Collective Poll: The Most Important Developments in 2018

This article is co-authored by Darshana Narayanan.

Dear Civicist reader,

It’s been quite a year and as this year draws to a close, we’d like to mull over, with you, the most significant developments around tech, politics and civic life in 2018. To do this we have created a virtual conversation space using Polis—a civic engagement tool that has been used to craft legislation in Taiwan, crowdsource youth concerns in Singapore, run a ‘Virtual Town Hall’ in Bowling Green Kentucky, gather collective input on the future of open data at IODC 2018, and create a ‘HiveMind’ around local issues by New Zealand media org Scoop.

Our topic: What were the most significant developments in tech and politics in 2018?

Together, let’s see what issues or trends are highest on our collective mind map. Is it the rise of facial recognition technology? The Facebook-Cambridge Analytica fallout? Information warfare? Distributed organizing? Your votes and comments will help map out the scene–and instead of finding just one answer, we’ll see if there are clusters of opinion among all the people who participate.

[UPDATE: Here’s the emerging points of consensus among people who have participated so far.]

How to join in:

  • Scroll down to access the conversation portal
  • Vote agree/disagree/pass on the statements that people have submitted.
  • At any point submit your own statement(s), which others can see and vote on. [Note: You will have the option of signing in using your existing social media account.]

The process is quick and easy, and you can keep returning to answer newly submitted statements and see how the conversation is progressing. You have the option of receiving email updates if you sign-up when prompted in the portal (Polis promises never to share your personal information).

Tracking the conversation:

As votes accumulate, uses machine learning methods to mapping out the entire conversation in real-time—visualizing correlations between opinions and participants, clustering participants into opinion groups, and surfacing areas of consensus and divisiveness.

You can see a snapshot of the results on the Polis portal and also see the extended real-time reporting here:


The conversation will stay open until Dec 18, 11:59PM.