Crowd Arbitration: Crowdsourced Dispute Resolution Part V
By: Leonora Camner
Current forms of crowdsourced dispute resolution
Some forms of crowdsourced dispute resolution currently exist online. These dispute resolution processes can be put into three general categories: Opinion polls, online mock juries, and privately enforced crowdsourced dispute resolution. See Jaap van den Herik & Daniel V. Dimov, Towards Crowdsourced Online Dispute Resolution, International Association of IT Lawyers (IAITL) 244-257 (September 19, 2011), ssrn.com/abstract=
Opinion polls are found informally across the Internet. Many news sites and fan blogs, for example, take informal polls of their readers. One site that attempts a more formal approach is Sidetaker.com, though it is not intended to be used for dispute resolution, and it has inadequate mechanisms in place to ensure fairness. See Sidetaker.com, sidetaker.com (last visited March 23, 2014); Jaap van den Herik and Daniel V. Dimov, Crowdsourced Online Dispute Resolution, Effectius Newsletter, Issue 13, (June 1, 2011), effectivejusticeplatform.wordpress.com/2011/06/01/effectius-newsletter-13-crowdsourced-online-dispute-resolution-jaap-van-den-herik-and-daniel-dimov/. Opinion polls are limited in effectiveness without a robust method of ensuring fairness and without the procedural steps for a full dispute resolution process.
The next type of crowdsourced dispute resolution that exists online is mock juries. The main mock juries online are virtualjury.com and ejury.com. Id. These sites advertise themselves as tools for legal professionals to test and evaluate their cases and arguments. See Virtualjury, www.virtualjury.com/ (last visited March 23, 2014); Ejury, www.ejury.com/ (last visited March 23, 2014). They are theoretically available to be used as binding dispute resolution, if parties agree to it. However, their aim of simulating real jury processes limits their ability to be highly efficient and consistent. Crowd arbitration, by its nature, does not need to be confined to the burdensome aspects of the courtroom, such as the expense, evidence rules, and lack of open discussion.
Other online arbitration sites, such as Truvilo, eQuibbly, GebruikersJury, and iCourthouse are based around the idea of using one or a handful of arbitrators, and so are missing the essential “crowd” element of crowdsourced dispute resolution.
The most important category of current crowdsourced dispute resolution, however, is the privately enforced one. This category includes companies that use crowdsourced dispute resolution in order to resolve issues for their own customers. Their dispute resolution processes also promote a sense of community and democratic fairness for their customers. Some of the most notable of these are Wikipedia, League of Legends’ Tribunal, and eBay’s Community Review Forum (eBay’s Community Review Forum does not appear to still be in effect). Private companies like these can enforce their dispute resolution themselves, by banning users or refunding purchases.
Wikipedia uses many different forms of dispute resolution to manage the wide variety of disputes on the website. For the most basic ones, Wikipedia users submit their disputes to the community to invite others to participate, along with their reasons and proposals. Other users uninvolved in the dispute post their views, post questions to the users involved in the dispute, and post their votes. See Wikipedia:Dispute Resolution, Wikipedia, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/
League of Legends, an online battle arena game, allows its users to report behavior that violates its community guidelines in a patented dispute resolution system they created for online multiplayer games. See League of Legends Tribunal, na.leagueoflegends.com/tribunal/ (last visited March 23, 2014). Users that choose to participate review cases randomly and decide to either “punish” or “pardon,” gaining or losing their own “justice rating” depending on their votes’ consistency with the rest of the community. Id.
The radically new and powerful elements of crowd arbitration have the potential to transform the way that dispute resolution can be done. It has the potential to be more affordable, accessible, and understandable than traditional arbitration and litigation. More importantly, it is more consistent which, arguably, is fairer. It is also easily customizable by parties and arbitration providers. However, some aspects of traditional arbitration, such as privacy, might not be translatable to crowd arbitration.
Ms. Camner is currently trying to implement her own crowdsourced dispute resolution system. Good luck Ms. Camner and thank you for sharing your paper!
You can find a pdf version of Ms. Leonora Camner’s paper online.