Monday, December 15, 2008

Virtual thugocracy

Via Glenn, Politico gives us a glimpse of the nature of discourse in the next 4 to 8 years.
President-elect Barack Obama’s Transition today launched “Open for Questions,” a Digg-style feature allowing citizens to submit questions, and to vote on one another’s questions, bringing favored inquiries to the top of the list.

It was suggested when it launched that the tool would bring uncomfortable questions to the fore, but the results so far are the opposite: Obama’s supporters appear to be using — and abusing — a tool allowing them to “flag” questions as “inappropriate” to remove all questions mentioning Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich from the main pages of Obama’s website. . . . So far, Obama’s team does not seem to have stepped in to allow uncomfortable questions to rise to the top, and instead is allowing his supporters to sanitize the site.
Two follow-on quotes that I think catch it all; first from Gawker.
“The same Obamatards who voted up total blowjob questions on the Digg-like question section of have, all too predictably, almost completely obliterated any question mentioning ROD BLAGOJEVICH. In fact, if you mention ROD BLAGOJEVICH in your question, at all, even totally politely in a relevant way, your question will not only be voted down but ‘removed’ (says the site) as ‘inappropriate,’ visible only through a specific search for ROD BLAGOJEVICH.” Hmm, group censorship of uncomfortable subjects. Nothing creepy about that on a political site. Hope and change!
...and one of Glenn's readers.
Notice the problem with Obama’s websites?

Neither he nor his staff is censoring the comments…. but they’ve set the site up to allow others to do so.

Neither he nor his staff asked for any illegal foreign contributions, or for contributions from obviously false donors….. they just disabled the standard controls and credit card checks to allow it to happen.

They didn’t have any ties to whacky characters with extreme ideas…. but the campaign website allowed anyone to set up a “blog” and put out the propaganda.

In each case, Obama and his staff were careful to leave no directly illegal / unethical fingerprints of their own….. but they sure made it easy for “supporters unknown” to do so through their IT systems.

Deniability — it’s built right in.
Yep - they are a funky bunch.

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