Brent Hecht's research while affiliated with Microsoft and other places

Publications (103)

Preprint
Hypergraphs provide an effective abstraction for modeling multi-way group interactions among nodes, where each hyperedge can connect any number of nodes. Different from most existing studies which leverage statistical dependencies, we study hypergraphs from the perspective of causality. Specifically, in this paper, we focus on the problem of indivi...
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Online volunteers are a crucial labor force that keeps many for-profit systems afloat (e.g. social media platforms and online review sites). Despite their substantial role in upholding highly valuable technological systems, online volunteers have no way of knowing the value of their work. This paper uses content moderation as a case study and measu...
Preprint
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Online volunteers are an uncompensated yet valuable labor force for many social platforms. For example, volunteer content moderators perform a vast amount of labor to maintain online communities. However, as social platforms like Reddit favor revenue generation and user engagement, moderators are under-supported to manage the expansion of online co...
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The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic caused a rapid shift to full-time remote work for many information workers. Viewing this shift as a natural experiment in which some workers were already working remotely before the pandemic enables us to separate the effects of firm-wide remote work from other pandemic-related confounding factors. H...
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The computing research community needs to work much harder to address the downsides of our innovations. Between the erosion of privacy, threats to democracy, and automation's effect on employment (among many other issues), we can no longer simply assume that our research will have a net positive impact on the world. While bending the arc of computi...
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In this preview, we highlight what we believe to be the major contributions of the review and discuss opportunities to build on the work, including by closely examining the incentive structures that contribute to our dataset culture and by further engaging with other disciplines.
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Motives or goals are recognized in psychology literature as the most fundamental drive that explains and predicts why people do what they do, including when they browse the web. Although providing enormous value, these higher-ordered goals are often unobserved, and little is known about how to leverage such goals to assist people's browsing activit...
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The rise of geotargeted online advertising has disrupted the business model of local journalism, but it remains ambiguous whether online advertising platforms can effectively reach local audiences. To address this ambiguity, we present a focused study auditing the positional accuracy of geotargeted display advertisements on Google. We measure the f...
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A growing body of work has highlighted the important role that Wikipedia's volunteer-created content plays in helping search engines achieve their core goal of addressing the information needs of hundreds of millions of people. In this paper, we report the results of an investigation into the incidence of Wikipedia links in search engine results pa...
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Tech users currently have limited ability to act on concerns regarding the negative societal impacts of large tech companies. However, recent work suggests that users can exert leverage using their role in the generation of valuable data, for instance by withholding their data contributions to intelligent technologies. We propose and evaluate a new...
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Virtual meetings are critical for remote work because of the need for synchronous collaboration in the absence of in-person interactions. In-meeting multitasking is closely linked to people's productivity and wellbeing. However, we currently have limited understanding of multitasking in remote meetings and its potential impact. In this paper, we pr...
Article
Even though a restaurant may receive different ratings across review platforms, people often see only one rating during a local search (e.g. 'best burgers near me'). In this paper, we examine the differences in ratings between two commonly used review platforms-Google Maps and Yelp. We found that restaurant ratings on Google Maps are, on average, 0...
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Many powerful computing technologies rely on data contributions from the public. This dependency suggests a potential source of leverage: by reducing, stopping, redirecting, or otherwise manipulating data contributions, people can influence and impact the effectiveness of these technologies. In this paper, we synthesize emerging research that helps...
Preprint
Scientific research and development relies on the sharing of ideas and artifacts. With the growing reliance on artificial intelligence (AI) for many different applications, the sharing of code, data, and models is important to ensure the ability to replicate methods and the democratization of scientific knowledge. Many high-profile journals and con...
Preprint
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a wide-ranging impact on information workers such as higher stress levels, increased workloads, new workstreams, and more caregiving responsibilities during lockdown. COVID-19 also caused the overwhelming majority of information workers to rapidly shift to working from home (WFH). The central question this work address...
Preprint
Recent research has found that navigation systems usually assume that all roads are equally safe, directing drivers to dangerous routes, which led to catastrophic consequences. To address this problem, this paper aims to begin the process of adding road safety awareness to navigation systems. To do so, we first created a definition for road safety...
Preprint
A growing body of work has highlighted the important role that Wikipedia's volunteer-created content plays in helping search engines achieve their core goal of addressing the information needs of millions of people. In this paper, we report the results of an investigation into the incidence of Wikipedia links in search engine results pages (SERPs)....
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Millions of people use mobile map applications like Google Maps on a regular basis. However, despite these applications' ubiquity, the literature contains very little information about how these applications are used in the real world. As such, many researchers and practitioners seeking to improve mobile map applications may not be able to identify...
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Identifying strategies to more broadly distribute the economic winnings of AI technologies is a growing priority in HCI and other fields. One idea gaining prominence centers on "data dividends", or sharing the profits of AI technologies with the people who generated the data on which these technologies rely. Despite the rapidly growing discussion a...
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Researchers and the media have become increasingly interested in protest users, or people who change (protest use) or stop (protest non-use) their use of a company's products because of the company's values and/or actions. Past work has extensively engaged with the phenomenon of technology non-use but has not focused on non-use (nor changed use) in...
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Wikipedia articles about places, OpenStreetMap features, and other forms of peer-produced content have become critical sources of geographic knowledge for humans and intelligent technologies. In this paper, we explore the effectiveness of the peer production model across the rural/urban divide, a divide that has been shown to be an important factor...
Conference Paper
Group projects are an essential component of teaching user interface (UI) design. We identified six challenges in transferring traditional group projects into the context of Massive Open Online Courses: managing dropout, avoiding free-riding, appropriate scaffolding, cultural and time zone differences, and establishing common ground. We present a c...
Preprint
Search engines are some of the most popular and profitable intelligent technologies in existence. Recent research, however, has suggested that search engines may be surprisingly dependent on user-created content like Wikipedia articles to address user information needs. In this paper, we perform a rigorous audit of the extent to which Google levera...
Conference Paper
The public is increasingly concerned about the practices of large technology companies with regards to privacy and many other issues. To force changes in these practices, there have been growing calls for “data strikes.” These new types of collective action would seek to create leverage for the public by starving business-critical models (e.g. reco...
Conference Paper
Millions of people worldwide contribute content to peer production repositories that serve human information needs and provide vital world knowledge to prominent artificial intelligence systems. Yet, extreme gender participation disparities exist in which men significantly outnumber women. A central concern has been that due to self-focus bias, the...
Article
This article introduces Cartograph, a visualization system that harnesses the vast world knowledge encoded within Wikipedia to create thematic maps of almost any data. Cartograph extends previous systems that visualize non-spatial data using geographic approaches. Although these systems required data with an existing semantic structure, Cartograph...
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Emoji are popular in digital communication, but they are rendered differently on different viewing platforms (e.g., iOS, Android). It is unknown how many people are aware that emoji have multiple renderings, or whether they would change their emoji-bearing messages if they could see how these messages render on recipients' devices. We developed sof...
Article
In many traditional labor markets, women earn less on average compared to men. However, it is unclear whether this discrepancy persists in the online gig economy, which bears important differences from the traditional labor market (e.g., more flexible work arrangements, shorter-term engagements, reputation systems). In this study, we collected self...
Article
GrabYourWallet, #boycottNRA and other online boycott campaigns have attracted substantial public interest in recent months. However, a number of significant challenges are preventing online boycotts from reaching their potential. In particular, complex webs of brands and subsidiaries can make it difficult for participants to conform to the goals of...
Conference Paper
Our full day-workshop focuses on challenges encountered by researchers attempting to design and conduct studies that span 2 or more social computing platforms, such as parallel sites for different language populations, different platforms, or different user experience designs. Social computing researchers are increasingly interested in these studie...
Conference Paper
Peer production communities create valuable content such as software, encyclopedia articles, and map data. As part of the creation process, these communities define production standards for their content, e.g., semantic and syntactic requirements. We carried out a study in OpenStreetMap to investigate the role of that community's standards for geog...
Conference Paper
Volunteered Geographic Information (VGI), such as contributions to OpenStreetMap and geotagged Wikipedia articles, is often assumed to be produced locally. However, recent work has found that peer-produced VGI is frequently contributed by non-locals. We evaluate this approach across hundreds of content types from Wikipedia, OpenStreetMap, and eBird...
Conference Paper
The extensive Wikipedia literature has largely considered Wikipedia in isolation, outside of the context of its broader Internet ecosystem. Very recent research has demonstrated the significance of this limitation, identifying critical relationships between Google and Wikipedia that are highly relevant to many areas of Wikipedia-based research and...
Conference Paper
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With rising use of multiple social network sites (SNSs), people now have an increasing number of options for audience, media, and other SNS features at their disposal. In this paper, our goal is to build machine learning models that can predict people»s multi-SNS posting decisions, thus enabling technology that can personalize and augment current S...
Conference Paper
Data visualizations in news articles (e.g., maps, line graphs, bar charts) greatly enrich the content of news articles and result in well-established improvements to reader comprehension. However, existing systems that generate news data visualiza-tions either require substantial manual effort or are limited to very specific types of data visualiza...
Conference Paper
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Many applications of geotagged content are predicated on the concept of localness (e.g., local restaurant recommendation, mining social media for local perspectives on an issue). However, definitions of who is a "local" in a given area are typically informal and ad-hoc and, as a result, approaches for localness assessment that have been used in the...
Conference Paper
The evolution of contributor behavior in peer production communities over time has been a subject of substantial interest in the social computing community. In this paper, we extend this literature to the geographic domain, exploring contribution behavior in OpenStreetMap using a spatiotemporal lens. In doing so, we observe a geographic version of...
Article
The sharing economy has quickly become a very prominent subject of research in the broader computing literature and the in human--computer interaction (HCI) literature more specifically. When other computing research areas have experienced similarly rapid growth (e.g. human computation, eco-feedback technology), early stage literature reviews have...
Article
As the gig economy continues to grow and freelance work moves online, five-star reputation systems are becoming more and more common. At the same time, there are increasing accounts of race and gender bias in evaluations of gig workers, with negative impacts for those workers. We report on a series of four Mechanical Turk-based studies in which par...
Conference Paper
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While popular digital maps support an unprecedented number of use cases, new reference map customization tools have been created for purposes for which those maps fall short. With the goal of informing the design of this new class of cartographic tools, we present the first study of naturalistic (" bespoke ") map customization behavior. Through a m...
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Millions of people use platforms such as Google Maps to search for routes to their desired destinations. Recently, researchers and mapping platforms have shown growing interest in optimizing routes for criteria other than travel time, e.g. simplicity, safety, and beauty. However, despite the ubiquity of algorithmic routing and its potential to defi...
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Landmark-based navigation systems have proven benefits relative to traditional turn-by-turn systems that use street names and distances. However, one obstacle to the implementation of landmark-based navigation systems is the complex challenge of selecting salient local landmarks at each decision point for each user. In this paper, we present Pharos...
Conference Paper
This panel brings together senior and junior members of the HCI community to answer two questions: (1) What issues raised by the 2016 U.S. election need to be addressed by the HCI community? and (2) How can the HCI community address these issues and have real, substantive impact? The panel includes a novel audience participation component that seek...
Conference Paper
Recent studies have found that people interpret emoji characters inconsistently, creating significant potential for miscommunication. However, this research examined emoji in isolation, without consideration of any surrounding text. Prior work has hypothesized that examining emoji in their natural textual contexts would substantially reduce potenti...
Conference Paper
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Much research has shown that social media platforms have substantial population biases. However, very little is known about how these population biases affect the many algorithms that rely on social media data. Focusing on the case study of geolocation inference algorithms and their performance across the urban-rural spectrum, we establish that the...
Conference Paper
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The widespread popularity of Pokémon GO presents the first opportunity to observe the geographic effects of location-based gaming at scale. This paper reports the results of a mixed methods study of the geography of Pokémon GO that includes a five-country field survey of 375 Pokémon GO players and a large scale geostatistical analysis of game eleme...
Conference Paper
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Catastrophic incidents associated with GPS devices and other personal navigation technologies are sufficiently common that these incidents have been given a colloquial nickname: " Death by GPS ". While there is a significant body of work on the use of personal navigation technologies in everyday scenarios, no research has examined these technologie...
Conference Paper
In addition to encyclopedia articles and software, peer production communities produce structured data, e.g., Wikidata and OpenStreetMap's metadata. Structured data from peer production communities has become increasingly important due to its use by computational applications, such as CartoCSS, MapBox, and Wikipedia infoboxes. However, this structu...
Article
Despite the geographically situated nature of most sharing economy tasks, little attention has been paid to the role that geography plays in the sharing economy. In this article, we help to address this gap in the literature by examining how four key principles from human geography—distance decay, structured variation in population density, mental...
Conference Paper
This paper introduces Cartograph, a visualization system that harnesses the vast amount of world knowledge encoded within Wikipedia to create thematic maps of almost any data. Cartograph extends previous systems that visualize non-spatial data using geographic approaches. While these systems required data with an existing semantic structure, Cartog...
Conference Paper
Wikipedia-based studies and systems frequently assume that no two articles describe the same concept. However, in this paper, we show that this article-as-concept assumption is problematic due to editors' tendency to split articles into parent articles and sub-articles when articles get too long for readers (e.g. "Portland, Oregon" and "History of...
Conference Paper
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Providing pedestrian navigation instructions on small screens is a challenging task due to limited screen space. As image-based approaches for navigation have been successfully proven to outperform map-based navigation on mobile devices, we propose to bring image-based navigation to smartwatches. We contribute a straightforward pipeline to easily c...
Conference Paper
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The lack of certain types of geographic data prevents the development of location-aware technologies in a number of important domains. One such type of “unmapped” geographic data is space usage rules (SURs), which are defined as geographically-bound activity restrictions (e.g. “no dogs”, “no smoking”, “no fishing”, “no skateboarding”). Researchers...
Conference Paper
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Geotagged tweets and other forms of social media volunteered geographic information (VGI) are becoming increasingly critical to many applications and scientific studies. An important assumption underlying much of this research is that social media VGI is " local " , or that its geotags correspond closely with the general home locations of its contr...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Wikipedia articles about places, OpenStreetMap features, and other forms of peer-produced content have become critical sources of geographic knowledge for humans and intelligent technologies. In this paper, we explore the effectiveness of the peer production model across the rural/urban divide, a divide that has been shown to be an important factor...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Emoji are commonly used in modern text communication. However, as graphics with nuanced details, emoji may be open to interpretation. Emoji also render differently on different viewing platforms (e.g., Apple's iPhone vs. Google's Nexus phone), potentially leading to communication errors. We explore whether emoji renderings or differences across pla...
Conference Paper
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Map applications for smartwatches present new challenges in cartography, a domain in which large display sizes have significant advantages. In this paper, we introduce StripeMaps, a system that adapts the mobile web design technique of linearization for displaying maps on the small screens of smartwatches. Just as web designers simplify multiple co...
Conference Paper
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Our interactions with the spaces around us are frequently defined by space usage rules (SURs) like "no smoking", "no dogs allowed", and "stay on the trail". These rules are important public health tools and help protect the environment, among other applications. However, despite their importance, no large-scale database of SURs currently exists. Th...
Conference Paper
Localness is an oft-cited benefit of volunteered geographic information (VGI). This study examines whether localness is a constant, universally shared benefit of VGI, or one that varies depending on the context in which it is produced. Focusing on articles about geographic entities (e.g. cities, points of interest) in 79 language editions of Wikipe...
Conference Paper
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Recent work has identified the lack of space usage rule (SUR) data -- e.g. "no smoking", "no campfires" -- as an important limitation of online/mobile maps that presents risks to user safety and the environment. In order to address this limitation, a large-scale means of mapping SURs must be developed. In this paper, we introduce and motivate the p...
Conference Paper
Mobile crowdsourcing markets (e.g., Gigwalk and TaskRabbit) offer crowdworkers tasks situated in the physical world (e.g., checking street signs, running household errands). The geographic nature of these tasks distinguishes these markets from online crowdsourcing markets and raises new, fundamental questions. We carried out a controlled study in t...
Conference Paper
In just a few years, crowdsourcing markets like Mechanical Turk have become the dominant mechanism for for building "gold standard" datasets in areas of computer science ranging from natural language processing to audio transcription. The assumption behind this sea change - an assumption that is central to the approaches taken in hundreds of resear...
Conference Paper
Peer production communities have been proven to be successful at creating valuable artefacts, with Wikipedia as a prime example. However, a number of studies have shown that work in these communities tends to be of uneven quality and certain content areas receive more attention than others. In this paper, we examine the efficacy of a range of targe...