by Simon Plenderleith
Well it’s been a bumpy ride at times, but without a doubt, it’s been a thrilling six weeks or so since we launched Vote for Policies on Monday 22nd March. Since then we’ve had over half a million visitors and over 2.25 million page views, from people in 185 countries around the world. Most importantly however, you wonderful people have completed over a quarter of a million surveys!
(See the delicious charts at the bottom of this post for the overall picture when the polls closed last Thursday)
We cannot thank you all enough for your support. It has been humbling to read your messages of encouragement and thanks, as well as seeing you spread Vote for Policies far and wide. You’ve proven unequivocally that word of mouth from passionate people is still the best way to spread a message.
Amongst the madness of building the site and keeping it up and running through huge traffic surges, we saw hundreds of blog posts and forum threads about Vote for Policies, thousands of tweets and a whole ton of sharing on Facebook. Eventually the mainstream media picked up on us, and all of this helped propel us to our busiest day on Wednesday 5th May (the day before the election), when 26,542 new surveys were completed. Each day has been a new adventure, and we’re incredibly delighted that you all came along for the ride!
Here’s some link action to the media coverage that we’ve had for Vote for Policies. If you saw something on TV, heard something on the radio or read something in the press about us, please let us know in the comments below. Thanks!
- ‘Online dating with the political parties’ - Financial Times
- ‘Vote 2010: slaps, spoofs and skulduggery’ - Channel 4 News
- ‘Election website roundup’ - The Guardian
- ‘General Election 2010: Find out how your vote will count’ - The Telegraph
- ‘Don’t put your leaders on the stage’ - Financial Times (in printed paper too)
- ‘Election 2010: Link-swap - which websites are you using?’ - BBC News
- ‘The Green party: a manifesto for a low-key life’ - The Guardian
- ‘Are you a secret Green party sympathiser?’ - Financial Times
- ‘Greens winning on policy, oddly’ - The Times
- Interview with Matt on Future Radio (http://www.futureradio.co.uk/)
- Interview with Matt on BBC Radio Coventry & Warwickshire (http://news.bbc.co.uk/local/coventry/hi/tv_and_radio/)
- ‘The Andrew Marr Show’ - BBC1
- ‘The Big Questions’ - BBC1
The results when the polls closed on election night
For the stats fans amongst you, here’s how the results looked at 10pm on Thursday 6th when the polls closed. We’re hoping to release more juicy stats and infographics soon.
By Matt Chocqueel-Mangan
We were delighted to sail past the 250,000 mark today! This is entirely thanks to the incredible support from all of you out there who have shared, tweeted, forwarded, posted, blogged, dug (digged?), emailed and generally just shouted about the Vote for Policies website. Thank you all. Being able to compare policies, it seems, is something we find useful in deciding who to vote for.
Also pleased to report that the site has never been busier, with over 25,000 surveys being completed today alone! This is also after some really frustrating technical issues over the weekend that we know inconvenienced many of you. Sincere apologies to all of you we haven’t managed to reply to yet - hings are back to normal, so if you have time to try the survey again please do. Thanks also for being so patient with us - it helped soothe the pain of getting no sleep and surviving on little more than bad jokes and Crunchy Nut Cornflakes.
We were also delighted to release a new feature (and the source of our weekend troubles) showing results for specific constituencies. We’re still adding the data from all of the surveys so far, so the full picture will be revealed tomorrow morning. Great to see people are already posting links to for their constituency results!
We’ll be posting here later today and will be keeping you abreast of developments post-election. In the meantime, I hope you’re all as excited about the election day as we are, and looking forward to whatever tomorrow (literally and figuratively) may bring.
Do remember to vote too (I say this mainly for the benefit of our Simon…).
Thanks all ;-)
by Matt Chocqueel-Mangan
The overwhelming positive coming from this election campaign is the wealth of resources around to help engage voters and help us make an informed decision. And the more the better, as far as we’re concerned!
Given we all share a passion for a fairer democracy, how about sharing some tips here? Here are a few of good ones, but it’s over to you…
My favourite is www.de-mob.co.uk. They have focused on the three main political parties, and the great thing is that they cover lots of issues that we haven’t, so if you want to plug those gaps this is a great place to start! And for all you fellow cyclists out there, our questions are answered courtesy of the Guardian here.
There are a couple of other ‘survey-based’ websites too, so if you want a second opinion head over to www.whoshouldyouvotefor.co.uk. Most of the media broadcasters are offering great resources around the ‘Digital Election’, and the BBC and Guardian are certainly worth bookmarking. Slightly left-field, the Open University are running a thought-provoking exercise with their 92 Rewind project, which is interesting to follow.
So what about you? Where else do you go to research your political leanings? With something this important there’s no sense keeping it to yourself!
by Alistair Holt
For all of you who would like to get a bit more involved with Vote for Policies, and help us spread the word, we’ve collected some goodies together especially for you!
Over on our new Get Involved page you will find easy sharing links for your favourite social media sites, a Twibbon which you can use on your Twitter avatar and Facebook profile picture, a set of posters for downloading, printing and sticking up wherever you can find some free space (windows, noticeboards, your friends back *shh*) and a tasty desktop wallpaper to brighten up your computer screen.
We’ve been considering opening a little shop where you would be able to buy Vote for Policies t-shirts, mugs, badges and stickers, which would all help promote the site and get the message out there. It would also help support the site financially. Please let us know in the comments if this is something you’d be interested in. If we have time and there’s enough interest, we might well get this up and running soon.
We really appreciate the fantastic support we have already been receiving from you all, and with a little more, we can take Vote for Policies even further. Thank you!
by Matt Chocqueel-Mangan
You have been asking for it, and we’ve been promising it! Yes, finally you can view all of the policies from every party! You can order them by Issue (all Crime policies, for example) or by Party (all Labour policies), and any policies that you selected are highlighted too.
You can access it via your results page - just scroll to the bottom and you’ll see the Policy Browser link. And don’t forget to let us know what you think.
I’m also pleased to say the policy summaries have (almost) all been updated following the release of party manifestos last week. For your interest (!) and for the benefit of further transparency, I thought it would be useful to give you some brief insight into how the updates have been handled. It’s been a joint effort, so special thanks go to Edd Moore for his excellent journalistic eye for providing a crucial second opinion.
Obviously being ‘policy summaries’ we’re not trying to include every policy in full detail, but for each party it has been pretty easy to identify their key points, and treat them all in a consistent and fair way. As before, we have pulled out (up to) the first eight main points from the relevant sections, just lifting text as it is and removing any party name references.
A brief note on each party;
BNP: We were told on Tuesday by their press office that their manifesto release has been been delayed until Friday. We’ll have to update this separately as soon as it’s out.
Conservatives: All sections have been changed, although there was no heading / section in their manifesto covering Immigration so this was taken from their website. Possibly some points are too long as we stitched a few together to make sure there was room to cover different subjects. The summaries are with their Deputy Head of Press, so any amends they request will be incorporated immediately.
Greens: They confirmed that there were no changes to make to the policy summaries (which they had previously checked), so there has been no need to update them. That was an easy job!
Labour: Fortunately the layout of their manifesto makes it easy to pull out the key points. I haven’t heard back from their press office after sending the the updated summaries as requested but, as with the Conservatives, we’ll make any amends they request as soon as they come through.
Lib Dems: All previous points that aren’t now in their manifesto have been removed. Their Head of Policy very obligingly edited out non-manifesto points for us and we added extra points from the manifesto where there was room.
UKIP: Quite easy to get the key points out here to. Mainly just re-prioritiesd in accordance with their manifesto, which they have also kindly checked and approved.
by Simon Plenderleith
Just to remind you all that the deadline for for registering to vote is at 5pm (Tuesday) tomorrow afternoon, so if you aren’t registered then head on over to About My Vote (the official Electoral Commission website). The mail deadline has now passed to get your registration form delivered in time by post, however you can print it off and drop it in at your local authority (as an unnamed member of our team had to do today!).
It doesn’t really need saying, but this is an incredibly important general election, and you shouldn’t miss out on having a say in the future of this country and it’s government.
by Simon Plenderleith
Thanks to all our vocal and passionate users, we’ve had over 100,000 surveys completed since we launched just over three weeks ago. We’ve been thrilled to hear all of your feedback, and it’s been fantastic watching the site grow and spark political debates across the world (we’ve picked up quite a foreign following from the USA, and even places as far afield as New Zealand!).
Matt has been ploughing his way through the freshly released manifestos so that we can update the survey to reflect current party policies. We should hopefully have this painstaking, but essential process completed by early next week. If we have it up sooner we’ll be sure to let you all know.
This past week or so, we’ve had major challenges keeping everything up and running to serve the hundreds of thousands of visitors to the site. We can only apologise if you’ve had problems completing the survey - we appreciate how frustrating it can be - but the good news is that we have now massively upgraded our capacity. We should have all the juice we need to help make this the most transparent election in history!
We’ve got some really exciting new features in development for the site at the moment. Some will help you spread Vote for Policies far and wide, others will help empower you and fellow voters in your constituency. We’re also working on some fascinating infographics that will provide a more detailed insight into the results that the surveys are producing.
We’re excited about what the next three weeks in the run up to the election will bring. Stay tuned, and don’t forget, vote for policies, not personalities!