An Evaluation Dashboard would be a page, or a group of pages, that E-Democracy staff would use to view statistics about the platform (forums.e-democracy.org), groups on the platform, groups of groups on the platform (e.g. all groups in neighborhood groups in Minneapolis), and users on the platform.
Where and Who
A site wide evaluation dashboard could be provided at forums.e-democracy.org/evaluation/. Sub pages could display specific measures in greater detail.
Each group could also have a group level display of statistics at forums.e-democracy.org/groups/<groupId>/evaluation/. Again, sub pages could display specific measures in greater detail.
The primary audience for this would be E-Democracy staff. Depending on the nature of information displayed, or the server resources required to display, these pages could be made to only be accessible to a limited group of people, which would initially include only staff and forum managers/coaches. Outside researchers could be an additional audience, and could be granted access on request.
A long list of desired statistics and evaluations can be found in the Google Doc Metrics, Research, and Evaluation Execution Plan - Detailed. In summary, these statistics include:
- Membership statistics: # of group/site members; # of joiners/leavers in a time period
- Demographics: education; household income, race, ethnicity, etc...
- Registration statistics: # who started registration; # who completed registration; # of unverified email addresses
- Posting statistics: # of people posting; # of posts per user; % of authors
- Technology statistics: % of web users; % of digest users; % of email only users
In most cases, a user should be able to view these statistics in aggregate across the site, for a single group, and in aggregate for a group of groups. A user should be able to see comparison displays; such as the registration statistics for a single group compared to the registration statistics of all groups in St. Paul, or % of authors compared to % of digest users.
A set of pages and scripts already exist that provide a level of evaluation support. In some cases, these existing tools can be modified and moved to a site/group evaluation section. In other cases, the tools would need to be rewritten to improve performance and usability.
A display of the number of posts made each month, for every group since its founding, can be viewed at http://forums.e-democracy.org/stats.html. This page also allows somebody to download the statistics as a CSV. The current page takes considerable time and server resources to display. In addition, it does not display information in a way that makes comparing multiple groups easy.
Ideally, every page related to evaluation will allow a user to download the displayed information in a CSV, and access the data in an interchange format (i.e. JSON or XML). Doing so will allow users to perform analysis beyond what is built into the evaluation pages.