Voting advice is given in the form of a blog post, or advice tweet, that is delivered through an advice stream. The technology that makes such a stream possible is known as an RSS feed (a source that provides information to subscribers).
An RSS aggregator is a client program that checks for new posts periodically. It looks a lot like email, but instead of random people sending you stuff, the aggregator periodically goes to the sites you are following (and only those sites) to retrieve information that is new and interesting.
For voting advice, the aggregator will need the ability to access old advice — both for historical interest, and for last-minute subscribers who are using the system the day before the election.
Either on site that supplies the RSS feed, advice tweets need to be stored. An aggregator then can ask for one of:
- All advice ever given (to check reliability or value of the source).
- All advice given since a particular date.
The aggregator then needs to be smart enough to either:
- Use a date that is one-year previous, to get all relevant advice for the current election.
- Use the date from the last time a source was accessed, to get new material that has not previously been seen.
The advice stream also needs to be filtered — functionality that already exists in some cases, like this WordPress RSS Feed Aggregator, which allows an RSS feed to be filtered based on keywords, and then displayed on a WordPress site.
In this case, the keywords would be the Twitter-style hash tags that correspond to the issues a person is interested in — typically because those are the candidate races and ballot measures the are eligible to vote on.
See also: Voting Advice Hashtags
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