Update: After careful consideration and difficulty securing a partner, it was decided we would not move forward with this initiative for the 2012 election. Thanks for your input and effort trying to make this work. If nothing else, we gained valuable insight into what it takes to launch a subsite, and we will use that insight next time. Please let me know if there's a future event around which we can rally your skepticism to bring truth to the public. - SB

It's been a long time coming, but (y)our political fact-checking experiment is almost here.

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This site will live at ElectionCheck.com and be skinned just like Skeptics.StackExchange.com. All content tagged [Politics] will filter into ElectionCheck (up for debate) -- and though this site is geared to launch with the hype of the US Presidential election, ElectionCheck is international, and hopefully evergreen.

"Ask" links to Skeptics Ask with a question pre-tagged [Politics] (also, I think, a unique "How to ask" prompt).

"Answer" links to unanswered Skeptics questions tagged [Politics].

The "Welcome to ElectionCheck?" copy needs to be ironed out and I welcome any suggestions. Also, the header needs help (How can we make it look powered by Skeptics, but not confusingly similar to Skeptics?).

I encourage you to ask any other questions about this mockup or leave suggestions in the comments. But what we really need is...

Ideas about how to fill the 3 module spots (this # may be up for debate if we see reason to go bigger or smaller).

  • What political data is open out there that we can access?
  • What widgets are pre-made and perfect for this purpose (is there a Gallup widget out there)?
  • What International data is out there (anything here)?
  • What data can we (should we) pull from our own network that will convey who we are in a compelling way (ie. geo data for active users in the [Politics] tag - can we use this)?

Anything else?

I'm very, very excited about this experiment, microsite, subsite, backdoor to the Skeptics site... whatever you want to call it, and I can't wait to hear you input.

Get in touch!

  • Are we comfortable with an open Twitter feed?
    – Oddthinking Mod
    Commented May 9, 2012 at 8:29

5 Answers 5


I'm finding "Powered by [Skeptics]" a bit awkwardnessful.

Partly because it isn't a well understood term, and might be confused with Climate Change Deniali- Mavericks, especially in a political forum. (Am I harping on this too much? Sorry.)

Partly because it suggests it is powered by people, rather than software: "Powered by the Skeptics Stack Exchange system" might be an improvement.

  • 3
    this is a good thought, "powered by Skeptics.StackExchange" might be a more concise way of putting it.
    – Ryathal
    Commented May 9, 2012 at 15:19
  • Right on. Will make sure to correct this in the next mockup. Commented May 9, 2012 at 20:38
  • 1
    Or, just remove the square brackets and it can be powered by skeptics (the people form).
    – animuson StaffMod
    Commented May 14, 2012 at 6:34
  • 1
    I see no problem with the site being powered by people.
    – Zano
    Commented May 16, 2012 at 11:03

For the header, the [citation needed] name would be useful in my opinion, but it's too late for that now. I'm also not sure if the theme should be so close to the Skeptics theme, as it doesn't look like a politics site.

I would personally restrict the site topic to only the US election for the beginning, to concentrate our efforts and avoid getting lost in a too broad field. I'd try it as an US election 2012 site first, and if that works well broaden the scope once the US election is over. I'm not a US citizen myself, but I'm pretty familiar with the election coverage, the US elections are pretty important and well-covered in many countries. My fear is that we're stretching ourselves a bit thin when trying to cover elections and politics in every country, we probably don't have a critical mass of experts for many countries.

The primary sources for this kind of election fact-checking also will often be in the native language of the country the question is about, and while we accept such sources, it is important that we have a few people speaking that language to be able to validate those sources.

For the widgets, I have no idea what is available under a suitable license, but for the US election the Fivethirthyeight blog (now part of the NY Times) looked pretty impressive to me for election predictions and polling.

One widget that I think would be very interesting, but hard to implement would be a list/cloud/whatever of keywords/subject that are hot right now in the election. If we could link those keyword to specific tags or questions on our site, that might be nice.

  • Nothing is too late! How about: [electioncheck] (like skeptics is styled now, all lower case) OR [ElectionCheck] Commented May 9, 2012 at 20:39

I created StackMaps which we could use to fill one of the module spots down at the bottom. I'd be happy to modify it a bit to just show people from skeptics that have interacted with the politics tag.

It's not embeddable right now, but if that would be useful I'm happy to work on that.

  • That would be cool!
    – Sklivvz
    Commented May 10, 2012 at 11:58
  • Awesome widget. But makes me nationalistic. Hey, USA! Every Australian state is on there, why not every US state? Someone call Spain and Portugal and tell them to get their act together. And then there is the whole CALA region, Northern Africa, Middle East, Russia, Indonesia... we've got some growth opportunities!
    – Oddthinking Mod
    Commented May 12, 2012 at 7:56

Some useful sites (don't seem to have widgets in general though)



  • I wouldn't be too concerned by polls: while polls may be of interest to the visitors, they are fairly too hocus-pocus for skeptical standards. I am not so sure what they can bring in terms of facts to the discussion.
    – Sklivvz
    Commented May 8, 2012 at 20:28
  • IIRC, the FiveThirtyEight site that Fabian mentioned (and I was trying to remember the name of - I got as far as ThreeThreeTen!) got rave reviews as bringing a lot more science to their analysis of polls. I was never close enough to judge that for myself.
    – Oddthinking Mod
    Commented May 9, 2012 at 13:55
  • This Gallup widget is pretty useful, though not the prettiest widget on the net: gallup.com/poll/111271/Gallup-Daily-Widget.aspx Commented May 9, 2012 at 21:20

This was described as "almost here" nine months and one US presidential election ago.

Could we1 get an update?

Was this cancelled? Were plans changed due to the launch of Politics.SE? Might this still ever happen?

1 I realize I'm not a participant of this site, but I do read it and I do care.

  • 1
    Hi Jeremy. Thanks for your interest here. Please see my update to the original post. Commented Feb 4, 2013 at 21:47

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