Obama was hailed by supporters and detractors alike for his tech-awareness (Twitter, Blackberry, a very well put-together web site, etc). It seems, however, that Obama has the same problems with technology that everyone else has. He may have to give up his Blackberry, for example, over security issues.
More interestingly, Obama’s “Open for Questions” website, a Digg-like system that allows interested parties to ask questions of Obama and vote on those of other users, has run into problems. Politico reports:
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.
The Blagojevich questions — many of them polite and reasonable — can be found only by searching words in them, like “Blagojevich,” which produces 35 questions missing from the main page of the site. ….
Declaring a question “inappropriate” is different from merely voting it down; it’s calling foul on a question, not just disapproving of it.
Community reporting systems like this are often vulnerable to abuse from committed partisans — YouTube has wrestled with a parallel problem — and the only solution is conscious efforts to remedy it.
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.
Read the whole article.
The Blagojevich question is not the only politely inquiry question to be flagged. Justin Taylor posted a link to his question about the Freedom of Choice Act here, and according to the comments in this post (and my own visit to the site), it was flagged shortly thereafter as inappropriate.
Obama’s tech savvy is laudable, but it may be that in practice his administration will not differ all that much from what McCain’s might have been.