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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  1. A wiki is a great idea, not only because it might combine the efforts of really experienced bloggers but also those people who might have knowledge in particular electorates that normally would have been overlooked.

  2. I like the wiki idea. In addition to the electorates maybe you could include pages on candidates? What elections/seats/parties have they previously run in/for, a list of their appearances in the media. Perhaps also a library of political publications, leaflets, coreflutes etc (assuming no copyright issues).

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