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Thread: Aaron Sojourner, University of Minnesota, manipulates Turk Opticon for a study

  1. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by amyb02 View Post
    What really gets me is that I can understand 1 stupid researcher, I can't understand a whole panel of stupidity. You don't go into Denny's or Wal-Mart try to get personal information or disrupt a business in the name of research. My office is my home, but it's still my place of business. Same for all of us, and the same for the creators of TO. We all come together for one goal, protecting our business.

    I'm in favor of legal action if someone were to go a step forward, I'd contribute. If anything it'd teach the next reaseacher not to F with us.
    Quite a few people wrote to UM and complained. A formal complaint has been filed as well, but it is a questionable area as far as the legality. I do not think a criminal action would be brought against him, and would probably go to a civil action requiring lawyers and a lot of time.

    I think that Sojourner actually thought he was doing something good even though he was doing it in a scummy slimebag underhanded way.
    He has apologized for what he did, but still believes that because of the contribution to economic academic literature, it was necessary. He also never seemed to acknowledge the numerous flaws in his research that many people pointed out.

    He has made a name for himself among expierenced turkers and if his research extends into the turking relm again, we will remember who and what he is.

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  3. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by taintturk View Post
    Quite a few people wrote to UM and complained. A formal complaint has been filed as well, but it is a questionable area as far as the legality. I do not think a criminal action would be brought against him, and would probably go to a civil action requiring lawyers and a lot of time.

    I think that Sojourner actually thought he was doing something good even though he was doing it in a scummy slimebag underhanded way.
    He has apologized for what he did, but still believes that because of the contribution to economic academic literature, it was necessary. He also never seemed to acknowledge the numerous flaws in his research that many people pointed out.

    He has made a name for himself among expierenced turkers and if his research extends into the turking relm again, we will remember who and what he is.
    I do consider the idea of a small claims lawsuit (or a series of such suits) filed here in California. (If I do this at all, I'll pay out of my own pocket). California doesn't allow lawyers in a small claims case; the rules confer a tactical advantage on the well-prepared layperson. It's still no way to get an enforceable judgment against a huge bureaucracy: if I were to prevail, UMinn would get an automatic appeal to Superior Court, and then they'd be allowed to trot out their battalions of lawyers.

    But it might be effective advertising, IMO: inviting the press to pick up a David and Goliath story could induce UM to take the issue seriously. I'd call it a victory if the IRB changes their internal procedures in a publicly visible way, especially if other institutional IRBs took note of a public spanking.

    This is not yet my favorite idea; it's just a thing I might be willing to do.

    Taintturk is right when he says those researchers don't acknowledge (or even understand) the Wrongness of what they did (on many levels). They still intend to publish the methodologically flawed study.

    Dr. Sojourner's attitude (as expressed on TO-discuss) resembled a criminal robber, blaming police for not catching him sooner.



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  5. #23
    Here is his personal page. It lists all of his affiliations. would you guys mind if I send the Board of Directors am email with this thread and the thread from the TO message board?

    https://sites.google.com/site/aaronsojourner/

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  7. #24
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    (below): University of Minnesota brags of "exogenous manipulation" (criminal hacking) of Turkopticon's UCSD database.


    Quote Originally Posted by chrisfuccione View Post
    Here is his personal page. It lists all of his affiliations. would you guys mind if I send the Board of Directors am email with this thread and the thread from the TO message board?

    https://sites.google.com/site/aaronsojourner/
    It might be prudent to check with spamgirl.

    I certainly don't mind. (Whatever I may post to a public place like TurkerNation or Turkopticon-discuss can always be cited). But Dr. Sojourner was only one of three lead researchers. Because of my own background, I certainly can't hold Dr. Akhmed Umyarov (their computer guy) blameless when he violated California Penal Code section 502. (Most other states -- including Minnesota -- have had similar laws on the books for forty years). Knowing this stuff isn't exactly a "pro tip," so it's something any non-negligent professional ought to know.

    Likewise, the project had IRB approval. University of Minnesota sanctioned the study. I expect they'll help bury the bodies, too.

    We seem to be dealing with a case of "bureaucratic-institutional rot" from top to bottom, else University of Minnesota would not so easily have found participants willing to violate their own codes of ethics for 'Acceptable Use of Information Technology Resources.'.

    On Friday 8/22, I left a telephone message for Dr. Michael Oakes, IRB Chairman, who volunteered to serve as TO's contact.
    To date, I have not been informed of any policy changes, nor remedial actions by the IRB; nor any audit of policies on 'Acceptable Use of Information Technology Resources.'

    It's my information and belief that the researchers still intend to publish their methodologically flawed study, whose implementation involved multiple criminal conspiracies.

    University of Minnesota IRB No. 1405E-50363
    principal investigators: Dr. Akhmed Umyarov, Dr. Aaron Sojourner, Dr. Alan Benson
    "The Value of Employer Reputation in the Absence of Contract Enforcement: A Randomized Experiment"

    University of Minnesota IRB
    IRB Chair J. Michael Oakes, Ph.D. (Associate Professor, Division of Epidemiology)
    University of Minnesota
    1300 South 2nd Street
    Minneapolis, MN 55454-1015
    voice: 612.624.6855
    email: oakes007@umn.edu
    fax: 612.624.0315
    Last edited by Tribune; 08-24-2014 at 02:19 PM. Reason: magic elaboration

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    If any resident of California wishes to file a Small Claims lawsuit for lost money and income as a result of these shennanigans, I will offer technical and clerical support.

    I am not an attorney. This is not an offer of "legal advice."

    As a purely technical matter, I observe that court costs (filing fees and service of process) are recoverable by a winning plaintiff.
    Last edited by Tribune; 08-24-2014 at 01:44 PM. Reason: magic spelling

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    Yesterday, I saw a HIT published -- openly this time -- by the same Minnesota researchers who admitted to creating 103 fraudulent accounts on Turkopticon.
    <screenshot, visible from preview without HIT acceptance published as groupid 3C2SAPILJD2PHO95IKP0WTVRMOW7HI >

    They're using a new account AZMFAB4VR695A "UMN Social Research Lab " instead of Aaron Sojourner's (legitimate) TO.

    Significantly, the number cited for their IRB approval 1405E50363 is the one they also used for the URB-approved "exogenous manipulation" of Turkopticon's database.
    Attached Images Attached Images

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    Yesterday, I saw a HIT published -- openly this time -- by the same Minnesota researchers who admitted to creating 103 fraudulent accounts on Turkopticon.

    <screenshot, visible from preview without HIT acceptance, groupid 3C2SAPILJD2PHO95IKP0WTVRMOW7HI>

    They're using a new account AZMFAB4VR695A "UMN Social Research Lab " instead of Aaron Sojourner's (legitimate) TO.

    Significantly, the number cited for their IRB approval 1405E50363 is the one they also used for the IRB-approved "exogenous manipulation" of Turkopticon's database.

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  13. #28
    I wish I got my hands on that hit knowing that it was our old friend Aaron. By the time I was done tearing him apart I would of had a rejection, hard block, and be known as the inventor of a couple of new swear words.

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  15. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tribune View Post


    Yesterday, I saw a HIT published -- openly this time -- by the same Minnesota researchers who admitted to creating 103 fraudulent accounts on Turkopticon.

    <screenshot, visible from preview without HIT acceptance, groupid 3C2SAPILJD2PHO95IKP0WTVRMOW7HI>

    They're using a new account AZMFAB4VR695A "UMN Social Research Lab " instead of Aaron Sojourner's (legitimate) TO.

    Significantly, the number cited for their IRB approval 1405E50363 is the one they also used for the IRB-approved "exogenous manipulation" of Turkopticon's database.
    Thanks for finding that out Tribune. I would have never seen the hit because he continues on his lowpaying slimy ways.

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    Looks like Benson/Sojourner/Umyarov will publish their "study" with barely a mention of their exposure (much less its implications of invalidity for their a priori scheme).

    Their preliminary draft is available online.
    It's marked "please do not cite or circulate without authors' permission," so I do not want to expose TN to prospective legal fallout.

    But I am personally willing to defend a lawsuit, deal with DMCA takedown notices, etc.
    (When the document is removed from its current host, I shall ensure that it remains available to the public).

    This TO-Discuss thread has a direct link to the PDF original, as well as a Google HTML rendering.
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