Towards Crowdsourced Online Dispute Resolution

AuthorJaap van den Herik - Daniel Dimov
PositionCenter for Law in the Information Society, Leiden University, Leiden, the Netherlands
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Towards Crowdsourced Online Dispute Resolution
Jaap van den Herik and Daniel Dimov
Center for Law in the Information Society
Leiden University,
Leiden, the Netherlands
Abstract. Using crowd sourcing for solving disputes is a subject that has not been
discussed in many scientific publica tions. However, since Crowdsourced Online Dispute
Resolution (CODR ) provides a cheap, fast, and democratic dispute resolution, it has a potential
that needs to be explored scientifically. How should eBay solve otherwise 60 millions disputes per
year? Building a CODR platform with the con venience and attractiveness of other collective
intelligence systems, such as Wikipedia, YouTube , and Google, may cause many variants of
traditional forms of dispute resolution fading away. In order to shed more light on CODR, the
present contribution defines this ne w type of dispute resolution, describes the present state of play,
and builds a th eoretical framework by investigating CODR building blocks. Although the paper
provides only the start of a profound discussion, it shows introductory explorations of the key
theoretical issues involved in CODR.
1. Introduction
Ever since the creation of Google, there has been a steady increase in the number of websites using “the wisdom
of the crowd”. Wikipedia and the Amazon’s Mechanical Turk are just two telling examples. At present,
outsourcing certain tasks to large groups of people is easy, even for a layman. Yet, any attempt to define this
phenomenon has become one of the most challenging ventures of the last five years. For the purpose of this
contribution, we will call this phenomenon crowdsourcing and define it a s it is defined by Surowiecki (2006).
“Crowdsourcing is (1) the act of taking a job traditionall y performed b y a designated agent
(usually an employee) and (2) outsourci ng it to an undefined, generally large group of people
in the form of an open call” (Surowiecki, 2006).
While crowdsourcing is often used in many different areas, its use i n the area of law is not very popular. At
present, there are only a couple of websites pro viding Online Dispute Resolution (ODR) that uses crowdsourcing
as a part of the dispute resolution process. We call this new form of dispute resolution: Crowdsourced Online
Dispute Resolution (CODR). Since, up to this moment, CODR has not b een discussed scientifically, the present
paper aims to clarify this issue by giving a definition of CODR (Section 2), discussing the current state of play of
CODR (Section 3) and the building blocks of CODR (Section 4). Finally, we provide a conclusion (Section 5).
2. Defining CODR
For our definition of the term CODR, we use the definition of ODR as p rovided by Kaufmann-Kohler and
Schultz (2004).
“ODR is a broad te rm that encompasses forms o f Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) and
court proceedings which use internet as a part of the dispute resolution process” (Kaufmann-
Kohler and Schultz, 2004, p.7).

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