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How to make the debates interactive

Jose Antonio Vargas at the Washington Post wonders how we could make the upcoming presidential debates interactive, given that the teaming with MySpace is disappointing.

If given a choice between having more YouTube snowmen asking questions or hearing McCain and Obama talk with one another for an hour with no moderator and no questions, I would completely go for the YouTubeless version.

But, since that’s not going to happen except in “West Wing” reruns, I think the best we can hope for is a two-parter that makes everything around the debates interactive.

In part one, we the people have an official forum by which we can raise and debate questions beforehand. Maybe the moderators will be moved to ask something that actually matters to us. (The Berkman Question Tool is great for people in an audience to use during a session. It’s been open-sourced. Maybe it could be beefed up for national or regional use. Or maybe, if the debates really had a representative audience, it could be used during the debate. Sigh. Just daydreaming.)

In part two, we the people carry on a simultaneous debate and discussion as the debate proceeds. And before it. And after it. This already happens, of course, albeit these days frequently through Twitter, which is not well designed for this. But we ought to be able to debate along with the debate. And we will, one way or another. [Tags: ]

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