Gathering and understanding community sentiment towards ideas and topics is really complex. Currently most data is reported as yes or no. You're either for or against something. But the reality is that our opinions and answers to questions are far more complex than just a yes or no.
We have built a tool which is able to examine the actual words people are using. We can input data or conversations from almost any source, categorise it by topic or theme and then give it what we call a positivity score.
For example we’re able to understand if someone is talking about Rubbish collection, Cycleways, Pollution or the local rugby team. We can then understand what the underlying sentiment is towards that topic and come up with a positivity score.
We took a some recent survey data from Christchurch City Council asking respondents about their opinions on what the christchurch is to them. There was a particular question in that survey which we focused on “Describe Christchurch in One word” by analysing over 3000 responses we discovered that 68% of respondents were using positive words to describe their city.
We then tracked down a 300 page “Share an Idea” document from the Christchurch City Council which was produced in late 2011. We thought it might be interesting to mine that and understand public sentiment in that period too.
Comparing the two datasets we can see that the positivity declined between the two datasets from 89% (Share an idea) to 68% (Residents Survey)
We are able to consume news articles (such as from the CCC Community News sources) and mine the content and comments to understand public sentiment towards the article.
Via the twitter API we are able to pull all tweets from Christchurch and pluck topics and sentiment in near real time.
We think there are useful insights to be gained from something as simple as a positivity score which can easily be applied and compared across unrelated datasets.
Encouraging discussion and debate is an essential part of our democracy. We would love to see our citys live positivity score projected onto a public space for all to see and interact with.