Backgrounder: online engagement on sport participation

The Department of Canadian Heritage would like to better understand how Canadians experience sport.

Goal of this initiative

Our intention is to engage people from across Canada to explore the extrinsic and intrinsic barriers to sport participation. This is an exploratory project that will be complemented by other research activities and that will contribute to the work of the Department’s newly established Sport Innovation Unit. Ultimately, the goal of the project is to uncover new insights about the sport experience to improve services and offerings to Canadians.

What is the engagement platform POL.IS?

POL.IS is a digital public engagement tool designed to gather feedback from large groups around a particular topic. It excels at gathering a diversity of opinion without giving priority to any particular aspect of the discussion. It also allows for conversations to evolve on a single platform, regardless of the official language with which a participant prefers to interact.

Questions about the public engagement and its platform

1) How does POL.IS work?

POL.IS is cloud-based, and can be accessed from any device. Participants can build a conversation with each other by “voting” (i.e. agree, disagree or pass) on a list of tweet-style statements. POL.IS also allows individuals to submit their own statements, on which other participants can vote. As statements are added, the list of experiences and perspectives on which others can vote grows, creating a virtual conversation that promotes inclusive understanding of a dynamic set of relationships.

2) I came back to the website and can’t find any of the previous statements I voted on. Why?

POL.IS is very efficient and keeps track of which statements you've already voted on, provided you use the same device and browser when you return to visit the page. In this way you can always see and vote on the new statements that have been added by other participants since your last visit. It also allows you to contribute statements anytime they come to you, just like in a real conversation.

3) Why are you using an automated machine translator?

All initial statements will be translated in both official languages. However, content added by participants, as third parties, will be published in the language in which it is submitted. To facilitate greater understanding, automated translation is offered as a courtesy but we cannot guarantee accuracy. By using the automatic machine translation service, users have to accept the legal implications of any shortcomings or differences in the translation.

The goal of leveraging automated machine translation directly tied to our desire to have one robust conversation regardless of a participant's chosen official language. In order to engage communities across Canada and avoid having two separate conversations, we have created one channel where participants are free to engage in the official language of their choice.

4) Are statements being monitored?

Content added by participants, as third parties, will be monitored, and we reserve the right to remove inappropriate statements including those that have obscene language or sexual content, threaten or defame any person or organization, violate the legal ownership interest of another party, privacy laws, promote commercial services or products, or are not topically related to the discussion. We will also ensure that there are no duplicate statements in order to not dilute the conversation.

5) Should I be worried about my privacy?

Not at all. All statements are submitted anonymously and monitored daily before being posted.

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