Political compasses and other polls interest me at the moment.

  • The original seems to be the Libertarian party's "world's shortest political quiz" : http://www.self-gov.org/quiz.html
  • The PoliticalCompass is maybe most famous
    • Dating site OK Cupid used to have a political poll / compas (link now broken). Dating sites obviously drive a lot of self-classification because if you won't self-classify accurately you'll probably end up matched with someone you don't get on with.
    • And now on FaceBook ... YASNS are also places for compasses. http://apps.facebook.com/thepoliticalcompass/?auth_token=1b44d850866e1eaf1a10a23e4a100cd6&installed=1
      • Interesting that most of my friends are left-liberals. The political compass comes, I'm sure, from the libertarian / right-anarchist world, and is partly a piece of rhetoric designed to persuade people that there is a left-libertarian position which is neither left-liberal nor right-conservative. I wonder if it works for that? Or has the rhetorical effect been minimal. What's interesting, I'm sure, for someone with a libertarian perspective is why there are so many left-liberals. For a libertarian, left-liberalism must look weird and logically inconsistent : "they want freedom from government oppression except when it comes to spending money, WTF"
  • Actually Existing : http://existingactually.blogspot.com/2006/04/living-in-thick-of-it.html
    • (I'm a Hippie (Pelagian / Digger) / Revolutionary (Left-Hegelian / Whig) )
  • Pew Research, Political Typography : http://typology.people-press.org/
  • DavidBrin's questionaire : http://www.davidbrin.com/questionnaire.html

Political compass critiqued by Libertarian Samizdata : http://www.samizdata.net/blog/archives/003519.html Not much detail though. Just an assertion that some questions are misleading / distorting.

Why interesting? The idea is to help someone see a more general pattern or draw out implications of a political intuition. A didactic tool or for helping understand your own position better. (See also : PoliticalMapping)

I was thinking about non-political compasses, and now I'm wondering whether the 2 should be tied together, as GeorgeLakoff might do. You're a Republican because you were abused by your uncle.

see also BillSeitz:MindMirror

: I definitely thought of that. One of my UnfinishedProjects is to do a "political" style compass for programmers with questions like "strong typing is necessary to build large, robust applications" and "exceptions should be checked where they occur" etc. The final question would then say something like "what was your score at the politicalcompass.com". I'm interested to see if there's any correlation between your style as a programmer and your wider political affiliatons.

: The problem is, I want my ProgrammersCompass to be a proper two-dimensional one, and I haven't yet come up with a good hypothesis as to what the two dimensions are. Clearly there's an expressive-repressive dimension (TypesOfProgrammingLanguages) but as Oli points out there, maybe I'm trying to cram everything into that dimension. Hence, thinking up a compass is a good exercise in trying to clarify my thoughts on programming languages.

(Also TypesOfProgrammer)


Cool, correlates of political positions with other personality traits : http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/28/opinion/28kristof.html?_r=1&th&emc=th


Over on TrendPredictions/October2004 () http://blahsploitation.blogspot.com/2004/10/questions-i-wish-people-would-ask-me-q.html ) I wrote this about political compasses :

Polls and compasses have been used for fun. But they can do real work :

  • a) collecting information about people and
  • b) teaching people about themselves. Now that social networking services are getting lots of people together, polls let them classify themselves.

A new wave of polling software, tied to other social software will distribute and amateurize psychology.

Everyone will try their hand at categorizing and typing people. Some of the classifications will turn out to be bogus. But some will turn out to be usefully predictive of what or who people want to know, or the things they'd be good or bad at.

MarkTAW seems to have done a lot of polls : http://www.marktaw.com/sidebar/AboutMe.html

Of course, the real thing is to integrate this with FOAF!

FaceBook's polls (YASNS + polls) ... but there're some interesting restrictions : http://www.techcrunch.com/2007/06/02/facebook-polls-dont-mention-the-competition/

This guy is great : :-) http://www.peoplemaps.com/ :-)

A couple of years ago I filled in his questionnaire ... now he's mailing me with videos which are personalized for me, revealing the analysis of my personality. He has a very comforting, sober Scottish accent. And says a lot of things like "what I'm seeing here is that any job which requires painstaking, repetitive work is not for you." (Clearly true, because that's more or less what I said in the questionnaire.)

I hope it's all generated by the computer with a bunch of standard recorded chunks. (Rather than that he's reading these diagnoses out in full for each person.) But it sounds damned plausible.