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User stories

Page history last edited by John Schlafer 15 years, 8 months ago


Writing up "user stories" ensures that we are looking at this project from a user perspective and not only from a developer perspective.  What are some ways that our target audiences will engage with our data and applications from now through election day?  Add your user story to one of the categories below.  This is the perfect way for a non-technical volunteer to contribute to the project using only their imagination.



Naming Conventions

In order to keep the stories consistent, please hold to the following naming conventions

  • voter: a voter the polls who wants to report a success/failure
  • member: somebody who's actively volunteering, including a "more trusted user", Sweeper or SuperTweeter



You can either expand an existing story, or provide an entirely new story.  Don't worry if you think one of the stories below already did what you are trying to do.  If you are not sure, err on the side of being repetitive.


*Story Type: Voter reports*


Reporting on conditions - formatted report

Comment from Jon: can we go into a little more deail here -- for example, define "sends a tweet" (which presumably involves interacting with a phone in some way, but that's not currently obvious)


Voter sends a tweet to #votereport giving their location and a comment on one of the attributes they know from the votereport site:

  • location - either L: XXXX -or- zipcode XXXXX -or- some variant that can be distinguished
  • wait - either wait:(minutes) -or- waittime:(minutes)

Use Cases

Voter wants to report on the number of machines at their polling location and how many are working

Voter wants to report a broken machine

Voter wants to report on people being harrassed at the polling location by police, by lawyers, by activists, etc

Voter wants to report on length of the line at their location (e.g. how many people, how long the line is)

Voter wants to report how long it took for them to vote (e.g. tovote:(minutes))

Voter wants to know what are the commands available via #votereport

Voter wants to report an electronic voting machine that took the wrong vote when entered


Via Twitter


Via iPhone

Via phone

Via web (presumably VoteStory '08)


*Story Type: Amplify someone else's voter report*


Member wants to report on issue but low quantity of datapoints do not provide enough visibility of what is happening at the polling location.  Need to ask votereport for amplification/manification of their report (for example - manification of their tweets by some factor for visibility sake)

  • Suggestion - play the font size game as done in tag clouds?

SuperTweeter sends in reports for several voters

(particularly important in areas where Twitter usage is low -- which are likely to be the ones most at risk)


Member signs up

Via Web

  • Member goes to twittervotereport.com and registers
  • If a twitter member:
    • Member becomes a follower of @votereport
    • votereport then auto-follows the member
  • If not a twitter member, offer option to sign up at twitter (?)
  • Request cell phone number and carrier (to also have direct connection)
    • Have a confirmation sequence (is this important?)
  • Location request (is this important?)
  • Poll location request (is this important?)

Via twitter

  • Member follows @votereport (f votereport)

  • votereport autofollows member twitter account
  • votereport requests polling location with formatted message


Tracking and Acting

Monitoring at Max Magnitude

Sweeper sends out an alert

- identifies potential pattern

- identifies precinct (may not be unique in urban areas)

- validates data

- gets feedback and confirms

- sends notification



Sweeper detects bad data

- identifies pattern

- gets feedback

- purges data

- alerts somebody to look for broader pattern


*Story Type: Outside Groups Using Our Information*


Community activists looking out for local problems


what information and visualizations are important, how to convey confidence levels and minimize false alarms, how can they confirm itand to evaluate the severity?  how to determine specific precinct if it's not known?  what should they do next?  who do they contact if they have proble and know what to do/who to contact next?


Election protection group gets alert

what's needed from an election protection activist's standpoint (cut-and-paste via email) ... how does TVR fit into this environment, and who (if anybody) is doing the other pieces?


   1. Need an update - simple in form - telling me if there is anything wrong happening

   2. Need the option to turn off "good status" from yellow or red status - the idea is that I do not mind the information initially feeding, but as distractions occur, I will want to only be bothered when things are bad.

   3. If there are people in the War Room, they will be on the phones and updating a board (like we had every year).  This time, it is about knowing the information and reaching out.  Not sure if the offices have some form of war room set up or who is doing it.

   4. Visual will be important - since they will not have time to do the reading as well s we would like - remember, lots of noise, lots of pandemonium due to volunteers.  Think of what a Blomberg terminal would be like and how traders deal with the issues.



Local reporter/blogger is following for a story


Reporter/blogger can go to Plodt.com to see what the wait times are in local areas, and how they compare nationally -- and see if there are other problems developing, also which local polling stations are reporting good experiences.


National reporter/blogger is following for a story


Reporter/blogger can go to Plodt.com to see what areas of the country have the longest wait times and how they've shifted throughout the day -- see which areas are trending as problem areas, and where people are having the best experiences.


Campaign-based Election Protection Workers 


Poll Watchers

The Obama campaign has extensive voter protection efforts in swing states with registered poll watchers throughout the state. These poll watchers may be able to provide important and comprehensive data to TVR. I am a registered poll watcher in Indianapolis and plan to report on TVR throughout the day as well as to the Obama Campaign election day headquarters (often called Boiler Rooms). TVR may want to get in contact with the voter protection efforts of the campaign to create a comprehensive set of TVR reporters, or give interested registered poll watchers some sort of "Super Tweeter" status so they can tweet for non-tweeters they work to help inside the polling places. At least in Indiana, registered poll watchers are some of the few people who can be in the precint all day - from set-up to watching the vote count after the polls have closed.


Campaign Bolier Rooms

The information available from TVR will be very helpful to campaign "Boiler Rooms." These are election day headquarters of campaigns that poll watchers call into to report conditions at the polls, and which are staffed with lawyers broken up into rapid response teams to actually fix voting day problems as they occur. These are the folks who get reports from and advise poll watchers all day.


Election Law Litigators

The information available via TVR could be incredibly helpful to lawyers seeking to have the polls held open longer, require election officals to use emergency paper ballots to speed-up lines (especially in the face of broken polling machines), or have injunctions placed against the use of certain techniques by voter challengers.


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