A blog by Luke Akehurst about politics, elections, and the Labour Party - With subtitles for the Hard of Left. Just for the record: all the views expressed here are entirely personal and do not necessarily represent the positions of any organisations I am a member of.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008


I have a new geeky toy now that I have been given my own log-in and let lose on data entry on the party's new voter contact database, contact.creator.

Aside from it being web-based, and having some really irritating bugs involving phone numbers, I am struggling to work out quite how it improves on the old system, Labour.contact.

Am I missing something in terms of functionality? Answers from other Labour geeks gratefully accepted.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

oh yes you are, but im not sharing with your 75% tory readership!!

go on then. post the little video by experian from the you tube channel.

11:51 pm, March 19, 2008

Anonymous Andy said...

I haven't got to grips with it myself yet, Nan Sloane is going to take me through it next tuesday, but from a purely conceptual point of view, the key benefit I anticipate is that it is web based, which means my CLP's precious data will be stored and backed up properly by some one who has nothing other to do than look after it, rather than being on a desk top computer where it can be corrupted, deleted or stolen....

2:17 am, March 20, 2008

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Also more people in the campaign team can actually do some work on it. With instant access you can do instant DM, on a micro-local issue, without having to schlep across town or get someone else to do it for you. Good for global warming!

10:00 am, March 20, 2008

Anonymous tim f said...

I think it's fantastic, though a lot of the tools that will really set it apart are still in development.

Like anonymous I don't really want to go into the details here, but even as the program stands it is much more logical and has less annoying quirks than Labour.Contact (will have even less when they've sorted out the bugs)

10:39 am, March 20, 2008

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Agree we should not have this discussion where tories can read about it - however have to say it far easier to use than the old system and much quicker...

10:53 am, March 20, 2008

Blogger Luke Akehurst said...

Shhh! Don't talk about this or you'll have everyone hacking into the system and getting hold of all the contact names, canvassing plans and strategies. Keep quiet, especially now that the Greens are reading our blog posts. We want to use them, not teach them how to boost their election turnout.

11:34 am, March 20, 2008

Anonymous Kevin said...

Thought you'd have posted that you're delighted with the selection of a left wing candidate in Nottingham South by now?

3:49 pm, March 20, 2008

Anonymous Anonymous said...

As the development engineer who worked six months on contact.creator there were many bugs but there was one we couldn't solve despite spending a lot of time on the issue.

We dubbed it the Gordon Brown. It got the name for many reasons. First, it was pretending to be something it wasn't. Second, its intention was malevolent. Third, its behaviour was entirely unpredictable at times. Fourth, it dithered about whether to steal your money or just bankrupt you. Fourth, it created an obvious threat to the well-being of Britain's 60m population.

5:34 pm, March 21, 2008

Anonymous Andy said...

I now know how it works. It's great (or will be once the bugs are sorted). Instead of having to spend hours on an evening at the CLP office printing off canvass sheets and running stan, I can do it all from the comfort of my own living room on my laptop, and email the voter ID sheets to the ward organisers to print out themselves! Plus I no longer have to worry about other people messing around with the data in an incompetent manner or breaking the clp computer.

2:34 pm, March 26, 2008

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Except that:

1) Data entry users can't do stuff they should be able to do, like enter petitioners

2) The marked register is *still* not being utilised properly - if it had been the 0-5 question would be redundant

3) The new questions are regressive, in that the most obvious question: previous national voting intention, has now vanished. This inevitably will force people to interpret data, whereas the whole purpose of the programme since LC was introduced was to end inputter interpretation: to let the computer do it.

If the computer is going to misinterpret data, we have to enter it in a way we know will produce the voter ID tag we feel to be accurate.

4) The system still undercounts the number of properties in an area because it only counts properties on the register. It must be easier to come up with a formula that produces a closer approximation of total households

5) The analysis options are massively inferior to LC.

6) The dominant voter ID question is, for some reason, question 4.

7) The system is monolithically slow and, presumably, if a troll wanted to attack the host by bombarding it with millions of requests, that could make accessing it even more cumbersome.

8) The voter ID sheets still don't provide all the information I want

Apart from that: great.

2:22 am, March 31, 2008

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have only seen the VoterID forms. One impression is that the data is by no means extensive. Unless there is a history then there is simply no data on some voters. Also making contact with young voters is a challenge which has to be done in other avenues. Having said Contact Creator is an important tool. We live in a world where nothing can be done without databases.

11:29 am, March 09, 2010

Anonymous Cheryl said...

I'm not overly impressed with contact creator especially with missing data. I took off an L4/L5 report, and both myself and my daughter were not on the list!!! but does include A's and T's in abundance???

11:45 am, April 29, 2011


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