Building a better compass

Peter Dunphy wrote an interesting post last week about the limitations of Political Compass.

Of course, in the blogosphere there is very little new under the virtual sun, and this was a topic of debate 5 years ago. The late and much missed Chris Lightfoot was a great critic of the application and wrote his own version, along with this explanation. Entirely open source, it is ripe for someone to adapt and inflict on Facebook. Having said that, I’m not sure Chris would have approved of this in light of Facebook’s somewhat lax attitude towards user privacy – I do miss his postings.


  1. Yes I think I might have started all this with my posting ‘Hell hath no fury like a blogger scorned’ which appeared in last week’s golden dozen.

    Sorry for not being original James!

  2. I wasn’t accusing you of being unoriginal – I just thought it was an interesting angle to add to the discussion.

  3. I think I do too, but I’m intrigued by the pragmatist vs idealist distinction (not least of all because I come out as a significant left, significant pragmatist).

    The one I’m not clear about is the left-right axis.

  4. I wrote about it ages back and Chris responded reminding me it was based around the importance people put on issues and their responses combined with their self-identification.

    Essentially, the left/right scale is mostly issues that people think are important, correlated with how people that think a certain way self identify. Which makes sense. I really ought to redo it, great shame he’s no longer with us, would be great to see it updated the way the Compass perpetually is. I prefer their plot, but I prefer his methodology and openness.

    I came out as extreme left (almost at the edge) but in the middle up/down, which makes sense when I strongly favour mixed markets and am something of a liberal internationalist that objects to stupid wars but not sane ones.

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