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Thread: OFFICIAL Update on new mTurk Conditions of Use and Acceptable Use Policy

  1. #1
    Community Manager spamgirl's Avatar
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    OFFICIAL Update on new mTurk Conditions of Use and Acceptable Use Policy

    Hey all,

    I spoke to an official at mTurk and asked the questions I've seen here and in chat. Here's what I can tell you:

    What Worker scripts and automation tools are permitted? We are generally OK with you using scripts and automation tools to help you search and preview Human Intelligence Tasks ("HITs") more efficiently on the MTurk website, as long as those scripts and automation tools (1) do not serve as a substitute for your human judgment to complete work, (2) do not extract and store data from the MTurk website 1, and (3) do not disrupt or impair the operation of the website or the integrity of the marketplace (e.g., scripts and automation tools that call MTurk continuously and at high frequency 2 aren't OK). As a result, we'll have to make tough calls from time to time when we notice unusual account activity resulting from a particular script or automation tool. Please remember that you are responsible for any script or automation tool that you use with MTurk, and your use of a script or automation tool is at your own risk.
    1 - I was worried about this part for sites like Turk Alert, Crowd Workers, and mTurk Tracker. Basically, what I was told is that Requesters don't want the *content* of their HITs catalogued into massive databases, especially for reuse in non-"good faith" ways. So whatever you are using the data you scrape mTurk for, it's about your motivation - are you doing something that would piss off Requesters? If so, that's a problem. Are you doing something helpful, like TA, CW or HIT Database? That's fine.

    2 - So, what is "high frequency"? Basically, if you're not currently causing mTurk to belch out "You're refreshing too fast" errors, you're fine. Nothing has changed as far as rate limiting. If you're not getting warnings now, from the site or by email, you're good.

    BIG NOTE: If you violate ANY of these policies, you WILL receive ample warnings by email. I was repeatedly assured that they have no interest in driving "worker-customers" away, so as long as you're not doing something nefarious, you really, REALLY shouldn't worry.

    Why are bots, scripts, or other automated HIT-answering tools a problem? MTurk is a marketplace for completing tasks by exercising human judgment. If the HIT is completed by a bot, script, or other automated method, then it's not human intelligence. We take this seriously, so if we determine that you are using bots, scripts, or other automated methods to complete HITs, we may suspend or terminate your account, and your rewards balance may be forfeited.
    The key word here is COMPLETE. If you are using a script that entirely automates the process of collecting information and inputting it into the HIT (even if you hit the submit button manually), you are violating the terms of service and they are working very, very hard to catch you. If you do the work yourself, even with the aid of scripts, you're fine.

    Are there restrictions or prohibited uses of Amazon Mechanical Turk?
    You may not use, or encourage others to use, MTurk for any illegal, harmful, fraudulent, infringing, or objectionable activities. Here are some examples of prohibited activities:
    1 Scraping data or content from the MTurk website (except in connection with permitted Worker scripts and automation tools, see FAQ above)
    2 Using bots, scripts, or other automated methods to complete HITs
    3 Posting HITs on behalf of third parties without our prior written consent
    1 - As long as you are just scraping to find HITs, get an alert, etc., that's fine. They just don't want you storing the content of the HITs. HIT DB, HIT Scraper, Turkmaster, PandA Crazy, etc. are fine. Interesting note: mTurk Tracker IS in violation of this rule and therefore is not permitted to continue scraping
    2 - COMPLETE is the key word, again. Do the work yourself, that's fine.
    3 - If you have a single mTurk Requester account and post work for many other parties, you must get permission. (@taintturk)

    b. Workers. As a Worker, you agree that: (i) you will interact with Requesters in a professional and courteous manner, and provide reasonably requested information 1 in connection with your performance of Tasks; (ii) you will use your human intelligence and independent judgment 2 to perform Tasks in a competent and workmanlike 3 manner; (iii) you will not use robots, scripts, or other automated methods as a substitute for your human intelligence or independent judgment to perform Tasks; (iv) you will supply complete and accurate information for all Tasks you perform; (v) you will not perform Tasks through venues other than the Site (unless expressly permitted by us in a policy posted on the Site); (vi) Requesters may reject Tasks you perform for good cause; and (vii) if you are not a resident or citizen of the United States, you will perform all Tasks outside of the United States.
    1 - Basically, you need to make a good faith effort to provide the Requester with what they're looking for as long as their questioning doesn't violate mTurk rules or laws, and it is directly related to completing the work at hand.
    2 - You can ask other workers for help, that's fine. This wording is to indicate issues with sharing survey codes, sharing survey content like what demographics will get you in or how to earn a bonus, colluding on majority rules answers, etc.
    3 - Definition: "Showing efficient competence." Legalese

    e. Policies and Site Access. Please review our Acceptable Use Policy for examples of prohibited activities. You are solely responsible for compliance with the Acceptable Use Policy and any other policies that we post on the Site or otherwise provide to you. Your right to use the Site is limited to your use and you are only authorized to use it in connection with requesting and performing Tasks. You may not use the Site for any other purposes or in any way that: (i) is unlawful; (ii) harms Amazon Mechanical Turk (e.g., to support any competing marketplace), or its customers, suppliers or other parties, as determined in our sole discretion; (iii) violates this Agreement; or (iv) could damage, disable, overburden, or impair the Site (or any network(s) connected to the Site), interferes with any other party's use of the Site, or otherwise undermines the integrity of the Site or any of its features. Except as may be permitted in the Acceptable Use Policy, you may not use any data mining, robots, or similar data gathering or extraction tools on the Site.
    No data mining, period. What is data mining? Getting a TON of data from mTurk - so not just title and Requester name, but content of the HIT, all metrics about it, etc. (My caveat: But realistically, if you're doing it just for your own use, on a small scale, and you aren't going to go sell the data or publish it or anything like that, the odds of getting caught are slim. You are taking a risk by doing it, but whether or not you do is up to you).

    Bottom line: mTurk cares about worker-customers and wants to make LOTS of exciting upcoming changes to make mTurk better for us. The happier we are, the more money they make, so this makes sense to me. They don't want to scare us with crazy suspensions, they want to be even handed. Generally, if you're not doing naughty things, you'll be fine.
    It's all good.

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  3. #2
    *** Forum Supporter *** louwho's Avatar
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    Thank you for all of this @spamgirl!

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    thanks for the update
    lets make money

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    Thanks for this.

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  11. #6
    Thank you for getting us answers. I'm so relieved we can keep using panda crazy

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