Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn has become the first Florida politician to engage with citizens on Quora – the burgeoning question and answer technology startup.
A few weeks ago, Floridian Bryan Tupper posted the following question to Quora: What are Florida politicians doing to create jobs in the state? This morning, Mayor Buckhorn answered the question directly on Quora, providing a substantive 683 word answer to a question that typically gets no more than 100 word answers in press conferences and televised debates.
The question posed above is a simple one that Floridians (and Americans for that matter) have no doubt asked a thousand times. But by posting the question to Quora, it allows for any politician to answer the question publicly and have that answer voted up or down by the Quora community until the best answer rises to the top. Think of it as the gamification of public debates. What politician wouldn’t want their answer voted the best by the community? But in order to do have that top voted answer, the answers must be substantive and must actually satisfy the community. How many times have you been sitting at home, watching a televised debate and been extremely frustrated at that one politician who just can’t seem to answer the questions the way you want to hear them answered? Quora is a way to incentivize getting the answers we want from our elected officials and politicians like Buckhorn, Eric Cantor, Paul Ryan and a handful of others are taking the lead in using the platform for government openness.
I would love to see Mayor Buckhorn’s entrance onto Quora encourage other politicians to do the same. Imagine if we were able to gin up genuine competition amongst our elected officials to provide the most substantive, policy-based answers to the toughest questions facing government! That’s an open government that I would be excited to see and I’m sure you would too.