Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Related Work: Ensemble

Ensemble: Exploring Complementary Strengths of Leaders and Crowds in Creative Collaboration
Joy Kim, Justin Cheng, Michael S. Bernstein
CSCW 2014

This paper looks at crowd-supported creative writing. It presents a system, called Ensemble, that supports structured creative writing. There are a number of examples of massively collaborative writing, including:
  • Ensemble: Structured creative writing, with the author leading crowd workers in the task.
  • The Collabowriters: An experiment in collaborative novel writing. Users write short sentence candidates for the next sentence in the novel, and then vote on which one is the best.
  • FoldingStory: A group storytelling game.
  • Massively Distributed Authorship of Academic Papers: An experiment in collaborative academic writing by Bill Tomlinson and 29 others for alt.chi at CHI 2012.
  • Soylent: A crowd-powered word processor that uses Mechanical Turk workers to help writers proofread and shorten their document.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

100 Mile Walk Scheduled for July

Cale and I now have a date for our 100 mile walk to Great Wolf: July 18 - 27. Hotels have been booked, deposits have been paid, and I've filed for the time off from work.

Friday, March 14, 2014

100 Mile Walk: Day Three

[This post is part of a series detailing Cale and my plans for each leg of our 100 mile walk to Great Wolf. Our goal is to establish a safe route that follows sidewalks and trails as much as possible, and provides good places to stop, refuel, and refresh along the way. We actively solicit your suggestions if you know the area we will be walking through.]

Looking at Day Three of Cale and my 100 mile journey, it seems relatively unexciting. We will follow the Pacific Highway for pretty much all of the 15 mile journey.

Start: Cedarbrook Lodge, 9:00am
End: Emerald Queen Hotel and Casino, 5:00pm
Total distance: 14.9 miles

Breakfast: Cedarbrook Lodge
Snack: Anywhere along the road
Lunch: Pac Island Grill
Dinner: Emerald Queen Hotel and Casino

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Microwork as a Way to Collaborate

Recently I have been exploring selfsourcing as a way to help someone perform a single large, overwhelming information tasks by breaking it down into hundreds of easy-to-perform microtasks. Many of the microtasks that make up our personal information tasks need to be completed by the task owner, because they require personal knowledge or context. But not all do. In this way, the approach makes it easy to share aspects of a task with others in a way that is not easy to do for traditional complex tasks. For example, if the process of creating a photobook is broken down into subtasks, different family members can perform these subtasks to create a coherent book. Likewise, multiple colleagues could simultaneously create a single presentation if the process allowed them to brainstorm ideas on a topic and labeling them in parallel.

Sunday, March 9, 2014


In several posts recently, I have discussed the potential benefits of transforming personal information tasks into microtasks (called selfsourcing). It seems picking up habits can likewise be facilitated by transforming the desired behavior change into micro-habits.

According to B.J. Fogg (via an NPR report I listened to recently), there are three steps you should follow if you want to pick up a new habit:
  1. Small: Choose a habit to pick up that only take a few seconds to complete.
  2. Routine: Place this new micro-habit within an existing routine.
  3. Celebrate: Physically celebrate the completion of your new habit whenever you do it.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Formal Friday

Computer scientists are notoriously scruffy. Most days I wear jeans and a t-shirt to work. I've always taken this for granted, and never really thought much about what I wear. I get ready for work so fast in the morning that my children are awake, dressed, and eating breakfast before I even have to get out of bed. I put my clothes on while they put their shoes on so we can head out the door to drive to school. My sneakers are comfortable enough that I can spend all day walking at my treadmill desk, and nothing I wear needs special care in the wash. When I travel to conferences, I pack a week's worth of clothing in a small carryon backpack.

But not today!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Attending a Conference without Children

For many years I had one or more of my four children with me whenever I attended an academic conference (in my arms, or in my tummy, or, quite often, in both). This inspired me to write about conference travel with children and how conferences might better support traveling mothers - but it has also, lately, lead to my being asked at every conference I attend: "Where are you children!?" Because I no longer bring them with me to conferences. This post is about why.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

WSDM 2014 Trip Report

Last week I attended the Seventh ACM International Conference on Web Search and Data Mining (WSDM 2014) in New York City. The conference hotel was located right in Times Square, and I enjoyed visiting Cornell Tech, eating delicious food, and catching up with college friends. I also enjoyed attending sessions. WSDM is single track, which means the research being presented isn’t always directly relevant to everyone, but conference attendees have a shared experience and get exposed to research they might not otherwise.