Tuesday, June 29, 2021

Email subscription changes

Up until now this site has offered an email subscription service, though I'm not sure how many people would have seen it.  Tucked in the bottom right hand of the page, for anyone who ever scrolled down that far, has been a space marked "Follow by email" where an email address can be entered.  At least in theory, anyone who enters their address then gets emailed the text of articles that are posted on this site, sometime within a day or so after the articles being posted.  (As one of the subscribers myself, I've found this to be more than a little hit and miss.)

The email service started rather slowly - this site started in October 2012 and by the end of 2012 only my mother and I were subscribed to it.  However it's continued to pick up subscribers over time.  Weirdly the smallest number of new subscribers was picked up in 2019 (a federal election year and a busy year for the site) while 2018 saw one of the largest numbers of new subscribers.  

For some time there's been an announcement inside my Blogger console that the Feedburner email service is "going away", which is a curiously quaint way of saying it aint gonna work any more.  I believe this takes effect from this week.

After (one by one, because there wasn't any other way!) culling over a thousand spam signups from the list, I've downloaded a file of the 110 genuine email subscriptions so that I may be able to, in future, transfer these over to a new email system providing the same service.  However, while I am pretty familiar with using mailing list sites such as MailChimp, what I don't know is how to replicate what the existing Feedburner service does.  That is, I don't know how to set up a service that will monitor my site, notice when I've got a completely new post up, and at that point (or preferably several hours later when I've culled out most of the gremlins and typos) send out an email to subscribers.  Also, of course, I would want to be able to put something in the sidebar where people could subscribe to this site.  

If anyone does know how to do this (and maybe someone will tell me immediately!), please let me know.  Otherwise, the email subscription service may be on hold for a short time, a long time or permanently pending me working out how to (and whether to) best replace it.  

If/once a new system is up to date, details will be posted.  

Update (11 July)

The article I posted yesterday has still gone out via the existing email system, so perhaps the change has not taken effect yet.  I'm continuing to explore and test alternatives (see comments) while I wait to see what happens.  

Saturday, June 26, 2021

Recent Newspolls Do Not Prove That A Hung Parliament Is Likely

Today's Australian reports claims by federal Greens Leader Adam Bandt that recent Newspolls suggest Australia is headed for another minority government situation similar to that which occurred (for the first time in many decades) in 2010.  It's a typical case of using polls for a purpose for which they are neither intended nor fit.  

The most relevant quotes:

"The Greens leader used ­research from the parliamentary library to argue that Labor’s only chance of forming government, based on the past six months of Newspoll, is to gain the support of the Greens and independents on supply and confidence.

The research, based on a uniform swing in each electorate, predicts Labor would have reached 75 seats on its two best polls this year – one seat short of a majority government.

“The maths just says we are heading towards a power-sharing parliament; (there) is a swing against the government,” Mr Bandt told The Weekend Australian. “It shows Morrison being pushed out of majority government but not enough for Labor to win in its own right.”

Thursday, June 17, 2021

The Major Parties Are Not "Neck And Neck" In Victoria

RESOLVE PM (Victoria state) Labor 37 Coalition 36 Green 9 IND 12 Others 5

2PP Estimate 54-46 to Labor.  If numbers repeated at election, Labor would win easily (c. 50 seats)

"Independent" vote very likely to be overstated


I've had too little time for writing here in recent weeks, largely because of a backlog of contract work that I had to clear after it built up during the Tasmanian snap election.  There are a few pieces I have been working on that I do hope to finish some time but they will be well behind the news cycle should they actually appear.  However, I wanted to make some comments about reporting of today's Resolve Political Monitor poll of Victorian state election voting.  This furthers a concern I have had about some responses to the 2019 federal polling failure - that some media sources that commission or work with polls have responded with trendy solutions that lose information and then lead to worse reporting of what polls are actually claiming to show.  

In my initial coverage of Resolve's entry to the major polling markets I noted that fingering two-party preferred figures as a major culprit in the 2019 federal polling failure was simply incorrect: polls were wrong overwhelmingly because their primary votes were wrong, with errors in preference estimation making only a small contribution to the failure.  I doubted the claims that this would deliver readers "something deeper" than "the “horse race” nature of the way we reported the results of TPP questions" and suggested that what this would actually lead to was journalists reporting the horse race off primary votes.  In the case of the reporting of this specific Victorian poll, the horse race commentary hasn't gone away, it's just got worse.  It's like being told just the relative positions of the horses near the end of a race without being told one of them is flagging and the other is charging home strongly.