking the workers to self-report how long the task took them. Reports are then combined to estimate the effective rate for your tasks. Workers are auto-bonused to bring the payment up to a minimum wage of $15/hr. Roughly 75% of AMT workers are in the U.S., so paying a reasonable minimum wage — over federal minimum wage — is the right thing to do as researchers to demonstrate that we take the high road.

Behind the scenes, the system tracks HIT acceptances, then aggregates the reported times at regular intervals to audit effective HIT wages. If a HIT is found to be underpaid, the system automatically bonuses the worker to compensate.

If we identify any workers who break faith by consistently biasing their estimates or colluding, we will remove them from bonus eligibility.

Can I use this without your server keeping encrypted copies of my AWS keys?

Yes. You can run a copy of the server yourself. By doing so, you are committing that you will 1) Not lower the minimum wage in the code, and 2) Run the payment scripts on their required schedule so that workers are paid promptly. The code can run on a standalone server; however, it is also packaged to be immediately deployable to Heroku.

Any other requirements?

A belief that we should be paying workers fairly.

But couldn't workers lie or be inaccurate?

Yes. But you are using this tool because you want to help ensure fair treatment to workers, right? Fair treatment starts with trusting workers. They will make good faith estimates.

But couldn't you design an incentive compatible mechanism so that collusion is a bad idea?

Yes. But you are using this tool because you want to help ensure fair treatment to workers, right? Fair treatment starts with trusting workers. They will make good faith estimates.

I have an even cleverer point suggesting that I might not be able to trust workers' self reports. Might my clever rebuttal be right?

Yes. But you are using this tool because you want to help ensure fair treatment to workers, right? Fair treatment starts with trusting workers. They will make good faith estimates.