[MG] Voting advice application

Alex Keskitalo / D4C email.d4c at gmail.com
Sun Jun 5 20:29:29 EDT 2011

Hi All!

This is my obligatory self-introduction post.

this is my project:
in finnish: http://apps.facebook.com/eduskuntavaalikone/
google-translated to english: 

it is basicly a predictive QA system where the questions are made by 
users, and answered by election candidates.

To use it, you select your district, then select questions and rate the 
candidate's answers, and as you do that, you form a personal top 10 list 
of candidates with an increasing confidence-level,  which is what every 
voter wants whenever an election is near. So much so that the average 
visitor spent over 10 minutes in-app, feeding the machine-learning 
algorithm with rather sparse but high quality ratings, making it smarter 
by every click. See how that works?

I hail from finland, and it may interest you to know that the "voting 
advice app" scene is very mature over here, with over 200 of them in the 
previous elections, with a 10-year history of every media outlet and NGO 
having their own (outsourced) system.

The majority of finnish voters will have used two or more "voting advice 
app" to help them decide, and it is speculated that the protest vote 
materialized online, with facebook and these "voting advice app"-apps as 
the most obvious suspects.

We even have an established term for this type of app, "vaalikone", 
which translates as "election machine". try googling the term and see 
what results you get.. mostly multi-choice questionaires that output 
your top candidates by comparing their answers to yours. As you all 
probably know already, this is an over-simplification of reality, which 
is actually way more chaotic and wildly diverse, even fractal-like in 
its divergence.

With this background and on-the-ground field experience in a saturated 
ecosystem, we have gained some valuable insight that we hope to 
transform into foresight.

We are in the process of gamifying it more, adding better 
confidence-building mechanisms into it, and most relevantly, an explicit 
voting feature, which can have some very interesting implications, as 
you are all well aware.

this is where we are at:
-a population that regards these systems as established and valid parts 
of the political landscape
-mass adoption of voting apps featuring real candidates in real elections
-digital identity, i.e. facebook, as a platform on top of which to build

AFAIK only the finns can claim all three at this time, but that seems to 
mostly be because of the maturity of the market. the dutch come close 
though, also something is going on in turkey..

I think this isnt strictly speaking "open democracy", but that IS the 
general direction, and everyone's just coming at it from different 
angles, so whatever you all are building, we want to be a part of it. 
Also, vice verca.


-Alex Keskitalo
email.d4c at gmail.com

Originally posted to the mailing list of the Metagovernment Project:

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