2009 Poster Sessions : Harvesting Helpfulness: A Case Study of an Online Farmer's Forum

Student Name : Neil Patel
Advisor : Scott Klemmer
Research Areas: Graphics/HCI
We present a case study on using geo-location information
to help users navigate an online forum for farmers. Working
with newfarm.org, we ran a controlled experiment where
maps were added to each thread on the forum. One group of
users was shown maps with the location of all the thread's
viewers; another group the location of both viewers and
posters. We then measured how the maps affected users’
viewing behavior. For the most trafficked threads, we found
that maps showing posters noticeably increased geographic
clustering of viewers. However, interviews with forum users
revealed that other information, such as soil type or climatic
zone, would be more useful for navigating content. Conse-
quently, we believe that further investigation will reveal how
best to design contextually-relevant navigation elements.

Neil Patel is a PhD student in Computer Science at Stanford University, where he works in the HCI group. He received a BA in Computer Science and BA in Business Administration from UC Berkeley. His research explores the design of social media systems for user communities where the Internet is inaccessible or unfamiliar. He is advised by Scott Klemmer, Assistant Professor of Computer Science at Stanford University, and Tapan Parikh, Assistant Professor at the UC Berkeley School of Information.