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What would you ask Team Obama — is now ‘open for questions’

with 3 comments

20081211-questionsMany of us are watching the Obama transition Web site for indications about how the new administration might tap into the Web 2.0 as a tool for governing. And we’re getting a very interesting peek with the newest feature on the Web site — “open for questions.”

The Obama-Biden Transition wants to hear from you. The transition team, using the Google Moderator application, lets people post their questions for the transition team — but, more importantly, it lets you go in and grade those questions — yes, you would like to get this questions answered, no you wouldn’t, or “flag as inappropriate.”

Here is the blog post about ‘open for questions’:

With so many Americans involved in the political process for the first time, there’s a great deal of interest in what’s happening inside the Transition right now — and what happens next.

Today, we’re rolling out a new feature that lets you ask the Transition team any questions you have about the issues that are important to you.

You can also browse through questions other folks have and check off the ones you think are the most interesting.

The community has jumped into a true two-way dialogue with our Transition team members. So far, we’ve asked you questions about major issues in our discussion forums, and you’ve flooded this site with your comments (see here or here).

Check out our new “Open for Questions” feature, and keep the conversation going.

There are many interesting issues here — some of them the government questions. So the transition team posts the following disclaimer:

Have feedback on this system or want to suggest a better way to do this? Let us know. Before asking a question, please review our comment policy.

Disclaimer: This tool is powered by Google Moderator, a third party service. Here is their privacy policy and terms of service.

Does that mean that they don’t have to follow the Privacy Act — the site requires that you sign in, but… how does that relate to privacy laws? Did they compete this application? And there are already questions about whether uncomfortable questions are disappearing by being flagged an inappropriate. Really?

Getting away from those more bureaucratic questions, I absolutely adore the idea. In the end, it is similar to the popular Digg site… and similar to the Web site, which has grown into something of a portal of various issue areas — including what kind of dog the Obamas should get. (More on here… and hear our conversation with the creator of on Federal News Radio 1500 AM’s Daily Debrief with Chris Dorobek and Amy Morris.) By the way, is powered by an applicated called UserVoice.

And… then there are the actual questions.

According to the site, these are among the leaders:

  • “What will you do to establish transparency and safeguards against waste with the rest of the Wall Street bailout money?”
  • “What will you do as President to restore the Constitutional protections that have been subverted by the Bush Administration and how will you ensure that our system of checks and balances is renewed?”
  • “Will you lift the ban on Stem Cell research in your first 100 days in office?”
  • “What will you do to end the use of mercenary forces (ie Blackwater) by our military?”

Read others… after the break…
Here are some more of the questions posted on the ‘open for questions’ part of

  • “What will be done about the FDA and its cozy relationship with the Pharmaceutical industry? Will the protective legislation for thePharm be reversed? Will the FDA pre-emption policy protecting the Pharm from liability be addressed?”
  • “Why are we rebuilding our national highway system instead of building high-speed passenger rail and revitalizing our cities and towns through the development of mass transit? Is this not key to our long-term economic and environmental well being?”
  • “How will you deal with members of the Bush administration for things like warrant-less wiretapping, approving the use of torture, and the abuse of executive power?”
  • Will you create a government agency that will independently decide how to best spend the infrastructure money you are proposing based on real costs/benefits, rather than congress people giving it out to their friends and supporters?”
  • “Who are you planning to place in your new CTO position? Have you considered Raymond Kurzweil?”

Kurzweil, so you know, is a futurist. More on him here.

Find interesting questions posted? I’d love to hear about them. Let us know.

Written by cdorobek

December 11, 2008 at 8:39 AM

3 Responses

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  1. Open for Questions is turning into a bit of a sham; Obama supporters (followers) are using the Digg-style interface to filter out anything that can be considering a negative or challenging question. It is orwellian-by-proxy, and a bad idea.. . in general, no?


    December 11, 2008 at 11:13 AM

  2. […] .gov site route through Google* is downright creepy.  Scroogled! As Christopher Dorobek points out on DorobekInsider, this means the information isn’t covered by the Privacy Act.  And that’s just the tip […]

  3. […] transition Web site, They are already doing some very innovative things such as the feature that lets you ask a question. There are some bureaucratic issues raised here. For example, the “open for […]

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