Frequently Asked Questions

🌱 General

What does Palumba mean? Why a pigeon?

Palumba being a pan-European initiative, the name also reflects this commitment. Palumba is the contraction of Columba Palumbus, the Latin name of the common wood pigeon, that everyone across Europe knows. Also, why not?

As for the illustrations, we worked with Claire Vimont, an independent illustrator and graphic designer whose work focuses on inclusive projects that matter. She is the artist behind the Palumba pigeon drawings and badges.

Who is behind Palumba?

We are a non-profit non-partisan association with 15 core team members and 120+ volunteers from all across the EU, focused on leveraging under-used strategies for youth civic engagement. Born at the European Forum Alpbach, the European Youth Event in Strasbourg, and the launch of the Morein24 campaign in Torino, our team is diverse but we share an obsession: bursting the bubble and really reaching unusual suspects.

When will I receive my free European Youth Card?

If you were one of the first 10,000 users of the app, then you got access to a form to receive a free digital European Youth Card from our partner EYCA. They will reach out in few weeks directly to you by email.

✍️ Content

What is a statement?

Also known as question, issue-statement, question statement (terms can be used interchangeably), a statement is the short sentence on which you swipe your opinion in the app. Statements must be simple, understandable sentences on which different voters will have different opinions – they must provoke a response in your mind, otherwise we can't match you with anyone.

How were statements selected?

Statements were selected for their relevance for the upcoming elections (connected to EU competencies, hot topics and current affairs debates in the media, EU priorities), completed with curated suggestions from youth organisations and national youth councils. They have been selected to reflect the breadth of the political spectrum that groups embody in the European Parliament, finding a balance between important topics for the different political families.

I feel like the statements are biased

And you'd be right! The whole point of statements is that they generate a reaction from you , they must lean in a direction: left or right, pro-X or anti-X, etc to differentiate between candidates. Maybe you feel that they go in a certain direction overall, but the app asks you to disagree on the things you don't like, and agree on the ones you prefer – and that's what the algorithm needs to find a match! Statements don't tell you what to think, they simply demand your opinion about them.

Are the statements different in different countries?

No, the questionnaire presents the same set of questions for all users, no matter where they use the vote or will vote. And that’s important for us; we’re directly connecting Bruxelles’ debates to you.

Were the translations automated or done by humans?

They were done by humans! We count on the support of dozens of volunteers who have worked hard to translate Palumba in 26 languages. This was so much more fun than relying on an automated and flawed AI algorithm 😌

My dialect is missing. Can I help?

If you want to translate the app to your native language, get in touch with us at hello@palumba.eu

How did you position European Parliament Groups on each statement?

We looked at the political manifestos, declaration during debates of the Spitzenkandidaten during the Maastricht Debate for instance, and programmes of the groups and candidates currently affiliated with these groups. We also looked as much as possible at past votes to ensure accountability of these manifestos. Our Scientific Council, composed of political science researchers and experts in different countries (University of Barcelona, University KU-Leuven, London School of Economics, University of Helsinki, SciencesPo), together with our Academic Partner CIDOB, worked hard to determine and proofread the EP Groups' positions.

How did you match local candidate lists with European Parliament Groups?

In a similar fashion to how we positioned European Parliament Groups, a team of 120+ volunteers looked at all the candidates in the EU Member State that they have an expertise on and matched them with their most compatible group·s based on their ideological profile, past votes, manifesto, potential affiliations after being elected in 2019, and public declaration. To ensure independence, every single Localizer - as we called the volunteers in charge of this –  signed this Ethical Charter.

What if there are new candidate lists/coalitions announced between now and the elections?

The team reviews the local candidate lists in each country weekly, and if a new list or coalition is announced, we will update the app as soon as we can.

I am a representative of a candidate list and I believe I have noticed a error. Can you change anything?

We have tried our best to match EP Groups with local candidate lists accurately and have justifications for all the decisions that were made in that regard. However, a mistake is always possible :) Please email us at hello@palumba.eu and we'll see how things can be adjusted to provide voters with more accurate information.

🧮 Algorithm

How does the algorithm work? (short answer)

Every time you swipe on a statement, the algorithm compares your answer to how a European Parliament Group would have answered. It calculates a "distance" between these answers. Then again, and again, on all statements until you finish the test. At the end, the algorithm calculates the average of all these distances and looks at which European Parliament Group is the closest to you. This means that on average, this is the group that was answering most of the time like you.

How does the algorithm work? (nerdy answer)

TBD

Is your algorithm open-source?

Yes, you can definitely look at it and see how it works for yourself! The sources for the algorithm are part of the frontend app’s source code and can be found in our public GitHub repository.

🔐 Data Protection & Security

Where is the app hosted?

The app and the algorithm run locally on your device. The few backend services that we use run on Hetzner’s servers located in Nürnberg, Germany. To be able to handle a potentially massive number of users, requests are served through bunny.net’s CDN (Content Delivery Network) as a cache layer, again only using servers within the European Union.

Is it anonymous? Can Palumba see my answers?

Given the sensitivity of running a Voting Advice Application, it has been a priority since day one that we adopt a privacy/data protection by-design approach, intentionally not collecting any personally identifiable information (PII).

As a technical necessity (requesting the content of the app on our EU servers), your IP address is briefly processed, which is considered personal data under the GDPR (but your IP address is briefly processed every time you open an internet page too!). Since the IP address is provided by the internet service provider and not by your  equipment, we do not consider such information to constitute "information stored in the terminal equipment". IP addresses provided in that manner are therefore outside the scope of Article 5 (3), and the consent requirement will not apply under the ePrivacy Directive (Directive 2009/136/EC). We go to great length here by hashing the IP addresses with a rotating random salt and even randomizing the timestamps to make any potential log entries unlinkable. It is therefore impossible to trace any personal information on the basis of the answers you provide to the questions. These are stored in a completely independent database, which simply allows us to identify the answers, without any link to the users.  

🌈 Independence & Integrity

Who is funding the app? Do they have any editorial power?

You can find the list of supporters on our institutional websites. Not all are funding the project. We received financial support from SPARK, the European Youth Card Association, the European Forum Alpbach, the Culture of Solidarity Fund, La Caixa, and the AK Wien/ÖGB. We also won two hackathons (#SocialHackPDS in Barcelona and IDEAS Camp in Alpbach/Vienna). We did not receive or accept any funding from political parties, groups, and candidates, directly and indirectly. Palumba dissociates from any partisan communication that partners could decide to have in the course of these elections.

Partners have had zero editorial decision power over the content of the app and certainly none over the algorithm that matches you with European Parliament groups. Again, the algorithm is open-source and you can check it yourself.

Are you independent from political parties/groups/candidates?

Yes. The Palumba association made it clear and explicit since the beginning that it:
· will not accept or receive any funding directly or indirectly from political parties, groups, and candidates;
· will not have anyone in the board of the association who is working/representing/publicly supporting any party/group/candidate;
· will not endorse any party/group/candidate;
· will not favour any party/group/candidate in the algorithm of the app;

As well, when over 100 volunteers from all EU Member States did the Localization of the EP Groups (matching all the local candidate lists with their most compatible EP Group), every single one of them signed this Ethical Charter.