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Interview: Ask the Internet Political Activists

Roblimo posted about 15 years ago | from the making-the-Internet-safe-for-Democracy dept.

United States 232

Jonah Seiger and Shabbir Safdar own Mindshare Internet Campaigns, a Washington DC consulting firm that specializes in online political campaigning. Jonah and Shabbir are geeks who originally got into political activism by working to defeat political attempts to muzzle free expression on the Internet. Now they've turned pro -- very successfully -- but they're still avid Slashdot readers, and they're happy to answer questions about how the Internet is gaining acceptance as a political tool, and how you can use it to further your favorite cause or candidate. Please post your questions as comments below. Slashdot moderators and assorted dancing hamsters will pick 10 or 12 of them to forward. Answers will be posted Friday.

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Re:The campaigning isn't the problem. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 15 years ago | (#1756632)

Or drug obsessed losers like yourself.

Re:The campaigning isn't the problem. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 15 years ago | (#1756633)

Or idiots like you. [MicroLITH1@yahoo.com]

Re:Feedback to political candidates (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 15 years ago | (#1756634)

That is very messed up.

[MicroLITH1@yahoo.com]

Re:Misinformation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 15 years ago | (#1756635)

What do you think the "mainstream" media have been belching out for the last fifty years, the truth? The Internet finally gives real people the opportunity to share information and state their opinions, all without government-approved media conglomerates filtering out what is "offensive" or "dangerous" to their hegemony.

It's up to you and me to be the "filters," if you aren't up to the task, then go watch Dan Rather and enjoy life in The Matrix.

Vote for the questions you want forwarded! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 15 years ago | (#1756636)

Moderators will pick questions to forward? Um, why don't we open-source this a little? Everyone, _vote_ for the questions you want forwarded/answered by replying to the question with a subject of "Ask this one!" It will be obvious from the number of replies which questions the /.ers want answered.

USA CREATED THE INTERNET SO USA CONTROLS IT!!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 15 years ago | (#1756637)

The internet is a US creation. If you don't want play by our rules, don't hook up to it. It's just that simple.

Revoke the Sonny Bono copyright extension! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 15 years ago | (#1756638)

I suspect that it is a hopeless cause but is there anything that can be done to revoke the obscene extension of copyright that Mickey Mouse and Sonny Bono (before his apparently not-soon-enough death) succeeded in pushing through that collection of corporate sponsers known as 'Congress'?

Re:Direct Elections (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 15 years ago | (#1756639)

It will happen as soon as you're ready to pay for "free" Internet access for every loser who's too lazy to earn the money to buy it on his own. Is that what you really want? What if I don't? Are you going to ask the government to steal even more money from me for this hairbrained scheme?

How about starting out by clamping down on election fraud? In the age of crooked elections, not only are both parties looking the other way, some actually have the brass balls to advocate granting the franchise to illegal aliens!

Maybe forcing Congress to return to the correct proportion of representation would be a good thing, too. The House of Representatives would be so large and difficult to manage that they would only be able to meet for a very short period of time every session and could only concentrate on a few bills at a time. As it stands now, these jerks produce volumes of useless/harmful legislation every session--they have too much free time on their hands.

Authority of the State? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 15 years ago | (#1756640)

What is the moral basis of the authority of the State? Why should we participate in electoral politics rather than abolishing them entirely?

Re:Revoke the Sonny Bono copyright extension! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 15 years ago | (#1756641)

and Sonny Bono (before his apparently not-soon-enough death)

This comment was totally uncalled for. Politics aside, Sonny was a straight shooter who never gave up, even when everyone told him to quit. You could take a lesson or two from him, we all could.

Re:Third Party (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 15 years ago | (#1756642)

all i have to say is HARRY BROWN. vote, damn you.

Mock Web sites (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 15 years ago | (#1756643)

Could you actaully influence your senator/house rep to vote for/against a bill by saying, "I have registered -sucks.com and will post how you helped destroy free speech and I will list it in search engines, etc."

Power to the People.

Political Spam (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 15 years ago | (#1756644)

If you are planning to use E-mail for your candidates campaigns, are you also planning to use OPT-IN (as you should be), or were you simply planning on adding to the spam problem?

Re:Revoke the Sonny Bono copyright extension! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 15 years ago | (#1756645)

Your opinion. The extension of copyright was the greatest disservice to every little individual in this nation that Sonny Bono could have come up with. On this issue he ignored the interests of his consituents (of whom I was one of), and focused only on the interests of insaitably greedy corporations. Whatever good things he did before this this single act were wiped out as far as I was concerned. Stop being a sycophant and admiring asnine media enities and start admiring yourself... there might be something there to be proud of!

What's the internet equivalent of the 30 sec. ad? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 15 years ago | (#1756646)

What works on the internet? All the political pages are lame rewrite of brochures designed not to offend Jane Smith, 45 yr. old housewife (the average voter). Do politicos just not get it?

Re:Representative politics. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 15 years ago | (#1756647)

Re:Representative politics. by Solemn Bob on Monday August 09, @01:15PM EDT (#) (User Info) I don't have a homepage. >We can't all be bothered to make educated decisions on every issue that the government has to deal with.

This makes me laugh out loud. You have seen some of the crap out legislators spew forth haven't you. I don't believe that even _they_ make educated decisions on every issue.

Personally, I'd be happy to participate in a direct democracy. Even a baby-step would be interesting, why not start a movement to amend the US constitution to allow an initiative process.

computer licenses? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 15 years ago | (#1756648)

How likely do you think that the gov't will require computers to use ID tags(like a car's license plate)? And require all users to have license to operate the machine(they could be id'd through any one or more of available bio-tec devices) I remember hearing about requiring programmers to have a license. This is only one step further. Do you find it outrageous that in addition to crypto being a munition, the gov't could consider the computer as a munition, also?(maybe they already do) And later as a deadly weapon requiring gov't approval to operate? It appears some in the gov't would like to have them banned as assault weapons in its "cyberwar".

hahahahahah (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 15 years ago | (#1756649)

oh my god....talk about some one being a fricking retard-o! don't you look all big and mighty!

viruses (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 15 years ago | (#1756650)

hoo boy, you thought the melissa virus was bad... wait til you see the ventura virus.

Re:USA CREATED THE INTERNET SO USA CONTROLS IT!!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 15 years ago | (#1756651)

it is not! the usa controls nothing. the usa is but a puppet.

Internet Taxation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 15 years ago | (#1756652)

There has been a lot of discussion about taxing purchases that take place over the internet. I am curious what your thoughts are concerning this issue. We now live in a country where just about everything we do is taxed, even when we die. Wouldn't it be great if we could prevent our congressional leaders from taxing the internet!

Re:USA CREATED THE INTERNET SO USA CONTROLS IT!!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 15 years ago | (#1756653)

This expresses the American attitude well on so many issues. American arrogance is astounding and disgusting.

No net access? net terminals at usual voting place (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 15 years ago | (#1756654)

>It will happen as soon as you're ready to pay for "free" Internet access for every
>loser who's too lazy to earn the money to buy it on his own

Huh? If someone doesn't have a PC and a 'net connection at home, he cal go to his uusual polling place. They will have the terminal there. Paying for 'net access for people who only need it at most a few times per year is stupid.

Get a clue.

Skeptical (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 15 years ago | (#1756655)

The American electoral process is tightly controlled by Big Money. * Candidates for national office must raise several millions of dollars to have any chance at all of getting elected. * Most American voters received their news from commercial sources: TV, newspaper, info-tainment mags. * Whichever candidate wins the election, his/her legislative decisions are influenced by aggressive teams of lobbyists. Now don't get me wrong, the folks at Mindshare Internet Campaigns are offering a wonderful service. But I'd imagine there are plenty of deep-pocketed individuals, groups, and corporations who'd love to make use of Mindshare too. In a bigger way than you or I ever could afford to. So tell me again how this benefits democracy?

The "Libertarians" are louder, not more numerous (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 15 years ago | (#1756656)


They have an uncontrollable tendency to yammer, that's all. Furthermore, very few of them really are libertarians in any kind of a literal sense. Most of them seem to be garden-variety right wingers but with a slightly different focus. Or, to put it another (and probably more accurate) way: They'll gladly tolerate absolutely any degree of tyranny, censorship, and theocracy in government as long as their taxes go down and they get to keep their guns. Bleagh. Who needs it?

What do they say? "He who gives up a little freedom to gain a little security deserves and gets neither" -- indeed. Oh, yes indeed. See above. On the other hand, all of life is a matter of trading freedom for security. "There ain't no such thing as a free lunch": It's just a question of what kind of a bargain you drive. I'm not free to sleep in until noon on weekdays and then drink my breakfast; in return for giving up that freedom, I get a regular paycheck. It's called adulthood. You pays your money and you takes your choice.

Re:Direct Elections (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 15 years ago | (#1756657)

Why NOT? Proposition names have no correlation with their content and Corporate Citizenry lobby their own legislative loopholes via Dollar Diplomacy making it impossible to capture *issues* via printed ballot. ONLY people whose interests could be challenged by more accessible polling places feel threatened, risking easier, simpler, more convenient and participatory a democracy.

Re:Authority of the State? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 15 years ago | (#1756658)

...and, with people who can contribute to society being deterred from politics in increasing numbers, "nobody will give a damn" is what we appear to be heading for.

Elections already tabulated on computers... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 15 years ago | (#1756659)

What is the big ph33r over people voting by computer. Ballots are already counted up by computer in big city and state and national elections. And fully electronic voting booths are already in use (see Clark County, NV) throughout the country. Voters can already vote from home via mail-in (absentee) ballots. Voting from one's own home PC is just the next logical step and is no riskier than any of the other methods mentioned above (mail-in ballots are far more open to fraud). It's like these people who come to Las Vegas and avoid slot machines with a computer screen and instead going to the slots with mechanical reels becasue "they aren't fixed like them computerized thangs". The reel slots decide the outcome of the game within a few microseconds of your hitting the "spin" button just like the video slots. They're ALL computerized now. The CPU then just spins the reels for a while and stops them when they get to the already decided symbol.

He's going to give my tax money to religious nuts. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 15 years ago | (#1756660)

Funding religious proselytization is not cool, and don't kid yourself that anything else would come of it. He's talking about taking some random churches and delegating to them the authority to decide who benefits from certain social services. We can certainly debate whether or not those "social services" should be funded by the government at all (I have my doubts), but if they must be, they should be managed even-handedly. I have a problem with all of this. Imagine the reaction if GWB announced that he was going to hand over control of "social services" to Muslim organizations. How would you feel about that? Not so damn good, I suspect (assuming that you're not a Muslim already).

Re:computer licenses? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 15 years ago | (#1756661)

See The Right To Read [fsf.org]

Special Intrest Groups are fewest, loudest, & win (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 15 years ago | (#1756662)

Most legislation is pushed through by the well funded special intrest groups. No one does anything for the people anymore. Otherwise, it truly would not matter who was elected to office as they would be representing their constituients REGARDLESS of their own personal opinions. But that doesn't happen anymore. People actually look at what issues candidates support and then vote based on that! They don't even realize how screwed up the system is! They just prepetuate it.

Re:Representative politics. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 15 years ago | (#1756663)

>* Apathy.

How is this a problem? Assuming the polls were right, we wouldn't have gone into Kosovo, but we still would've intervened in Kuwait. I'll let you decide which one did more to help America's interests in the _____-term (short,long,medium. . .you pick).

It seems to me that the American people do a better job of prioritization than our current government.

>While only funding things that the masses appear to care about might be a dream for some, it'd be a nightmare for most.

Exactly how would it be a nightmare for most? I think it would be a nightmare for people who need a large amount of government services.

I don't think most people fit into the above category.

>* Education.

This is probably true to an extent. However, the current system allows for a tyranny of the special interest. Which would work harder against the majority's interest, the tyranny of the majority or the lobbyists?

If you don't believe the government should serve the majority's interest, I'd be interested to know:
1) why not
2) whose interests should they serve

>* Scalability: it doesn't.

How is this different from the current situation? It appears to me that the activist minority oftentimes _already_ controls a political debate with good _and_ bad results.

I would say that given _real_ necessity, the American people tend to organize themselves and build consensus quickly. I think most anyone who has been in a natural disaster understands this to be true.

>* Coherence, or lack of it.

I agree with this statement. I believe this relates to the "bureaucracy problem" below.

>* In reality, the current system works reasonably
>well.

This is your opinion. Personally, I think your opinion would be in the minority.

I think there is a large disenfranchised majority in the US. Not disenfranchised as in unable to vote, but disenfranchised in that they could give a fsck about government programs like EEO, AA, or the ADA (which _appear_ to a casual observer to be _the_ driving force behind the current administration's policies).

Off-topic:
The fascinating paradox is that these program have the _exact_ opposite effect that they are intended to have. By trying to unite everyone by valuing "differences", they actually separate people by emphasizing the differences. This is surprising because people who study group dynamics commonly accept the principle that emphasizing "sameness" in a group setting is what is necessary to unite a group. As I write this, it makes me wonder if the invisible "them" wants to keep "us" separate.

BTW: I think direct democracy does have one extremely large (insurmountable???) potential problem--the bureaucracy charged with enforcing the will of the people. I believe a direct democracy would give bureacrats even more power than they currently have. This seems to me to be a bad thing.

Grow up (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 15 years ago | (#1756664)


Hardware on foreign soil is not under the jurisdiction of the US government. It's subject to the laws of the country where it's located. Furthermore, the people who own it, OWN it. It's theirs, you miserable parasite, not yours and certainly not Bob Barr's.

Or are you suggesting that since TCP/IP was developed on US soil, then the US government somehow "owns" anything that uses it? Well, under US law, you're wrong -- barring a contractual agreement to the contrary (and if you disagree, please write a check to Italy in consideration for your use of your radio). Since TCP/IP is an open standard, anybody can implement it and use it without restrictions.

Jesus Christ, how dumb can people be?

Dead Link. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 15 years ago | (#1756665)


http:\\homebase.freespam.net\DonaldDuck4Presiden t2000

I got a 404 on that -- even after I fixed your billy-boy backwards slashes.




Ha ha joke. Ha ha. Except about the slashes. Those really annoyed me.

What internet politics? (2)

Anonymous Coward | about 15 years ago | (#1756726)

It's clear that the net provides a vast, new forum for the dissemination and debate of political ideas. It's also clear that netizens are aware and vocal regarding political issues.

However, it also seems that the net opinions are routinely ignored by politicians. There are some success stories, such as the defeat of CDA and the spy-on-your-customers proposals. But more typically, we hear that email to politicians is considered chaff and earns form replies. Or that netizens' demands are unheard as corporations dictate policy.

So for all we hear about net activism and democracy, what _is_ the connection between Internet politics and the political system? What are the mechanisms by which we make ourselves heard? Which ones work now, and what should we be doing to create effective channels in the future?

Teach politicians the GLOBAL nature of the 'net! (3)

Anonymous Coward | about 15 years ago | (#1756727)

I want politicians to realize once and for all that the internet is a global construct; especially when it comes to making laws about what to try and regulate or what is and is not "illegal" to do over the net.

Strong crypto? Internet casinos? Child pornagraphy? Sale of perscription drugs over the net? Gun sales over the 'net? Piracy (software, movies, music, pictures, etc.)? All of these items are LEGAL somewhere on the planet. The 'net, though, brings totally counter and conflicting laws and idealogoes together in the same place in a way that's never been done before. And isolationism and treating the whole 'net as within your borders in making up laws to deal with these issues is not acceptable. Tolerance and a hands-off approach to the 'net in the EXTREME is called for and a realization that no-one has a monopoly of definitions for the terms "right" and "wrong" across the planet.

wouldn't work (1)

bluGill (862) | about 15 years ago | (#1756732)

I went to college with someone from New England (some town he never named) who explained who it works in their town which is a demoracy:

for the large majority of town meetings 10 old men (women are allowed, but appearently don't attend) show up and decide how to run the town. These people are responsiable to nobody, are not elected, but they have power to set taxes.

The some students decided they wanted a new track. They printed up flyers, raised interest about their parents and friends parents. On a set night most of the town decended on the meeting, with one issue: voting for a new track. They had no interest in any other issues up for vote. They had no interest in how to get the money to pay for this track. They simply went along with everyone else to vote for a new track, and went home.

The next meeting the 10-15 old men who ran the town sat alone in that room, went overthe budget and decided that since there wasn't money to pay for it (of course the most expensive track was approved) they would have to raise taxes.

Then all the towns folks started complaining about how taxes went up, not realising they were the problem. It only takes a few issues like this before the irresposibility of the people overwhelms the ability of a demoracy to work. Remember, not everyone cares as much as you or I might. MN had the highest voter turnout of any state in the US last year, and 40% of the voters didn't bother to vote! (probably more then 40%.) If I recall correctly, in one state 70% of the voters didn't vote.

Until a large majority of the population keeps themselves informed and bothers to vote on all issues there is not point. At least with representatives there is some control, more then there is over those self selected 10 old men.

The campaigning isn't the problem. (1)

heroine (1220) | about 15 years ago | (#1756738)

The problem is getting people to want to run for office who are't phsychopaths, sex maniacs or KKK members.

Taiwan and overbudgetted candidates (1)

Pedro Picasso (1727) | about 15 years ago | (#1756744)

How hard would it be to launch a worldwide campaing against the Beijing dictated "One China" policy that disregards Taiwan's obvious sovereignty?

Why don't I see more about low-$$ candidates on the internet? All we get are the high budget media favorites. Do their campaign people not know of the voting and fundraising potential online?

Campaign funding? (1)

Q*bert (2134) | about 15 years ago | (#1756746)

Is there a site where I can read about the corporate funding of U.S. Senators and Representatives? How about state officials? I know this information is supposed to be public, but I don't know how accessible it's been made. A nice, dynamic site, preferrably with links to voting records, could go a long way toward making politicians' true loyalties known and maybe, in the long run, building support for campaign-finance reform.

It's a tall order, I know, but I really think it's a worthwhile project. If there isn't such a resource out there already, I'd be very much willing to build one. (Hello, mod_perl!)
Beer recipe: free! #SourceCold pints: $2 #Product

Representative politics. (1)

dominion (3153) | about 15 years ago | (#1756751)

With the proliferation of the Internet, and the increasing powers of corporate interests to sway the opinions of those elected, haven't electoral politics become obsolete?

What would possibly keep us involved in a failed, antiquated system? What caveats do you see that would keep us from moving towards a
completely direct democracy?

--

Michael Chisari
dominion@beyondtheweb.com

He has a point, I hate to admit. (1)

jht (5006) | about 15 years ago | (#1756752)

As much as I hate being a US-centric troll, we did invent the Internet itself here (though plenty of Europeans, working here, contributed - and the Web was invented overseas). It was originally built under a US government contract, by our rules and standards. Fortunately, we were smart enough to open up connectivity, but still we control the DNS standard, we control address assignments, and most of the major backbones and access points are on our soil.

Leading me to my point here: this AC has a valid point, though not terribly practical. If the US government decided to take their ball and go home, that would be stupid, but we built it - we make the rules. I have no problem at all with us running the show. That said, the nature of the Internet is to open up information and culture. Politicians need to know that, while we may run the Internet here in the US, it represents something bigger than all of us. We may run it, but we can't control it.

- -Josh Turiel

Effectiveness of various ways of contacting reps (1)

jsm (5728) | about 15 years ago | (#1756753)

In your opinion, what are the relative lobbying effectivenesses of the following:
  • an online petition based at a Web site;
  • an email sent to a lawmaker with 1000 signatures;
  • 1000 different emails sent to a lawmaker, from different people;
  • those email petitions that say "sign at the bottom, forward to everyone you know, and forward to us if you're 50th, 100th, etc.";
  • Email sent to a lawmaker vs. a phone call vs. a paper letter (and typed vs. handwritten)?

hrrrrm (2)

Signal 11 (7608) | about 15 years ago | (#1756756)

Question: How does one organize a group of people entirely online? I have seen several attempts at getting a movement off the ground - setting up a listserv, website, discussing the issues.. but that's usually all the farther it goes, and then the whole thing sinks.

What's the best way to get in touch with people and get something off the ground?

--

Apathy and attention. (1)

Lemmy Caution (8378) | about 15 years ago | (#1756758)

The problems with being politically active in an internetworked culture today are twofold: the economics of attention, and accelerated fragmentation.

Some wag said that the most important commodity is people's attention - getting them to consider your product or service, getting them to be aware of what you're offering. Strategies for colonizing attention have become *very* sophisticated and *very* effective - to the point that we don't have a lot of attention left for things that don't immediately deal with entertainment or work.

Civic and public issues can't compete with that *unless they also take the form of entertainment.* Monica Lewinsky, bombing faraway countries, and psychotic gun-sprees are good entertainment. The constant, grinding, slow erosion of our civil liberties (or, more pointedly, the civil liberties of that unfortunate minority that disagrees with the norm) is not good theatre, and the technologies and strategies of attention-getting won't work for them. In fact, it's good theater that's responsible for their erosion: "save our children from drugs!" plays a lot better than "we may not like what people say, but they have a right to say it."

The other problem is fragmentation accelerated by the technologies of anonymous/faceless communication. I'm not an economic libertarian - I *am* a civil libertarian. I could work with a libertarian on civil issues, but the fact is that the animosity pumped up between liberals and libertarians over issues such as environmental and business regulation, public assistance, and labor law is such that we are each unlikely to want to work with each other - and we're essentially drunk on the differences of opinion when our fora for discussion is online groups like this one.

Re:Feedback to political candidates (1)

PD (9577) | about 15 years ago | (#1756759)

On his page he claims that his page is Open Source. If that's true, then I should be able to take his entire page, modify it slightly so that it says "Al Gore Sucks" and put it on my own web site.

http://www.algore2000.com/getinvolved/index.html says "In the spirit of the Open Source movement, we have established the Gore 2000 Volunteer Source Code Project. www.algore2000.com is an "open site". "

Then he goes on to say on http://www.algore2000.com/getinvolved/legal_notice .html that "Only individuals acting as volunteers may participate in source code volunteer efforts. No individual may be paid for their efforts. When submitting your source code, please provide your name, address (mailing address and e-mail address), occupation and the name of your employer.

By submitting this source code you warrant that the code is your original product and you have not reproduced, counterfeited, copied or colorably imitated any, copyright trademark, or service mark or violated any federal or state law.

Further, this source code is not being submitted by a company, business, labor union or other organization, or any federal, state or municipal agency and has not been produced using the facilities of any such groups."

Al Gore is mocking the Open Source concept by calling his page Open Source. It clearly is not.
He should fear the power of the Penguin!

Feedback to political candidates (2)

PD (9577) | about 15 years ago | (#1756760)

Al Gore offends Open Source fans by mocking the concept on his campaign web page. He offends internet users by claiming that he invented the internet.

On the other hand, G.W. Bush offends free thinkers by announcing that he wants religous organizations to take a larger part in government programs, and might directly tax dollars to those programs.

What is the best way to let these candidates know that their current positions are counter-productive? I want someone to say clearly that they will increase NASA's budget over the next 4 years.

It'll take time. (1)

Lord Kano (13027) | about 15 years ago | (#1756773)

There is ONE group in the population who consistantly turn out in large numbers. The Senior Citizens are ALWAYS the group with the highest turn out.

It's because of their vote that the President and the Congressional Republicans are posturing over Social Security and Medicare. It's because of apathetic baby boomers and "Gen-X"ers that the old people get anything that they want from politicians.

The internet is not going to have any significant influence over these people because they get all of their information at night from Dan Rather. The up-to-the-second nature of the internet is not interesting to the most powerful voters that we have. In 30 years when those people are no longer around and the Internet is a part of the daily lives of more voters, it may be too late. By then they can demonize and regulate the hell out of the internet so that it'll be a toothless tiger. We have a "supposedly" free press in the US, but whenever someone prints something that is unpopular, or politically incorrect there is such a cry to shut them down that nobody with two brain cells to rub together would even think of it.

LK

Re:Direct Elections (1)

Bearpaw (13080) | about 15 years ago | (#1756774)

In the not-too-distant future, I see a time when I can log onto my computer on election day, type in my social security number and password, and vote for the candidate of my choice. Such a system would massively increase voter participation and would result in a government truly elected by the people. Do you think that such a system will truly come to pass, and if so, when?

And if so, why would we want it?

If someone's too friggin' lazy to get their butt to a polling place, do we want them to vote? (Not counting those folks for whom getting to a polling place is very difficult or impossible due to physical impairment, of course.)

Blocking/Filtering in schools and libraries (2)

richnut (15117) | about 15 years ago | (#1756777)

Where does your organization stand on the usage of technologies to block websites in schools and libraries? What opposition have you run into (and from whom) trying to advocate your solution?

Re:Representative politics. (1)

Solemn Bob (16065) | about 15 years ago | (#1756779)

What caveats do you see that would keep us from moving towards a completely direct democracy?

We can't all be bothered to make educated decisions on every issue that the government has to deal with, while we can and should take the time to make informed decisions about who should represent us. Having elected representatives puts a layer of abstraction between us an the daily business of governing. Removing this layer would, I think, lead to a tyranny of special interests--mass voices with one overriding concern, incapable of compromise or reason.

Do geeks vote? (1)

bunyip (17018) | about 15 years ago | (#1756783)

The average voter is older than the average geek. Are there any statistics on geek voter turnout? What about turnout for people who use the Internet?

I was told by a Pol Sci professor that the highest turnout group are all eligible for the AARP (Am. Assoc. of Retired Persons) and the lowest turnout is 18-25 year olds.

So, how much do politicians really care about the Internet?

Authenticity (1)

Jude (18761) | about 15 years ago | (#1756784)

During TBWP hype, there was some fall out regarding fan sites which turned out to really be run by the studio.

Will mindshare agree to never use this type of trick in its campaigns ? Will mindshare agree to always tell the readers of it's sites that 1) what they are reading is paid advertising, and 2) who is paying for the advertising ?

Personally, I like to know when people are doing something because they are getting paid for, and when they are really doing something because they believe in what they're saying.

Re:UCITA (1)

kmj9907 (20499) | about 15 years ago | (#1756787)

Uh, that should be "it". Fight it, not them. Join them, the efforts, in fighting the act. Oh damn. :)

kmj
The only reason I keep my ms-dos partition is so I can mount it like the b*tch it is.

UCITA (2)

kmj9907 (20499) | about 15 years ago | (#1756788)

UCITA is a pretty big issue among /.ers, I'd think. Are there any major efforts to fight this act? If so, how or where can I (we) find them? I personally think it would be a crime to allow this to pass.

kmj
The only reason I keep my ms-dos partition is so I can mount it like the b*tch it is.

Chances (1)

schporto (20516) | about 15 years ago | (#1756789)

How much of a role do you think the net will have on an election?
Considering the last stat's I saw most people were not on the net it might not be much. But how many of those vote? Most net users tend to over state its importance. Most non-net users tend to understate it importance.
Can a candidate win today without a net presence of some sort?
Can a condidate win today based mainly on a net presence?
-cpd

Re:USA CREATED THE INTERNET SO USA CONTROLS IT!!!! (1)

freakinPsycho (23459) | about 15 years ago | (#1756791)

it may have started in the united states, but that doesn't mean we controll it. might as well say that us companies have the right to tax electric corporations in other countries, as this is where electricity origonated. get a clue, you fool. it is a global network, no one owns it all, and no one ever will.

freakinPsycho

"Generation Tripple-X, we're all about the weed smoke and the kinky sex.."
-Ice Cube and Korn .. "Children of the Korn"

Huh? (1)

Megaweapon (25185) | about 15 years ago | (#1756793)

I'm guessing you were once out-argued by a Libertarian, and now you hold a grudge against all of them. To suggest they are all gun-nuts is just plain ignorant. I am sure the vast majority of them hold their entire ideal to be true.


Re:The campaigning isn't the problem. (2)

Jburkholder (28127) | about 15 years ago | (#1756796)

it says heroine - not heroin. Two different words with different meanings, I think. ;-)

Bill Of Rights (1)

BranMan (29917) | about 15 years ago | (#1756798)

There was a flap some time ago when it was learned that most of our elected officials admitted that they wouldn't vote in favor of the first 10 amendments (the Bill of Rights) if it were placed in front of them as new legislation.

How would you vote in that situation? Are there any you would NOT vote for? If so, which ones -or what specific provisions would you strike (if given the chance)?

I personally think every candidate for office should be handed this question - the answers are usually most enlightening.

Misinformation (2)

Opinionated Newbie (32308) | about 15 years ago | (#1756801)

Just as the Internet allows for a new level of free communication, it also allows a new level of disinformation to be spread. Can you remark on what safeguards we might have or expect to have to filter the purposefully misleading information out of Internet campaigns?

Re:Direct Elections (1)

nmarshall (33189) | about 15 years ago | (#1756802)

..it will happen as soon as you're ready to pay for "free" Internet access for every loser who's too lazy to earn the money to buy it on his own. ... Are you going to ask the government to steal even more money... [to "pay" for net access]

lets brack this up into two points.

one.
would i be ready to pay for "free" Internet.

i think you mean, pay for those people that can't adford internet. well, IMHO "paymant" of "money" for something not produced, seems werd. that is i would like to see that if the net becomes more inportent in everyday life that it becomes a public sysvice that tax dollares "pay" for. ie everyone gets a cable in the house that the tv / computer / phone connects to. now you could pay for better / faster connection.

two
... Are you going to ask the government to steal even more money... [to "pay" for net access]

well, the government already steal's (takes money from me by force) from me to "pay" for all kinds of things i dont like. ie war's, anti-drug ad's, bio-weapons. so i dont see the diff.

if only we the people had more say there would be less horseshit in the world.... and no voting for the ether / or parties seems not to help change things.

nmarshall
#include "standard_disclaimer.h"
R.U. SIRIUS: THE ONLY POSSIBLE RESPONSE

Re:Disinformation (1)

Confused (34234) | about 15 years ago | (#1756804)

Are the free Web hosting and the relative anonymity really that important for propaganda?

I'd believe that anyone wanting to spread propaganda on a national scale will invest at least in a good webdesign and a domain-name. Or can you imagine a candidate running for presidency with a website at
http:\\homebase.freespam.net\DonaldDuck4Presiden t2000 ?

Govornment Control (1)

BaronCarlos (34713) | about 15 years ago | (#1756805)

Where do you see the internet going, in respect to political activism and the electoral process in the years ahead?

Do you, yourselves, see your organization on the grass root's level, where some believe the heart of political change must reside?

*Carlos: Exit Stage Right*

"Geeks, Where would you be without them?"

Re:Feedback to political candidates (1)

jamesbrown1000 (39200) | about 15 years ago | (#1756808)

1. NASA does NOT need a budget increase that large.



2. there is nothing wrong, or even unconstitutional, with private religious organizations helping out government in the ways GWB recommends. this "wall between church and state" is a highly specious line of argument, one totally out of touch with what the framers intended (freedom from state-sponsored religion).



i do agree that we are only being given these candidates by the media, but at the same please keep in mind what you are advocating.

One-way pipe (1)

overshoot (39700) | about 15 years ago | (#1756810)

Many companies have found that one of the Net's biggest benefits is its ability to give them high bendwidth customer feedback (eg auto makers with model selector pages, which tell them what features people want far better than post-hoc sales analyses.) As usual, the political sector is lagging by a good bit, with most pols acting like the Net is another one-way pipe like television.

Examples: most Congressional offices either have no e-mail address at all or /dev/null it; wide experience tells us that your chance of having your mail read by a human is zero. Perhaps more frightening are the suggestions that the Y2K elections will be massively spamvertised.

After a trial spam or two from the RNC in 1996, several pols tried spamming in 1998 and ran into the (predictable) consequence: spam alienates several nines of the people it reaches. Which might be an acceptable consequence to the spammer if the worst that happens is that they don't send ten dollars to the top five names on the list, but doesn't look so good if the recipients vote.

So, with Bush and Gore setting up massmail pyramids, the RNC hiring spammers, McCain sneaking prospam legislation through at midnight before floor votes, and Congress extending the franking priveledge to spam accounts, the question is:

How do we get a clue-by-four to our Lords and Masters that the Net is much better for information gathering than propaganda pushing?

Crypto-phobia (3)

Hobbex (41473) | about 15 years ago | (#1756812)

I would like to know if they, while up there rubbing elbows with the powerful and incompetent, have gotten some sort of feeling for where the rabid Crypto-phobia of Washington is stemming from?

Certainly, most free thinkers of the world recognize the importance of free and strong crypto in the information society, yet in Washington, which as I understand and hope is still a collection of moderately intelligent and educated people, it seems no one supports the issue. Even our friends (SAFE etc) are just less destructive enemies.

Is it, as many like to believe, the NSA and the rest of the Intelligence community still running the show like puppet masters with absolutely no resistance, or is there in Washington a deep, pessimistic belief that freedom must truly be fought with all means possible because we the lesser people of the earth cannot handle it?

Re:Bush & Gore = cable pay per view choices (1)

ElJefe (41718) | about 15 years ago | (#1756813)

I wonder if anyone else understood The Onion refernece? I showed that one to a friend once and he almost pissed himself laughing. Too bad they don't archive those...

-ElJefe

UCITA in WA state (1)

WillAffleck (42386) | about 15 years ago | (#1756814)

I emailed my legislators (and some from other districts that I know personally) about this. Two had not heard word one about it (I sent the full articles and URLs).

Next I'm siccing the Statewide offices - Insurance Commissioner, Atty General, Governor - on them.

But, I have an unusual name and they know me, so this is not as easy for others.

Which methods are effective? (1)

WillAffleck (42386) | about 15 years ago | (#1756815)

OK, from my perspective the usefulness of communicating TO legislators is, in order:

1. If you personally know them and they know you - signed email (with full name and address and phone) is most effective.
2. Hand-written letter.
3. Hand-written postcard.
4. Typed letter.
5. Typed postcard.
6. Fax (unless like 1)
7. Email with full name, address, and phone
8. Any other email (since they don't know you're in their district)

Is this true?

Also, for election strategy purposes, I presume web sites and ftp sites are most useful for campaign lit and talking points. Are email lists (Bcc: or full blown lists) useful? For what? By state, for press releases, for coordination, for keeping volunteers involved, for responding to dirty tricks, what?

Why efficient? (1)

WillAffleck (42386) | about 15 years ago | (#1756816)

Why not disorganized?

It's more fun - just ask Bob Dole.

At least he groks the Net (1)

WillAffleck (42386) | about 15 years ago | (#1756817)

unlike shrub, who thinks it's a secret handshake used in The Ruins of Seattle.

Re:USA Number 1 (1)

WillAffleck (42386) | about 15 years ago | (#1756818)

You want your own Net, you pay for it.

Oh, wait, you can't.

Tough.

Oh, I don't know, let me count the ways (1)

WillAffleck (42386) | about 15 years ago | (#1756819)

Well, ask the people of the Canal, or any of the many countries where we decide to declare a "peace action" if US laws don't apply to them.

Oh.

It was a joke, but it isn't really. We're more than half of the Net, and what we say goes. Whether that is good (it usually isn't) or not, that's the real world.

Re:Internet censorship (1)

Steve B (42864) | about 15 years ago | (#1756821)

For example, we have the "Methamphetamine Anti-Proliferation Act of 1999", which would criminalize many discussions of drug policy.... Trying to censor "dirty" bits is bad enough, but to censor political discussion is utterly abhorant. Political censorship is a life-and-death issue - people will fight, kill, and die for free speech. What, short of bullets, is it going to take to stop the cybercensors?

When do the treason trials begin?

I'm not joking. This is an attack on the foundations of the Republic.
/.

Direct Elections (1)

bravehamster (44836) | about 15 years ago | (#1756822)

In the not-too-distant future, I see a time when I can log onto my computer on election day, type in my social security number and password, and vote for the candidate of my choice. Such a system would massively increase voter participation and would result in a government truly elected by the people. Do you think that such a system will truly come to pass, and if so, when?

Re:slashdot (1)

oneiros27 (46144) | about 15 years ago | (#1756823)

the questions they want to answer aren't the interesting questions. Getting someone to answer a question that they don't want to can actually give you insight.

(Although, when they lie about the answer, or completely try to dodge it, that's another story)

Third Party (2)

antizeus (47491) | about 15 years ago | (#1756824)

While not everyone on the net shares a common political philosophy, there are some very common tendencies, such a strong libertarian undercurrent. Do you guys think the net could be used as an important tool in bringing together freedom-loving people to form a third party to represent the interests of liberty that so often get stepped on by the two major political parties in the USA? And could such a party have a chance of winning a significant number of elections, unlike (apparently) other third parties such as the lamented Libertarian Party?

Re:Feedback to political candidates (1)

Mr. Slippery (47854) | about 15 years ago | (#1756825)

He's stated that if elected, he would issue and Executive Order to prevent Wiccans from performing their celebrations in the military.
Well, his daddy said that atheists shouldn't be considered citizens, because "this is one nation under God." I suppose on religious liberty, it's like father, like son. Ah, family values...

What we need is a political version of the LART. A Legislative Attitude Readjustment Tool, with which to beat some sense into these idiots.

Re:Authority of the State? (1)

Mr. Slippery (47854) | about 15 years ago | (#1756826)

What is the moral basis of the authority of the State? Why should we participate in electoral politics rather than abolishing them entirely?
Because at this point, if you abolish the State you'll just get a new one - probably worse - to take it's place.

What do you think people would do if we all woke up tommorow to find that all vestiges of government had disappeared - that the police, army, Congress, courts, state and local legistatures, governors, mayors, and bureaucrats were gone without a trace? Bet you a nickel they'd get together and elect a whole new set. And if they didn't, some "strongman" would move in and set up his own state.

Government may or may not be necessary, but at this point in human development it's inevitable. (In the long run, what we need is Zenarchy [impropaganda.com] : "As a doctrine, it holds Universal Enlightenment a prerequisite to abolition of the State, after which the State will inevitably vanish. Or - that failing - nobody will give a damn.") Meantime, best we can do is make the state harmless as possible. A constitutional democratic republic is a pretty good shot at that; unfortunately, we've moving away from that towards authoritarian theocracy and corporate plutocracy.

Internet censorship (3)

Mr. Slippery (47854) | about 15 years ago | (#1756827)

Citizens who find themselves in the minority on many political issues have found the Internet a very valuable tool to organize, share information, and make their views known to the mainstream.

Now it seems that the federal government is trying to censor such discussion. For example, we have the "Methamphetamine Anti-Proliferation Act of 1999" [wired.com] , which would criminalize many discussions of drug policy.

I believe that you can't have a meaningful discussion on, for instance, the sentancing guidelines for possession of crack vs. powder cocaine without an understanding of how crack is made. Thus, my drug policy site [infamous.net] has such information.

Trying to censor "dirty" bits is bad enough, but to censor political discussion is utterly abhorant. Political censorship is a life-and-death issue - people will fight, kill, and die for free speech. What, short of bullets, is it going to take to stop the cybercensors? (Or should I just go buy more bullets while I still can?)

How about Bradley? (1)

khadzia (48907) | about 15 years ago | (#1756828)

There has been a lot of talk about Gore and Bush, but I have read that some very big Silicon Valley CEO's and others have donated a good chunk of money to Bill Bradley. Do you think he would try to make good policies toward the internet and technology in general?

Re:Feedback to political candidates (1)

Hard_Code (49548) | about 15 years ago | (#1756829)

I had a whisper of a hope in the Democratic party, the lesser of two evils, but Gore has abolished it entirely. Religious conservativism disgusts me and I'm really at a loss now.

Re:Feedback to political candidates (1)

Saige (53303) | about 15 years ago | (#1756834)

Al Gore offends Open Source fans by mocking the concept on his campaign web page. He offends internet users by claiming that he invented the internet.


He also should offend any freethinker or separationist, considering he's said many times he wants to involve faith-based groups more in the government, even going so far as to have them "take over" some of the functions. Unconstitutional, of course.


On the other hand, G.W. Bush offends free thinkers by announcing that he wants religous organizations to take a larger part in government programs, and might directly tax dollars to those programs.


Oh, that's not the biggest one that bothers me.



He's stated that if elected, he would issue and Executive Order to prevent Wiccans from performing their celebrations in the military. Apparently any religion that isn't approved by Christians doesn't rank as being worthy in his eyes. And because of the different rules in the military, this total ignorance of the constitution can be done.
---

The Revolution (1)

xmedar (55856) | about 15 years ago | (#1756836)

Take a look at The Revolution web site, someone is trying to do something other than the normal two parties demonising each other.

http://www.the-revolution.org/

I have a frew ideas of my own that I put down in an email to R U Sirius who started it all. I've copied it here I hope its helpful
----------------------------------------------

Okay I just read your site and it reminds me of Richard Pryors' "None of the above" in Brewsters Millions, that said you are obviously very intune with people like the EFF. So you have a Web site, what now? Well here are some suggestions for you:-

1. The Revolution as fashion
a) Run competitions to design cool T-shirts for the party different age groups and fashion students.
b) Sell cool designer T-shirts for fundraising
c) Cool T-shirt = cool front logo and reverse with one of your 15 points on it, make it like collecting beanie babies. Include URL on
collar/cuffs/bottom edge
d) Substitute jeans/ jackets/ underwear/ sneakers/ lunch box/ baseball hat/keychain etc. for t-shirt.

2. The-Revolution Cartoon on the Net
a) Comic strip - Dilbert subversive style
b) Macromedia animation see http://www.kimble.org for a good example, see 1st movie
c) Mechandise (see point 1)

3. Never appear in person
a) Always over the Net, have rallies via videoconferencing and simultaniously over the Net
b) Use a computer animated character to speak your words like on TV when the computer head lip-syncs with someone saying the words
c) Have video wall trucks that go from town to town stop and play videos about the Revolution inc. cartoons etc.
d) Guest spot on The Simpsons

4. Revolution dolls that say "vote Revolution".

Questions (3)

xmedar (55856) | about 15 years ago | (#1756837)

1. New models of politics
What do they think about using the Net to spawn new types of democratic politics, e.g. the ability to vote on individual issues bypassing traditional representatives. Maybe only allowing people to vote if they have already contributed something to the debate on the topic?

2. Advocacy
There is strong advocacy within the geek population as epitomised by the Linux Advocacy
How To, ways of increasing debate, and providing good quality information rather than FUD, therefore increasing everyones understanding of the situation rather than polarising arguements and ending up in irrational finger pointing. Do you think this ethos can be translated to the world of politics, and what effect do you think it might have?

the problem is... (1)

colmore (56499) | about 15 years ago | (#1756838)

i think the problem with political promotion on the internet is that the internet lacks serious context. television and radio are, for most people, mythic industries where only Important People can be heard. the internet, on the other hand, is a forum for everyone, from twelve year old's pokemon fan sites to the KKK to pornography to your particular political candidate. i feel that the image of the internet as a people's media greatly harms it's ability to promote a single individual. it would be much like running ads on CB radio.

an internet site or ad just doesn't seem as IMPORTANT as messages in other media. I was wondering if you agree with my above statements and how you fight the inherent difficulties in giving any web campaign the seriousness you surely want.

Re:Authority of the State? (1)

colmore (56499) | about 15 years ago | (#1756839)

anarchists anger me. they think in slogans and don't look at things logically.

there are a million arguements for having government, and democracy is just a form of government. it certainly isn't perfect, but it is better than any other that has been come up with yet.

here's just one arguement for having people in charge (since TRUE anarchy seeks to abolish all forms of leadership): sewage.
keeping the sewers running is a GIANT task, requiring thousands of workers and complex orginization. you can bet that not many people would work in the sewers for the good of their fellow man, they would only do it to get paid. Money requires government to be of any value at all. Also a thousand people couldn't keep anything running without someone in charge to oversee the project and make sure the right people are in the right places.

you don't want to live in a city without sewers, i don't want to live in a world without government.

if you wish to continue this debate, mail me at colmore@colmore.com

slashdot (1)

newton62 (56617) | about 15 years ago | (#1756841)

If these guys are "avid slashdot readers" would it not be easier to have them pick the questions for here themselves?

Campaign operations (1)

ostiguy (63618) | about 15 years ago | (#1756843)

Are many campaigns running their own servers? It is my impression that that is currently an outsourced function, and basically just web content. I feel that very soon (if not now), it would be a "good thing" for campaigns to be using SSL secured web based email accounts. Has email made any inroads as a form of intra campaign communication? Given the possibilities (and the enormous motivations, read FDR and Nixon) for intercepting political communications, secure email should be a more favorable form of communication than phones or faxes. Is anyone taking these fears into account?

and finally:

any internship opportunities? heh.

matt, mcse 1999, ba poli sci 2000

Re:Vote for the questions you want forwarded! (1)

DrMaurer (64120) | about 15 years ago | (#1756848)

Because someone would ask the question "Should Hillary have given a blow job?" And of course, they would say "hey, I should vote for my own question, then I should change my IP, or something, and vote again, and again, and again, and again, and again . . ."

Moderators can't participate, I don't think, in a discussion. It helps keep them objective.

later

Political Question (2)

PacketMaster (65250) | about 15 years ago | (#1756849)

What is your organization doing about various congressional legislation that is attempting to legislate away our pricacy. Specifically regarding the plan to make all encryption software makers include a backdoor key that the FBI would hold in escrow to monitor criminals and the plan to "standardize" network communications so that the FBI/CIA/NSA can monitor "traffic patterns" that could suggest a "cyber-attack"? These are, in my opinion, the biggest threat to personal privacy ever.

Hamsters answering questions? (1)

SirSlud (67381) | about 15 years ago | (#1756850)

Now this is good. I've been a leading the charge on behalf of PASH (People Against Smart Hamsters) for a few years now, and I need to take my campaign online. How can I get my message heard? I couldn't help but notice hamsters would be moderating our questions, so maybe this is the true test of internet advocacy and political campaign.

SirSlud

Re:Feedback to political candidates (1)

Stonehand (71085) | about 15 years ago | (#1756854)

Looks to me like he's just soliciting fiscally free donated code and avoiding the cost of hiring proggers. He's not claiming to make the site 'Open Source'; just intending to reap what's sown by people inclined to give away their work...

It's a tad bizarre that he requests the names of employers.

Re:Misinformation (1)

Stonehand (71085) | about 15 years ago | (#1756855)

Eh. At the very least, it's possible to verify with a decent degree of likelihood that

a) Dan Rather is, actually, a live human being named Dan Rather, and not, say, an organization, a corpse, or a dalmation.

b) Dan Rather has been the same Dan Rather that's been a news reporter or anchor for the past don't-remember-how-many-years. His statements and misstatements can be tracked reasonably well, since it's unlikely he shapeshifts and assumes the identity of, say, Ted Koppel.

c) Judging from the past, it's possible to stalk Dan Rather while muttering strange quotes from songs, and thus verify a lot about who he is.

Ditto for regular print journalists -- they accumulate histories, and we can derive their biases from such. For instance, in the case of Mr. Rather, we may rest assured that he is generally relatively less antagonistic towards his subjects than, say, Sam Donaldson when the latter spots a mailman, er, questionable guest. (Sorry; just had the odd vision of him sinking his teeth into the leg of a flustered press secretary... :) )

We know that certain journalists may be biased towards the left (such as, in general, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette) or the right (the Tribune-Review). That, and if we take the time, we may track down who people are and what they stand for... plus, it takes some resources to publish on the web. Print publications also do tend to oust reporters caught spinning blatant untruths (such as the _Boston Globe_ and those of its staff who apparently feel that their own ideals and biases trump the truth... and the blatantly anti-military _CNN_ team who "reported" as unambiguous suggestions that the military gassed defectors in... 'Nam, I think it was supposed to be).

On the other hand, one could probably (to over-use an example) enter a false PGP public key for an unfortunate Mr. Rather into keyservers with an address "dan_rather@cbs.com", and publish bogus messages under his name. More so, any homey can, without taking somebody else's name, invent a resume full of pretentious credentials; write diatribes for the net; and even supplement it with touched-up photos, out-of-context data from primary sources, and so forth -- and some schmoes will believe that.

There's a lot of credulity regarding the 'net. Witness the relative success of e-mail chains (hoaxes of *all* kinds for instance)...

Re:Representative politics. (1)

Stonehand (71085) | about 15 years ago | (#1756856)

* Apathy.
Try to get people to care about, say, Hun Sen and his government. Or, the technical details of SDI or THAAD. Or the justification for a nuclear-strike-capable submarine fleet. Or agricultural subsidies. This ties in neatly with the next issue. Individuals do contribute more $ to campaigns than businesses, but it's easier to contribute $ than time and attention.

While only funding things that the masses appear to care about might be a dream for some, it'd be a nightmare for most.

* Education.
Most of us aren't clued enough for many of the decisions. I probably shouldn't, say, be determining the details of transportation infrastructure funding, because I don't have the background in it. Representatives that are in specific committees have the chance to put in that time... There are good reasons why the Senate is based upon 2-per-state and *long* 6-year terms, and a lot of that is meant to avoid any potential tyranny of the masses.

* Scalability: it doesn't.
You can't motivate the masses with the same speed, and some processes (such as foreign policy) require response time... so if you set short deadlines, you'd mostly get the self-selected types first: the most 'activist' on any side of a particular part. Many of these people are not going to be the thoughtful, contemplative types. This could be extremely dangerous...

* Coherence, or lack of it.
Sometimes, you really need a coherent strategy. That rarely comes from groups of millions of people -- or do you think that Kasparov has a better chance against a single grandmaster than the votes of a teeming mass of people?

* In reality, the current system works reasonably well. You can write your representatives and encourage allies to do so as well; you can make thy voice known in a myriad of ways... and many of us can run for office.

Re:Campaign funding? (1)

Stonehand (71085) | about 15 years ago | (#1756857)

Some of this you can get directly from the FEC (www.fec.gov).

The "League of Women Voters" (www.lwv.org) has a pretty good list of links to sites such as Common Cause (www.commoncause.org); that one may help you a lot.

Disinformation (2)

Stonehand (71085) | about 15 years ago | (#1756860)

Arguably, the Internet can be used as a tool for the dissemination of propaganda -- including outright lies. This is at least partly due to

* The availability of free Web hosting.
* The difficulty of confirming the identity and credentials of 'net publishers/speakers.
* The occasional strange credulity of people...

An organized effort by any reasonably large group, be it a fringe, partisan group of people out to "get" somebody; or an activist group that does not bother with checking its "facts" can rapidly evangelize a cause with nonsense -- such as blatantly questionable statistics, out-of-context quotes, and so forth.

Is there any reason that the people *should* view the 'Net as a medium for information and activism, given all this? That is, why -- and how -- should people write or listen?

Bush & Gore = cable pay per view choices (3)

GuySmiley (71599) | about 15 years ago | (#1756861)

For over a year, we have been told to either vote for Bush or Gore in 2000. The mainstream media does not let anyone else get air time.

How can you bypass the networks and use the internet to publicize a candidate that actually has a brain and a flying chance in hell of getting elected?

Re:slashdot (1)

Shabbir (76728) | about 15 years ago | (#1756863)

We're here and keeping an eye on things. In the interest of keeping ourselves efficient, though, the moderators have agreed to screen the questions for us. (Editors rock, good editors, doubly so)

-Shabbir
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