Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

As you use PeopleCount.org, you'll probably have some questions about what we do or about how to get involved. Check out our frequently asked questions, below. If you don't see the answer to what you are looking for, contact us! We'd love to hear from you!

Table of Contents

General Information

  • What is PeopleCount.org?

    PeopleCount.org is a non-partisan organization that empowers the public to communicate constructively by taking stands on political issues influencing the country today. We'll show you and your representative the collective results so you can know for what you can hold your representative accountable.

  • Why was PeopleCount.org created?

    In our political system today, we are separated from our representatives. Due to this separation, our politicians cannot know what we want, so they listen to the people around them, lobbyists, special interests and big donors. And they listen to the parties, which are entrenched in posturing and fighting for power rather than resolving the problems facing our country. Sometimes they even compromise our rights and the constitution.

    With PeopleCount, our opinions, whether left-wing or right-wing, libertarian or moderate, will be clear to both our politicians and ourselves, creating an environment in which our politicians needn't argue about what we want.

    Knowing what we want, we can begin to hold our representatives accountable. Over time, PeopleCount.org will offer more services so we can communicate more effectively with each other and with our representatives, and navigate politics easily and quickly.

    Our vision is to spread this to other countries as well, so other democracies can govern themselves more effectively, non-democracies can better know what their people want, and all people can communicate about global issues.

  • Why should I use PeopleCount.org?

    Through PeopleCount.org's political profiles, you can do your part as a citizen to guide the country. Instead of stating your opinion and then it's gone, or is filed somewhere as a letter to the editor that a few thousand people read, your position is logged as a vote, and combined with others to guide the nation.

    By voting on PeopleCount, you support a day when so many people use it that representatives no longer need to argue about what America wants. Some issues will still be split, with people wanting different things, and that will be a clear signal that compromise is in order. And some issues that are thought to be split won't be, and the country can move ahead. And for some issues that were split, we'll uncover alternatives that we agree on.

    In addition, you'll be able to vote on relevant and timely solutions to some issues the government isn't moving on because they're not yet in the mainstream news.

    Once collected, PeopleCount.org's political profile data will become available to state and federal representatives who join the site, as well as to the media. This connects you to our current leaders and helps us all have an impact on current policy.

  • I'm not a citizen- what about my voice?

    If you're a U.S. resident, age 18 or over, you're welcome to join us. Our government governs everyone in America, as well as our citizens overseas. In addition, we intend to allow non-residents on the site soon after we secure funding.

  • I'm a teen- what about my voice?

    U.S. law has regulations (COPPA) that say if we allow teens on the site, we have to ensure we don't entice children 12 and under to join and mis-represent their age. We'll address this soon and open it up for teens.

  • I'm a local, state, or federal representative, how will PeopleCount.org benefit my campaign or political platforms?

    As a government official, you'll be able to see what's important to people and where they stand, so you can know with certainty what they want and expect. We'll also create reporting services so you can interrogate the data more deeply.

    People want you to be accountable, meaning you deliver what they want or you account for why not. Soon, we'll include ways for you to easily communicate with a constituent effectively about an issue, if the issue is important to him or her and based on his/her position on the issue, delivering that accountability. During campaigns, you can cite the many ways you responded to what people wanted.

    Many of you keep track of citizen feedback and contacts. We'll be developing features to track these, saving staff time.

About Political Profiles, Features and Privacy

  • How do I log out? Why doesn't "Login" log me in?

    You have to visit a profile to sign out of icount.com.
    To log out, near the top-right of a profile is
          Welcome YOUR-NAME     sign out
    Simply click the "sign out" text.

    As a start-up, we've launched quickly by using existing technology at icount.com. Thus "Login" brings you to the political profile page and you log into or out of icount.com on an individual political profile page.

    As we gain users and support, we'll create custom technology for a smoother user experience.

  • How can I give feedback about a political profile?

    To give feedback on an existing political profile, especially what's missing, please use the “Comment” areas that accompany each question. Please be constructive, if possible, when suggesting how to improve a political profile.

    The last question on a political profile is for rating it and other feedback. If an important topic is missing, please let us know using the last question's comment section.

  • How can I tell you what I want you to cover in future political profile.

    We have more political profiles planned. Check back soon.

    And soon, there'll be user forums for conversations about the site, future political profile and features, ideas, problems, and more.

  • Do you share my data? Is it private?

    We do not share your data. It is private. We use your email address only to contact you. Currently we email you about twice a year. It will never be more than once a month.

    If you give us your address and birth date, it's only to validate your identity and connect you with your representatives and voting regions- state and district, and perhaps other political areas, such as your city. We already have lists of who lives where and when people were born. We need you to enter this information to make it difficult for people to make fake accounts.

    When we report on data, we may report on tallies of questions per demographic data, such as age, sex and party. None of your personal information is ever shared. None of your political profile answers are not shared. Only the vote totals are available, like in a public election.

    If the privacy policy changes, you'll be notified. We will not share information you've given us without explicit permission. If the privacy policy changes, we will not share your information without your explicit permission.

    As stated elsewhere in this FAQ, ICount.com provides our technology. They have a similar privacy policy with different wording. You can find that here.

  • Some of the questions seem biased. Are you non-partisan?

    We are committed to being non-partisan, to not taking a side. We try hard to make questions that are unbiased. And, this is a challenge.

    No one is unbiased. We have studied our own biases and have expertise in identifying our view that creates the bias. When we craft the questions, we seek to minimize bias, and always present a rich set of answers that can reasonably represent all (or almost all) views. We also test the political profile against a set of trial users and ask for feedback.

    Just by having a question on one topic and not another, a question or an entire political profile may seem biased to some. You're welcome to leave feedback in a political profile about this. We may be able to understand your point of view better if you can show us how the question might be rephrased to be less biased.

  • How does a Political Profile differ from a Survey, Ballot or Petition?

    The common definition of a "survey" is a questionnaire given to a few people to estimate the opinions of many. In America today, a political survey samples the throw-away opinions at a moment in time from mostly disempowered people. A profile reports the desires of empowered and informed people and are kept up to date.

    A survey or petition is given once, and then it's gone. If you make a mistake, you can't go back and correct it. Surveys are often given on the phone. Surprised, unprepared, you can't even take a few minutes to look something up. And often they interrupt when you have limited time, so you're rushed.

    Plus, surveys are designed to answer a question rather than let you express your opinions- they often leave out important answers and force you to make a false choice. Petitions are worse- they only let you agree to an often multi-faceted statement. You're left with the choice of signing or not when you only agree with part of it. And if you oppose it, you have to remain silent.

    Political profiles are different- they are held permanently in your account so you can answer them at your leisure. You can answer a few and then talk about them with friends and family, read a book or article. Even if you answer, you can change your answer later. With a political profile, you can take responsibility for your choices and keep them up to date. And you can ignore completely any issues or questions you don't care about.

    You'll be able to easily view the results, as well as access news and information and reports from politicians and experts. Political profiles report the views only of empowered, concerned citizens.

    Political profiles are designed for you to express your views. Unlike surveys, if a profile question falls short, we'll fix it. If new possibilities arise, we'll add answers and notify you.

    Ballots also fall far short of political profiles. Ballots on issues let you vote yes or no on a proposal even if you just agree with half of it. Profiles let you answer single-topic questions with a range of answers. And we're inventing better ways of also saying how important an issue is to you, how much you know about it and how certain you are. And ballots have to be submitted just once, on a particular day.

    In addition, most surveys on national issues only report national results- they don't report on your district or state so you can't use them to hold your representatives accountable. This is why most politicians line up behind their parties- they're currently getting their positions, and their power, from parties, not from the desires of constituents.

    A survey costs about $2,000 today just to perform the survey, plus the time involved in creating it. So the ten profiles that exist today on PeopleCount would cost $20,000 for each of the 485 districts and states- about a million dollars! And still they'd suffer from all the drawbacks above.

    Some people think political profiles have "selection bias", where only a certain kind of person answers. For instance, telephone surveys often only reach homeowners. PeopleCount.org avoids this by not sampling. In fact, it's surveys that mix together people who care a lot and those who don't. Our political profiles will be like sending a letter not just to all your officials, but to other citizens as well. In this sense, it's like a vote where people who don't care don't vote.

    For all these reasons, surveys and political profiles are very different.

  • Who creates the profile subjects and questions- can the public participate?

    In the beginning, the profile subjects and questions are created by our staff, which is trained in understanding our individual biases and has criteria for creating complete and fair answers.

    The public is welcome to provide feedback, suggestions and constructive criticism. We don't yet have technology and a process for the public creating profiles that meet our standards quality and being non-partisan.

    They need to be well-organized. Over time, there will be a large body of issues and questions and users need to be able to easily find and update questions. Repetition needs to be avoided to keep the number manageable. Other sites, such as Change.org and AmericansElect.com that have allowed the public to submit questions ended up with thousands of questions, many with poor quality, and a lot of redundancy.

  • Is there on-line help or support?

    Yes, on this help page

Volunteers, Donations, and Sponsors

  • How do I make a donation?

    To donate, and for questions about donating, please see the Donations page.

  • Are there sponsorship opportunities available for companies or individuals?

    Yes, these are welcome. Please contact Rand, at 650-209-8287, or by email.

  • I'm passionate about political activism and would like to get involved. How can I volunteer for the PeopleCount.org cause?

    We welcome your help! We could use help in the following areas:

    • Reviewing and testing political profiles
    • Designing new political profile areas
    • Creating pages of information links
    • Setting up a collaborative system for links (software design)
    • Marketing and media tasks

    If you'd like to learn more about getting involved with PeopleCount.org, please email Rand at Rand@PeopleCount.org

Site Concerns and Issues

  • I forgot my login information. What do I do?

    You login with an email address and password.

    If you forget your password, on the "Sign In" window, click on its "Forgot your password?" link. It'll send you to a page where you can enter your email address and press a "reset password" button. You'll receive an email containing a link to a web page where you can specify a new password.

    If you forgot your email address (for instance, if you have several), follow the directions in the previous paragraph, trying your different email addresses.

  • I feel uncomfortable giving my personal information to PeopleCount.org, what do you do with my registration information?

    We keep your personal information in icount.com's secure database. We do not share this information with anyone. We may use your email address to contact you at times, and include your first name in the email.

    When reports on political profile results are created, we may use some of your information to filter those results, such as using your age to show how people in different age groups vote.

    Your personal information is never shared with anyone outside of PeopleCount and icount.com.

  • Who is icount.com?

    Icount.com is our partner. They are providing the computing services for PeopleCount.org.

    Icount's mission is to enable people to communicate effectively with their government officials and participate easily in government. When you registered, you created an icount.com account and agreed to their terms and conditions.

    Icount.com helps governments, school boards, cities, counties ad states offer online services, such as putting schedules and meetings, including agendas and citizen input, online. Each government you're in appears as one of your "groups". icount.com also offers governments the ability to design surveys.

    You're welcome to visit icount.com and use their other services, such as contacting your representatives. When you created your icount.com account by using PeopleCount.org you also became part of the PeopleCount group. We worked with icount.com to tailor their survey technology to work for our political profiles.

    After you've logged in at icount.com, you can find the "GROUPS" link at the top to display your groups. They also have a "CONNECTIONS" link to display your representatives so you can send them messages.

  • How can I give feedback about the site?

    If it's appreciation, please Like our Facebook page or follow us on Twitter, and share us with people you know. You're welcome to send a customer testimonial to mktg@PeopleCount.org.

    We appreciate other feedback, as well. Please try to make it constructive. See our contact page.

    For feedback on existing and future political profiles and features, see the earlier section.

  • After I fill out a PeopleCount political profile, how are my answers sent?

    As you answer each question within a political profile, your answer is sent to our secure database. (If your PC crashes, your answers have been saved as long as you were connected to the internet.) This is why there's no Submit button at the end.

Question not answered?

Please email your questions or concerns to support@PeopleCount.org.