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techPresident Launches 10Questions.com

BY Editors | Wednesday, October 17 2007

Dear techPresident readers and friends:

We're excited to announce the launch of 10Questions.com, a new kind of online presidential forum, one that aims to make the most of what the internet has to offer to politics.

On 10Questions.com anyone will be able to directly pose video questions to the candidates for President and choose which ones they most want answered. Candidates will be able to answer in detail and without the time limits imposed by traditional televised or on-stage debates. And citizens in turn will be able to give the candidates feedback on whether they actually answer those questions.

We're even more excited to be doing this in cooperation with the New York Times Editorial Board, in association with MSNBC.com, and with an amazing array of more than 40 co-sponsors. (Click here to see the whole list.)

Why a new online presidential forum, on top of all the others this year? Well, we believe the internet offers our democracy the chance to end the era of soundbite TV politics and start the era of community conversation. Old fashioned televised debates have their value, but TV has several inherent limits. Only a few people get to ask questions. The candidates have very little time to answer, forcing them to speak in canned sound bites. The audience has no way of providing meaningful feedback. If the candidate doesn’t answer the questions, we have no way of pushing them to do so.

10Questions will turn all that on its head.

Starting today, the sponsors of 10Questions are asking their millions of readers and the larger public to submit online video questions addressed to the candidates using a variety of platforms (YouTube, MySpace, Yahoo, andBlip.tv), tagging their video with the word “10Questions.” The 10Questions site will then find and display those questions and enable the public to vote up or down on these submissions. At the end of four weeks, on November 14, we'll stop the voting and after a quick audit to check against ballot-stuffing, the top ten vote-getting questions will be submitted to all the major candidates.

The candidates will then have four weeks, from November 17 to December 15, to submit answers to be posted online. As those responses are posted, the public will be given the opportunity to vote again, up or down, on whether the candidates have answered the questions to their satisfaction. Users can vote on as many videos as they like, but they only get one vote per IP address. The process will end December 31.

Is this going to work? Well, call us congenital optimists, but we think 10Questions will demonstrate the wisdom of the crowd. The co-sponsors of 10Questions.com are a cross-partisan array of e-activist groups with giant mailing lists, new media sites with big readerships, and online community hubs and blogs where millions of people participate everyday in political conversation. It’s their involvement in posting and filtering questions to the candidates and the candidates’ responses that will make 10Questions the first truly people-powered online presidential forum in history.

To find out more about how this will all work, and how it all came together, check out the 10Questions About and FAQ pages.

Now it's your turn. Post a video question. Vote on the questions. Watch the candidates answer. Rate their answers. Change the debate. Who knows--maybe we'll improve the way we pick our candidates and even change the course of the election!

Andrew Rasiej, Micah L. Sifry, and David Colarusso, Co-Creators, 10Questions.com