The motivations, enablers and barriers for voluntary participation in an online crowdsourcing platform

2016-08-31T08:48:44Z (GMT) by Avinoam Baruch Andrew May Dapeng Yu
This paper examines the phenomena of online crowdsourcing from the perspectives of both volunteers and the campaign coordinator of Tomnod – an online mapping project that uses crowdsourcing to identify objects and places in satellite images. A mixed-methods approach was used to study the enablers and barriers to participation, taking into consideration the whole spectrum of volunteers. The results show broad diversity in online volunteers, both in their demographics and the factors affecting their voluntary participation. The majority are older than 50 years and many – particularly the most active volunteers – have disabilities or long term health problems. The personal circumstances of participants are highlighted as a major factor affecting involvement in campaigns. Like many other platforms, altruism is a key motivator, yet many participants are more interested in the quality of their data and the impact it has on the ground. For many participants of online crowdsourcing campaigns, their involvement is strongly linked to the level of contact they have with campaign coordinators, both in the design of the platform and in providing feedback on the impact of their contributions.