Personal Democracy Plus Our premium content network. LEARN MORE You are not logged in. LOG IN NOW >

NYC Debates Hosts Are Crowdsourcing Questions

BY Miranda Neubauer | Monday, August 12 2013

Sponsors of tonight's official debate between New York City Comptroller Candidates candidates, former Governor Eliot Spitzer and Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, are encouraging voters to use Google Moderator to submit and vote on questions for the candidates. The hosts are also seeking Google Moderator questions for the August 21 Democratic mayoral debate. Read More

[Backchannel] Why Seattle's 'Debate 2.0' Never Happened

BY Diane Douglas | Thursday, March 7 2013

In this post for Backchannel, our ongoing series of contributions from practitioners and close observers at the intersection of technology and politics, Seattle's Diane Douglas goes behind the scenes to explain why last year's effort by civic activists to reinvent Washington state's gubernatorial debates came crashing to the ground. Read More

Who Controls the Presidential Debates? Journalists or the Campaigns?

BY Micah L. Sifry | Monday, October 15 2012

Photo: Don Relyea / Flickr

CNN's Candy Crowley, the moderator of the second presidential debate, which is structured like a "town-hall" meeting, has been saying publicly that she is looking forward to asking follow-ups of the candidates after they respond to questions from the audience, but both campaigns are reportedly pressing the debate commission to keep her from doing so, per their secret agreement governing the debates. Last week, in the course of an interview about how the commission was (or wasn't) making use of the internet's two-way nature, commission co-chair Mike McCurry told techPresident that Crowley would have "full editorial control" including the latitude to include her own follow-up queries. Now, with some details of the actual agreement between the campaigns coming out, he takes that back. Which leaves us asking: who really is in control here, journalists or the campaigns? Read More

How People in Brooklyn "Dual-Screened" the Vice Presidential Debate

BY Nick Judd | Friday, October 12 2012

Someone threw tomatoes at Joe Biden last night. The ruby fruit wasn't real — it was a digital missile lobbed through Tomatovision, an extracurricular project by a team from Huffington Post Labs. Over two weekends, the crew built a website to host a live video stream of the debate, along with the option to launch up to three virtual tomatoes in response to any line the viewer dislikes. A mobile application and mobile website offer the chance to control the tomatoes remotely while watching a bigger screen. Whenever any user, anywhere, threw a tomato, everyone tuned in to tomatovision.com saw it land — creating, in a goofy way, a new community around the debate for the small contingent of mostly younger people who are experiencing these events across two screens. Read More

Online, Next Presidential Debate Will Feature a Moderator that Wasn't

BY Micah L. Sifry | Thursday, October 11 2012

If you've submitted a question to the Commission on Presidential Debates via the Google Moderator website for the October 16, don't be surprised when nothing happens. Here's the inside scoop on the latest bit of political vaporware to come from the mysterious place where national political organizations, the media and tech company marketing divisions meet. Read More

Presidential Debates Commission Hasn't Used the Web Well, Co-Chair Admits

BY Micah L. Sifry | Monday, October 8 2012

While an estimated 67 million Americans watched the first Obama-Romney presidential debate last week, so far just 2,790 people have bothered to share their views about the top issues facing the country on the online platform that the Commission on Presidential Debates built to enable members of the public to "share their voice." That is to say, "The Voice Of…" internet initiative touted by the CPD as providing "unprecedented access for citizens to participate in [the national] conversation," with the support of AOL, Google and Yahoo!, is essentially a dud. And Mike McCurry, one of the commission's two national co-chairs and a former press secretary to President Clinton, knows it.

"We have a lot more work to do," he told me this morning in an interview. Read More

Yahoo! Unveils Interactive "The Voice Of..." Debate Dashboard

BY Micah L. Sifry | Tuesday, October 2 2012

Screenshot of "The Voice Of..." landing page on Yahoo!

Finally, a day before the first presidential debate, Yahoo! has pulled back the curtain on the Commission on Presidential Debates' "The Voice Of…" online dashboard. It's fun to play with, but scarcely a meaningful way to actually share your voice. Read More

[Editorial] Presidential Debates Commission Keeps the Internet Bottled Up

BY Micah L. Sifry | Monday, October 1 2012

Senator John F. Kennedy and Vice President Richard M. Nixon during the first televised U.S. presidential debate in 1960.

The American presidential debates are one of the last great institutions of the era of broadcast politics, and arguably the one that has changed the least since the rise of the Internet, despite public demands for greater participation and transparency. With the first head-to-head appearance of President Obama and Governor Romney coming this Wednesday night in Denver, the web is gearing up to join in the conversation. Unfortunately, despite some nice words come out of the Commission on Presidential Debates and the announcement of a "new digital coalition" with AOL, Google and Yahoo! participating, there's no sign that the debates are going to change one iota from their traditional form. Read More

In Virginia, City Council Debates to Include Questions Posed Online

BY Miranda Neubauer | Monday, May 21 2012

The Alexandria Democratic Party in Alexandria, Virginia has partnered with online civic engagement platform ACTion Alexandria to include questions solicited in an online forum in the final Democratic primary debate for a City Council election there on June 4, ahead of the June 12 election, according to a statement released by the group. ACTion Alexandria hopes to work with both parties during the general election.

Participants in the project can add questions to the forum, or vote on questions that have already been posed, although each user is only given three votes to distribute. Users are also encouraged to use their real names. Questions submitted so far hit on topics ranging from broadband access to a ban on food trucks in the city.

Read More

Twitter Offers Some #Answers on Who #Dodged Debate Questions in S. Carolina

BY Micah L. Sifry | Tuesday, January 17 2012

Mitt Romney's Not So Artful #Dodging

Last night's Fox News debate in South Carolina was another made-for-TV circus, and not surprisingly, Fox failed to do anything remotely meaningful with the Twitter data. But Twitter itself took the time to analyze and report on the real-time flow. Late last night, the company blog posted some interesting visualizations that demonstrate that it is possible to tease some signal from all the noise. Read More

News Briefs

RSS Feed thursday >

NYC Open Data Advocates Focus on Quality And Value Over Quantity

The New York City Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications plans to publish more than double the amount of datasets this year than it published to the portal last year, new Commissioner Anne Roest wrote last week in an annual report mandated by the city's open data law, with 135 datasets scheduled to be released this year, and almost 100 more to come in 2015. But as preparations are underway for City Council open data oversight hearings in the fall, what matters more to advocates than the absolute number of the datasets is their quality. GO

Civic Tech and Engagement: Announcing a New Series on What Makes it "Thick"

Announcing a new series of feature articles that we will be publishing over the next several months, thanks to the support of the Rita Allen Foundation. Our focus is on digitally-enabled civic engagement, and in particular, how and under what conditions "thick" digital civic engagement occurs. What we're after is answers to this question: When does a tech tool or platform enable actual people to make ongoing and significant contributions to each other, to a place or cause, at a scale that produces demonstrable change? GO

More