Soylent: A Word Processor with a Crowd Inside

Michael S. Bernstein, Greg Little, Robert C. Miller, Björn Hartmann, Mark S. Ackerman, David R. Karger, David Crowell, Katrina Panovich
ACM Symposium on User Interface Software and Technology (2010)


This paper introduces architectural and interaction patterns for integrating crowdsourced human contributions directly into user interfaces. We focus on writing and editing, com-plex endeavors that span many levels of conceptual and pragmatic activity. Authoring tools offer help with prag-matics, 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 pat-tern, which splits tasks into a series of generation and re-view stages. Evaluation studies demonstrate the feasibility of crowdsourced editing and investigate questions of relia-bility, cost, wait time, and work time for edits.