Answer

@codybrown

Two big angles that I can think of right now.

1.) We're Building a Valuable Public Record

There is a reason almost every organization, whether its the Obama Administration or AT&T, wants you to send feedback and concerns through a private channel—they own the record. If someone, for instance, has an issue with the @knightfdn, they are encouraged to send feedback to them and wait for a reply. This is a win for the organization if they can pull this off because the interaction remains private and they don't have to deal publicly with the repercussions of their actions. Of course though, it's a loss for everyone else.

I use the @knightfdn example because a @kommons user, @danielbachuber asked them a fair but challenging question about a month ago. Despite it being followed by 8 other influential people it never got a response. It was upsetting at first that an organization that funds, "projects that promote informed, engaged communities," was not responding to a direct information request from its own engaged community, until you realize that them not answering is just as powerful of a signal.

Now, any journalist investigating the knight foundation or philanthropic organizations more generally, can stumble across this question in google and get a direct insight into the way they work, not to mention nine sources to interview. All because someone made a casual request for info months ago. This is the inherit value to doing it in public— kommons is designed to help more people ask questions but we're also designed to help others easily find them later.

2.) More Successful Questioning

Getting a public figure to answer a question he/she doesn't want to answer is one of hardest things a journalist can accomplish. Having more public leverage of any kind, whether it's through a big brand like the @nytimes / @wsj or a follower count, helps you get your calls returned. Most people though don't work at the @nytimes and if they want answers they need to work a lot harder. Kommons helps you tap into the base you already have.

I did this personally with @niemanlab. I asked them a question on twitter but it was only when others started to follow it that I got an answer.


1 revision

Two big angles that I can think of right now.

1.) Better Research

There is a reason almost every organization, whether its the white house or AT&T, wants you to send feedback and concerns through a private channel—they own the record. If someone, for instance, has an issue with the @knightfdn, they are encouraged to send feedback to them and wait for a reply. This is a win for the organization if they can pull this off because the interaction remains private and they don't have to deal publicly with the repercussions of their actions. Of course though, it's a loss for everyone else.

I use the @knightfdn example because a @kommons user, @danielbachuber asked them a fair but challenging question about a month ago. Despite it being followed by 8 other influential people it never got a response. It was upsetting at first that an organization that funds, "projects that promote informed, engaged communities," was not responding to a direct information request from its own engaged community, until you realize that them not answering is just as powerful of a signal.

Now, any journalist investigating the knight foundation or philanthropic organizations more generally, can stumble across this question in google and get a direct insight into the way they work, not to mention nine sources to interview. All because someone made a casual request for info months ago. This is the inherit value to doing it in public— kommons is designed to help more people ask questions but we're also designed to help others easily find them later.

2.) More Successful Questioning

Getting a public figure to answer a question he/she doesn't want to answer is one of hardest things a journalist can accomplish. Having more public leverage of any kind, whether it's through a big brand like the @nytimes / @wsj or a follower count, helps you get your calls returned. Most people though don't work at the @nytimes and if they want answers they need to work a lot harder. Kommons helps you tap into the base you already have.

I did this personally with @niemanlab. I asked them a question on twitter but it was only when others started to follow it that I got an answer.
over 3 years ago
revised this answer over 3 years ago (history)
@alanmairson
I realize it's going to be a challenge to achieve critical mass here @kommons, Cody. But I think this model, this idea is brilliant. Really. Thanks for building it.
over 3 years ago

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