First things first:
Title of the article: Amazon Mechanical Turk: Gold Mine or Coal Mine?
Authors: Karen Fort, Gilles Adda, K.Bretonnel Cohen
In: Computational Linguistics Journal, June 2011, Vol. 37, No. 2, Pages 413-420
In the past 2 months or so, I guess I read this article 2-3 times. I still don’t understand why it was written :( Oh, the incomprehensibility was not the reason why I read it again, though. I found it multiple times, lying on my table..for various reasons (which include piling up of stuff you never read!)
Coming to the point:
1) I never used amazon mechanical turk – neither as a requester nor as a turker. But I don’t feel that there is something wrong with the approach. Its up to the turkers to do or not do a given task. So, I don’t think there should be question of ethics here. If there is anything, there should be a question on the quality.
2) If some turkers use it to meet their basic needs, (IMHO) its not the wrong-doing of amazon or the requesters.
So, if the concern in the article was about the quality of linguistic resources developed, perhaps, It might have sounded so abnormal to me. But, the issue was on the “working conditions” of the AMT “workers”. Whatever way people are using it (as a hobby, timepass, for some pocket money, to meet living expenses etc), its people who do that…and neither Amazon nor the task givers on AMT promise employment, right?
And hence the confusion… :)
Ofcourse, now, I won’t do a re-reading of the article! :P