Tianyi Li, Chris North


Crowdsourced sensemaking has shown great potential for enabling scalable analysis of complex data sets, from planning trips, to designing products, to solving crimes. Yet, most crowd sensemaking approaches still require expert intervention because of worker errors and bottlenecks that would otherwise harm the output quality. Mitigating these errors and bottlenecks would significantly reduce the burden on experts, yet little is known about the types of mistakes crowds make with sensemaking micro-tasks and how they propagate in the sensemaking loop. In this paper, we conduct a series of studies with 325 crowd workers using a crowd sensemaking pipeline to solve a fictional terrorist plot, focusing on understanding why errors and bottlenecks happen and how they propagate. We classify types of crowd errors and show how the amount and quality of input data influence worker performance. We conclude by suggesting design recommendations for integrated crowdsourcing systems and speculating how a complementary top-down path of the pipeline could refine crowd analyses.


Chris North

Tianyi Li

Publication Details

Date of publication:
November 7, 2019
ACM on Human-Computer Interaction
Page number(s):
Issue Number:
CSCW, Article No. 136
Publication note:

Tianyi Li, Chandler J. Manns, Chris North, Kurt Luther: Dropping the Baton?: Understanding Errors and Bottlenecks in a Crowdsourced Sensemaking Pipeline. Proc. ACM Hum. Comput. Interact. 3(CSCW): 136:1-136:26 (2019)