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Publishing less: our current thinking about comparative statistics

Over the last few years we have stopped publishing several statistics on some of our services, but haven’t really talked publicly about why. This blog post is about the problems we’ve been trying to address and why, for the moment, we think less is better. TheyWorkForYou numerology  TheyWorkForYou launched with explicit rankings of MPs but these were quickly replaced with more “fuzzy” rankings, acknowledging the limitations of...

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Stop the bombing of civilians, with WriteToThem

Humanity & Inclusion is a charity working to combat the injustices faced by people with disabilities and vulnerable populations in situations of poverty and exclusion, conflict and disaster. Their recent campaign, ‘Stop Bombing Civilians’, encourages supporters to protest the bombardment of innocent citizens in areas of conflict like Syria, Iraq, Yemen, and Afghanistan. As their website explains, when explosive weapons are used...

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This Could Be The Most Important Email You Will Ever Send To Your MEP

As most people reading this will know by now, the deeply-flawed EU Copyright Directive faces one final vote in the European Parliament soon.  If it passes there, it will become law.  That means we have one final chance to stop it, by writing to our MEPs now.Those with good memories will remember that we stopped the equally pernicious Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) at the last minute, against all the odds, by writing huge...

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Using mySociety data to explore the representation of women

A key part of mySociety’s research agenda is understanding how Civic Technology is (or isn’t) helping under-represented groups in society access government services and their representation. In 2015 we released a report  Who Benefits from Civic Technology, that explored variations in usage of Civic Tech in various countries and demographics. You can read or download it here. In this blog post I’m going to talk a bit about how...

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UK Citizens: Please Write to Your MPs Today about the Big Brexit Votes

There's an important series of Brexit votes taking place tomorrow.  The UK government will seek to overturn some sensible amendments made in the Lords, allotting just a few hours to consider many important issues. If you can, please write to your MPs today urging them to support amendments that will minimise the damage caused by the self-harming hard Brexit. You can write to your MP using the excellent WriteToThem service, which is...

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Grenfell Tower: how mySociety can help

Just like many others, we at mySociety have been appalled and shocked at the Grenfell Tower fire which struck last week. That shock has only deepened over the weekend as the confirmed death toll has risen and more facts have emerged. As both the public and the media search for the ‘why’ behind the story, strands are emerging which point to political mismanagement, inequality, long-term neglect and deprivation, shortsighted...

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How secrecy helped us bring about transparency

Over the past six months, mySociety has been working on a project so sensitive that we even referred to it by codename when talking about it internally. That might seem a little over the top, until you realise that we were partnering with asl19.org, an organisation working — for their own safety — out of Canada, with the mission of helping Iranian citizens to assert their rights to freedom of expression and access to...

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They’re back, and they’re bad: WriteToThem responsiveness stats

If you’ve used WriteToThem, you’ll know that two weeks after you submit a message to your MP, we send a follow-up questionnaire to check whether you received a response. Each year, we collate that data to see how MPs are doing at responding to constituents’ mails*, and we publish the results. (This year, we waited a bit longer than usual so that we could cover a full year since the general election.) They’re now live, so you...

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Timing is everything: why we’re publishing in June

It’s around this time of year that we normally publish our responsiveness statistics on WriteToThem. However, if you’ve been looking forward to seeing your MP’s ranking, we’re afraid you’ll have to wait a little longer. Two weeks after you use WriteToThem to contact a representative, we send you an automated email to check whether or not you received a response. The data gathered by these questionnaires gives us a snapshot of...