Amazon Mechanical Turk: Worker ID Request

by Erica Sadun

Do you want to know your personal Mechanical Turk worker ID? This is the identification used by MTurk to track you when you work on HITs. Amazon recently updated the MTurk API, adding Worker IDs to qualification requests.

The idea behind this, of course, is to keep bad/unqualified workers from resetting their qualification scores. By tagging the qualification data structure, Requesters (the people who pay to put HITs onto MTurk) can see who is requesting what, and thus inform their decisions.

I saw this new API extension as an opportunity to play. I've added a new MTurk qualification. It shoots off an automated e-mail with your Worker ID upon granting your qualification request.

Please note that the notification is run on a daemon which is only active when my computer is awake, so it may take a few hours (or days) for your request to process. Also, I'm not sure how long I'll keep this qualification going--probably at least a couple of weeks depending on the response. There won't be any HITs associated with this qualification. At least not in the foreseeable future.

UPDATE: Please see this post for an important update. Amazon clarified that they only allow Requester-to-Worker communications where a previous work relationship has already been established. It's not enough to opt-in for a qualification. You must have an assignment either approved or rejected before a requester can contact you.


Nathan McFarland
2006-04-12 07:42:51
This is a good idea. Unfortunately it was most needed before they updated the API to allow this. Sort of a chicken egg thing. Still there are plenty of times when it wouldbe helpful if a worker knew -- So I'll probably send them to your test :)

2006-04-12 14:24:56
Wow... I think this is the first time I've read an entire MacDevCenter post and, even upon finishing it, had absolutely no idea in the slightest what it was talking about, and was unable to even hazard a guess.

I guess this is sort of an ultimate culmination of the trend where you go to a website and it assumes you already know what the site is about and everything you see is the "latest news", all written with the assumption that you already know everything about it, and nowhere do you find any explanation. Or you go to a blog and every post is written with the assumption that you've read every other one before it, only they're all sitting there in frigging reverse order, so it's almost impossible to actually go back and catch up.

2006-04-13 08:08:54
At least she provided a link, which has a "What is" section.
Nathan McFarland
2006-04-14 19:54:02
On the other hand - if you do know what it's talking about it was a very useful post.