In lieu of actually generating a platform themselves, Republicans earlier this week decided to fuse their two core competencies — hollow, patronizing appeals to the populace, and intellectual laziness — to create an online platform where, with little moderation, ordinary citizens can pose their ideas for reforming the government. The result was predictable — racism, satire, parody, and disaster (see Wonkette). But — don’t miss the hilarious results. Some examples of citizens’ “ideas”:
Annex Canada and Mexico. Building wall across Guatemala will be easier and melting ice cap means Russians will have harder time with invasion.
My neighbor wears a towel on his head and he smells funny. Arrest him.
Liz Lemon would approve (link).
The internet can be a powerful platform for generating ideas, but the method of implementation controls the output, and any system must be built to winnow the inevitable spam, satire, and attacks that the internet’s zeitgeist implies. Very few blogs seem to seek that result, and fewer still go to the trouble to build a system to consciously produce it, but here, at least, I try: the key must be content-neutral moderation with bars for affirmatively unproductive (racist, insulting, spam) comments. Since this site’s reader base is comparatively small, achieving that result is easy, but the effort grows exponentially with a larger readership.
Still, given the scope of the GOP’s ambition with this project, they should’ve put some resources into execution. That they didn’t suggests that Republicans like Cantor either didn’t realize the problem, and made no attempt to contact anyone with actual experience on the internet, or didn’t care. Both are damning.