Those “Who Should I Vote For?” sites are, I think, a great idea. Many of them fail though. They;
- often miss out huge policy areas (e.g. Europe)
- often just copy/paste from manifestos making it easy to see which party is which
- over simplify questions or provide limited answer choices that don’t always match views
- become out of date and are slow to be updated
I’d like to propose we (anyone with the inclination to help me) build a framework for creating such tests that we can use again and again. I have an idea how we can do it.
It needs to be;
- Open source and collaborative (obviously!)
- Easy for anyone (i.e. non-developers) to contribute to improving the policy questions
Here’s what I propose;
1. Agree/disagree questions
In order to determine the political leanings of the user without revealing actual policies we should use questions to which the answer has to be one of five choices;
- Strongly Agree
- Strongly Disagree
Each political party will then be attached to one of those five answers. For example, consider the proposition “The UK should leave the EU” to which the matching would probably be;
- Strongly Agree – UKIP
- Agree – Conservatives
- Disagree – Labour
- Strongly Disagree – Liberal Democrats
For each matching answer, a “point” will be given to that party, and at the end of the survey those points will be used to generate percentage “matches” to each party. E.g. if the user was Nick Clegg you’d hope he achieved a 100% match to the Liberal Democrats, and lesser percentage matches to some other parties too.
2. Markdown for question and answer generation
So that anyone can help to contribute, the questions and the matching of parties to answers should use Markdown. The application would then parse the markdown to generate the actual questions and calculate the points based on the answers given.
This is an example of how that Markdown might look.
It’s not great for parsing, but should be straightforward for contributing too. I’m very open to ideas on a better format, in any case.
So, what do you think? Is it a good idea? Is it workable? Will you help me build it?