new initiative - Political Reform Scorecard

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Johnny Ryan

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Jan 18, 2011, 3:22:06 PM1/18/11
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Our idea (me and Joe Curtin) is to introduce an independent and widely
publicised political reform scorecard that has received the backing of
every major political scientist in the country before the election.

The idea is to setup a system for rating the political parties
proposals for reform against each other -- before the election -- and
having reforms judged, and then track how well they are carried out by
the next government. The initiative is described here http://bit.ly/etu5Al

There is a strong community element to this.
First, the weighting of the importance of different areas of reform
will - or should be - determined by crowd voting.
Second, the ongoing tracking of implementation and performance will
rely on a flow of government data.

We're looking to build a site to support this - in parallel we're
working on the political science angle and the funding to get
publicity covered. Can you think of people who would get fired up
enough about this to help us build the site?

This could be a wiki with voting options, or it could be some other
type of platform. Anybody interested in getting involved?

More at http://bit.ly/gSZNbz and http://bit.ly/hn6hJV

gerryk

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Jan 19, 2011, 5:41:02 AM1/19/11
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I would be interested in getting behind this.
My personal suggestion would be Drupal, for a number of reasons...

1. I am proficient in Drupal
2. It already has a number of the necessary features: User management,
Voting modules
3. It has strong 'semantic' functionality, thus looking to the future
with regard to data aggregation and searchability
4. It has a comprehensive security model, anti-spam features,
anti-code injection measures etc
5. It has an excellent theming engine, and many high quality themes
already available

Whether or not Drupal is selected as a platform, I would be interested
in getting involved.
best regards to all
Gerry

gerryk

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Jan 19, 2011, 5:43:03 AM1/19/11
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BTW, Drupal also has a very powerful tagging/taxonomy engine, to allow for easy searching and categorisation within the site.

James Gallagher

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Jan 19, 2011, 5:43:24 AM1/19/11
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I've found Drupal quite hard to get into initially but I do agree with your points below. The semantic aspect is well addressed with the work that people in DERI are doing in that area and would probably fit quite well with this type of project. I may have to consider sullying myself by touching Drupal again :)

James

uoccou

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Jan 19, 2011, 6:11:45 AM1/19/11
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How about a wiki - easy to use and understand, collaborative ? This isn't to dismiss the likes of Drupal, and to note that neither (afaik, not being a Drupal expert) neither have workflow facilities - if this is a requirement.

I'd be interested in getting involved, but might suggest a revolution or perhaps even abolition, rather than reform :-)
--

Regards

Ultan O'Carroll


Archive Link
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Johnny Ryan

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Jan 19, 2011, 8:42:28 AM1/19/11
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Thanks!

Good to meet you Gerry, Ultan, and James.

We're open to ideas on how this could work online to maximise what we
are doing with the Scorecard and make it really work.
Let me give you an idea of what we're thinking. This can evolve in two
stages, with deadlines that anticipate the expected times of manifesto
release and election.

Stage 1. Announcing the Political Reform Scorecard
11 Feb.
The academic panel will have independently agreed their list of
necessary reforms, based on consensus and best practise. Our objective
is to facilitate this and use bottom up power to force the next
government to actually act on these key areas.
They should have their areas of reform finalised and ready for
dissemination by 11 Feb, to give political parties time to react. We'd
like to see a simple site that announced this, but which also gave the
public the ability to vote to weight the importance of area of reform
against each other. Example: visitor 1 thinks "local government
reform" is less important than "electoral reform", but more important
than "reforming the oireachtas"; and within oireachtas reform visitor
1 may also thing that reforming the committee system is more important
than changing the relationship between the executive and the
legislature, etc. The academic panel will propose various areas and
sub areas of reform, but we would like the public to be able to add
their voices in determining which are weighted as most important.
I think it will also be important to weight the importance of public
votes to the number of votes received from different visitors so that
a handful of voters will be taken into account less than thousands.

Stage 2. Monitoring Reform
After the election, from late March, early April
A major part of this is to judge manifestos, the eventual program for
government, and then actual government actions, so that the public can
see whether reform is actually being carried out. What I'd like to use
is a system that allows users to alert on the latest developments.
This would mean that the academic panel would be kept up to date with
new information (e.g. progression of legislation) so that it can score
the government's performance to hold it to account. It would also mean
that the public would have a go to resource for shared political data
in addition to the ongoing scoring provided by the academic panel.
It would be great to have something like a Gantt tracker like this
http://dublinstreams.blogspot.com/2011/01/irish-government-legislation-exhibit.html
so that the public could see for themselves how reform is, or is not
progressing.

What do you think?

I'd be delighted to have your help on this.

Johnny
> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
>
> Archive Link
> /email@ <mailto:uoc...@gmail.com>
> Lewis TDI 1842 <http://uoccou.endofinternet.net:8080/resources/sparql.html>
> SkyTwenty <http://skytwenty.endofinternet.net:8080/treasure>
> Blog <http://uoccou.wordpress.com>
> /

gerryk

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Jan 19, 2011, 9:15:31 AM1/19/11
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Don't worry James... I'll hold your hand

gerryk

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Jan 19, 2011, 9:22:40 AM1/19/11
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Hi Ultan... my main issue with the use of a wiki is that the data contained within is very 'freeform'. It is relatively easy to structure it on a page such that a person can comprehendit easily, but for another machine to make sense of it is a little more difficult. A large part of publishing on the web is to disseminate and syndicate data, and, IMO, this is best served by a system whereby the data can be structured and published along with its descriptive meta-data.
There are certain 'workflow' features built in to Drupal in the form of 'actions' and 'triggers', which allow certain actions to be performed, say the status of a post to be changed. based on the a trigger, such as a rating change. I'm not sure if this is exactly what you had in mind though.
regards to all
Gerry

uoccou

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Jan 20, 2011, 5:13:41 AM1/20/11
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Well to be clear, I was thinking Semantic Media Wiki [1] rather than plain-old Media Wiki - this might be the thing if a collaborative structure and site with RDF is a good thing, rather than an administrator(s) defined structure. It does export, syndication (RSS) and so on.

As you say, Wikis are good for easy access and shared documentation work, but do have questions around versioning, ownership, change control. The workflow question is really just to wave that question in the air now rather than later - is there a need for editorial control :review/correct/release.

Not starting a bun fight here :-) think either approach will work, but thought it was worth considering a few things first. Perhaps theres a third way that someone can think of before making a decision ?

Anyone for a job as Health Minister ?

[1] http://semantic-mediawiki.org/wiki/Semantic_MediaWiki
--

Regards

Ultan O'Carroll

James Gallagher

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Jan 20, 2011, 5:16:17 AM1/20/11
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Given how important getting right is, perhaps we hold off trying to make a final decision on the tool and spend some time getting the requirements down properly - exploring how it will be used in greater detail?

Paul Watson

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Jan 20, 2011, 5:16:23 AM1/20/11
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Just jumping into link to this which I thought looked good, may not be
what you are after though;
http://ca.opengovernment.org/people/63-jerry-hill/votes

cheers,
Paul Watson

Paul Watson

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Jan 20, 2011, 5:33:18 AM1/20/11
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+1

gerryk

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Jan 20, 2011, 5:39:51 AM1/20/11
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You learn something new everyday, thanks for the link Ultan.

gerryk

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Jan 20, 2011, 7:25:42 AM1/20/11
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It certainly makes a good model for what can be achieved.

uoccou

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Jan 20, 2011, 8:35:07 AM1/20/11
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Seeing as  I raised it, I'll try installing Semantic Media Wiki and look at what extensions and capabilities it has, but I think we need more detail on required functionality.

So far I can see things like - (not meant to be exhaustive/prescriptive/prioritised)
  • reforms
    • list of reform criteria
    • page/section per reform item - may need to refer back to parties, members, bills etc
  • political context/encyc info
    • list of parties and general info perhaps ?
    • list of TDs per party
    • list of bills, white/green papers in relation to reform
    • list of legislative institutions, quangos, departments etc - or reference to something that has all this
    • comparison with other countries ?
  • back office
    • multi editor/administrator
    • little or no programming - perhaps wiki markdown or some simple php or html, but nothing hardcore - should be quick and out of the box as much as possible
    • anti spam controls
    • feed integration - do we want to include data from ckan say, or perhaps dbpedia or a.n.other sparql endpoint, flat files, excel data. Interesting things can be found and could be charted and displayed [2]
    • hosting - how, who, where, cost, administration, maintenance - skills and resources, memory, performance etc
  • public engagement
    • discussion forums
    • progress/vox-pop reports - leaks ! - do we need a registration and user validation process, can anyone do it anonymously,
    • statistic gathering
      • vote capability -
        • is this a 2 way thing only eg "for or against", or some grading "agree strongly, agree, dontknow, disagree, disagree strongly"
        • data to stored somewhere
        • calcs and reports on the data
        • data to be exportable and reusable
      • rating - is this the same or different than voting ? rate this article - eg important/not important, like/dislike as opposed to vote on a specific question
      • survey - going to far ?

  1. MediaWiki is new for me, but has been on my vista for a while. Wiki markup (or markdown) can be painful for some. Has anyone else expertise ? Not sure how well it would do voting but it has data collection and calculation capability [3]
  2. Drupal7 with RDFa support is new and takes some setup (I've been blogging [1] about some of the fun), but it meets lots of the criteria Im suggesting above
  3. Having suggested MediaWiki, wordpress also comes to mind - even on the wordpress.com site you could quickly set up some pages and sections (rather than blog articles by date) and it has voting capability. a wordpress.org install somewhere would give more flexibility and functionality.

Think it would be good not to spend too much time deciding, but is good to outline the choices and list the high level "requirements", then get something out, then see how we fair. If things are kept reasonably simple it should be possible (ever the optimist) to migrate to something else later easily enough.


[1] http://uoccou.wordpress.com/2010/10/28/drupal-7-on-ubuntu-10-10-or-10-04-for-sparql-federation/
[2] http://uoccou.wordpress.com/2010/12/08/politicans-per-capita-in-eu-member-states/
[3] http://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/SemanticForms#Sites_that_use_Semantic_Forms

Paul Dixon

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Jan 27, 2011, 6:09:22 AM1/27/11
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Sorry, I'm a bit slow onto this... 

Great initiative, and good contributions so far.

Would be glad to offer my services. (Web development, server and client side - Javascript, 'Ajax', PHP, HTML, CSS... and Database - design, coding, mining, visualization SQL or NoSQL..)

I don't like Drupal but happy to row in...

Given the drastically reduced timeline to election day, I suggest leveraging anything thats quick and easy out of the box, eg. Using Google services (Sites, Spreadsheets/forms for polling and data mgt. Moderator etc...)

Not sure if this is the livest section of this group so will poke around...

I have free time right now...

Paul Dixon

Johnny Ryan

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Jan 29, 2011, 8:03:12 AM1/29/11
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Hi Paul,

That's great news - thank you.
Are you in contact with Gerry directly?

Johnny

Paul Dixon

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Jan 30, 2011, 11:20:32 AM1/30/11
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Thanks Johnny,

Yes, I am in direct contact with Gerry, and getting stuck in...

Hopefully I can make a worthwhile contribution.

Cheers,

Paul

Paul Dixon

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Jan 31, 2011, 7:39:58 AM1/31/11
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Hi Johnny,

You can check out first stab at data visualization here

http://myhq.eu/reformcard/gdata2.html

form live test data which can be edited here

http://spreadsheets.google.com/ccc?key=0Ai087GOFj0VYdHRzX2VzUTFyRVBqMElnSlFuMEFzZnc

Obviously lots to do yet, but interested in any feedback / suggestions...

Cheers,

Paul

Message has been deleted

Johnny Ryan

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Jan 31, 2011, 2:45:31 PM1/31/11
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Paul,

That. is. awesome!

It's fantastic, and I really like how you have dug into the scores
within one of the five areas.

This is going to be great. Especially if we can link from any
reference to a party name, or to a reform area, from elsewhere on the
site with a jump into a relevant chart.

Johnny


On Jan 31, 7:39 am, Paul Dixon <paultdi...@gmail.com> wrote:
> Hi Johnny,
>
> You can check out first stab at data visualization here
>
>  http://myhq.eu/reformcard/gdata2.html
>
> form live test data which can be edited here
>
>  http://spreadsheets.google.com/ccc?key=0Ai087GOFj0VYdHRzX2VzUTFyRVBqM...

Paul Dixon

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Jan 31, 2011, 3:32:48 PM1/31/11
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Thanks Johnny,

Linking from anywhere will not be a problem...

Think of looking at setup for users vote to weight various areas in
overall score, but let me know if there is something more urgent you
would like me to look at.

Paul

Paul Dixon

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Feb 1, 2011, 10:30:46 AM2/1/11
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I have added some simple modifications to accommodate weighting...

Test is at http://myhq.eu/reformcard/gdata4.html

As suggested, I have also modified all (random) scores to range 0-4
and show full axis 0-100
and added "Weighting" column to main bar chart as example of how this
might be displayed.

Weightings can be manually edited in the Datasheet

Finally, I have included experimental form for collecting public
weighting votes. This is just a crude test to walk through concept of
how end users should vote (scale 1-5, %, allocate from a total of
10...?)
The data does gets captured in the same test datasheet, but I am not
calculating actual weightings used for now (this is simple to do but
it might make test charts a bit messy until I know how votes should be
gathered and used...)

Cheers,

P,~D

Paul Dixon

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Feb 1, 2011, 11:12:26 AM2/1/11
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Thx...

Anyone thought much about how this public voting will work yet ?
I presume some kind of registration or openID login required..?
and should it be simple rate each area from 1-5 (or 0-4) or more
complex (but better perhaps) share 10 votes among these reform
areas..?

Also, how is it envisaged Panel ratings will be gathered.
I can very quickly knock up a similar (experimental) form...
Thinking it might be interesting to keep track of Panel ratings over
time so we can do some funky timeline (or animated) visualisations
that show how party scores evolve...
rather than just keep a single 'live' grid of current scores

P,~D

Paul Dixon

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Feb 1, 2011, 11:15:52 AM2/1/11
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P.S. and possibly allow each Panel member to submit own scores which
get averaged into current score...

Danny O' Connor

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Feb 1, 2011, 12:39:22 PM2/1/11
to open-dat...@googlegroups.com, gerryk
Not sure if this what you guys envisaged, but would it be useful to provide sliders so that the charts could be customised on an ad-hoc basis for that particular user ?

i.e. As a voter I come to the site and want to see the charts with different weightings ( unique to me - I have a particular interest in open government, say ) so that I can make a decision on what party to support.

I'm not sure if that's easier or harder to do than the aggregate voting ?

Great work so far though,
Danny.

Paul Dixon

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Feb 1, 2011, 1:06:50 PM2/1/11
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Good idea Danny,

That would certainly be possible, and not too difficult... If it has
general appeal, I'll knock up a test...

Johnny Ryan

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Feb 1, 2011, 6:28:58 PM2/1/11
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Paul, this looks great.

The initial scorecard will be unweighted, so no need to randomise the
weighting.

Good question about how to determine voting - I think it would be
great to allow people to very easily login, perhaps using a facebook /
google / other pre existing account ID to verify that they are a
single individual voter (per vote). We dont want to hinder people from
voting by requiring that they subscribe to our site specifically.
Could this work?

What do you mean by the Panel? Do you mean academic panel?

Johnny

Johnny Ryan

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Feb 1, 2011, 6:33:33 PM2/1/11
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.

Johnny Ryan

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Feb 1, 2011, 6:34:48 PM2/1/11
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Danny,

I was thinking about a personal tool like this too. Great idea!

Johnny


On Feb 1, 5:39 pm, "Danny O' Connor" <dann...@gmail.com> wrote:
> Not sure if this what you guys envisaged, but would it be useful to provide
> sliders so that the charts could be customised on an ad-hoc basis for that
> particular user ?
>
> i.e. As a voter I come to the site and want to see the charts with different
> weightings ( unique to me - I have a particular interest in open government,
> say ) so that I can make a decision on what party to support.
>
> I'm not sure if that's easier or harder to do than the aggregate voting ?
>
> Great work so far though,
> Danny.
>

Paul Dixon

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Feb 2, 2011, 4:42:05 AM2/2/11
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Thanks Johnny,

I will remove weighting for now, and I agree that Danny's idea of user
able to interactively set their own weighting preference and see chart
respond dynamically would be cool, and not hard to do.

I will touch base with Gerry and see if he has something in mind in
terms of user validation (I have my own ideas), but I agree it would
be preferable to accept OpenID / google / facebook validation than to
require users to register with our site...

Yes. By Panel I mean panel of independent experts / academics...

Paul

uoccou

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Feb 2, 2011, 5:12:34 AM2/2/11
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why not just drop a cookie ? means people dont have to overcome the sign in hurdle, which will put lots of people off I think - its an inconvenience, not immediate enough.

Johnny Ryan

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Feb 3, 2011, 7:26:19 AM2/3/11
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Paul,

Since the first manifesto is probably going to be rated by the
beginning/early next week, is it possible to use this with only 1
party's data to start off?

Johnny



On Feb 2, 9:42 am, Paul Dixon <paultdi...@gmail.com> wrote:
> Thanks Johnny,
>
> I will remove weighting for now, and I agree that Danny's idea of user
> able to interactively set their own weighting preference and see chart
> respond dynamically would be cool, and not hard to do.
>
> I will touch base with Gerry and see if he has something in mind in
> terms of user validation (I have my own ideas), but I agree it would
> be preferable to accept OpenID / google / facebook validation than to
> require users to register with our site...
>
> Yes. By Panel I mean panel of independent experts / academics...
>
> Paul
>

Paul Dixon

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Feb 3, 2011, 11:31:36 AM2/3/11
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Hi Johnny,

Yes, we can do it with one party. No problem.

Will need to touch base with Gerry to see where he's at with the
framework, but I can be ready to go by next week.

Paul

Paul Dixon

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Feb 4, 2011, 11:03:58 AM2/4/11
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Here's a quick pass on a simple 1 party chart.

http://myhq.eu/reformcard/singleParty.html

Something like that you had in mind ?

Paul

Johnny Ryan

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Feb 4, 2011, 11:58:33 AM2/4/11
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Hi Paul,

Yes - that looks really good. Then we could make the labels on the X
axis linkable to these categories to enable comparison once the next
manifestos come in.

Paul Dixon

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Feb 4, 2011, 12:07:21 PM2/4/11
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Cool, Thx...

P,~D

Joan Mulvihill - IIA CEO

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Feb 4, 2011, 1:17:21 PM2/4/11
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I've just dropped in on this exchange.... really interesting!

J

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