Schema and Metadata Guide the Collective Generation of Relevant and Diverse Work
While most crowd work seeks consistent answers, creative domains often seek more diverse input. The typical crowd mechanisms for controlling quality may stifle creativity, yet removing them altogether could just produce noise. Schemas and metadata provide two mechanisms for embedding existing knowledge into task environments. Schemas are expert-derived patterns designed to structure how people think through a problem. Metadata, on the other hand, illustrate a range of creative input that fits within the structure of a schema. To understand the relative effects of schemas and metadata, we conducted a study where crowd workers are asked to generate creative interpretations for a set of placemaking examples. Crowd workers were guided either by schema plus metadata, schema alone, or neither. We found that showing schema along with crowd-produced metadata helped workers contribute interpretations that are both more on-topic and diverse, compared to using the schema alone or no schema. We discuss the implications on how crowds can creatively build on insights shared by others.