What do crowd workers think about creative work?

Crowdsourcing platforms are a powerful and convenient means for recruiting participants in online studies and collecting data from the crowd. As information work is being more and more automated by Machine Learning algorithms, creativity — that is, a human’s ability for divergent and convergent thinking — will play an increasingly important role on online crowdsourcing platforms. However, we lack insights into what crowd workers think about creative work. In studies in Human-Computer Interaction (HCI), the ability and willingness of the crowd to participate in creative work seems to be largely unquestioned. Insights into the workers’ perspective are rare, but important, as they may inform the design of studies with higher validity. Given that creativity will play an increasingly important role in crowdsourcing, it is imperative to develop an understanding of how workers perceive creative work. In this paper, we summarize our recent worker-centered study of creative work on two general-purpose crowdsourcing platforms (Amazon Mechanical Turk and Prolific). Our study illuminates what creative work is like for crowd workers on these two crowdsourcing platforms. The work identifies several archetypal types of workers with different attitudes towards creative work, and discusses common pitfalls with creative work on crowdsourcing platforms.