Talk:Political compass

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
WikiProject Politics (Rated Start-class, Low-importance)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject Politics, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of politics on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the discussion and see a list of open tasks.
Start-Class article Start  This article has been rated as Start-Class on the project's quality scale.
 Low  This article has been rated as Low-importance on the project's importance scale.
WikiProject Libertarianism (Rated Start-class, Low-importance)
WikiProject icon Political compass is within the scope of WikiProject Libertarianism, an open collaborative effort to coordinate work for and sustain comprehensive coverage of Libertarianism and related subjects in the Wikipedia.
Start-Class article Start  This article has been rated as Start-Class on the project's quality scale.
 Low  This article has been rated as Low-importance on the project's importance scale.

2005 comments[edit]

Hi, I am the anonymous coward that inserted the paragraph "Similarities and Differences with the Nolan Chart" (see history) which was removed with the arguments "all that is explained on their website [true], and, at any rate, the political compass is known by more people than the nolan chart [true]". But having a link to a (self-)explanation on the web is never a compelling reason to make a stub article. And the article on the Nolan Chart is much longer. Maybe that version was slightly ugly because the comparison part was longer than the first part. Yet I think it is better to have it.

--- Removed paragraph

The Nolan chart is also unique in that it does not have an x and y axis unlinke the Nolan Chart and the Pournelle Chart. It is also rarely criticized for any political bias while the Nolan Chart is often critized as being a pure Libertarian creation.

I expect this should start "The Political Compass" or something other than the Nolan cahrt - which cannot be unlike itself -- Chris Q 06:41, 2005 May 19 (UTC)

This should move to the Political Spectrum article, the description there is too short, this one is just long enough, there is no reason for a separate article.Ruzmanci 11:17, 22 July 2005 (UTC)

That was said about the less popular Pournelle chart, but it survived the vote for a merger. See Talk:Polical spectrum; we're talking about this whole thing now over there. Juan Ponderas 00:33, July 23, 2005 (UTC)

Where people go[edit]

I think it would help if people listed political leaders from the past or present and then people can try and point where they would go on here. What about Lenin for starters.

Authoritarian communists go in the left-upper quadrant. Wouter Lievens 15:24, 27 May 2005 (UTC)

Where would Karl Marx go. Paul Wilson.

  • There's a link at Political Compass to the Historical Political Compass, which periodically has people 'vote' on the position on the compass of various historical figures.
  • It's a fair point, but a few examples at least serve to illustrate the concept. I've taken some from the political compass, read up a bit and picked some where their judgment is likely to be uncontroversial (actually I trust their judgment quite strongly, but it is always going to be somewhat subjective) - Just zis  Guy, you know? [T]/[C] (W) AfD? 20:36, 12 November 2005 (UTC)

Wikipedian's Scores[edit]

Just curious about everyone's scores on, and wondering if we could start a list. I'm -4.5 on the social scale and -4.65 on the economic scale Karmafist 17:41, 31 July 2005 (UTC)

  • I'm about down there, too - no hope for rperesentation for us in current mainstream parties :-) - Just zis  Guy, you know? [T]/[C] (W) AfD? 20:36, 12 November 2005 (UTC)
  • I'm at Economic Left/Right: +8.13, Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -6.56: think again if you think you've got problems with mainstream political parties - at least one end of the distribution is near you (pity it's the wrong end though!) - I'm out there floating somewhere in deep space! ElectricRay 00:11, 14 November 2005 (UTC)
You must be a South Park Republican then! (Im an economic -4.88, social -5.38, down by the Dalai Lama) --Angr (tɔk) 21:53, 4 January 2006 (UTC)
Hey I had never heard that, but you're absolutely right! I just looked that up. How's this for a great quote from Mat Stone: “I hate conservatives, but I really fucking hate liberals.” That's me! Thank you for helping me, at long last, find out who I am! ElectricRay 14:37, 16 January 2006 (UTC)
  • My stats were: Economic Left/Right: -8.25, Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -6.36. Past Ghandi, Nelson Mandela, and the Dalai Lama, and almost as communist as Stalin. :)
I'm -4.25, -4.92 so I'm down with the Dalai. Seems to be a popular corner with Wiki users if not with mainstream politicians!--*smb 15:57, 18 September 2006 (UTC)
Woo, I'm not the only extremist down there. :) [Economic Left/Right: -7.38, Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -7.49] (talk) 01:35, 18 October 2012 (UTC)

"Proletarians of all countries, unite!"  :P

Scary. I managed -3.95 (social) and -3.00 (economic), and I thought I was a fruitcake.

I got Economic Left/Right: -3.25, Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -3.85. So I'm a Socialist/Democrat. That's about what I thought. ɱўɭĩєWhat did I dowrong 01:41, 17 May 2007 (UTC)
Economic Left (-2.88) and Social Libertarian (-2.66), we all seem to be falling into a similar catatgory, looks like we are the 'norm'.
It seems the test is biased. 5 friends of mine, 4 journalists, and like 30 people in message boards who took this test were all in the lower-left corner. BTW, I'm economic -2.62, social -2.77 -- (talk) 17:05, 1 September 2009 (UTC)
  • Econ Right 2.88; Libertarian -5.79 (no surprise there). Likely I'd score differently if the wording were changed to avoid certain assumptions that drive free-marketers crazy. —Tamfang (talk) 02:33, 18 October 2012 (UTC)

Merge with Political spectrum[edit]

That merger sounds beneficial. There'a already a pragraph there and a picture of the chart, so it wouldn't take much to simply add all this info. The various political spectra are easier to understand if discussed together. Cheers, -Willmcw 19:00, August 4, 2005 (UTC)

There is good reason to keep this, as the particular spectrum used by has its unique aspects to be discussed. If the Nolan chart deserves its own article, then so does this.

There's no question that this is a particular spectrum. The question is whether it needs to have an article of its own or whether it can be better treated as a section in Political spectrum. There'a already 49 words on it there, and some of the text in this 260 word article is a repetition of other info already there. How does the Political compass compare with the Nolan chart such that if one has an article the other must as well? Is this more famous or more usefull than Nolan? -Willmcw 23:54, 2 October 2005 (UTC)
  • Object Several of the charts are notable to have their own articles. The Nolan Chart and the Pournelle Chart are both considered notable enough for their own charts, the latter having survived a Vote for Deletion a year ago. What this article needs is more content and more work, not for the work that has been done reduced to fit into Political spectrum Harvestdancer 17:10, 26 October 2005 (UTC)
  • Object I think it's safe to take the merge request down. Karmafist 20:23, 12 November 2005 (UTC)
  • SUPPORT Merger. This is absolutely the same material as is covered in the [Political Spectrum] Article, where the concept is treated with a great deal more detail. This should be no more than a direction to that page. ElectricRay 00:04, 14 November 2005 (UTC)
  • Support Merger. The two articles are too related. Alternatively, the small overview section in the main article should be expanded. --Big Adamsky 23:00, 27 November 2005 (UTC)
  • Oppose merger. This topic is sufficiently distinct to merit a (short) article. Links are cheap enough. Lulu of the Lotus-Eaters 07:42, 30 November 2005 (UTC)


As one interested in politics, my primary interest in this idea came from the political compass website; specifically, from its placement of historical figures. I found that it explained differences which, otherwise, were apparently anomalous using the old left-right divisions. So I did my best to put some of the uncontentious ones from the site into an "exampels" section, to demonstrate this (Friedman, for example, as an economic liberal with rather liberal social views, contrasts with others who are economically liberal but have authoritarian social views). This was removed wholesale by ElectricRay as being POV and original research (several of his few edits in the main space follow this I beg to differ - the comparisons are made elsewhere - but I'm assuming good faith. I still think the article would benefit from an examples section. So, who can we pick as well-documented and well-known historical figures, for the purposes of illustrating the model? - Just zis  Guy, you know? [T]/[C] (W) AfD? 22:28, 15 November 2005 (UTC)

FWIW (to save you going to History), this is what was removed:

To understand the concept, one may compare known historical figures or political organisations.
Stalin and Hitler are often compared, not least because Nazi is an abbreviation for "National Socialist German Workers' Party" - the existence of the word socislist in the title has led some to claim that Hitler and Stalin were both socialists (perhaps as an attempt to denigrate socialism).
On the traditional left-right axis they are clearly distinct. Hitler's policies heavily involved the private sector, and Jewish enterprises were handed to Aryan private owners rather than being absorbed by the State. Economically, then, Hitler was slightly to the right of centre, tolerant of capitalism but not embracing the free market ideals of the later 20th Century. Socially, however, the two leaders were strongly authoritarian, intolerant of dissent, employing significant resources to control their own populations even in time of war. Stalin, then, sits in the top left corner of the chart; hitler slightly to the right of centre but again near the top of the social authoritarian/liberal axis.
Milton Friedman represents an extreme of economic liberalism, favouring unfettered free market capitalism. Socially he was, if anything, quite liberal, for example calling for the legalsiation of marijuana. George W Bush is economically somewhat less liberal than Friedman, but socially much more authoritarian, for example being strongly against abortion and in favour of capital punishment.
Few international political figures occupy the lower-left quadrant, being both socially liberal and economically communist. Notable examples include Nelson Mandela and Gandhi (Ralph Nader is also probably in this quadrant). Most modern-day politicians sit squarely in the upper-right quadrant, with, in truth, little separating them. US politicians are generally to the right and above European politicians; Tony Blair is to the right of Gerhard Schröder. The Pope is considered economically left of centre but socially authoritarian.
  • Hi, Just Zis Guy - you are right to assume good faith. Please don't take it the wrong way, but I think you must either lift info directly from the Political Compass site (on the basis that it is notable of itself - which is the very reason for including this article at all), or cross-refer to that information (if you can't lift it, for copyright reasons), or put nothing at all. I am afraid the discussion about Hitler, Friedman, international figures etc is clearly original research, and while some of it is probably true, some of it clearly isn't, and it doesn't add anything to the article.
  • I'm a bit of a stickler, i'm afraid. If Wikipedia is to be taken seriously as a resource it needs to be far more disciplined about keeping out original research and non-NPOV. In any case, it simply isn't needed in the context of this article: People know perfectly well what Hitler's policies were (and if they don't, here is not the place to discuss them - the Hitler article is) - in any case we don't need an un-sourced potted summary of it here, which is what that extract amounts to.
  • For example, the statement "few international figures occupy the lower left quadrant" is (a) speculative; (b) unsourced; (c) unqualified (what is meant by "international figures"?); and (d) from what I understand of it, complete hogwash: any liberal democrat politician, almost pretty much any "socially aware" celebrity (Bono, Geldof, Liz Taylor, you name it), any environmentalist, human rights campaigner - will be in squarely in that quadrant. The evidence from the political compass website is pretty clear (look at the graphs from the NZ, Canada, UK, German and US elections for example) that mainstream political affiliations tend to be fairly strictly distributed along a diagonal from lower left to upper right, so to say that few international figures are in the lower left is just ridiculous. And the business about where US politicians are against European politicians, and little separating them, etc, is clearly non NPOV, and (as you haven't sourced it) seems to be your own extrapolation - that is, original research. Sorry to be blunt, but I really think the section I deleted should be excised completely. ElectricRay 00:21, 16 November 2005 (UTC)
  • I'm keen on WP:NOR and WP:NPOV too, I spend a lot of time scanning for junk and vandalism, so i know where you're coming from. I still think examples are worth having, though: as far as I'm concerned the Political Compass comes alive when you start plotting data, and suddenly it becomes simple to understand the concept. So the question for me is: which examples? Friedman, for example, is easy to place without POV. As to the business about international figures, you're right of course. My interpretation is coloured by the UK political scene, where even the left wing are right-wing these days :-) - Just zis  Guy, you know? [T]/[C] (W) AfD? 23:37, 30 November 2005 (UTC)
I see what you're saying - but even the Political Compass' site's own scores for public figures are pretty speculative. they have, for example, Milton Friedman to be pretty close to the horizontal axis, whereas everything i've read about him suggests (to me) he should be bottom right corner. So unless these people have actually inputted their own data (and who's to know whether the Political Compass algorithm gets the right answer, based on the data it receives, by the way?) I think it is difficult to take seriously as encyclopaedia-quality data. ElectricRay 12:27, 1 December 2005 (UTC)
I can assure you that the Political Compass algorithm returns the right answer. --Peter McConaughey 21:49, 1 December 2005 (UTC)
Oh, really? and how can you do that? - ElectricRay 10:54, 2 December 2005 (UTC)
I can say it because it is the absolute truth. The Political Compass algorithm is a constant of the universe around which all other things are based or judged. --Peter McConaughey 15:20, 2 December 2005 (UTC)
Thanks for that constructive comment. - ElectricRay 15:36, 2 December 2005 (UTC)
I can see that you are making fun of me now, but take this short test and tell me if you disagree with its findings: --Peter McConaughey 15:54, 2 December 2005 (UTC)
Actually, I wasn't making fun of you: I thought you were being sarcastic, or trying to be a wise guy. Were you not? ElectricRay 16:25, 2 December 2005 (UTC)
In a universe where everything is relative, you have to use something as your constant in which to compare anything else. Einstein used the speed of light as his constant, bending and transforming everything else to make the speed of light an absolute truth, even time and space. My point is that we can assume that the Political compass is true and compare other things to it, or we perch the vantage point for our reality on some other object in order to compare the Political compass. Most people reading this article are going to want the view from the compass. They will want to know how the rest of reality looks when you assume that the compass is true. --Peter McConaughey 23:18, 2 December 2005 (UTC)
Oh, goodness. I don't want to get into relativism here, other than to remark a little learning is a dangerous thing. It never fails to amaze me how often relativism - and here, even relativity! - is invoked to justify almost any contention a speaker wants to make. This is a pity, because it does a huge disservice to the notion of relativism, which actually isn't nearly as silly as you make it sound. - ElectricRay 10:11, 3 December 2005 (UTC)
Note: In spite of Milton Friedman's well-known advocacy for individual personal and economic freedom, theoretically putting him in the bottom left corner with Ayn Rand and Murray Rothbard, his advisory position for the ultra-authoritarian dictator (and strange economic bedfellow) Augusto Pinochet seriously injures Friedman's social/civil-libertarian rep, resulting, perhaps, in an orientation more towards the economic axis (free market trumps/makes free people). But that's only my little theory. Besides, I'm a libertarian socialist, so what do I know about neoliberalism? (talk) 04:35, 2 August 2010 (UTC)
I dunno, if a dictator were to approach you and ask "How can I make life better for my people", would you tell him to go to hell to save your street cred, or give honest advice for the sake of the people? —Tamfang (talk) 07:28, 3 August 2010 (UTC)
Yes, that's why I would discuss approximate positions rather than scores. The positions are less subjective (unless close to a line). - Just zis  Guy, you know? [T]/[C] (W) AfD? 11:24, 2 December 2005 (UTC)
Actually I tend to agree with you - with the greatest of respect to Mr McC, the algorithm and questionnaire is a bit of a gimmick - the political compass is really just a rough and ready (and subjective) way of describing ones political positioning which works a bit better than than the old fashioned "left" and "right". I don't think it's any more scientific than that. ElectricRay 16:24, 2 December 2005 (UTC)
Everyone I've talked to about the Advocate's short questionnaire agrees that the outcome accurately reflects their views along those two dimensions. You don't need more than eight or so questions to pinpoint something on a two-dimensional plane. According to Bart Kosko's Fuzzy Future, the only way to more accurately plot one's political bent is with more dimensions. --Peter McConaughey 22:59, 2 December 2005 (UTC)
Whatever you say, Peter. ElectricRay 10:11, 3 December 2005 (UTC)

User Subproject Related To This Article[edit]

Was unsure on putting it up on the article itself, but if someone else would like to put it as a section like "Related Non-Articles On Wikipedia" at the bottom, that's fine.

User:Karmafist/Wikipedians' Political Perspectives. karmafist 22:08, 30 November 2005 (UTC)


This is more in regards to than it is to political compasses in general. I think it is important to note that there is a difference between political opinion and general opinion. Many of these political compass sites don't make this distinction and so they assume the quiz taker wants to solve everything with government. I've started a debate and laid out a few examples on my site if you want to debate the issue: 'The test at is invalid' Metric 01:24, 7 January 2006 (UTC)

Now, as we have discussed at User_talk:The_Thadman/Userbox/PolCompass, the section that I have outlined needs expansion. :-) אמר Steve Caruso (desk/poll) 14:11, 5 July 2006 (UTC)
proposed addition: "... Much of this controversy is related to specific questions asked on their questionnaire. They often provoke emotional responses to certain problems and assume the quiz taker wants to solve them with government. The questions do not ask whether a problem should be solved with government or not. This gives the political compass an authoritarian bias. One example from is "It's a sad reflection on our society that something as basic as drinking water is now a bottled, branded consumer product." The general consensus to this proposition is true, but it ignores any other logical factors which make up an individual's political opinion. As another example, there is a question related...". As a counter to arguments saying this is original research, this point has been raised on my debate site mentioned above for a year and 1 day now without response. metric 18:09, 3 August 2006 (UTC)

Nikodemos's deletion of the Political Compass website quiz criteria and statements[edit]

This is an entry on the Political Compass term, as well as the website and the relevant quiz. Wouldn't one be justified in thinking that the criteria used on the test, as well as statements made in the page's FAQ belong in this entry? Or should we include only the statements that Nikodemos deems worthy? 17:03, 4 July 2006 (UTC)

Also, deleting sourced material with barely an excuse of an explanation on the "summary" bar is hardly the way to achieve consensus. I have all the good will to discuss this through, so let us not turn this disagreement into a revert war, if you don't mind. 17:14, 4 July 2006 (UTC)

I am more than willing to engage in reasonable debate. But first, I notice that you seem to be very familiar with the procedures of wikipedia. Do you already have a username? If so, you should log in.
Now, as for my deletion of your paragraph, the reason for it is that you do not merely state the views of the Political Compass website, but also criticize them without sources for this criticism. Their FAQ is long, and you pick two particular items out of that FAQ that you wish to cite. Why those two? Why not any others - or why not simply tell the readers to see the FAQ for themselves? -- Nikodemos 17:21, 4 July 2006 (UTC)

Do you not reference their FAQ stance on European and American political terminology, because you find it of note? Likewise, I find the "abstract art" and "social darwinism" statements of theirs to be of interest, especially in light of the fact the latter reflects a particular interpretation of political theory. 17:27, 4 July 2006 (UTC)

I was not the one who originally brought up the issue of political terminology, and I would be glad to remove it. You do have a point with the "abstract art" statement, but the part about social darwinism is simply too insignificant to mention here - is at best tangential to the point that the Political Compass website was trying to make.

Well, we seem to be in disagreement over this, but I don't think it justifies your off-handed dismissal of its mention as this editor's "personal criticism". 17:47, 4 July 2006 (UTC)

I apologize. Now we need to work out some compromise, and I will go ahead and propose one by editing the article. -- Nikodemos 20:43, 4 July 2006 (UTC)
Oh, and by the way, Ludwig von Mises does not criticize the Political Compass, nor is he the sole authority on libertarianism. -- Nikodemos 17:31, 4 July 2006 (UTC)

But he does criticize "social darwinism", and is an important enough proponent of libertarianism to warrant a mention on the matter. 17:47, 4 July 2006 (UTC)

Except this is not an article about libertarianism or social darwinism, and, again, the whole issue is irrelevant to the Political Compass. They only use the term "social darwinism" once in their FAQ, and they could replace it with "individualism" or something like that without losing the point they're trying to convey. -- Nikodemos 20:43, 4 July 2006 (UTC)
Also, I have a question: How did you happen to revert my first edit less than 20 minutes after I made it, seeing how you had never been on wikipedia before? -- Nikodemos 17:36, 4 July 2006 (UTC)

If you have a problem with Wikipedia's anonymous editing policy, you'd be well advised to take it to Jimbo Wales. If you think I am somehow "trolling" or "vandalizing" this article, you'd be well advised to take this to an administrator, who will check up on it. If you are trying to present me as unreliable conlocutor on account of my anonymity : guess what? I'm certain "Nikodemus" is not your real name either. 17:49, 4 July 2006 (UTC)

You assume too much. I never said anything about trolling or vandalizing. I also have absolutely no problem with your anonymity. I just said you are obviously an experienced user, and I would like you to log in. That's all. -- Nikodemos 20:43, 4 July 2006 (UTC)

They also refer to "law of the jungle" economics, which makes their leaning pretty clear, if you couldn't discern that from the wording of their questions or their laudatory prose on the given reading lists for "libertarian left" authors. It's obvious their test isn't of much value except as a curiosity, but I'm not sure where published criticism could be found.

It's also interesting to note, though I can only speak for my personal experience in having taken the test multiple times, that the wording of questions has changed with apparent criticism. Whereas the test purports to explain a person's political belief in relation to the role of the state, even the economic questions have focused on personal feelings on the actual merits of corporations and their practices in general. They have since given qualifiers in the mode of, "therefore they should be regulated" as such, but this is clearly biased and incompetent work from the start. --TJive 11:57, 6 July 2006 (UTC)

Interesting. You accuse the authors of the Political Compass of having some bias (which may be true), when all the alternative two-axes political spectrums - the Nolan Chart and its derivatives - are promoted by organizations that openly and loudly proclaim their right-libertarian bias. I personally think the Political Compass is flawed, but still better than the alternatives.
Besides, the test and the political model are two different things. The political model could be perfectly good even if the test may fail to accurately position the test-taker on that model. -- Nikodemos 18:55, 6 July 2006 (UTC)
Firstly, that I have a critical view of this test does not necessitate that I have a positive view of others in turn. I have not examined other tests in-depth, and I do not know which test specifically is the original Nolan chart but I have taken one (perhaps derivative) such test and the main difference I found was that while the importance of the subject matter is subjective, the methodology was transparent and open to scrutiny. Answering a question with a certain indication of how interventionist was the role of a state gave a proportionate score upwards on the axis. With the PC we simply trust in the site editors that they've given the right emphasis on the right answers to the right questions, all while they're detesting "law of the jungle economics", conflating personal religiosity with authoritarianism, and lauding Ralph Nader, "the scourge of the corporatists".
Sure. By the way, I'm almost positive that abortion, an issue which really shouldn't appear on such a quiz because views on it fundamentally alter perception of state roles, skews the "authoritarian" aspect to where virtually any libertarian who opposes abortion will still be regarded as authoritarian. I did not test for myself but someone I know once mentioned that he scored as being "socially" libertarian even as he agreed to the proposition that one-party states have the advantage of not experiencing the delays of a democratic process. Make of that what you will. --TJive 20:00, 6 July 2006 (UTC)
I can only agree with TJive. It seems to me that the way the questions are asked somewhat skews the results to the left quadrants. And it gets obvious with statements such as, "It is regrettable that many personal fortunes are made by people who simply manipulate money and contribute nothing to their society." This kind of question seems clearly biased to me. By the way, the fact that the Nolan Chart, or its derivates, shows a "right-libertarian bias" shouldn't blind us to the flaws of the other tests. At the very least, the Nolan Chart designer doesn't hide his purpose in creating the test or his political affiliation. Plus, the fact that the Political Compass website is not about libertarianism or social darwinism doesn't preclude us from criticizing their tendencious statements about the matter. -- Guinsberg 10:37, 7 July 2006 (UTC)

A few references would be good[edit]

It looks to me like there are several unsourced opinions in the Controversy over Methodology section. For example: This gives the political compass an authoritarian bias. Is this a widely acknowledged fact? Can someone find a reference for this? The general consensus to this proposition [about bottled water] is probably true. Really? Quite a few people buy bottled water and might disagree with this statement. If we're going to have statements like these in the article, we need to cite sources. Have any newspapers, etc. ran articles on the political compass? For that matter, another external link or two dealing with this subject wouldn't hurt. Philbert2.71828 02:20, 8 October 2006 (UTC)

  • As discussed above in 'criticism', I have sourced my debate website (create an account to moderate). Anyone is free to challenge the statements made there. There are several examples of the alleged authoritarian bias (ie. assuming the questionaire wants to solve the problem with government). metric 19:42, 14 October 2006 (UTC)

Criticism (economic freedom)[edit]

Currently on the page: "However bottled water is a popular product making a consensus on this issue unlikelly (sic) and the question is actual a matter of economic not of social freedom so this example does not show the pro authoritarian bias that as it is claimed." Once again, economic freedom is part of the political compass stated in this very article. If there is an authoritarian economic bias, there is an authoritarian bias. This is the second time I've had to bring this up, and I'll delete this from the page without a decent rebuttal here. metric 05:16, 22 October 2006 (UTC)

  • Replying to my own comment. I believe I see the indifference here, in that a left-economic political stance does not equate with authoritarianism... even though it clearly involves state authority to force on people through taxation. My confusion comes from my better familiarity with the Nolan chart, where economic freedom is directly relevant to authoritarianism. As a compromise in words, would it be fair to say that the "bottled water statement" were, in this case, biased towards the left rather than authoritarian? metric 05:36, 22 October 2006 (UTC)

The "bottled water statement" is an statement with which you are intended to either agree or dissagree with, you opinion of its truth will influence where your position is on the political compass chart, for it to be biased it would have to be something that a large proportion of people would have the same opinon about regardless of there actual political leanings, this it is unlikly to be the case considering that bottled water is bought by large numbers of people, so this statement does not show bias in the quiz.

  • eg. I happen to agree with "it's a shame that bottled water is a consumer product", but I don't think that abolishing its private ownership or subsidizing via the state are tolerable solutions. The quiz is testing for general opinion, when it is touting its ability to gauge political opinion. metric 16:27, 26 October 2006 (UTC)
    • political opinion is a part of general opinion, the two are not strongly distinct from each other, and one tends to be highly indecative of the other. The effect of the questions are cumulative, answering agree to one or two will move your position a little to the left but it won't cause you to be rated as a communist. For this to happen you need to express many left wing views (or opposition to many right wing views).
      • Why do you bring abolishing private ownership or state subsidy in to this? the political compass quiz does not assume that you want either of these options, it makes no comment on how this problem could be solved.
        • Because the left side of the quiz means either the abolishment of private property, or state subsidies. From the article: "'The Left' is defined as the view that the economy should be run by a cooperative collective agency (which is usually taken to mean the state, but can also mean a network of communes)" metric 00:35, 29 October 2006 (UTC)

A left political stance does not require a state, have you actually been to the political compass web sight? also you should consider Anarchism and Socialism and Anarchist_communism before you make statments such as "though it clearly involves state authority to force on people through taxation.".

  • I'm aware of this. The quote you cited was directed at the bottled water statement as a current political issue. metric 16:27, 26 October 2006 (UTC)
    • How does the issue of with bottled water involve the state authority? another way to get rid of a product is to not buy it and to encorage other people not to buy it, i.e. boycott it. There are other ways to get drinking water.

Calling the left right axis ecconomic freedem is somewhat misleading, the degree to which the economy is managed and to what end (for greater wealth or for the benefit of the people) is really the issue, this can involve more than just taxes.

  • From the article: "'The Left' is defined as the view that the economy should be run by a cooperative collective agency (which is usually taken to mean the state, but can also mean a network of communes)". Whether by state or commune, there is a loss in personal economic freedom. metric 16:27, 26 October 2006 (UTC)
    • That statement is based on the implicit assumption that private property equals "economic freedom", which is questionable at best. If, say, the entire surface of the Earth was the private property of one person, the situation would be indistinguishable from tyranny. The "right-wing", as defined by the Political Compass, refers to a private property-based economy. Whether you see that as freedom or oppression depends on your political views. -- Nikodemos 04:10, 27 October 2006 (UTC)

It may be best to remove the entire bit about the bottle water statment as discussing the details of the quiz is likely to influence people who have not taken it.

  • I disagree. Anyway, someone has already removed it. If there is criticism, it should be included. Why would ones prior knowledge of a statement in the quiz influence their political opinion? Anyway, if it somehow did, a "spoiler" notice should be put in place beforehand. metric 16:27, 26 October 2006 (UTC)
    • I did not mean that knowledge of a question would by itself influence the way people would answering the questions but claims over what the question measured could. There will be criticism of everything, not all of it needs to be listed.

I found a reference here: "In the UK, Jacobs and Worcester have produced a recent attempt to sophisticate the political spectrum that is less successful (1990). The questions they ask often presuppose state-intervention and so the categories arrived at do not allow for a choice/control distinction." I would like to add the Criticism section back citing this. metric 18:38, 26 October 2006 (UTC)

I am not at all sure whether we should include any criticism of the quiz. After all, the most important thing about the Political Compass is, well, the political compass itself (that is, their specific 2-axis model of the political spectrum). The quiz is just an add-on; even if all the questions were biased or the quiz was entirely worthless, that would still have no impact on the validity of their model of the political spectrum.
Besides, as it stands now, this article contains virtually no information about the quiz. -- Nikodemos 04:02, 27 October 2006 (UTC)
There are 5 direct links to and its sub-pages including its FAQ. Each one of the links discuss the quiz. Here is a quote from the top of this article: ".. the term Political Compass was originated by a website which runs an online questionnaire..". I find it hard to believe that this article doesn't deserve some criticism about the website it references 5 times. Otherwise, a simple disclaimer stating that this article has nothing to do with the quiz on would be informative. metric 00:24, 29 October 2006 (UTC)

The Political Compass Organisation[edit]

I'm not sure what hopes the original author of this article had, but in its current form it amounts to three paragraphs about the Political Compass Organisation, with a single-sentence mention of Floodgates of Anarchy. It could easily be shortened down to a single short paragraph, moved over to Political spectrum, and deleted. -Ashley Pomeroy 17:43, 7 May 2007 (UTC)

THE political compass?[edit]

What is this article supposed to be about, political compasses in general, or the one that calls itself "The Political Compass?" Operation Spooner 20:43, 15 August 2007 (UTC)

Others are called political spectrums. нмŵוτнτ 20:50, 17 October 2007 (UTC)


why is there no criticism section? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:14, 17 October 2007 (UTC)

good question. whenever I look at the graphs for the scale i can see a median line running from the top right corner down to the bottom left corner, i think that this shows it could a one dimensional scale instead of two. surely someone has written about this effect. Kansaikiwi (talk) 17:35, 8 November 2008 (UTC)

Political Compass Reference[edit]

I am not sure if this article is about the group called the "Political Compass" or if this is an article about a compass used to measure ones political affiliation. The Political Compass website seems heavily left-side bias, so I hope you intended the reference for your example of a political compass symbol or took the image from it, because when I clicked the link I just went to a survey that made Left out to be "Good" and Right out to be "Evil" which in my opinion is not good for a NEUTRAL encyclopedic article. Bretonnia (talk) 19:01, 11 December 2007 (UTC)

Indeed, the "Political Compass" website is an exercise in vilification of classical liberalism, with laments for the "future of democracy" on account of the fact most major parties accept evil capitalism! They also feature such as gems as the following mangled paragraph
"in the western [EU] member states, however, the progressive abolition of economic restrictions seems generally to correspond to the extent of curbs on certain certain civil liberties. The most obvious example is the UK. But in other states, such as Denmark and the Netherlands, extremely liberal traditions in certain social policies have somewhat eroded as neoliberal economics have expanded."
And they apparently consider free-market leaning policies as "extremist-right economics". The site is one bigoted joke. Who said the left-wing doesn't have its own set of Limbaughs and Coulters? (talk) 16:59, 2 May 2008 (UTC)
This complaint is an exercise in misunderstanding (and perhaps an example of the hostile media effect). The site wonders about the fate of democracy ,not because all of the big parties accept capitalism, but because they all represent the same thing. That "mangled paragraph" is no more than an observation that there seems to be an inverse correlation between the emphasis that people put on the "individual" as opposed to the "collective" in economic matters and in other matters. And since they use the left-right axis to describe only what they think of the individual versus the collective in economic matters, I can't see what is wrong with them saying that a free-market system, which is a very individualist economic system, is on the extreme right. They make it quite clear that on their political spectrum "extreme right" has a different meaning from its more common definition of "fascist". Some of the question do seem to lead one to a left-wing trough, so to speak, but the site is hardly a left wing Ann Coulter. LeighvsOptimvsMaximvs (talk) 05:34, 25 August 2008 (UTC)


There is no reference anywhere to the creators of the compass, or the approx. date they came up with it. Are they really that anonymous? Surely someone knows???A.J.Chesswas (talk) 23:41, 19 February 2008 (UTC)

Well, they are from the UK and their company which owns the copyright is called Pace News Limited. I did try to look them up on Companies House but they don't allow searches after midnight UK time. Presumably, like all UK government IT contracts, it turns into a pumpkin at that hour. If I remember, I will try again tomorrow. --DanielRigal (talk) 00:15, 13 June 2009 (UTC)
Nothing in Companies House, covering Britain. Perhaps they are registered in Northern Ireland, which has its own registry which does not seem to be searchable on line. --DanielRigal (talk) 16:02, 13 June 2009 (UTC)
I have added a reference for the apparent author: Wayne Brittenden. He does not seem to have a very high profile although he has worked for the BBC[1]. --DanielRigal (talk) 20:09, 13 June 2009 (UTC)
The domain is registered in the USA, and I suggest that the fact that the only alternative language offered is Spanish suggests it was written for USA readers. The only references to "Pace News Limited" I can find suggest a leftish activist organisation. Defunct blog at
Google doesn't pin Wayne Brittenden down as a Briton. I suspect that he might merely be a talking head using the site for advertising as a UK speaker. MarkMLl (talk) 22:01, 6 October 2009 (UTC)

You can email them but they never respond. Who are these people? At least we know who is behind the Nolan political spectrum. (Coachtripfan (talk) 14:53, 27 April 2013 (UTC))

Delete this article[edit]

Comment moved from article page:

  • I recommend this page to be deleted. The political compass website is nothing but personal opinion. The website itself was made by political hobbyists not a recognized organization. Additionally, it has no sources backing up the claims it makes. This does not deserve a Wikipedia article.—Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:01, 12 June 2009 (UTC)

This seems to be an attempt to nominate for AfD but the nominator screwed up completely. Since it was never properly listed and in any case was a bad faith nomination, I removed it. Cosmo0 (talk) 23:31, 12 June 2009 (UTC)

Not liking something is not a reason to delete its article. The article does need to be better referenced but the Political Compass has attracted a lot of interest in the real world including mainstream media. It gets hits in Google Scholar and Google News. It is notable. --DanielRigal (talk) 23:56, 12 June 2009 (UTC)

==Anything can attract a lot of interest. Just making up a website and putting on twitter can do that. The website has no sources to back up its claims. This should not be an article on wikipedia and it should not even be used as a source. It constitutes original research at best. (LVAustrian (talk) 05:04, 13 June 2009 (UTC)) ==Even if it is notable, it provides no sources for its claims and is not verifiable by any emperical evidence. Its simply a website created by some guy trying to make money by making stuff up. This website deserves an article about as much as the Survivor season 4 third runner up.(LVAustrian (talk) 05:17, 13 June 2009 (UTC))

Your arguments are completely illogical and fictitious. The Political Compass does provide sources and reading material for its research on its website, and it certainly wasn't made just to help some guy earn money. I'd suggest looking into things more extensively before telling people to delete an article on WP. --UNSC Trooper (talk) 09:46, 13 June 2009 (UTC)
Furthermore, if the Survivor season 4 third runner up was getting this much attention from mainstream media and scholars then they would certainly merit an article, based on that level of coverage rather than their achievement on Survivor. --DanielRigal (talk) 15:40, 13 June 2009 (UTC)
Political compass has NO SOURCES for many of its claims. It has its history wrong, especially about Milton Friedman and the authors have made NO ATTEMPTS to back up their claims. DELETE THIS ARTICLE —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:53, 20 November 2009 (UTC)
If you feel this article is not appropriate, you are welcome to start a deletion discussion by following the Articles for deletion (AfD) process. Further information on how AfD works can be found at Wikipedia:Guide to deletion. Road Wizard (talk) 20:01, 20 November 2009 (UTC)

"You can also put Pinochet, who was prepared to sanction mass killing for the sake of the free market, on the far right as well as in a hardcore authoritarian position. On the non-socialist side you can distinguish someone like Milton Friedman, who is anti-state for fiscal rather than social reasons, from Hitler, who wanted to make the state stronger, even if he wiped out half of humanity in the process"

THIS IS NOTHING BUT OPINION. It is not even historically accurate - Pinochet didn't put in free market policies until several years AFTER the killings. He had no free market goal when he took power. There is no source to back up their claim, and even if their was this opinion is HIGHLY DISPUTED. The political compass is an opinion based hack job and it does NOT deserve its own page(LVAustrian (talk) 19:58, 20 November 2009 (UTC))

Focus article on Political Compass web site[edit]

This article seems to be unclear about whether it is about multi-axis political spectra in general, or about the website in particular. It seems to me that the coverage of multi-axis spectra at political spectrum is much better than the coverage in this article, and most of these other models don't use the term "political spectrum". So it would make sense to re-focus this article to be on the specific spectrum used by the website.VoluntarySlave (talk) 23:01, 13 July 2009 (UTC)


An IP editor has removed the section which reveals the apparent name of the person behind the website. The comment was: "Removed Wayne Brittenden attribution, at his request". I have reinstated this content on the following grounds:

  • It is referenced to a reliable source (The New York Times)
  • There is no proof that Brittenden requests this or that the IP editor acts on his behalf.
  • The identity of the person behind a notable web site is relevant and notable to its article.
  • The identity has already been revealed so we are hardly revealing any secrets. Perhaps they should contact the New York Times as the primary source of this information.

If Brittenden, or his representative, or anybody else, feels that this is unfair they can discuss it here. If the New York Times was incorrect in attributing the site to Brittenden then we can certainly correct the article accordingly. All that is required is to show us something to demonstrate that this is the case. A retraction by the New York Times would be ideal. --DanielRigal (talk) 11:38, 11 September 2009 (UTC)

I have found a Telegraph article claiming that the site is linked to One World Action. This seems very strange as surely no charity would be allowed to get involved this deep in political debate, besides it has nothing at all to do with their key activities. I have included it as it is from a source every bit as RS as the NY Times reference but I don't actually believe a word of it. Sometimes RS sources get it wrong too. Of course, my personal scepticism can't be reflected in the article.
Does anybody know where Utley might have got this idea and whether there is anything solid to confirm or debunk it? --DanielRigal (talk) 22:07, 20 November 2009 (UTC)

Scoring details conflict of interest[edit]

{{Request edit}}

I reverse-engineered the site's scoring system and built my own site around it. I'd link to it, but there's an obvious conflict of interest involved. Does anybody think it would be worthwhile to have the scoring details linked to from this article? It could go in the paragraph that talks about how the site "does not explain its scoring system." CPColin (talk) 22:42, 6 August 2010 (UTC)

Has anybody written about your reverse engineering of the scoring system or your site in general? We would need some sort of reliable source for it to to justify inclusion.
Anyway, please let us know the link. Even if it can't go in the article, I would be interested to have a look at it. --DanielRigal (talk) 22:52, 6 August 2010 (UTC)
Can we see it? You can whisper the address in my ear if you prefer. —Tamfang (talk) 20:45, 10 August 2010 (UTC)
Nobody's written about it, but here it is: --CPColin (talk) 03:14, 14 August 2010 (UTC)

upper case[edit]

As the article describes a unique (and trademarked) work rather than a generic concept, shouldn't Political Compass be capitalized throughout? —Tamfang (talk) 02:36, 18 June 2012 (UTC)

Test skewed to the Left/Political Parties, Politicians to the Right[edit]

If you take this 'test' there seems to be a slight bias in getting a 'left' or 'liberal' response in the propositions. There certainly seems to be an over-placing of politicians and parties on the Right/Authoritarian quadrant. Even Obama is in that section - along with the UK's Labour Party.

Where does "political correctness" fit in a spectrum? (Coachtripfan (talk) 14:50, 27 April 2013 (UTC))


Read this article about the Political Compass's perceived anti-neoliberalism bias and laode questions [2](Coachtripfan (talk) 15:17, 5 May 2013 (UTC))