10Questions.com is a horrible idea, here's proof
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10Questions.com is a new site that aggregates Youtube and similar political videos and allows visitors to vote on their favorite. The top 10 will then be asked of the presidential candidates, with the candidates then asked to upload replies.
The site is co-sponsored by several blogs as well as the New York Times and MSNBC. Almost none of those sites have an interest in real questions being asked, and now we've got proof.
My issue with the site is that those who can drive traffic to the site will be able to vote up weak questions, and that there's no accountability. Under my competing plan, only known quantities (pundits, bloggers, etc.) could vote on questions, and all their votes would be public. And, they'd be voting on whether a question is tough or not. That way, those known quantities would be forced to choose between choosing the toughest questions and losing credibility (if they voted down tough questions). Other plans would have the questions only selected by a "central committee" of like-minded individuals; mine differs in that it would be open to anyone who's been publicly stating opinions for some period such as six months or so.
Earlier today, the scenario I outlined previously occured :
Participation on 10Questions.com has surged, with the total number of voters topping 15,000 (that's up about 9,000 from Friday), the total number of votes hitting 46,000 (up 19,000) and the total unique visits for the weekend at 17,000, more than ten times Friday's traffic... What happened? Several different advocacy campaigns, each on behalf of a particular question, joined in the conversation. A new video asking about net neutrality was posted, and from what we understand, MoveOn.org sent out an email to about 60,000 of its member activists urging them to vote for it. Obviously, a lot of people did, as that video rose to the top (with more than 5,000 net positive votes as of now). MySpace/MTV will be playing it for Senator Obama to answer during today's webcast (1:30pm EST), which will also be aired on MTV tonight at 7pm.
The question that was asked is here; it just asks whether the candidate would make reinstating net neutrality a priority in their first year in office.
Now, let's go to the live coverage :
2:19: The question is about net neutrality, and Obama says he supports it. That's great! 10Questions wasn't mentioned, however.
The problem is that Obama already said he supported net neutrality, way back in June 8, 2006 . In fact, a google search for "barack obama" "net neutrality" has that as the first hit.
If you're getting a vague Soviet vibe, hopefully you aren't alone. An advocacy group was able to propel a weak question that the candidate had already answered into top position, and the candidate answered it as he had done before.
We need real debates, and 10Questions is not the way to get them.