Transparency Paths - Documenting the Diversity of User Perceptions
- 1. University of Trento, Italy
- 2. Open University of Cyprus and CYENS Centre of Excellence, Cyprus
- 3. Web Information System and Department of Software Technology, TU Delft, Netherlands
We are living in an era of global digital platforms, eco-systems of algorithmic processes that serve users worldwide. However, the increasing exposure to diversity online – of information and users – has led to important considerations of bias. A given platform, such as the Google search engine, may demonstrate behaviors that deviate from what users expect, or what they consider fair, relative to their own context and experiences. In this exploratory work, we put forward the notion of transparency paths, a process by which we document our position, choices, and perceptions when developing and/or using algorithmic platforms. We conducted a self-reflection exercise with seven researchers, who collected and analyzed two sets of images; one depicting an everyday activity, “washing hands,” and a second depicting the concept of “home.” Participants had to document their process and choices, and in the end, compare their work to others. Finally, participants were asked to reflect on the definitions of bias and diversity. The exercise revealed the range of perspectives and approaches taken, underscoring the need for future work that will refine the transparency paths methodology.