UCSC-SOE-16-14: Incentives for Truthful Evaluations

Luca de Alfaro, Marco Faella, Vassilis Polychronopoulos, Michael Shavlovsky
08/28/2016 06:46 PM
Computer Science
We consider crowdsourcing problems where the users are asked to provide evaluations for items; the user evaluations are then used directly, or aggregated into a consensus value.
Lacking an incentive scheme, users have no motive in making effort in completing the evaluations, providing inaccurate answers instead. We propose incentive schemes that are truthful and cheap: truthful as the optimal user behavior consists in providing accurate evaluations, and cheap because the truthfulness is achieved with little overhead cost.
We consider both discrete evaluation tasks, where an evaluation can be done either correctly, or incorrectly, with no degrees of approximation in between, and quantitative evaluation tasks, where evaluations are real numbers, and the error is measured as distance from the correct value. For both types of tasks, we propose hierarchical incentive schemes that can be effected with a small amount of additional evaluations, and that scale to arbitrarily large crowd sizes: they have the property that the strength of the incentive does not weaken with increasing hierarchy depth. Interestingly, we show that for these schemes to work, the only requisite is that workers know their place in the hierarchy in advance.