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September 11, 2009


This sounds good, but like nearly every political effort open to public participation, isn't it very likely to be manipulated by interest groups who will "encourage" members to, say, suggest a loaded question for a poll? How do you avoid outcomes like last year's YouTube debate where there was that question asked by a union official posing as a regular working mom?

The major difference being that it takes highly specialized knowledge and major commitment to participate in the Netflix prize. And nobody has a real incentive to screw with the contest and waste Netflix's time.
But any random idiot can suggest questions for a poll. Any if a political group is looking for good ideas from supporters, won't opponents quite possibly be motivated to make bad suggestions and generally manipulate the process however possible?

I don't dislike the idea. I'm just a little wary.

If it could work, though, I wonder if elections are a less exciting opportunity than government? Crowd sourcing certain types of legislation/regulations that are largely technical and non-controversial (e.g. improving the student loan application process, not regulating abortion) seems very promising. Difficult to prevent manipulation, no doubt, but hard to imagine it could be worse than modern Washington or state legislature lobbying.

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