In continuing my string of shorter reviews, here's another beta site that's helping push the traditional workplace out of the realm we consider universally accepted, and introduce it to the wild world of microtasking and creative collaboration - Soylent. Soylent bills itself as a "crowd-powered interface: one that embeds workers from Mechanical Turk into Microsoft Word." It's apparently what happens when you have a crowd inside your word processor.
Article Contributed by Seth Weinstein from Tiny Work
This is the sort of platform I will always think is really cool, because it’s a clever combination of several already-extant ideas. Soylent is an add-on for Microsoft Word that uses a crowd, accumulated with Amazon Mechanical Turk, to bring the aspect of humanity back to word processing. Anyone who works with MS Word knows that their spelling and grammar check is hit-or-miss, so Soylent recruits Turkers to do it instead. Ditto for document shortening (incredibly useful for bloggers) and series of tasks made into macros.
There isn’t a lot of information available yet on this still-in-in-the-works project, but I like the fact that the actual labor is divided up so cleanly. Not everyone is a great editor, but microtasking has made it easy for Soylent to divvy up the work by saying “this group finds the errors, this group fixes them, and this group makes sure the last two didn’t screw anything up.” Also, this is minor, but a cool graphical aspect of the plug-in is the length slider; shortening your document by removing unnecessary words and phrases is as simple as moving a slider to the desired length, and you can watch the pieces fall off your text in real-time.
You can sign up for the beta of Soylent on their website, and savvy Turkers may already be able to locate tasks related to the application. According to the intro video, they pay pretty well, too.