Open Primary by A.C. Fuller

Open Primary by A.C. Fuller

Author:A.C. Fuller [Fuller, A.C.]
Language: eng
Format: epub
Publisher: A.C. Fuller

When I arrive at the office, Steph is hunched over her laptop, a half glass of wine on the desk next to her.

"What's going on?" she says, not looking up.

"You might want to get yourself another glass of wine first. Never mind. I'll get you one while I get one for myself."

A minute later, I'm back from the kitchenette, a glass of Sauvignon Blanc in my hand and the open bottle of zin for Steph.

To my surprise, Benjamin Singh now sits where Steph sat, having returned from the bathroom. A look passes between them, but I'm too worked up to give it much thought.

"I pulled up social media stats," Benjamin says. "What are you trying to figure out?"

"Morton's slow and steady climb has seemed odd, right? The vanilla ice cream candidate flourishing on a site otherwise dominated by folks on the further extremes."

"Right," Benjamin says. "That I knew."

"And I've been feeling like I just don't see people talking about him much online. He doesn't have a large platform on YouTube or Facebook or anything. When I pulled up his Twitter mentions, it was crickets."

"And yet," Steph says, "he's getting votes."

"Exactly."

"So," Benjamin says, "you're wondering whether you're imagining things. Wondering where his votes are coming from?"

"Right. Can you do something like a graph that compares his social media mentions with other candidates?"

Benjamin turns to his computer. "I can do better than that."

Benjamin pulls up a graph of blue and red lines that reminds me of something from calculus class in high school. "Haven't had much time with this, but I've been working on a new thing." He points at a fairly stable red line, moving from left to right across the screen. There are a few dips and spikes, but it's close to horizontal. "That line charts the average ratio of votes each candidate has to the amount of organic discussion of that candidate on our Forum."

One of the major innovations of the last two months was the Ameritocracy Forum. Tens of thousands of users spend time there each day, discussing candidates, debating issues, explaining their votes, and sometimes even interacting with candidates who run Ask Me Anything hours and answer questions posed by users. A team of six moderators work remotely in eight-hour shifts, reading comments, banning abusive users, and working like mad to keep things civil.

"I don't get it," I say.

Steph takes a big sip of her wine. "Remember when I told you that we were trying to figure out how to make sure no one is gaming the system? This is one of the ways Ben came up with. The red line shows how much discussion a candidate generates relative to their vote totals."

Steph puts her hand on Ben's shoulder. The "…" text and the fact that Benjamin is using her computer makes sense. They're sleeping together.

"Tell her about the D Score," Steph continues as my mind adjusts to this new reality.

Benjamin speaks with an excitement that's rare for him. "At any given time, we can see a candidate's D Score.



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