The Master’s Controversy: Part 1

If you are a new requester on MTurk, when you go to indicate what kind of Workers you want, the MTurk interface will default to a “Master’s” worker. You might think (as I did the first time)..”well of course I want Master’s workers! Why wouldn’t I want a worker who is a Master of MTurk?”

I’m here to tell you: there’s a dissertation here.

But to start off the discussion, let me give you an overview of Master’s workers and three pros and three cons.

Masters Workers: according to the M Turk Website: Masters workers are elite groups of Workers who have demonstrated accuracy on specific types of HITs on the Mechanical Turk marketplace, and are statistically monitored to make sure they are worthy of their Masters status.


1. This blog has a summary of what Masters workers can bring: the one that does resonate with me is that these workers have participated in a broad range of tasks.

2. According to this blog (and I have cited this author several times), Masters won’t do badly designed or ambiguous tasks, resulting in higher quality of Requests.

3. There are some ‘sub groups’ of Master’s, such as Photo Masters and Categorization Masters, which can give you confidence your tasks will be done well (sense a theme here?). Now if they come up with ‘Academic Study Masters’, that might be an interesting thing to investigate.


1. You may not get better quality work. A blog author posted this evidence that MTurk Worker Spamgirl posted on the Mturker discussion board (Spamgirl–if you read this, could you provide the link in the comment section here? I couldn’t find it when I looked).

2. You’ll pay more: up to three times more to use Master’s workers.

3. No one really knows how one gets ‘annointed’ as Master’s worker.

There’s much more to discuss on the Master’s worker qualification, which of course we will do over the next several weeks. In the meantime, add any questions or comments in the comments section!

4 thoughts on “The Master’s Controversy: Part 1

  1. Hi I found you blog because I have MTURK as one of my Google News alert. I like what I see so far and subscribed to it.

    I just sent out a message to Spamgirl about you looking for information about the Masters program.


  2. Hey Kim,

    We’re actually already chatting by email, I’m Kristy. 🙂

    It wasn’t Frederick who posted that, but another worker who runs that blog (who, I believe, wishes to remain anonymous.) The link to that data isn’t available unless you have a Requester account on TN (you should, so if you don’t, let me know and I’ll hook you up), but here is the link:


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