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The Magic Number 14 Task

Shanghai: IKEA

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We wanted to find fourteen shops out of the hundred to create customised mats and posted a question to crowd sourcing site Zhubajie asking people to propose methods of choosing random locations. Respondents were directed to a newly set up group on QQ where they could propose different methods and the entries were posted to the online survey site n Diaochapai. The community voted which one was the best and the winner received 50 RMB. Over nine hundred people were exposed to the task on Zhubajie and twenty eight made contributions on renren, with considerable discussion and creativity about how
to choose.

Suggested randomisation methods include: spinning sticks; throwing darts; rotating plates; games of chance — dice, cards; having random passers-by pick names out of a hat; matching cities to surnames; by phonogram; randomisation code; by population; income; latitude and longtitude; sequential position on map east to west.

The entries for these tasks can still be found online, at least until they achieve a natural link-death or are taken down by their hosts. There is a natural tension between Rule 3: that none of the people taking part should understand what is being made and Rule 6: that the process must be transparent.

In practical terms this meant containing overlap between the ad-hoc communities that would spring up between tasks which would naturally inhibit large communities building
over time.

The users on the crowdsourcing sites can be split into two categories: those that are skilled and are ready to work on large projects for a decent wage; and those that are unskilled looking to mop up small payments for trivial tasks. The latter are often employed to be pushing hands, people who are paid to shill products in online forums.

Red Mat: stars

Aside from sending a crisp graphic of the customised mats – instructions were included with exact dimensions.

Red Mat: Jinan

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