Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Congressman Drinking Bird

So I came up with this idea for a website, I call it, although the name is subject to change. The idea is that the website asks each visitor what state they are from, whether they identify as Republican or Democrat, and then asks polls their opinion on 10 or so topics that came before Congress, yea or nay. Then, Congressman Drinking Bird casts his votes on the topics by selecting at random, 50-50. Then, it will show how you, Congressman Drinking Bird, and the congressmen (and women) from your state voted. This would allow you to gauge how accurately your representatives are representing your interests.

Other polling topics are possible, such as gender. However, it is good to keep in mind that people don't like to spend much time answering stupid questions about themselves and can also find those questions intrusive and may be turned off by them. So it's good to keep the survey small, unobtrusive, but still giving you good information about the visitors.

Congressman Drinking Bird acts as a gauge of how good your representative is, because at 50% randomness, he should agree with you 5 out of 10 times. If your representative does worse than that, then their interests are clearly opposed to yours. So theoretically, Congressman Drinking Bird can win, and possibly represent you better than your congressman.

The site would keep statistics on how people voted on issues, on how well the congressmen represent their people, keep track of each congressman's win percentage against Congressman DB, and keep track on CDB's overall win percentage. The site would also provide a list, ranking each congressman by the average number of times they agree with a visitor from their state.

I have come up with a few monetization schemes for the site.

1. Congressmen can pay to have a link to their website from the results page. As in, when the site shows how your opinions compare with your congressman and CDB, their would be a link (possibly even a banner) next to your result that would point the user toward your page.

2. Groups can pay to have access to portions of the polling data.

3. People who are running for office can take a full survey of issues, and then when someone from that state comes to the site, it can show just how the candidates rate on the issues versus the other candidates/incumbents. Naturally, this service would cost money.

EDIT: It could also have a cute/funny animation with a caption that says "Congressman Drinking Bird is carefully weighing the issues."  Perhaps some webcomic artists could be troubled to add their look/skills to the design.