April 26, 2022 at 15:25 #3766HankKeymaster
Sorry for the long gap in updates; have been super busy, as you will see below.
Lots to report!
Launched the 0.4 iteration of LISTEN in mid-December to explore rationales and influences driving viewpoints on COVID-19 vaccines. Deployed it first in Miami-Dade County, on seven or so online communities within Facebook, Reddit and NextDoor and ultimately gathered over 140 responses, exceeding what we needed for 9% margin of error.
There were some interesting obstacles to enabling the discussion on a few of these communities. Some of the moderators did not want discussion about vaccines at all (even simply off-forum questions about the topic) and the NextDoor algorithm several times randomly flagged our post as violating their ToC’s (which their Customer Service agreed was an error, once we escalated to them). In the second and third locales where we deployed (discussed below) we encountered even more resistance trying to discuss vaccines than we did in Miami, with several moderators declining our request to invite participation in the survey (though fortunately by this point we’d moved past the NextDoor algorithm glitches). This friction associated with even trying to have a conversation about a difficult and important national issue was very interesting and itself is probably worthy of further exploration and a blog post.
In the end we got great data in Miami and gathered some immediately interesting insights, which we posted an interim update about on January 25, “Why do people resist COVID vaccines? Original source data gathered by e.pluribus.US reveals fascinating insights.”.
We then, in February, deployed the same survey to two other metro areas, representing opposite extremes of vaccination compliance, The San Francisco Bay area and Hattiesburg, Mississippi. There we used local helpers to again deploy on the same online community platforms, with the exceptions mentioned above. By this time the issue of COVID vaccines had reached the end of its interesting life in the national discussion, so we saw lower response rates in these second communities, but we still gathered another 80 responses.
In April we analyzed the data and will this week publish a report on our findings, in the blog. All of the source data, including original source quotations from respondents, is already available in the main page for this study, Viewpoints: COVID-19 Vaccines.
We are very happy with where we’ve taken Project LISTEN thus far. We have successfully:
- Developed a system for efficiently, scalably, better understanding why opposing perspectives think the way they do.
- Tested this system on three separate topics, now across three ideologically diverse states, spanning all three coasts.
- Learned a great deal about how to do this, refining and improving the system each time. (and generating still more ideas for testing in future iterations)
- More importantly, learned a great deal about American’s diverse views, specifically on COVID vaccines, the rationales behind those views and the sources of information influencing them.
- We have a tool now that we can deploy against this objective of “learning why people think as they do” on really any topic, at any time. We’d probably call it a version 0.9 at this point; still has a few “rough edges” we’d like to refine. But for all intents and purposes, it’s “ready to roll” on future topics.
With that, we are going to put Project LISTEN on “standby,” as we turn our currently limited resources toward spinning up our next initiative, Project INFLUENCE.
So now, with the Project LISTEN development mission accomplished, this update thread will suspend. If, upon debriefing, we feel this update journal added value, we may launch a similar one for Project INFLUENCE. Keep your eyes peeled.
Also happy to respond to any questions anyone has about the development, launch and future of LISTEN.
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e.pluribus.US conceives, builds and tests interventions to scalably improve public attitudes toward working with political opponents.
Track the Movement
Updates on Project LISTEN
Project LISTEN is opening minds!
LISTEN scalably helps us understand why opponents think as they do.
Learn more >
Project INFLUENCE Launched!
INFLUENCE works to
enhance support for cooperation.
Learn more >
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