10questions debuts online interactive political forum

NEW YORK: A bipartisan mix of political bloggers and Web sites is helping promote a new site that lets anyone post and vote on video questions posed to 2008 presidential candidates.

NEW YORK: A bipartisan mix of political bloggers and Web sites is helping promote a new site that lets anyone post and vote on video questions posed to 2008 presidential candidates.

Townhall, Redstate, Treehugger, MSNBC, Politico, Rocketboom, DailyKos, TechRepublican, and the Media Bloggers Association are among the various political groups linking to www.10questions.com. They also promoted the bipartisan site through e-mail blasts and spread viral buzz through conversations on their respective blogs.

Site co-creator, Andrew Rasiej, said it provides a truer forum for democratic questioning of candidates compared with the recent CNN/YouTube debates, in which video questions submitted by people were selected by CNN journalists.

Visitors to 10questions will vote on the 10 best questions, which - as of November 14 - will be available for response by candidates. After posting, the responses - due by December 31 - will be subject to voting by site visitors as to whether they believe candidates adequately answered the questions.

"With the CNN/YouTube debate, it sort of came off as CNN sprinkling Internet stardust on itself," Rasiej said. "There was no real follow-up, so people asking questions weren't able to hold candidates accountable for their responses. [But with 10questions.com,] we'll have a feedback loop to get candidates to actually answer the questions there."

Voting for the first round of questions is not yet over. Barack Obama became the first candidate to reply to a question posted on the site about net neutrality, via an appearance on MTV that was then posted on 10questions.com. So far, more than 53,000 votes have been cast.

Co-creators of the site, which cost about $10,000 to $15,000 to develop, include bloggers David Colarusso and Micah Sifry, who cofounded the Personal Democracy Forum, which explores the role of technology in politics.

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