Just wondering about the idea, what if stack exchange platform would be used for candidates to answer citizens questions.

Some changes would need to be made to the platform.

  • Only eligible voters can ask questions.
  • Only eligible voters can vote on questions and answers
  • Only candidates can answer questions.
  • Community moderators would merge duplicates but there should be limitations on what can be done.
  • No need for "accept" feature, people can vote for their favourite answer

just a few basic rules of top of my head, details of the system are not part of the question

That obviously poses the problem of user verification.

If we ignore/solve the user verification problem. What would it take to convince politicians to actually use it?

The idea came to me recently as I read an AMA with one politician and he answered only the questions that had a positive answer and anything inconvenient was completely ignored. Often debates are being accused of having prepared questions. Additionally, if you watch videos analysing debates, often they focus on candidates charisma and wits rather than their answers to decide who "won".

It would truly allow anyone to ask questions and highlight ignored issues if a question with a lot of votes has no answers.

Possibly there could be accusations of hackers manipulating scores and other content but I think that is a weak argument to avoid answering a question if any politician ever cared.

  • 6
    Since this is a proposal for StackExchange, it would be a better fit for the meta site
    – divibisan
    Jul 10, 2020 at 17:53
  • 1
    Call me a cynic, but the first thing it would take for politicians to consider using such a Stack is for said politicians to care about their constituents (and not just themselves).
    – Joe C
    Jul 10, 2020 at 18:45
  • 1
    I don't really mean it as a proposal for SE. I don't expect them to actually do it. My question is: if there was such a platform, solving all practical and technical problems. What would it take to move the political debate on such platform from traditional debates as we have now? Maybe this question is not suitable on SE at all, it just that it SE is close to what I imagine it would be.
    – Gustek
    Jul 10, 2020 at 20:13

3 Answers 3


It doesn't work, because it doesn't fit the model:

Ask questions, get answers, no distractions

A politician isn't interested in answering the question. A politician wants to get votes.

Good answers are voted up and rise to the top.

But if questions and answers are partisan, then "popular answers rise to the top". That is different.

Moreover the world is not the USA. That seems to have been forgotten in this proposal.

And I'm not going to prove my eligiblity or otherwise to vote (which could mean me telling about my immigration and felon status) to Stack Exchange.

This proposal is a non-starter.

  • 4
    This answer mentions the USA, but the question doesn't. What makes you believe the question is related to the USA?
    – gerrit
    Jul 21, 2020 at 8:58
  • @gerrit Excellent question. (By the way, the answer not only mentions the USA explicitly, but also suggests eligibility to vote depends on felon status, which is not true in all countries.) I have seen posts on other subjects that also had an unexplained US bias. It just seems to be what happens online. Nov 25, 2020 at 16:08

If you can guarantee that 80% of the people voting in the election will read the politician's posting, it will be used.

If you can deliver only .0008% viewership, forget about it.


There is no way to verify that Biden or Trump are actually answering questions under that format. A benefit of the live debates is that voters get to see their candidates respond to questions in real time and in their "own words." Granted, the answers are rehearsed.

Let's say, for argument's sake, that a candidate was becoming a bit slow in the noggin. A debate would demonstrate to the voters that the candidate may not be able to manage the affairs of a nation. Long, rambling, incoherent responses and an inability to formulate a real answer to a question are big red flags. Really, electing that person puts his committee of unelected "handlers" in charge and makes the candidate a mere figurehead.

Not to mention that a known-senile president would give his party a great excuse to remove him at their convenience and elevate his VP to the top. He also would make a great fall guy for any serious scandals that would almost certainly result from such an arrangement. I guess the various options available to party leadership create potential benefits for the party elites.

This is all just hypothetical...of course.

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