Polis is a new way to gather open ended feedback from large groups of people. It is well suited to gathering organic, authentic feedback while retaining minority opinions.
The problem with surveys and comments
Think of the comment field at the end of a survey, or the comment section at the end of a news article. Both allow participants to write down whatever they think.
Humans will need to process the massive amount of text that results. This creates a burden on both survey research teams and comment moderators, respectively. It is also impossible to discern whether a given viewpoint is representative of the majority or not.
How polis is different
Polis overcomes these challenges and produces meaning from open ended responses. Participants can write what they think, but they can also agree and disagree with what others are saying one comment at a time. This process happens in real-time. As soon as someone writes, others can vote.
Polis runs statistical analysis on these voting patterns, also in real-time. It produces opinion groups and surfaces the comments that brought each group together. It also surfaces comments that found broad consensus among participants.
Polis scales to any number of participants, even millions. It accomplishes this by combining crowd behavior and machine learning. Humans can do what they are good at - reading text and forming snap judgments, as well as comparing statements. Computers can do what they are good at - finding patterns in large data sets.
- A large blog embeds Polis under articles in place of comments to increase engagement.
- The mayor of a city of millions asks the citizens a question via city newspapers.
- The papers embed the conversation on their website
- The papers add a short, type-able link in the print edition
- Citizens hit the link on mobile devices over breakfast
- The papers reference the responses the next day during coverage of the issue the mayor asked about.
- A large hospital is considering a major change and is unsure of the implications.
- It sends a mass mailer to its hundreds of nurses and doctors with a link to a Polis conversation
- Doctors and nurses write responses
- Doctors and nurses vote on each others responses
- Hospital gets a sense of the implications of the change
- Hospital identifies subgroups uniquely affected by the change
- A sociology professor with a classroom of 500 students uses Polis to gauge reactions to a complex reading.