A-B City Council "Crowdsource" Q&A

One of the best blogs in town, Brighton Centered, has pulled off one of the better bits of public-service blogging I've seen -- one that almost makes me think there might be something to this whole Web thing that my wise friend Dan Kennedy is so optimistic about.

The site solicited questions to be put to all the candidates; selected 14 from the submissions; cleaned them up a little, and put them to a vote. The top seven were sent to all six candidates. The candidates were given a strict but reasonable deadline; no word limit, but a suggestion to keep answers to 2-4 paragraphs; and a promise that all responses would be posted simultaneously (no peeking at each other's answers!).

All six candidates responded, which is a tribute to the respect the blog had previously earned, as well as the neighborhood scope of the blog, which makes it more important to the candidates than bigger but less targeted media outlets.

The result: good questions, substantive and readable responses, and to my eye an actually useful resource for voters of the district.

One potential problem: the blog did not attempt to perform any fact-checking function. That is understandable, but problematic. What happens if a dispute arises? Will the blog correct errors or misstatements brought to its attention? etc.

Nevertheless, an impressive effort. See for yourself.

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