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CHCI Participation at CSCW 2021

October 6, 2021

CSCW 2021

CHCI members will have a large presence with the presentation of nine papers at the 24th ACM Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work And Social Computing (CSCW), October 24-27, 2021. CSCW features research in the design and use of technologies that affect groups, organizations, communities, and networks. Bringing together top researchers and practitioners, CSCW explores the technical, social, material, and theoretical challenges of designing technology to support collaborative work and life activities. 

Paper Presentations

CHCI members and former members are listed in bold with hyperlinks where available for more information about their work.

CrowdSolve: Managing Tensions in an Expert-Led Crowdsourced Investigation

Investigators in fields such as journalism and law enforcement have long sought the public’s help with investigations. New technologies have also allowed ameteur slueths to lean their own crowd sourced investigations- that have traditionally only been the purview of expert investigators- with mixed results. Through an ethnographic study of a four-day, co-located event with over 250 attendees, we examine the human infrastructure responsible for enabling the success of an expert-led crowdsourced investigation. We find that the experts enabled attendees to generate useful leads; the attendees formed a community around the event; and the victims’ families felt supported. Additionally, the co-located setting, legal structures, and emergent social norms impacted collaborative work practice. We also surface three important tensions to consider in future investigations and provide design recommendations to manage these tensions. 

Lost in Co-curation: Uncomfortable Interactions and the Role of Communication in Collaborative Music Playlists

Online tools enable users to co-create artifacts remotely. However, creative collaborations can also occur for the social process of collaboration itself, for which measures of success and engagement expectations can be more ambiguous, and individuals’ dedication and social dynamics more important. Co-curating music in collaborative playlists (CPs) is one example of creative collaboration that encompasses both roles, and can therefore have more subtleties within its interactions. We conducted two studies using online surveys to understand perceived comfort with and hesitation toward the social dynamics embedded in CPs. Differences in collaborators’ ownership perceptions toward CPs and their comfort in interacting with these CPs emerged. We also found a varying desire for situated communication, dependent upon the action taken and perceived ownership (of both a CP and the songs contained), with more users expecting greater comfort when a communication channel exists. From these results, we present four design considerations for more positive and engaging experiences in creative online co-curation.

SleuthTalk: Identifying Historical Photos with Intelligent Shortlists, Private Collaboration, and Structured Feedback

  • Liling Yuan, Software Engineer, Microsoft (VT Alum, Computer Science)
  • Vikram Mohanty, PhD Student, Computer Science 
  • Kurt Luther, Associate Professor, Computer Science 

Identifying people in photographs is an important task in many fields, including history, journalism, genealogy, and collecting, but accurate person identification remains challenging. Researchers especially struggle with the “last-mile problem" of historical person identification, where they must make a selection among a small number of highly similar candidates. We present SleuthTalk, a web based collaboration tool integrated into the public website Civil War Photo Sleuth which addresses the last-mile problem in historical person identification by providing support for shortlisting potential candidates from face recognition results, private collaborative workspaces, and structured feedback.

Figure 1: Shortlisted Candidates. From right to left is shown the photo carousel, identification vote results, biographical profile, and poll results. Clicking "Show Comparison" displays the comparison vote results.

Understanding Wikipedia Practices Through Hindi, Urdu, and English Takes on an Evolving Regional Conflict

Wikipedia is the product of thousands of editors working collaboratively to provide free and up-to-date encyclopedic information to the project’s users. This article asks to what degree Wikipedia articles in three languages — Hindi, Urdu, and English — achieve Wikipedia’s mission of making neutrally-presented, reliable information on a polarizing, controversial topic available to people around the globe. We chose the topic of the recent revocation of Article 370 of the Constitution of India, which, along with other recent events in and concerning the region of Jammu and Kashmir, has drawn attention to related articles on Wikipedia. This work focuses on the English Wikipedia, being the preeminent language edition of the project, as well as the Hindi and Urdu editions. Hindi and Urdu are the two standardized varieties of Hindustani, a lingua franca of Jammu and Kashmir. We analyzed page view and revision data for three Wikipedia articles to gauge popularity of the pages in our corpus, and responsiveness of editors to breaking news events and problematic edits. Additionally, we interviewed editors from all three language editions to learn about differences in editing processes and motivations, and we compared the text of the articles across languages as they appeared shortly after the revocation of Article 370. Across languages, we saw discrepancies in article tone, organization, and the information presented, as well as differences in how editors collaborate and communicate with one another. Nevertheless, in Hindi and Urdu, as well as English, editors predominantly try to adhere to the principle of neutral point of view (NPOV), and for the most part, the editors quash attempts by other editors to push political agendas. 

Parenting, Studying and Working at Home in a Foreign Country: How International Student Mothers in the US Use Screen Media For and With Their Young Children 

The struggle to thrive as a productive student researcher, an attentive parent, and a caring partner can be difficult, particularly for international student parents who are far from home and also possibly burdened with complex cultural expectations, interpersonal dynamics, and institutional biases. Using uses and gratifications theory as a framing mechanism, we describe interviews with twelve international student mothers in the United States who are primary caregivers of children between six months to five years old, focusing on the context of their use of screen media content and devices, the gratifications they seek from their children's use of screen media devices, and the differences in their perceptions about the use of screen media as an educated, non-US parent. Our findings give an initial account of the role of screen based technology in their domestic life with young children, and the limitations of their technological experience. We present four opportunities for designing for this population including technologies for positive distraction, interactive language aids, playful acquaintance tools, and anonymous peer networks for parent support. We conclude by formulating future promising avenues of research in this design space

#TeamTrees: Investigating How YouTubers Participate in a Social Media Campaign

YouTube is not only a platform for content creators to share videos but also a virtual venue for hosting community activities, such as social media campaigns (SMCs). SMCs for public awareness is a growing and recurring phenomenon on YouTube, during which content creators make videos to engage their audience and raise awareness of global challenges. However, how the unique celebrity culture on YouTube affects collective actions is an underexplored area. This work examines an SMC on YouTube, #TeamTrees, initiated by a YouTube celebrity and sought to raise people's awareness of tree-planting and climate change. The authors annotated and analyzed 992 #TeamTrees videos to explore how YouTube celebrities, professionals, and amateurs in different channel topics diagnose problems, present solutions, and motivate actions. This study also looks into whether platform identities and framing activities affect campaign reach and engagement. Results suggest that #TeamTrees reached creators who are generally not active in social issues. The participating YouTubers were likely to motivate the viewers to donate and join celebrities' and community's actions, but less involved in examining the environmental problems. Celebrities' videos dominated the campaign's influence. Amateurs' videos had a higher engagement level, although they need more support to frame campaign activities. Based on these findings, we discuss design implications for video-sharing platforms to support future SMCs.

Figure 3: Examples of videos in the 9 prognosis categories: (a) creation, (b) spread the words, (c) environmental discussion, (d) donation, (e) plant trees, (f) knowledge, (g) gameplay, (h) criticism, and (i) share videos.

Reflections on Assets-Based Design: A Journey Towards A Collective of Assets-Based Thinkers

  • Marisol Wong-villacrés, Associate Professor, Ecuador And Georgia Institute Of Technology, United States,  Escuela Superior Politécnica Del Litoral
  • Aakash Gautam, Assistant Professor, San Francisco State University, Computer Science (VT Alum, Computer Science)
  • Deborah Tatar, Professor Emerita, Virginia Tech, Computer Science 
  • Betsy Disalvo, Associate Professor, Georgia Institute Of Technology, United States

The field of Computer-Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW) has long recognized a socio-technical gap complicating the design of technologies that can sustainably meet social needs. In response, a growing body of research advocates for assets-based design, an approach that seeks to build upon what the individuals and community already have. The emphasis on positioning assets rather than needs at the center of the process can complicate designers’ decisions on what activities to foster, how to conduct them, and what outcomes to expect. In this paper, we reflect on two different assets-based design endeavors with vulnerable populations. Our reflections present assets-based design as an ongoing process that prioritizes the formation and evolution of a collective of assets-based thinkers who continually learn about their assets and ways to use them to attain desirable change. From that reflection, we contribute three methodological commitments for assets-based design to the growing CSCW scholarship on supporting vulnerable communities to attain emancipatory transformations: (1) embedding trust-building elements throughout the journey; (2) facilitating the formation of an interdependent collective; and (3) making moves towards incremental transformations. Further, we contribute a discussion on the change of perspective that entails for researchers and designers interested in undertaking assets-based design. In particular, we underscore the need to recognize the value of work before the work, to see technology as an intermediary rather than an inevitable end, and embrace impact in the shape of slow incremental transformation.

Figure 1: Participatory activities that Marisol facilitated: a) the tree of life; b) the parenting journey; c) a board of assets; d) a word cloud with assets and challenges; e) speculative design; f) the information sources chart

Designing Transparency Cues in Online News Platforms to Promote Trust: Journalists' & Consumers' Perspectives

As news organizations embrace transparency practices on their websites to distinguish themselves from those spreading misinformation, HCI designers have the opportunity to help them effectively utilize the ideals of transparency to build trust. How can we utilize transparency to promote trust in news? We examine this question through a qualitative lens by interviewing journalists and news consumers---the two stakeholders in a news system. We designed a scenario to demonstrate transparency features using two fundamental news attributes that convey the trustworthiness of a news article: source and message. In the interviews, our news consumers expressed the idea that news transparency could be best shown by providing indicators of objectivity in two areas (news selection and framing) and by providing indicators of evidence in four areas (presence of source materials, anonymous sourcing, verification, and corrections upon erroneous reporting). While our journalists agreed with news consumers' suggestions of using evidence indicators, they also suggested additional transparency indicators in areas such as the news reporting process and personal/organizational conflicts of interest. Prompted by our scenario, participants offered new design considerations for building trustworthy news platforms, such as designing for easy comprehension, presenting appropriate details in news articles (e.g., showing the number and nature of corrections made to an article), and comparing attributes across news organizations to highlight diverging practices. Comparing the responses from our two stakeholder groups reveals conflicting suggestions with trade-offs between them. Our study has implications for HCI designers in building trustworthy news systems.

Figure 1: Our scenario with three transparency features. Here, feature "a" corresponds to source characteristics conveying the expertise of the author; features "b" and "c" are message characteristics showing, respectively, crucial details about the event and the reporting style. In feature "c", reporting style includes whether the article is high or low in summary news lead (SNL) or inverted pyramid style reporting, the proportions of first and secondhand accounts, the proportions of direct and indirect quotes, and the number of claims made.

NudgeCred: Supporting News Credibility Assessment on Social Media Through Nudges

Struggling to curb misinformation, social media platforms are experimenting with design interventions to enhance consumption of credible news on their platforms. Some of these interventions, such as the use of warning messages, are examples of nudges -- a choice-preserving technique to steer behavior. Despite their application, we do not know whether nudges could steer people into making conscious news credibility judgments online and if they do, under what constraints. To answer, we combine nudge techniques with heuristic based information processing to design NudgeCred -- a browser extension for Twitter. NudgeCred directs users' attention to two design cues: authority of a source and other users' collective opinion on a report by activating three design nudges -- Reliable, Questionable, and Unreliable, each denoting particular levels of credibility for news tweets. In a controlled experiment, we found that NudgeCred significantly helped users (n=430) distinguish news tweets' credibility, unrestricted by three behavioral confounds -- political ideology, political cynicism, and media skepticism. A five-day field deployment with twelve participants revealed that NudgeCred improved their recognition of news items and attention towards all of our nudges, particularly towards Questionable. Among other considerations, participants proposed that designers should incorporate heuristics that users' would trust. Our work informs nudge-based system design approaches for online media


Karusala, N., Ismail, A., Bhat, K., Gautam, A., Pendse, S., Kumar, N., & Wang, D. (2021). The Future of Care Work: Towards a Radical Politics of Care inCSCW Research and Practice. Companion Publication of the 2021 Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work and Social Computing

Workshop Paper

Sedition Hunters: Countering Extremism through Collective Action

  • Sukrit Venkatagiri, PhD Student, Computer Science
  • Vikram Mohanty, PhD Student, Computer Science
  • Tianjiao Yu, PhD Student, Computer Science
  • Kurt Luther, Associate Professor, Computer Science

Online extremism can quickly spill over into the physical world and have dangerous consequences, as when rioters attacked the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021. While information and communication technologies have enabled extremists to plan and organize violent events, they have also enabled collective action by others to identify the perpetrators and hold them accountable. Through a mixed-methods case study of Sedition Hunters, a Twitter-based community whose goal is to identify individuals who took part in the Capitol riot, we explore: 1) how the community formed and changed over time; 2) the motives, ethos, and roles of its members; and 3) the methods and software tools they used to identify individuals and coordinate their activities.