Electicker 2008 | your election fix on one page
August 21, 2008 8:07 AM   Subscribe

Electicker 2008 | your election fix on one page
This has been posted to Projects before, but it has changed so much since that I feel it is almost a different project altogether. Electicker is a single page aggregator (think Popurls or Original Signal) on the 2008 US Presidential election. It monitors content from over 100 sources and displays it all on one page, providing election junkies with their minute-to-minute fix on the road to the White House.

Aside from the total redesign, new functionality added since its previous incarnation (which was just a proof of concept, really) includes tons of new sources, more numbers (poll and electoral projection averages, Intrade veepstakes averages) and a 30-day poll graph, more popular/useful sources near the top of the page (Memeorandum and influential blogs/news sources, etc.), more video, and a mobile edition.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane (17 comments total)

Yay! It looks great, man. Just damned slick.

Between this and PoliticalFilter, polls are projecting me being down 7 points in wanting to punch people in the face.
posted by cortex at 10:16 AM on August 21, 2008

I've been checking this regularly since you posted it the first time and it really does a marvelous job of giving a snapshot of what's going on. I was more addicted to it while all the primary drama was happening, but I'm sure I'll get sucked in again as things heat up in the coming weeks. Thank you for all your work on this!
posted by yarrow at 11:10 AM on August 21, 2008

This is awesome. Really nice to get the cross-media view in a oner instead of having to jump back and forth between a load of tabs.
posted by Happy Dave at 11:49 AM on August 21, 2008

I'd almost forget: suggestions are still more than welcome! Either here or via (m)email, or via the contact form on the site. It's all good.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 4:09 PM on August 21, 2008

How much does this take to run? Do you do much editing or is it all RSS feed based? How do you guard against duplicate articles and so on?
posted by Happy Dave at 5:45 AM on August 22, 2008

Good question. It's 95% automated, but I still find myself putting in quite a bit of time. And yeah, most of it is just RSS being polled and parsed, although a lot of it needs some pre-output manipulation, which ranges from the technical (character set compliance, illegal characters and the like - which still doesn't work 100% smoothly I should add - timezone correction, etc.) to the cosmetic (e.g. stripping "DEVELOPING..." from Drudge titles). Stuff like that can mostly be scripted (PHP). If the scripting goes over my head I occasionally use Pipes for something, but I try not to. 90% of the site is PHP, regex from hell, and electrical tape, I like to say.

Then there's editorial and design work, which is kind of constantly in flux. I add and remove sources, update keyword filters (Webb pulls a Sherman, he's out; Chet Edwards bubbles up in the chatter, he's in). If I find something informative/interesting, I might add it as a feature: DCW monitors electoral college projections from various sources, so I average them. That kind of thing. It's fun to do.

As for duplicate avoidance, the answer is I don't, really. It can be scripted of course (and it's a no-brainer to do in Pipes), but I've found it not to be much of a problem: chances of the same article/item appearing twice in the same pane are pretty slim already (sources don't 'overlap' much really, if that makes any sense), and if a given item appears multiple times in different panes I just take it as a 'hot', much-discussed/linked item, in which case I feel it's just good that it's there (even if multiple times). This doesn't happen too often, though.

If there's anything else I can clarify I'd gladly do so.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 2:05 PM on August 22, 2008

Thanks for the detailed update GNFTI, really interesting to know how this gets done. If I was a journo working on this election season, this would be an amazing tool. For a Brit with a interest (my wife is an American and we may move back there one day) this is brilliant.
posted by Happy Dave at 1:07 AM on August 23, 2008

The right column behaves strangely for me. It seems to run off the page. Here's a screenshot. I'm on Vista Home Premium SP1 using Firefox 3.0.1.
posted by chiababe at 6:56 PM on August 23, 2008 [1 favorite]

Does it still? Sometimes this happens temporarily when overly long words (usually URLs) appear in the center column.

Thanks chiababe.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 11:28 AM on August 24, 2008

I would love to see an "about the sources" section where you list what sources you're drawing on and include some commentary about what they are, their perspective, what kind of stories they generally run, etc. I know that would probably be a ton of work to put together though.
posted by yarrow at 1:02 PM on August 25, 2008

I LOVE this site, but it would be nice to have a little explainey thing somewhere that tells you what moonbats and wingnuts and so on are.
posted by exceptinsects at 10:08 AM on September 7, 2008

Thanks for the feedback exceptinsects. The headers that are also links have blurbs in the mouseover -- I've put this on the to-do-list for the other panes.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 11:22 AM on September 7, 2008

posted by exceptinsects at 4:31 PM on September 7, 2008

Fantastic site. Great job putting it together

I really like the Intrade tracker in the top right. The Intrade site is not the easiest to navigate.

Some other suggestions to add to the top right corner would be the predictions from FiveThirtyEight, Pollster, and Sam Wang.
posted by clearly at 12:33 AM on September 9, 2008

I've added Sam Wang (Princeton Election Consortium). Sadly, FiveThirtyEight doesn't provide its electoral projections in text (or any machine-readable) format (images only), nor does Pollster (only Flash).
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 3:57 PM on September 25, 2008

All headers now have mouseovers.

Also, I managed to add FiveThirtyEight after all through the power of magic.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 3:15 PM on October 5, 2008

I love this site gnfiti, seriously, it's one of the first ones I check each day, and I've got it bookmarked on my phone as well. Fantastic work.
posted by Happy Dave at 10:39 PM on October 5, 2008

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