Failures

by Mike Masnick


Filed Under:
ama, barack obama, planted questions

Companies:
reddit



Reddit Sleuths In Action: Highlight How Obama Answered A 'Planted' Question [Update: Or Not?]

from the but-let's-talk-about-rampart dept

Update: There are some good points raised in the comments, showing that the woman in question has responded to the claims and insist that she wasn't a plant.

We were a bit disappointed in how President Obama handled his recent Reddit AMA, giving mostly canned politician's answers to a community that tends to expect a bit more human emotion. It was no Woody Harrelson debacle, but it did seem like a missed opportunity. And, now, some Redditors are suggesting that parts of it were actually stage. Some internet sleuthing pointed out that among the only 10 questions that Obama chose to answer (out of hundreds that were asked almost immediately) was one from someone who appears to have been planted by the administration. The evidence:
  • Profile created mere hours before minutes after the AMA was announced, and literally six seconds before asking a well written, paragraph long question (approximate typing speed assuming it was typed after creating the account? 1570 wpm)
  • Created a profile 5 minutes 39 seconds after the AMA going live, when servers were having a fit.
  • Asked question explicitly requesting ways to recruit the youth that Obama relied on last election (many of whom are disillusioned with him, for all the reasons she presents herself as being subject to)
  • Is literally only 1 of 10 questions answered.
  • asked by one hmlee who (according to some internet detective work):
    • has only one comment in her history, total
    • Posted a blog entry supporting Obama
    • lists herself as working/having worked as an intern at the Department of Justice

So, is it possible that she heard about it on her own, created an account, and typed up an eloquent question that is a PR man's wet dream all within less than 6 minutes? Yes, it's possible. It's just not particularly likely.

It isn't that surprising that the administration would plant questions, though it is a bit surprising that they thought they'd get away with such a blatantly obvious planting. Why not find a supporter who was an actual Redditor and have them ask the question? Either way, we've pointed out that the key to a good Reddit AMA tends to be showing off your human side. Responding to planted questions with politicians' answers doesn't seem to qualify.

Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread


  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 31 Aug 2012 @ 1:08pm

    umm gawker just posted a story about this and the question was a legitimate one from an actual law school student.

    http://gawker.com/5939617/reddit-libertarians-accuse-obama-administration-of-planting-questions- in-ama

Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Use markdown for basic formatting. HTML is no longer supported.
  Save me a cookie
Follow Techdirt
Techdirt Gear
Shop Now: Copying Is Not Theft
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads

Close

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.