General Archive

I’ll see you all in 2015

This is the last front-page blog post for the Tally Room for 2014.

I’ll be returning on January 12, and will be jumping straight into coverage of next year’s Queensland and New South Wales state elections.

2014 was a very big year for the Tally Room. I produced complete seat-by-seat guides for the New Zealand general election in September, and for state elections in Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania. We also experienced the bizarre Senate by-election in Western Australia, as well as elections for the Tasmanian Legislative Council and six state by-elections, one federal by-election and a major lord mayoral by-election in Newcastle.

This big year of elections will spill over into 2015, with two of Australia’s largest states going to the polls to elect state governments. New South Wales will vote at the end of March. We don’t know when Queensland will vote, but it could be as early as February. We will also be experiencing a state by-election on January 31, in the Adelaide seat of Davenport, right next-door to Fisher, which produced such a close result in the recent by-election.

At the moment I am busily writing my guide to the 2015 Queensland state election, and I’m planning to finish the guide before the end of 2014. If you check out the box on the right-hand side of the website, you’ll see links to the ten most recent seat profiles, as well as links to index pages listing all the seats. The conversations have already started in the comments threads under many of these seat profiles, and you’re welcome to join in.

If you’re looking for stuff to read, you can look back at a variety of blog posts that I’ve written recently, including yesterday’s preview of the redistribution of wards for the City of Brisbane, which includes an interactive map of Brisbane. You can also find all my old seat guides on the archives page, and you can check out the fifty-six (and counting) profiles of seats for the Queensland state election.

In the meantime, until this blog resumes on 12 January, I wish all of my readers an enjoyable and restful holiday.

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My new Amazon ads

At the bottom of each post and page on my blog I have now replaced my Google ads with an ad from Amazon.com. If anyone is planning to buy any books through Amazon, you might consider clicking through from those ads. If you buy anything from Amazon after clicking to get there through my blog, I get a small commission out of it. So if you appreciate the blog and wanna help out a bit, that’s a small thing you could do.

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Has anyone got a job?

I know this is an unusual post, but I thought I need to give it a shot. I’m currently looking for work at the moment, which obviously is difficult in the current economy. If anyone who reads the blog knows of any jobs you think might be relevant to me, or even have work yourselves, let me know by emailing ben(at)tallyroom.com.au, thanks. Your regular transmission will return this afternoon.

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Mumble enters the WordPress age

Psephologist Peter Brent of Mumble has completely revamped his website, replacing the basic rolling thread of commentary with a new WordPress blog. It’s always been hard to follow Mumble without an RSS feed or the ability to link to individual posts or comment, but he’s a great psephologist and probably one of the first psephobloggers in Australia. Go have a read.

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The new wiki

I have now installed a complete wiki as part of the Tally Room. You can access it at www.tallyroom.com.au/wiki, and I plan to start by including a federal pendulum for the next election, as well as corresponding pages for all 150 electorates. If you wanna go and register to play around, go ahead.

Update: The Wiki is now up-and-running. I have set up links on the front page to the beginnings of election guides for the Fremantle by-election, the Western Australian daylight saving referendum and the next Australian federal election. I haven’t had a chance to start the guides, so if you’re interested feel free to start pages and begin adding information. I think it’s best if we leave it as free as possible until we begin to develop a little bit.

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Website update

I haven’t yet managed to install the proper Wiki for this site. I started it over the long weekend but hopefully I can get it working over the next week. In the meantime I have suspended open user registration for this site, as I have seen a few people register who appear to be spammers.

In other news, I’m currently trying to find new ways to support myself while running the blog. My current job, which has given me the time to work on this blog, is finishing in the next few weeks. If you know of any opportunities that relate to this blog, then please let me know, as my employment status may effect my ability to write this blog.

Please click on any ads you see that interest you, as I receive a small sum of money for each click and it doesn’t cost you anything. If you find this blog particularly useful, please donate. I’ve managed to cover the costs of registering and hosting the site, but any extra donations will allow me to devote more time to the blog and the extra features, such as the new wiki and my collection of electoral maps.

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Testing out the election-wiki

I have installed the WordPress Wiki plugin and set up a page that should be editable for all registered users.

If you go to the bottom of the right-hand column and register, you should be able to edit the the “test wiki” page.

So what can we use it for? Put your thoughts in below.

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Web 2.0 psephology

*Wait a moment while I clear away the cobwebs*

Hello all and welcome back from the post-Queensland unscheduled week-long break.

I thought I’d return to the blog by throwing out some ideas I had late in the campaign for how we can cover future campaigns.

Every election campaign, William Bowe at Poll Bludger and Antony Green at ABC Elections post their election guides, with an entry for each electorate, with a list of candidates, past results, a map of the electorate (usually just the electoral commission’s basic non-interactive map) and a short analysis of the seat. And they are fantastic.

But I’ve been thinking about ways to expand on those models. The problem is that, with only one person having access, these posts tend to be largely written before the election campaign and not updated. Furthermore, election blogs tend to gather gossip and election news from many different electorates, but this information is presented largely in chronological threads.

I doubt there’s any one person who could write better electorate profiles than Antony does, but we have hundreds of people involved in the psephoblogosphere, including half a dozen regular bloggers, and my experience tells me that the collective wisdom produces a better result.

I was thinking that we could set up a wiki, as a subpage of this blog. I could then start it up before an election campaign with a page with a pendulum and links to pages for all electorates. It would then be up to you to fill in the rest, Wikipedia-style. You could use material produced by others (like Antony and William, although I wouldn’t want it just to be a ripoff of what they are doing), as well as editing and adding material as the campaign goes on, and this would allow locals to add their own inside knowledge from their seat to the Wiki.

Anyway, it’s probably going to be a while before there is another state election, with Tasmania and the Commonwealth looking unlikely to hold an early election anytime soon and elections in SA, NSW and Victoria fixed so that none of them take place for at least twelve months, so it might be a little while before we can try this idea out.

So another question I had for you all to consider is, if I set up a psephological wiki, what other sorts of things could we include on there? It doesn’t have to just be an interactive electorate guide, but I wanna hear what people think would be worthwhile.

On another note, thanks to the couple of you who gave small amounts of money towards the upkeep of the blog. Thanks to one donation I have enough to upgrade to the next plan, which should allow the wiki to function and ensure that I don’t have to worry about election-night outages like the one we saw in Queensland. I’m not gonna keep harping on about donations, since that’s I’m not doing this for money, but if people ever have any money or you think this blog is worth paying a little bit of money for, then please send me a small donation. My employment status at the moment is a bit uncertain, which makes keeping the blog going harder, so any revenue makes it easier for me to focus on the blog.

I have heard from one person that there is a problem with the paypal donation process on the right-hand side of the blog. I haven’t had a chance to work out if this is a problem yet, so if you try and donate and it doesn’t work, let me know and we can either work out another way or I can let you know when it’s fixed.

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Yet another outage

So yet again I underestimated traffic, which resulted in the blog again going down overnight. I’ve had to upgrade to a higher hosting plan. I thought I’d open up the option that, if anyone thinks it’s worth donating, I’d appreciate any donations to help offset the cost of upgrading my hosting plan. There’s a “donate” button now on the right-hand side.

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Last night’s outage

You may have noticed that, for a few hours last night, the blog was down, due to my exceeding the bandwidth with my hosts. So it’s the fault of all of you bastards for having the temerity to read my blog.

I’ve raised the bandwidth limit which will hopefully cover the blog for March.

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