Interesting - this seems pretty parallel to what Wikisource does, so it might be instructive to compare UI, incentives and documentation (e.g. vs. ).

As you said, this is more a desktop thing, and it's probably also only micro for some definitions of micro. That said, there have been longstanding deliberations to enable microcontributions to Wikisource via a captcha (similar to Google's well-known reCAPTCHA, which presumably also forms the basis of the street sign task in their app per Jon's screenshots):

On Wed, Aug 31, 2016 at 1:33 PM, Melody Kramer <> wrote:
Hello! On incentives...

The Smithsonian has a very active transcription volunteer program, where people complete microtasks / microcontributions (on desktop) like the ones Anirudh found. In return the people who participate get things like:
  • behind the scenes tours with staff members of the Smithsonian
  • regular chats with people who work with the Smithsonian 
  • priority access to newly digitized collections [1]

So nothing of monetary value, but something that makes them feel invested and part of a larger community. Some of the tasks are exactly the same — transcribing, image transcription, and validation. The person who runs the program thinks a lot about how to build community around these kinds of microtasks, which make it more likely that people follow through to completion. It might be worth reaching out, because there are likely things we can learn from how they've approached this. Happy to put you in touch.

[1] (I wrote this and interviewed tons of people who think about the incentive portion of microtasks. A lot are listed there. Happy to put you in touch with them, or provide more details...)

On Wed, Aug 31, 2016 at 2:10 PM, Jon Katz <> wrote:
Great find, Anirudh!  I didn't know about it.

I just downloaded it.  The mechanics are great, but the incentives are...lacking.  
A great, upvoted quote from a user on the news page:

"Oh, so  I'm supposed to help a company whose value is over 500 billion for free just for fun?..."

Google does, on the other hand, encourage you after submitting...something we don't do.  They literally say "you are making the world a better place!"

BTW, I also get notifications from google maps after I visit somewhere saying something like:
"help us by answering some questions about Joe's House of Coffee".

Some screenshots of the app below. I encourage everyone to think about, spread and participate in the consultation Moushira posted.


Deciphering images

After you submit, they encourage you.  CRAZY!

deciphering handwriting


Translation validation:

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Anirudh S <>
Date: Tue, Aug 30, 2016 at 10:31 PM
Subject: Re: [WikimediaMobile] Readers as contributors
To: Moushira Elamrawy <>
Cc: Wikimedia developers <>, mobile-l <>

I am not sure if this is off-topic but I'd like to let the community know that Google has released an app recently that allows people to improve its Translation services. The app is called Crowdsource [0]. Also added a news article for more context [1].

I thought this knowledge might help us plan better, assuming that mobile Readers would get exposed to the concept of contributing through their phones, in general. We, as readers, might also have something tangible for us to base our opinions on (for example, the reward system in that app is just plain Internet Points and does not provide any value to the user).


On Tue, Aug 30, 2016 at 10:57 PM, Moushira Elamrawy <> wrote:
Hello Everyone,

I am writing to share with you an effort from the Android team to start identifying themes of products [0] that would allow readers to create micro-contributions that are welcomed and actually needed by fellow Wikipedia editors.

The team has already identified 18 ideas as examples of tasks readers can do to help editors, we would like to expand the conversation to help us evaluate the importance of the ideas.  While thinking, the team already had criteria for evaluating the ideas, but this is still missing community input on how ideas are evaluated and what would actually get high votes for being something that matters, in order for the team to start working on.    Please feel encouraged to add more ideas and adjust criteria for evaluation if needed.

This work is a continuation of the reading consultation earlier done in April. The team is excited to continue the conversation early with the community in order to define product themes.

Ideas promoted from this conversation will be designed in Android first, given the consideration of lower traffic and relative ease of implementation, but the team will be excited and watching for lessons learned in order to move ideas to the web.

This work is made possible by Jon Katz, Reading team's senior PM, and Dmitry Brant, the product owner of Android.  Thanks for their thoughtful and collaborative approach".

We will allow the conversation to run for a month, after which we can already start exploring ideas for implementation in Q3 Please help spread the word across village pumps.

Looking forward to your input --

Community Liaison for Reading team

Mobile-l mailing list

Mobile-l mailing list

Mobile-l mailing list


Mobile-l mailing list

Tilman Bayer
Senior Analyst
Wikimedia Foundation
IRC (Freenode): HaeB