Comments on: Free Debates: Round Two Blog, news, books Tue, 10 Oct 2017 06:01:00 +0000 hourly 1 By: Reza Karimi Tue, 03 Oct 2017 12:44:00 +0000 very useful article
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By: Steve Thu, 16 Oct 2008 00:48:59 +0000 Roger Simon, CEO, Pajamas Media
Roger Simon, CEO, Pajamas Media

Was this actually sent to the candidates with this repetition?

By: x Sun, 05 Oct 2008 05:33:14 +0000 re: proof it doesn’t work
proof… This isn’t proof this is semi-constructed argumentation, aka nitpicking
For some nitpicking of my own

1. You say it doesn’t matter if they know the questions in advance, if the questions are good enough.
True there is a lot of questions that has a straight answer or where it is impossible to wiggle away from the implications.
But unexpected questions on a topic can tell if the candidate knows what the topic is all about.
Just look at how Bush answers unexpected questions without help of his advisors, and you know what i mean.

2. About your three obama questions: isn’t all 3 questions more or less on the same topic? ;

3. Sure no one is unbiased. the same apply for reputated bloggers and pundits by the way…
Meaning that the bloggers will take over the same role as the “criticized” journalists.
Whats the point in that?
A point should be that more then just a selected “elite” is in control of the questions.
Thats why i say people should register on it with personal info
(example: name, address and social security number)
So that it all that has something to say can not only a select few.

I have to admit there would be some users that wouldn’t have a clue about politics, so you would need to have a way to sift out the garbage by a separate voting button. (garbage)
it it gets a set amount of votes it will be reviewed by more than one agency to figure out if it’s
unfit garbage or not.

By: Proof it doesn't work Thu, 02 Oct 2008 11:54:50 +0000 It doesn’t matter if they know the questions in advance, if the questions are good enough. Consider these:

The only way BHO could profit from knowing one of those in advance is if he changed his position or issued a correction, i.e., did something to my benefit.

As for the “agency”, no one is unbiased. That’s why my system (described at has pre-defined rules and transparency in an attempt to rule out bias. And, by making it so that only “known parties” (e.g., those who’ve been blogging for six months or more), that makes the use of sockpuppets very difficult except for those who are deep undercover. There would probably be so few people like that that they wouldn’t make a difference.

P.S. Since the ODC doesn’t exactly seem to have set the world on fire, perhaps Lessig or someone else from the ODC might consider contacting me regarding the offer above.

By: Ann Wainright Thu, 02 Oct 2008 04:12:15 +0000 NO NO NO
Gwen Ifill should not moderate the Vice Pres debate- she is biased
She wrote a book about Obama

By: jacksen Thu, 02 Oct 2008 03:20:38 +0000 These actually are design decisions that make most Americans believe that design is a fairly easy endeavor.
Along with this, the access to information and the myriad of choices available to everyone today allows people to quite literally design their lives. And, because of this new cultural phenomenon, people in this country are learning much more about design.

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By: x Mon, 29 Sep 2008 19:36:06 +0000 Some Precautions I advise to make such debates more relevant
The first and most important is that the “agency” (where you suggest and vote on questions,) should/must be independent. (so none of the parties can manipulate the system, or learn of the questions before debates)
The second is that it requires personal info to register a user (to ensure both that each individual is an American citizen and that each individual only votes once.)
Third The votes should be anonymous and comments should be identified.

Another precaution that would be an advantage if at all possible is:
People working on the election campaign should not be able to register. so the questions aren’t revealed before the debate itself.

By: lomlate Mon, 29 Sep 2008 12:16:48 +0000 This won’t work for one simple reason… If you give a politician a surprise question they are more likely to give an answer which is away from their stump speech. If we allow voting for questions the debaters will have days to prepare the most polished bullshit response to the question. The debates are great because they can catch the politicians off gaurd, and free debates would be the antithesis of this!

By: Stephen Chapman Sun, 28 Sep 2008 23:05:12 +0000 As a Brit, I find TV debates really interesting. You may not know, but we dont have debates by British politicians – I am really not sure why! However, seeing McCain and Obama in what appears to be a staged environment doesnt quite do it for me. It all looks far too rehearsed.

From those I have spoken to her in the UK, all we care about your election is the end result , yet our News channels seem to think we need EVERY fact relayed. Count yourself lucky that YOUR news doesn’t cover OUR elections in the same way!

By: Zach Tumin Sat, 27 Sep 2008 17:36:52 +0000 Journalists have no monopoly on smart questions, nor stupid ones. Neither does the “crowd”. There is a role for citizen-sourced questions in the debate, but we needn’t wrap it in the fog of a populist notion ported from software development of all places now to *all* spheres of life that the best ideas rise to the top. Not everything in science, politics or social affairs is self-revealing or self-correcting, whether in time, or at all. The fact is that the Founding Fathers deeply mistrusted the “crowd” and put the Senate on the path to legislation, as well as the court in its aftermath. That model has balanced “crowds” and elite views well for hundreds of years. We ought to be careful what we ask for, oh legal scholars touting the wise crowd, who do appear before the Supreme Court on a regular basis to appeal the wisdom of the crowd to the bench of experts.

By: Harold Cutler Sat, 27 Sep 2008 05:53:56 +0000 The debaters should not be alllowed to use a teleprompter or any other method of communications by “handlers” to transmit information to the debator. The debators should be on their own to answer or defend each question or statement.

We want to know what the debater knows and how articulate he is infielding questions. All questions should be carefully thought out when presented be honestly and ethically stated.

We want to know what the debaters qualifications are, not a paid handler.

By: Harold Cutler Sat, 27 Sep 2008 05:39:18 +0000 Why not remove teleprompters or any other method of coaching the debator during the debate. We want to know what the debator knows and how he answers concerning possible problems when in office.

It is a farce for an off screen “expert” to tell the debator what the answer should be.

Shame on us to let the debator to be sheltered on their inability to answer any question. A simple “I don’t know” would show an honest debator.

By: Eric Norman Sat, 27 Sep 2008 03:31:37 +0000 I don’t get it. The debaters own the copyright to what they say, right?

If they assign the copyright to some broadcaster, then they ought to stop doing that.

By: My post on the debates Sat, 27 Sep 2008 03:19:14 +0000 Let me also add I could put together (using Drupal) and manage a voting system such as that described in my last comment fairly quickly and for a very reasonable fee. People would upload their questions to a video sharing site and could embed them in posts that those eligible to vote would vote on. Each voter would have a profile page, and their self-selected ideology could be checked by visitors. Those visitors would be able to access different pages showing who voted for/against a specific question, the votes of a specific voter, which questions a specific voter hasn’t voted on, etc. I’d need someone else to come up with the graphic design and, more importantly I’d need others to help promote it and make sure that the results weren’t simply ignored by the campaigns. The email to this comment works if Lessig wants to make that happen.

By: Alex C Sat, 27 Sep 2008 02:29:29 +0000 Seen Google Moderator yet? These two topics are exactly what you’re requesting for tonight’s debate.

4 Obama:

4 McCain:

By: Seth Finkelstein Sat, 27 Sep 2008 00:13:57 +0000 “The best ideas rise to the top, and the wisdom of crowds prevails.”

I can’t write at lenght what I want to write in reply, because of the power of A-listers to smear me or send a mob after me. Which recursively shows the above is total nonsense :-( :-( :-( .

By: My post on the debates Sat, 27 Sep 2008 00:02:42 +0000 Mister Snitch: there are topics – including the one I cover – that the “center-right bloggers” above don’t want to discuss or won’t discuss in a fair manner (for instance, I was kicked off RS clearly because I took Bush to task over that issue).

Asking BHO a real question on the topic I cover would show he’s not qualified. However, McCain is also very weak on that issue, and those “center-right bloggers” wouldn’t select one of those questions out of fear of it being asked of McCain as well.

The only way to do this that works is to make people stake their reputations on the toughness of a question, which the plan linked above is designed to do. Under that plan, all votes would be public, and if someone votes up weak questions and votes down tough ones that would be public and they’d show themselves to be hacks. They’d also have to publicly indicate their general ideology and that would be used to maintain a balanced number of voters. If they misstated their ideology (i.e., if someone from a leftwing group said they were conservative) they would reveal themselves to be a liar. My plan would only allow voting by “known quantities”, such as those who’ve had a blog or similar for six months or more. That would weed out sockpuppets and the like.

By: Mister Snitch Fri, 26 Sep 2008 22:57:41 +0000 “For instance, MoveOn gamed the 10Questions format to vote up a very weak question for BHO that he’d already answered months before.”

Fixing this ain’t that complicated. Prof. Lessig has a good handle on the players, as per his list above. Let the center-right bloggers on the list choose questions for the Democratic candidate, and have the center-left bloggers do the same for the Republicans. It’s painfully obvious why you would NOT want MoveOn feeding Obama questions. I’d have to wonder why anyone in their right mind would even consider that an option.

Having these ‘unbiased TV professionals’ (yeah, right) moderate these debates over the years has been an unmitigated disaster, and more importantly keeps the general public out of the debate loop. Taking the choices of questions out of the hands of ratings-and-image-minded paid pundits would be a far better method.

By: Proof it doesn't work Fri, 26 Sep 2008 22:35:43 +0000 The “bubble-up” technique has been proven to be a failure. All it does is allow partisan hacks who get a lot of traffic to send their readers to vote up questions they want answered. For instance, MoveOn gamed the 10Questions format to vote up a very weak question for BHO that he’d already answered months before. Details at my name’s link.

If you really want something that would work, here’s how to select questions so the real ones rise to the top:

And, here’s how to conduct real debates:

Why isn’t the “open debate” coalition proposing something that would work?

By: 24AheadDotCom Fri, 26 Sep 2008 22:19:11 +0000 The “bubble-up” technique has been proven to be a failure. All it does is allow partisan hacks who get a lot of traffic to send their readers to vote up questions they want answered. Here’s proof:

If you really want something that would work, here’s how to select questions so the real ones rise to the top:

And, here’s how to conduct real debates:

By: Josh Tauberer Fri, 26 Sep 2008 17:32:45 +0000 If you extend the principles to cover the selection of questions, there are other issues like that that come up in primary debates (something to keep in mind for next time): the choices of which candidates get to participate and how much time they are allocated on stage were made, as far as I know, behind closed doors. In an MSNBC primary debate, the speaking times were clearly allocated based on the latest poll numbers. That’s an election-altering (and potentially self-serving) decision that should have been made openly. Only The Des Moines Register’s debate gave candidates an equal amount of time. But, maybe there’s no end to the number of issues like this.