Soylent Diet Self-experimentation: Design Challenges in Extreme Citizen Science Projects

Marketa Dolejsova, Denisa Kera

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference article in proceedingsScientificpeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Quantified self-experimentation with personal diets is a popular activity among health enthusiasts, diagnosed patients, as well as "life hackers" pursuing self-optimization goals. In this paper, we reflect on self-experimentation practices in the context of amateur citizen science communities. We report findings from 11 month-long qualitative fieldwork in a community of nutrition hobbyists experimenting with a powdered food substitute "soylent". Our respondents customized the soylent powders to their personal needs, tracked their metabolic reactions to the diet, and discussed their findings with the online soylent user community. Although the data and knowledge sharing within the community positively impacted respondents' nutrition literacy, these activities created risks regarding their health safety and data privacy. We define soylent self-experimentation as a form of "extreme citizen science". Based on the limitations identified in the soylent community, we suggest a set of design recommendations for extreme citizen science projects.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the ACM Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work, CSCW
PublisherACM
Pages2112-2123
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-4503-4335-0
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2017
MoE publication typeA4 Conference publication
EventACM Conference on Computer-Supported Cooperative Work and Social Computing - Portland, United States
Duration: 25 Feb 20171 Mar 2017

Conference

ConferenceACM Conference on Computer-Supported Cooperative Work and Social Computing
Abbreviated titleCSCW
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityPortland
Period25/02/201701/03/2017

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