Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 3-1-2018

Scholarship Domain(s)

Scholarship of Community Application, Scholarship of Teaching and Learning


Human-based computation can be applied to solve problems too hard for a single computer. Crowdsourcing can be applied to ethical modeling by splitting ethical situations among humans. In this senior research project, the crowdsourcing method is applied to produce an ethical model for what web crawlers are allowed to do on websites. By evaluating questions about terms of use on a website, users provide context for the robots. An obstacle to this project is getting the right crowd to participate in the problem. The crowd of potential law students was selected as students typically answer questions to study for a major entrance test into law school. This tool can allow these students to practice legal analysis while letting them build to ethical web knowledge, which is in turn generated into robot-readable code in the form of the Robot Exclusion Protocol. The results were limited by the size of the crowd in this project.


Dr. Cathy Bareiss was the research mentor for this project. Dr. Vail tested the application in the class Career Seminar.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.