Earlier today, Barack Obama conducted an online townhall meeting in which part of the time was spend answering questions that had been submitted to and voted up at whitehouse.gov/openforquestions. Sheryl Gay Stolberg of the New York Times has a run-down here. The problems with the system he used are covered in the popular voting systems summary, including a brief description of a better way to do things.
As predicted, the questions were weak. However, on the plus side the mainstream media or at least the online version of same appears to be catching on to the flaws in the voting system that was used, with John Ward Anderson of The Politico offering "Pot-related questions deluge W.H." (politico.com/news/stories/0309/20526.html). Likewise, Michael Scherer from Time Magazine offers this very good round-up of the "top" questions.
The wastoids from NORML can't figure out how to ask one good question and concentrate on pushing that to the top, but by making obvious to anyone how such systems can be abused they might lead us to using better voting systems for future efforts. (And, their incessant bombarding of such efforts and comments on MSM articles is sure to backfire.)
And, the uber-hack Ben Smith offers "Ensuring a friendly audience for online town hall" (politico.com/blogs/bensmith/0309/Ensuring_a_friendly_audience_for_online_town_hall.html):
...The event should not be mistaken, however, for a perfect reflection of the concerns of the American people, or even of American Internet users, for two reasons... One is perhaps unavoidable, and perfectly fair: Well organized groups, like advocates for the decriminalization of marijuana, can push their desired questions to the top. (Is the most important budget question really, "With over 1 out of 30 Americans controlled by the penal system, why not legalize, control, and tax marijuana to change the failed war on drugs into a money making, money saving boost to the economy? Do we really need that many victimless criminals?")... The second is deliberate: The Democratic National Committee blasted out the link to the Open for Questions website yesterday afternoon to Organizing for America's list, reportedly to include about 14 million people. It's reasonable to assume that those Obama supporters make up a high percentage of the participants.
Well, duh. See the link to the better way to do things above.
UPDATE: In retrospect, sending an email to NORML letting them know I discussed them was a bad idea. Apparently another symptom is tone-deafness. Also, there's a full transcript of the event here.
Thu, 03/26/2009 - 11:36 · Importance: 4