Macalester College Research Project, 2009

Poliwiki is a research project exploring how to improve political discourse online.

  • Site concept
  • Interaction wireframes
  • Visual design

I worked as a design mentor for the Poliwiki research project at Macalester College. Poliwiki is a site designed to improve political discourse between people who don't share the same views. Political discussion on the internet has become increasingly balkanized and people of different political opinions rarely have meaningful discussions with one another. Poliwiki has a number of novel systems meant to encourage people to express disagreement while not personally attacking each other.

I designed the basic site structure and developed several rating mechanisms that allow people to rate pages by both "agreement" and "quality". The idea being explored is that people may disagree with an argument, but controversial, high-quality arguments will still rise to the top. Poliwiki also hopes to encourage people to understand the biases and positions that groups have themselves by providing a "group barometer" for seeing what issues a group's members agree or disagree on.

Poliwiki Beta Website

A politician's page in Poliwiki. The agreement / quality dial on the right allows users to vote on the overall quality of each politician, issue, or discussion.
The group barometer reveals the popularly-held opinions of any group.
Each post in a discussion can be rated by both quality and agreement.