Mechanical Turks: a hive of spammery

Intrigued on hearing that Amazon's Mechanical Turk is increasingly used by spammers, Mark Alen, a UC Berkeley Operations Research PhD candidate decided to see whether he could hire Mechanical Turks to spam him, so he posted an offer to pay for writeups of things to see and do in Shiraz City, France. There is no Shiraz City in France (there is a Shiraz City in Iran, though). This did not deter a flock of MTs who happily wrote fictitious reviews of the good times to be had in Alen's fictitious town:

I receive[d] three types of responses:

* 1- Random excerpts from our old friend "the internet" about cities in france (mostly Paris)
* 2- Email addresses of the turkers
* 3- Random user names

We all know that Mechanical Turk challenges the whole "Junk-in, Junk-out" dilemma and makes it more like "Always junk-out, regardless of the input process" but I feel that users posted junk for my junk HIT assuming that there is no quality assurance process working behind the task and I would probably just accept them all (which I have done for many jobs before)

Anyways I just wanted to highlight that the spamming goes both ways. Turkers spam requesters, requesters spam turkers, everybody wins!

Everybody is spamming everybody else on Mechanical Turk

(via O'Reilly Radar)