WHAT WOULD YOU
ASK THE CANDIDATES?

Search and vote for questions about issues that are important to you! Tonight's "town hall" debate will feature questions from the Internet -- ABC and CNN moderators agreed to consider the Top 30 questions voted up on this site! Watch the debate right here at 9pm EDT to find out if they chose yours! NOTE: Questions must not name or allude to a candidate and must be able to be posed to either candidate.
3676251total votes
30 days 12 hrs 5 mins until the event

Participation Guidelines

Summary

The #1 priority of the Presidential Open Questions platform is to have candidates answer questions about the important issues that affect voters' everyday lives. The participation guidelines and platform moderators are in place to create a safe, welcoming environment for all users, to make sure your question is eligible to be asked on TV and livestreams, and to protect the integrity of the voting process. The guidelines that help us accomplish that are as follows:

  • No hate speech, graphic content, threatening or abusive language, or profanity.
  • No commercial promotion, spam, or other unrelated content.
  • No trolling (questions offered without intellectual honesty or in effort to discredit the site).
  • All submissions must be worded as a question.
  • Questions must not name or allude to a candidates and must be able to be posed to either candidate. (This is to curtail gotcha questions, avoid statements that are directed at candidates instead of posing questions, and to keep the focus on issues of long-term import to voters.)
  • Questions must be germane to the goal of understanding more about the candidates' platforms, positions, policies, background, and values.

Moderation

We reserve the right to remove questions that violate these terms, and to remove and reverse suspicious or fraudulent voting activity. All linked content will be reviewed to make sure it adheres to these criteria and is relevant to the question before being published.

In addition, we reserve the right to re-categorize submissions to better align with the overall organization of the site, and to modify, moderate, or combine ideas to maintain the integrity of the voting process and the quality of user experience. This includes the right to remove submissions that are duplicates.

We define a duplicate as any question that shares the same or very similar intent as a previously submitted question. The point of the question platform is to measure the true support for unique questions. Having multiple submissions of a single question dilutes the votes and advocacy for it. Hundreds -- and sometimes thousands -- of new questions are submitted each day, and a great deal of them bear close similarity to existing questions on the site. For similar questions, we aim to herd together questions that would ultimately reveal the same distinctions between candidates or understanding of a single candidate’s position on an issue.

Example of questions considered to be duplicates:

(A) “What steps would you take toward ensuring that college students don’t enter the workforce saddled with debt? I have over $50K in loans and can't afford to buy a house or start the small business I was planning for.”
(B) “How would you reduce students’ post-college debt-load?”

In that case the intent of the question is the same, but the wording and the supporting text are different. Questions that provide personal stories or connection to the question will be given preference.

Example of questions NOT considered to be duplicates:

(A) “If elected president, will you pardon Edward Snowden?”
(B) “Do you consider Edward Snowden a hero or a traitor?”

While both of these questions are about Edward Snowden and appear very similar, they are asking a different question. Questions that are related but have a different focus -- even just a slightly different focus -- should be allowed to stand on their own.

We have implemented several measures to ensure the transparency and fairness of all changes.

First, moderation is a community effort. Users may flag questions for violations of the Participation Guidelines and suggest merges between similar questions.

Second, a team of well-respected experts from a diverse range of organizations and websites is available to weigh in on questions of policy when the similarity between questions is ambiguous.

Third, authors will be notified of all changes made to their submissions and given the chance to clarify their intent or request a reversal.

Best practices

Beyond the hard-and-fast rules listed above, these tips will help you win more votes, increase your question’s chance of being selected for the live event, and get the answers you’re looking for from candidates.

  • Open-ended questions that call for a detailed response are better than yes/no questions!
  • Limit each question to a single, clearly articulated topic. Be specific!
  • Americans are tired of “gotcha” questions and the endless focus on the political horserace. In previous Open Events the top questions were all substantive, and many were on issues that the media rarely ask about. Focus on serious questions of policy and the votes will follow.
  • Submit questions as a civically engaged person, not as an organization. This debate is about the concerns of regular voters, and thus preference will be given to questions that were submitted by individuals.
  • Make it personal! Questions that provide personal stories or connection to the question will be given preference over questions with no context or an overtly political bent.
  • Make it current. Good facts or statistics to back up your question are always good, and tying it to something current in the news can really catch voters -- and moderators' -- eyes.