September 7, 2011 debuts

I'm more than a little wary of "neutral" projects run by people with agendas lately, but I'm intrigued by, run by Herald-Examiner publisher, 2009 County Legislature Candidate, Dryden Republican Committee Chair, and VillageSquared creator Jim Crawford.

The site describes itself as: was created to elevate the quality of public conversations by accurately measuring public opinion, while improving the public's grasp of important issues.

It is new, and at this time is starting with polling questions that are specific to Dryden, NY. We hope soon to serve many audiences with an accurate and convenient public survey platform, which also allows for articulate and intelligent debate among its users. is committed to serving its users with COMPLETELY NEUTRAL, and FULLY TRANSPARENT voting and debates. For that reason, we require all users to provide their real names and addresses at the registration stage. Real names and addresses are necessary to ensure that each user may only vote once, and that they live in the voting district being surveyed.

I have a few doubts about achieving those goals:

  • Neutrality is incredibly difficult, though the current questions seem workable. (Will that last? I hope so.)

  • The 'votes' here are, like all online polls, going to be from self-selected participants, who aren't necessarily representative of Dryden's population as a whole.

  • Yes/No questions are difficult too - I have "maybe" answers to 2 of 3 there now.

On the bright side, conversation is good. I do think that real names and addresses are worth trying. Anonymity hasn't served the Ithaca Journal forums well in particular. Even though this may not feel very "typical for the Internet", it seems worth trying here, and the visible usernames can still be whatever you like. (I just used my name.)

I just registered for the site, and I'll be keeping a close eye on it.

Posted by simon at September 7, 2011 12:38 PM in
Note on photos