The development of technologies and practices of broad public participation are changing the notion of the public . As the use of participatory and social media has become widespread in society and enabled a more collaborative information production, the potential for a transformation of production relations through crowd-based activities affect many aspects of life. There are new potentials for transformative developments in government, work life, science, and emergency response.
In civic life, a more participatory, crowd-based regime is believed to boost innovation and strengthen democracy [18], through projects like crowdsourced policymaking [1][12], participatory budgeting [22], and civic hackathons [29]. In organizations, open design practices [2] and wiki-technologies are used to enhance collective intelligence within [33], and between agencies [5], and to develop government information [15]. In science, data is collected and developed by the public [23, 8, 36, 39]. During emergencies, crowds have been engaged in data sourcing [20, 30, 38] as well as performing physical activities [27].

However, despite good ambitions and technical potentials, these new platforms for participation have not solved many of the pre-crowd problems regarding participation, such as lack of representativeness and flawed deliberative processes. Studies of the demographics in the crowd at Amazon Mechanical Turk [14], Wikipedia [32] and Twitter [11] indicate large differences in participation between groups along differences in terms of age, gender and education. According to Menking and Erikson [31], women face marked obstacles to effective participation in Wikipedia.
The power imbalances and socio-spatial relations in the geographic web also affect the ways maps are developed [9, 35, 41], and may affect classification systems that influence the organization of knowledge for millions of people [7].
Therefore it is interesting to look at the power relations within crowd production and to examine how different tools handle participatory processes in the crowd.
In the wider field of participation, in areas like participatory planning, design or participatory research, the power relations in the participatory setting are seen as central for the outcome of the participation. Two useful references to articulate the different types of power relations in participation are Arnstein’s ladder of participation in urban planning [3], and Wulz’s stages of participation in design[40]. Arnstein’s ladder of participation describes seven stages of participation focusing on the role of the participants in urban planning (e.g., as informant, consultant, stakeholder, decision-maker), and the aspects of power and domination of the participant. Wulz’s stages of participation partly overlap Arnstein in range but have a designer perspective, from an abstract representation of the user in designer’s imagination to the user as designer.
Another way of looking at the participant’s power in the design and research process is depending on the mode of participation, from the participant as a passive object to an active agent. Here existing social structures affect participation in design work when involving communities, as discussed in Light and Akama [25], not least the power relations into which the designer steps, while Light and Miskelly explore how sharing cultures can be created by fostering certain types of social relations [26].

In design research, the role of artifacts such as prototypes and interfaces are also described as something with agency, relations and power [16]. For example, Houde and Hill show how different modalities and materializations of prototypes and tools change the way they are perceived and used [19].
In crowdwork settings power relations have been highlighted from a labor rights perspective, as certain aspects of crowdwork may contain striking power differences between the crowd of workers and the people who “source” work from that crowd leading to calls for collective action by crowdworkers [34]. Martin et. al’s analysis of the online discussion in the community of workers at the Mechanical Turk [28], shows the tensions between the system due to asymmetry in the information and power available to them. Gupta et. al’s study of Indian workers shows the collaborative processes in the community, and how aspects such as digital literacy and infrastructure affect workers’ work and reputations[17]. Other ways to regulate power are enforced by the rules and the technical system [37], as well as economic capital [4].
However, we haven’t seen a more structured overview of typologies of participation indicating levels of power and agency in the context of crowdwork. For this workshop, we therefore invite participants to look more closely at different types of participation within crowdwork, and at different levels of interaction. Possible sites of analysis could be the interaction between crowdworkers, the participation in the work by different stakeholders, the potentially privileged levels of interaction with the data, or tensions in the agency of the crowdworkers in relation to the task.

What types of ontologies exist in different types of crowdsourcing contexts, and how do these ontologies reflect one or more epistemologies? How is this expressed in the relations between the crowd and the sourcer, or in how different interfaces and tools support different roles and different modes of crowd participation? What are the relations between different attitudes towards knowledge and the social relations in the crowdsourcing process? What are the implications for power relations between different modes of participation? If we learn more about how participation in crowdwork can be described in terms of power and relations, we might get a better understanding of how participation can be articulated, how different tools for crowd participation can be developed, and how the different perspectives and stakes in crowdwork might be harmonized, or at least clarified.


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