As they did for the 2008 presidential elections, the Personal Democracy Forum is working with YouTube to ask voters to post videos of 10 Questions they have for the candidates in a race, or submit text versions.The 2010 U.S. midterm elections are coming up. On November 2, 36 of the 100 Senate seats, 26 of the 50 gubernatorial and all of the House seats will be contested.
10Questions is focusing on what they consider the 46 most competitive of these races. For each of them, viewers can, via their website or an embeddable widget, anyone can upload videos of their questions, view those of other users and vote on whose questions should be asked.
View uploading and voting widgets with videos after the jump.
How It Works
On September 21st the top 10 questions for each race will be given to the candidates involved and they will have two weeks to upload their answers to YouTube. Viewers will then vote on whether those candidates have actually answered the questions, or if their responses were just circumlocutions, legerdemain, spin and talking points.
This time, 10Questions is going out with a host of media partners, from the Miami Herald to WNYC to the Las Vegas Review-Journal. In addition to their site and widget, they are reaching out via Twitter and Facebook.
I asked Daniel Teweles, VP of Business Development and Marketing at the Personal Democracy Forum to address the possibility that the system might be gamed by groups of users.
"Votes are limited to one per Google Account, and the the top ten questions will have their votes audited to further guard against ballot box stuffing. On the answer side of things, it is certainly possible for people to rate the candidates rather than their responses when they vote on the answers. This is an experiment, and that phase is directed at creating a feedback loop that rewards substance over soundbites, which is a major difference between 10Questions and the pre-existing debate structure."
People in Glass Houses
Conversation is something that's grown up with the social web, though it is never as perfect, or as imperfect, as its partisans and detractors insist. Teweles's group isn't alone in the attempt to create mechanisms intended to "(reward) substance over soundbites." Another example is Glass House Conversations, an online version of the Philip Johnson Glass House salon that focuses more on design and architecture.
"Each Monday, a host posts a provocation. People have only five days to respond . . . After comments have closed a "Final Word" is chosen from the replies."
Have you participated in a purpose-made online conversation series? What do you like about it? What needs to happen for this sort of conversation to reach its full potential?