Soylent: A Word Processor with a Crowd Inside

TitleSoylent: A Word Processor with a Crowd Inside
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2015
AuthorsBernstein, MS, Little, G, Miller, RC, Hartmann, B, Ackerman, MS, Karger, DR, Crowell, D, Panovich, K
JournalCommun. ACM

This paper introduces architectural and interaction patterns for integrating crowdsourced human contributions directly into user interfaces. We focus on writing and editing, complex endeavors that span many levels of conceptual and pragmatic activity. Authoring tools offer help with pragmatics, but for higher-level help, writers commonly turn to other people. We thus present Soylent, a word processing interface that enables writers to call on Mechanical Turk workers to shorten, proofread, and otherwise edit parts of their documents on demand. To improve worker quality, we introduce the Find-Fix-Verify crowd programming pattern, which splits tasks into a series of generation and review stages. Evaluation studies demonstrate the feasibility of crowdsourced editing and investigate questions of reliability, cost, wait time, and work time for edits.