department of informatics

SmartParticipation A Fuzzy-Based Recommender System for Political Community-Building


As the use of the Internet proliferates, so does the amount of information available. With the introduction of Web 2.0, which includes users as content generators, finding relevant information is even more complex. To tackle this problem of information overload, a number of different techniques have been introduced, including search engines, Semantic Web, and recommender systems, among others.

Social networks and communities have become an important environ- ment for exchanging information about products, services, music, and movies, among other things. In an information and knowledge society, such technologies could also improve democratic processes, increase citizens’ interest in political issues, enhance participation, and renew civic engagement. However, the difficulty of finding other citizens or parties that share common goals is still a barrier to overcome.

In this work, a fuzzy-based recommender system architecture for stim- ulating political participation and collaboration is proposed. The SmartParticipation project uses the database of smartvote, a well- known voting advice applications (VAAs) for local, cantonal, and national elections in Switzerland. The recommendation engine works with a modified fuzzy c-means algorithm (FCM) and the Sammon mapping technique, which is used for visualizing recommendations.

Additionally, an evaluation framework for eParticipation is presented, which allows one to analyze different projects and their development towards the enhancement of citizens’ participation and empowerment. Initial results demonstrate the potential for building political communities and the stimulation of civic participation.


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