How to read the visualization

The visualization in Polis has three purposes:

  1. Engagement - To show a user how his or her opinions relate to everyone else's
  2. Education - To instruct the user what dimensions are already under consideration before he or she writes
  3. Insight - To reveal the landscape of opinion (minority, majority, consensus)


  • Every participant is positioned closest to other participants that voted similarly
  • Every participant sees their own position as a circle with a blue halo around it
  • Clicking an individual brings you to their social profile, with a preference for Twitter


  • Groups of participants have a dotted line around them - these groups can be clicked on
  • Groups form because members voted similarly on multiple issues, not just one issue

When you click on a group, a carousel of comments will appear. These comments that tended to differentiate the group from other groups. Specifically, these are comments that people inside the group voted similarly on, while people outside the group voted differently on.

As you swipe through the carousel, you will see the visualization change. Each person assumes a green, red or grey halo, depending on whether they agreed, disagreed or passed on the comment presently in the carousel.

The circle in the middle of each group has two components.

  1. The number in the center is the number of people in the group total (including those who are in the visualization).
  2. When a group (or majority opinion) is selected, the halo shows the ratio of agrees, disagrees and passes in the group for only those participants who saw the comment. The carousel has a percentage of participants in a given group who agreed or disagreed with a comment, and that number also reflects only those participants in the group who saw the comment.

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