The Turker’s Gospel

The Bible According To Mechanical Turk Workers

The Turker’s Gospel

The Turker’s Gospel is a new version of the Gospel books of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, reinterpreted from the King James Version of the Bible by workers at Amazon’s Mechanical Turk.

Workers were assigned individual Bible verses and asked to rewrite them in their own words. No context was provided. The rewritten verses were reassembled for publication on this website.

This project was undertaken out of curiosity. From the historical and Biblical perspective, I wanted to find out how hundreds of people would interpret the language and meaning of these passages. From the human intelligence perspective, I wanted to determine the quality of responses provided by MTurk workers.

The result, I believe, is simple. Responses were either good or bad, with little middle ground. Some workers had to be blocked because their responses made absolutely no sense. Others I would hire individually for their creativity, humor, and command of the language.

For those who are curious, workers were paid $0.05 to rewrite each verse. The effective hourly wage was $2.80 across all workers. Some workers made as much as $6.00 per hour (30 seconds per verse), while others fell to as little as $0.25. The two workers with the highest hourly rate completed the shortest verses on average, suggesting that they passed over complicated HITs in favor of easy ones. [A HIT is a "Human Intelligence Task."]

I hope you enjoy this little experiment. Feel free to comment on the workers’ product, including critiques of spelling, grammar, and style.

Paul K. Graham