Volunteer Visualizations

At the Zooniverse workshop last week, Philip Brohan (of Old Weather fame) showed me how to produce a cool graphic of volunteer participation. So I put together a couple graphics – one for Season 1 and one for Season 4 – to see if patterns of who does what changed over time.

In these graphics, each square represents one volunteer. And the size of the square shows how many classifications that volunteer did.

Here’s Season 1:


The big blue square is all the volunteers who didn’t create a user account; since I can’t track them without an ID, they all get lumped together. Probably most of the people in this blue square did just a few classifications at most. All together there are just over 15,000 people who created an account represented here. Those that did fewer than 50 classifications each are lumped together under the big blue square. You can see that the majority of the work was done by people who between 50 and 1,000 classifications each. There were another 100 or so volunteers who did over 1,000 classifications in Season 1.

Now here’s Season 4:


This time, it’s the big purple square that represents all the volunteers who didn’t create an account; the square is smaller than in Season 1, which isn’t very surprising. Those folks that don’t log in are generally looking at the site for the first time and we expect more of them when Snapshot Serengeti first started than later on. All together, there are about 7,500 people who created an account and who worked on Season 4 – about half the number of Season 1. The square below the purple square shows all the volunteers who did fewer than 50 classifications. You can see that the majority of the work is being done by our thousands of dedicated fans; about half of all people who worked on Season 4 did more than 50 classifications, and these volunteers accounted for the vast majority of all classifications.

PS. The Zooniverse is launching a new project today: SpaceWarps. Go check it out, while we work on getting Season 5 ready for you.


About Margaret Kosmala

I am an ecologist exploring the complex dynamics of plant and animal systems. I am especially interested in understanding how species communities change over time and how humans impact them.

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  1. 300,000! THANK YOU! | Plankton Portal - December 13, 2013

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