Election: Unusual experiment

August 12, 2013 at 8:08 pm Leave a comment

Yesterday evening, I took part in an experiment which the ABC is running. It’s called “Vote Compass”, and you can find it at http://www.abc.net.au/votecompass” and have a go yourself. It only takes about 15-20 minutes in all.

This is how it works: there are a number of carefully created statements and the aim is that you select the response which is closest to how you feel. Most main areas of government policy are covered. After you finish that section, you are asked to ascribe a value between 0 and 10 to the various areas, depending how important they are to you (0= not important to you, 10=very important to you) then there are various other questions which cover your general background (demographics).

The computer program behind all this (made up of algorithms, just as Facebook and Google work), then analyzes your answers and provides you with a snapshot of where your views put you on a double axis square. It also shows you where the Liberals, Labor and the Greens are on that square, so you can see how well you fit with who you are thinking of voting for. It provides you with other pieces of information about, for example, how important the parties themselves rate the various issues.

It is a little bit of fun, and from my point of view, I came out roughly where I expected!! What is also interesting is that the results are being put together to provide a snapshot of the view of the whole sample (you and everyone who takes part). Of course, this is not, in statistical theory, a representative sample, but to correct that, MORE algorithms are used to attempt to ‘weight’ your responses to make them more representative, which is why they needed some basic information about yourself (although it is all anonymous). Don’t ask: much too complicated for me!! Anyway, at various times, the ABC will produce reports on the findings.

Should be interesting to watch how it goes…

Entry filed under: Politics and Government.

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