Monday, March 7, 2016

Some neat things from CSCW 2016

Standard disclaimer: I saw only a slice of this conference, and probably remembered a slice of that. That said, I thought this stuff was cool:

Campus-Scale Mobile Crowd-Tasking: Deployment & Behavioral Insights by Thivya Kandappu et al
They deployed a system around their campus that would let people answer questions to help out the facilities people - is this restroom clean? is this vending machine stocked? etc. They tried out a couple different ways to group tasks. Here's what I thought was most exciting:
- well, first, that they did it at all, had 80 ppl do 800 tasks
- second, that when it came to "push" (buzz you when there's a task nearby) vs "pull" (are there any tasks here?), the "super-agents" (25% of ppl who did 80% of the work) were less efficient in the pull case, but equally efficient in the push case.

On the bias: Self-esteem biases across communication channels during romantic couple conflict by Lauren Scissors and Darren Gergle
People who have lower self-esteem are likely to use technology to talk with romantic partners during conflicts, but that tends to make them assume the worst. I mean, I suspected this, but had no real reason to think it was true - this is cool evidence.

You get who you pay for: Impact of incentives on participation bias by Gary Hsieh and Rafal Kocielnik
Lottery rewards get people who are more open-to-change. Charity rewards get people who are more self-transcendence oriented. (though usually they're less effective in getting people than fixed rewards.) Higher fixed reward: people might not care about the task as much.

"Constantly Connected" panel - Alex Pang, Gordon Bell, Melissa Mazmanian, and Mary Czerwinski talking about all the issues about being constantly-connected, for better and worse. This is a tough topic because it means a million things to a million people - and indeed, Gordon Bell seems to have been talking about something different than the other three. But Pang, Mazmanian, and Czerwinski had really interesting takes:
Pang: there's focus/concentration, then there's mind-wandering/rest. We should make space for both. Maybe our phones are eroding our capacity for focus, but maybe they're even eroding our mind-wandering.
Mazmanian: first, it's not an individual problem: "you're too stressed", "you should take a break from your phone", etc. Second, instead of "phones are good" or "phones are bad", look at the role that the smartphone is allowing you to play, and decide whether you want to be that person.
Czerwinski: we've done all this research with interruptions and context, when is it ok to interrupt something etc, but why isn't anyone using that?

Closing keynote by Mike Krieger of Instagram - just a series of straight-up things they learned building Instagram from zero to today.
- multiple identities per person -> interesting "finstas" (fake instagrams) and flexibility to express yourself in different ways
- not much follow-back pressure, really make it interest based
- require square photos because they look good and force a crop. Later relax it.
- The Future: explore the world through Instagram. That sounds fun.