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Have you voted?

final sprint

The guardian and the Free Our Data campaign are running a public vote on your ideas to select 5 or so ideas to carry through to the short list stage.

The full post on picking a peoples shortlist is well worth a read. However in their own words:

The question is, which one do you think has the X Factor that means it should go forward to the final judging? Do, please, let us know, by heading over to the voting area at uservoice.com, having a read of the entries, and casting your vote. If you want, you can roll a pen around your mouth and be rude about the ones you don't like. It's meant to be an enjoyable process, after all.

That is precisely what we are looking to find from this process - What are the ideas that speak to YOU? Are there ideas where you went "That is so powerfully simple" or "I wish we had that now"? If so you should head over to http://suabw.uservoice.com/ where you can register your vote.

Vote now!


I think the current voting system is fine. You just view the submissions and vote for the ones you like.

Yes I agree, a system like digg.

Are there any updates as to what is happening with Show Us A Better Way?

Will there be any updates as to the progress of the competition?

On the 'About this Competition' page, it states that winners will be announced the second week of October. Obviously, that time has long passed. However, there is no indication, as far as I can tell, as to for when this has been rescheduled.

Jim (and others)

Sorry for any residual ambiguity. The Guardian 'people's vote' is being used to add extra entries to the shortlist, rather than being the only route to the final judging.


As previous comments have noted, the design of this voting scheme is liable to much distortion.

I also question why this was not mentioned at the outset as the method by which judging on entries would be decided. This is particularly pertinent because it is likely to be the case that it was not expected by the entrants that the outcome would be decided just by a 20 word description of the idea. It is probably the case that very good ideas have been ignored as these sound-byte descriptions might not convey their worth within this sort of forum, especially because when writing these the entrants were not given an indication how these would be used.

Another point is that given the irrelevance of some entries (and the dubious amount of votes some received as noted on the uservoice.com site), surely there should be some filtering when deciding upon which to take to the finals. It also seems patently unfair that established websites could easily alert their users through blogs or other means about the votes and thereby get a ready amount of votes to arrive at the top of the list, while innovative ideas with non-established sites do not have access to such means.

Overall, this is a bit of a disappointment and seems like a very risky way to distribute what is effectively a significant prize for a very important issue to the public concern.


Still here, still working away. We are aware that there has been some voting irregularity on the Guardian's vote, but we are keen not to discard it entirely. As previously mentioned it will be used to give a people's voice in populating the shortlist of ideas. The rest of the shortlist will be provided by the taskforce.

Hope that helps

Oh dear, is there anybody out there?! Or has the Cabinet Office given up with this competition? Mahmood has raised a very serious point, about how easy it is to cheat, and no one has addressed this. If he's correct, surely it invalidates the whole voting process? Also, we have no idea of deadlines, or how many ideas will be shortlisted, and the competition has turned into a bizarre popularity contest. Shame, really.

The voting system in the people's vote is SERIOUSLY flawed.

I can vote for one idea many, many times by clicking on it and then choosing 3 votes then closing my browser and clearing the cache. Then go to the site again and repeat the process over and over again.

That is a great indication of a measure of people's votes !!

Hi, when's the deadline for all votes, please? And will you only be considering the "five or so" ideas that are the most popular? If poss, could you clarify what "five or so" means... My idea is currently No 7, and this competition means a lot to us!
Thanks very much.

Instead of the competition being asking :

" Tell us what you'd build with public information and we could help fund your idea!"

It should read :

" Tell us what you'd build with public and unpublished information and we could help fund your idea depending upon who gets the most public votes in a flawed voting system. We invite ideas that have nothing to do with using public data as well. With this we will then create a service based around the idea which gets the most clicks and which sounds good because it is at the top of the list. "

PSIKEY is listed among "the better ways" shown to you.

However it does not show up among the candidates on the ballot paper.

Why not?

Has this list been filtered for ideas that meet the original objectives? Also, has someone reviewed them as viable options and if so on what criteria? It seems to me Central Government just avoided responsibilities in selecting the best idea and providing a just way on how the winner was selected. Again, how will the winning idea meet their original needs and outcomes for the project; just by being popular, which is flawed to the number of people, friends, and associates that will vote for you?

I agree with Mahmood - the structure and style of the voting system can't possibly mean an accurate and true representation of which are the best ideas to go on to final judging.

Thanks for the reply Richard.
I think that without freeing up previously unavailable or expensive data, this whole process will be viewed as a lot of take with very little give, simply a rebundling of what is already there. This may wash with some....

Michael: This competition is about making best use of all non-personal public information. It is not confined to data that is currently not published.

What we are looking to do is make best use of the information. A good starting point is to make what the public will find most useful.

We are therefore looking for all uses of public information that you would find useful.

Doesn't the current voting system already resemble Digg or Reddit, in that the best submissions are voted upwards?

The only difference is that you click '1,2 or 3 Votes'. In all other respects the voting system is the same for Show Us A Better Way and other voting sites such as Digg and Reddit etc.

The best submissions/ideas get move towards the top and is a good way to get the public vote.

I think the current voting system is fine. You just view the submissions and vote for the ones you like.

Can I just remind everyone that this contest is about freeing up data that isn't already in the public domain. Ideas such as "show the cycle routes", or "detail what jobs are available in my area", or "show me what's news in my area", aren't freeing up specific datasets that the government has locked under jumbled and confusing licensing. This whole process risks being a waste of time if it doesn't end up freeing up a previously unavailable dataset - crime stats, met office weather, ordnance survey data, postal address data for example.

Sometimes asking a visitor to sign up/log in can be a barrier to participation.

People today don't have the time or simply don't want to create another account for another service. They have so many passwords as it is.

You need to capture a broader audience as possible and reduce any barriers to entry.

I don't think having a 'sign-in process only' will work, but perhaps a combination of the two.

I agree with Jason - with 414 ideas in total it is going to be difficult to gauge accurate and reliable feedback for the people's vote. This is considering the amount of time needed to view each idea and scroll down to view the rest.

It gives a poor indication of the quality versus quantity of idea potential - that is to say many people may vote for one idea because it sounds good but maybe in reality doesn't address the issue of using public data better.

Jason: Thanks for the feedback.

This is a learning experience for us. Unfortunately we couldn't find an easy way to incorporate digg or reddit facilities into the site without significant additional coding overhead.

Do you have any examples of people you think have got this right?

I wanted to vote, but it wasn't so easy - couldn't it be like digg or reddit?

I imagine you'll only get people who are really committed to voting's responses. Not good I think.

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About This Site

The Power of Information Taskforce is helping government become more open, transparent and effective through better use of published information.

This competition is asking for your help in developing better ways to publish the vast swathes of non-personal information that the government collects & creates on your behalf

Public data is your data. Tell us what you'd build with it and you could win £20k to develop your idea to the next level.

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