December 22, 2006
Since I’ve finished my big honkin’ Utah trip report and most of my customers are on holiday, I was free to spend much of my lunch hour playing Google’s Image Labeler. I’ve dabbled with other time sucks since I gave up Distributed Proofreaders, but nothing really captured my attention for long until the Image Labeler came into my life. As someone wrote, it’s fun to work for Google for free.
My cumulative score is now over 500,000; it could be higher if I’d gotten more good partners. Here’s my top ten list of things I think make a good Image Labeler partner (in no particular order, other than #1 and #2, which are the most important):
1.) A good partner does not waste time guessing things from what I think of as the “word list for losers” (abrasives, accretion, bequeathing, carcinoma, congenita, diphosphonate, entrepreneurialism, forbearance, googley). I’ve read theories that it’s not real people typing these words but a bot. Perhaps. I kept track for a while and found that my partners used at least one of the stupid words in 67% of the rounds; surely there aren’t that many morons playing—or are there? I know I’m not the only person who feels this way; I’ve seen players calling themselves “screw carcinoma” and “no random words”. I hope I’m partnered with them some day.
2.) A good partner does not stop at one guess. For example, a good partner understands that not all of us instantly recognize which game a screenshot comes from and will not only guess “Grand Theft Auto” or “World of Warcraft” or whatever is appropriate but will also try terms such as “game” and “screenshot” as well as descriptions of what the screen shows: soldiers, cars, fire.
3.) A good partner does not guess “girl” for a person of the female gender who appears to be an adult. A delightful partner guesses “doctor” and not “nurse” for a female wearing scrubs.
4.) When the image is of a book, dvd case, or game box with a readable title, a good partner types that title as one of his or her guesses. The whole title, for example “life is beautiful”, not just “life” or “beautiful”. A good partner will follow up with the kind of thing is it “book”, “movie”, “film”, “dvd”, “game” and name things in the picture: couple, man, woman, hat, family, skater, dragon. Naming actors should be left for last, unless their names are readable in the image, because there’s no guarantee we’re both going to know the name of that guy on the OC even if we do remember when he was Lane’s boyfriend on Gilmore Girls.
5.) A good partner recognizes that things aren’t called the same thing or spelled the same way in all English-speaking countries. I’ll make the effort and guess “football” for a guy kicking a soccer ball, so I don’t think it’s unreasonable for my partner to try both “theatre” and “theater” for the place where movies are shown.
6.) A good partner knows that one map does not an atlas make. (Though perhaps there are parts of the world where it does? Enlighten me if you know.)
7.) A good partner does not guess “porn” for a picture of a woman in a swimsuit or “old” for a picture of a person who appears to be my age.
8.) A good partner is consistent. If we match on “plant” for a picture of one small growing thing with leaves and flowers, I’ll expect to match on “plant” for the next picture of a small growing thing with leaves and flowers.
9.) A good partner understands that if the image features an adult person of the male gender and said partner requests a pass without matching my guesses of “man”, “guy”, or seven other things, I may be forced to type “whats so hard about guessing man” in the box before I pass.
10.) A good partner tries the singular and the plural if it’s not entirely clear if there’s one or more than one of the objects in question (some of the images are rather small and blurry).