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Talk:Political Compass

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This Politics related article has been awarded BRONZE status for quality. It's getting there, but could be better with improvement. See RationalWiki:Article rating for more information.


Rip Off?[edit]

Is it right to call the compass a "rip off" of the Nolan Chart. I don't see where the site's author is claiming someone else's work as their own. They are using the same two dimensional scale as many people and quizzes have done. Nor is it an exact duplicate of the Nolan chart. Agreeing with the efficacy of the representation and making your own questions to map locations qualifies as a rip off? It seems to me the article is using needlessly inflammatory language to describe it..

From TFA
Its creators do not acknowledge the rip-off anywhere on their website, and indeed insinuate in some places that their chart is a new, original idea. It must be said, however, that their test is a vast improvement on the World's Smallest Political Quiz.
Taking someone else's idea without attribution is a rip-off. Jack Hughes (talk) 13:34, 29 January 2010 (UTC)

The Nolan Chart was published in 1971. Science Fiction author Jerry Pournelle created a similar two dimensional chart in 1961. Stuart Christie and Albert Meltzer created a two dimensional political chart in 1970. And another by Maurice Bryson and William McDill in 1968. So there is no reason to call the political compass a rip off of the nolan chart simply because it shares similarities.

It uses the same axis name but doesn't have the same quadrant name or layout and therefore the political compass is not using the Nolan chart but a chart that has large similarities.

So, fine, I'm now convinced, so create a user name, log in, discuss this on this talk page and then amend. Coming in as a BoN and making significant changes like this will tend to get an automatic revert. Jack Hughes (talk) 13:55, 29 January 2010 (UTC)
I'm not sure what a user name has to do with it. Obviously it's preferable, but you already said you're convinced. Does it matter who you're convinced by? --Kels (talk) 13:57, 29 January 2010 (UTC)
OK, the convincing bit was the second edit to the talk page. May I suggest something along the lines of
The Political Compass, despite claims of originality, is heavily based on such forerunners as those developed by Jerry Pournelle in 1961, Stuart Christie and Albert Meltzer in 1970, and Maurice Bryson and William McDill in 1968.
If BoN had put that in the first place... and I'm more than happy for something along those lines to be added now. Jack Hughes (talk) 14:03, 29 January 2010 (UTC)
Which has now happened. Jack Hughes (talk) 14:09, 29 January 2010 (UTC)

Issues of terminology and bias[edit]

It should probably be noted that the bias illustrated by the site's editorial opinions is not actually against liberalism in the social or even classical senses, but neoliberalism, i.e. the economic ideology espoused by such economists as Milton Friedman. While I can't say that I blame them, it is indeed blatantly obvious that they lean to the bottom-left of their own chart, and, in spite of whatever efforts to the contrary, tend to write from there.

I must also note that, while this bias does exist, to say that they characterise Obama as "half a wingnut" is more than a bit unfair; at their harshest, they merely point out the inconsistency between the common depiction of him as a left-leaning social liberal and his relative wishy-washiness regarding Guantañamo Bay, NAFTA, the death penalty and other issues.

On a completely different note, the question about "businesses misleading the public" is not necessarily an unfair one, as to "mislead" does not mean by necessity to defraud; it could refer to anything from exaggeration in marketing to the cloaking of a company's value by a derivatives trader - neither of which are problematic to certain dogmatic rightists, who would not view such actions as fraud, but as justified protection of monetary interests. Really, with the exception of the "corporations vs. humanity" question - to which there are numerous issues - most of the economics propositions can go either way quite easily; it's the propositions on social issues that have more of an overt liberal push, as they are often worded in very extreme terms*; this jibes rather nicely with their criticisms of the Labour Party, which seem far more focused on their social positions than their economic ones.

(*Note: There is always that one guy who won't care and will just answer like the kooky racist/jingoist/sexist cretin he is; this, however, should bear little on the writing of such a test, as these people are quite few and far between. Unless we're speaking of the Constitution Party, in which they're probably dime-a-dozen...)

And finally, a minor proposition: Is it not possible that many of the contributors to RationalWiki will see more of a left-libertarian bias because they share the same opinions? This is not to say that it is not there, but isn't it at least possible that we see more of it than is actually there because we are inclined to believe that any other answer to some of these questions would be absurd and borderline indicative of nuttiness?

Case rested. Insignificant (talk) 06:35, 28 December 2010 (UTC)

With regards to your criticism of the proposition: "If economic globalisation is inevitable, it should primarily serve humanity rather than the interests of trans-national corporations": your summary grossly misinterprets the answer actually given by the authors of the Political Quiz. What they really say is that if you disagree that there's a conflict between the interests of the corporations and the common people, feel free to answer "strongly disagree", and he quiz will (correctly) move your result towards the economic right. (They also make it clear that they do not agree with such an opinion.)

As for the question about terrorism, forty years ago they could have asked the same question, just with "communism" substituted. (Does the name McCarthy ring a bell?) - Mike Rosoft (talk) 17:25, 18 February 2012 (UTC)

Oh yes, and the proposition "The businessperson and the manufacturer are more important than the writer and the artist" says precisely nothing about funding. (The quiz includes a different question on whether or not the government should support theaters that can't raise enough money on their own.) - Mike Rosoft

Took the test.[edit]

I just took the Political Compass test.

  • My economic score is -6,75
  • My social score is -4,51

Which places me in the range of moderate liberalism (political left) and libertarianism, or, comparing to the historical figures provided (Stalin, Hitler, Gandhi, Thatcher, Friedman) slightly behind Gandhi with respect to the origin (i.e., if you were to draw a line connecting my location to the center of the graph, Gandhi would be towards the middle of that line). For the record, I am a democratic communist (I feel capitalism is incompatible with sustainability, corporations have way too much power in the US government as is) who feels that government has the responsibility of protecting the basic needs (food, health, education) of the people, but beyond that should not interfere too much in the lives of the people. Just out of curiousity, where do Obama, Orwell, and Leonard (the narrator of the YT series "The Story of Stuff" and author of the book of the same name) fall on the spectrum? The Heidelberg Kid (talk) 15:21, 10 February 2012 (UTC)

That's not democratic communism (What does that even mean? Luxemburgism?), that's social democracy. Obama would still be a conservative (the blue field), although hard to the center and Orwell would be somewhere around me or in other words, the outer fringes of the green field. --ʤɱ socialist 17:40, 18 February 2012 (UTC)


Was there discussion before this article was given bronze? Proxima Centauri (talk) 13:39, 2 June 2012 (UTC)

There is no discussion for bronze you oblivious idiot. Hasn't been for over a year now. Wake up and pay attention to what's going on. ТyrannisPlead 13:42, 2 June 2012 (UTC)


This test is quite frankly pretty dumb at understanding leftist ideology. To leftists, their concern with the economy isn't the size of the state, despite what the blatant Americentrism (or UK-centric) of the author tells you — their concern is who is in charge of the economy, a state not necessarily being a prerequisite for that. Withoutaname (talk) 09:29, 22 May 2016 (UTC)

Rational WikiCriticism[edit]

"Governments should penalise businesses that mislead the public."

May I'm wrong but given the fact a business that mislead the public shoudn't it be the court who penalise them? And if it does, wouldn't it be a sign of authoritarian to insist on continiuing punishment by government? I really do not get why that is a loaded proposition. -- (talk) 11:57, 18 October 2017 (UTC)

Should we talk about bias in the "Who are you in 1917 Russia?" political compass[edit]

I'd personally argue not to. I see in it more an effort to educate the audience about the Russian Revolution rather than a genuine quiz telling people on which side of the political spectrum they are. Hex4 (talk) 12:19, 18 january 2018 (UTC)