3 elections chatbot ideas from Election Watch Hackathon

Media Development Foundation organized a 3-day hackathon for journalists from 10 independent media. The hackathon’s aim was to generate new ideas and formats to cover elections and to stay appealing and useful for the youth.

We’ve told you earlier that we invited Masha Fronoschuk and Yulia Salizhenko from Platformagic creative lab, who organized a brainstorm based on the design-thinking method. All three participating teams decided to use chatbots to communicate with the young audience. Despite their choice to use the same instrument, they developed completely different solutions — let’s take a look at their prototypes.

Take Back Your City bot

The bot’s goal is to create quick official inquiries to solve urban problems. For example, you can use bot to notify municipal officials about uncertified garbage dumps, problems with hot water etc. Bot will formulate inquiries for contractors concerned and send it effortlessly for users. Contractors will have 10 days to respond.

Moreover, the bot will also offer additional information on deputies from each constituency, and will be able to send them inquiries, too. Information on deputies will come from the Verkhovna Rada website and from the UControl platform. So if a deputy has bad reputation, users will see it.

The bot will have an interactive map, where the profile pics of the most active users will appear. They will pop up according to the number of solved problems. The most active users will receive the status of a “mayor” of their district or city. There will also be a list of contractors: deputies, public utility services, state officials etc. If they have completed more than 70% of inquiries, they will have a halo on their profile picture, if they did less than 30% of work, they’ll get a poop emoji.

“Our audience is mostly hipsters. We want them to spend as little time as possible when solving a problem. They wouldn’t want to go into details. Everything they need to do is type “Illegal dump on Shevchenko Str., 29”. The bot will formulate the text, search for contractors concerned and if user approves the final version of the inquiry, the bot will send it,” — the team explained while presenting the prototype.

The bot will also respond with jokes on problems that he cannot solve. For example, if you write “I have no girlfriend”, he’ll advise to download Tinder.

«Predictor» (bets on news)

The second team decided to engage youth with a bot where you can bet on news and various forecasts. For example, the bot will suggest different topics (elections turnout, least popular candidate etc) with answer options. The user will choose the most likely prediction, the bot will accept his “bet”. After the elections the bot will send out the results telling you how accurate your forecasts were and who won.

The team had a few ideas how to encourage participation: either through stickers system («master of forecasts», «predictor of the year» etc), or through prizes which will be given to one of the best predictors selected with a randomizer. The team considers it a possibility for bot’s monetization and co-operation.

The bot can have another function: to follow news. Sometimes results of betting may appear in a few weeks or even months. User may simply miss out something. The bot will offer you to follow a certain topic or a news thread to receive updates concerning it.

An important aspect of “Predictor” is a small number of daily posts. Frequent notifications irritate people so they turn them off or unsubscribe. If the bot doesn’t post often, users will not mute it.

«Corgi paw» (Become cool in 1 minute)

The third team decided to opt for the idea that the young pay attention to their authority and competence around friends. Their chatbot will help you to get a quick expertise in all complicated topics, search for and copare similar cases and “become cool in 1 minute”. Especially in elections and politics.

Bot will offer a range of solutions for different subjects and problems, from political promises to urbanism. It will have basic information on how such problems were solved at the international level and how you can implement this experience in Ukraine.

The bot’s idea may be used by any media and for any topic, which is one of its main advantages.

At the next stage of the hackathon the participants will implement their ideas according to their media and audience, and will further test it on their readers.


Are you curious about design-thinking? Our expert Masha Fronoschuk drew up a list of useful sources:

Author: Tanya Gordiienko

Media Development Foundation

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The Media Development Foundation (MDF) is a Center of Excellence and a Media Expertise hub focused on empowering journalists and media organizations.

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