Talk:Social networking site lets users run virtual campaign for US president

Latest comment: 15 years ago by Gopher65 in topic Typo

Email Transcript edit

From: ****** ******** <>
Sent: Wed 3/19/2008 9:45 PM
To: Gurr, Eric
Subject: Wikinews interview

Mr. Gurr,

I'm a reporter for Wikinews (Wikipedia's news subsidiary) and was wondering if I could get an email interview with you regarding your website I've signed up as a candidate, and I think your site would be a great subject for an interview.

The interview would be short and posted on Wikinews a few days after it is done. If you are interested, please reply as soon as possible.

Thanks for your time,
Taylor A'Latorre (Planoneck on Wikinews)

(Note that I basically copied WNewsReporter's wording from this interview. Hope he doesn't mind.)

Subject: RE: Wikinews interview
Date: Thu, 20 Mar 2008 11:49:22 -0400
From: "Gurr, Eric" <>
To: "****** ********" <>
Yeah that would be great.
If need by you can also call me direct at 513-518-7316


Subject: RE: Questions for interview Date: Fri, 21 Mar 2008 11:34:49 -0400 From: "Gurr, Eric" <> Add Mobile Alert To: "Taylor ALatorre" <>

From: ****** ******** <>
Sent: Fri 3/21/2008 10:37 AM
To: Gurr, Eric
Subject: Questions for interview

Here are the questions for the Wikinews interview. A short paragraph for each would be nice, but feel free to write as much as needed.

Taylor A'Latorre
(Planoneck on Wikinews)

What compelled you to create
I was having a discussion with a business co-hort and I had suggested that the average Joe was probably better able to be president of the United States than many of the politicians considering running. This was back in 2006. I had at about this same time read the book wikinomics. My first inclination was to create a wiki, on how to solve political problems. But the social networking side was a more natural fit.

Have you had any prior experience in politics or political studies?
No I really haven't. I've never run for office, and never really been a part of a campaign. I read quite a bit and I'm a bit of a polymath when it comes to history and economics. When I read a book like Freedom from fear, or Modern Times by Paul Johnson, I check the footnotes. When I read an article on-line, for some reason I have an inclination to check up on the author to see if his facts are right.

What goes on in a typical U4Prez candidate’s campaign?
We have three distinct profiles. The quick drive by profile with little information, the interested candidate who probably posts once or twice a weak, and the die-hards. The die hards of course drive the site. These candidates are passionate and amazingly well informed.

What measures are taken to stop trolling and prevent heated debates from becoming too heated?
In the first couple of months we had to moderate the site twenty four hours a day. As the election has heated up this has oddly become less of a concern. We never censor political thought, but we do put dirty word filters in place. The dialogue gets heated, but almost never crosses the line. I've been contacted by ABC news, and quite a few other news outlets and their first impression is that this is just a bunch of college kids arguing about things they don't understand. The reality is quite different. The debate is structured in caucuses, and we occasionally hold moderated debates between specific candidates. The average age of the candidates is about 35, so this is a much more serious crowd than you would suppose.

How is a candidate’s rating calculated? What specific factors are taken into account?
Candidates must campaign. The core score is ratings by other candidates on a scale of 1 to 10. But this is only about 70% of total score. After six months of use, we developed a voting algorithm based on how members were using the site. You could literally have a perfect score of ten from members, and never get in to a runoff. You have to debate the issues, you have to visit and vote on other candidates platforms. In other words, you need to campaign. This boosts your candidate rank and overall score.

Were any of the real-life candidates’ profiles created by the candidates themselves?
Not too my knowledge. I have seen in the log files that many of the candidates campaigns have visited the site. Many of the profiles from the real-life candidates were created by us early in the process. We simply pulled the information from their official sites. That said, many of the third party or independant candidate profiles are created by the candidates themselves, or their staffs.

Many of the top-rated candidates on your site are independent or third party candidates. Why is this the case online but not in real life?
It has to do with viability. We took a survey several months ago and found that many of the candidates who were professed third party supporters intended to vote for either a Democrat or Republican in the real election.

Do you think most users take the site’s political aspects seriously, or are they more interested in the social networking aspect?
It's all about the politics. I think most of our users have accounts on myspace and facebook, and use U4prez strictly for the political dialogue.

In your opinion, has the internet has significantly affected the way presidential elections unfold?
Absolutely. The support and money raised by Ron Paul ultimately led to the nomination of John McCain. The more traditionally conservative candidates lost millions to Paul. This was entirely an internet phenomenon. Because of the communication cababilities of the web, people who have a strong interest in politics naturally migrate to the web. At u4prez for example, our members aren't likely voters, they are voters. This is true for just about any politically oriented site. Some of the candidates are picking up on this and using the web to deliver truly custom messages directly to real voters.

How do you think the internet will affect politics in the 2012 election and beyond?
The influence of certain websites will grow exponentially. The big question is what will the impact of the bloggers become? We are rolling out a new feature on the site in the next couple of weeks to allow our members to rate political blogs. As of now, there is no clearinghouse for political blogs. We are going to fill a big gap with this feature. The rrint media decline will continue and probably accelerate. To help this process along we as members of the web community need a way to vet new content and content creators. With some of the bigger problems facing our country, a medium is needed for more interactive debate. Television, radio and newspapers cannot offer any solution to this problem. The election of 2008 will be the last where the web isn't the driving communication force for any serious candidate.

Is there any political issue that you feel has been overlooked by the media?
The baby-boomers. In January of 2008 the first baby-boomer became eligible for social security. In the next twenty years about 80 million more will follow. Extrapolating the math is pretty easy. In about fifteen short years the entire budget (as it stands now) will need to go to social security, medicare and the prescription drug benefit. This of course isn't going to happen. This is a huge issue because 80 million people are going to be voting to protect those programs. The media overlook the problem, because it is massive in scope. If we look through history it quickly becomes clear that this is the biggest financial challenge the nation has ever faced. But you can find discussion about the problem on the web.

Lastly, who are you endorsing for president and why? (this is completely optional; it might not get published anyway)
As a website, U4prez endorsed Ron Paul. This came from the members of the site. Personally, it's hard for me to visualize anyone running right now who has the vision and can put the problems facing the economy in to any kind of historical context. I can tell you this. There are five thousand members on U4prez, and just a handful of them fully support any of the current candidates. I'm starting to get a pretty strong indication that someone is going to make a real third party run. The Democrats are going to come out of their convention divided that much is now obvious. But the media have overlooked the division within the Republican party over John McCain. Ross Perot made a huge impact on the election in 1992, and there was relative calm in the nation. 2008 may really be the year a third party candidate emerges at the last minute and wins the election. It's not likely, but neither is it a long-shot.

~Planoneck~ 04:50, 21 March 2008 (UTC)Reply

Typo edit

In the beginning of the article it says 'in awhile'. Either this quote is correct and [sic] should be added; or the quote is incorrect and it should be changed to 'in a while'. Van der Hoorn (talk) 16:16, 26 February 2009 (UTC)Reply

  DoneGopher65talk 21:38, 12 March 2009 (UTC)Reply
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