Pseudo-Sociologists: Sellers of Political Ratings

Pseudo-Sociologists: Sellers of Political Ratings

Organisation: Texty.org.ua (Ukraine)

Publication Date: 04/04/2016

Size of team/newsroom:small

Description

This application presents and explains the phenomenon of pseudo-sociology in Ukraine. We’ve created the database of people and structures that define themselves as “sociologists” or “sociological think tanks” but in reality do not provide any sociological services except selling political ratings or exaggerated forecasts for interested actors, i.e. some politicians. That means that such kind of “sociologists” do not conduct any surveys or public opinion polls - as a rule, they just create approval ratings for money. In Ukraine we get pseudo-sociologists before every elections, when some companies that nobody knows provide ratings that substantially differs from those of well-known and respectable companies. So, we’ve collected such pseudo-sociologists with enough evidence of "ratings selling" for the period of last 15 years. As a result we have 76 pseudo-sociological organizations that were publishing unreasonably high ratings for certain politicians and 77 pseudo-sociologists who were announcing results of their questionable surveys. So reader could find and select person or organization and see on corresponding page what kind of history and reputation they have. This database will be useful for media, experts as well as ordinary citizens. Example of individual page: http://texty.org.ua/d/socio/firm/index.html?name=%D0%9A%D0%B8%D1%97%D0%B2-21%20%D1%81%D1%82%D0%BE%D0%BB%D1%96%D1%82%D1%82%D1%8F. All database could be viewed and downloaded as a Google sheet (there is a link on main page)

What makes this project innovative? What was its impact?

Misinformation of the citizens through pseudo-sociologists is one of the main electoral manipulation techniques in Ukraine since early 1990s. To draw the line between the sociology and political technologies we've created this database of pseudo-sociologists. We are quite confident that this is first such a database in our country

Technologies used for this project:

We used D3.js, Markdown, Google Sheets, Javascript for this project. Most difficult part was to find and check all related data. It was done by manually searching from on-line and off-line sources for specific media activities and compiling all existing information to standard form. We are testing a twitter bot recently to inform in advance about press events in which people and organizations from this database will take part
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