Guidelines for Writing Coherent Tasks

How to Get the Most Out of Heat

Using Heat effectively can take a bit of getting-used-to. Writing clear, simple instructions to people around the world coming from different backgrounds, is not trivial. In order to get started, we find it useful to first think about the end result of what you want the Crunchers to provide, and work back to how the parameters of this instruction should be placed in the attachments section, and finally how to phrase the instruction in a way that will actually get everyone to do it in the same way. Aside from making it easier for crunchers to do the work you need, If you build instructions properly, all the built in quality mechanisms we built will kick in and boost speed and accuracy on your tasks.

So, for example, if you have a task where you need crunchers to choose from a list of options, start by phrasing the response choices. Write a detailed sentence or two per choice and emphasize keywords in each choice by placing two asterisks ** on each side of the phrase which helps catche the eyes easily. You might expect that in action crunchers spend most of their time reading the instructions, but the fact is that after the first or second time, crunchers recognize your task in a split second, they skip the instruction completely and spend most of their time going back and forth between the response choices and the attachments. For that reason we urge you to provide key information in the response choices, not just in the instructions section.

Here are a few additional guidelines that can help:

  1. Avoid high language, avoid abbreviations, shorthand, slang, culture-related expressions, typos. Simple words go a long way. Let Shakespeare rest.
  2. Start the instruction section with 1 sentence of context: “We are a cab hailing app, our customers send us text messages asking for immediate support”. This provides a bit of context to the cruncher. Lack of context is one of the main factors that causes mistakes/misunderstanding.
  3. Write a few clear, simple, short sentences describing what you need: “Please read the text in the attachment and help us understand its priority for support”. You can ellaborate more about the priorities here, or you can omit that and only specify the choices in the response choices section where crunchers spend most of their time when trying to decide on the right answer for this task.
  4. Addressing edge cases and confusing cases, is very useful. Give 1-3 positive examples and 1-3 negative examples that crunchers can refer to once in a while when in doubt.
  5. Don’t place dynamic information (task parameters) as part of the instruction. Separate dynamic data to the attachments part. For example: if you want to find out “who is the ceo of company: xyz” leave the instruction as “who is the ceo of the company quoted in the attachment” and place xyz as an textual attachment.
  6. Consistency: if there is a specific format you need the response to be in, specify it. For example: dd/mm/yyyy.
    Use MarkDown to format instructions and textual attachments, to make it easier to read.
  7. Heat tasks are meant to be executed quick. preferably 10-30 seconds. Break down complex tasks into bite-size chunks of work.
  8. Crunchers are intelligent, have very good English, and resourceful but don’t assume any specialized expertise or skill. If you do need to process tasks that require specific skills, then you need to use the Advanced mode of Heat. Please contact us about that.
  9. Since humans execute the instructions, it’s good to be moderately polite but no need to go overboard. “Please do this and that” is good enough.
  10. When crunchers find a problem in a task, they have the option to write feedback that your can read via the JSON cruncher_feedback field. When this problem is critical/extreme they also red flag the entire task.
  11. Clearly identify every instruction “family” or class by using the JSON field called instruction_id. If you don’t explicitly specify an instruction_id, we automatically identify and cluster together instructions, but if you provide this info via instruction_id it is more robust.
  12. Before sending a task out to all the crunch force, send it only to yourself and see how it looks and feel. You can use the Account Management Console for that:

Contacting Us

If you need any assistance with articulating and optimizing your tasks, please contact us and we’ll help: