We’re less than 100 days until U.S. voters elect the person they want to succeed Barack Obama as president. And as we inch closer towards November, both candidates are taking their message everywhere, both off line and online including leveraging popular services to interact with supporters.
One tool that has become important is the ability to “Ask Me Anything” (AMA), which Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump took advantage of last week, mid-way through the Democratic National Convention (DNC). For an hour, he responded to questions on Reddit in a session organized within one of the site’s political sub-Reddits which was made up of supporters. But contrast how the GOP candidate did what was supposed to be an AMA versus his opponent, Secretary Hillary Clinton, who has taken to Quora for perhaps a more professional discussion of the issues and you’ll get two different tales.
When Trump held his AMA, moderators enacted what it considered “security measures” designed to maintain the quality of the community “free from troublemakers.” These weren’t official Reddit rules and the moderators were free to set up rules and guidelines as long as it adhered to the service’s content policies. In order to ask a question of the candidate, users needed to be older than 30 days old and have more than 500 “combined karma.”
Clinton, on the other hand, has opted to pursue an AMA free of such extra security measures. Her, along with running mate Senator Tim Kaine, will participate in a session next week and have asked the Quora community to submit questions ahead of time. But it’s all about perspective: Quora’s mission is about sharing and growing the world’s knowledge and as such it’s a social network for professional discussions compared to Reddit where some topics and descend into more controversial and bizarre topics.
While Trump’s Reddit AMA had measures in place, Quora chief executive Adam D’Angelo told VentureBeat that Clinton’s session will not, but he feels confident that the Clinton and Kaine event will go off without excessive trolling. D’Angelo explained that Quora doesn’t have special rules in place — it’s one set of conditions for everyone on the site — and believes that the quality of conversations will be high because those in the community adhere to its policy of “be nice, be respectful.”
Clinton and Kaine aren’t new to Quora, but D’Angelo admits that this is the first time that the site has had a presidential ticket from either party do an AMA-like event right after a party convention. He also said that the service would welcome participation by Trump and his running mate, Indiana governor Mike Pence.
So far, more than 36,000 people are following the Clinton and Kaine Quora event which the Democratic presidential and vice presidential candidates will respond to on Monday, August 8 starting at 9:00 a.m. Pacific. Questions already being asked include what the Democratic ticket thinks of Black Lives Matter, the policy on China, how to make college education more affordable, Clinton’s stance on H-1B visas, appealing to supporters of Senator Bernie Sanders, why Clinton hasn’t held a news conference in 200 days, the issue around Clinton’s Goldman Sachs speeches, dealing with ISIS, and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).
On the flip side, Trump’s Reddit AMA were filled with questions from disenfranchised Sanders supporters, Clinton’s lack of press conferences, media bias, Obamacare, voter fraud, NASA, WikiLeaks and Net Neutrality (which Trump declined to answer), or if he’s getting tired of winning.
While Reddit is accustomed to dealing with a diverse audience and commenters, in an election year filled with polarizing candidates, can Quora’s self-policing community and professionalism hold up when Clinton and Kaine kick off their AMA? D’Angelo puts his faith in the service’s ability to minimize trolling: “We can handle it.”