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Understanding Human Intervention in the Platform Economy: A case study of an indie food delivery service

by   Samantha Dalal, et al.

This paper examines the sociotechnical infrastructure of an "indie" food delivery platform. The platform, Nosh, provides an alternative to mainstream services, such as Doordash and Uber Eats, in several communities in the Western United States. We interviewed 28 stakeholders including restauranteurs, couriers, consumers, and platform administrators. Drawing on infrastructure literature, we learned that the platform is a patchwork of disparate technical systems held together by human intervention. Participants join this platform because they receive greater agency, financial security, and local support. We identify human intervention's key role in making food delivery platform users feel respected. This study provides insights into the affordances, limitations, and possibilities of food delivery platforms designed to prioritize local contexts over transnational scales.


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