Mailing Lists: Why Are They Still Here, What’s Wrong With Them, and How Can We Fix Them?

Online group discussion has been around almost as long as the Internet, but it seems we still can’t create tools for it that satisfy everyone. Starting with the first mailing list in 1972 and evolving to modern social media tools, we see tensions between people’s desire to participate in productive discussions and the struggle to [...]

Try out Habitbug!

One of the things that’s been interesting to us for a while now is how we can use our friends to help us get things done – friendsourcing. (See some example previous posts here, here, here, and here.)
We’re excited to launch habitbug, which is a Twitter app that helps you form and maintain habits by [...]

Congress, the NSF, and Social Science Research

For the past few weeks I’ve been following the Monkey Cage blog as it has followed the vote by the House of Representatives to prohibit the National Science Foundation (NSF) from funding Political Science research.   These days I tend to roll my eyes and feel helpless when Congress takes silly positions for political reasons (though [...]

To improve the CHI conference, would you share which talks you attended?

I’m having a great time at CHI (including my first time two-stepping today) but I strongly believe, as Jonathan Grudin asserted today, that we can make use of data to improve the conference.  I’ve already analyzed historical data that demonstrates that we can substantially reduce reviewer workload.  We’ve also created a way you can use [...]

For CHI 2012: Discussion Forums in the Document Margins

Would you like some feedback on your CHI paper?  We’ve set up a site to let people read and comment on it.
On Wednesday at CHI, we’ll be presenting our paper on nb, a discussion forum situated in the margins of documents being discussed.  Its original intended usage was for discussion of classroom lecture notes, but [...]

CIKM 2011 Keynote: User Interfaces that Entice People to Manage Better Information

Today I gave a keynote at CIKM 2011.  I argued that in addition to all our work on tools the process information for users, we should also be looking at tools that make people better able to apply their innate information processing talents for themselves.  I talked about the following tools that reflext that idea, [...]

Crowds in Two Seconds: Enabling Realtime Crowd-Powered Interfaces
[cross-posted from the CrowdResearch blog]
Crowds are already powering novel interactive systems like word processors and question answering systems, but their reach is too limited: crowds are reasonable choices only when the user can wait a minute or more for a response. Users, of course, hate waiting — they abandon interfaces that are slow to react. Imagine a [...]

Google Plus Realnames are Solving the Wrong Problem. We Need Signatures.

I sympathize with Google’s efforts to prevent impersonation on plus. But I didn’t think the real names policy was the right approach, and I don’t think the verification badge approach addresses the right problem either. Taking a concrete example, my real name is David Karger, and I can certainly get that verified. But there’s another [...]

Who's answering your questions?

Over the course of the last year or so, I’ve been looking at the way people ask and answer questions on Facebook. Much of this work happened with the phenomenal and (haystack alum!) at .
I’ve been interested in the ad hoc way people ask questions as their status messages (not using the Facebook [...]

Who Gives A Tweet?

Ever wondered what people think of your tweets?
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We just launched Who Gives A Tweet, along with researchers at the University of Southampton and Georgia Tech. Go check it out!
The idea is simple: we’ll grab some of your tweets, and farm them out both to your friends and to other folks on the [...]