Since October 2011 my flatmate and I where quite busy realizing a little
pet project of ours called The Art of
Asking. The ultimate goal is to visualize
the world's opinion in an intuitive fashion and make it easy for
everyone to play around with the data.
The idea behind The Art of Asking is that users submit interesting
questions which are answered by users around the world. But instead of
showing only the boring result, we want to provide interesting insights
and statistics about the answers given.
For now the users can see the results of the question visualized by
geographical regions. For example on the page for the question 'How are
you today?' you can see
the interactive map with the pie chart. The map shows the
average/dominating answer for each continent encoded by color, and the
pie chart the distribution of the different answers for that region. If
you move the mouse over a continent the pie chart updates and shows the
distribution of answers for that continent. You can also click to zoom
into the map to see the same for countries and regions. This allows you
to investigate how the answers are distributed around the world.
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This is already quite nice and fancy to play around with, but of course
we want much more. Right now we're working on a feature which will users
allow to combine two arbitrary questions and see how the answers are
related. This doesn't sound like much, but it is very addictive to
crawl through the list of questions and find interesting correlations.
Here is a little plot how it could look like (the data is from the
actual data base of answers).
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For each possible combination of answers it shows the percentage of
people who answered in that combination. Of course those plots only make
sense when enough users answered for both questions you want to compare
which is right now not very often the case, so I guess we'll roll out
that feature sometime later when we have more data. But we have lots of
ideas and are working on further ways to investigate the answers.
Obviously one low hanging fruit for example would be the distribution of
the answers over time.
We've been working for over a year now on this project in our spare time
and we built it more or less from scratch. I wrote a small
framework in Python and on top of that the WSGI
application which runs the site. We use
MongoDB for the storage of the data,
uWSGI and nginx
for the server, Jinja2 and
Bootstrap for the HTML and
D3.js for the visualization of the data, where
Maci did a wonderful job
realizing the interactive map and charts.
We're running this site since July 2012 now and are already quite
satisfied with the number of users, and the quality of the questions.
But of course we could always use more (especially more answers). So if
you want to try it out, go to
theartofasking.com and fill out the blank
spots on the map! We're happy about every answer and question we can get
and are eager to hear your suggestions.