Yahoo Launches Site for Midterm Elections

Yahoo has announced a new site to cover the November 2010 midterm elections in the United States. It’s called Ask America and is available right now at http://askamerica.yahoo.com.

Once the Flash intro loads (zzzz) You’re asked to choose a topic, and then to vote on a question related to that topic. Once you’ve voted, you’re invited to leave a comment. (You have to log in to Yahoo to leave a comment, of course.) I took a look at a few issues and the comments left. The issues that are most at the center of
partisan debate seem to have the most inane comments (“It’s Bush’s fault!” “No, it’s Obama’s fault!”) while the ones that are not currently in the spotlight seems to have somewhat more articulate comments.

(Here’s my standard: “It’s so-and-so’s fault” is an inane comment. “It’s so-and-so’s fault because of these thought-about arguments” is generally not an inane comment. I might not agree with it, but I won’t consider it inane.)

You can choose states instead, though not every state is represented. I chose Virginia and the first voting card read: “Are stories like the Salahi gatecrashers distracting the public from more important issues?” Apparently it wasn’t distracting the public enough because I had no idea what that card was talking about. However underneath that card there were links to top news stories from sources like Yahoo and The New York Times. So now I know who those people are though I don’t feel like much of an informed American because of it.

I like the design — once it loads — and it’s clear a lot of effort has been put into creating sets of relevant questions both for topics and states. The question is, what is the Yahoo community going to do with this lovely design and potential for deep discourse?

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