GOP To Discover Masterplan On The Internet

Colbert’s on vacation as is Stewart. Man, they have lousy timing as usual.

No, I’m assuming instead of a 74 IQ level discussion we’ll get one at 78 and hopefully keep the ball rolling in that direction. I’m sure we have more productive political discussion than say, poor Taliban militants do. Fox News, as laughable as it is, is usually challenging liberal ideas and positions in an adverserial role. That in itself is a form of political dialogue that’s above the simple “he’s an evil Muslim/black” people could fall back to in the absence of political participation and having to argue for or against something.

There is no possible way to elect someone that we know what they will do for every possible situation that confronts them. The point of representative democracy isn’t just to set it and forget it and hope that their campaign was able to represent every conceivable position they will take, but more so that we don’t have to have a referendum for every single issue - it’s out of convenience, not this idea we elect superior barons and lords that know better than us that will act as our keepers. Political participation is important - the more of it, the less really really really stupid people will be, and move to just really really stupid or really stupid.

Why are we all posting on a political forum? What’s the point? Intellectual stimulation, having to articulate and revise ideas? Just a random, arbitrary decision? Why would anyone reply to this post of mine now? There are reasons we do things, and we need political ideas to undergo scrutiny from every angle. Political discussion is better than its opposite - the lack of discussion.

That’s what I figure they’re doing too, but hey, if the Democrats tried this I’d think it was kind of silly but I’d still be interested to see it given a chance. I’ll reserve judgment for the Repubs as well even though I expect it to turn into a giant bullshit machine.

I agree that politicians should never, ever tailor their positions to something like this. I see this more as having the potential to be a… sort of Web 2.0 version of calling/writing congress. Right now, you do that and if your thoughts are well written, they might get passed to your Congresscritter, but probably go with the rest into a big compiled report where they look for the frequency of keywords that constituents want to talk about and their positions on them. This seems to me to be adding the Internet into that same model - if you can upvote other people’s comments, then the ones that resonate (by popular opinion or eloquence) with the others will have a good chance of actually being read by a politician. And who knows, maybe a couple of those will even have a good idea or two.

Or maybe it will turn into a frothing-at-the-mouth rage fest where people demand we eliminate the Department of Education and Secede from the UN. But hey, they’re trying. Or at least pretending to.

Asking for suggestions from the rank and file is the worst way possible? I am completely failing to see how this is in any way a bad idea.

Because Lady Olympia Snowe and Lord Baldacci know better than everyone in Maine - they couldn’t possibly gain anything from listening to other people’s opinions, something, I might add, is completely voluntary on the populace’s part.

Even if it’s just a place to let their constituents blow off steam while giving the impression that they are listening, it’s not like we have such a shortage of Republican gaffes that we have to act like this is a bad thing.

I wanted to speak out, but I got this error message:

A very high volume of Americans are speaking out right now.
Please wait a moment and try again.

I GOT PWNED!!!111!!! I guess I’ll have to just keep yelling my awesome ideas at my dogs.

One word 4chan.

Slightly more developed answer:

Populism is a terrible platform for serious politicians to take. I don’t want you to ask me what I think, I’d rather know what you think so that I can make an informed choice as to who is likely to better represent me. There’s a reason that no Western nation has an Athenian democracy. If I have a strong opinion on something I’ll let you know about it and if your team are any good at gathering feedback then they’ll be picking that up anyway. I’ve been a professional community manager for many years and so I know a little about collecting and parsing feedback from a variety of sources. There are many ways of soliciting feedback and many different sources to tap. Of all of them the one guaranteed to produce the worst results is to make a ‘Hey guys, what do you think we should do?’ post on the General forums - which is essentially what this is. I’ve had to do that (under duress) a few times and every time I’ve been able to show what a complete waste of time it was for everyone.

Engaging in public debate of policy is a good thing, this is not that thing.

You were the proponent of lubricated dolphins, weren’t you!

And here I thought it was a joke!

IianC, do you assume politicians have absolutely nothing to gain from political dialogue with the public? Would you say all of us QT3ers don’t have worthwhile opinions that could potentially influence a political decision maker if they cared to listen to it? I’d share my opinion with them if I sincerely believed they’d consider it - but I’m not that optimistic. Any change that has the possibility to move them to a point where they will consider a wider range of opinions, rather than what mere popularity dictates (election results, polls) is something better for the country, I’d argue.

What politicians do now is cater to populism - what people will vote for. They will do what is politically expedient in order to be re-elected. So by not pushing them out of that cycle, you’d actually be reinforcing populism, but in the worst way - the populace will be even more ignorant and less qualified to understand political dialogue (because they would be participating in it less), yet they’re the ones that vote in the people that affect all of us. I fully believe political dialogue, especially on the internet where there’s intelligent people to refute the crazies, is better than its absence, especially for the voter’s own intellectual development. These politicians aren’t geniuses, they have to make tough decisions, and the more exposure to various opinions, the better. They’re big boys and girls, they can filter out the stupid ones.

It’s pretty damned hard to tell on that site what’s real and what’s a joke. There’s such a fine line.

I think this is a terrible idea. What we need are more townhalls filled to the brim with flushed blowhards screaming about taxes. Suggestions over the internet are way less entertaining.

I see no similarities with 4chan, unless you want to note broad generalities such as “both are websites” and “both let people post stuff.”

By that metric QT3 is a bad idea too, since it meets those criteria as well.

Soliciting feedback or creating a dialog with constituents is not populism. It’s a good practice.

Hrm, before clicking I think “was it that shitfuck Dana Milbank?” Why yes, yes it was. The Washington Post is an embarassment.

On the actual site, it’s a good first try at social networking I guess. They’re only 5 years behind Obama now!

I think the real point here is that this does look like a desperation move executed by folks with absolutely no idea what the internet is or how it works or who lives out here. I’m not quite sure what McCullough’s issue with Milbank is. I tend to find him too glib, as a rule, and quite capable of missing the point of things. Maybe this is one of those times. But on the face of it, I found it just a hilarious and pretty typical story.

I said precisely the opposite of this.

Okay, there are two points I want to bring up here. Firstly is the fallacy that the voters taking part in this will be educated as a result of their participation. That may be true for a vanishingly small number but I’d be prepared to put money on the fact that most of them have very ingrained positions and are simply going to repeat whatever it is they believe until the other side stops talking. They don’t want your fancy east coast facts or your metropolitan logic. They know what they believe and they aren’t going to change that just because Palin4prez2012 says they are wrong. This isn’t a forum for discourse it’s a bran tub.

Secondly, on average people are very often frighteningly uninformed even about topics that they consider important to them. Politicians are not excepted from this generalisation. You educate your electorate by showing them the debates between experts, by pointing out how this particular analysis coincides with your ideology while that one doesn’t and by asking them pointed questions based on actual facts not on accepted wisdom. Otherwise you’re back to Palinesque truthiness as a way to figure out what to do.

It was a signal to noise reference. This sort of thing never goes well because bored people on the internet >>>> people with an actual point to make.

It is good practice, however as I already said (and which you assiduously ignored) this is the worst possible way to do that.

Actually, for something from a political party, it’s middling decent. Do the Democrats have anything more sophisticated?

The part where it was obviously a hit piece and trying to use a new website as a pretext to insinuate that the Republican party was lost and without a platform and supported by only nutjobs? That part didn’t set off any alarm bells for you?

No, that’s pretty much how I see the Republican Party.

You DO realize they censor the site, no? Any thread that speaks of raising taxes to dealwith the debt or repealing the civil rights act gets taken down. You are free to contribute ideas, as long as they are the ideas we already approve of. Very Orwellian.

That’s where the self moderation aspects of the voting system kick in. I don’t know if it will work yet, but in theory they did anticipate the bored crackpots and plan for them.

As someone technically savvy I see a bunch of ways their system could be beat. I bet Colbert could get any flavor of nutty he wanted voted up just by asking for it on his show.

I’m not ignoring you saying that, I’m patient waiting for you to explain how that statement makes any sense.

So far you tried “oh noes populism!” and that didn’t fly. Now you seem to be down to debating implementation details of that site, and that’s not flying either.

Still waiting.