I just read about eightmaps.com, a site that maps pro CA Prop 8 donors and donation amount on a google map. For an example, here is a screenshot of a golf course community in Southern Orange Co, CA and my neighborhood in Berkeley, CA with the same zoom level. It would be easy to write a post slamming golf course communities for seemingly conservative beliefs or praising my home-town, but that is not why I’m blogging about this.
[Orange County golf course community]
Historically, political donation information and other human data is used by social scientists and other academics and not web-activisits. The former groups holds themselves to the ethical standards of their respective fields. So I wonder if this type of project would get IRB approval? Can anybody who serves on IRB panels comment? I understand that sometimes “you’re either for us or against us” and pushing the pendulum one direction (towards LBGT rights) is needed, but at what cost. In a democracy, individuals who donate to pro-Prop 8 campaigns are entitled to do this, and shouldn’t be harrassed by eightmap users.
Could the data be aggregated by zipcode or neighborhood block (like census), or coded to strip donor names while still maintaining the main themes of the project. I know pin-points on a map are sexy, but what about a gradient density plot? The maps I presented probably have tenfold different populations in the same size image, which isn’t accounted for. This grouping could lead to its own problems… with community profiling of red neighborhoods and blue neighborhoods similar to red states and blue states.
To be fair, Eightmaps may want to populate a map with anti-Prop 8 donors too. And what if we could link neighbors who have opposing prop 8contribution types, so that they can talk about their differences and come to some resolution, or not.
read NYT article on this topic