Crowdsourcing contest dilemma

Victor Naroditskiy, Nicholas Jennings, Pascal Van Hentenryck, Manuel Cebrian

Crowdsourcing offers unprecedented potential for solving tasks efficiently by tapping into the skills of large groups of people. A salient feature of crowdsourcing—its openness of entry—makes it vulnerable to malicious be- haviour. Such behaviour took place in a number of recent popular crowdsourcing competitions. We provide game-theoretic analysis of a funda- mental trade-off between the potential for increased productivity and the possibility of being set back by malicious behaviour. Our results show that in crowdsourcing competitions malicious behaviour is the norm, not the anomaly—a result contrary to the conventional wisdom in the area. Counter- intuitively, making the attacks more costly does not deter them but leads to a less desirable outcome. These findings have cautionary implications for the design of crowdsourcing competitions.


Status: published
Type: Journal Publication
Conference/location: Journal of the Royal Society Interface
Conference URL:
Full text