Beware the block (Part 1)

I'm ripping this straight from  It's an awesome 3 part description of what happens on the requester side which makes the blocking policy so unfair for Turkers, asymmetrical, if you will.

Beware the Block

Let me start by saying that I believe that most people who get blocked by a requester probably deserve it. In many cases, people submit poor work, receive a rejection with a note explaining why the work was rejected, then go on to submit more poor work. I can't blame a requester for putting a block on a worker who does that.

However, I've also learned recently that sometimes people are blocked who don't deserve to be. Sometimes despite submitting good work consistently over a period of time, a worker gets blocked suddenly and without explanation. As I'll show in this series, the blocking system is deeply flawed and stacked against the worker, and has the potential to harm even the honest among us. Please review with me some excerpts from the instructions Amazon provides to requesters about processing HITs.
He goes on to explain some shocking facts:
  •  Requesters can block up to 100,000 people
  • They don't have to give a reason
  • You don't get an email when it happens
  • They can block all of your work in a batch after looking at only one HIT
...and there's more you must check out yourself here.


  1. Yeah. I have over 99% rate acceptance on all of my HITS (over 1,000) and after 2 years or so of never even knowing about blocking, I got blocked by a requester. I have no idea who they are or what HITs I did for them. They did not email me to tell me why. Amazon says there is nothing they can/will do. This happened a couple weeks ago, so I have kind of dealt with the disappointment by now. But boy, was I upset when it first happened. I couldn't understand how requesters can block somebody with no explanation. But they can. But after reading a bunch of stuff from turkers on turknation, I've come to understand that the bottom line rules. They make money from the requesters, so the requesters have the control, not the workers. It's kind of like getting sucker-punched. You are so surprised it can happen to you - with 99% acceptance rate, I figured I had a pretty good reputation. But reputation does not count. A requester can block you with no explanation. And even if I made a mistake and did a HIT wrong one time (we are all human) I don't understand why a requester would block a worker for just a mistake. But I guess that's life! Nice to see your blog - it's nice to vent a little. I won't be doing as many HITs as I once did, because I now realize it can all be taken away with no warning. I hate being stressed like that. I will probably do a couple HITs here and there as long as my account does not get suspended. By the way, do you happen to know if an account gets suspended, is that forever, or is that just a time-limit and then you get unsuspended? I don't know how it works. I'm only one block #1, so I don't know what my MTurk future holds!

  2. Oops, that should read nearly 15,000 HITS, not just 1,000.
    Update: That requester who blocked me never emailed me back to tell me why.
    So far, that's my only block. My fingers are crossed. I still love working on MTurk, but my rose-colored glasses have come off.

  3. Hi I am from India and I have a lot of experience working on mturk and also have guided
    62 people on how to do these hits etc. Everything was well but recently mturk have
    started suspending accounts for which hours of discussion of what may be the reason
    is useless. Some people have been suspended with in 3 days of creation. and 100%
    Approval. and some later. Even if they have 100% approval doing very safe Hits.
    There are hundread points to prove that the suspensions were unfair beyound any doubt.

    we have a huge network of Turkers and I feel what's happening in mturk is totally unfair. Yet our advise would be to withdraw earnings regularly from account and always be prepared for unexpected suspension. and NEVER DEPEND ON MTURK know its temporary.